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Start Here Star Citizen Alpha 3.18 Tutorial & New Player Guide

Start Here Star Citizen… Star Citizen is a complex game that doesn’t hold your hand nor have appropriate in game tutorials… this new & returning player guide for Alpha 3.18 will take you thru all the basics of your first few hours in the game and where to go from there. 

It’s An Alpha… Star Citizen is an Alpha game… there are bugs, it’s still being built out, a lot of what’s going on is awesome and beautiful but very incomplete AND there are persistence wipes occasionally putting you back to square one. Still there is a massive amount of fun and wow factor to be had even now.

Make Account / Choose a Ship

You’ll want to make a RSI account if you don’t already have one. You can do that via the links below.

Then you’ll need a ship and game access which you can get with a starter package.

The cheapest are the Aurora MR & Mustang Alpha but you can pay a few extra coins for a Cutter or what are deemed 2nd Tier starter ships that are a little better like the Avenger Titan. That said everything can be earned in game you only need that starter pack and one day you can have a mighty space yacht of your own.

For this Tutorial we are going to pick up a Drake Cutter

Once you launch the game you’ll want to create your character however you see fit and then choose your Spawn Location / Home

We are going to pick Orison (Crusader), it’s down to personal preference but you will be travelling around the Verse anyway. 


You’ll spawn in a bed, just move (WASD) to get up. Look around if you want but we want to go and operate this door. Hold F to interact with your environment and left click to operate. You can also just tap F to open a door/do the quick function.

Go to the nearby elevator (call it by interacting with the button) and travel to the lobby.

We now want to navigate to the Spaceport, we will need to take the public transport in this case the shuttle… we want to go to the shuttle marked August Dunlow Spaceport and board the shuttle / wait for the shuttle if it’s not there. Your next stop will be the spaceport station.

Take the Elevator to the spaceport.

You’ll pass by a Traveller Rentals, where you can rent ships and you can find these at most spaceports.

Anyway travel towards the hangars and you’ll come across the ASOP terminals.

Interact with one of these as this is where we will spawn your ship.

Select your ship and spawn it with the retrieve button. If your ship has been destroyed, lost or isn’t at that location you can also reclaim it here, it takes a couple of mins for starter ships to be reclaimed and then you can spawn them again.

It will tell you what hangar your ship spawned it BUT also show you on your hud, go to the elevators and travel to that hangar.

Interact with your ships entry point to enter your ship, then sit in the pilot’s seat… you can exit a seat by holding [Y].

You can set your ship to flight ready mode and turn on all your systems by pressing [R].

You’ll also need to request take off permission from the ATC (air traffic control). To do this Press [F1] To open up your mobiGlas then click the contacts tab (at the bottom) and then on the ATC under your contacts (it should be on the top, then F1 to close it) alternatively you can set a key to quick request landing / takeoff. This will open the hangar doors.

You don’t have to request landing / takeoff at all sites, but you do with Major Cities & Space Stations.

Basics Of Control

GENTLY Press Space to move up, control to move down, W, A, S & D will thrust you in that direction.

F4 will cycle camera mode. Gently leave the hangar. 

Fly around and take in the view, don’t get too close to the ground or structures tho as that’s against the law and also you can crash and explode.

You can also press N to retract your landing gear.

Once you are ready we are going to take a mission.

With a Starter Ship you can do a variety of missions BUT we are going to do an easy Combat Mission to start with (this will teach you the basics of travel and ship combat), let’s take the Tracker Training Permit Certificate Mission, which will allow you to take on easy bounties VLRT (Very Low Risk Targets).

Open the mobiGlas F1 & go to the contracts tab and look for it in the Bounties Tab. you’ll have to pay a small aUEC fee to take the mission. Always read a missions description, we are going to travel to the target area and kill the target.

You can open the mobiGlas and go to Starmap [F2] (and as long as you are tracking the mission, you can track 1 at a time in the contracts manager) you’ll be able to see the location you need to go to, select it, set as destination.

You’ll need to Fly out of the atmosphere of Crusader, you can increase/lower your maximum speed with mouse wheel, [C] will set cruise control… remember to turn it off otherwise you will crash into things.

Once you are a little way up… you’ll be able to QT (Quantum Travel) press [B] and head towards the waypoint that’s set for your mission, once it’s spooled hold B and you’ll Quantum towards your target… there might be a couple of jumps based on where you set your location. If you’re still in atmosphere then a message will show in red saying exit atmosphere.

Once you have arrived at the target location we will need to fight:

Basics Of Combat

T will target the nearest appropriate enemy in view.

Left Click will fire your weapons.

You’ll want to aim at the PiP marker with you weapons.

You can cycle weapon / gimbal mode with [G] manual, fixed or auto-gimbal… if you want an easy firing solution pick auto which has the dotted line, keep the pip marker within that and it will lightly autoaim for you.

Shift will give you a boost of acceleration.

Q & E will roll.

Countermeasures [H & J] fire countermeasures for dealing with missiles.

If you have missiles middle mouse will toggle missile mode, you can then left click to fire a missile after it’s locked on.

Try to shoot and take down your target.

If you want to do a radar ping for contacts you can press Tab, this is vital in tracking down stragglers or probes / contacts in certain missions, and for detecting mineables or savlagables.  You’ll see where any detected signatures are roughly located.

If you want to Scan a target for more info press [V] then left click to scan the target.

Dying / Respawning / Setting Spawn

If and when you die for any reason you can respawn at a hospital / medi-bed that you’ve set.

Each Station and LZ will typically have one and a couple of ships like the Carrack & 890J also have respawn points. You’ll need to interact with the Regen terminal in these facilities if you want to change your spawn point to that location.

You will lose anything on your body when you die… tho you can try to go where you were to retrieve it… this is often more trouble than it’s worth.

You can always go into the Arena Commander mode Pirate or Vanduul Swarm to learn ship combat in a much more action and arcadey fashion too.

Returning to Base / Resupply & Repair

You’ll be travelling to many locations Cities, Stations etc…

Request landing, go to the indicated hangar, put down your landing gear and land… (you can hold N after your landing gear is down if you are extremely close to the landing area and it will land for you).

When you are landed at these LZs you can and should restock and repair, while in a hangar and in the pilot seat open the mobiGlas F1 and select vehicle services. Then select the services you want and pay.

If you run our of Quantum Fuel it’s bad and you’ll have to ask for rescue.

FPS Combat

The other type of mission and basics that you’ll want to go thru are FPS Combat & General Survival.

We can take more FPS focused missions in the Mercenary tab BUT Delivery Missions may also have you going to dangerous areas.

Always read the mission description, with a delivery mission we will be picking up a box and delivering it to another location. You may need to interact with some package lockers but they are pretty simple. 

You might want to buy a better weapon, or armor or equip one you’ve picked up. Go to a shop and interact with the terminal to buy something. At Orison there is a shopping centre and a Kel-to store there with a couple of weapons.

You can press [i] to open your inventory and move items around, if you are at a LZ or on your ship you can typically move items between your inventory and these locations.

But you can also equip weapons and items here, just drag them on to your character.

If you die put on a new flight suit!

Survival – at some locations you’ll notice that a timer is showing in the lower part of your HuD this will be due to you being too hot, too cold, OR too low on oxygen. You can get better Armor / Suits to protect you from the elements.

You’ll need to eat and drink too…

Make sure you are wearing a helmet in space & on most planets / moons. But you’ll need to take a helmet off to eat/drink you don’t need to do this super regularly… I recommend doing it each time you come back to a station / LZ after doing a few missions.

With FPS Combat you’ll want to be sure that you are shooting at an enemy rather than a friendly, otherwise you’ll get a criminal rating. Crusader Security for example typically have Blue and White armor and sometimes friendlies are marked on the HuD… sometimes. FPS enemies can range from derpy to deadly, getting used to this at Orison with the missions there means you can respawn at a nearby hospital and try again if you do die.

Healing / Utility Items

You can equip medi-pens and use them by pressing [C].

But also medi-guns that you can buy from pharmacies.

If you have them equipped you can pull them out pressing [4]

Then make then toggle them targeting yourself with [B]

There are a whole lot of different injuries and affects you can get, that you may need to go to a hospital / med bed for,. Go to the facility, request the service from one of the appropriate terminals, go to the room, lay in the bed and treat the injury. You can also temp treat them with appropriate med pens or the med gun.

I always recommend having a med gun with you.

Criminal Ratings

If you have a criminal rating you’ll be able to see what level at the top of your screen. If it’s just a level 1 or 2 you can still operate like a normal member of society and even pay off the fines to remove your CS at a fine terminal. However if you are CS3 or above guards, security and defences will be hostile to you. 

You can try your luck going to SPK to hack down your criminal rating BUT if you get killed in this state you’ll go to prison. There are various ways to leave but at this stage I’d recommend taking missions to fix oxygen generators and getting some merits to be able to leave quicker, you can see your time left in the central prison hub, go to the elevator when you have spent your time..

You can also read the laws of the area you are in the the Journal Section of your mobiGlas.

There are Other Mission Types you’ll want to explore

Missions in the Personal Tab are normally less publicly available and normally criminal leaning missions.

When you have a better ship you can take harder Bounty Hunting Mission and do certifications for harder targets.

Investigation / Search will have you going to an area, trying to find some stuff, maybe fighting some ships or FPS goons.

Racing Time Trials are part of 3.18 for those interested.

There are missions to help a 890J under attack, release prisoners from a caterpillar, clear out bunkers… just read the mission description… some missions are going to be much harder than others and are intended for a group.

Grouping Up / Parties

You can add people into your party by approaching them and interacting with them. [F] Left click Or via the Commlink on the mobiGlas. You can also add friends and party up with them in the menu screen before you launch into the game. 

You can share most missions with party members in the Contracts manager accepted Tab.

If you are having trouble with any mission just ask in chat if someone wants to group up.

You can set your in game VOIP Push To Talk Key in the Options Menu Keybindings, Advanced Controls Customization VOIP, FOIP & Headtracking… in fact when you have time or anytime you say… I wish there was a key for X… there normally is and you can set it from here.

Other Mechanics

You can buy components for your ship and then customise them from the Vehicle Loadout App on the mobiGlas. Starter Ships typically have room for S1 components and S1-2 weapons. That said most components are basically the same (currently).

There is loot to find in containers and bodies, just interact with them to loot, but you will be vulnerable while doing this.

There is a lot of money to be made, mining, salvage, refining, cargo hauling or just mission running.

I recommend you set your first major goal as buying an Avenger Titan in game OR at least renting one. It’s a great ship for cargo and combat with lots of weapon choice.

You can find ship shops with different inventories at the major planetary landing zones.

There is a Rep System that gives you rewards and more missions the more you rise in Rep… you will start to get new opportunities that weren’t open to you before.

You can also grab a multitool and a salvage attachment to strip the hulls / and repair ships or mining attachment to mine small mineral nodes on planets and moons.

There are major events that run such as Jumptown, Xenothreat, Siege Of Orison ect… for like a couple of weeks every couple of months or so… CI announce and describe the event on their website.

Remember Star Citizen is an Alpha… be a tourist, take in the views, try out some missions, don’t be afraid to die or lose your stuff… you can always reclaim it and do an account reset from the RSI Website if nothing else.

Star Citizen’s bugs can be a bit unforgiving at times… so just bear in mind that sometimes you might have an adventure cut short due to a crash or you got a criminal rating you didn’t deserve or you randomly die… that said these issues are happening less and less each patch. If you get stuck in your pilots seat you can hold Backspace to self destruct, on foot this will force respawn you.

Just to remind you as well pretty much everything can be earned or bought in game you only need a starter package to get access to be able to earn the ship of your dreams eventually!

Something also remember that you are in a starter ship and you are vulnerable to an actual combat ship… Dying and blowing up should just be seen as part of learning star citizen and working out what is dangerous or not. Asking Is this mission viable for the ship I am in will save you a lot of headaches.