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Star Citizen Alpha 3.20 Update – Ship Tractor Beams – Bounty Hunting v2 – Towns

Welcome to some more Star Citizen… What are we getting with Star Citizen Alpha 3.20 and when? What expectations are there for that patch and what new features are likely to turn up?

We are going to delve into all we know about the patch plans, expectations, rumours and roadmaps! Please take some of this with a pinch of salt… as the features can fail a go no go and get moved to later in the branch or a new patch, some new features might turn up later and some features that I expect just won’t be as ready as I thought.

Star Citizen Alpha 3.20 When?

It’s marked as the Q3 patch in this case it’s currently expected between the end of September and mid October 2023. As often CI will launch the patch around the same time as CitizenCon (which is mid October).

New Missions – Retrieve Consignment, where players are tasked with locating critical items in consignment lists, then safely extract them.

CI has also been working on various other new missions and mission updates that might make the patch for Mining, Salvage, Combat, Cargo etc… We know there are plans for a Retrieve Critical Packages from Platforms at SoO. There are missions that will make use of assaulting the barges in fact some of them are on the progress tracker and could make the patch:

Mining Resource Rush – Various large clusters of asteroids around Stanton are being sold off by several organisations. For a fee, civilians are given access to these spatial mining claims and allowed to mine until the cluster is depleted, drawing many mining crews, and occasionally pirates, to these hotspots. This deliverable has been added to the Mission Feature Team’s schedule.

Package Extraction – A new multiplayer mission where players will work together to recover stolen prototype ship components. Crusader Security tasks players with extracting these highly-classified components from the Nine Tails transport ships before they can escape off-world. This deliverable has been added to the Mission Feature and Narrative Teams’ schedules.

Data Heist – Implementing missions that task players with infiltrating locations (often held by NPCs), reaching data stores, and setting data to upload to offsite handlers.

We know that CI plans to add a load of new Points Of Interest (POI) with New Villages / Towns / Outposts that they have been building all over the Stanton System. These are some pretty expansive areas in some cases… and there should also be a load of missions hooked up to them… I think it’s likely they (at least some of them) are a feature of 3.20.

The MISC Hull C finally lands or takes off and flies with 3.20. This is a massive hauler and it’s expected that there will be some cargo updates with the release of the ship. With larger cargo containers that you will be able to attach detach to it’s spindles.

Something that I think has a good probability dropping here too is ship scale tractor beams.

In the Monthly Report (MR) CIG said they were finishing up work on the tractor beams of the Origin 315p, Drake Caterpillar and Cutlass Black, Consolidated Outland Nomad, and MISC Hull C so it makes sense.

I am expecting the Argo SRV to potentially then be ready as well in 3.20 or the next major patch after.

Could we see times and costs associated with loading / unloading cargo in 3.20?

It’s possible… they are certainly moving that way but we don’t know if it’s ready for primetime yet with that.

Another confirmed Feature Ship Trespass – The interior of players’ ships are now considered trespass zones for those without permission to enter. Permission will granted via the party system until more complex systems for managing crew and passengers is created. Players trespassing aboard a ship can be attacked by the owner of the ship and any player in their party without fear of committing a crime.

I am also expecting some tweaks to the law systems, being a bit more forgiving to accidental fire, but allowing retaliation.

There is a A Massive Arena Commander & Star Marine Overhaul with 3.20.

There is a new Frontend for AC, so you can quickly choose and get into a match.

Inside the game you can much more easily switch vehicles and loadouts.

You can choose spawn points AND that allows for a MASSIVE Improvement, Multi-Crew Gunning in AC Combat Modes. You can literally choose to spawn as a gunner in appropriate ships in Swarm & PvP Modes.

There is a ton of New Racetrack Stuff – New Maps, Updates to Old and Ports Over.

Test your racing prowess in Euterpe Icebreaker, Miners Lament, The Snake Pit and Yadar Valley as some of the first persistent universe locations enter Arena Commander, alongside Halloran Circuit, a brand new racetrack on the New Horizon Speedway.

New Horizon Speedway has had a Rework – One of Star Citizen’s oldest locations gets its long-awaited update. The three Murray Cup Race Tracks hosted in the New Horizon Speedway have had their tracks improved and location moved to the holiday resort planet, Green, the 3rd planet of the Ellis System. This means they will actually be in atmosphere properly now.

There are  New Dogfighting Maps – Jericho Station – this allows for a high performance, open map for your chosen AC mode.

SPK has a map for DFing as well. The station’s turrets work… but I am not sure on their targeting priorities. Will they shoot Pirates & Vanduul? In PvP do they shoot everyone?

Also there is Winner’s Circle which is an in atmosphere Dogfighting map on Planet Green.

I am very much looking forward to some Pirate Swarm here!

Talking about Pirate Swarm there has been an update to the mode.

With the biggest change being the final wave, that now becomes a fleet battle.

For Star Marine / FPS there is a smaller Echo 11 map for elimination.

SPK also has an FPS version for SM.

Another big addition is Experimental Modes for AC / SM.

These limited-time game modes range from simple twists on current modes to entirely new modes. This initiative will not only allow rapid iteration of game modes to be put in players’ hands faster, but also allow all teams to gather vital analytic data for specific activities, equipment, vehicles, and in-development features.

We found out some of these modes for 3.20
Single Weapon Elimination – ArcLight Laser Pistol
GunRush / Gun Game
Tank Royale – Deathmatch & Squad Battle (you can spawn as a gunner in a tank too) (there is a hardcore 1 life version that might make 3.20.)
Infinite Wave Vanduul Swarm
CI may change up these modes with entirely new ones or switch what weapon is with the single weapon elimination.
There are rumours of a Limited Master Modes Test… tho not entirely sure AC would be the best place to test that.
One of the benefits of Experimental Modes is a larger player base to draw from as they don’t need to install the PTU to play.

I do have some other Expectations:

Ship and vehicle wise I think the Xi’An San’Tok.Yai, Crusader Spirit C1/A1 & potentially even the Tumbril Storm (at a push) all have the potential of being released with 3.20. They are all pretty far into their development.

Also CI have been working on some other unannounced bits: A New Ship and a New Variant of a Vehicle. Which if they aren’t alien week things then again could be for a 3.20 release.

Vulkan actually being activated for 3.20 looks likely to me, CI are removing legacy code currently. This should see various graphical and performance improvements as well as hopefully more of a set of standard graphics menu options.

Bounty Hunting 2.0 – Is something that I think will start with Alpha 3.20.

In the Monthly Report there seems to be a focus on work for it…

“Mission Features’ ongoing work on Bounty Hunting v2 progressed well too. The designers are currently working with Systemic Services and Tools to develop the systems required to have virtual NPC bounties travelling around the system.

Systemic Services & Tools worked towards Bounty Hunting v2, including finalising upstream work on the character creation service, R&D for bounty contract missions, a bounty-marker prototype, and connecting the NPC tracker service to the game server.

The UI team’s artists and designers worked on the user interface for bounty hunting.”

We know the plan is to be able to track bounties with their location updating when they get in range of comm arrays, stations or are seen by characters or security.

What exactly could we get for bounty hunting beyond that at this stage…

More missions and variety both FPS & Ship Combat… as well as maybe surrendering and use of the bounty pods… that would entail a security office for them to be taken to… which we know they were working on… but I’d expect a stream of content over a few patches personally. I’d also expect updates to the rep system for bounties too.

I am expecting a lot of bug fixes and polish this patch… there doesn’t appear to be a major feature update like Server Meshing or PES anything like that and CI probably want to get their game in a good state for the Starfield crowd who might want to play multiplayer space games after playing though that single player story.

Is there going to be a wipe with 3.20?

It doesn’t appear to have any of the markings of a patch that will need one.

CI have also said that they have improved the underlying systems that allow for data migration and copying to a new patch.

So it appears that it’s unlikely there will be a wipe with 3.20 HOWEVER CI have already said they will wipe if they need to and that is typically if they think it will solve bugs OR because of a fundamental background change. 

There certainly could be some more Features and Ships that turn up here and as I said take my expectations with a pinch of salt BUT I think it’s likely at least some of them will turn up with that 3.20 patch.