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See: Star Citizen

Star Citizen’s Around the Verse covers character concepts and the Vulture, while CCP throws shade

Set aside the many Star Citizen dramas of the week and feast your eyeballs on the game’s latest edition of Around the Verse, which couldn’t possibly be controversial, right?

Oh. Oh it’s about the Vulture too. OK then. In fact, the Ship Shape segment focuses entirely on the controversial new concept ship. CIG even discusses the ship’s origins, noting that it’s a spin on the Dragonfly ship.

Incidentally, CCP Games threw some lighthearted shade at CIG over the Vulture/Venture shenanigans, tweeting about it last night.

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Star Citizen and EVE Online players unite to call out lookalike concept ship

Fancy staring at some pixel spaceships this morning to weigh in on the latest Star Citizen drama? ‘Course you do. The ship on display today is Star Citizen’s Vulture, the latest concept ship that’s been teased all week.

The problem, as multiple Reddit and Twitter threads have pointed out, is that the ship looks really freakin’ similar to an EVE Online ship: the Venture mining frigate.

It’s certainly possible that the artists were inspired by the same source material; it’s not as if pincer/forklift combine type vehicles are unheard of. That hasn’t stopped both Star Citizen and EVE Online players from mapping the ships onto each other and calling shenanigans.

We’ve reached out to CIG for comment and will report back when we hear more.

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E3 2018: Star Citizen’s ‘alpha 3.2 teaser’ trailer is gorgeous, and it’s not alpha 3.2

During last night’s PC Gaming Show at E3, Cloud Imperium showed a nifty video of Star Citizen that has the community abuzz. Considered out of context, it’s an in-engine video of what the game could someday be like, and it’s beautiful.

Buuuut, as Reddit is currently arguing over, the video is labeled as an “alpha 3.2 teaser” but isn’t. It is not exactly clear right now whose decision that title was. The final slide of the video also tells people to prepare for alpha 3.2. As folks following the massive sci-fi MMO known, 3.2 is currently in evocati testing, and no, not everything shown in the video will be in it, leading to fans throwing around words like “misleading” – even if it wasn’t intentional deception, there are bound to be some folks confused when alpha 3.2 doesn’t work the way the video implies.

Either way, the vid’s below for your eyeballs and judgment.

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The Star Citizen subreddit is in the middle of a massive flamewar as a big backer loses faith

Star Citizen drama on the internet – who’d have seen that coming, right? If you run a search for Star Citizen drama just on the current version of Massively OP, you’ll find piles of threads that qualify, all the way back to the 2015 “long troll” mess.

But the current drama brewing on Reddit isn’t about the Crytek lawsuit, endless alpha delays, subber perks, feature creep, refunds, or ridiculous whaling. Nope. It’s about losing hope. Right now, a massive thread has racked up 1500 upvotes from the Star Citizen Reddit community, as players weigh in on a long concern post from a fellow backer with $4500 in the game.

Criticizing both CIG for turning a “neat little space sim with multiplayer coop missions” into an “MMO [he] didn’t ask for” and the community for letting CIG get away with it, Redditor firefly212 (as reposted by Sean_Murray_ [but not that Sean Murray]) writes that he has MS and his “body gets a little worse with each passing year,” so it’s doubly frustrating that the game is taking so long.

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Massively Overthinking: Why is no one meeting the obvious player demand for big MMORPGs?

Massively OP reader ichi_san has a burning question about the state of the industry.

“Lots of people seem to be looking for an MMO they can get into – consider the rush into Bless as an example. Lots of games are being released, but most (or even all) have some glaring issues, like pay-to-win, lockboxes, ganking, poor optimization, heavy cash shop, horrible gameplay, and so on. There’s the WoW model and other semi-successful formulas, and a lot of unexplored territory. The market seems hungry, and there is a bunch of history to build on and new territory to explore, but either gaming companies don’t understand their customers or greed/laziness/expediency get in the way, such that we see release after release that fails to scratch the itch. Am I missing something – are there fun MMOs with good graphics and fair monetization that I’m missing? Or is there a gaping hole in the MMO scene, and if so, why isn’t someone filling it?”

I’ve posed his question to the writers for their consideration in Overthinking this week. We’re long past bubble-bursting here when all of the still-major MMORPGs are four years older. What exactly are we looking at? Why is the obvious demand for MMOs not being met?

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Star Citizen deep-dives personal weapons as alpha 3.2 heads to the PTU

Star Citizen’s Around the Verse this week begins with a recap of what the studio is working on, including character animations, missions, planetary resources, scanning, combat AI, props, ship interiors, rest stops, hangars, and maybe the most interesting bit (if you’re suffering from sci-fi exhaustion): overland biomes for planets and moons – you know, like where you’re going to plop your home away from home.

The feature for this episode focuses on personal weapons, specifically the larger assault weapons. Pew pew, etc.

Incidentally, there are loads of leaks from 3.2 littering the Star Citizen subreddit right now, including patch notes, mining updates, and a list of ship balance changes en route. As the mods have noted, they do not work for CIG and will not be pulling down the posts, NDAs be damned, so have fun with that. It probably won’t matter much longer anyway as 3.2 is soon to hit the PTU, or so said the extended downtime notice last night.

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Star Citizen’s Around the Verse covers Squadron 42, scanning mechanics, and the Aegis Eclipse

This week’s Star Citizen Around the Verse takes a quick detour into Squadron 42 development. CIG zips through weapon animations, ship AI progress, spacescaping, the Bengal carrier, NPC AI (this part is really nifty), and character art and costumes. As the studio points out, development on S42 usually carries over to Star Citizen itself – and that includes shipboard scanning and radar systems, the subject of the episode’s feature middle. You wanna know what you’re stealing, harvesting, or blowing up before you do it, right? Right. Finally, there’s a Ship Shape segment covering the development of the Aegis Eclipse and touching on the ship roadmap and new biweekly cadence.

Meanwhile, if you’re still reeling from last weekend’s news that the game now has a de facto $27,000 pledge tier concierge level, check out this official support doc, which breaks down all of the Chairman’s Club buy-ins publicly, from the folks who have PTU access for their package on up through the $1000 and $10,000 ranks.

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The Daily Grind: What are some useful alternatives to the term ‘pay-to-win’?

Deep into the Relay article on whether Star Citizen is pay-to-win that we covered a while back, the author, Commander Llama, said something I thought deserved illumination.

“I’m also sorry the very term Pay2Win is a bit of a misnomer. It’s often read literally, and it’s also used as a sort of slur. All of this stunts any discussion from the start. Maybe we do need a new term, although we don’t need twenty different terms, each individually defined.”

He’s not wrong that there are lots of definitions of pay-to-win, and each one is dependent on interpretations of the words “pay” and “win,” which sort of makes sense – plus you’ve got the folks who use it for every game ever, or who apply it only to PvP, or who insist that winning faster or winning stylishly doesn’t count, and on and on. That’s no doubt why some folks have proposed other terms, like pay-to-play or pay-to-convenience or pay-to-cosmetic, to provide some clarity.

Let’s imagine for the morning that we’re going to collectively abandon the term and replace it with other terms that are more specific and helpful to genre debates. What are some useful alternatives to the term “pay-to-win”?

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Star Citizen talks legacy armor and science gameplay

Strap on some legacy armor and check out the spiffy new helmet HUDs in Star Citizen, because this week’s Around the Verse episode is all about advancements in the game’s persistent universe. There is also plenty more talk about the lore behind the game world.

Another exciting development for the space sim is talk of the science gameplay. “Science” in this case covers a lot of peaceful activities related to charting systems, scanning objects, and examining alience creatures. The team gave a few new examples of science missions, such as searching for, intercepting, and destroying a rogue asteroid, and giving some first aid to rescued critters.

Catch up on all things Star Citizen with the latest episode of Around the Verse, which is waiting for you below!

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Star Citizen: Around the Verse covers shopping as the community debates pay-to-win

This week’s episode of Star Citizen’s Around the Verse is all about shopping, and I mean the fun kind of shopping where you spend pretend money in a video game, not the kind where you spend real money on a video game. The episode deep-dives the in-game shopping kiosk, which has to feel immersive as the player is using it as well as informative without being information-overload. The team says base functionality is already there, as a branch of other types of kiosks, but of course, it’ll continue iterating the item kiosks into their own unique experience.

Meanwhile, Star Citizen fansite Relay has a provocative piece out on whether or not the game is pay-to-win. In recognizing the term’s definition isn’t widely agreed upon, author CommanderLlama settles for simply examining “how much wealth inequality from the real world are the developers allowing to leak into the game world” and whether “the real-money-paying player [is] in an advantaged position compared to the non-paying player.” Ultimately, he concludes, while Star Citizen isn “somewhere on the pay-to-win spectrum, it isn’t “an egregious example yet” in spite of the fact that the game would’ve been untenable without the ship funding model. “But the final structure is also non-existent, so we can’t exactly place it,” he concludes.

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Star Citizen deep-dives its player-generated content system

This week’s Star Citizen Around the Verse begins with a project update recap. CIG says it’s working on legacy armor sets, shopping kiosks, audio and VFX, ships (including the Starfarer’s landing sequence), props, environmental art to make spaces feel more lived-in, and planetary tech, at least some of which is planned for 3.2. The feature for the week is on service beacons, which sounds super boring until you realize they’re basically player generated content, from mining contracts to bounties. Not boring at all. This is the good stuff.

“At a conceptual level, the service beacon is a mechanism that allows players who want something to easily form a short term contract with others who want to provide it,” PU Director Tony Zurovec says. “This is a much more important feature than it might initially appear because it effectively means we’re leveraging the playerbase to supplement and enhance the scripted and systemic content that’s available within the game, while at the same time – because other players are involved – injecting a very unpredictable element that’s ultimately going to result in a lot of very unique gameplay experiences. Just as importantly, by constantly pushing players together when they’ve got compatible interests, the service beacon is going to help foster the creation of relationships within the community, and that in turn will lead to the formation of a lot of new friendships, alliances and in the case of deals gone bad sometimes even vendettas.”

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The Daily Grind: Have you backed any MMO Kickstarters that you deeply regret?

Yesterday, as our writers were shaking their heads over Star Citizen’s latest shenanigans, Eliot cracked a joke about how having backed the game had become a punchline. I said I doubted anyone on the team had backed it, and then MJ pipes up and says she did: She grabbed one of the earliest intro ships and has barely looked at it since, just waiting for the actual finished game to emerge.

We gave her a pass, since honestly, anyone who backed it way back when couldn’t have really seen the last five or six years coming, right? Elite Dangerous’ Kickstarter was the same year and it’s been out for ages – Star Citizen didn’t look like a bad bet back then. (If you’re still paying $700 for a concept ship sight-unseen in 2018, well, I have no words for that.)

I didn’t back Star Citizen, but I have backed some serious duds. I’m livid over the stalled development of TUG and complete lack of communication from its developers. Greed Monger gave refunds (though apparently not all – thanks Xanward), but TUG won’t even say boo. Yeah sure it was 10 or 20 bucks, but still. Weird world.

Have you backed any MMO Kickstarters that you deeply regret?

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Star Citizen players grumble over warbonds, insurance, and the latest concept ship promotion

Last week, Cloud Imperium began teasing a brand-new concept ship for Star Citizen, the Hercules Starlifter and its variants. While most gamers will roll their eyes at paying for pixel ships, a lot of people made the mad dash to buy it because of course they did.

The problem is that thanks to last year’s changes, players can no longer purchase new concept ships with lifetime insurance with store credit, which means you can’t just melt down your old ships and trade them in for the insured Starlifter – you have to pay cash for this one if you want the insurance. And did I mention it runs up to $600 in cash ($700 on credit without LTI)?

So some folks are mad because they’re being discouraged from using store credit, not just “rewarding the use of fresh cash” but “catering almost solely to new cash.” That’s led players – even rather highly placed backers – to argue that CIG is shooting itself in the foot.

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