The presser we received regarding the latest update from Star Citizen calls it “transformative,” which seems appropriate since many things are changing to both the alpha version of the sandbox and in its future updates. Patch 3.8 offers a lot of new content and tech to the game, while the most recent tweaks to the development roadmap sees salvaging shift its way further back into the unknown future.
First, let’s look at what is in the here and now: Alpha 3.8: New Horizons brings some new missions including the one involving a hijacked 890 Jump; new features like melee combat, the ability to pay off fines, ship impounding, new weapons, additional mining gameplay, and annunciator panels in certain ships; the introduction of the Argo MOLE spacecraft; the surface of the planet microTech; and plenty of new tech including its new planetary generation system, new weather effects, proceduarlly generated rest stops, and Server-side Object Container Streaming (SOCS), which streams in the necessary nearby locations and items to a player instead of forcing one to load in the entire universe.
On the subject of SOCS, the patch notes remark that performance in 3.8 might be reduced when compared to update 3.7.2, since the system’s introduction and other system features will require some further fine tuning as development progresses and 3.8.x patches land. That said, SOCS does lay the groundwork for Star Citizen to begin merging game servers into one, which may make this a necessary evil to many fans. In fact one redditor, in the interest of context, pointed out how several features in patch 3.8 were almost not likely to be introduced.
Speaking of features not being introduced, CIG has made the decision to push back salvaging gameplay in its latest roadmap update, explaining that mining updates and other 3.8 tasks took priority. The team working on salvaging gameplay is also being moved towards Squadron 42 feature development. Incidentally, the Drake Vulture salvage ship is being moved out of the roadmap along with the Crusader Hercules Starlifter ship. Evaluation of where all of these features land will be discussed later. For now, there’s some new roadmaps for Star Citizen and Squadron 42 shared on Reddit.