By the time this post sees the light of day, the Intergalactic Aerospace Expo will be winding down, and it’ll be back to business as usual in the Star Citizen universe.
Seeing as how this was the first “usable” expo that I had visited in the game (I don’t know if it’s the first one ever or not) it was a pretty cool event. Each day a different ship “manufacturer” was showcased in the city of Lorville on the planet Hurston. This showcase was complete with models of flyable and currently-modeled-but-not-flyable-yet ships on the floor that people could look at (for scale) and maybe even climb in. Since this was also a free-fly week, all of the production-ready models could be rented free of charge and flown throughout the current universe for the 24 hours that their manufacturer had the floor.
I tried almost all of the ships I could get my hands on, but let’s be frank: the real reason CIG did this was to A) entice those who have crapped on the game since the early days with the 3.3.5 patch that made the game playable, B) maybe convert some of those folks into believers, which leads to C) selling a crapload more ships. The expo was exactly like ones you’d expect to see here in good ole’ 21st century Earth for boats or RVs, and it’s no clutch-the-pearls secret that such events are designed to get people salivating to the point where their wallet just slides right out of their control.
I was not immune to this. I had prepared, even, despite not being 100% certain that there’d be anything that interested me. But here I am, with a much-expanded fleet from what I had a week ago, so let’s talk about it.
The Arrow was the darling of the expo pretty much across the board. Word on the street is that there’s something funky with the main thrusters that CIG will need to patch up, but the ship was being sold with lifetime insurance for a measly $65 so a whole lot of people bought them. They bought a lot of them. I myself bought three, the reason for which I’ll explain as we go.
I took the Arrow into Arena Citizen, which is an arcade mode where you can fly combat rounds against waves of AI enemies or other players, alone or in a group. I was super impressed with the Arrow’s performance, which was good because at the time I owned two, and by the time my credit was tapped out, I had purchased a third (to keep).
The Sabre is pretty sexy. It’s got more bulk than the Arrow, and since it’s sporting all lasers, it takes no ammo! I had maybe considered this one before the expo started, but once I tested the Arrow I was on the fence. The Arrow is a light fighter, and while the Sabre is classified as a “stealth” fighter, it’s also got a good amount of survivability, making it maybe a medium fighter. The lore-blurbs say that the Sabre was designed for “space superiority” and is “more than capable of establishing battlefield dominance”, so it sounded like something I needed. It helped me complete an entire round of Arena Commander, so that’s a plus in my book.
Sidebar – CCU
Now, one of the benefits that CIG grants us is “CCU”, or “cross-chassis upgrade”. What this means is that if you have a smaller ship, you can trade it in to have the original value applied towards the price of a more expensive ship. This allows players to “trade up” over time. The best part is that if there are any perks accompanying the smaller craft that’s being traded up, they are applied to the more valuable craft. This is why I bought two Arrows with lifetime insurance: I CCU’d one of them into the Sabre, and now my stealth combat ship has lifetime insurance (LTI) whereas if I’d bought it outright, it would only have 72 months of insurance.
Before the expo I was aware of the Prospector and thought that I’d like to have one, but it wasn’t until a friend picked one up and showed me how it worked that I got the industrial bug. This is a single-point mining ship, meaning that it’s one pilot operating one mining laser as opposed to the larger, mass-scale mining ships. There’s a bit of a mini-game involved in mining, with attention paid to beam strength, boom mode, and scanning that really appealed to me.
Sidebar – LTI
I CCU’d my other Arrow for this, gaining LTI on the Prospector. If you’ve ever played EVE Online then you understand the concept of ship insurance, but for everyone else, insurance is a policy you take out for a period of time so that if your ship is destroyed, you won’t have to buy a new one at full market price. You just pay a nominal fee and get back the stock ship, minus any post-insurance upgrades you performed. Under most circumstances, insurance expires when it’s used, or after a set period. Lifetime insurance, as you might surmise, doesn’t go away and doesn’t need to be renewed. This makes the act of buying a low-cost LTI ship and CCUing up to more expensive ships a popular draw. Rumor has it that LTI is going to become less important later down the line as the specifics become more solidified, but no one wants to be caught dead — literally — having forgotten to renew his or her insurance.
Anvil F7C Hornet/RSI Aurora ES
I include these two only because I apparently own them. I didn’t buy them, but they were given to me according to rumor when my original ship hadn’t been flight-ready, or some mumbo-jumbo like that. Both are entry-level ships, with the Hornet being a light fighter and the Aurora being a small exploration/cargo ship. I use them as either an armed bus or a quick shuttle between local points of interest. I can’t use them in a CCU scheme, but if they stay with me into the live game I might keep them, or I might sell them for in-game cash.
RSI Constellation Andromeda
This is, of course, my pride and joy. I had briefly considered CCUing the Andromeda for a Constellation Phoenix (the luxury edition), but couldn’t part with the just-right amount of cargo space in what’s considered to be a “gunship” package. I had just started running free-trade routes with the Andro before the expo, and I plan on returning to this task once the expo is behind us. I acquired this ship over the course of years by CCUing various ships, such as the Origin 315p, the Drake Cutlass Black and the Constellation Taurus.
Prior to the expo, I padded my account by “melting” my Aegis Avenger Warlock and Tumbril Cyclone RN. Melting is the process of taking a ship you own and converting it to straight-up store credit. Unlike CCUs, I don’t believe this allows you to keep perks like LTI, as you’re basically liquidating the item for pure cash.
The Warlock was an OK ship, but I wasn’t fond of the EMP. While I suspect that the EMP is going to be a force to be reckoned with in a skirmish, it just wasn’t really fitting my playstyle. The Cyclone, on the other hand, was a lot of fun. I could spawn it and park it inside my Andromeda and take it on trips planetside, but it was a scout vehicle, and as far as I know (at this time) I don’t really have a reason to scout anything.