I feel that it’s a little difficult to impart exactly how big a deal the release of the Anvil Carrack is to the Star Citizen community if you are not a part of that community. I don’t say that with an air of snobbishness, but rather because I know Star Citizen’s reputation among those outside of that sphere can be particularly contentious, and trying to explain the mystique of the Carrack is like trying to explain an important and exciting feature of Half-Life 3 to your mom.
Really, though, if there’s any ship that represents the core of what Star Citizen is aiming to achieve, it’s the Carrack. There have been dozens of ships released to date that fill many distinct roles, like racing, bounty hunting, mining, hauling, refining, and combat, but the Carrack is unique in that it’s as close to a “classic starship” as the game is able to offer. Ships like the Arrow might be akin to the X-Wing; the Starfarer might be akin to the Sulaco; The Carrack is — basically — the Enterprise.
Built specifically for exploration, Anvil’s largest ship to date is as self-sufficient as a ship can be in the current iteration of the game. It has 11,000 units of quantum fuel, which is a hell of a lot, and means that it can make its way around a solar system for days without needing to refuel. It’s the first ship in the game whose jump drive matters, and although we don’t yet have other systems to travel to, the example of the Pyro system from the 2019 CitizenCon demo shows us how the Carrack will perform in that regard.
Internally, the ship is designed to be staffed by a full crew. There are two bridges: a command deck and a flight deck, both of which can be used to pilot the ship and to operate the critical features such as power and sheilds. There are several turrets around the ship for defense, and two drone operation stations which could also offer defensive options (depending on which way CIG takes the idea of drones). As the Carrack is designed to leave port and not return for quite some time, it has features not generally found on most other ships, such as a medical bay and an engineer’s workstation which, we assume, will allow a player to repair items and components during long sorties.
The most unique feature, however, is the inclusion of “parasite craft” that come standard with the Carrack. The first is the Pisces, the small shuttle-craft that I have showcased here on the site. This can fit/will be able to spawn in a hanger situated mid-ship and is intended for transporting people and goods to and from the Carrack to a station or the surface of a planet or moon. The second is the Ursa, a six-wheeled ground vehicle for exploring planets or moons where the Carrack can find space to set down.
Barring the inclusion of much, much larger ships like the Javelin or the Idris, the Carrack’s claim to fame right now is to make it possible for players to not have to return to a station or a planet until they want to. Using the new med-bed spawn binding system, a player can log off in a bed in the Carrack while in deep space, wake up there when they next log in, and even re-spawn on the ship should they die during an away mission. With the massive fuel tanks, the Pisces, and the Ursa, the Carrack is a personal base of operations for a team of players striking out to explore the universe.
The Carrack had been anticipated for last November during CitizenCon, but CIG withheld it in order to make a complete “polishing” pass, pushing the release date to the end of February. The Carrack first appeared this month on the public test server only in the hands of developers who were spawning them around popular ports like Olisar, where players had been lining up in space in efforts to get CIGs attention in the hopes of attracting a Carrack spawn. The first round of testers, called the Eovcati, received their Carracks at the start of this past weekend on the test server, and everyone else (or just owners, I’m not sure) was able to spawn their own Carrack on Sunday. The amount of excitement was just off the charts from basically everyone; Evocati had been spawning ships and inviting players on board for a kind of “open house” while floating off-station. I had stowed away in one ship that had jumped somewhere in the Stanton system and because we were in deep space, another stow-away killed me as I was emerging from one of the bathrooms.
The patch release to the live servers is anticipated for sometime this week, which means that the Carrack will officially become part of the stable of ships players will encounter in the game. As an added bonus (or not), the next patch promises to bring the first level of persistence to the universe, allowing us to keep our components and aUEC between patches.