Back in the heady days of 2022 or thereabouts, I had the bandwidth to goose the Star Citizen rewards system a bit. Every now and then they offer deals whereby if a registered player gets another person to sign up and make a starter pledge, both users will get a free in-game vehicle. For the new player, this equates to a 2-for-1 deal as each starting pledge already comes with a vehicle. For the established player, this is another ship in for their fleet. That’s neither here nor there, though, except to establish the fact that I have not one, but two Star Citizen accounts. My secondary account only has a starter Mustang — a small and barely capable combat ship — and the promotional ARGO MPUV cargo ship which currently has no use in the game as it is small, has no Qdrive, no weapons, and no cargo capacity; it’s more like a space fork-lift than anything, but as the Star Citizen chant goes, “someday it’ll be useful”.
I had been talking with a friend and I mentioned that I was considering dusting off this second account for a “zero to hero” run. My main account has a fleet of widely useful ships, from the space RV known as the Carrack, to the industrial one-two punch of the Prospector (mining) and the Vulture (salvaging), to transporters like the Mercury Star Runner and the upcoming C1 Spirit. I also have about 3/4 of a million aUEC in the bank because I do things to earn it, but almost never spend it. Point is, this account is comfortable since I don’t really need to work for anything except for working’s sake. My second account, on the other hand, only has the 5000 aUEC that comes with a starter pledge, the Mustang, and the MPUV. That limits my ability to “do stuff” that I’m used to doing, but I figured that aside from the challenge of trying to make my way with less than I usually do, playing the second account would give me a sense of what new players now and in the future would be up against, especially knowing what I know from my status as a long-term backer.
Last night I started my journey.
Minor Course Corrections
Before I began, however, I already “cheated” a bit, but earned what I hope would be some karma as a result. I bought myself a Cutter and plan on ignoring the fact that this account owns a Mustang. My rationale is that had the Cutter been available as a starting package when I signed up with this account, I would have gone with that option over the Mustang.
Upon logging in, though, I realized that as part of the Alpha, my character didn’t just have 5000 aUEC, but 205,000 aUEC. This would unbalance the perception I’d have of the game because while 200,000 aUEC isn’t enough to buy a ship in game, I could easily rent several. I could also use that money to buy armor, weapons, and utilities. Again, my friend made a suggestion: send the excess to my main account. So that 200,000 aUEC went over to Scopique, and now my second character, Raukey, was free to start her career as a new Star Citizen.
My First Paycheck
I wanted the Cutter because it has a pretty decent amount of trunk-space, which would allow me to start off with delivery missions. These require the player to visit an outpost or city somewhere in the region, pick up one or more boxes, and deliver them to other outposts or cities somewhere else in the region. There’s a “qualification” mission that all players new to the delivery experience must undertake which only requires one box be moved from point A to point B, and which only pays out about 3,000 aUEC. There is a rudimentary rep system in the game, though, and the more missions a player takes for a contact, the more their status rises, and the more lucrative and complicated the missions become.
After the qualifying delivery last night, I took one more and earned a grand total of 9,000 aUEC for delivering a total of 3 boxes across two missions. Not terrible for such simple work, but it’s also not very exciting and, depending on the pickup or drop-off locations, can get dangerous if a location is not under armistice conditions (where players cannot attack one another).
Perks and Benefits
As I was playing, I made the decision to not spend my money on the things I might need because outposts frequently offer free loot for the taking.
There are two kinds of loot boxes that can be found at outposts and other mission sites. The first are the white boxes. These generally contain produce, food, utilities such as flares and now a variety of multi-tools and attachments, clothes, and also food and water. Since characters need to eat and drink, not buying food and water had been a concern, but RNGeezus shall provide, and I ended the night with a stocked pantry on board the Cutter.
The second type of box is the red box. These contain armor and sometimes weapons. Each new player starts out with an undersuit and a helmet, but no personal inventory. That makes buying armor right out of the gate an absolute necessity. One piece of armor can go for about 1,000 aUEC, so with only 5,000 aUEC in starting capital, that would bankrupt pretty much any new player. Finding armor in the wild is really the way to go, although one cannot be picky since I have never found a complete set of matching pieces in a single box.
I ended the night with a new helmet and new leg and torso armor. I also scavenged several multi-tools, and eventually found a tractor beam attachment which is the most useful attachment by far (although I also picked up a hand-mining attachment, which opens another money-making opportunity should I choose to pursue it).
A Happy Bonus
Every now and then, scavenging results in some pretty cool finds. A few years back, CIG added some rather unsettling (but functional) helmets to the game for “Day of the Vara”, which is our real-world Halloween. I managed to find two of the grinning bear helmets in different chests last night. These are usually used by more…eh…self-styled “edgy” players, so I doubt I’ll ever use them, but it was nice to find them.
More exciting (to me, anyway), was my first Picoball!
CIG started commemorating new urban centers with their own mascots, available as an icon, an in-game plush that we could use to decorate our personal spaces (when that becomes a more persistent thing), and as real-world merchandise. Pico the Penguin was the first, designed for the snowy planet of microTech. Although the actual Pico has a body and snowboard, apparently players started a game with the stuffed mascot called “Picoball”, after which CIG community manager Jared Huckaby created a real ball out of one of the physical stuffed models. A version of Pico’s head found its way into the game, but only 9 were created and placed in various out-of-the-way locations. I had never seen one personally before, but one of the delivery missions took me to an outpost where I happened to find one lying on a bed. While owning the Picoball doesn’t grant me any super-powers or a windfall of cash, It’s fun to finally have found one.