As promised, I’m back with more thoughts on the latest Star Citizen patch, 2.23.1.

The .1 release was an update activating the 2024 edition of the annual Invictus Launch Week. In-game, this is a military showcase where Citizens can visit an expo hall to see and rent ships from the various in-game manufacturers. IRL, this is where CIG starts bringing back some limited availability military ships for sale, and debuts new and concept designs for people to pledge for.

It also changed how medical beds work. Some ships and vehicles have medical beds in either tier 1, 2, or 3 capabilities. I’m not entirely sure how they used to work, but with the .1 patch all med-beds can serve as a respawn point should you or anyone in your party who has bound themselves to a vehicle bed be killed. One of the differences is how far a player can be from a bound bed, which was a change put into the game in order to support the new Ursa medical variant (colloquially called the “nursa”).

To The Rescue!

Right now, there’s not a lot of use for general purpose ground vehicles in Star Citizen. CIG wants everyone in space, all the time, shooting at each other, so aside from vehicles that shoot, anything with wheels or hovering abilities is a luxury among luxuries. Conscientious players might opt to land far away from a destination and take a ground vehicle from there, but there’s never been a must-have reason to own anything other than a space-capable ship until the release of the medical Ursa.

As you might imagine, the “nursa” is a rolling ambulance. It has a two-seat cockpit and one jump-seat mid-body for one other player, but the rear half of the vehicle is dedicated to a tier 3 medical bed (the “worst” kind of bed, which is still pretty good when you need it). The benefit of this vehicle is, of course, that players can land afield from a destination and roll in with a portable hospital. Every member of the group can “bind” to the bed and if killed while in the field, they will respawn in that medical bed instead of back at their “home” or otherwise bound location. CIG’s .1 update increased the range at which a respawn point can be from where we died, and the nursa must be within 20km to be effective. That’s a pretty good distance, but it’s necessary for the new mission locations, distribution centers.

Business As (Un)Usual

Distribution centers were announced in late 2023 as part of the whole “Squardon 42 is feature complete and Star Citizen will start getting more, larger updates!” announcement which showcased everything coming in 2024.

Distro centers work hand-in-hand with releases like the nursa and the new Mirai Pulse ground bikes, at least in theory. These planet-side facilities are intended to be theaters of activity for players, ranging from deliver-to and deliver-through missions, to infiltrate and oppose, to assist and defend missions. Right now, though, visiting a distro center uninvited can either be boring or deadly as some facilities are no-go zones while others will allow players to stroll through the compound unimpeded.

Distro centers are massive, or at least are massive for an event center. Unlike cities which are (currently, and hopefully not forever) display pieces that disallow a lot of player interaction, distro centers are open and easy to get lost in. Players can enter through the lobby, through the cargo entrances on the side, or through maintenance tunnels and ducts. A good portion of at least one level of the facility is vehicle accessible — depending on the vehicle. The screenshot above shows myself and my friend in the nursa, driving into a facility to take out a high risk target. This is the kind of situation where having a mobile hospital-slash-spawn point is a good investment in the event of an unfortunate catastrophe of the martial kind.


This year’s Invictus sale-a-bration has two major additions.

The first is the showroom presence of the RSI Polaris.

This absolutely massive ship has been on the books for years, but as CIG has promised that the Polaris would be in backer’s hands by this year’s IAE (which happens in October/November or thereabouts), its making it’s “external review” debut both on the show floor and as part of the annual “fleet parade”. The inside, however, is still a work in progress so we didn’t get to climb aboard and check out the interior.

The second addition is the announcement of the in-concept Drake Ironclad.

This is another massive ship, but rather than another fleet centerpiece, this one is a heavily armored cargo ship of epic proportions.

The Ironclad will be able to carry an enormous amount of cargo (currently undetermined, but it’s got a hell of a lot of space in there), features a front-loading ramp and retractable armored door on the top, several tractor-beam operator seats, and a detachable command module. The latter announcement was good news for owners of the Drake Caterpillar, another very large cargo ship, which was originally promised to have the same removable command module. A more military-focused version was alluded to for carrying tanks and such, but it wasn’t in production (or maybe not even decided upon).


Some ships have been released with the promise of modularity. The Carrack, for instance, was said to eventually allow for the swapping of different parts so it could carry cargo, add more medical facilities, or some other kind of feature that CIG hadn’t dreamed up at the time. Ships like the often-forgotten Endeavor were designed entirely around this concept; as you can imagine, though, without the ability or the offerings to support modularity, ships like the Endeavor or the promise of the Carrack are kind of pointless.

It looks like CIG is leaning into this feature, though, as a few modules have been put onto the pledge store…for the Retaliator, which is a modular gunship that has thus-far been serving owners as a torpedo boat AFAIK. Why the Retaliator is the first recipient of modularity, I don’t know, but it’s a good sign that such features are now on CIG’s drawing board. The Carrack needs a complete “gold standard” pass before it gets modules, and I’ve lived with it for this long so I can wait.

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