Today Cloud Imperium Games released a video addressing one of the most relevant elements of the Star Citizen, the economy.
The video stars Technical Designer Jake Muehle who is the man responsible for the economy in the game.
One of the latest patches made some ships purchasable with credits you can earn within the game, and more will be added as the alpha progresses until all ships will be available this way when the game launches. Of course, their in-game price sparked discussion. Basic ships cost under a million credits like the massive Hammerhead costs over forty million credits.
Muehle acknowledges that the price of ships in Star Citizen’s alpha proved polarizing, with part of the community believing it’s too high, and part arguing that it’s fine. He explains that the team tried to aim for prices in a similar range to what players will find in the game at launch, in order to avoid negative reactions that would result from the ship being sold very cheaply in the alpha and then adjusted upwards.
This causes a perception issue because the alpha includes only the Stanton system, which is designed to be very safe, high-security space. It mostly lacks the higher risk, higher-reward activities that will make 1.4 million on a Hornet much easier.
As soon as lower-security space is introduced, things will balance out, and the developer is also looking into ways to mitigate the issue without lowering the price of spaceships, which would create misleading expectations, likely by increasing the payout of jobs available.
In my personal experience in the Star Citizen alpha, there is one high-risk activity currently implemented, which is drug smuggling from a secret laboratory on one of Crusader’s moons. Not only it’s challenging to find, but aspiring smugglers risk their ship and cargo due to sudden attacks from other players who know that this is a highly profitable spot.
Those who manage to find that lab and enjoy its payouts without getting killed have a much easier time making the credits necessary to purchase ships. Once this kind of activity will be more widespread and available in Star Citizen, not only purchasing spaceships will become much easier, but profitable activities will become less risky as well, as aspiring pirates will have many hunting grounds instead of a single hot zone.
Interestingly, Muehle also explain what goes into determining the price of a ship, from practical to lore-related reasons.
Star Citizen is in development for PC and it’s currently in alpha. It gathered $209,174,489 in crowd funding thanks to 2,187,232 registered users. For the sake of full disclosure, the author of this article is one of them.