Cloud Imperium Games has released another update in the Alpha development of Star Citizen. This patch brings with it a relatively limited amount of new content and fixes, but some that will change the way many play the game. The most notable addition is that of the Klescher Rehabilitation Facility. This is, essentially, jail for the players.
Many persistent games such as MMOs have NPC guards and basic reputation systems. Few, however, take the player out of the standard gameplay loop and have them locked up in a facility against their will. This prison system does just that, drawing a line in the sand for players seeking to brush up against the law.
Currently, the system only works by having you “wake up” in the facility after being killed by NPC authorities while having a criminal rating. The severity of the rating determines how long you’re required to stay there before it is erased. This can range from around 30 minutes to several hours from what I’ve seen. It’s time you can use to sit idly, chatting with fellow space people, or you can choose to take action.
The primary way of shortening your sentence is to head through an entrance to a cave system where you can use a mining tool to find and procure valuable minerals. When you turn these materials in, you gain merits that count toward your time. Combining this with the time it takes to actually find and mine minerals, your incarceration could fly by. However, that’s not your only option.
There is also an escape route that can be accessed via a tunnel in the prison. While it does seem that having an easily accessible escape route would make the whole experience a minor inconvenience, getting out does take an effort to accomplish. The escape route involves crouching through a twisting maze of tunnels, making perilous jumps over gaps that will kill you (adding to your sentence), and surviving long enough once making it out in the boiling atmosphere.
This means that even if you do manage to practice escaping often enough to know the path and execute it well, you still need a friend to come to pick you up so you can actually get back in business. It’s a viable option, but not one you can take on a whim.
I will be the first to admit that this process seems like it might become grating if you wish to be on the opposite side of the law in Star Citizen. It could very well be annoying, especially as time goes on in the game. Yet, I also believe it will function as a real deterrent to being a nuisance. The risk/reward tradeoff for illegal activity will have more weight than the relative slap on the wrist other persistent games currently provide. Besides, they can always tweak different aspects of this based on player feedback.
The 3.9 patch also comes with several other new additions like the interiors of the tech facility interiors of New Babbage, the main city on the latest planet, Microtech. Microtech also received its three new moons, Calliope, Clio, and Euterpe. A basic survival system has been implemented as well, the same one that lets you burn while escaping from prison, and has introduced drinking and eating to survive. Finally, only one new ship has been included in this patch, an alien design for a dropship with the Esperia Prowler.
Several other smaller changes were made along with some additional features, but in general, 3.9 wasn’t particularly impressive. It would be easy to blame the circumstances of the world right now – and they’ve certainly affected Cloud Imperium Games – but most of the limitations for this patch have been outlined for several months. Hopefully, as things return to normal, progress will pick up and Star Citizen will receive updates with more tangible content. We can always hope Squadron 42 is still in line to see a beta release this year as well.
Do you feel Star Citizen is on track with recent updates? Has anything made you consider trying it out if you haven’t?