Between the approaching onslaught of both virtual reality and alternate reality, I can’t shake the feeling that we’re living inside a science fiction novel. Star Citizen [official site] isn’t helping: version 1.1 is out now and includes two new ships, one of which costs up to $300. High priced microtransactions aren’t new, but Star Citizen’s ambitions are all a little too Back To Reality for me. And I can’t tell whether that’s made better or worse by the update also introducing a ship rental system that allows players to fly those expensive ships for seven non-consecutive days using in-game currency earned through space battles with other players.
The REC (Rental Equipment Credits) system met with a lukewarm reception when it was first described to players some months ago, as there’s concern that the in-game credits can only be earned through dogfighting and that the game currently has no matchmaking. That means you could join a fight, be pitched against an enemy in a significantly better ship, and be destroyed without ever having the chance to earn the credits necessary to rent something better. In a forum post at the time, creator Chris Roberts said they would take the feedback on board, though also stated that matchmaking was always planned and much of the criticism would be naturally addressed as the game gained other REC-earning activities.
1.1 also introduces the ability to land your ship on floating space platforms. Much like rival space game Elite: Dangerous, space docks can be governed or ungoverned, allowing for naughtier behaviour in the latter, but there’s a key difference in that Star Citizen gives you the ability to automate the landing process from the beginning.
This is also the first update in what’s supposedly going to be a tidal wave of new features to arrive in the coming months.
In order to apply the update, you need to re-install Star Citizen entirely from scratch. This will apparently fix a bunch of bugs that players have been experiencing due to the original installer. Instructions for how to dock the latest version upon your hard drive can be found here on the Star Citizen forum.