Star Citizen diary, part 2: Riding shotgun in the game's biggest ship

Tired of getting stomped while playing solo, I become part of a crew in a massive starship.

Let me get to the important stuff first, the question that's been on everyone's mind since I posted my first Star Citizen diary last week: did I wind up buying a new cap?

I did. A blue one. Also, a blue jacket, a blue shirt, and blue pants. I do have a bit of buyer's remorse, since I probably should have saved my spacebux for a new spacesuit instead, or perhaps for an energy rifle. Also, I don't really like the color blue. All in all, it was a pretty bad idea, though at least my new duds help me stand out from the crowd of yellow-capped clones at Area 18.

I also wanted to try out the FPS features of the game to see how good the shooting is. This mostly resulted in me getting shot by other players, so I can't really say how good the shooting is, I can only report that the 'getting shot' is pretty good, or at least it's pretty consistent.

It begins when I visit a space station called Security Post Kareah, where outlaw players can go to remove their bounties. My first trip ends abruptly as someone standing on a catwalk opens fire at me while I'm reading a computer screen, and my second trip results in someone shooting me the moment I step out of the entry airlock. On my final visit, no one shoots me inside the station because there's no one in there, though someone shoots me when I exit the station to return to my ship. I don't mean he was standing there with a gun, I mean he was hovering there with a ship. Just waiting.

At least this time I get to fire back, though my weapon is completely useless against his ship. I do get a chance to admire the nice effects of my bullets hitting his shields, though, before he manages to wipe me out.

I decide to head somewhere else, mainly because every time I die, I respawn all the way back in my hab, have to get out of bed, run to a terminal, have my ship delivered to the launch pad, run to the pad, climb in, power up, launch, and fly all the way back out to Kareah again. It's a process I enjoyed the last time I played, though it's quickly losing it's appeal today.

I accept a mission to recover some missing data from another station, and decide to be extra cautious when I see another player's ship hovering outside. If Star Citizen players are the sorts who like to kill on sight, I'll be damned if I'm always going to be the one waking up back in a cubicle.

I leave my own ship floating motionless in the shadow of the station, hoping the darkness might keep it hidden. I climb out of the cockpit and float into the station cautiously, weapon drawn. I proceed through the station carefully, one room at a time. I actually get the drop on the other player while I float along an elevator shaft, spotting him before he spots me.

Thing is, I feel weird about just shooting him.  As I aim at the back of his head, I feel like it would be kinda mean to make him do all that extra work of respawning back at home base, getting out of bed, running through to the terminal, and so on, the thing I've gotten tired of doing myself. Maybe if I can signal him, or wave, or indicate that I'm friendly, I'll—nope, he spots me and immediately opens fire.

Look closely and you can see that, as I die, my finger extends as if to accusingly identify my killer. My finger then proceeds to spin around like the hand of a time-lapsed grandfather clock. Hey, this is space. Weird things happen out here. 

Clearly, playing Star Citizen on your own can be a challenge, so I decide hell with soloing. I'm going to team up with someone I know: Tuan, our Hardware Editor In Chief and famed Me Undies enthusiast. Tuan comes along with a remarkable bonus as well: he plays Star Citizen with Ozy311, a big-time Star Citizen fan we talked to last year. Ozy not only knows everything about Star Citizen, he's also got some big-ass spaceships and he was nice enough to let me climb aboard and take a look at them.

The first of his big ships I got to ride in is the Constellation. It's pretty. And it's pretty big. Even better, and bigger, is the Starfarer Ozy also owns, which is simply massive and currently the biggest ship in the game (the Idris is bigger, and while it's available for purchase it's not currently flyable). The Starfarer is so big I have a hard time believing it's a ship and not a separate section of the space station when I first see it on the landing pad. It looks like a building and, in a way, it is. It's so big that finding the cockpit actually takes a bit of work: opening hatches, climbing ladders, and running through corridors. It's a proper starship, and there's plenty of extra seating for newcomers like myself who can barely even imagine flying anything this cool.

The problem with owning huge, awesome ships becomes apparent almost immediately. When Ozy lands the Connie so we can switch to the Starfarer, another player—not someone in our group, but a stranger—decides he'd like his own tour of the ship. 

The Connie is so big it has a sort of elevator platform you can use to get in and out of it, and as we disembark, this other player takes the opportunity to quickly jump onto the lift and ride it back up into the ship. As we watch, he absconds with the Constellation. I'm concerned about this—at the very least it seems extremely rude to take someone else's ship without asking—but Ozy doesn't seem too worried.

Once aboard the Starfarer, we head into space, open the ramp, and start spacewalking. It's fun, and there's something oddly pleasing about being able to look in the windows and see the other players inside walking around or sitting in the cockpit.

Below, you can see Tuan finishing up his spacewalk (with the planet Crusader looming in the background) and floating back into the ship's gravity field, landing on his face, and standing up a wee bit awkwardly. Hey, it's space. Weird things happen in space.

Now that I'm accompanied by an actual crew, I'm able to complete the data retrieval mission without getting killed. Well, sort of. We get in and out of the station successfully, though on our way back we spot a familiar sight.

It's the guy who stole Ozy's Connie from the landing pad earlier. Naturally, we can't let this transgression go unpunished. From the Starfarer, Ozy opens fire and blasts the hell out of his own stolen Constellation. He runs out of ammo before he can finish the other ship off, but Ozy has a nice backup plan. He sets the Starfarer to self-destruct, then gently drifts over to the crippled Connie. It's perfectly timed: just as the two ships meet, ours detonates. Sure, we all died, but that's the price you pay to smite a ship-thief.

Playing with friends and strangers, I can see that killing each other and hijacking ships is all part of the Star Citizen experience. For my diary next week, I think I'll focus on that. I'm gonna kill someone and I'm gonna steal someone's ship. I'm gonna be a space pirate.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The first PC game Chris owned was Choplifter in 1982, and since then our staff writer has played at least three other games. He has a love/hate relationship with Early Access survival games and an odd fascination with the lives of NPCs.
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