The neverending development of Star Citizen continues, and just before the weekend Cloud Imperium Games pushed out an extremely meaty update that promised to nudge the game towards the level of persistence it's been promising since the Kickstarter days.
"Alongside adding immersive careers, stunning locations, and thrilling gameplay, the latest patch holds the key to true in-game persistence—one of the biggest hurdles in the pursuit of a living universe that evolves alongside its inhabitants," CIG said before the update's arrival.
With Persistent Entity Streaming, the update promised to let players leave their mark on the universe, resulting in things like items remaining after death, cargo being represented by actual physical crates that can be moved around, and the introduction of the salvaging profession and its accompanying systems.
All welcome additions, at least for those players who could actually experience them. With so many people wanting to check out the update, the launcher struggled and became unresponsive for many would-be salvagers. Unfortunately that was far from the only issue, with players seeing a variety of error codes as they unsuccessfully attempted to log into the persistent universe.
On Sunday, CIG said it was making progress, but warned that access still couldn't be guaranteed. "As of 1300 UTC on 2023-03-12 the environment has been in the process of recovering from the slow / non-responsive state it was in but we wanted to advise that, while this recovery effort is in-progress, players will experience periods of extreme difficulty getting into the PU. We expect players to see a mix of errors from the 19k, 30k, and 60k ranges."
On Monday, the developer escalated the severity of the issues to "major outage" and took the game offline so the team could perform "a series of modifications" to the Persistent Entity Streaming infrastructure.
The maintenance is over now, and the severity has since been downgraded to "partial outage" while CGI validates "the outcome of infrastructure maintenance". The issues remain unresolved, however, four days after the launch of the update.
On the official forums and subreddit players have been expressing their frustration and sharing their failed attempts to play the game. Players who have been able to log in have still encountered other problems. "I've been playing for hours, but I can't hail ATC, use my inventory, claim a ship, land when I do get through to ATC, accept any missions, or use any terminals," Star Citizen player dasinternet noted on the subreddit.
"Dozens of login attempts," AdmiralGrogan wrote on the official forums. "Managed to get in ONCE for 10 minutes and nothing could be interacted with. Terminals didn't work, Ship controls... missions... nothing. And then a 30k crash. This is embarrassingly bad, even by star citizen standards."
Of course, a lot of these players have invested huge amounts of time and money into Star Citizen already, so a dodgy update won't put them off entirely. "I've been a backer since day one," added Admiral Grogan. "I'm not going anywhere."
Some players, meanwhile, are trying to find a silver lining. "People are bitching about not being able to play the game but pay zero attention to the fact that these bugs are here because CIG pushed out a patch with so much content," wrote Surera. "Thats what I'm excited for." A lot of people in the replies seemed to agree.
Certainly, it's not like wobbly updates aren't commonplace, and there's no denying that this one is beefier than usual. CIG has also been very communicative, and the status tracker is a good way to show what progress is being made on fixing the issues. Still, dropping a huge update on a Friday seems ill advised. Hopefully the biggest issues will be history come this weekend.
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Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.