One of the most difficult choices is deciding which ship to buy when you want to get into Star Citizen. All these ships look great and you might feel the urge to buy an expensive ship. Buying your first package can be frustrating with all the different Star Citizen ships available, therefore I would like you to think about a few things before you buy a package. To make this process easier you might want to consider which career you want to pursuit in Star Citizen.
There are a vast number of ships and all designed for a specific role or profession. Before you pledge you need to keep in mind that you only need a starter package! You can earn all ships in game once Star Citizen is released. Another important feature is the REC system which allows you to rent ships and weapons and try them out. If you’re not sure which role to pick or want a more versatile role you’ve come to the right place. I will go into this subject and help you to pick the right ship for you. Important to note is that you need a package to get the game, not a stand alone ship!
Picking a profession or role in Star Citizen
So what type of role do you want to take on, or perhaps you want multiple careers or even combine them? Before you decide which package or ship you want to buy you need to look at possible careers in Star Citizen. There are quite some roles to consider before buying a ship. Recently Chris Roberts announced a number of professions to be implemented in Star Citizen 3.0 Alpha. During the Gamescom 2016 presentation the following careers were mentioned;
- Cargo transport
- Bounty Hunter
If you want to get a taste of these professions early on it might be worth picking a ship that supports these roles. Furthermore you should pay attention if a ship is flight ready or still in concept!
Why are some of these ships so expensive?
As I said before, the more expensive ships can be earned once the Star Citizen universe is released. The expensive pledges are only to support development for people with disposable income. Critics say that this is a pay to win approach but this is an oversimplification. In reality it’s not pay to win, in the final game everything can be earned without paying real money and therefore I consider this an invalid argument. One can argue that in the current state of the game this is the case since more expensive fighters dominate the less expensive ships. A super Hornet is superior to an Aurora in combat and an average pilot wins 4 out of 5 times from an average Aurora pilot. A skilled Aurora pilot however will defeat an average SH pilot. Here is where roles and careers start to emerge. An Aurora is not designed to be a dog fighter because it’s role is supposed to be versatile. If you practice and become a decent pilot you will be able to take on the dedicated fighters in any ship, well almost any.
Single Seater VS Multi-crew
It has been stated by Chris Roberts that all ships can be operated by a single person but it comes at a price. Multi-crew ships need crew to operate efficiently to stay safe from pirates or marauders. If you operate a larger ship solo outside of UEE space you are asking for trouble. In addition to safety is the cost of operating a multi-crew ship. Operating a Constellation might be manageable because you can hire some NPC’s and complete some missions. When it comes to capital ships you’ll need a large crew due to the cost of fuel, insurance and damage that you might sustain. Unless you have lots of disposable income, you might want to think about how you want to operate your multi-crew ship first.
Smaller ships are probably the best way to start your career when Star Citizen is released. You can learn without much risk and gain experience and work your way up. Once you feel ready and have earned enough credits, you can decide which ship you want to get next. I have added a video that explains the problem with larger/capital ships.
Versatile ships, a safe choice
If you can’t decide which ship to buy in Star Citizen you can play safe by picking a versatile ship. Some ships are suitable for multiple professions or roles, the jack of all trades master of none sort of ships. This is a safe choice if you really can’t make up your mind.
To be honest it can be quite difficult to make a decision now because we don’t know much about the final game mechanics. A great versatile starter ship is the Aurora LN, it has cargo space, 6 weapon hard points and a bed for long journeys (or to take someone with you). You will need to have the Aurora LN upgrade which is not always for sale, so if you want the LN get The Aurora MR first and in addition get the upgrade when it’s available.
Another good choice would be the Avenger Stalker, often referred to as ‘the space penguin’ by citizens. The Avenger has cargo space, jails (for bounty hunters) and a bed. This ship is a bit more expensive than the starter ships but very popular because of it’s flexibility.
Last ship that I want to cover here is the Constellation Andromeda. This is where it starts getting expensive and should only be considered when you feel like contribution more to the development of the game. The Andromeda is a versatile multi-crew ship and great for cargo, exploration and good at defending itself. Noteworthy is the Ursa rover that you can embed for planetary exploration.
Now that you know about some safe versatile ships we can start looking into more specific roles.
Probably the most popular profession in the Star Citizen universe is being a fighter pilot. It could be because this is the first implemented role. Here is where it become a little more difficult in picking a ship. There is a wide range of choices when it comes to fighter ships. Basically there are 3 categories; Heavy fighter, light fighter and bomber. Do you want to zoom and boom or directly confront an enemy when it comes to dog fighting?
Heavy fighter pilot – space superiority
Currently the Super Hornet and Sabre dominate Arena Commander, the Super Hornet is a tanky, carrier based fighter and not suitable for long range. It can take quite a punch and has 6 hard points which you can use to configure different sets of weapons. The Sabre has 4 hard points for weapons but is more agile and stealthy, which the Hornet is not. These ships are not starter ships and you can earn them in game once Star Citizen is released. Both of these ships aren’t always for sale, but are sold multiple times a year on special occasions. Keep an eye out for the anniversary sales at the end of each year!
Light fighter pilot
Lighter ships like the Gladius are supposed to be faster and more agile, the Gladius is a great ship and fun to fly but you need some good pilot skills to defeat a Super Hornet (or bring someone along).
A good starter ship would be the Aurora LN, it has 6 weapon hard points but is very fragile. Another option is the Origin 325a a very maneuverable fighter with the unique ability to lock missiles on multiple targets. The recently added Buccaneer is currently a good competitor in Arena Commander, it’s fragile but has excellent maneuvrability.
last one if want to mention is the Khartu-al. This is an alien ship and the looks are quite, well… out of this world.
There are currently 3 bombers available, these ships are meant for long range missions, drop your bombs and fly home. Some of the bombers are equipped with torpedo’s and meant to do damage to larger ships like capital ships. They are slow and heavy and should be escorted when possible. Bombers are supposed to be stationed on capital ships. You can escort capital ships or park you bomber inside during rescue or combat mission. Once the capital ships arrives at the designated location you support and defend the ship or bomb a target. The Gladiator is modular and you can choose between an extra cargo hold or a bomb bay. The next bomber is the Retaliator, it has a bomb bay and torpedo launcher and it’s modules can be swapped for other roles. The Vanguard Harbinger can go into deep space and has a relatively small profile, meaning it is harder to pick up on scans.
Last to mention is the Aegis Eclipse, this bomber is still in concept but supposed to be an excellent bomber.
Are you planning on becoming a small trader or do you want to think big and build your own trade network? Whatever your ambitions are, you will probably need to start small and the Aurora LN would be the perfect start ship for that. It’s defensive an offensive capabilities allow you to enter the less safe regions of space and has some cargo space available. You need to get familiar with the Star Citizen economy and learn how supply and demand affects your business before you can think about expanding. Once you get the hang of it you might want to expand your business and pick up an Avenger Titan or move on to Freelancer Max or perhaps even a multicrew ship like the Banu Merchantman. Basically all you need is some cargo space and a jump drive to start your trading career.
Trading is not just about transport, you can think of info running, exploration (cartography) or mining. All these professions are perfectly suitable for trading purposes.
Additionally you need to think about risk and reward. Will you fly in UEE space which is safe but less profitable, or do you want to take some risk and earn more? If you play it safe you won’t need a ship that is able to defend itself, think of the Hull series for example. Secondly when mining or exploring in dangerous places you might want to think about hiring some protection.
To boldly go where, well you know… This profession will be implemented in a later state of the game, but it is one I am personally looking forward to. Discover rare resources and encounter strange anomalies or undiscovered alien life forms. There are a good number of exploration ships available ranging from dedicated explorer ships like the Carrack and Constellation Aquila, to a single seater like Origin 300i. Recently added was the Anvil Terrapin, a heavy armored explorer but awfully slow. One of my personal favorites is the Freelancer Dur, it is fast and has extended full tanks for deep space exploration. The Dur has room for a pilot and a crewman and has 2 passenger seats. This ship is small enough to operate on your own if you like playing solo, or you could hire a NPC.
Currently there are two Star Citizen ships that are specifically designed for mining. The Misc Prospector and the RSI Orion
The Orion is a multicrew ship and not intended for a single person yet the Prospector is designed for a single player. Both of the ships aren’t always for sale but will be available again in special sales. There is an very detailed post about mining on the RSI website.
As of recently mentioned, you will be able to perform mining operations without a dedicated miner ship. This will require you to use special gear but won’t be as effective as using a ship like the Prospector. This feature will be available once item 2.0 has been implemented.
You don’t care what the job is, you just get it done and don’t mind getting your hands dirty. A mercenary basically takes on about every job that can be done within you ship capabilities. For this role you need a versatile ship which can handle itself in many different situations. A couple of versatile ships have already been mentioned, you might also want to look at the ships suitable for the pirate role.
Probably one of the most challenging professions in Star Citizen, and for that you’ll need the right ship. Fortunately CIG designed the perfect ship for you, the Drake Buccaneer. This role requires you to be a good pilot and cunning enough to outsmart UEE police. Pirates are outlaws and if you have a reputation you will have a hard time entering UEE space. A pirate probably needs to be part of an organization to protect themselves from bounty hunters and law enforcers. Being an outlaw makes life more dangerous in space as it is harder to get resources because of the constant lookout for law enforcers. As a pirate or even marauder you can’t just go eliminate every player of NPC you see. The bounty on your head will be huge and this will make life very difficult for you. I am looking forward to how the pirate community is going to deal with all the difficulties they will face. An alternative would be the Cutlass, but is has some design flaws. Currently the Cutlass is being reworked to solve the issues and I am very curious what the result will be.
That’s not mine, somebody else put it there! Star Citizen will have a role where you smuggle illegal goods through UEE space. The constellation Phoenix for example has a compartment which can’t be scanned by UEE police. It has been stated that you can outfit ships with smuggler compartments so probably many ships can equip one. Smuggle Vanduul weapons or Banu ale, who knows what will be possible. To me this sounds like an exiting way of earning some credits as long as you don’t get caught!
If you want to hunt criminals you might consider becoming a bounty hunter. Hunt NPC outlaws or catch real players gone rogue. I can see this career becoming very profitable once you have build a decent reputation. A reputable bounty hunter is feared by outlaws and probably can get very profitable missions. A ship designed for this role is the Avenger Stalker, another good choice would be Cutlass blue.
In the final universe you are able to take on missions to help out the UEE police. The ship designed for this profession is the Cutlass blue. The Cutlass is being reworked so it’s hard to tell what the advantages of this ship are going to be in Star Citizen. Another option would be the Avenger Stalker because of it’s versatile design. Choosing a career as law enforcer will increase your reputation in a positive way.
Search and rescue
If you want to take a bunch of marines and board a pirate ship and rescue some hostages from a bunch of pirate you are going to need some proper transport. The Redeemer was designed for this task, it is heavily armored and powerful weapons. If you want to save lives and heal people from sustained injuries you might consider getting the Cutlass Red. This ship has medical equipment to heal injured pilots or citizens and get them on their way.
Salvaging: shipwrecks and valuable items
If you want to salvage shipwrecks the Reclaimer is the right ship for you. The Reclaimer has tractor beams, floodlights, scanner options, docking ports, a reinforced cargo bay, a long-range jump drive and in addition some launch pods for unmanned drones. The Reclaimer is ideal for salvaging deep space wrecks as mentioned in the concept description. This ship is not for sale very often and quite expensive, might be a good idea to just earn it in game.
If you want to just salvage valuable items you have a wide range of choices to pick from. Basically all you need is some cargo space to store items. You can sell the items you salvage and make a nice profit out of it. A couple of ships that you can use for salvaging are The Avenger, the Reliant Kore (small cargo space), Misc Freelancer, probably even cargo haulers such as the Hull series although they are a bit vulnerable.
Touring itself is not exactly a career but if you just want to cruise space there are several ships that fit this role. Luxury touring however is a profession in Star Citizen and there are going to be special missions designed for this role. You can transport VIP’s (NPC’s) and get assigned missions that can only be completed in luxury ships. Ships like the Origin 890 Jump and the Constellation Phoenix are exclusive luxury ships designed for this role. They are not exactly starter ships and are not for sale very often. The 890 jump has been sold only once as a concept ship and the Constellation Phoenix only twice in 2 years. They also come with a luxury price I might add. Keep an eye out for the Origin 600 series, this ship is still to be announced.
Sneak behind enemy lines and monitor their movement with the Hornet Ghost. It was specifically designed to be sneaky, has a low signature and is therefor hard to detect by scanners.
The counter part of the Hornet Ghost is the F7C-R Hornet Tracker. It can be used for exploration purposes, it also has a wide range scanner which can locate enemies from far away.
Research and science
At this moment there are 2 different science vessels. As a scientist you are able to observe the distant stars and discover points of interest, scan anomalies, probe nebula and research extraterrestrial flora & fauna. The Reliant Sen researcher is a single seater and allows you to do basic scientific research. The Endeavor is a huge ship and has pods which each serve a different purpose. One can grow different kind of plants for medication and there is an observatory pod which allows you to research space. If you want to become a serve the scientific community you might want to look into this career.
Little is known about this profession, the Anvil Crucible is supposed to repair ships (flying toolbox) but the mechanics are still a bit of a mystery. One role could be repairing ships during combat, a good way to earn UEC and probably very profitable.
Jump aboard the smaller crew ships and become a pilot. If you are good and trustworthy you will have a nice career ahead of you.
If you’re not into dog fighting you can consider a career in hacking or E-warfare. The Drake Herald allows you to intercept communications and steal information. The Vanguard Sentinel allows you to confuse your enemy by EMP charges and missile decoys. The Avenger Warlock is specifically designed to charge EMP’s and disable ships temporarily.
Little is known about this profession but if you want to be a reporter or sell news the Reliant Mako might be worth to take a look at. This ship was specifically designed for this job.
Capital ship roles: pilot, captain, engineer, gunner, crewman, science officer, etc
The great thing about Star Citizen is that you can decide to become a crewman and work aboard a capital ship. Capital ships need a crew to be operated efficiently and there are a great deal of professions that you can choose from to keep the ship running at peak performance. Without crew on key positions a ship is an easy target for predators. You control everything and make the important decisions. Engage in combat or retreat, take that short cut through enemy territory or plot a different course. If you are a strategist and this has been your dream, this is for you. Don’t worry if you lack a capital ship, join an organization which has access to capital ships and maybe one day you will become a starship captain.
If you want to fly the big ships, this is a role for you. As a pilot you get work together with the bridge crew where the Captain is the highest ranking officer. Sounds like Star Trek and I am curious how these mechanics are going to work.
If you have a Scottish accent this is the perfect job for you. In al seriousness engineers are very valuable. They know the ship like the back of their heads and as you progress you can become quite skilled. Engineers are probably going to earn some serious UEC as they keep the ship alive when in distress.
We can already see how this job is going to be like in the current alpha version of Star Citizen, you man a turret and shoot at the enemy. Ships like the Constellation series have a gunner seat to keep the enemy off your tail. Bringing along a gunner can be the difference between life and death.
Not much is known about the science mechanics so far but some tasks have been mentioned. As a scientist you are able to observe the distant stars and discover points of interest, scan anomalies, probe nebula and research extraterrestrial flora & fauna.
Mob the floors, clean the toilets and brush the captains shoes. To be honest I haven’t found much information about this role, when I do I’ll update the article.
Too many ships to cover
Well that was quite a write-up. I am sure I haven’t covered everything but I hope you were able to find out which ship or package you want to buy when backing Star Citizen. My first ship was really hard to pick as I didn’t know much about Star Citizen. If you still don’t know which ship to buy you should just get a starter package. There are ship upgrades available if you want something different. Furthermore there is the option to ‘melt’ ships. The store credit will be transferred to your account and can be used to buy a different ship. If you decide to create an account you might want to pick up my referral code and you’ll get game credits worth 5000 UEC on registration.
Convinced to get into Star Citizen Alpha?
- Create an account.
- Buy an Aurora MR package or visit the shop and get the ship you want.
- Optionally get the Squadron 42 Combo package (2 games for 1).
- Deal with the bugs that come with Alpha or contribute to the Issue Council
Basic guide for new and aspiring Star Citizens. Covers account creation, flight controls, keybindings, your first flight and Star Marine.
Star Citizen is an ambitious massive multiplayer space simulator, first person shooter and built on the (heavily altered) CryEngine.
Ways to earn Star Citizen game credits like UEC, REC and aUEC.
Specifications you need to play the current alpha version. SC config files and game optimisation settings.