This guide is intended to assist prospective players in choosing and purchasing their first ship or game package, as well as explaining further ship or package purchases after the first.
The first purchase most players should make is for a Game Package (RSI Site). This package includes:
- Star Citizen Digital Download: The game itself. Required for current access to the Alpha and future access to the game on release
- A Ship: A basic starship. Usually versatile and capable of multiple tasks as well as combat.
- Ship Insurance: Insures the stock hull and weapons of your starter ship. Not currently implemented.
- Starting Money (UEC): United Earth Credits will be used in the released game as the primary currency
The two basic, cheapest packages offer either the Aurora MR or the Mustang Alpha along with Star Citizen. This decision is entirely personal preference, with each ship focusing on different capabilities:
- Aurora MR: The Aurora is the "pick-up truck" of the Star Citizen universe; It is rugged, reliable, and versatile. This variant of the Aurora Series has more focus towards interdiction and combat than other Auroras. (Package Link)
- Mustang Alpha: The Mustang Alpha is a light, fast, and nimble spacecraft in the Mustang series with an optional Cargo Carrier for pilots that favour speed and style. (Package Link)
Squadron 42 is the single-player game being developed within the Star Citizen universe. When purchasing any Game Package, Squadron 42 may be added on for an additional $15 USD. The Standalone SQ42 game may be purchased for $45 USD at any time (Link)
These packages are the cheapest available ways to gain access to Star Citizen and Squadron 42. They are recommended for new users to try out the game in Alpha before spending money on more, larger ships.
|$45||Aurora MR||The Aurora is the "pick-up truck" of the Star Citizen universe; It is rugged, reliable, and versatile. This variant of the Aurora Series has more focus towards interdiction and combat than other Auroras.|
|$45||Mustang Alpha||The Mustang Alpha is a light, fast, and nimble spacecraft with an optional Cargo Carrier for pilots that favour speed and style. It is the base model in the Mustang series and has the most room for upgrades.|
|$60||Aurora MR & Squadron 42||Identical to the above Aurora MR Package, but with Squadron 42|
|$65||Mustang Alpha & Squadron 42||Identical to the above Mustang Alpha Package, but with Squadron 42|
For new users deciding between the Aurora MR and the Mustang Alpha, the Aurora is a more versatile and rugged ship with a focus on versatility and toughness. It features significant room for upgrades and modifications, but lacks in firepower or maneuverability. In contrast, the Mustang Alpha is light, fast, and has more firepower, but at the expense of armor and shielding.
One reason why these four packages (especially the packages with SQ42) are usually recommended as a first purchase is because of Upgrading and Melting Ships
Upgrading and Melting ships
Two methods exist for modifying, refunding, and repurchasing ships and ship packages. These are intended to allow buyers to exchange purchased ships for different ones if they made a mistake or want to try something new.
Ship Upgrades are a purchased upgrade from one ship to another; retaining all limited items, access passes and insurance levels contained in your original package. Using these ship upgrades can often cost less than buying the final package on its own. Note that you may only upgrade to ships with an equal or higher value; you cannot "downgrade" ships and receive a refund.
Store Credit ("Melting")
Once a ship or ship package is owned, it may be "Melted" for store credit for the purchase price (Store credit and coupons may not be used). This will remove **ALL** of that package's contents, including insurance, backer rewards and other items associated directly with that package. Once melted, the value will be added to your account, which may be used to purchase other ships, ship packages or items in the store.
A melted package or ship may be repurchased using a "buy back credit" as well paying the refunded price. Each account may have only one of these credits at a time, which are refreshed every 90 days to prevent mass unmelting and melting.
If Squadron 42 is not owned on an account, Melting and unmelting a game package will offer the SQ42 add-on for $15.
More information may be found on the RSI site (Link)
Upgrades Vs. Melting
Ship upgrades preserve the original packages' contents when upgrading; in contrast, melting/unmelting grants the new package's benefits and contents. Therefore, when it comes to ship upgrades, you should also consider whether it is more beneficial to buy a ship upgrade, or whether it is more beneficial to melt your existing ship and buy your target ship directly.
- If your target ship offers better insurance and extras, it is better to melt your current ship and purchase the target ship.
- If the target ship offers worse insurance and extras, it is better to use Ship Upgrades to upgrade the ship only.
All Game Packages
While the above packages are suitable for access to the game, some players opt for larger, more expensive packages to use more valuable ships. These ships may also be rented in Arena Commander using Rental Equipment Credits. More expensive packages often give larger hangars, more UEC, and longer insurance terms than lower-cost packages, but these benefits are usually minimal.
NOTE: The below packages only include Star Citizen. Squadron 42 may be added on with the $15 add-on at purchase, or by upgrading a game package that already has Squadron 42.
|$75||Avenger Stalker||The Avenger Stalker is a dedicated bounty hunting ship, with EMP weapons on the wings and prisoner pods in the cargo bay. This package is suitable for players who would focus on hunting down outlaws or escorting larger ships. A good upgrade from either of the starter packages.|
|$85||Reliant Kore||The Reliant Kore is a versatile multi-crew ship intended as a third starter ship, along with the Aurora MR and Mustang Alpha. It has a larger cargo cargo bay than most similarly sized ships and plenty of hardpoints for upgrades. It is ideal for a pair of pilots seeking to explore, trade, and dogfight together.|
|$115||Cutlass Black||The Cutlass Black is a low-cost militia and patrol craft with a large cargo hold and tractor beam for search & rescue operations. The fact that the Cutlass also excels at capturing, boarding, and "liberating" cargo from cargo ships is not an officially supported usage, according to Drake Interplanetary|
|$125||Hornet F7C||The F7C Hornet is a tough brawler of a dogfighter for the combat-focused pilot. A wide range of weapons mounts and a strong hull give it the power and toughness needed to overcome other fighters in its class.|
|$125||Freelancer||The Freelancer is a multicrew starship for explorers, traders, and hunters alike with an ample cargo hold and room for a co-pilot as well as passengers. The base Freelancer can be upgraded through Ship Upgrades to the Freelancer DUR for more exploration and guns, or the Freelancer MAX for a greater focus on cargo transport.|
|$275||Constellation Andromeda||The Constellation Andromeda is a bigger version of the Freelancer, having a max crew of 5 for piloting, engineering and other functions. It features a surprisingly strong set of weapons, a large cargo bay, and all the equipment necessary for exploration. As with the Freelancer, it can be upgraded to other ships in the Constellation series|
Game packages beyond the above packages exceed $1000 for bundles of ships. While these bundles may be tempting, they are not recommended for first-time buyers