Star Citizen does have a mode centered around single-player and small group cooperative play, but will also feature a larger persistent universe like that of an MMO. Private servers will also be an option, allowing players to effectively create their own versions of the Star Citizen universe.
Player characters will be able to serve a variety of roles in this universe, including:
- Bounty hunters
Currently, the campaign will focus primarily on Humans, but the game universe contains aliens such as the Xi'An and Vanduul. Players in the more civilized inner systems will have to deal with landing and trade tariffs, but will be safer. Alternatively, players can brave the outer systems for additional profit, but at the risk of encountering pirates and outlaws.
Updates[edit | edit source]
The developers intend to deliver updates to the universe on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. These updates will add new data, stories, and campaigns, some of which will be based on player actions, which are intended to help direct the history and lore of the universe.
Persistent universe[edit | edit source]
The public version of the universe will not be divided into separate servers, realms, or shards as is done with most MMOs with a persistent world. This necessitates heavy usage of instancing in order to keep the number of players in a given area small enough for the game servers to manage, but avoids a completely arbitrary long-term fragmenting of the player base.
An "instance" is essentially a single copy of a zone of the game world where either all or just a portion of the players in that zone can interact. The key concept here is that there may be multiple copies, or instances, of the same zone. Players in the same zone but different instances will not see or interact with each other, at least directly through the game world. It is still possible for them to interact through chat, mail, or central trade systems, but players in different instances will not see each other, even if they are in exactly the same location in the game world.
Star Citizen will have a central galaxy server that will manage and create these instances as needed. Separate instances only needed for the areas of the game that require real-time performance. When planetside, your character's actions will be handled by the central galaxy server; in essence, everyone on that planet will be the same instance. This is possible because planetside control of your character is more limited, similar to selecting actions through a menu. When flying in space, however, the fine control of one's ship requires the server to process things in real-time, which can overwhelm its capability if too many players are in the same area at once. When too many players enter the same zone, the central galaxy server creates new instances to prevent being overwhelmed.
Keeping friends and persons of interest together[edit | edit source]
The central galaxy server will try to keep players who would want (or should) end up encountering each other in the same zone in the same instance. For example, when leaving a planet, the galaxy server may choose to place you in an instance with one of your friends, or perhaps in the same instance as a target you are hunting. In essence, you will be able to designate other players as "persons of interest," and if you enter the same zone one of these players is in, the galaxy server will place you in the same instance if there is room available.
Player-vs-player preferences[edit | edit source]
Players will also be divided between instances based on their player-vs-player preferences, though some areas of the universe always allow player-vs-player combat.
Battle instances[edit | edit source]
When traveling between zones, a player may be pulled into an encounter. This may be an existing instance where a battle is already ongoing, or it may be created on the fly for a new battle. If a player is traveling with his or her friends, the whole group will be pulled into the instance. Friends can also join the instance later if they can get into the system in time.
For ships with a crew capacity of more than one, friends can also jump into your ship to help out, possibly by manning turrets or support craft.