For years CIG has been Star Citizen selling ships to help fill the coffers to fund development and today the latest money-making scheme has been launched.
Claim licenses are available in two different sizes – Lots and Estates. A Lot equates to a patch of land roughly 4 Km x 4 Km in size, whereas an Estate is four times larger – 8 Km x 8 Km.
These lands has been zoned for commercial, residential or industrial use. Although these “licenses” can be purchased now for cash ($50.00), they will be purchasable with UEC, the in-game currency, once the full game is out of course.
In conjunction with the license, players will also have a GEOTACK marking beacon. This beacon is inserted into the ground and a memory module in the tip which is then taken to a Planetary Development office to execute the claim with the license. These beacons allow the player to gather data about the state of their claim, most importantly whether it’s being targeted or attacked by other players in some way.
These licenses for something that does not exist in the game are being sold right now and Licenses will even be able to be sold on to other players second-hand. Some players will no doubt feel like the sale of something not even remotely included in Star Citizen yet is a cash grab; but the fact of the matter is that this is how CIG has been doing things for years.
A lengthy FAQ has been posted on the official site, and it’s hard not to draw parallels with other MMOs that offer land claims of this type. Albion Online sells property to players in a very similar manner. Players in that game make huge amounts of Silver off the taxes and other exploitation of their land plots.
Players will first have to scout out their perspective plots by taking core and weather samples and analyzing those to find the resources they want. I fully expect these mechanics to morph into players offering scouting information for sale in-game. Hopefully this creates some healthy PvP over valuable plots. Player will also be able to lease these claims, so we might see player groups in Star Citizen turn into real estate moguls.
EVE Online players can also draw some parallels with older versions of the Sovereignty mechanics and EVE. Dominion SOV had some interesting choices that no doubt inspired CIG in some way. Although are paying close attention to how other games are responding to player attitudes and abuses of their land claim equivalents. Because a misstep in design of these kinds of systems could have disastrous consequences.
This ATV also talks about a new class of capital ship called the Pioneer, which is designed “as a floating factory in space”. This new platform will allow players to build huge numbers of items for the in-game economy. To use EVE Online parallels again, the Pioneer feels a lot like the Rorqual Capital Industrial Ship. The Star Citizen version however has one key difference, the Pioneer can eventually be used a planetary outpost.
You can watch Chris Roberts talking about these features in the new Star Citizen ATV where he explains why they came up with the concept.