Star Citizen at $73M; Rental Equipment Credits Controversy

A new Letter from the Chairman on the Roberts Space Industries website talks more about the future of Star Citizen now that they've stopped laying out additional stretch goals and talks to backers about their support of the project (for the record, the space combat game has now surpassed the $73 million mark). Chris Roberts also addresses a recent controversy within the game's community over "Rental Equipment Credits," a complicated system of equipment rentals for the game. There's an article criticizing this concept on Ten Ton Hammer that helps an outsider understand what's up with this system, and why this may raise concerns, saying: "you cannot earn REC and then purchase any items or equipment in Arena Commander right now or in this upcoming update permanently. You can, instead, earn REC to rent equipment and ships to try before you buy or, if you are committed enough, to keep playing with as long as you can continue to earn enough REC to pay the rental fee every 7 non-consecutive days of playing." In his post, Roberts acknowledges the controversy, though it's not certain how it will be dealt with:
Finally, I know that everyone is expecting me to talk more about Rental Equipment Credits. I took part in the heated discussion over the weekend and one of our priorities this week was clarifying some of the confusion about the system. I don’t have much to add right now, but I do want to stress: we asked for your feedback because we genuinely wanted it. A sincere thank you to everyone who provided that feedback. I’ll stress: we’re going to create a system that’s fun, not one that hurts players. Like everything else in Star Citizen, we will balance and expand our system to that goal once it launches until it meets our vision, and we will not settle for less.
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113.
 
Re: Star Citizen at $73M; Rental Equipment Credits Controversy
Feb 22, 2015, 22:20
Re: Star Citizen at $73M; Rental Equipment Credits Controversy Feb 22, 2015, 22:20
Feb 22, 2015, 22:20
 
CJ_Parker wrote on Feb 22, 2015, 05:55:
jdreyer wrote on Feb 21, 2015, 20:51:
Creston wrote on Feb 21, 2015, 19:29:
I actually like the idea of being able to rent something in game, but why does it need a separate currency? Why not just an xx price in regular credits? Making it a separate currency seems needlessly complicated for what seems to be zero benefit.

Maybe so that you can either buy REC outright, or grind for it? That's a pretty common mechanism in most free to play games. Which is probably the reason a lot of people are complaining. It's a F2P mechanism in what is ostensibly a for-pay game. Maybe I'm misunderstanding though. Can you buy REC?

The actual currency of SC is called UEC. The REC are just an intermediate, temporary solution to (kind of) fulfill the promise that everything can be earned from playing the game and that you do not have to buy anything with real cash but the base game.
In the long term REC will go away and be replaced by purchasable UEC.
REC is quite clever from a business point of view. It allows CIG to monitor REC creation/generation and the "cash flow" so they can gain and collect some very important metrics for later on when they finally launch their here-to-stay UEC credit shop.

Ah, that makes more sense. I couldn't see why they'd introduce another currency just for rentals, but this explains it.

For them it's certainly a great balancing testbed to make sure that eventually people won't get rich too fast in the live game. They are going to want to make it a pain in the ass to grind for high end ships plus equipment so their cash shop remains a tempting shortcut alternative at all times for the non-masochists.

Yeah, that's definitely going to be a massive problem for them. They say that everything can be earned in game, but if you can earn a $2500 ship in a few weeks of play, those that paid cash for it are undoubtedly going to bitch. That balancing act is going to be nigh-impossible, I think. (after which they'll just make them impossible to get, I'd guess, or maybe they'll allow a used vehicle market, essentially turning those high price ship into the equivalent of limited edition supercars. Who's got my Huayra?!)
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