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Star Citizen patch 3.18, the space game’s biggest update yet, out now

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Massive Star Citizen patch 3.18, titled Lasting Legacies and pitched by director Chris Roberts as “the biggest Star Citizen update yet” for one of the most ambitious space games on PC, is out now. With an overhaul to the cargo system, the introduction of salvaging, new locations and updates to existing ones, and plenty more additional features including racetracks, there’s certainly a lot to take in – so let’s go over everything in patch 3.18.

Among the headline features in Star Citizen 3.18 is a complete overhaul to the game’s ship cargo system. This allows players to pick up and move individual cargo of all types, and you’ll now be able to manually organise your actual cargo boxes in your ship using a tractor beam, with the option to snap to a grid for quick and easy placement.

A new ‘sand cave’ archetype has been added across multiple planets and moons in Stanton, with unique cave formations to be explored and an adorable creature called the Stone Bug that lives within them. Also highlighted is the introduction of ‘Persistent entity streaming’ – essentially, this means that dynamic objects will now stick around in perpetuity, even if they aren’t currently owned or held by a player, which should make locations feel more consistent.

Salvage, scraping and soft death

Salvaging is now fully implemented, with options for hull stripping and repairs either by hand (with a new Greycat multi-tool attachment) or using systems on the likes of the Aegis Reclaimer and the new Drake Vulture ship. You can break down parts, convert, and store them, and can use the resulting material to repair ships or sell it. You can scrape the hulls of ships without shields, and manually remove their cargo boxes using a handheld tractor beam to claim them for yourself.

The update also introduces ‘vehicle soft death,’ a state that ships will fall into if a critical component is damaged. These stranded crafts will be left open to salvaging by other parties using the Aegis Reclaimer or Drake Vulture. Players on board a ship that experiences soft death will not be killed – but, with the multi-function display, weapons, engines, and thrusters all disabled, pretty much their only option will be to leave the ship until further notice.

New locations and overhauls

Several new points of interest have been introduced, while other locations are getting big improvements. The Daymar crash site is a “large derelict settlement” that promises plenty of secrets to be discovered along the course of multiple missions. A number of bounty and assassination missions have been introduced on the platforms of Orison.

Security Post Kareah will now be playing a more central role, as the Crusader Security force have moved in and are storing their confiscated contraband there. The station is off-limits to civilians without proper authorisation, but you can employ more violent means of entry. Criminal players can fight their way through the completely redesigned station and – if they’re able to take down a station boss – will have the option to use the station’s contraband machine to dispense a limited supply of drugs.

That’s not all, however, as there are over 30 new small derelict outposts to be discovered across Stanton. Along with the introduction of the aforementioned sand caves, dozens of rivers and lakes have been spread across the star system – these come with their own “biome-specific object rulesets” depending on where they are found.

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New ship and time trial race tracks

There’s a new Star Citizen ship in 3.18 – the Drake Vulture is a light salvage ship that, as mentioned above, is very handy for stripping down parts from stranded or destroyed crafts. Meanwhile, there are six new, community-focused racing locations introduced. These will be unlocked as players complete time trial missions. There’s also a new race track in the Orison Vision Center that’s specifically built for the Greycat PTV.

Elsewhere, the update includes new courier delivery missions, which are based around the local delivery companies for each individual system within Stanton. There’s also an overhaul to the law system, which developer Cloud Imperium Games says should make things less punishing for players with lower-level crimes on their record. There’s also a raft of vehicle speed and combat balance tweaks; key among these, ballistic weapons will now be better against shields but worse versus armour.

The final Star Citizen release date still isn’t known yet, but there’s plenty to dig into if you’re one of the game’s many Kickstarter backers. Developer Cloud Imperium has also reassured players that your Star Citizen ship size doesn’t matter as much as you think. If you just can’t get enough space exploration in your life, you’ll be pleased to know that the Starfield release date is finally here.

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