A Guide to the New Ship Matrix
In this article, we’ll be discussing our final stops on the list of dedicated ship items displayed in the New Ship Matrix: Utility and Systems items. While it might be easy to dismiss these as being less impressive than the more flashy weapons, turrets and missiles, they are no less important to the overall operation of your spacecraft, and found far more commonly across all ships and vehicles in-game. We’ve talked previously about the various sizes of ship items like Power Plants, Coolers and Shield Generators, and while much of that still holds true, there are some key updates we want everyone to be aware of beginning with this article.
We’ll begin with Utility Hardpoints. Like those previously mentioned hardpoints they have some common elements:
Utility hardpoints can only take utility items. No swapping them out for weapons or missiles.
Utility items have a numerical size system that allows them to be swapped and mixed between ships.
Like other hardpoints, some items usable here are bespoke to the ship and would therefore be non-swappable.
For some ships with utility hardpoints, you can swap out the utility items to change their functionality.
While you can swap utility items out it may not always be as effective as simply using a dedicated ship designed for that cause. You could swap the Terrapin’s Radar Dish out for a Mining Laser or Tractor beam to allow basic mining or salvage, but you have no discrete way of processing it. In a situation like this, you’d likely need a second ship nearby to process things effectively.
Allowing a certain level of interchangeability for groups of players to cobble together unique gameplay out of unexpected elements is something we look forward to, the idea that you’ll show us what’s truly possible in Star Citizen.
An interesting example here might be a small fleet of ships including an Orion, where the Orion is great for mining but is slow and ponderous to re-align, considering that it’s tractor beam turrets that help guide rocks into its mining mechanism can still only do so much. In this situation, players with smaller ships equipping tractor beams would be able to help ferry more material either directly into the Orion or within reach of the Orion’s beams to create a more efficient operation.
The remaining ship and vehicle items displayed on the ship matrix consist of the following items:
Computers (Formerly Avionics Motherboards or Modules)
Aside from Fuel Tanks, all of these items are swappable and to ensure balance, fall under one of 5 size categories:
Each itemport is restricted to a single type and size, meaning you cannot put a Power Plant on a hardpoint that a Cooler occupies, nor can you swap two Small Shield Generators out for a Medium Shield Generator. The jump in output between each item type varies but it can roughly be considered to be a 3:1 ratio, as in 3 Small items give roughly the same output as one Medium.
Every swappable item in the game is assigned a grade for ease of comparison, this should be your first port of call when deciding what items to buy and swap out as it gives you a simple scale to compare against. Additional details about the individual nature of an item with be visible in the purchase screen of any vendor, but for a place to start, we provide a simple letter grade.
Different grades have different values to the items:
A = The best possible performance, usually has an additinal Sub Item slot.
B = A good upgrade to performance, may have an additional Sub item slot.
C = The standard item for most ships be default, average performance.
D = Lower grade, generally makes up the NPC/AI populace, good for emergency use to get through troubles.
Most ships come standard with default C grade components. SOme of the more exotic or specialized ships may come with Grade B equipment in default loadouts, which can often be seen reflected in their price. Of course, the reverse can also hold true where cheaper ships may come with D grade components by default. They’ll still work fine and get you where you wanna go, but you’ll want to consider upgrading them after a while.
In a future 3.x patch we plan to assign every ship and every item a component class. This means players will only be able to put an item of that class into a ship that can utilize it.
Military – The best overall at that item’s functionality, at the expense of emissions and cost.
Civilian – The most common, wide range of behaviours to suit cost, options to approximate all other categories but not as specific.
Stealth – Vastly reduced signatures/consumption at the expense of functionality.
Industrial – Reliably high output and low wear, high emissions.
Competition – Higher performing than military but at the expense of durability and stealth, performance over everything.
At present, no ship is restricted to a single class of item, with each having at least two classes and virtually all of them featuring Civilian as an option. While this system is still in development, the idea at it’s core is to prevent players from making certain ships too powerful within respective areas. We still want there to be an enormous amount of customization available, but this system we’re still developing would do things like limit the chances of finding a Military Spec 85X or a Stealth Herald simply due to people buying the best items of that type.
Sub-Items live inside components and provide a boost to the base effectiveness in a variety of ways. Currently, they are consumable parts that will wear out much quicker than their host items themselves. Without sub-items the base item still functions as normal, but will find a small boost in performance when sub-items are installed. It’s recommended that players carry spares for longer trips as the need to swap these out over extended duration trips is likely. Not carrying spares (or not having the ability to carry spares) isn’t an impediment to base functionality, but should be seen as a continued maintenance loop necessary to provide an improved-upon and highly proficient system.
Each Sub Item fits in one of three categories, each boosting a different set of stats for that item:
Efficiency improves the overall effectiveness of the main item by reducing power or improving cooling performance.
Protection reduces the damage being dealt to the main item by absorbing different damage types or reducing wear rate and misfire chances.
Detection inhibits emissions in various spectrum from the main item or provides resistance to scanning.
Sub Items can fit in many different items and are not restricted to a specific type of item, such as a Power Plant Sub Item.
or: Questions We Figured You Might Have
Q: Are Computer Blades Sub Items?
A: No, they are their own stand alone item that adds or expands functionality rather than improving a baseline stat. While currently they can only be added to Computer items that may not be the only place for them in the future.
Q: I’m worried about the restrictions of classes on ships and items, will it mean my ship gets nerfed?
A: We’re still in the design phase of this system and therefore still working on all the edge cases we have internally. For 3.0 the default loadouts for the ships actually are the correct grades/classes that they are planned to be so the performance of those ships should change and there will be many upgrade paths even with the class restriction. We’ll provide more information on the class restriction system when we have more concrete information to share.
Q: Are there other items that I can swap out on my ship?
A: Absolutely, the list here is just the items that are on the ship matrix and we have many more in planning or in-game such as Scanners, Batteries and Armor.