April 2018 Insuance Drama - Wish It Was An April's Fools Joke
The Star Citizen community can often be very confused by the complexity of this game and ship insurance is another area of confusion that causes the community to panic. The latest drama comes from TheNOOBIFIER1337's video titled "Enough is Enough - Fixing the Pledge System and the New Player Experience - #nobullshit Star Citizen".
At SCFocus.org we love TheNOOBIFIER1337's Star Citizen content and while the TheNOOBIFIER1337's video addressed many perceived potential issues, this post will focus on the the Lifetime Insurance debate which has, once again, reared it's head.
Enough is Enough - Fixing the Pledge System and the New Player Experience - #nobullshit Star Citizen
Glorious Star Citizen Youtuber Extraordinaire BoredGamer is another respected Star Citizen youtuber and followed up TheNOOBIFIER1337's with a video that gives his own opinion. Please watch the video below as our opinion matches BoredGamer's more closely than TheNOOBIFIER1337's.
Star Citizen | Fixing the Pledge System - My Thoughts
Lifetime Insurance - What's the real issue
The real issue is the confusion many backers still have over what Lifetime Insurance is. Though we have written an article about insurance in Star Citizen before, it's always a good idea to clarify the difference between insurance claim costs and insurance premium renewal costs.
With the release of 3.1 the insurance claim system has evolved and "testers" have been complaining about long ship respawn timers and steep insurance claim costs. This has caused an unnecessary panic as backers have assumed that Lifetime Insurance (LTI) is some kind of significant advantage, with some vociferous part of the community (like TheNOOBIFIER1337) calling for LTI for all ships and arguing that it serves no good purpose.
Insurance Claim VS Insurance Cost and How It Applies to LTI
Ships in Star Citizen come with insurance periods such as 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 5 year and even Lifetime Insurance to name some of the options available. This allows the player to recover the ship if destroyed, lost or stolen by filing an insurance claim.
The insurance claim recovers the player's ship at varying cost, depending on the circumstances of the accident. "Lifetime insurance does not exist for modifications or cargo." - From the Insurance Q & A.
Additionally, Lifetime Insurance does not cover upgrades and cargo. There will be additional insurance policies on offer with different rates and coverage for ship upgrades and cargo / equipment. Since Star Citizen is a game where the upgrades and equipment on ships can easily be worth more than the ship itself, it quickly becomes apparent that insurance renewal costs are a small cost among many in Star Citizen.
Also, since insurance works on periods of months (not days or hours) the insurance policy renewal costs are a small cost when compared to some of these active in game costs:
- Hangar fees
- Fuel costs
- Trade tariffs
- Landing fees
- Hiring costs
Lifetime Insurance - Beating a dead horse
Even though it's clear that Lifetime Insurance will be of near-negligible benefit, there is still another argument that further shows how pointless it is to complain about LTI. Insurance timers are announced to increase based on number of claims filed. This means that players with LTI are discouraged by the cooldowns to use their LTI ships more recklessly than non-LTI ships.
LTI is simply a small perk which makes no difference to players short term and only slightly provides an advantage to players with very large fleets. Unfortunately, having large fleets in itself will be crippling expensive to all but the largest player operations. In other words, a player with an LTI Cutlass Black has no advantage over a player with a 6 month insurance Cutlass Black. We'll say it again bigger below for those who think we made a typo...
LTI Does Not Offer An Advantage
Ships in Star Citizen, much like the game Privateer, will need upgrades, weapons and equipment to make them competitive. After a few weeks or months of playing, the upgrades, weapons and equipment the player will have acquired on the ship will be more valuable than the ship itself. By the time the insurance renewal is due for the non-lti player, both players will already have spent significant amounts of UEC on ship related costs that will dwarf the insurance premium renewal cost. What this means is that the better of the two players will have a better economy by the time insurance is due.
LTI is not a gameplay advantage. LTI also doesn't mean that players can afford to have more ships in their hangars. For the same reasons above, having more ships than you can afford to operate will dictate whether you can afford them or not, not whether they have LTI.
LTI - The End Of Confusion?
Lifetime Insurance is essentially a cosmetic perk, providing minimal reward for backers who 1) backed early and 2) backed ships at the concept stage.
While we are convinced that the community will continue to struggle with the LTI concept until more of the game has been built, we hope this information has helped shed some of the fear associated with LTI. Star Citizen needs LTI as an in game fun concept, as well as to further the artificial rarity required to create a strong feeling of value in items, ships, and everything else in game.
LTI - Why It's A Good Thing
The LTI concept has not only helped the creation of this entire project but also has helped fund cool and interesting ships that perhaps would otherwise not have been made. LTI is to show appreciation to early backers of the game as well as to gain funding for concept ships. Since ship hulls in Star Citizen will be unique, and rarity is a set thing in the verse, LTI ships are a way to distinguish some ships from others. The game already intends to create distinctions between items and special ship hulls is no different to the rest of the game.
Star Citizen is catering to collectors. The game can be seen as mostly about hoarding stuff in hangars, therefore, much like other quality MMOs, Star Citizen aims to capitalize on the collection gameplay, the gameplay that keeps players in games for many years.
Players should cease to cause a headache about LTI. Advocating LTI for all ships ruins the game and provides no tangible benefits. Complaining about LTI without understanding its value and how it affects gameplay is disruptive to the community and fuels the chaos that we need to avoid.