Star Citizen In-Game Economy
The Star Citizen in game economy will be dynamically controlled by the systems in place to create a supply and demand based system. This video from 2013 explains the vision for planned the in-game economy in Star Citizen.
We highly recommend new players interested in learning about the economy to start with this video.
About The In Game Star Citizen Economy Category
This Economy Category is designed to give players an idea about the in game economy in Star Citizen. If instead you're looking for the real world Star Citizen economy information please visit the Real World Economy Page for Star Citizen. We remind readers that the pages on this website are intended to be used as a reference for ourselves to check information as well as for our organization members to read. This information is freely available to all readers. All information on this website is designed to provide an edited experience from this org's point of view and is not supposed to offer an exact representation of the views of the community or the developers of the game.
The information provided about the economy is designed to give readers a possible scenario of how the economy could work and any advantages / tips that can be learned from it. Readers are always recommended to compare and contrast the latest information from official sources.
Star Citizen Economic Basics
Starting players will have an initial starting balance of in game currency known as UEC (United Earth Credits). They will also have another currency in their account called REC (Rental Equipment Credits). For the purpose of this article, the assumption is UEC, the "real" Star Citizen currency. REC are used for the virtual simulator inside the Star Citizen universe called Arena Commander.
Pro Tip: During Alpha development aUEC gathered between patches are periodically reset, however REC persist. REC can be farmed by participating in some Arena Commander modes (primarily Racing). It is possible to accumulate millions of REC and the potential for renting is currently unknown.
During the Alpha, in game currency is known as aUEC (Alpha UEC). This currency is wiped every major patch (every 3 months at the time of writing). As more of the Star Citizen universe becomes persistent the aUEC resets should cease or become less frequent.
Earning UEC in game is the goal of most players and therefore understanding the Star Citizen economy should be the starting point for any player new to Star Citizen. Our organization focuses on information most relevant for gaining UEC with a view to sustaining deep space exploration missions.
The image above is taken from the Aurora Starter Pack. Both the Aurora and Mustang Starter Packs come with 1,000 UEC in game starting currency. The first step in your Star Citizen adventures is to make sure you use a referral code as using the referral code when you create your account and purchase will grant an additional 5,000 UEC. Read more about the Star Citizen Referral Code.
Star Citizen In Game Economy During Alpha
The Star Citizen Alpha does not represent the final implementation of the economy. It is a common error seen in online forums (like Reddit or Spectrum) that players think the prices, earning potential, aUEC farming rates or any number of economic features are final. Generally, the Alpha builds are solely for testing purposes to help CIG create the final economy that is being built into the game. Often things like insurance timers or earning rates are faked to allow players to meaningfully test a set of features.
Pro Tip: Do not purchase ships or items for real cash based on ANY Alpha build. Alpha builds have a tendency to showcase inaccurately the in game value of a ship. For example, patch 3.2 released the prospector which was able to mine to generate faster aUEC than other professions. Another example is the Misc Razor which debuted in 3.1 and was the dominant racing ship until 3.2. Prematurely buying a ship based on its performance in an alpha patch is probably a bad idea.
As a general rule, when purchasing ships it is important to understand the final view of where the ship is intended to fit into the Star Citizen universe. For the time being, it is possible to upgrade a ship via Cross Chassis Upgrade to a ship of greater value. The upgraded ship retains the insurance term of the original ship. Read our in depth article about Cross Chassis Upgrades.
How much will things cost in Star Citizen?
Prices will not be final until commercial release sometime after Beta (currently in Alpha). However, this does not stop this article from speculating and providing rough guesses as to prices.
It's true there is no way to know what prices will be like in the final game. However, it has been mentioned that prices will scale similar to real life. The following table follows (roughly):
|Ship||Picture||Equivalent||Equivalent Price (USD*)||Est Price (UEC**)|
|Cutlass Red||$150,000||150,000 UEC|
|Misc Razor||$150,000||150,000 UEC|
|Hull E||$5,000,000||5,000,000 UEC|
|890 Jump||$10,000,000||10,000,000 UEC|
*USD prices are very roughly based on a broad range of pricing. The idea is to provide a scale of reference. Until more is released about the economy it is impossible to give anything close to accurate figures - nor is this intended - as mentioned at the start.
**UEC prices are speculative based on 1) Starting UEC amounts in game packages and 2) Sources are also scarce and this chart is loosely based on a combination of info including this REC design spec (2015).
Note: All of the information on this article is highly speculative and provided as a very rough breakdown. As more about the economy becomes finalized this page will be updated.
The Star Citizen Economy Will Be Hard
Growing your economy in Star Citizen is going to be hard. Over time it has been repeatedly stated that rarity and in game item value are set things in the Star Citizen Universe. Grinding for credits is done via any number of professions with each one providing distinct challenges and rewards. Already during the Alpha, players are finding themselves better suited at some roles and worse at others. How fast players will be able to earn in game credits will be dictated by what roles suit their skillset.
For players looking for less challenging ways to earn in game currency, there will be areas and mission contracts that cater to starting players that will be easier to generate UEC but the payouts will be lower. Star Citizen is very much risk vs reward. Higher paying contracts will be riskier and require more skill.
Less Ships = More Progress
Star Citizen is about ships! Progress in Star Citizen comes from growing with your ship via missions (whether self created or assigned). If you want to be a trader, then which trading ship you operate and how is what will determine how quickly you can generate UEC.
One of the most common misunderstandings about Star Citizen is that ALL SHIPS currently sold are the base model of the ship. Each ship has many components that can be upgraded (engines, shields, furniture, modules, equipment...).
This means that having many ships on starting day is going to be slower to progress than having just a lone ship that you upgrade as you go. The base model of a ship will be the worst version of that ship at earning a living in game. The best progress will come from taking care of your ship and having the upgrades that make it excel at its profession.
In Star Citizen upgrading the ship to its maximum potential will cost more than the original ship itself. Higher tier component prices scale up in price and a more upgraded ship can outperform a more expensive upgraded ship. This means that having 5 ships (for example) to operate, maintain and upgrade will set a player back compared to those who have just one ship that they focus on.
If this sounds incorrect or strange, consider this again from the following different perspective. The ship type affects the missions available. Different locations offer different missions and travel location is persistent. This means that as a general rule, unless the ship is specifically for transit, players will want to maximize usage from one ship suited to their skills rather than spend too much time changing ships, traveling to mission locations and having to "restart" some progress each time.
There are multiple reasons why having more ships could set players back and this is a heated topic that will be revisited in the future.
Star Citizen Advanced Economy
For players with fleets and orgs the starting game is radically different to players starting with just Starter Ships. Some players have accumulated hundreds of thousands or millions of UEC and the starting game for these players will be very different. Earning economy on large scale with Star Citizen to generate a profit operating and outfitting very expensive ships will be a challenge.
To outfit and sustain a deep space fleet it will be important to have a strong economic setup. Exploratory fleets require significant financing and therefore SC FOCUS plans to take part in Salvage and other professions to finance the expeditions. With an estimated 70% of players interested in exploration it is unlikely that exploration alone will be highly profitable. A deep space fleet aims to go way beyond what would be considered safe space.
Relevant Deep Space Exploration Rewards:
- Sales of chart data
- Auctions of location data for valuable resource finds
- Ancient alien artifacts
- Trade goods from alien races (Xi'an to Start)
New To Star Citizen? Your economy starts here:
If you're new to Star Citizen you'll want to follow these steps:
- Create account & Use the referral code (it gives you +5,000 UEC only when you create your account)
- Join an org (Star Citizen is a massively MULTIPLAYER online game)
Also we provide the following general advice:
- If you upgrade your starting ship (or back a concept sale), make sure you consider to keep or own enough UEC to scale for parts and upgrades
- While it should be perfectly possible to play Star Citizen solo, it is designed as a multiplayer game so the fastest economic progress will be made by cooperating players rather than soloers
- Do not upgrade your computer specifically for the Star Citizen Alpha testing unless you don't mind having to upgrade parts regularly (Star Citizen is under active early development)