Updated: 18th January 2020
Meet the new Aurora
Meet the new Mustang
Need to know what starter package is better between the Aurora MR and the Mustang Alpha? Currently the most affordable options for combo packages (that come with both Star Citizen and Squadron 42) are the Aurora MR and the Mustang Alpha. While the ship packages are identically priced there are many differences between the ships themselves. This article will help you decide which ship suits your game style and objectives best.
Engines & Speed
Primary Engines The Aurora MR has one size Small main thruster while the Mustang Alpha can have two main thrusters of the same size. This makes the Mustang Alpha a theoretically faster ship. Top Speed SCM: Aurora MR 150 m/s vs Mustang Alpha 195 m/s Afterburner: Aurora MR 1,212 m/s vs Mustang Alpha 1,160 m/s. While this information is subject to balance changes, on paper the Mustang Alpha seems to have the speed and engine advantage. Winner: Mustang Alpha
Prior to the ship stat update on the RSI website, there were some differences in the power plants between the two ships. Currently this seems like they have been adapted to have similar maximum specifications. Winner: Draw
Ship weapons are an important part of the game. The universe can be very perilous and having bigger guns helps. The Aurora MR comes with 4 size 1 fixed weapon mounts while the Mustang Alpha comes with 2x size 1 weapons but also with an unmanned turret which comes with 2x size 2 weapons for a total of 4 weapons (Two size 2 and two size 1). This means that in terms of firepower the Aurora MR and Mustang Alpha have the same firepower. Winner: Mustang Alpha. (Please note this information has changed during Star Citizen Alpha and could change again).
The Aurora MR comes with a pylon mount size 2 for missiles while the Mustang Alpha has no missile mounts. This gives the Aurora MR the ability to carry 1x size 2 missile or 2x size 1 missiles. Winner: Aurora MR
Shields are also extremely important and both ships have 2 size S (small) shield hardpoints. Winner: Draw
The Aurora MR is very tanky and sacrifices speed and maneuverability for stronger armor. The stylish Mustang Alpha is built with “ultralight alloys” and therefore sacrifices armor for additional speed and maneuverability. Winner: Aurora MR
Are you planning on being a space trader? Both the Aurora MR and the Mustang Alpha hold small amounts of cargo. As of Alpha 3.8 the Mustang Alpha is still not able to carry delivery boxes.
The Aurora MR can carry 3 Standard Cargo Units (SCU) of cargo while the Mustang Alpha can carry 4 SCU.
Additionally, the Aurora MR can also carry delivery mission boxes while as of Alpha 3.8 the Mustang Alpha cannot.
This makes the Aurora MR a slightly better option for Star Citizen Alpha 3.8 but the Mustang Alpha is still better for pure cargo running.
Winner: Mustang Alpha
There are many types of additional equipment that can be added to ships in Star Citizen and it is currently unconfirmed exactly what they will be. The additional equipment mount for the Mustang Alpha is stated as having the Stor-All Mini Cargo Box as additional equipment.
The Aurora MR also used to list the Stor-All mini but at the time of writing has been removed. (Update Alpha 3.2) The Aurora currently lists 1 Utility Item Available in the ship hardpoints. Winner: Draw
Both the Mustang Alpha and the Aurora MR come equipped with Quantum drives as standard. Additionally it was mentioned that neither the Alpha nor the Aurora MR would come with Jump drives. Quantum drives can be turned into Jump drives but not all Quantum drives are jump capable. At some point on the RSI website the Aurora MR and Mustang Alpha specifications changed to show that both ships have a Small size jump drive installed. While this seems to be in flux what seems clear is that both ships will either come with or without a jump drive as standard but both will be able to upgrade their quantum drives if they don't already have the Jump Drive installed. Winner: Draw
Ship beds in Star Citizen serve as log out locations allowing the player to log out in the ship instead of having to return to a space station or other habitable location. This means the Aurora MR has a significant advantage allowing players to log out in remote locations. Winner: Aurora MR
Conclusion: What Starter Ship Is Better Aurora MR vs Mustang Alpha?
If we tally the above we get:
- Engines & Speed: Mustang Alpha
- Power Plant: Draw
- Weapons: Mustang Alpha
- Missiles: Aurora MR
- Armor: Aurora MR
- Cargo: Mustang Alpha
- Special Equipment: Draw
- Jump Drive: Draw
- Bed: Aurora MR
There's very little difference between these two ships on paper. If you want a fast ship to dart around the verse then the Mustang Alpha is a better choice. If you want something slower but with the option for a bed logout and a bit more capable of defending itself then the Aurora MR is your ship. It’s worth noting that the Mustang Alpha is worth $5 more if you plan on upgrading a ship before beta via a cross chassis upgrade on the RSI website. Also, both the Aurora MR package and the Mustang Alpha package come with starting in game currency of 1000 UEC. If you create an account using this referral code: STAR-H3MY-F5SH before you purchase you can get an additional 5000 UEC starting currency with any game package.
New Mustang Commercial
Other game packages above the Starter Ships start from about $60* for the Anvil C8X Pisces and come with Star Citizen but not Squadron 42 (unless during promotions and special "sales" events).
Anvil C8X Pisces Starter Pack $60 (New in 2019)
Origin 100i Package $60* (Usually unavailable)
Avenger Tiitan Package $65* (New in 2020)
Avenger Stalker Package $75*
Reliant Kore Package $85*
Cutlass Black: $115*
Hornet F7C: $125*
Constellation Andromeda: $275*
*prices do not include VAT and are taken at the time of writing this article.
Please note that purchasing a game package with a ship more expensive than the Starter packages does not make a better gaming experience. The game is intended to be played by starting from the “starter” ships and working your way up (a la GTA).
Questions & Answers About The Aurora MR & Mustang Alpha
Which Starter Package Is Better - Aurora MR or Mustang Alpha?
For new players about to start on the Star Citizen Alpha journey, the Mustang Alpha game Package is currently a better option than the Aurora MR.
This is mainly because of the following:
- The Mustang Alpha currently also has the Aurora MR as a loaner ship because the Mustang Alpha's physical cargo system isn't working for mission boxes
- The Mustang Alpha offers a $5 trade-in value more than the Aurora MR while being identically priced
Therefore, as long as the Mustang Alpha provides both ships and is $5 higher value for upgrading of the ship, it is a better value for players looking to start on their adventures.
Special Note Alpha 3.8 - It appears that the Aurora MR is no longer being loaned to Mustang Alpha owners. This will be updated going forward so starting players always receive accurate info.
Are The Aurora MR and Mustang Alpha Good At Making Money (aUEC)?
During Star Citizen Alpha the two cheapest starter ships have some pros and cons:
The Aurora MR is capable of doing a variety of missions in Star Citizen Alpha. The various activities this ship is capable of include:
- Box Delivery Missions (As of Alpha 3.8 the Mustang Alpha does not have the Aurora MR as loaner)
- Probe Deployment Missions
- Cargo Running
- Investigation Missions
- Combat Missions (low difficultly missions)
- Transport around Stanton System
- Take players to Hand Mining locations for FPS mining
- First Person Combat missions
This allows players to experience much of what is on offer in Star Citizen Alpha with just the initial starter game package.
The Mustang Alpha is not capable of:
- Box Delivery Missions
- Probe Deployment Missions
- Transporting other players
Can the Aurora MR and Mustang Alpha Make Money Via Cargo Running?
The Aurora MR features a cargo capacity of 3 SCU while the Mustang Alpha features a cargo capacity of 4 SCU. Via illicit cargo runs (currently the most profitable) sometimes it is possible to generate several thousand aUEC via optimal cargo runs.
This means that the Mustang Alpha is capable of earning 33% more per cargo run than the Aurora MR.
Even so this still means that the earning curve is quite steep with the Aurora MR and a third less steep with the Mustang Alpha. Players looking to start with Cargo Running should consider ships with significantly more cargo capacity such as the Avenger Titan or Cutlass Black. Especially if the goal is to quickly progress in economic potential.
Is It Viable To Buy Other Ships In Game With The Aurora Mr or Mustang Alpha?
At this time, with player balances being wiped every 3 months or less, it is not possible to earn bigger ships by purchasing them in game unless players spend many hours per week grinding. This makes these ships difficult to start with if the goal is to earn other ships in game quickly. This seems to be the intended progression so players buying the cheapest starter packs need to be aware that it is the steepest starting option in terms of progression.
Renting Ships In Star Citizen Alpha
Better than buying ships during Alpha is Renting. Ship rentals were introduced in Alpha 3.7 and represents a far more affordable way to spend aUEC on ships. Ships can be rented for 1, 3, 7 and 30 days.
Rented ships cannot be customized. See the Alpha PTU 3.8.1c patch notes.
Is It Possible To Upgrade The Aurora MR or Mustang Alpha To Other Ships In Game? (Star Citizen Alpha)
At this time it is not possible to upgrade a ship in game to another ship. Eventually players will be able to trade in their ships and purchase other ships but during early alpha this is not currently in the game yet. This means that players starting with the Mustang Alpha or Aurora MR need to currently purchase new ships outright in game which means that during Star Citizen Alpha players starting with these two ships need to buy new ships in game instead of trading in their current ship. The cost for doing this is quite prohibitive and therefore the answer to this question is no for all but the most dedicated (in terms of grind) of players.
Again, during Star Citizen Alpha it is far cheaper to rent ships. Rented ships can be customized and the customizations persist throughout the duration of the rental.
Who Should Buy The Aurora MR or Mustang Alpha Stater Packs?
These packs are ideal for players wishing to:
- Spend the least to start playtesting the Star Citizen Alpha
- Plan to play few hours every 3 month patch season
- Can rely on their org / friends to use more expensive ships
- Prefer to play with the basic starter ships as a form of "hard mode"
- Happy to wait for development until late Beta or final release and don't plan to play frequently during Star Citizen Alpha
More serious players who plan to spend many hours during Star Citizen Alpha should look to start with more expensive ships such as the Avenger Titan or Cutlass Black - ships capable of earning more money and having a higher chance of mission completion.