In Star Citizen each ship is custom built to fill one or more of 6 primary roles. These roles include Combat, Transport, Exploration, Industrial, Support and Competition. Each of these primary roles has one or more secondary roles. The secondary roles are meant to define a more specific purpose for each ship. For instance, within Combat there are Fighters and Bombers, to name a couple. In this document I will investigate each role and the ships that match that role. This is not meant to be an exhaustive compendium of all ships and how they function in the game, but more of a overview of each primary role and how the ships there fit that role, as well as a brief look into some of the secondary roles. So let's begin with ...
As of the writing of this document there are a number of ships that fall into this category. Within Exploration there are currently three subcategories, Pathfinder, Expedition and Touring. Exploration ships are those that can go on short or long journeys to distant locations. They may be solo vessels, or multi-crew, military, civilian or commercial. They can be equipped for a variety of mission types from seeking out new settlement locations to assisting with search and rescue missions. Here are some of the ships that currently fall into the Exploration category, including some ships that can be modified to fill this role.
The role of the Pathfinder is to discover new routes through the stars. This might be discovery of new Jump Points, more efficient paths through existing jump points, or quantum routes through a system to link jump points. Basically this role is all about Jump Points. Little is known at this time about how discovery or navigation of jump points will work. We know that only a subset of the total existing jump points have been discovered as of the time of launch. We also know that traveling through a jump point will be dangerous and require piloting and/or navigational skill. These ships are out there pushing the edge of the known universe farther and farther outward. This subcategory includes the Carrack, 600i, Aquila, Freelancer DUR, Terrapin and 315p. Both the Aurora ES and the Mustang Beta are excluded from this group with their default equipment, and it is unknown at this time if they will be capable of modifications to allow them to perform in this role.
Where the Pathfinder is about discovering new Jump Points, the Expedition is about finding what lies behind those Jump Points. Whether it be surveying a new planet or scanning a new system for planets or even scouring an asteroid field for wreckage, the Expedition vessel is focused on discovery. These ships can be used by individuals for planning out their new homestead, or by corporations seeking their next mining operation. With Expedition vessels there is a plan, a goal, a mission to seek out a specific resource. That mission may also require the Expedition vessel to seek out lost souls who have been set adrift in space. In fact, search and rescue is a common role for the Expedition craft. It is not uncommon to see Pathfinder vessels paired with Expedition vessels, or to have both roles served by the same vessel. Vessels that fit this role include the Carrack, Aquila, Freelancer DUR and Terrapin. Note: It is currently assumed that the Endeavor will be able to function in this role with the proper modules installed, though not confirmed at this time. Other ships that may be modified to fit specific tasks within this role include but are not limited to the following: Cutlass Red, Hornet Tracker, Avenger Stalker, Reliant SEN.
Picture yourself cruising by a distant nebula, passing through a colorful asteroid field of rare metals, circling a binary star system or visiting any of the numerous wonders out in the depths of the verse. This is the role of the Touring ships in Star Citizen. They are the limousines, the Cadillacs, the Sunday drive ships that are built for comfort and flash over everything else. These ships come behind the Pathfinders and Expeditions ships and spend time enjoying the view of all that others have discovered. Almost any ship can be used for this purpose, but only a few are built around the idea of comfort and luxury far out of reach of normal civilization. Included in this category are the 600i, Mustang Beta and a few others not typically found in the Exploration category, such as the 890 Jump, Constellation Phoenix and the Aurora LX.
As mentioned, this is not an exhaustive list but it is meant to give you some examples of what Exploration ships look like and how they fill certain roles within Exploration.
Space is big. Humans have always striven, and continue to strive to reach the far corners of space. In doing so they began to settle all across the universe. Those settlements require supplies, all sorts of goods that are not readily available around them. Even advanced settlements that are capable of sustaining themselves have a supply/demand relationship with other systems where creature comforts or desired personal items are manufactured. And the only way to move those necessary goods is by Transports. Be it food, clothing, raw materials or even Big Benny's boxes, everything that travels the verse does so by transport. This class of ship is used to define any vessel whose primary method of income is through transporting cargo, data or even passengers.
This is the most common type of transport vessel in the verse. These ships are designed to carry any type of material that you can imagine, from raw metals to agricultural goods to processed consumables to medial supplies to even those items that drive the vices of humans in the verse. The amount of cargo that any ship can carry is defined by the number of Standard Cargo Units (SCU) it can load and move. Many materials are sold and processed according to how much of that good can be packed into a single SCU. Any ship that can carry a anything from a single SCU up to tens of thousands of SCU's as its primary function is considered a transport.Included in this category of the Freelancer line, the HULL line, the Constellation Taurus and the Caterpillar, as well as others.
Just as goods must be ferried from one side of the verse to the other, people seek to visit the far reaches of the universe with ease. Built to fill this role is the Passenger vessel. Any ship that serves its primary role to transport people from one point to another is considered a passenger vessel. These ships cater to every walk of life, offering inexpensive fare to those willing to tolerate conditions barely capable of sustaining life during transit all the way up to the lush amenities of the Genesis starliners owned and operated by the richest of the rich within the verse. The reputation of a particular passenger service depends heavily on the quality of service they provide to patrons, including in flight meals, entertainment and the comfort afforded to each passenger during the flight. The only ship currently designated as a passenger ship is the Genesis Starliner.
The location of a pure vein of rare metal, the time of arrival of a senator at a dinner party, the expected result of an upcoming election, or the navigational data for a newly discovered jump point. All of these bits of information are valuable, and being of value they require the right method of transport. Enter the Data transport. These ships specialize in quickly, safely and quietly moving information that cannot be trusted to standard wireless transmission. Data transports are some of the fastest ships in the universe. After all, the information is only valuable to the first person that can sell it, or use it. Most information haulers are mobile computer safe houses, built to destroy data before losing it to hackers or pirates. The only ship currently listed as a data runner is the Herald, though it is assumed the Reliant Mako may be able to fill the role in some capacity.
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