September 2nd 2015
You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers! Last week, we kicked off a concept sale for two new variants of the Vanguard deep space fighter. This week, we’ll be answering questions collected on the forums on Wednesday and Friday. These questions have been reviewed by designer Calix Reneau and will hopefully clear up anything you’re wondering about the ship.
We will also be premiering a new piece of concept art with each Q&A post, available to the right below the blueprint. Enjoy!
This is, by far, the most popular question! And so we’d like to begin with the standard disclaimer that LTI does not matter. It is a minor convenience to reward backers who supported a concept early (Star Citizen itself for the base ships and individual concepts later.) You should not base your plans on the LTI status.
With that said: like the Retaliator modules, the two new Vanguard Battlefield Upgrade Kits (BUKs) will include LTI. The Sentinel and Harbinger packages will include LTI, while the Warden will include two year insurance (because it was offered previously as part of the base ship; this prevents anyone from being able to game the system and create a new version of an already-existing LTI ship.)
The plan is for the BUKs to be available in Arena Commander and for you to be able to change them using the holotable, although we can’t guarantee that this will happen the day the Vanguard becomes flight ready. (It’s likely, for instance, that the base Vanguard might be hangar ready before the variants, in which case variant owners would get a loaner ship to fly.) The limiting reagent here is that there are some additional weapons and technologies (see next question) that are being developed for the variants independently of the ships themselves (the same is true of the UI/process for switching them via the holotable.)
Yes! All three Vanguards will have different nose guns. The weapons for the Harbinger and the Sentinel are still in development with the component pipeline, so they may different somewhat in appearance from the versions used in the concept art. The central gun on the Warden is an APOC Death Ballistic Gatling gun, while the central guns on the Sentinel and Harbinger are a plasma gun and a mass driver rail gun, respectively. (Manufacturers have yet to be assigned.) The four secondary guns are also different. The standard model uses Behring M4A lasers, the Sentinel has two distortion cannons and two MaxOx electron guns and the Harbinger has four higher damage lasers.
No, you do not. The Vanguard Warden you have already purchased comes with the base equipment. There’s no need to buy a second upgrade kit (unless you want backup equipment.)
Think of it more like plugging three different devices into a USB slot. If you remove one, and it is then added to your overall Hangar inventory and you can plug in another. It also seems important here to note that the upgrade kits are permanent items which will appear in your Hangar and not ‘single use’ tokens. (Another analogy: think of them as like having a set of snow tires for your car. You remove your existing tires and put on the snow tires and can then switch back and forth as the situation warrants.)
Yes, the kits give you the same statistics as the other ship, replacing parts where needed. (The most significant example of this is the Harbinger kit, which adds internal torpedo hardpoints by swapping the entire escape pod.) The only difference with the base ship will be the appearance: you’ll see the upgraded equipment, but stylistic changes that don’t impact specifications will not alter (ie, your ship won’t change color or overall shape.)
It’s hard to quantify this exactly! Our ships are significantly more modular than we usually mention: weapons, internal parts, sensors, computers, software and even structural elements like wings can be changed in various situations. The escape pod is the most similar ‘modular’ concept to the Retaliator pods, but the upgrade kits include other changes (such as different nose guns, a different turret mount for the area just behind the cockpit, etc.)
The Sentinel is intended as something of a ‘trickster’ ship, oriented towards causing confusion on the battlefield. From EMP pulses to command and control interference, the Vanguard Sentinel will support battlefield operations by making it all that much harder for opponents to stay in contact and have proper information. The Herald, on the other hand, is built around a different goal: intercepting and relaying valuable transmissions and other data. Both ships have some ability to do the others’ role, but they will likely find success in different places!
There are no seats; the escape pod navigation is a standing station. No worries, though: the thrusters are quite weak!
As mentioned above, yes it can, although it will run into certain limitations that the Herald does not. These will primarily center around avionics space. The Herald has a large data core for holding the vast amounts of data it needs to collect, while the Sentinel does not. Pilots wanting to reorient a Sentinel for inforunning would be advised to make some upgrades to the overall data storage once they’re in the ‘Verse!
The Vanguard Harbinger is Earth’s standard fighter-bomber, converting the standard Warden model’s escape pod into a potent bomb bay. The extended range of the Vanguard and the relatively small profile mean that it can go where carrier-based planes or larger strategic bombers don’t… and then strike hard and make it back to frontier bases. The Vanguard Harbinger is a powerful bomber that can operate out of the roughest forward operating bases.