Star Citizen Grey Market

cff

Kilk'dymga'qith laq Ik'vikvi
Can someone summarize what the whole deal with the grey market was? Gifting ships, melting them, rebuing, ...? I don't remotly have the tim eto keep up with all SC stuff at this point.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Basically, CIG made it possible so that I can buy pledge packages, addon ships, or gift cards and gift them to my friends and relatives.... However, some folks of the entrepreneurial sort bought limited ships (AKA not currently available) and or stockpiled ships with lifetime insurance included. They are now selling these ships online to other people using the gifting process. CIGs stance is that once you buy a ship or pledge package it's yours to do with as you please. However you are not to do it or talk about it on their site. Buy ships on the 'grey market' if you want but it's buyer beware. You're on your own if the deal goes south. In the meantime some of the people hoarding rarer ships or with stockpiled LTI ships (LTI hasn't been available since November) are selling these ships at a huge markup. Some sellers are even scamming others by taking money and not delivering ships.

The current update is that CIG has now (to cut down on middlemen) has implemented restrictions by making ships purchased with store credit non giftable. Also, once a ship is gifted it can no longer be re-gifted. So a number of people upset that their stockpiles (often bought with store credit by "melting" other ships payed for with cash) will as of may first potentially no longer be giftable and therefore will kill their profit potential. The notice on the gifting changes was also announced just this past Friday. So there really isn't a lot of lead time till the changes come into effect.
 

Silverain

Rear Admiral
Personally, notwithstanding everything else, I do think CIG made a mistake allowing LTI* to be gifted. YOU are the early subscriber, so YOU get the LTI, but once a ship is transferred from the original owner, that ship loses LTI i.e. once I gift it/or sell it, it just becomes a standard hull.

In game, think of it as the original dealer's warranty - only extends to the person buying off the dealer...

* as in ships with LTI to be gifted.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Personally, notwithstanding everything else, I do think CIG made a mistake allowing LTI* to be gifted. YOU are the early subscriber, so YOU get the LTI, but once a ship is transferred from the original owner, that ship loses LTI i.e. once I gift it/or sell it, it just becomes a standard hull.

In game, think of it as the original dealer's warranty - only extends to the person buying off the dealer...

* as in ships with LTI to be gifted.

Actually, at least here in Canada, almost all vehicles come from the factory with around 5 years warranty. When I sell the car, the warranty goes with the car. However, warranty is in regards to manufacturer defect. Insurance is different, bought per year or month in case of accidents. You can sometimes pay extra for more warranty and more things covered from wear and tear but those sort of things aren't covered by insurance.

Insurance doesn't transfer with a vehicle though whereas warranty does. So your point is still somewhat valid. They wanted a way to tie LTI to the vehicles bought before a certain date. I imagine this was simpler to do if it was stuck with each ship than per account. As far as being a mistake? I like that I could buy in for my friends, but agree letting it be gifted with the ship is part of why it's been abused, even if LTI really doesn't amount to much in the long run.
 

cff

Kilk'dymga'qith laq Ik'vikvi
Hmmm... ok... thanks for clarifying. Seems like a problem, all right. But also like a very stupid solution. Trading ships should be possible in game and also handing down ships multiple times. If only for in universe logic.

But interesting that people are buying limited ships or insured ones like crazy when they have no idea how common they will be in the game anyhow. I mean if insurance is 0.1% of profits it doesn't matter. Something we don't know yet, still people gamble on such facts...
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Yeah, there's no reason to buy any ship at a 400% markup. It's been repeatedly said that everything you can buy will be available for purchase with game credits in-game. Also I'm fairly certain there will be a way to trade or buy and sell ships within the game between players once the persistent universe goes live. I don't think the devs have figured out how they want that to work yet though so it hasn't been a priority to implement this feature on the website where, as seen from the grey market issues, when we don't know their comparative value in the final game, players are just going to try and take advantage of eachother anyway.

Insurance costs will be low. For a comparison, think about landing fees in Privateer. In privateer I bet half the people that played never really bothered to notice that you were deducted a few credits every time you landed. Now SC will probably have landing fees too, but consider that all the current pledge packages come with half a year of insurance (LTI only covers *the ship hull* that it comes with) and every player will still need to insure their cargo and upgrades. LTI really not much of any advantage over a player buying in now.

The other half of the misconception is that people are viewing ships as linear progression instead of focused on role-oriented playstyle designed ships. They think more expensive/rare=endgame. They're thinking of it like leveling up in a traditional MMO. To them, bigger and stronger with more teeth equals 'pay to win'. But, big multi crew ships will be slower, require higher operating expenses, and require full crews to perform efficiently. I could buy the smallest ship, outfit it fully and just avoid big fleets of slow ships since I'll see them coming from miles away because of the large radar signature. I don't have a ton of time to play and can't rely on being online at the same time as all my friends. If I want a big ship (Idrises can't be gifted anyway... you need to either sell the account or go through Customer Service) I'll buy one in game. Working up the credits for something like that will be far more rewarding anyway.
 
Last edited:

Mekt-Hakkikt

Mpanty's bane
I have to say, I think the way CIG handled the whole LTI-thing was/is pretty bad. And like cff, I think the new gifting restrictions are not very clever. It does not hinder total fraud but hinders the honest market. I think it is - just like the LTI deadline extension - more or less just a money grab.

Though I agree, I never understood how people could buy ships for such insane prices on the grey market.
 

Thrakkath

Rear Admiral
Part of the reason grey market exists is because ships like the Scythe(had the opportunity to get one but missed the boat) and Idris Corvette are limited in number and also came with Lifetime Insurance (LTI). It is not clear whether a captured Scythe will be insurable in game so it is a quite a unique thing to have and as light fighter not having insurance is a big deal as you can be shot to pieces pretty easily. This why they are selling for stupid money in grey market (up to $1600 I believe).

Edit - actually just saw a guy asking for $2500 on Reddit thats a markup of over 800% and I don't doubt for a second that someone will probably end up buying it.
 
Last edited:

Ijuin

Admiral
The other half of the misconception is that people are viewing ships as linear progression instead of focused on role-oriented playstyle designed ships. They think more expensive/rare=endgame. They're thinking of it like leveling up in a traditional MMO. To them, bigger and stronger with more teeth equals 'pay to win'. But, big multi crew ships will be slower, require higher operating expenses, and require full crews to perform efficiently. I could buy the smallest ship, outfit it fully and just avoid big fleets of slow ships since I'll see them coming from miles away because of the large radar signature. I don't have a ton of time to play and can't rely on being online at the same time as all my friends. If I want a big ship (Idrises can't be gifted anyway... you need to either sell the account or go through Customer Service) I'll buy one in game. Working up the credits for something like that will be far more rewarding anyway.
Yeah, the ship setup is much more like in Privateer, where the default starter ship (in SC's case, the Aurora) is a crappy jack-of-all-trades, but all of the other ships that you can buy are great at their particular niche.
 

Mekt-Hakkikt

Mpanty's bane
I think that's what they're aiming for and for the most part, I think they're doing a good job. I don't think the Aurora will be as crappy as the Tarsus but be viable option for quite some time. On the other hand, I really don't see a niche for the the 300i (except the 350R).
 

Ijuin

Admiral
The 300i seems to me to basically be like the Aurora but with slightly higher stats all-around (more module space, one level larger maximum thrusters, shields, and powerplant, etc.) It's for the people who still want a basic jack-of-all-trades, but who want something a bit fancier than the Aurora.
 

Toast

Space Marshal
It's anyone's guess why the grey market for Star Citizen is so active, but from a very early point in the original crowdfunding run, it was clear that people were enamored with the ships. AD's theories make sense; there are a lot of people on SC's forums that forget or don't quite appreciate that shopping for and customizing your ship is supposed to be as big a part of the game as it was in Privateer or Freelancer (even though many of those upgrade paths were pretty linear). Lots of people seem to look at the ship hulls as sold in the pledge store as though they and their stock equipment are dispositive regarding what the ships can and can't do. For example, plenty of people obsess over whether a given ship comes with a jump drive stock or not.

That's not something anyone who's played Privateer would consider a big deal. I don't imagine that a basic jump drive would be difficult to buy at all. Despite the devs' repeated reminders that SC's meant to be a skill-based game, the notion of pay-2-win has become so firmly entrenched in the minds of a lot of people that they have endlessly cyclic discussions about whether this ship has any chance whatsoever against that ship or vice versa. Contrast that with most of us hanging out here, who might readily concede that a Scimitar is at a disadvantage against a Gratha, but wouldn't consider the result of a duel between the two a foregone conclusion.

Whatever the cause might be, the player/community focus on ships and any information related thereto in SC is extremely strong, much moreso than it appears to be for, say, Elite: Dangerous. But with the amount of lore and detail surrounding the ships, even in their very preliminary states, as digital goods go, a Star Citizen ship looks to be a pretty substantive pile of pixels to spend your money on, at least compared to a lot of other digital content. You could sit around and daydream all day about what each ship class might represent, and that seems to fuel a lot of the market lust.

I mean, I could sit here, right now, and ramble on and on about the possible differences between the Aurora and the 300i, as I'm not sure that the 300i simply represents an all-around step up from the Aurora. RSI's ships are said (in lore) to be built tougher and more rugged than those produced by Origin Jumpworks, so the Aurora might actually be able to take as much punishment or more once the shields are down. The 300i has more internal room that might be good for taking on passengers; there's pretty much nowhere to keep passengers on an Aurora unless they're willing to take the ride stuffed into the cargo pod. (The design intent for cargo in SC is for the actual containers to show up in your hold and affect the mass and handling of your ship, unlike Privateer where loaded cargo is just lines of data in your savegame file). And so on and so forth.

While the frenzy over owning your own ship in Star Citizen has done a lot to drive the crowdfunding numbers, my guess is that the grey market stuff in particular also ends up creating a lot of work for the Customer Service department. There are a variety of potential good reasons that Customer Service wouldn't favor babysitting grey market deals gone bad, but whatever they might be, the official policy is that grey market activity and promotion is not welcome on the company site, chatrooms, or forums.
 

cff

Kilk'dymga'qith laq Ik'vikvi
Contrast that with most of us hanging out here, who might readily concede that a Scimitar is at a disadvantage against a Gratha, but wouldn't consider the result of a duel between the two a foregone conclusion.
From my experience with Jumgate it might even be so that the most powerful ship on paper will no tbe the most dominant dogfighter. Good fighter pilots soon figured out that speed was more important then shields or pure weapon strength. And so the in theory weakest ship became the PvP monster. (and I still took some of them down, never mind) :-P
 

Toast

Space Marshal
From my experience with Jumgate it might even be so that the most powerful ship on paper will no tbe the most dominant dogfighter. Good fighter pilots soon figured out that speed was more important then shields or pure weapon strength. And so the in theory weakest ship became the PvP monster. (and I still took some of them down, never mind) :-P
Yeah, you ain't kidding. I even saw one poster declare that the M50 (a racing ship - small, fast, huge engines, only a few hardpoints. Specs are very likely to change but its overall inclinations to its design probably are not) would be "useless" as a dogfighter because it has very light shields, armor, and armament relative to dedicated fighters.

"Useless"?! Oh, come on. Ferret, anybody? The comment led me to ask Ben at one point:

Me: "So, Ben - a ship question. The M50: Ferret or Epee?"
Ben: <paraphrased>: "Ferret. No ship you'll buy in SC will suck as much as the Epee."

But yeah. The thought that "more is better" tends to drive sales of certain ship models, KISS rule in combat notwithstanding. The old gaming min-maxing chestnut also tends to drive ship sales and the grey market; my subjective observation is that a lot of people ask about where and how to get certain 'limited availability' ships like the Starfarer (fuel tanker), 350r (racer), and Super Hornet (fighter variant) I think because people gravitate towards absolutes (i.e. the biggest cargo ship, the fastest racer, 'best' fighter etc.).
 

Blaster

Rear Admiral
I think some people will be very upset when the game launches and they realize they vastly over paid for there ships.
 

Ijuin

Admiral
"Useless"?! Oh, come on. Ferret, anybody? The comment led me to ask Ben at one point:

Me: "So, Ben - a ship question. The M50: Ferret or Epee?"
Ben: <paraphrased>: "Ferret. No ship you'll buy in SC will suck as much as the Epee."
Quite. Even though the Epee had nominally superior weapons, the slower rate of fire and higher power drain of the Particle Cannons offset any DPS gains, and the Ferret was slightly faster and was more durable. To do well in an Epee required taking heavy advantage of the long range of your Particle Cannons (especially the fact that they had longer range than the Sathra's Neutron Guns), and to constantly dodge, dodge, dodge.
 

Mekt-Hakkikt

Mpanty's bane
So little love for the Epee - you're all forgetting its torpedo carrying capability! :)

I as well think that the whole ship buying is quite overrated. The only sense I personally see in it is if you buy ships that won't be so easy to get in the PU (limited number or limited time only) and you think, you won't have so much time to spend in the PU (that's why I bought the 350R). Though I have to admit, I do regret a bit not getting a Scythe at the beginning. But of course, that's the only ship where they stick to their "never on sale again" policy.
 

cff

Kilk'dymga'qith laq Ik'vikvi
Well - was that going? If you can't outgun them, outrun them... So in PVP at least the fastest ship will always at least get away. And probably be able to play tag in the hands of a superior pilot.
 

Ijuin

Admiral
That's a good point, and makes me think that the 350R is a good choice for solo play since you can disengage at will as long as you aren't too badly damaged.
 

Toast

Space Marshal
As with any grey market, some of the activity was due to people flipping ships (i.e. the usual buy 'low', sell 'higher'). In any game with persistent assets, that's going to happen. Of course, it does trip morality alarms in a lot of people, as one man's "entrepreneurship" is another man's "predatory behavior". Ah, capitalism.

While I do have an opinion on the whole good/bad of the grey market thing, I'm mostly just going to keep it to myself for the time being.

Ship buying is... well, it's speculative (in both the market sense and the gameplay utility sense). I think a lot of people who're buying multiple ships are forgetting that, if the game is designed well, you ought to be able to spend most of your career tinkering with loadouts and configuration on a single favorite ship. It makes me wonder just how possible it would be to split your resources across equipment for multiple hulls; will you really be able to earn enough credits to run three or four ships in top condition and tricked out with high-quality modifications over time? Some people want a stable, other people just want to build up the ship that's right for them. Not being one of the developers, I really couldn't answer that question. All I know is, there's a guy who recently just went on about buying ten Hornets because they're the most powerful available dogfighters; he better hope that the default loadout is actually competitive.

@Mekt-Hakkikt - While I also found the Epee to be something of a deathtrap in WC2, it's an *amazing* ship in Standoff! It somehow gains a lot in translation. Too bad it's only in the simulator. If we could have flown that one off the Firekka, it would always be my ship of choice for the majority of missions. And yes, that one torpedo might well have come in handy, too ;)
 
Top