If you're an owner of a game package, you can take part in the alpha- and beta-tests.
In case you don't know what a game package is, please take a look at Part 2 of the Beginners Guide.
In addition, there are so called free-fly specials from time to time for people without game packages. These events mainly take place during game fairs (like the Gamescom), holidays (like christmas) or after new alpha releases. Everything you need to take part in these events is a free account: >> Enlist <<.
Alpha 3.0 is currently on the live servers and is available since December 2017.
The following parts of the game are currently playable:
- Universe ('Crusader')
- Arena Commander
- Star Marine
Universe (Crusader: Port Olisar) is the first playable solar system and the prototype of the planned persistent universe.
You're online with other players and you're able to discover various stations, planets, take multicrew ships and complete missions with them.
You're completely free to do whatever you want and there is no official end.
Currently there are a bunch of small missions and a few stations. It is possible to warp (quantum travel) between those stations and fight in/on them on foot in a classic ego shooter manner. If your ship is running out of fuel, you can refuel (and reammo) at one of the CryAstro service stations. Since it's an alpha test, you don't have to worry about your ship. You can respawn it every few minutes.
You can see scenes from the current gameplay in the video below:
"Arena Commander" contains several round-based game modes where you can fly with your ship. The selection varies from player vs player fights or player vs NPC fights to races.
The game ends after the counter reached 0 or someone reached a certain amount of points.
You can play it online with other players (public) or offline (drone sim). If you're playing it online, you will earn so called REC with every game depending on your score or rank. REC is a currency with which you can temporary rent ships and weapons. So it's a nice way to try new ships before buying them!
Besides the online (public) and offline (drone sim) game modes there is a flight tutorial. If you're new to Star Citizen, this is the first thing you should start with!
The Arena Commander will remain after the final release. So that you're able to try new setups without the fear of loosing your ship.
Star Marine is the Standalone First Person Shooter of Star Citizen.
There are two game modes “Elimination” und “Capture Control Points” and its round based like most shooters.
This is the right place if you wanna practice your aim. However, there are people who play this mode all day.
Star Marine will remain after the final release too.
ArcCorp is the first planetary landing zone, which you can discover by foot or per buggy.
In later versions it will be possible to buy equipment here and customize your character.
In the not too distant future it will be possible to land here directly from space.
Currently it's just a testbed and the only thing you can do is to interact with other players and crash buggys.
This is the place where you can take a look at your beautiful ships. Nothing more, nothing less. You cannot start your ship from here, nor can you meet other people here at the moment.
But who knows what the future will bring.
If your ship isn't flight ready yet (for the universe or Arena Commander), there is a chance that it's at least hangar ready. Then you're able to take a look at it before you can fly it.
<< Part 2: What do I need for playing Star Citizen? <<