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Star Citizen Mastermodes Explained

Star Citizen 3.23 introduces "Master Modes," a major overhaul to the game's flight mechanics, dividing ship operations into Standard Control Mode (SCM) and Navigation Mode (NAV Mode). A short Overview.

Many players struggle to grasp the intricacies of Master Modes due to scattered information. Official details are spread across various sources, including YouTube videos, forum posts, developer comments, and the official website. This article aims to address this gap by providing a comprehensive overview of the system as currently proposed.

Disclaimer: The information presented is based on data available as of February, 2024, and is subject to change.

What are Mastermodes in Star Citizen?

Star Citizen's upcoming Master Modes are a significant update designed to refine the dynamics of spacecraft handling. Through the establishment of two primary modes, Standard Control Mode (SCM) and Navigation Mode (NAV Mode), this new system diversifies how players engage in various activities.

Standard Control Mode (SCM) focuses on combat efficiency. In SCM, ships operate with a speed cap ranging from 200-300 m/s, depending on the specific model, ships maintain full functionality of weapons and shields, though they're barred from engaging in quantum travel and using Quantum Enforcement Devices (QED).

Transitioning from SCM to NAV Mode: Upon switching to NAV Mode, your weapons become unavailable, and your shields collapse, with the energy stored in a buffer for faster recharge when returning to SCM. Your quantum drive begins spooling, significantly increasing your signature. Once fully spooled, you enter the "full" NAV Mode.

Navigation Mode (NAV Mode) involves a comprehensive shift in ship capabilities. Once engaged, ships immediately lose access to weapons and shields, redirecting energy to initiate the spooling of the quantum drive and significantly expanding the ship's signature in the process.

Understanding the strategic implications of switching between NAV Mode and SCM is crucial. The transition entails a rapid deceleration to SCM speeds and uses a stored energy buffer to quickly recharge shields. This complex interchange underscores the tactical considerations players must account for, balancing speed, combat readiness, and resource management.

Implementation in version 3.23 aims to roll out Master Modes, albeit without the Quantum Boosting feature which is set for a later introduction. This step marks a transformative phase in Star Citizen's development, nudging players towards a more understanding and interaction with the game's spaceflight mechanics. As the community and developers navigate these changes, adapting to the evolving tactics and strategies promises to make the Star Citizen experience more immersive and engaging.

There is a great summarized post at reddit: Full explanation of Master Modes according to official sources

MasterModes Q&A

There was a Star Citizen Q&A that focused on the Star Citizen Master Modes, what they are and what they are not. Below is a summary of the Q&A in text form and the video to provide more insight and context.

How will Master modes have a substantial effect on how non-combat pilots and ships operate in the verse?

There is no difference in how combat and non-combat ships are treated. All ships need to follow the same rules for consistent gameplay. Non-combat ships will use nav mode for traversal and SCM mode for normal gameplay. Nav mode is not "easy mode" - non-combat ships will still need balancing against combat ships.

Can you explain how Quantum dampeners and Quantum snares will work on ships in nav mode?

The specifics of Quantum interdiction are still being worked out for a future patch. We need to determine factors like ship size for balancing escape capabilities. Master modes in 3.23 is just the first step and won't have all planned features.

With the new nav mode, will we be able to stay in it and travel everywhere avoiding combat? What are the limitations?

You can always stay in nav mode but it may not be suitable. Some operator modes like scanning and mining/salvaging are not available in nav mode. You are still vulnerable to attacks unless quantum traveling.

How much will the nav/SCM mode transition times differ between ships? Can this be changed through engineering?

The swap times will definitely be different between ships. It is defined by a per-ship value and the quantum drive used. Faster quantum drives lead to faster nav mode transition. In general, larger ships have longer swap times. This could potentially change through engineering gameplay in the future.

Why is there no UI/HUD update coming with the Master modes update in 3.23?

There will be a visor UI update to things like targeting and weapon sights. The new MFD and ship UI updates were delayed to allow focus on other features.

What are the struggles with Master modes in 1v1 combat situations?

The velocity limits can create a "locked-in" feeling where pilots hit max speeds and can't gain an advantage. Mirror ship matches accentuate this since the ships have identical performance. We're testing changes like more dynamic rotational speeds to help break stalemates.

How will Master modes make racing viable when SCM speeds are too slow and ships aren't agile enough in nav mode?

Racers are comparing to the old "tri-coding" technique that allowed accumulating accelerations. The perceived lower agility is from removing this unintended advantage. Different race track designs suited for the new flight model could help address this.

What is the intended effect of changing to nav mode with respect to other players in a multi-crew ship?

Currently when the pilot changes to nav mode, other crew roles like turret gunners have nothing to do. This would be a good time for maintenance or other non-combat activities. More meaningful multi-crew roles beyond turret gunning are planned for the future.

Does the power triangle still function in nav mode where weapons and shields are not active?

Weapons and shields still regenerate in nav mode, just at reduced rates. The shield buffer builds up and quickly transfers to shield facings when exiting nav mode. This may change in the future.

Will we be able to use countermeasures in nav mode?

Not currently, but this may change. The intention is to emphasize maneuvering over countermeasures for missile evasion in nav mode.

Are there any general changes to stealth mechanics besides detecting nav mode transitions?

Some signature readout changes were made separately from Master modes that still apply. The two systems complement each other.

How do Master modes and the component/resource rework relate? Does one override the other?

They will complement each other. Master modes archetypes provide a starting point that components can further customize. Players will have more tuning control to impact flight performance.

What can be done to support bounty hunters and stopping escape with nav mode designed for escape?

Specialized equipment like distortion weapons and EMPs that disable quantum drives could counter nav mode escape. Balance considerations for ship size differences still need to be determined.

What are your "red lines" in terms of balance that you are unwilling to adjust?

Nothing is completely off the table but we will be more resistant to changing certain things like SCM speeds. We set the current limits to address past issues with high speeds. Any changes would go through extensive review and testing before being implemented.

After release, what metrics will you use to judge which areas need more tuning?

We monitor qualitative feedback and quantitative data like kill/death ratios for potential issues.

Star Citizen: Live Q&A Mastermodes from 8 of March 2024

Yogi Klatt in Interview

In a recent video, podcaster "Space Tomato" invited Yogi Klatt, the Principal Vehicle Programmer at Cloud Imperium Games, and Avenger_One, a combat YouTube creator, to discuss the intricacies of Master Modes and their impact on PvP gameplay in Star Citizen. Yogi Klatt, who joined Cloud Imperium in summer 2017, is one of the key figures behind the development of Master Modes and the game's flight combat model. The video delves into the details of how Master Modes affect PvP gameplay and ship combat in Star Citizen, providing valuable insights for those interested in the game's combat mechanics. Space Tomato was approached to facilitate this conversation, which aims to shed light on the decision-making process behind the game's combat system.

The Future of Combat in Star Citizen, by Space Tomato from 12. March 2024