I'm considering getting in with a pledge on this, especially after I saw the E3 3.2 beta video.
Does it matter much which pledge level I get into? Can I start with just a simple ship? I was considering the Mustang Alpha or Aurora MR starter pack at $45. Will those have any disadvantages compared to say the Avenger Stalker at $75?
Also, what's the significance of the insurance? And what about the digital star map, do I need that?
Sorry for the many questions.
First off, if you're absolutely certain about pledging for this, make sure you check out the pinned Referral thread here on Anantech in PC Games, use a referral code (mine is posted in the referral thread, but you can use anyone's) and get a free 5,000 UEC (in-game money) when creating your account.
Having shamelessly self-promoted my referral........I'm not sure I would pledge right now. That trailer was extremely mis-leading. The current state of the game code isn't even remotely close to what you saw. Much of what you saw in the trailer might not even make it into the 3.2 patch (which should be released June 30....CIG are on a quarterly patch schedule).
If the "idea" of this game appeals to you, and you're full of patience (I don't think this game will ever be finished but I think a lack of funding will force CIG to release what they have probably 2 years from now), and you don't mind gambling (I think there is a LOT of financial risk with this project right now - it could ultimately fail), then welcome aboard.
Regarding the ships, the overwhelming consensus will be that SC will have ship progression and that an Avenger Stalker will be "better" than a Mustang or Aurora MR. I say that's bullshit (and my opinion is controversial). I believe that every ship in the game will be the "best" at something. Ships are merely tools. You use the right tool for the right job. The Stalker is a bounty hunter ship. So it'll do a better job of bounty hunting than a Mustang Alpha. But a Mustang Alpha might be the best a delivering small loads of medical supplies to moon outposts.
Insurance in the game works like in the real world. You insure something. If you incur a loss, you make a claim, pay a deductible, and get your asset back. LTI (life-time insurance) is a perk CIG offers that has taken on a life of it's own. Most people believe that LTI will prevent you from losing anything that you paid money for....for free. Bullshit. All LTI is, is a free monthly insurance premium. You'll pay 0 UEC/month for insurance on a hull with LTI. Others will pay some small amount. But everyone will pay deductibles. And deductibles will increase based upon the number of claims you make. Just like in the real world.
Starter ships usually come with 3 or 6 months of free (0/month premium)....then you'll need to renew at a monthly UEC cost which should be a very minor expense.
Don't worry about the digital star map.....it's on CIG's website and also in-game, but currently there is only 10% of one system in the game code (no planets....just three moons and one planetoid). But these four locations are MASSIVE. For example, it takes like 20 minutes in real time to circumvent one of the moons.
Best of luck. It takes a ton of work to understand the state of this project and what they're trying to accomplish. CIG are masters at mis-direction when it comes to marketing. All they want you to see and hear is hype and pretty jpegs of shiny spaceships. They don't really want you to know about the 10 frames per second in-game, ships spawning with no doors on them, crashes to desktop every 10 minutes, tons of lag, a ship flight model that's not fun and horrible broken.....in short CIG has prioritized style over substance. They're now working very hard on delivering substance....but will the funding last to allow them to deliver. That's the $187 million question.