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Drake Buccaneer Concept Sale Analysis Written Friday 1st of July 2016 at 04:58pm by Nehkara

Greetings fellow Citizens! The Drake Interplanetary Buccaneer concept sale did not go well financially; however, CIG claims many Buccaneers were acquired. Check here for details. The Drake Buccaneer’s concept sale took place from May 27th...

Greetings fellow Citizens! The Drake Interplanetary Buccaneer concept sale did not go well financially; however, CIG claims many Buccaneers were acquired. Check here for details.

The Drake Buccaneer’s concept sale took place from May 27th to June 6th.  The Buccaneer is a single seat twin engine medium fighter craft designed to support the rest of the Drake fleet.  It is a nimble ship that packs a heavy punch – featuring five main weapon mounts plus two pylon mounts.

The Buccaneer joins a host of other fighter craft in Star Citizen but I think its closest comparables are the Anvil Hornet and Aegis Sabre.

Imagine a pirate fleet featuring a pair of Caterpillars, several Cutlasses, and a squadron of Buccaneeers.  A swarm of Dragonflies burst forth from the Caterpillars and harry vulnerable ships while the Buccaneers provide heavy fire support, the Cutlasses swooping in amongst the confusion to lay on further fire before boarding the now-helpless craft.

Now, enough with the intro!  What we’re here for is to see how well the Buccaneer did during its concept sale and to compare that to some previous concept sales.

Aegis Dynamics Reclaimer

Funds raised from Reclaimer concept sale after:

2 hours:  $206,815
4 hours:  $308,545
8 hours:  $436,956
12 hours:  $524,973
24 hours:  $734,014
48 hours:  $937,421
72 hours:  $1,074,118
96 hours:  $1,211,152
120 hours:  $1,348,664
144 hours:  $1,483,283
168 hours:  $1,610,823
192 hours:  $1,758,553
216 hours:  $1,887,216
Total raised in concept sale:  $1,988,585 (227 hours @ $8,760/hr)

The Aegis Dynamics Reclaimer had a fantastic concept sale.  The community loved the ship and it drove all our imaginations wild with thoughts of wading into fields of debris left over from intense battles and picking clean the bones of the dead… before grinding the bare hulls into scrap.  Despite its civilian purpose, the Reclaimer is a hulking brute and an imposing sight.  All of this led to nearly $2 million in sales for Star Citizen’s first dedicated salvage ship.

RSI Orion Mining Platform

Funds raised from Orion concept sale after:

2 hours:  $150,809
4 hours:  $222,487
8 hours:  $317,615
12 hours:  $400,212
24 hours:  $581,792
48 hours:  $743,211
72 hours:  $857,592
96 hours:  $954,136
120 hours:  $1,066,744
144 hours:  $1,167,254
168 hours:  $1,326,253
192 hours:  $1,510,793
216 hours:  $1,696,170
Total raised in concept sale:  $1,731,299 (220 hours @ $7,869/hr)

The RSI Orion Mining Platform also had a successful concept sale.  The innovative design by George Hull, the same artist who designed the Reclaimer, brought life to what has been a fairly mundane game mechanic in other games over the years.  This was highlighted and reinforced by the Star Citizen Careers: Mining design post by Tony Zurovec.

The Orion sale has some interesting wrinkles, because there was a Cutlass free fly week that happened partway through the sale.  This may have slightly elevated the numbers due to the availability of the Cutlass Blue, but it looks as though the effect was minimal.  About a week into the sale, the Orion’s cockpit/bridge was altered (with the pilot’s seat moved to the top of the ship) and this drove a significant increase in sales in the last few days which brought the final total to within $260k of the Reclaimer’s total.

Aegis Dynamics Vanguard

Funds raised from Vanguard concept sale after:

2 hours:  $187,724
4 hours:  $285,256
8 hours:  $376,024
12 hours:  $442,484
24 hours:  $657,735
48 hours:  $876,897
72 hours:  $1,053,928
96 hours:  $1,221,595
120 hours:  $1,359,487
144 hours:  $1,492,437
168 hours:  $1,643,897
192 hours:  $1,798,183
216 hours:  $1,997,690
240 hours:  $2,202,675
Total raised in concept sale:  $2,250,189 (245 hours @ $9,184/hr)

The Aegis Dynamics Vanguard is the “one to beat”.  The most successful concept sale to date.  This deep space fighter, designed by Gurmukh Bhasin, has set a high bar with a total of $2.25 million raised over the 245 hours it was on sale.

The Vanguard had some detractors at the time of its concept sale due to its $250 USD pricetag, but it certainly had a bevy of features to support this asking price.  The The Relay staff, as a whole, felt it to be a good value and several of the twin engine fighters now grace our fleet.

MISC Hull Series

Funds raised from Hull Series concept sale after:

2 hours: $93,265
4 hours:  $159,997
8 hours:  $261,106
12 hours:  $363,245
24 hours:  $589,370
48 hours:  $812,894
72 hours:  $964,540
96 hours:  $1,079,724
120 hours:  $1,203,750
144 hours:  $1,359,517
168 hours:  $1,538,711
192 hours:  $1,724,437
216 hours:  $1,968,998
240 hours:  $2,156,463
Total raised in concept sale:  $2,156,463 (240 hours @ $8,895/hr)

The Hull Series sale started slow.  I believe this is largely due to the fact that it began in the middle of the night in North America.  However, after its slow start it picked up steam and surpassed first the Orion and then, near the end, the Reclaimer.  While it looked like this sale would even catch up to the incredibly successful Vanguard, it faltered slightly right near the end and did not quite reach those lofty heights.  Still, the sale earned a whopping $2.15 million for Star Citizen’s development.

More importantly, the MISC Hull Series brought with it a greater understanding of the cargo mechanics in Star Citizen.  You can find those articles below:

MISC Hull Series Q&A

Hull A Q&A
Hull B Q&A
Hull C Q&A
Hull D Q&A
Hull E Q&A

Cargo Interaction Design Post

It was great to finally get a better grasp on how cargo will be handled in Star Citizen, since it is such an integral part of how the universe will function.

Starfarer Gemini

Funds raised from Starfarer Gemini concept sale after:

2 hours:  $51,094
4 hours:  $91,511
8 hours:  $119,367
12 hours:  $136,673
24 hours:  $251,634
48 hours:  $356,292
72 hours:  $429,923
96 hours:  $494,872
120 hours:  $549,268
144 hours:  $612,922
168 hours:  $683,504
192 hours:  $762,904
216 hours:  $834,996
240 hours:  $899,358
Total raised in concept sale:  $910,523 (245 hours @ $3,716/hr)

The Starfarer Gemini is a neat ship that highlights the great part of the community’s feedback and interaction with the CIG development team.  The Gemini was originally just flavour text in lore and wasn’t really being considered as a ship you could pledge for; however, the community seemed intrigued by the idea of an armed and armoured fuel tanker and that led to CIG’s decision to go ahead and create this variant for us to add to our collections.

During the Starfarer Gemini concept sale, CIG released a three part Q&A about the base Starfarer and the Star-G.  You can find those here:

Starfarer Q&A

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Frankly, for a variant of a fuel tanker, I think the Star-G’s concept sale went quite well. That said, it doesn’t come close to reaching the heights of the Orion, Reclaimer, Vanguard, or Hull series.

MISC Reliant

Funds raised from Reliant concept sale after:

2 hours:  $57,310
4 hours:  $101,282
8 hours:  $176,262
12 hours:  $217,474
24 hours:  $287,835
48 hours:  $370,253
72 hours:  $437,094
96 hours:  $495,189
120 hours:  $559,735
144 hours:  $619,893
168 hours:  $682,659
192 hours:  $761,962
216 hours:  $823,006
240 hours:  $904,123
Total raised in concept sale:  $963,498 (254 hours @ $3,793/hr)

The MISC Reliant is a versatile starter ship featuring an array of xenotechnology courtesy of MISC’s business relationship with the Xi’An.  This is the first of a new classification of Tier II starter ships and is currently the only two seat starter.  The base Reliant – the Kore – is described as a mini-hauler but it can be outfitted for any number of roles.  In addition, CIG have outlined what the Reliant variants will be:

  • Reliant Sen – A science-oriented model that carries internal signal dampeners and an advanced scanner suite for discovery missions.
  • Reliant Mako – Designed for deep space broadcasting, the ‘News Van’ Reliant adds an Image Enhancement Suite that helps capture every moment of life in the stars.
  • Reliant Tana – The frontier combat version of the Reliant trades cargo for a high-yield powerplant, stronger shields and additional weapons mounts.

Obviously the folks here at The Relay have a particular fascination with the Sen or “News Van” variant of the Reliant and several of these ships have been added to our fleet.

During the Reliant concept sale, CIG released a two part Q&A about the ship.  You can find those here:

Reliant Q&A

Part 1
Part 2

The Reliant’s sale went well.  It did not bring in the same kind of funding as the Vanguard or Reclaimer but that was mostly due to its much cheaper price.  As you will see noted below, in terms of actual ships sold the Reliant is the winner of all of these concept sales by a landslide.

Crusader Industries Genesis Starliner

Funds raised from Starliner concept sale after:

2 hours: $28,602
4 hours: $43,597
8 hours: $63,071
12 hours: $84,005
24 hours: $142,828
48 hours: $203,191
72 hours: $242,293
96 hours: $280,805
120 hours: $326,548
144 hours: $369,685
168 hours: $415,782
192 hours: $467,355
216 hours: $522,270
240 hours: $570,765
Total raised in concept sale:  $570,765 (240 hours @ $2,378/hr)

The Crusader Industries Genesis Starliner is the first Civilian Passenger Transport spacecraft concepted for Star Citizen.  It is designed to carry 40 passengers and 8 crew.  The LH307 Starliner is highly modular and will allow for any number of possible internal configurations, including a nearly empty design for cargo hauling, an interior filled with luxurious suites, or even a military troop transport.

During the Starliner concept sale, CIG released a two part Q&A about the ship.  You can find those here:

Starliner Q&A

Part 1
Part 2

The concept sale for the Genesis Starliner did not approach the lofty heights of the other concept sales compared here.  As I figure it, this is due to several factors.  Firstly, the Star Citizen community as a whole seemed rather disengaged at the time of this sale due to Star Marine delays and the long period of time between full live releases.  Secondly, the gameplay offered by the Starliner is exotic for the genre and although I am intrigued by it, I’m sure there are many Citizens out there who either aren’t interested or want to wait to acquire the ship in-game.  Thirdly, the Starliner was $400.  While the stats arguably supported the price, it didn’t help sell this already low-demand concept ship.

Interestingly, we found out on RTV that 1842 Starliners were sold during the concept sale, including ships purchased with store credit (often by “melting” other ships).  Based on the data we have, the funds taken in by CIG during the concept sale only equal around 1400 Starliners.  If you subtract the normal daily funding (about $18k/day at the time of the sale), then it looks like CIG took in additional funds equal to roughly 1000 Starliners during the sale.  The upshot of this is that almost half of the Starliners that were acquired during the sale were purchased with store credit.

While not the resounding success of the Vanguard sale, the Starliner did sell more than the 300-400 ships that CIG expected; therefore, it can be considered a limited success.

MISC Endeavor

Funds raised from Endeavor concept sale after:

2 hours: $75,386
4 hours: $119,724
8 hours: $168,690
12 hours: $203,628
24 hours: $352,555
48 hours: $541,643
72 hours: $680,906
96 hours: $795,144
120 hours: $878,014
144 hours: $938,128
168 hours: $1,008,017
192 hours: $1,065,862
216 hours: $1,132,148
Total raised in concept sale:  $1,168,065* (227 hours @ $5,145/hr)

* = The 2015 CitizenCon sales started several hours before the MISC Endeavor sale ended.  This makes it very difficult to define how much the Endeavor raised in the final hours.  The Endeavor had been earning at a fairly slow rate at that point so the real total is likely roughly $1.21 million.

During the Endeavor concept sale, CIG released a two part Q&A and a design document about the ship.  You can find those here:

MISC Endeavor Q&A

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Design – The Endeavor

The MISC Endeavor sale was an interesting one.  The Endeavor is a research platform with a wide variety of possible uses, these include discovery and exploration, farming, mobile hospital, and beyond.  As such, the Endeavor was offered with an array of modules in addition to the base ship.

It was attractive to a wide variety of players, however, due to its relatively high cost and (I believe) its proximity to CitizenCon it did not reach the heights of the Vanguard or Hull Series.

MISC Prospector

Funds raised from Prospector concept sale after:

2 hours: $91,580
4 hours: $146,432
8 hours: $219,781
12 hours: $262,370
24 hours: $336,508
48 hours: $438,493
72 hours: $514,093
96 hours: $582,461
120 hours: $646,499
144 hours: $708,274
168 hours: $789,240
192 hours: $881,110
216 hours: $972,626
240 hours: $1,052,460
Total raised in concept sale: $1,110,221 (255 hours @ $4,353/hr)

The Prospector had a very promising start to its concept sale, almost matching the 2-hour income of the MISC Hull series; however, over time it tailed off and more closely matched the trajectory of the Vanguard Variants concept sale.

During the Prospector concept sale, CIG released a two-part Q&A about the ship.  You can find those here:

MISC Prospector Q&A

Part 1
Part 2

While not the most successful concept sale, the Prospector did fairly well – beating out the Starfarer Gemini, Vanguard Variants, Reliant, and Genesis in terms of funds.  In addition, it sold a respectable number of ships.  The final tally for ships sold eclipsed the Orion and Reclaimer and came somewhat close to the Vanguard.

As a whole the Prospector was a good concept sale – it fleshed out the mining industry in Star Citizen and gave a great option for players who prefer to mine solo – while also adding another $1.1 million to the coffers.

Drake Buccaneer

2 hours: $22,210
4 hours: $100,367
8 hours: $159,488
12 hours: $188,316
24 hours: $260,269
48 hours: $353,729
72 hours: $417,829
96 hours: $482,387
120 hours: $543,200
144 hours: $591,757
168 hours: $642,835
192 hours: $700,833
216 hours: $755,818
Total raised in concept sale: $794,889 (229 hours @ $3,471/hr)

The Buccaneer sale, financially speaking, just didn’t go well.  It started slow and stayed that way.  The 2 hour total was actually the lowest of any of the concept sale thus far.  Eventually the sale recovered slightly to finish ahead of the Genesis Starliner.

That said, general perception of the ship was positive from those I spoke with.  I personally like the ship.

So why the woeful numbers?

Well, the Buccaneer was essentially designed as a ship to address a complaint in the community.  Originally some felt that the Drake Cutlass would be a maneuverable and powerful combat ship, but were disappointed when it was released as a flyable ship.  The Cutlass is not as nimble as those people expected.  CIG maintained that it fit its role correctly as a multipurpose pirate ship capable of combat, cargo, and boarding.

To address this, CIG created the Buccaneer which is a true and nimble fighter craft and gave Cutlass owners the ability to effectively swap ships via a coupon.  This means that many people would acquire a Buccaneer without ever spending a single dollar.

In addition, most other true fighters are fairly close in price as well – so if a person was swapping their existing fighter for a Buccaneer it also wouldn’t add much or anything to the coffers.

The final point to add in here is that there are a lot of ships in the Fighter category now in Star Citizen.  This isn’t an inherently negative thing, but it means that there was also likely some saturation in that segment of the Star Citizen market.

During the Buccaneer concept sale, CIG released a two-part Q&A about the ship as well as a press release.  You can find those here:

Drake Buccaneer Q&A

Part 1
Part 2

Drake Interplanetary Press Release (Announced free Behring C-788 Ballistic Cannon for Buccaneer concept sales)

During ATV 2.35 it is revealed that the Buccaneer is now one of the most popular ships in terms of ownership, nearing the civilian Hornet.  This provides a final piece to this puzzle.

If you take all of this information together you come to the logical conclusion that many people acquired Buccaneers but few people actually paid much or anything for them.

Comparison:

Illustrated above (click to enlarge):  The Buccaneer starts very slow and only slightly recovers, finishing ahead of only the Genesis Starliner.

Illustrated above (click to enlarge):  Income per hour of each concept sale.

Illustrated above (click to enlarge): A rough and often inaccurate portrayal of how many ships were sold in each concept sale. We know that this number for the Buccaneer, for example, is not close to the real number of ships acquired during the sale.

Illustrated above (click to enlarge):  The number of Citizens and members of the UEE Fleet versus the income from each sale.

Summary:

The Drake Buccaneer looks to be a fine fighter in Star Citizen and a great addition to the Drake fleet.  I suspect its roguish aesthetics appeal to a lot of science fiction fans, especially those of Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica.  The ship is apparently now quite common in the fleets amassed by backers.

Even with the high volume of Buccaneers moved during the sale, in terms of actual income the Buccaneer sale was not a true success.  Given its price point and niche it should have provided more income for CIG.  The status of this ship as a pseudo-replacement for the Cutlass held it back in this regard.

A final note to ponder is that given the number of Buccaneers reportedly now owned by backers, there are likely significantly fewer Cutlasses out there in the wild.

Note from Nehkara:  Thank you for reading!  If you have any feedback please leave me a comment! :)

Nehkara

Founder

Writer and inhabitant of the Star Citizen subreddit.