Players will remember you long after you're gone.
Image showing the surface of an alien planet with a penguin plushy in the foreground.

Star Citizen's alpha release was updated to version 3.18. With 3.18 comes a new persistence feature that will allow you to essentially leave your mark in the game world long after you disconnect.

Star Citizen Alpha 3.18 is being called "Lasting Legacies" which probably has a lot to do with this new persistence system. Also included in this update is the new salvage career path and physicalized cargo. This update also includes a flyable Drake Vulture Salvager and the RSI Scorplus Antares Fighter.

Let's see what Cloud Imperium Games has to say about this new persistence system that they're calling "Persistent Entity Streaming" or PES for short.

With this new tech, all physical objects moved or placed by players will be dynamically tracked on the server they were moved on and remain in their new locations. Players can now leave their mark for other players to find or encounter the aftermath of other players’ actions when they log in, creating one of the most immersive and “lived-in” experiences ever seen in games. PES represents the largest significant technical update in the game’s history and is a critical addition in laying the foundation for full in-game persistence and Server Meshing that will unlock a new level of immersion in the ‘verse.
That's actually a pretty neat sounding feature. Alas, Star Citizen still isn't finished yet, which is pretty obvious given how this is an "alpha" update. It's really not clear just when this game will ever be finished or a full-enough game. It's made some big strides, but it's also taken 11 years to get here.

Still, if you already own Star Citizen, you can download and play what's there right now. You can also check out the full details on the alpha 3.18 update and read the highlights of the update below. A little look at the two new ships can also be seen below.

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Star Citizen – Alpha 3.18: Lasting Legacies update key features include:
  • Persistent Entity Streaming: One small step for pilots, one giant leap for Star Citizen! PES is a major technical milestone on the path towards a fully persistent universe and the implementation of Server Meshing. With PES, all physical items on each server will now feature proper persistence – dropping a weapon in a friend’s apartment as a gift will result in the weapon physically remaining there on that server when their friend enters their apartment. This new feature realizes the promise of a universe where players have a lasting impact and brings Star Citizen one step closer to that goal.
  • One Pilot’s Junk is Another’s Treasure: The highly-anticipated Salvage feature makes its debut! Using a Vulture, Reclaimer, or salvage tool while on foot, players will be able to scrape the materials from target ship hulls. Similar to mining, players will need to balance their beam energy to maximize the scraping process and avoid damaging or wasting valuable salvage. Initially, players will salvage a more generic material that can be sold for UEC, with updates to improve rewards and support the use of salvage materials in repairing player vessels to be added in a later update.
  • Cargo Refactor: The first step towards a comprehensive refactor of how cargo works in Star Citizen adds fully-physicalized cargo to the game. Leaning into simulation elements, players can pick up, move, or drop physicalized cargo with their locations dynamically tracked on the server. Space piracy has become a much more lucrative venture as pilots can “liberate” cargo vessels of their valuable goods.
  • Drake Vulture Spreads its Wings: Living up to its namesake, the Drake Vulture is the entry-level vehicle for the salvage profession. The affordable, self-sufficient craft can be fully operated by a lone pilot as they explore the stars for damaged or abandoned vessels. Pilots can rip wrecks apart like a pro and carve out their own place in the galaxy with the help of Drake Interplanetary’s one-man salvage monster.
  • RSI Scorpius Antares Shines Bright: Every pilot needs a wingman, and every fleet needs an Antares. A variant of the popular RSI Scorpius, the Antares trades heavier armaments and the signature rear-facing turret for a suite of hardware designed for electronic warfare. Its Quantum Jammer can keep enemy ships from escaping battle, while its powerful EMP device can disable enemy shields and systems, leaving targets and their cargo vulnerable as they drift through space. Although a capable ship in its own right, the Antares shines as a force multiplier for any fleet.
  • Derelict Settlements for 600i/Mercury: A new crashed 600i & Mercury Star Runner settlement has been added to Daymar for players to explore. Similar to other derelict settlements, this new location contains on-foot FPS missions challenging players to clear out hostiles, track down assassination targets, or recover lost items.
  • Prison Activities: There is no getting out of jail for free in Star Citizen¸ but pilots have options on how to pass their time as they serve their sentence in Klescher prison. New mission types have been added to ingratiate players with the prison warden and potentially reduce their sentences, like collecting and turning over contraband from other prisoners. This includes new mission types for career criminals, who may voluntarily go to prison to eliminate an assassination target.
  • Time Trial Race Missions: Taking inspiration from Star Citizen’s dedicated racing community, CIG is providing additional support for speed demons. Seven new races have been added throughout Stanton at Clio (Snake Pit), Daymar, Crusader, Hurston, the Yela Asteroid Belt, Euterpe, and Area18. The brand-new tracks feature newly-functional race markers, landing pads for the participants, observation decks for spectators, and multiple new points of interest for players to view as they try to post the top time.
  • Rivers and Sand Caves: Rivers, first added in update 3.17, have been updated with new biome-specific rulesets around bodies of water for a more natural appearance. Additional rivers and lakes containing location-relevant resources have been added on both microTech and Hurston. The update also adds the first iteration of sand caves throughout the Stanton system. Cave networks will contain a new harvestable resource that can be gathered and sold for UEC in this first iteration, with additional content and functionality in the works for later updates.
Star Citizen combines classic space sim and FPS gameplay with boundary-pushing visuals in a massively-multiplayer setting of unprecedented fidelity. Live how you want to live: shift paths from cargo hauler to outlaw, explorer, or any other role, whenever you want. Explore multiple planets and moons, including vast cities and underground caverns, all created with a unique combination of procedural planet technology and complementary hand-crafted design.