With Steam charts showing new peak login count since the release of Horizons, the community feedback on carriers has been really on fire... Will Frontier listen?

Ever since the beta featuring fleet carriers has been out, the community has been in an uproar to say the least. The game that is already notoriously known for its grind put the final icing on the cake by introducing new mechanics that are there to purely punish players.

So, let's do a quick recap – your own Fleet Carrier will dig a 5 billion credits hole in your wallet so you can purely get the bragging rights on owning one, and this is where the fun starts. On top of those billions, you will need to cash out for each of the modules you want to install into your carrier.

  • Repair – 58 mil (+9 mil weekly upkeep)
  • Weapons rearm – 95 mil (+11 mil weekly upkeep)
  • Refuel – 40 mil (+9 mil weekly upkeep)
  • Black market – 165 mil (+18 mil weekly upkeep)
  • Redemption offices – 150mil (+12 mil weekly upkeep)
  • Outfitting – 390 mil (+36 mil weekly upkeep)
  • Shipyard 520 mil (+42 mil weekly upkeep)
  • +10 mil weekly upkeep

Naturally, not everyone will have all modules fitted, but these are the numbers nonetheless. If that wasn't enough credit-grind, Fleet Carriers will require a weekly upkeep cost that will bump an extra of up to 147 million out of your pocket every week. And this is where the „gotcha“ part kicks in. If you accumulate a debt big enough – you will literally lose your Fleet Carrier and everything you spent on it.

Now, Frontier stated that the accumulated debt will be high for you to have enough time to actually pay it, but is the time-frame actually long enough?

Fleet Carrier variant

Further info shows that the final debt when your carrier gets scrapped is 300 mil credits. With the numbers above for all the modules fitted it will take you only 2 weeks to lose your carrier. This is obviously an extremely punishing mechanic that punishes the most loyal players that poured an insane amount of hours into the game already, and instead of rewarding such players – the game goes an extra mile to punish them for taking a break from the game itself.

But even with the huge credit sink involved, players will still need to fuel the carriers either by mining Tritium (requires extra time) or buying it (which is extra credits). To top it all, Fleet Carriers can only jump 500 lightyears every two hours with a 1 hour spool-up time and a 1 hour cooldown time on their jump drives.

To put this into perspective – with this jump distance there are around 130 jumps to Beagle Point. You need 500 tons of Tritium for a single jump and it takes around 10 hours to mine that amount. This sums up to 1300 hours of mining to just get the Fleet Carrier to Beagle point!

It seems very obvious that the whole Fleet Carrier update was indeed intended for squadrons as announced way back in May 2018. and Frontier simply forgot to tweak the numbers.

But, not everything is so dark... (probably?)

Frontier actually announced they will be publishing more info and tweaks on Fleet Carriers later this week. Hopefully someone over there realizes how insanely mindboggling these figures are and finally gets their game design straight for the benefit of the playerbase.

Fleet Carriers are obviously not meant to be owned by everyone and that’s perfectly fine, but with the current implementation there is literally no benefit nor gameplay value involved with any of them except bragging rights and showing off the fact you have insane amount of credits piled up and free time to actually fuel the thing…

Fleet Carrier variant

Update - changes to prices regarding Fleet Carriers:

  • The upkeep cost for all additional services will be reduced by 80-90%.
  • Core running costs will be reduced by 50%.

Fleet Carriers represent a big investment, with a lot of crew and resources involved. After hearing player concerns, Frontier reduced the upkeep to a more sustainable level. The total running costs for a Fleet Carrier with all services active will be reduced by a total of 85.5%.

The debt threshold has been updated in line with the upkeep changes. This means with all services installed, a carrier can go 10 weeks (up from 4) without paying upkeep before being issued a final warning.

This is designed to relieve the pressure of carrier management, leaving more time for focus on other activities. While the debt threshold will be lower, Fleet Carrier owners will have more time to maintain the upkeep costs.

  • The total upfront activation costs of some of the more expensive services will be reduced by 35-45%.

Along with the upkeep changes, this reduces the overall outfitting and maintenance costs of Fleet Carriers.

  • The time between jumps will be dramatically decreased by only requiring 15 minutes for jump preparation and 5 minutes to cool-down.

More frequent jumps will increase the utility of Fleet Carriers overall, allowing them to enhance the owner and visitors' game-play more easily.

The two changes below will come in the second beta. Additional changes can be expected as more feedback comes in:

  • Universal Cartographics will become available as an optional service.

Similar to Bounty Vouchers, a cut of 25% which will be split 50/50 between the Fleet Carrier's bank and the service, will be taken from any data sold on the Fleet Carrier. This means owners will effectively only be charged a fee of 12.5% on their own Fleet Carrier. This service will otherwise be the same as Universal Cartographics services found on stations.

  • Tritium will be made at least 2x more effective as a fuel.

In combination with a reduced preparation and cool-down time, this should improve long distance Fleet Carrier travel.

Fleet Carrier variants

If you didn’t get the time to download the beta, or simply don’t have enough money to buy one yourself – CMDR Qohen Leth made some amazing top-down screenshots of different variants for you so you can come real close and personal with different Fleet Carrier variants. You can find high-quality screenshots here as well as his reddit post that is opened for discussion.