Ships, Glorious Ships
There are lots of elements that attract fans of sci-fi to the genre. The journeys between planets and star systems, advanced technology, and potential interactions with alien lifeforms are just a few.
When it comes to sci-fi video games, those same elements remain, but they’re dwarfed by a much larger one: the ability to fly kickass spaceships.
Star Citizen has over 100 known and cataloged ships for players to encounter. Not all of them are currently playable or for sale on the marketplace, but that doesn’t mean you won’t see them floating around in the distance somewhere.
Over 100 ships mean there’s a lot of flying to be done in Star Citizen. You have combat ships, transport ships, and industrial ships. But you also have exploration, support, transport, and competition. That’s a lot of ships!
The players of Star Citizen love their starships. They fall in love with their designs and architecture regularly, which is why they’re willing to pay hundreds of dollars to fly them. “Insulting a man’s ship be worse than insulting his mother,” as Mr. Krabs taught me when I was young, so I shall be careful with my criticisms of any ships we discuss in Star Citizen.
The Carrack is an exploration class ship that is, put simply: a jack of all trades. To stay alive while out exploring the far reaches of cold space, one needs to be prepared in a myriad of categories—medical, engineering, combat, cartography, and plenty more. The Carrack comes equipped with some of the most advanced technology in Star Citizen and is a beautifully well-rounded exploration ship.
Let’s begin our Star Citizen Carrack guide and give you a tour of Anvil Aerospace’s Carrack and its variations.
Key Info Up Front
The Carrack is a ship with six crew, four decks, a vehicle and hangar bay, and four detachable cargo pods.
It’s also currently not for sale on the game’s website.
The Carrack’s Hull
*Puts on used car salesman accent*
Ain’t she a beauty?
126.5 meters long, standing 30 meters tall, with a towing capacity of exactly 456 tons. You’ll need a crew of at least four to keep her from crashing into anything, but you’ll want a crew of six so you can keep all the turrets manned. She’s a big’n, I won’t lie to you. Classified as ‘Large’ in the specs, but I’d never insult her with such language, know what I mean?
*Pause for chuckle*
Yes sir, that girth is a good thing, in my opinion. It means she can hold all your toys. You got a small shuttlecraft, like a C8X Pisces? She’ll take it in the hangar bay like it’s nothing. Do you want to bring a couple of Cyclones along for the mission? No problem, she’ll hold ’em. All that and a bag of chips, I like to say!
*Pause for laughter*
Anyways, four–count ’em, four–laser turrets dot her hull; two on the wings, one on the belly, and one in the bow. The two on the wings are ball turrets, meaning they have superior range and motion, able to cover much more than fixed turrets. No one’s going to get the drop on you, no sir! The lasers are a size four, so you’ll toast a lot of the competition out there, but don’t push your luck too much, Tiger! Even other level four weapons might be your undoing.
Thrusters aren’t anything special; not gonna try and sell you on those. You’ll go fast. Fast enough, that is. She’ll max out at 1076 meters per second, which ain’t too shabby–don’t make that face. That’s a decent speed for a ship of her size. But it’s true, if you want quicker maneuverability and speed, that’s what your smaller shuttlecraft is for.
So. What do you say? Wanna take her for a spin? I just need to see some credentials first.
What’s She Look Like On the Inside?
There are four complete decks within the Carrack. It’s quite a massive ship. It’s not as big as the Normandy from Mass Effect, but many of its halls and elevators feel similar. We’ll start at the bottom of the ship and work our way to the top. Sub deck, here we come.
Deck 1 – The Sub Deck
- Vehicle Bay
- Cargo Pods
- Armory & Weapons Rack
- Turret Access
The vehicle bay is large enough to fit several ground vehicles side by side. Cyclones, Mules, Hoverquads, URSA Rovers–you name it, it’ll fit in the vehicle bay. Multiples of them will fit in the vehicle bay. You could throw in two rovers from Deliver Us The Moon and still have room to walk around.
Just past the vehicle bay are the cargo pods. There are four of them, and they’re detachable for some reason. You also can’t access them from the interior of the ship. You have to open the cargo pod doors individually and load them from the outside.
If we head towards the elevator, we’ll find a small armory with storage lockers and weapon racks. Not much, but each crew member already has their own storage in the bunk area for weapons and whatnot, so you don’t need much down in the Sub Deck.
Opposite the armory is access to the first turret on the belly of the Carrack. It’s an M6A size four laser cannon. It’s not too shabby but can only target enemies beneath the Carrack. Not the best position.
Deck 2 – The Habitation Deck
- Med Bay
- Living Quarters
- Captain’s Quarters
- Mess Hall
- Recreation Room
If the Sub Deck was for stuff, the Habitation Deck is for people. And more stuff.
The med bay is more than your average infirmary. It might only have two beds with which to treat crew members, but it also comes with an ICU, which is super helpful. Rather than spawning on the last planet you visited or someone else’s ship, you can pop back on your own. It’s handy for missions that take you deep into space. And since the Carrack is an exploration class craft, it fits perfectly.
There’s a living quarters with room for five members. They each get a bunk, a storage locker, and a small locker in the bathroom. The rec room has a futuristic-looking pool table and what might be a projector on the ceiling. Not sure. Whenever I’ve set foot inside a Carrack, it was during intense combat missions; we weren’t chilling or playing in the rec room.
The mess hall is an intimate affair with six chairs at the table, so the captain eats with everyone else. The room feels like something out of Firefly.
The captain’s quarters are clearly modeled after Star Trek. The angles, the desk, the position of the computer and other accouterments are just too spot on. I’m not complaining, though. Feeling like a Star Fleet captain is the only reason I play sci-fi games.
Last but certainly not least, we have the bridge. And oh, what a beautiful bridge she is. Two stories so the grunts can work at their stations and the captain can oversee everything. The visibility in the Carrack is high thanks to its angular and sexy design. I love the layout of the Carrack. It just makes efficient sense. The captain is up top with their star map; they have manual override controls right next to them, so they don’t have to jump down a level to pilot. And everyone else has a large station–they aren’t cramped into tiny sci-fi cubicles–where they can be most effective and communicate with the rest of the crew as efficiently as possible.
Deck 3 – The Technical Deck
- Hangar Bay
- Repair Room
- Drone Bay
- Bridge Upper Deck
- Escape Pods
Time for the nuts and bolts of the Carrack.
You can access the Technical Deck from either the bridge or the elevator. Or, I guess, from the outside. The Technical Deck holds the hangar bay, which is where you’ll store your small shuttlecraft of choice. If you have one. And I’m betting, if you have a Carrack, you can afford a small one-person shuttlecraft. Several ship packages on robertsspaceindustries.com actually come with a small C8X when you purchase a Carrack to fill all your space-faring needs. Alas, the hangar bay won’t hold anything larger than a Pisces.
Beyond the hangar bay, we have a totally useless room–the drone bay. Drones have been teased in Star Citizen for around five years at this point. It’s always, “Next patch, you’ll see!” Still no drones. So this room is useless for now.
The repair room is not useless. If you’re tired of having to find the nearest repair station to keep your ship flying after missions, then you’ll love the Carrack. The repair room aboard the ship means you can conduct numerous repairs while on a mission—no more frivolous detours.
You can access the second tier of the bridge from the Technical Deck, but since the second tier is for the captain, it’s not an access point you’ll use often. Unless you’re the captain.
There are six escape pods just outside the bridge on the Technical Deck in case the crew needs to depart in a hurry.
Then we come to the literal nuts and bolts of the ship. Engineering is also two stories and houses more than just the engine. Your shield generators, fuel tanks, and radar are also housed here.
The two best guns on this ship reside on the Technical Deck, two M6A level four ball turrets. These suckers remind me of the Republic Gunships from Star Wars during the Clone Wars. They’re fantastic, and with their vast field of view, they can hit targets all around the ship. They will need to be manned, but that’s what your crew is for.
Deck 4 – The Cartography Deck
- Escape Pods
That’s right; we have a whole deck with nothing but a giant star map in it. Now we’re really copying from the Normandy, but I’m not complaining. This room is incredible, if a bit unnecessary. The captain already has their navigation down on the bridge, but if they wanted to brief the entire crew at once, they could gather everyone on the cartography deck and show them in bigger detail.
There are also two more escape pods up here in case any crew members find themselves stranded in the event of a catastrophe. There’s also outside access so crew members can walk on the hull and reach the hangar bay.
The Reality of The Carrack
So the Carrack is a pretty big ship, right? And it’s not even available for purchase through Roberts Space Industry, the official marketplace for Star Citizen. And even if it were available, it’d be at least $400-$500, got it?
So it’s not like the average gamer will be flying one of these around. Not even a longtime player of Star Citizen will have one of these. This isn’t like Faster Than Light where everyone is handed a ship for free.
It turns out one of the first multiplayer missions I went on was onboard a Carrack. Lucky me. I didn’t know it was called a Carrack. “Big ass ship” is what I referred to it as, if memory serves correctly.
It’s a pretty impressive ship. I sat inside the turret on the starboard (right) wing. The enemy ships we were up against were precise and professional. They weren’t just shooting at us, they were targeting specific systems on the ship one at a time—turret, radar, other turret, engines, shields, etc. The whole time, it reminded me of this scene from Matrix Revolutions, where each gunner in the Nebacunezzer is taken out one by one until no one is left but the pilot, desperately trying to steer a dying ship.
I didn’t get taken out. Because I’m the best there ever was.
But also because our captain decided to power down and give our cargo over to the other ships.
That run on the Big ass ship was like a session of Among Us with complete strangers. It was fun, and I laughed my ass off, but we got almost nothing productive completed. And that’s usually how the best video game memories are made.
The Carrack can hold its own in a fight, but only for so long. It’s best to launch the Pisces at the first sign of trouble, as you’ll have more than one target for enemies to consider. And the Pisces has its own guns to put some dents in pirates or privateers. Again, the Carrack is an exploration craft. It’s meant to explore. It can defend itself from someone trying to hinder its exploration efforts, but it won’t last long in a serious fight.
Question: Where can I buy the Carrack?
Answer: The only place a Carrack is currently available is on the secondary market. You can always try to solicit someone in-game, but that’s always a bad idea. There are various second-party marketplaces of various trust and quality. I have heard good things about Star-Hangar.com, but don’t quote me on that. And even if you are happy with their online security, a used Carrack will currently set you back $579.
Question: How many Carracks are there?
Answer: Good question, to which there is no exact answer. When searching ship and player analytics for Star Citizen, I can see that the supply of Carracks is “limited.” Compared to other ships, which are “permanent” or “limited++.”
So, to answer your question: not that many.
There are two different Carracks–the regular and a Carrack Expedition. The differences are purely cosmetic, and oddly enough, the most prevalent one on secondary markets is the Carrack Expedition.
Question: How do I fly on a Carrack?
Answer: You run around in the persistent universe of Star Citizen, make as many friends as possible, and hang out near the spaceport. When you see a Carrack land, bombard the captain with questions–or just board their ship–and ensure they take you on as a crew member for their next mission. Easy.
Question: When was the Carrack released?
Answer: Get this. The Anvil Carrack was announced in 2013 as part of a crowdfunding effort. It raised $35 million just by itself. In 2014, Star Citizen offered the ship to players in the game for $350. But the catch was the ship wasn’t playable. The Carrack wouldn’t be playable for another SIX YEARS. The Carrack was finally released in-game, fully playable, in 2020.
The Carrack is a badass ship. It’s big, mean, and the perfect size for an intimate crew to work like a well-oiled machine. It has enough firepower to defend itself against pirates, enough room to store everything the wife and kids could ever need, and you can respawn from its handy ICU.
The Carrack is a ship made for space-faring enthusiasts. If you’re looking to play a few hours of Star Citizen here and there, the Carrack isn’t for you. It is for those looking to invest a bit of time in Star Citizen and get the most bang for their buck.
Looking for more games to dive into that won’t break your wallet in half? Check it:
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- The Pale Beyond Review
- Before We Leave Review
- Outer Wilds Beginners Guide: How to Get Started in the Game
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- Star Citizen Valkyrie Guide: For The Serious Gamer - April 9, 2023