From what I read and watch on YouTube, it almost seems like SC is close to a turning point where they can easily add new star systems and a dynamic universe. Being desperate for a new space sim with landable planets, I spent $45 and got a basic package.
At first performance was terrible on my aging machine, as it had been on the free play events. I always chalked that up to their servers being overloaded. I followed every suggestion on their support page including updating my graphics drivers, putting my swap file on an SSD, and lowering my resolution to 1920x1080 (from 2560x1080) and got it running reasonably smoothly.
I’ve gotten to the point where I can fly my ship, navigate to other planets/moons/stations pretty well, land at ground facilities, and complete waste disposal missions. Waste disposal missions generally involve landing at some deserted outpost and carrying 2 or 3 boxes from the outpost to my ship, then flying away from the outpost and disposing of the boxes however I wish. I fly into space, open the side door, and chuck them into space lol.
Anything that involves combat I suck at, seems like we just keep jousting and I can’t penetrate the opponent’s shields. Maybe the starting weapons suck, so I’m working on doing the non-combat disposal missions to earn enough for more weapons. Speaking of weapons, I spent 30+ minutes wandering around a station looking for ship weapons, only to find out later from posting on a message board that station doesn’t sell weapons. Back to Port Olisaur, which is where I started looking but the weapon purchase terminal was bugging out at the time. Hopefully it won’t be now.
The star system map/play area is larger and more complex than it initially seems, there are moons and stations around the planets, and many facilities on the moon/planet surfaces. Exploration potential is high if they make interesting reasons to go places. Flying over and walking on planet surfaces is impressive.
It’s buggy and laggy at times. For an alpha, it’s good, style and textures are nice, space flight feels good, it supports multiplayer, and the transition to/from planets is good. For an alpha that’s taken 10 years so far, not as good.
I wouldn’t classify SC as a “scam” exactly, it’s already better than some released space sim games I’ve played. But why people spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on ships I will never understand, that’s the scam in my mind. But if they purchasers are happy who am I to judge, I guess. If I want a bunch of ships to play with I will play X4 or Empyrion.