If you haven’t watched the recent Ship Shape on the Mercury, you can do so here. We also sat down with the developers behind the ship in a special Townhall Q&A, LIVE from Gamescom which you can watch here.
Special thanks to John Crewe and Todd Papy for taking the time to answer questions.What are the differences in scanning between a ship like the Terrapin and the Mercury? Are they similar enough that a Mercury can be fitted to perform a Terrapin’s role equally well, or better?
Dedicated scanning ships, or ships equipped with dedicated scanners are built around that gameplay, which is not what the Mercury is built for. The Mercury’s scanners are only good enough to intercept local communications, rather than scanning of unknown areas or picking up low signatures at distance like the Terrapin can. The Terrapin, when crewed effectively, will always surpass the Mercury in terms of scanning efficiency. Think of the Mercury as a hybrid cargo ship, between freight and data.Considering its weaponry and supposed light armor, shouldn’t the Mercury be faster than the Cutlass or Vanguard, which are armored and have more firepower? To follow up, the Mercury is considered to be fast, but the stats shows us it’s not much faster than a Freelancer. Can we expect the speeds to be adjusted?
As always, all stats are subject to change and if we find out during production the Mercury isn’t fast enough to fulfil its role we’ll adjust as necessary. Generally as ships get larger they get slower in the current design, so as the Mercury sits in between the Freelancer and Cutlass, it currently sits in between their speed ranges, although there are a whole host of parameters aside from top speed we use but don’t show to adjust their handling characteristics.Mentioned in the design notes for Electronic Warfare, the Drake Herald will have a dedicated e-war suite. Will the Mercury follow this data-running trend and also have e-war capabilities?
Having a dedicated e-war suite was not part of the original design for the ship and at this time is not being considered for addition, instead leaving the functionality on other ships such as the Herald and Sentinel. However, a dedicated e-war suite is not a requirement for data hacking.Will the Mercury enter the ship pipeline soon and serve as the template for the larger Crusader ships?
Keep an eye on the roadmap for more information on when this ship will enter production. The design work done on the Star Runner and Starlifter will both be used as reference for the larger ships, such as the Starliner.Is the Mercury expected to be able to fit through Small Jump Points?
Jump point sizing and categorisation is still being worked out, but we expect the Mercury to fit through the same size jump points as the Freelancer.Is the back ramp the only entrance to the ship?
The back ramp is the only entrance to the ship, and it has no docking collar or secondary lift entrances.
This was an intentional choice to make players choose between the roles. There is actually 5 distinct stations on the ship (Pilot, CoPilot, Scanning, 2x Turret) and we want players to react and choose what they want to do in various scenarios. Increasing the crew capacity means significant other knock-ons to ship design in terms of size and features, and we want to keep this ship relatively compact and focused.As a “versatile” ship, will the Mercury have variants or modules to remove the data running equipment and focus the ship on a different role?
There are no plans to have any additional variants or modules at this time. The original brief was for a ship to do these two specific roles (cargo and data running) rather than be modular and changed into different roles.Can you give us a gameplay example of legal data collection vs illegal collection, ideally including both PvE & PvP scenarios?
An example of legal data collection in PvE would be a mission along the lines of scanning a certain location for information, such as asteroid composition/density. Alternatively, you may recieve a mission to find specific player owned ships & their locations, which will need to be reported back the mission giver. Illegal data collection would be something more along the lines of intercepting sensitive information between two ships for PvE or intercepting and beating another player to delivery on an existing data running mission.Does the Mercury have a bathroom, kitchen, dining table, gun rack and armor storage for all crew members?
The bathroom, kitchen, dining table and gun racks are shared between all crew members. Each crew member also has their own suit storage locker near their bunk.Does the Mercury have an airlock for EVA, or will we need to decompress the entire cargo room to get out of the ship in space?
There is no secondary entrance/exit, so the cargo room must be decompressed to enter or exit the ship in space. There is an airlock to the rest of the ship, and the turrets are sealed off to prevent further decompression.