While looking for alternatives to Elite Dangerous, one of the first recommendations is Star Citizen. Back when I first heard about the game years ago, I heard very good things about it. It was very expansive, very detailed, and lots to do. So I decided to take a look at the game and see how it held up all these years.
The premesis's of the two games, Elite Dangerous and Star Citizen, are very similar: Space pilot exploring an endless galaxy. You get a ship, get some missions, do stuff, and make money to buy stuff. I feel as though the main difference between the two games is where the devs are focusing on the expansion. Elite Dangerous appears to be heavily focused on expanding horizontally - making as many planets and galaxies as they possibly can. While Star Citizen appears to be focused on expanding vertically - putting as much detail as they can into a select few plants (but there are still a lot), and trying to make the environments they currently have as detailed and interactive as possible.
Yet the main reason why I'm looking for an alternative to Elite Dangerous is because I started to feel as though the grind became pointless. You do missions, make money, then buy bigger & better ships. But what happens once you have the biggest and best ship? Is there anything left to do? Is there any place left to explore that isn't like the rest of the planets?
Through my research, I unfortunately have not found any main story line for Star Citizen. While the environment looks beautiful and there is lots to interact with, I can't find anything on a main story line. The missions that are provided in SC sound near-identical to those found in Elite Dangerous. Go to a port, speak to the local shop-keep, you pick-up stuff to do, and then you go do them. Then those things "todo" are out of the same handful of categories: Mining, transport, or bounty.
In Star Citizen, the cost of playing the game is effectively purchasing your ship. Cool idea, makes it more immersive, I like that. It does leave a bit of a sour taste in my mouth though when you realize that not all ships are priced the same, and it immediately turns into a pay-to-win program. Thankfully though, you apparently can earn those ships in-game for free with enough grinding - understandable (and also similar to Elite Dangerous which is also fine). The nice thing about Star Citizen is that while you can purchase new ships with in-game credits, you can rent nicer ships for much cheaper.
If the lack-of-story is not enough for me to turn away from the game, I think the main reason why I won't be getting the game is due to the server wipes. Even though the game has been out for several years now (Alpha released to kickstarter backers in 2015, but the community uses Oct 2012 as the release date), the developers still periodically need to reset everyone's accounts. I've heard mixed answers as to what the wipes actually remove, but I take it the worst that can happen is loss of all in-game currency earned, and loss of in-game purchased items.
The server wipes usually take place around major releases, and given that they're still considering themselves in "Alpha", means the releases are frequent. I haven't been able to find any historical information on the release schedule and which ones had wipes. But regardless, the level of software development immaturity is absolutely bonkers if they can't keep track of something as simple as how much cash a player has between patches.
Because of the frequent server wipes and lack of plot alone, I'm not going to bother looking into VR capabilities and just not pick up this game for now. Maybe I'll look at Star Citizen again in a few years where hopefully they won't have to wipe player accounts and may have a story.