Cryptic Studios, an entrant within the Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying genre, has achieved their maximum level in monetary greed. Their recent release of Star Trek Online, a franchise that has been known to house some of the most ardent collectors in existence, has been less than courteous to its fans.
In order to delve into the typical MMORPG, one must acknowledge two distinct transactions: the initial cost of the game and the recurring monthly fee, which is usually around $15.00. This monthly fee is solely needed in order to maximize profit and to maintain expenses, e.g., server maintenance, bandwidth, employee costs, development. This is clearly understandable and has worked well for every MMORPG on the market.
However, Cryptic has decided to double-dip into the pockets of their consumers. They understand the desire, the passion, and the yearning for in-game collectibles; they know the mentality of the true Star Trek fan. This knowledge has led Cryptic down the path of imbalance: too much for the money; too little for the customer.
Outside of the initial cost and monthly fees, Cryptic has decided to delve into a more darker practice: an in-game item store, where one can purchase unique items, which are ultimately just bits & bytes of code, with real tangible currency. What's crazy about this entire ballgame is the fact that some of the items within this store reside around the most prominent features of Star Trek. For instance, you have to pay real money in order to play as a Federation Klingon, one of the most well known races in the entire franchise. This is but one of the many angers within the community.
Star Trek Online's official launching date was Feb. 2nd, 2010. With the use of in-game collectibles, they had enticed players into purchasing a lifetime subscription for $240.00 - before the game went live. They had announced that those who purchase the lifetime subscription before their initial launching date would be able to play as a Federation Borg, another prominent entity within the Star Trek realm. Fans took to it hook, line and sinker.
The practice of charging extra for exclusive in-game items is incongruous. Anyone who purchases the game and pays the monthly fee should have access to earning every in-game item in game. This possible trend should be feared by all collectors within their most anticipated game. I personally find it to be rather distasteful; thus, I will not delve into another Cryptic product again.
Another contender for the sci-fi gaming crown would be none other than EA/Bioware's Star Wars: The Old Republic. This is yet another franchise that contains the will of crazed and anticipated fans. However, there has been nothing said about their intentions towards gaining optimal green. The game is currently under development and is planning to launch in early 2011.