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MMORPG.com Staff Blog

The staff of MMORPG.com gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

Author: staffblog

Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

STO Boldly Going F2P

Posted by SBFord Thursday September 1 2011 at 10:46AM
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Late Wednesday evening, new information about Star Trek Online came to light during a Q&A session between investors and Perfect World Entertainment's CEO and CFO.  While fielding questions about the acquisition of Cryptic Studios by PWE, it was revealed that "Cryptic is working on the free-to-play model for Star Trek Online. This is going to be launched by the end of this year as well. So I think free-to-play model we have a bigger potential in US market and also in China market."

Honestly, this information isn't completely unexpected. It's definitely something that a lot of players and fans of the property have been clammoring about for a long time. Add to the mix that Champions Online: Free for All version appears to be doing very well and PWE's commitment to F2P titles, it appears that we have the recipe for the announcement.

There is no question that this is a smart move by PWE on behalf of Star Trek Online. By all reports out of Champions Online, the in-game store is not a "pay to win" type of store and truly does contain fluffy vanity items rather than overpowered weapons, etc. If PWE and Cryptic have learned anything from Champions' transformation into a F2P game, let's hope it's this one.

A sticky issue for PWE is going to be the fact that STO has run on a "sort of" item mall model from its inception. While the game charged a monthly fee, players who wanted to, for instance, play other races had to unlock them using the Cryptic Store. The new model is going to have to address some of that when it reemerges as a F2P game. Devs are going to have to ask themselves which things will stay in the store as vanity and which will have to be released wholesale as something required to "win" at the game. Without adequate answers, the idea of pay to win might have some merit.

Fans of the game and those who love the IP will want to watch the transformation of STO as the months roll on. We can certainly hope that the development team will be expanded as (hopefully) revenue rolls in. More devs = more content which is always a good thing.

So what are your thoughts about the F2P Star Trek Online? Is this a good or a bad thing? What about the announcement pleases you and what worries you? Let us know!

Felconian writes:

You just could not ... resist ..the payoff line !

Thu Sep 01 2011 10:58AM Report
Athcear writes:

This is the only way I'd ever play STO

Thu Sep 01 2011 11:16AM Report
artemisentr4 writes:

Well STO has a lot of features that they have been sitting on because of the sale of the company. So if they wait for a couple months to set this up, it could be a good thing.

The game is not a P2P type of game IMO. It is much closer to a SPG co-op multiplayer. But the amount of content in the game along with the foundery should be enough for F2P.

F2P is a good thing IMO for STO. It will at least get players to look at the game because it is free. Some will stay, but the game would have been dead if they didn't. With all the new games coming out soon as well as next year would have been a very bad thing for a P2P STO

Thu Sep 01 2011 11:48AM Report
Nomis278 writes:

Definitely something I'd dip into as F2P, never found my interest held for more than a month or so otherwise.

Thu Sep 01 2011 11:49AM Report
caine6621 writes:

I guess players with a lifetime mebership got hosed again

Thu Sep 01 2011 12:10PM Report
C0MA writes:

Theres nothing bold about failing. At least it may last a little longer now.

Thu Sep 01 2011 12:11PM Report
WhiteLantern writes:

By my calculations, my LT has paid for itself and we're still several months from the F2P conversion, so how am I getting hosed?

Thu Sep 01 2011 12:19PM Report
VoxTrooper writes:
 While i normally praise the F2P of an MMO i keep watch for the whirlpool that threatens to suck games under the waves. mainly this time it is ever dangerous due to it being PWE(makers of perfect world, forsaken world, and other "Asiatic" MMOs developed in California) and common misuse of the micro transaction raptor.
Thu Sep 01 2011 12:48PM Report
nyxium writes:

Uh oh! Well maybe it will last a while... I hope PWE doesn't rename Cryptic as White Elephant.

Thu Sep 01 2011 1:10PM Report
badmanyoung writes:

i think he wont he should leave it

Thu Sep 01 2011 1:32PM Report
Mopar63 writes:

It is a serious falicy amongst many gamers that going F2P is somehow an act of desperation or a kiss of death. F2P is an up and coming model that will only gain more following as new games release. 

There is consistent evidence that going F2P usually means more income. Look at Perfect World, essencially a compnay buil on the F2P model and yet they are in much better shape than most other gaming companies financially. 

 

Thu Sep 01 2011 1:55PM Report
ZoeMcCloskey writes:

Knew this was coming, if I have the free time when it does go f2p I will be there :)

Thu Sep 01 2011 2:21PM Report
Sulaa writes:

Buiness model does not matter for STO. It is just a bad game.

It always was P2W P2P game , now it will be P2W F2P game , not really much change.

There are so many things bad with this game that there is a problem where to start.

Not gonna play this game regardless of it's costs , Cryptic shuld pay ME in real hard cash to play it , then I would consider it maybe.

Thu Sep 01 2011 3:52PM Report
Terranah writes:

I'm a life time member since launch, so there is no current, recurring cost to play.  And I still don't play.  I'm a huge Star Trek fan.  Been watching the show since the 1970's and still watch a show or two almost every day or every other day.  I still don't play.

 

Take down the walls...get rid of all those load screens.  Let me play a t5 connie retrofit.  I really give to shitz if it's not the correct timeline.  It's basically a solo game with some coop anyway, unless you are into pvp and I am not.

 

Otherwise, why bother.  There's too many other compelling games out there and a limited number of time. 

Thu Sep 01 2011 4:00PM Report
Methos12 writes:

This is going to be the first Cryptic game taking the F2P route since they came under new PW managment. The plot thickens.

Thu Sep 01 2011 4:40PM Report
nate1980 writes:

STO should of been F2P from the get go, because the way they decided to design the game. I'm not saying I didn't have fun leveling up to the cap, but the game was just built for F2P. So IMO, too little too late considering we have several major MMO's releasing pretty soon, and many highly anticipated SPG's releasing to hold us over until then. So why in the world would anyone waiting for one of these new MMO's to release want to invest their time into a game that they'll likely never play again?

Thu Sep 01 2011 4:40PM Report
Isturi writes:

IT seems that it is agreed by most that F2P is the only way for STO.

Thu Sep 01 2011 4:50PM Report
stragen001 writes:

Gonna have to take a look at this when it goes F2P. Love Star Trek but I got put off by the poor reviews. Once its free I can see for myself if I like it without wasting any money :)

Thu Sep 01 2011 5:22PM Report
Hopscotch73 writes:

Haha *rubs hands in evil glee*  I remember a colleague at work telling me he has a lifetime sub. I shall remind him of my having predicted it would be F2P in no time at all...

...and I still won't play it. Even free it's not worth the bandwidth.

I seldom hate on anything, but STO was an atrocious mishandling of a great IP.

Thu Sep 01 2011 5:47PM Report
Yaruna writes:

Players with a lifetime membership always get hosed...

Thu Sep 01 2011 5:51PM Report
Pagoas writes: this is the best news i've heard so far today. of course, i just rolled outta bed though. Thu Sep 01 2011 6:18PM Report
BattleM99 writes:

Good news, I'll give it a try then.

 

Though, if TOR is out first, it will be a while.

Thu Sep 01 2011 6:34PM Report
Corehaven writes:

All I can say is its about time. 

Thu Sep 01 2011 6:43PM Report
TheCrow2k writes:

They really had no choice, the game is so niche &  not even that popular amonst hardcore trekkies.

Thu Sep 01 2011 9:02PM Report
SysOpPsyche writes:

Lol. I Am a Lifetime subscriber and haven't really bothered playing it for most part after the 2nd or 3rd month of STO going live (other than Tribble Test Server occassionally when the Dev's are doing there Tribble Weekend stuff ). I personally think its great if it revives the game and the PWE influence is able to get the game to a more enjoyable state (STO Dev team is a decent bunch, hard working and personally fun to mess around with [hence my attendance during Tribble weekend events] but not very 'Skilled' or 'Professional' as most Leading Game Developers by far - average, IMO, which just doesn't cut it in the Big IP's, AAA Game market).

Not a Trek-Head myself just went Lifetime because it was good deal and I felt there needed to be an MMO for trek-heads, it definately has reduced there disruptive behaviour in other games trying to turn other games into a Trek MMO.

Personally, I like the recent changes to ground combat but the game is largely dead IMO otherwise and the Ground Combat isn't a justified reason by itself to bother playing the game (and thats coming from someone who doesn't have to pay a sub).

Thu Sep 01 2011 9:25PM Report
atticusbc writes:

Sweet. I've been waiting on this (innevitable) event to try out the game.

Thu Sep 01 2011 9:49PM Report
Keller writes:

well I was planning to take a resub, when they have finished with the announced improvements. Guess I can wait for going f2p now.

Fri Sep 02 2011 12:07AM Report
IAmMMO writes:

China Market?  I doubt mainland Chinese really know what Star Trek is.  You may have some fans in the Hong Kong and other cantonese speakers in and around the HK China border,but mainland China Chinese playing STO? I don't think so, it's not to their tastes and wasn't part of their growing up.

Fri Sep 02 2011 1:49AM Report
DOGMA1138 writes:

Didnt STO online had life time sub option? did all of those people that payed couple 100's US for theis lifetime sub got screwed again?

I know its easy to "Screw" the people who bought the lifetime accounts because they allready paid for those, and the people who are willing to pay 200-300 upfront for an MMO are usually very extreme hardcore fans that will not quit the game even if the devs come at night and take a dump on their heads...

If the industry will going to have both F2P and LTS type models, and since alot of MMO's lately seem to go round and round between payed and not payed depending on how badly or quickly they fail. It needs to find a solution to award people that have allready payed money, and in some caes ridiculus amounts of it... which as we know most of it goes to the publisher any how.

Fri Sep 02 2011 2:57AM Report
Mopar63 writes:

Why do people think that Lifers get screwed when a game moves to F2P? I mean they do not lose anything in the move, essencially the game stays the same for them.

Fri Sep 02 2011 7:43AM Report
eyeswideopen writes:

Depends on the game. If the game has a premium membership where subscribers get incentives, like DDO/LotRO, then the lifetimers lose nothing via the f2p portion, as they get all the benefits the subs get.

But if a game goes straight from Subscriber to f2p, with no more incentives given to those who subscribe compared to those who play for free, the the lifetimers lose a lot, as they have effectively had their contract agreement revoked.

Fri Sep 02 2011 1:11PM Report
SirBalin writes:

Okay,...they finally got me back.  I was totally stoked for this game when it was announced back in the day, but as the launch drew near...I was quite upset at the lack of pvp the game was going to have.  I thought there would be open pvp, not just in one area...but all over.  I've still held a place in my heart for sto, but would never buy it based on the lack of open world pvp...if it goes free...i'll give it a whirl with hopes that they will launch a pvp server.

Fri Sep 02 2011 4:33PM Report
ssjdagas writes:

This is great! This means I can return to my STO character.

Sat Sep 03 2011 1:59AM Report
delta9 writes:

While I doubt they will, even if Cryptic did move to a pure free model with no subscription option then lifers have not been screwed over and have not had any contracts broken as lifetime means as it sounds, so as long as you are able to login and play wile the game exists - which you will be able to do in a pure free game then you still have your promised lifetime access and you will be getting what you paid for

 

Reality is, Id put money on STO continuing to offer subs

Those who pay monthly or lifers will be getting free cstore points and reality will be youll get more than you do now

Sat Sep 03 2011 2:55PM Report
severius writes:

STO going f2p is a great thing.  Maybe now that its under perfect world someone will redo the entire ground game.

Sat Sep 03 2011 9:00PM Report
Kyleran writes:

I'll give the game a try if its F2P, only way it ever would have happened.

Sun Sep 04 2011 9:14AM Report
Talonsin writes:

Mopar, maybe I can shed some light on the "screwed over" perspective for you.

LTS = Pay $300 and get to play the game

F2P = Pay 0$ and get to play most of the game

Thats why many people feel that a game going to F2P screws over the lifers.  Lifers sometimes lose in-game stuff too, look at LoTRO, those lifers lost inventory space and some other items if I remember correctly.

Basically us lifers paid Cryptic $300 to help them beta test the game so it could be better for the f2p crowd who will have access to just about all we have.   

 

I dont have any issues with a game launching as F2P and some companies do very well with it.  I just dont like seeing a P2P game going free and then seeing the people who stuck with it and supported it losing features and having to spend additional money on things they would normally have gotten free as a subscriber.

I also feel Cryptics free monthly stipend of points is considerable less than most games.  If you look at LoTRO, they get 500 monthly points AND turbine points are worth more than cryptics points last time I checked. 

Sun Sep 04 2011 1:34PM Report
FrodoFragins writes:

Have they even announced how F2P will work.  Lifers can't complain until they get more info.  Lifers in LOTRO surely didn't get screwed with the switch

Mon Sep 05 2011 1:11AM Report
Jorvias writes:

I somewhat foolishly bought the game, played it for a month, then quit. I might try it again if it goes f2p.

Thu Sep 08 2011 1:14PM Report
gryphon93 writes:

You know that Steam is eventually going to have to come out with the "No One Gives a Shit" bundle, containing STO, VG, EQ, and Fallen Earth.

$1.99

Thu Sep 08 2011 8:04PM Report
temptest99 writes:

STO should of been called:

"That  sucking sound is: The Black Hole Your wallet just fell into"

I Have no pity if You wasted your money

Sat Sep 24 2011 2:02PM Report

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