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Star Trek Online Going Free-to-Play in January 2012

By - Source: Videogamer | B 18 comments

Star Trek Online's free-to-play model won't launch until after the New Year.

Star Trek fans yearning for a little bit more of the TNG/DS9/Voyager action in the Prime timeline can jump into Gene Roddenberry's universe for free via Star Trek Online starting January 17, 2012. Original parent company Perfect World Entertainment, which acquired the MMORPG and its developer Cryptic Studios from Atari for $49.8 million in cash back in May, planned to launch the free-to-play model by the end of the year.

"And also Star Trek Online, after the acquisition, in fact Cryptic is working on the free-to-play model for Star Trek Online," Perfect World Entertainment's CEO, Kelvin Lau, said in a recent earnings call for Q2 2011. "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."

Currently there's no reason given as to why the new free-to-play model has been delayed, but Star Trek Online executive producer Stephen D'Angelo indicated that its been in the works since the very beginning. However the game's original publisher Atari didn't want to launch the MMORPG with a free-to-play model, so Cryptic put it on indefinite hold. Perfect World Entertainment, which owns other free-to-play MMOGs, naturally gave the model the green light.

Thursday D'Angelo said that current subscribers will be rewarded with 400 free Cryptic Points each month starting December 1, 2011 as a "thank you" to loyal customers. "The stipend is granted on the 'anniversary day' for your account," he said. "This is the day in the month which corresponds to the day after your subscription would renew if it was monthly. 3-month, 6-month, 12-month, and lifetime accounts use the day of the month in which they were started for this purpose. This means that you won’t necessarily get your stipend right at the beginning of the month, but it will be coming for you at the appropriate time during December and each following month. Stipend points from STO can only be spent in STO."

On Tuesday D'Angelo told IGN that Cryptic is taking a different approach to the free-to-play model with Star Trek Online than it did with Champions Online. "We're revisiting the game's economy," he said, adding that the high-end equipment will be more difficult to acquire and the low-end equipment will be extremely easy to acquire. Dilithium will also be the only item in the game that can be auctioned off for Cryptic Points.

"Dilithium buys you the cool gear," he explained. "People who buy Cryptic Points can go to our store and can buy the cool ships, but they can't get the cool gear. We're going to let people sell their Dilithium to other players for Cryptic Points."

There will also be a limit to the amount of Dilithium a player can acquire through normal means in a given day, he added. Players will also have access to Cryptic's in-game cash store. "If you have no money and want to spend no money you can literally get everything available in our store," he said.

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  • -2 Hide
    nicodemus_mm , November 12, 2011 9:42 AM
    So, are the lifetime subscribers just screwed out of the cash they spent or what?
  • 2 Hide
    elbert , November 12, 2011 10:32 AM
    nicodemus_mmSo, are the lifetime subscribers just screwed out of the cash they spent or what?

    I would think no as most Free-to-Play games have subscriptions that allows for many things in game. Possible only subscribers can use mail or access all raid areas.
  • 1 Hide
    psp09 , November 12, 2011 11:14 AM
    elbertI would think no as most Free-to-Play games have subscriptions that allows for many things in game. Possible only subscribers can use mail or access all raid areas.


    Or they will get points for buy stuff that the normal players cannot be bought too easily.
  • 1 Hide
    NuclearShadow , November 12, 2011 11:18 AM
    nicodemus_mmSo, are the lifetime subscribers just screwed out of the cash they spent or what?


    If the lifetime subscribers get some sort of monthly bonus like many other F2P games do if the player still chooses to pay a monthly fee than I suppose this would actually benefit them more than before as they will get pay content they desire for free.

    It's a shame the game is garbage. The ship battles are alright and can be quite fun but the land missions are dreadful and has game-play that will make not only bore you but make you wonder how the developers thought it was a good idea. (Which is odd because space was the new thing for Cryptic not land!)

    I beta tested it and found it so bad that I gave my beta account away to a friend and she came to the same conclusion. Before the F2P announcement I was looking into the game again to see maybe if they improved and was completely turned off when they had a real money store in a pay to play game. No wonder why their subscriber base plummeted to forcing them to go F2P. What greedy A-holes!
  • -5 Hide
    demonhorde665 , November 12, 2011 11:45 AM
    this is old news i read this same stuff on STO web site just last week when i went to check otu when it was going F2P
  • 0 Hide
    landerx74 , November 12, 2011 2:03 PM
    I have been playing the game since the very beginning and I can say it is amazing! With the changes that will go live when Free 2 Play hits the game will be just plain awesome!
  • 0 Hide
    Efrayim , November 12, 2011 2:42 PM
    NuclearShadowIf the lifetime subscribers get some sort of monthly bonus like many other F2P games do if the player still chooses to pay a monthly fee than I suppose this would actually benefit them more than before as they will get pay content they desire for free. It's a shame the game is garbage. The ship battles are alright and can be quite fun but the land missions are dreadful and has game-play that will make not only bore you but make you wonder how the developers thought it was a good idea. (Which is odd because space was the new thing for Cryptic not land!) I beta tested it and found it so bad that I gave my beta account away to a friend and she came to the same conclusion. Before the F2P announcement I was looking into the game again to see maybe if they improved and was completely turned off when they had a real money store in a pay to play game. No wonder why their subscriber base plummeted to forcing them to go F2P. What greedy A-holes!


    I agree with you that the game needed a lot of working in the beginning, but since season 4 (expansion) the ground battles have gotten a lot better IMO. About the in game store, Cryptic lets earn anything that is for sold in the Cryptic store in game through various ways. The good thing about this STO is that cryptic actually listen to its fan base and makes changes accordingly. Love it hate the fact is that is a very different now.
  • 0 Hide
    DEVILVSANGEL00 , November 12, 2011 2:53 PM
    I recently brought this game and played it for 2 months and was happy with the space battles but the rest of the game is a big big let down, theres never ending bugs some of which have been there since the game was released over a year or 2 ago and some bugs they wont admit theres a bug to fix hence why its been there so long without being seen to,

    the missions are pretty much the same thing over and over again just with different story as to why, the ground combat system is very poor, the difficulty settings dont really change much when it comes to damage and enemy ai difficulty, just u receive more severe injurys or damage to your ship when you die, the cryptic store chage you real money to unlock different uniform types, and bridges, oh what i found most discraceful was that the original enterprise bridge was like x9 more expensive then the rest of the bridges available, that shows that the cryptic studios was milking the original series die hard fans,
    the last straw for me was a bug that stoped you from reaching the highest rank of admiral but i beleive its been fixed now, still too little to late and ive ditched this game for good,

    unfortunley this is the worst star trek game ive ever played and its pretty much a discrace to the star trek universe and what it represents, the way i see it, its just a very very poor game except the space combat and the star trek universe is being milked by the developers in every way possible,

    only a very very dedicated star trek fan willing to put up with non stop bugs and bad bad gameplay would carry on playing for more then 2 months,
  • 0 Hide
    modbus , November 12, 2011 6:42 PM
    NICE
  • 0 Hide
    Hellbound , November 12, 2011 7:14 PM
    nicodemus_mmSo, are the lifetime subscribers just screwed out of the cash they spent or what?


    Well, actually nothing changes for lifetime subscribers. This is copied from their FAQ..

    Q: I'm currently a regular or Lifetime subscriber to Star Trek Online. Where do I fit in?Top

    A: Regular subscribers become Gold Members automatically. Subscribers are charged a regular fee based on one of the several subscription options they have chosen. Lifetime subscribers, also Gold Members, are those players who have opted to pay a single one-time fee for Gold Membership.

    If you stop subscribing, you become a Silver Player. If you have characters that use Gold features, you will be unable to play them as a Silver Player until they are converted.

    Lifetime subscribers also become Gold Members automatically and will not be charged a continuing subscription fee. Basically, nothing changes for Lifetime subscribers: They continue to have complete access to the same content, items and episodes the way they always have.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 12, 2011 10:16 PM
    I really hope they examine the League of Legends business model. It's the BEST one out there hands down.
  • 0 Hide
    upgrade_1977 , November 13, 2011 4:47 PM
    I don't care what anyone says, STO is still one of my favorites. Just wish I had more time to play. :D 
  • 2 Hide
    waethorn , November 13, 2011 5:30 PM
    "Free-to-play" is a gross misapproximation. You can get into the game, but you have no hope of completing it without paid upgrades. Who wouldn't rather just play a disc-based game and get upgrades based on achievements and not pay anything else beyond the game cover price? "Free-to-play" is a cash cow for game publishers.

    I blame Apple and Facebook for starting this trend, and Microsoft for charging for online play. And the COD games for charging for map packs. I want a new Unreal Tournament game to set things straight again.
  • 0 Hide
    gerwyn , November 13, 2011 7:53 PM
    What happens to energy credits and the cryptic credits i already have.
  • 2 Hide
    pocketdrummer , November 14, 2011 12:54 AM
    Awesome... another Pay-To-Win game.

    I need another one of those like I need another a-- hole.
  • 1 Hide
    pocketdrummer , November 14, 2011 12:55 AM
    Awesome, another Pay-To-Win game.

    Pass...
  • 3 Hide
    wardler , November 14, 2011 1:23 PM
    There's a Star Trek MMO? lol
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 4, 2012 10:52 PM
    I love all these life timers complaining that they spent a little over 300 for the sub. But when you think about it the game has been out for at least 2 years. That would be 360 bucks had they paid the 15 a month. So no money lost.