PC gamers who wanted to check out Cryptic Studio's Star Trek Online MMORPG -- but didn't want to shell out the monthly fee -- can now play for free without a retail copy or subscription.
The game, which saw an off-and-on development cycle since 2004, originally launched nearly two years ago, published and sold by Atari. But once Perfect World Entertainment acquired Cryptic Studios in 2011, the company said it would eventually launch a F2P model as it has with its other MMOGs.
"We couldn't be more excited," said Jack Emmert, CEO, Cryptic Studios, Inc. "Updating Star Trek Online to the popular free-to-play model removes those barriers of entry that previously kept fans and casual gamers away. Anyone can download and play Star Trek Online at no cost. There's no better way to see how sitting in the captain's chair feels."
For Trekkies looking to get into a little virtual The Next Generation-based action, you'll need to meet the following minimum hardware specs:
- OS: Windows XP SP2/ Windows Vista/Windows 7 (32 or 64-bit)
- CPU: Intel dual-core 1.8 GHz or AMD Athlon X2 + 3800
- Memory: 1 GB RAM or Better
- Video: ATI Radeon X1800 or Nvidia GeForce 7950 or better
- Sound: DirectX 9.0c Compatible Soundcard
- DirectX: Version 9.0c or Higher
- HDD: 10 GB Free Disk Space
- Network: Broadband Required
Starting Tuesday, Star Trek Online will offer two models: Silver (free) and Gold ($14.99 monthly). Naturally the free account has limitations like the number of character slots, the amount of inventory space, limited customer service and more. However players have the ability to access additional optional features through a virtual store. Cryptic has even provided a chart detailing the differences right here.
For fans who miss the TNG universe, Star Trek Online continues the Picard/Sisco/Janeway timeline, allowing players to visit the Starfleet Academy, Deep Space Nine, The First City of Qo'noS and many other iconic locations and notable worlds around 30 years after the events in Star Trek: Nemesis.
"Experience new weekly episodes that feature story-based gameplay and put your captain's ability to command to the ultimate test, Cryptic said. "Create and build brand new missions and stories to share with the entire Star Trek Online community. Use the specialized toolset to create missions in space or on the ground. Create custom missions, or design an entire series of episodes from the ground up."
To get started on your free trek through Gene Roddenberry's Prime timeline, head here. After downloading the installer, the initial download weighs in at a beefy 3.66 GB, so don't expect to jump into your starship immediately.