Well, there is a rumor floating around that STO is going Free-2-Play. While this isn’t a new rumor it has a few things backing it up this time.
Kelvin Lau (CFO)
….We have a bigger potential in US and also in China. And also Star Trek Online, after the acquisition, in fact 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. Thank you.
Now, the the accuracy of this statement should be taken with a grain of salt. I don’t know anything about the originating website, so I can’t say how much this is likely to be completely made up, versus genuine.
Another thing that backs it up, is a post by the producer dstahl:
I can neither confirm nor deny anything (until given approval to).
Now, that is not a confirmation, but it’s not a denial either. In the past when these rumors have circulated, they have avidly denied them. They could just be messing with the forum goers. Or it could be a new Perfect World policy, to not confirm or deny things like this.
I’ve always assumed STO would go F2P at some point. As a Lifer, I assume I would get some kind of monthly Cryptic Point stipend, like Champions and LOTRO did when they went F2P. Then I could take my multi-month breaks and come back and buy all the new ships.
I’m not sure how well STO will do as a F2P game. LOTRO has done it the best that I’ve seen. There are so many things you can buy in the store, that are useful, but not required. I was not impressed with the Champions store. I played briefly, and subscribing was worth it, to get the customization of super-powers, instead of the templates. But none of the stuff for sale was really that interesting. The games weren’t as fully fleshed out as LOTRO was, to allow for such variety of small things to buy.
What could STO add that it doesn’t already have? More ships, obviously, but that’s nothing new. XP bonus items, already have some but they could add an Emblem enhancer, or a Dip XP one, or one for the Duty Officer. Warp speed boost? Maybe, but it wouldn’t really be worthwhile.
The itemization in the games seems to be lacking compared to LOTRO. When it shouldn’t be. Equipping a ship should allow for a lot of variety in things you could improve. But there are only like three stats on items. And aside from Damage, they don’t really feel like a buff. Unlike LOTRO, your character doesn’t really have traditional stats. And the ones that are there don’t feel like they do much.
Now, if they improved itemization and stats, those things shouldn’t be sold in the store, they aren’t in LOTRO, but they should be things you try and achieve in game. The store should be things to help make that easier or faster. Like the achievements in the game, forget what STO calls them. That interface needs to be drastically improve, so you know what you can get and what benefits they provide. Then you might want to go out and complete the “Kill 500 Klingons” deed. Then you might want to by a buff, that makes each Klingon count as two for the deed. Those are things that are worthwhile in LOTRO.
And STO could benefit from a Legendary Item system. But instead, it should be a Legendary ship. That would fit the lore and give people something to work on. Have you ship earn XP and have special stats. But that’s going off into a ramble so I’ll leave it there.
Will be interesting to see if this rumor turns out to be true. And what STO F2P looks like. For me, probably not much different.