So Cryptic announced its Lifetime Subscription offer for Star Trek Online. The cost is ~$240 USD and you have to pre-order to take advantage of it, and order the sub by Feb. 1st (prior to launch), or so I’ve heard. They’re also offering a 1-year sub for ~$120 USD and again, you have to pre-order if you want to go that route. Both deals give you 2 extra character slots, and the lifer lets you play as a Borg.
Now let me establish a baseline. I am someone who considers Lifetime Sub offers. I’ve done 3 so far. One was a disaster (Hellgate:London ~$140 USD), one was a very very smart decision (LOTRO ~$200 USD) and one the jury is still out on (Champions Online ~$200 USD). Yes, I do like Champions Online, but haven’t played it much recently due to health issues, then Dragon Age: Origins, then LOTRO Siege of Mirkwood, then health issues again, and now STO Open Beta. And yet that’s kind of the point of why I like Lifetime subs. I don’t feel any ‘guilt’ if I go for long periods without playing. I’m not saying that’s logical (in fact it’s quite the contrary) but it is how I feel. I can just log in without renewing a sub and then feeling committed to playing for 30 days.
Anyway, so now I have the Star Trek Online Lifetime Offer to consider. I have pre-ordered the game so I’m eligible, so that won’t factor into my decision.
- It fits in nicely with my other Lifetimes. 1 fantasy MMO, 1 superhero MMO, and 1 space MMO. That kinda feels like a nice distribution.
- ST:Online doesn’t feel like a game I’d play as my ‘main’ MMO. Lifetime subs are a good fit (to me) for casual games that I want to dip into on an ongoing basis.
- The eggs-in-on-basket issue. If Cryptic goes belly up, two of my Lifetimes go poof.
- The lack of appreciation for customer loyalty. I would’ve liked to see Cryptic give CO Lifers some kind of discount. All things being equal, a player with Lifetime subs to both CO and STO is going to be less of a resource drain than 2 individual players, one of whom had a Lifetime sub to CO and the other who has a Lifetime sub to STO. So why not give the loyal Cryptic customer a break?
- Price: Why is this more than the CO Lifetime Sub?
- Most importantly, the game itself. It isn’t clear to me how they’ll sustain interest in STO over the long term. Space combat is the most interesting aspect to the game (to me) but every battlefield is going to look pretty much the same. I guess they could add variety in away team missions, but I don’t see those as the strong point of STO.
So as much as I do like the ‘security’ of having a Lifetime Sub to an MMO, I think I’ll be passing this time. I’d like to understand why Cryptic feels this sub has a higher value that the CO sub. And I’d like to have more of an idea of what the future plans for the game are. What will it look like in 16 months (assuming a $15/month sub fee, it’d take 16 months of being subscribed before the Lifetime started to pay off)? I have absolutely no clue what direction they want to take the game in (if anyone reading this can through me some links to educate me, I’d appreciate it).
And like so many others have said, the whole idea of having to buy a long term subscription before you’ve played the launched version of the game seems pretty sketchy.