Another Lifetime Sub decision

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.

9 thoughts on “Another Lifetime Sub decision

  1. I am not sure if LOTRO was worth the lifetime. But okay, your habit of logging in for 15 minutes every week or so (I might exaggerate, but you told me you have a rather irregular playing pattern) might have saved you money in the long run.

    CO, now STO, a third MMO apparently in the making… and they always offer the “pay up front for 9 months” plans. Let me explain, Turbine and other companies once stated around 9 months is the time a player plays a particular MMO before he gets bored. Cryptic seems to be hungry for money before the game is actually finished – STO has a lot of things that could and should be added.

    My main gripe is their business plan being the same as for CO. I believe STO is even better than CO for a FREEMIUM F2P itemshop system. DDO really got re-animated through this system. Guild Wars is even better, it offers the most bang for the buck and, to be frankly, it is IMO a better game than both CO and STO together. So why must Cryptic go with such bait offers that appear to be quite fishy to me and always double or triple-dip their customers?

    Compared to what I pay to a LOTRO 60 day timecard, (16,80 EUR~ 24,1 USD), I pay 12.99 EUR for one month STO, and the 3 month plan just saves roughly 3 bucks, 35.97. They are not on the cheap side.
    I also believe a F2P with box sales game is ideal given the Star Trek Franchise. Cryptic is REALLY in dire need of money or what?

    Frankly, “only” 240 USD for a lifetime membership if you “dip in” occasionally does not really sound like a good deal to me. So yeah, I agree to your assessment to pass this time. I also do not understand why they ask for more money than in CO. This is milking Trekkies, and IMO they are going the wrong way with their pricing. Again, make it a F2P freemium game for Trekkies, and the servers will explode. They just must create a fair item shop model that both makes them money but does not take advantage or piss off players and they have a Star Trek franchise based gold mine.

  2. If one opts for a lifetime subscription then they should give a 14.95 rebate on the game purchase itself. You see, your 50 dollar purchase gives you one month free ala a $14.95 value. If one needs to buy the lifetime subscription BEFORE your get to play your one free month, you have lost out of the $14.95 value. Seems a way to screw people.

  3. Other than your cons list being longer, it sounds like you’re not really sold on the game. To be fair, neither am I and I’m not even in the beta. To me it sounds like a fun — for short periods of time (everyone gets to decide on their own what “short” is) — space game and a bland same ol’ same ol’ (MMO-wise) ground game.

    I agree on the “security blanket” feeling though. I love having the Lifetime to LOTRO and can take guilt-free breaks whenever I want with no hassles of doing the unsub/resub dance either. Even with my breaks, I’ve more than gotten my money’s worth out of LOTRO compared to what I’d have spent every month. But I had faith that LOTRO would be around awhile. Can’t say that faith is there for Cryptic’s new games. I know Roper isn’t The Man at Cryptic but still, compared to how Turbine handles their Lifetime promotions, Cryptic’s up-front-or-nothing scheme seems like a bit of a Hellgate cash-grab.

  4. Yeah, if this was a Turbine game, changing nothing else about it, I’d be apt to spring for the Lifetime. I just ‘trust’ Turbine in ways that Crypic never inspires.

  5. I never bought a lifetime for Hellgate, but I do have both LotRO and Champions lifetime subs. I’m struggling with the same pros/cons you are. Only rationalization I can come up with the the extra $40 is because Cryptic doesn’t own the Trek IP so there’s some additional costs, of course in that case you’d think the monthly would be higher but I imagine there’s too much market pressure for them to try changing that. I’m not as worried about the longevity of the game, the website is already hinting at Cardassians and Romulans as new factions (one wonders if they’ll be PvP only). My biggest gripe is not seeing a loyalty discount for Champs lifers.

    I am curious how much of the pricing and special deals is set by Cryptic and how much of this is coming from Atari. Just like the set-in-stone deadline, this may be an instance of the development studio taking it on the chin for the publisher’s decisions.

  6. Good point with Atari. Since I haven’t been tracking either of Cryptic’s games, I had it in my mind they’d managed to self-publish. After the tricks Atari pulled with DDO (plus rumors of going behind Turbine’s back and getting Cryptic to secretly work on a D&D Forgotten Realms MMO) it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Atari was behind the cash-grab lifetime “deals.”

    Then again, I’m rather biased against Atari these days…

  7. I have lifetimes for LotRO and CO; I probably didn’t get full value for LotRO, yet I’m happy to have the lifetime subscription and feel confident that the game will stick around. I feel sufficiently burnt by CO that I’m unlikely to consider paying up for STO though, especially when it is even higher in cost and I am dubious about Cryptic’s ability to keep both games afloat.

  8. I think it’s foolish of Cryptic to give a pre-launch deadline for purchasing a lifetime sub. It seems apparent to me that they did not learn from fiasco that happened with Champions Online. If STO is good, then great. But why not have a March deadline instead so that players can have a chance to play the game before making such a large monetary commitment.

    Frankly I am not particularly fond of Cryptic these days.

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