If all else fails, at least we can dance. OK, Star Trek Online is out on February 2–a little under two weeks. Much like it did with Champions Online, Cryptic is charging the industry standard $14.99 per month. But there are other options. If you go for three-month blocks of time, it’s $41.97, or $13.99 per month. Stepping up to six months gets you in at $12.99 per month.
All of that is run-of-the-mill pricing stuff. Of course, you still have to buy the actual game, which is $50… unless you want the collector’s edition, which gives you some extra doodads for a total price of $60 for a downloadable version and $80 for a physical copy, which comes with a fake communicator and some concept art.
Again, nothing out of the ordinary here. It’s the two other payment options that are throwing me for a loop. These are limited time deals that are only available until February 1… you know, the day before the game actually comes out? If you opt for these, you can lock yourself in at a yearly rate of $119.99 (that’s just under ten bucks a month) or you can just do away with all of this monthly fee crap and give Cryptic $239.99 for a lifetime subscription.
Keep in mind that’s the lifetime of the game, not the lifetime of the player.
SPOCK GOT GAMENow, until I saw the lifetime subscription package, I had almost no intent of even playing Star Trek Online past the end of the open beta. The beta seems fun enough. The systems feel reasonably well-conceived, I guess. But I haven’t really played enough of it to figure out if the game is actually any good or not. That’s what makes these additional offers so tricky… you have to pay up front for a game that might not be all that great. Heck, it might not even reach or maintain the subscription numbers it needs to survive, if you want to get technical about all this. But that’s probably a misplaced worry… surely something with the Star Trek name attached to it will at least attract an audience for the first year or so. From there, it’ll all depend on how much support the game gets.
At this point, I’m essentially trying to talk myself out of dropping $300 on an MMO. But the notion of paying once for a game that normally has a monthly fee associated with it is incredibly appealing. What if the game’s a hit? What if the late-game stuff is amazing? What if my latent Star Trek nerddom takes over and I get fully hooked on it? Regardless of all that, I have to make my decision before the game is even officially available. Sneaky. Very sneaky.
At this point, if I’m going to play it at all, I’m going to get a lifetime subscription. The other option, paying a monthly fee, would feel like an endless ripoff with what I know now. In the back of my mind I’d always know that, for the price of 16 regular months, I could have eliminated the fee thing entirely. It also removes some of the pressure of actually playing an MMO. Half the time, I played World of Warcraft out of guilt, just because I knew the meter was running. There’s something weirdly liberating about eliminating the regular fee.
Christ, this is starting to sound like an informercial.
Maybe that’s the worst part about all this. It’s a very salesy sort of thing. By forcing players to make a decision based on time in a decidedly shaky open beta, players are asked to place a certain amount of faith in the game’s developers when making this decision. I guess City of Heroes was/is well-supported. Seems like Champions Online has seen some meaningful updates since its launch. Surely a big licensed thing like Star Trek Online would at least get that level of support, if not an additional layer to keep the license holders happy, right?
Fine. OK. I’ve talked myself into it. I like Star Trek. So I am going to buy Star Trek Online. End of story. This, people, is why they still make licensed games. Because occasionally someone will get suckered in without paying any attention to the quality of the actual game. Now I just need to decide which pre-order bonus I want…
Steam. Done. I don’t need a concept art book or little communicator badge that’ll just sit in its box forever. $300. God, it’s like I just bought a whole new console or something.
POR VIDA, HOLMES
Dear Star Trek Online,
Please be good.