Later this week Cryptic is set to release the second season of their MMO Star Trek Online and in a new Q&A the company reveals more about what is coming. But the big news is that STO’s new executive producer has dropped a hint that the game may be moving to a new payment model. Details on all that below.
More S2 Klingon & Diplomacy mission details + new screenshot
On Thursday Cryptic will release the "Season 2: Ancient Enemies" update for Star Trek Online. A new Q&A answers some questions about the release. A couple of the questions deal with the often requested additional diplomatic content and Klingon PvE missions:
Q: Jeff-El: Can you provide an example of what a Diplomatic Corps mission might look like?
A: Federation Diplomatic Corps provides a unique form of experience (FDX) for completing various non-combat missions throughout the game. These could be existing exploration missions, commodity trade missions or the new First Contact missions. There are also several new missions that take place in social hubs that will also provide experience.
As you gain experience in the Fed Diplomacy Corps, you will unlock rank accolades which provide titles and rewards. High ranking diplomats have some cool things to look forward to.
Q: Azurian: Is some of the new Klingon Episodes going to involve the Klingon Houses? The Orions? Or perhaps the Gorn?
A: There are a total of eight new episodes that take place for the Klingons. There are two that involve a house vs. house rivalry, two that involve invading Federation Space and four that involve the return of the ancient Klingon enemy – the Fek’ihri.
And here is a new screenshot from Season 2: Ancient Enemies.
Could STO move to a new payment model?
However, there may be even bigger news in the future for Star Trek Online. A popular subject for STO gamers is the payment model for the game. Currently Star Trek Online has a monthly subscription fee, plus there are some additional items (mostly cosmetic) you can buy via the Cryptic Store. Subscriptions start at $14.99/month, with discounts for buying 3 or 6 months packages, plus there is a lifetime package of $299.99. Cryptic also offers an extremely limited free demo of the game. This is the same kind of model used for many other online games, like World of Warcraft, currently the most popular MMO. However some online games are moving to a ‘free to play’ model where you can play a limited version of the game for free, and pay for enhancements to the game. Last year Dungeons and Dragons Online moved to the F2P model and last month Warner Brothers and game publisher
Turbine announced that Lord of the Rings Online would also be adopting the F2P model this fall.
In a post Q&A discussion on the official STO forum, the subject of the pay model for STO came up and STO’s new executive producer Daniel Stahl weighed in, opening the possibility that STO may change models, saying:
I could easily see STO going into a hybrid model similar to what [Lord of the Rings Online] is doing. In that model, subscriptions stay as is – but you allow people to play for free but heavily limit what they can do – which in essence creates a robust way to demo the game and then if you want to keep playing, you either pay for every little thing you are interested in, or you subscribe and don’t have to worry about it.
Turbine [publisher’s of Lord of the Rings Online] seems to have some interesting plans and looking at how [Dungeons and Dragons Online] has turned around, its worth taking note.
It seems that Stahl’s is hinting that Cryptic is considering changing models to at least increase the capacity of the free demo version of the game. This new F2P plus micro-transaction model is a growing trend and it would not be surprising. It would probably increase players and help extend the life of the game. However, Cryptic will have to do it in a way that doesn’t alienate the loyal early adopters, especially those who bought lifetime subscriptions.
If you want to give Star Trek Online a go without buying it, you can play a demo of the game for an unlimited amount of time (with some restrictions) and includes the “Stranded in Space” mission. More info and demo download at startrekonline.com/demo
If you want to get into the 25th century and play Star Trek Online it is available at Amazon discounted currently for less than $27 (or $50 for the collectors edition), and that includes a one month subscription.