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Secret Microtransactions In Star Trek Online

| 2 Feb 2010 20:49
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If you want to play as a Federation Klingon or a Ferengi in Star Trek Online, you can, just as long as you buy a few Cryptic points.

A vigilant poster on the Cryptic Star Trek Online forums and subscriber to the game, crusader8463, posted a shot of the heretofore unannounced in-game Cryptic Store. Listed in the store is a "Federation Klingon Playable Species" and a "Federation Ferengi Playable Species" for 240 and 80 Cryptic points, respectively. Star Trek Online officially opened its servers in North America today, and will launch in the EU on the 5th.

According to the Champions Online website, 500 Cryptic points retails for US $6.25. Quick and dirty math tells us that a Cryptic Point is equal then to 1.25 cents (or $.0125) and that playing a Klingon will cost you $3 and a Ferengi $1. While that might not seem exorbitant, players have already spent at least $50 on the game (or $240 for the lifetime subscription) and do not appreciate being asked to spend more money through these microtransactions.

I've asked representatives at Cryptic if they had any comment on the C Store and I'll update this post when they get back to me with a statement.

Despite the fact that it is definitely cool to play as a Klingon in the Federation a la Worf or a Ferengi obsessed with making a credit, the problem is that making items or options available only if you pay the piper leaves a bad taste in some gamers mouths.

Crusader8463 had this to say in an open letter to designers of Star Trek Online:

Dear Cryptic: Please don't nickle and dime the hell out of this game. I really want to keep playing STO, but i refuse to be a part of the problem and support your game if you plan to proceed with a microtransaction model on top of our monthly fees. If you wish to pursue a business model based around microtransactions that's fine, but doing both would make even the greediest of Ferengi blush with shame. If it's in the store, then it needs to be obtainable in the game.

Other players argue that if you want to play a certain way, you now have the option to, and more choice is a good thing. Still others point to the fact there were a plethora of awesome in-game items that were only available if you preordered from a certain vendor and no one had a problem with that business model.

Finally, some players claim that buying special or collector's edition of STO automatically gives you 500 Cryptic points to spend how you choose, so these items are still essentially free.

It seems that Cryptic is testing the waters as to how microtransactions are received amongst the MMOG player base. Whether it translates into more revenue for the company or a net loss due to pissing off customers remains to be seen.

Source: MMORPG

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