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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
08-30-2010, 05:19 AM
The concerns raised by the OP are all valid.
When talking to friends about STO I bring up the issue of it's "pay double to play" concept as well, although I do not outright tell people it wouldn't be worth playing.
Personally I am still enjoying myself reasonably well with what can be done ingame. What there is is quite nice, I love flying into battles with my defiant retrofit firing pulse phasers (well, 3x DCs for that matter) and quantum torpedos. It is beautiful to watch (STO does have great gfx after all) and it sure reminds me of the shows.

That however does not last very long and reveals STO's other main shortcoming: it is essentially a single player game with a monthly fee granting people access to an online store. Granted, when looked at what it is: a single player game with some limited multiplayer options, it is a pretty good game.

But yeah, couple the single player focus with the utter lack of massive multiplayer/raid-style content with the c-store mentality- and concept, and you have a game that won't hold people for all that long.

Unfortunately both of these huge downsides will remain and most likely even intensify in the future. Cryptic is dead set on neither increasing group sizes in any way form or shape nor getting rid of STO's extreme-instancing (the entire game and engine is designed around it and they are not willing to change it).
The one thing about STO that will ever be truly massive is the C-Store.
As unpleasant and maybe even dispisable it may be, the c-store focus will remain. The reason is simple: it is a business model that works because way too many (and here I disagree with the OP's assessment of there only being a few) people are forking out cash for anything they find remotely interesting or potentially offering an advantage, without thinking about the value/price ratio they are getting.
This behavior is called (not exactly sure if the translation is 100% correct) price indifference of demand.
For STO and the c-store that means the Star Trek (-Online) fans/gamers don't care what something costs, or what the thing is actually worth, as long as the price is not above a certain threshold. That threshold is roughly at 15$. So these people (and believe me there are a hell of a lot of them) just shell out their cash no matter what.

That is how microtransactions work, and they do work. Cryptic is making a load of money off the people that do not make any value/price comparisons/analyses. The ("sane", or let's better say "the more aware") people may call the whole "pay double to play" concept unacceptable, outrageous or even unethical, but fact is it is legal, it is making money and no sane and competitive company would give up on it as long as people are willing (or should we say "dumb enough") to fall- and pay for it.

One may blame Cryptic for the c-store, in a way I do too, but in the end it is the customer's mentality and resulting buying behavior that is at fault.
Of course the company could decide to "go the right way" by focusing more on accquiring more subscription customers by providing a true Massive MOG with true endgame content, but the c-store version is much less risky for them as it requires a whole lot less development resources.