In other words, Cryptic will satisfy their desire to fleece their customers for every last bit of money they can get by carrot or stick. Even if it goes against their former platitudes their Money based items would remain COSMETIC additions that had no impact on gameplay.
Oh right, refer people and now you get:
A coveted skin
PLUS an extra power,
PLUS a holographic BO,
PLUS a new Tribble,
PLUS the ability to instantly warp to them,
PLUS a damage buff / XP Buff for flying with your referrals
Want to produce an incentive to get 5 people without using a ship to get it ?
Refer 5 friends and get:
Free Extra Character slots
Free Extra Costume Slots
Free Extra Ship Slots
Free PRE-ORDER bonus items / Uniforms.
Since the PRE-ORDER items are essentially worthless beyond the starter ranks and the Uniforms remain cosmetic. That would have no effect on gameplay and give no specific advantage to anyone.
Not to sound cynical, but I would say that they're not playing to the LTS's anyway. LTS's gave a big chuunk of change to help get the game through the first few months to a year, but they're not longer the lifeblood of the game, or at least won't be for long. Cryptic has the LTSs' money, and if the game goes on for longer than about two years the LTS's become a liability to them, in fact. The monthly subscribers are the ones that keep the game -- any MMO, really -- going. To that end, play time as reward would be in keeping with other MMOs that have referral programs, and would be of value to the monthlies.
I'm going to have to agree with Shard-Warrior here. Cryptic still expects money to be made from C-Store and future Expansion Packs. It appears the Romulan EP will be out sometime this year. Cryptic's going to want the LTS's $29.99 just as much as the monthly subscriber's. And with 4-9 C-Store items going in every month they want the money from that too. LTSs still vote with their dollars, though maybe not as loudly as monthers.
The ship IS Iconic.
The fact so many people remember it, lobby for it and willing to get fleeced for it should demonstrate this rather well.
Just because its in one episode or from a different timeline does not negate the fact it is iconic.
Nobody was lobbying for it. There are hundreds of threads for the Excelsior. That's the ship people were lobbying for. And are still lobbying for. And will keep lobbying for.
There are dozens of threads where people are lobbying for The Galaxy (not the three nacelled Future That Never Happened one) ... the Defiant ... and the Intrepid to be available at T5. Which seems to be what we'll be getting for FREE.
It's a future that never happened timeline ship that appeared in one episode.
It's not iconic at all.
What throws me off about this debate is that, in Beta, I was begging for the Galaxy X and the playerbase then said that 3 nacelles was ugly, that the ship belonged to another timeline, that 3 nacelles went against Gene Roddenberry's and Matt Jeffries' vision, etc. The strongest support was an, "Eh. It might be cool."
I moved on, realizing I don't really like Cruisers except for show.
NOW, everyone is upset...? Where were these people before?
I think it's more about people who don't like rewards being tied to anything but achievement or the idea that they can't have everything than the Galaxy-X itself being that special or iconic.
Whereas I think Cryptic has been very clear about going for a "nobody can have everything" approach.
IMHO, to hammer this home, we should start seeing missions (non-repeatable) where you have to choose one of four bound cosmetic rewards but nobody can have all of them. And then have no way to obtain all four. And refuse to offer the others in the C-Store.
Just to hammer home that money and skill and time will not get you everything, that nobody has everything, that nobody is entitled to more than 25% of everything. Because it promotes real, honest-to-goodness diversity of some kind if the majority of things in game are something no one person can have, regardless of Cryptic Points or STF completions or persistence. You get what you get. Nobody gets a complete set of anything for any reason.
That's the direction I'd like to see MMOs head. Then people might focus on what they like instead of what they can have that other people can't or "keeping up with the Joneses".
I think this carrot is going to work well. It's so enticing that players are clamoring for it. And the only way to get it is to recruit people.
Honestly, with this much buzz now, does anyone really think they're going to make this ship easier for anyone to obtain?
I honestly don't think it will ever be on the Cryptic Store. Subscriptions are infinitely more valuable than any small sum worth of C-Points that the ship would be worth. Unless it were worth at least five LIfetime Subs worth of C-Points. That's 96,000 C-Points, BTW, which makes this the most expensive ship in the game
This Ship is just as "iconic" as any other thing that had only one Episode...
Prometheus, Doomsday Machine, Crystaline Entity (wait no fair it had 2 eps! oh snap AGT was a 2 parter!)... Enterprise C (one episode), Enterprise B (one movie and only at the beginning!)...
and maybe it has something to do with the fact that it was the FINAL Episode of TNG?
..."alternate timeleine that did non happen", uhm the 2 Negh'Var Klingon Ships seen there the first time did not happen? Strange, they are pretty much everywhere now.
Even the Enterprise-J from ENT has a Fanbase and that ship wasnt even shown properly.
"iconic" might not be the right word... "important" is more like it.