Cryptic went about implimenting the F2P model all wrong, in my opinion. I found myself spending more money for ZEN this month than I did on my subscription, and that's the wrong answer...
... STO is an excellent MMO based on a franchise that appeals to everyone on this planet in one way or another, Cryptic. I cancelled multiple subs across a few MMOs so I could focus my free time solely on your game. However, this greed and exploitation of the average gamer's spontaneity is going to bite you in the backside.
It should be noted that the "Greed and Explotation" as you call it, isn't a Cryptic thing, it's a PW thing. Cryptic is only guilty of selling itself to PW.. but can we complain about that? After the mess with Atari, using STO and CHAMPS to get out of the red numbers and then ditching the company, I think Cryptic did a very smart thing. PW isn't the worst company to take over.
You wrote, you found yourself spending more money for ZEN this month than you did on Subscriptions. No one forces you to buy ZEN. Things in the C-Store (though it really should be called Z-Store now) are not VITAL Game upgrades. Buying a costume, doesn't advance your toon in the slightest. Buying a fancy ship, doesn't necessarily give you a great advantage over someone with a same level ship and the right gear and stats. We all want that shiney nice things, but that is hardly the greed of the company, now is it? We demand, they offer. We buy, They work.
You choose to spend your own money on the C-Store because you want something... so, think about the greed thing before you criticize the Free-2-Play model that Cryptic has taken on in their deal with PW, a Game-Payment offer, that ensures the continuation of the game and quite frankly, is the future of online gaming.
As to the people who sub for a month, get perks, then drop... Most of you are probably also refusing to buy things on the C-Store because "It said it was free, I am not putting money into this" Well, if we all had that attitude, then the game wouldn't be around for long. It has to be financed somehow...
While I can appreciate your stance as I'm sure a lot of F2P folks probably come on here to complain about not having this costume or that, I'm not talking decorative Ferengi headpieces or something of equal absurdity. I'm refering to the fact that I have to spend $10 per 10 additional shared bank slots, $6 for two additional character slots (totaling 6 - any more is unnecessary, I feel) and anywhere from $7 and up for ships between promotion teirs offering stat and console upgrades - not inessential cosmetic nonsense - that used to be available through e-creds years ago. I'm not even going to go into this drop box gimmick because, as you said, it's all about what is "needed" and what isn't.
Sure, I don't need more shared bank slots, I can just keep mailing materials and components back and forth to myself. I don't need six characters, I also don't need more than one if I don't want to get the full experience of this game. Lastly, I don't need the best ship my offered for my level, I also don't need to upgrade my armor, weapons or kits but that wouldn't get me very far. In essence, I don't need to play this game, but I do. They don't need to put a ZEN price tag on everything. Costumes and cosmetics, I'm fine with that, but not things that (I hate to do it) are a common staple in most MMOs with similar features.
And in reference to one of the two sentences you oddly left out when you quoted that paragraph - it's rubbing salt in the wound when I pay my measly $14.99, still have to endure this cyber-hardship and they wave a pittance of 500 ZEN in front of me like they're doing me a favor.
I have no intention to "sub for a month, get perks, then drop", I'm a few years too late for that. I was merely saying that the benefits for subbing over free play are not that great.
I see your point and find myself agreeing with a few things mentioned.
When I started this game more then 2 years back, I would come to these forums, read the grief and defend Cryptic with a previously unknown enthusiasm. These days, after the great content drought and the Season patches ( "You get all these features, but for a while, we'll break these ones instead), I must say my willingness to defend Cryptic has decreased ever so slightly.
I recently had a conversation about the whole subbing thing, when someone asked me if it was worth it and the more people got involved in that discussion, the more it was clear that there will never be a right answer.
I get it from the Free-2-Play side. People who either returned to the game after it went free or discovered it by chance or persuasion. The FREE part is a coin with two sides. Yes, you can play free and enjoy the same content as a paying player... though, on the other side of the coin, I hear fellow players run around the promenade griefing about "Oh, how unfair it is that they get less bank slots" "what's the deal with the Foundry, what gives?" "How come you get more toons than me?!" I just think to myself.. Because I paid to play.. Actively supporting the game from the beginning.
To be fair. I'm a lifer, so my Active support phase is actually over, which means it's C-Store time if i want to help keep this game on the net.
But again, before the Free-2-play model, the c-store thing didn't have that much of a difference when it came to the price tags. Back then, if I recall, the Dreadnought was one of the most expensive ships at around $ 25 or so (as I was told, as I live in Europe and convert everything to ?uros ) It was too expensive for me at the time (not to mention it turned like a narcoleptic elephant!) but there were ways of acquiring most c-store items in-game or through reward systems like inviting friends to sub. They no longer do this, so I fully understand the annoyance of the immense price tags. That being said, I still stand by my view that the game needs to be paid some how.
While Cryptic says the numbers haven't changed that much, I do believe more and more people are dropping their subs to go free-to-play, because as you said, the perks of subbing do not exactly have the EPICNESS factor needed to pull my wallet out of my pocket and if I wasn't a lifer now, I certainly wouldn't become one now and i don't even think Gold would sway me either.
Lifers shouldn't complain about the C-store. They get the perks and the money they are now saving can flow into the c-store. Free-2-play people don't have to buy anything, but if they do, they get their shiney and STO can live on. I do see how having to sub monthly AND want things from the C-Store can be a grr moment. But as you said, you don't need them, but if you want them, then it's a small price (or big price depending on the ship.. sorry, couldn't resist) to pay.
I once thought the whole Micro-Purchase thing for western games was a bad move, while many Asians go loco for such things, cutesy little dresses for their avatars, the best fluffy kitten pet, "the Sword of a Thousand spent pennies", etc, I didn't think it would apply to a Star Trek Game.. but here we are and it's paying the bills. Though, more items, at lower prices would certainly do the same trick..
I am kicking myself in the head for not going lifetime from the beginning. I knew during beta this would be a game I'd stick with for a long time. Granted, I stopped playing when the rubberbanding and disconnect issues made the game virtually unplayable, but I knew I'd be back, and here I am. Had I gone lifetime I'd probably be rolling in ZEN like soem Klingon balla and wouldn't be on here whining about it.
I wonder what hardcore PVPers have to go through to stay competitive. Are they blowing through a ton of ZEN every month?
I recall back in the early days it was all "Dude.. we got a team together and we need you for the final spot. Let's kick some Klinks!" These days the sheer mention of PvP gets a chatbox full of LOL's.
I assume there are still those dedicated to PvP'ing, but I'd just find it sooo repetitive after more then 2 years, same maps, same routine. Personally, I'm more RP, then PvP, but i wouldn't mind dusting of the old competitive Ego and having a whirl again. Let's hope that Cryptic gets that PvP revamp on the table soon..ish.