The fact that all content is playable for free in STO is one of the reasons I recommend it to other people, it is the best F2P MMO around in this regard.
Just make sure to tell them not to rush the content so they will always have some during the "years long waits" between story content releases.
-Rule of Acquisition #113: Always have sex with the boss.
-I am one of the many victims from the hijacked Caspian Division.
I will not let the childish acts of a criminal ruin this game for me.
-The actions of Cryptic, on the other hand......
I'm actually very curious to see the numbers on what kind of ROI the CO episodes got. Its entirely possible that compared to ships, lockboxes, etc., the ROI simply isn't high enough to justify the development of paid FEs.
Also, everyone plays for different reasons, and wants different things. At least ships can be useful to a broad range of players. If you're not into the story/lore, or will only play through it once (versus multiple times with multiple characters), paid FE might not be interesting/compelling.
I would say this, though: if CBS and other companies ever allowed it (and I've no idea how much booze and drugs it would take), it'd be great to have a charity cross-over events. Sure, lets see how the Federation does against the Empire! Or buy a Firefly ship and Browncoat costumes. Why fly a Peregrine when you can fly a Star Fury? Make them seasonal/limited time offerings, part of the money goes to charity, make them a little more expensive due to additional licensing/production costs, and go from there.
Granted, I can imagine the legal department is already twitching uncontrollably in pain at the thought of this :p
Firstly coming from Playing DDO (Dungeons & Dragons Online) I do not understand this fear about paying for Episode content.
With DDO the only thing I paid for was Episode Content, an example would be the Necropolis packs (I, II, III, IV) which together are a ridiculous amount of story and dungeoneering for little more than ?12.00, 1/3rd of the price of the Vesta ship pack.
Honestly I've spent less on DDO in 4 years than I have on this game in 2 months. The other thing is you pay for what you like and ignore the rest. I'm not saying STO should be like this, I like that it's open to all, but that doesn't mean that paying for Story Arc's is a failed MMO concept, far from it. However I don't think Cryptic have the ability to produce the level and quality of story content I see at DDO or TOR (The tutorial of which I found more immersive and enjoyable than most of the missions in this game... good voice acting goes a long way).
I don't know if it's a limitation with the engine or their creativity, but simply put the episodes lack any real depth and are hardly memorable. I can barely remember what the Breen story was about and in general the events of 2409 onwards aren't really fleshed out in my mind like the rest of the Star Trek canon.
For story content to be of the right quality to even consider paying for I would want to see missions with good voice actors for most the NPC's, I'd want to see a compelling story and adventure, where you have to solve complex puzzles, understand the lore and mission and the Star Trek Timeline and where most important of all you and others form groups to do the missions (not take boffs) where you have to use your separate class skills to solve problems and advance. Episodes should be trying to capture the formula of the TV series not mindless pew pew pew in space followed by mindless pew pew pew on the ground.
If STO is going to have a future based around story content, then we need an engine capable of allowing story tellers to create an authentic star trek experience. Failing that I'd like to see all the option open for the Foundry including 3D-view and options to allow the dialogue to actually offer outcomes, that decisions we make in dialogue lead us down different mission paths. If I had those kind of options I could make compelling stories in the Foundry and bypass the need for Cryptic to do anything themselves.
Above all though I wish they would fix the damned bugs that have plagued this game for several seasons.
PWE acquired Cryptic in 2011. Earlier this year, we released a 5-arc Feature Episode series, "The 2800". It was completely free to all players.
So... one story arc for an entire year is what you're citing as a good thing for people who want story arc content?
I want more arcs than that. They don't have to be Featured Episode quality, with cutscenes, voice acting, and new game tech. Just use existing assets, get some compelling writing, and make some mission arcs!
I like the New Romulus zone, really I do. But now that I've played the objective in each area, I'm done (until I need more marks for the Romulan reputation system). I'm sure that Kestrel can write stuff way faster than the developers can put it in the game, but that's why the episode content doesn't need to beheld to the Featured Episode standards.
"The perfect is the enemy of the good," as they say - don't get hung up trying to make every set of missions like a Featured Episode arc. Just put them out there! There are hundreds of Foundry missions - why not get a writer / developer duo to use the Foundry to make missions for Cryptic?