Let me preface this with the following, since if I don't, my annoyance might be taken as something more severe than it is, in fact, intended to be.
1) I like STO. Seriously - I've been here since Closed Beta (last wave), I'm a lifetime subscriber (and don't regret it), and while I have at times been sorely annoyed at the game being pushed out too soon - I've generally blamed the business side of things for that.
2) I like the developers; at least the ones who come on the forum. (Obviously we don't know the ones who don't.) - They're usually interesting to talk to; they have useful information about the game and the industry, and I feel they're creative and competent in equal measure.
So needless to say - the game itself I'm genuinely happy with.
The C-Store is starting to hack me off in a big way. It started back with the Excelsior - a brand new ship being released solely via C-Store.* Then they just kept adding more - to the point where now a good chunk of the top end ships in the game require you to pay up if you want them.** Quite frankly, this is irritating.
It would be acceptable in a free-to-play game; but I (and many others) paid a large amount of money up front, with the understanding that except for a few cosmetic additions here and there, we'd have free and full access to the game. Likewise, there are a lot of people paying their subscription fees each month with the same expectation.
However we have a situation right now where the number of free uniform pieces is actually equaled by the number you need to spend money on. We have a situation where the ships you can get for free is sorely limited once you hit the end-game; at least without a truly astounding quantity of work.
This here is the rub:
My options, if I want these ships, is to either:
A) Shell out 15 dollars - an entire month's subscription fee
B) Spend a month or two grinding for 3 or more hours a day.
If it were just one ship? Okay. If it were just once in awhile? Sure. A major C-Store release every 3-months? That's fine. However it seems to be just about every new ship added to the game - which leads me to ask "What did I pay for in the first place?"
Yes yes, I can access the game - you know what? I can pay for other games, get the same access - AND get access to all the items in those games via just playing. And no, this 500 emblem grind nonsense is not 'just playing'.
The Emblem Grind
This is what I think finally caused me to make this post. I don't feel this is necessarily a dev-based idea, so I'm not bashing them for this; but I want to point out how utterly ludicrous this grind really is.
You can get 19 Emblems per-day if you do every daily activity that grants an emblem. However this includes PVP - which can be extremely slow and extremely obnoxious*** - it also includes Fleet Actions, which can take hours to complete; particularly the ground-based ones like Big Dig. Even when things go smoothly you're talking about 3-5 hours of work to pull in those 19 emblems.
3-5 hours of work; and you need to keep it up for around 27 days in order to get your ship. That's every. Single. Day. To top this off, while buying it will net it for every character on your account; this enormous emblem grind is only for the character who did it; meaning if you ever want that ship on another character? Yeah, waste another month of your life.
Now let me be clear here what my problems are here:
1) At 3 hours per day (the fastest I've ever managed to pull in all the emblems you can get; this requires a lot of things going for you without any bad luck) - you're looking at a dead-minimum of 81 hours of work.
81 hours. That's 2 full weeks of work at your full-time job. Again, this is assuming you're pretty darn fast and things go well for you. If you AREN'T that fast, it'll take you even longer.
2) This isn't just playing the game either; and this is what REALLY sets me off about this; If emblem acquisition was something that didn't require you doing the same content over and over and over and over and over and over, if it were something embedded into episodes and such like that so you could be building emblems while having a good time - then maybe that would be acceptable. But it's not - all that time you're spending gathering Emblems?
You aren't playing the rest of STO. Ya know... the fun parts.
To really hammer my point home here; let me look over at Champions Online, the other Cryptic game. I play it too, and it also has a C-Store. Why am I not annoyed at the CO C-store? It was there at the beginning, even when the game was Pay-to-Play... so what's different here?
1) CO C-Store releases tended to be well spaced out. You didn't have a new one coming at you at a constant clip; though they do sometimes come in spurts.
2) They really are almost all cosmetic. (Excepting new F2P-centric things like XP-boosters, which I frankly don't care about.) - Even the new purchasable travel power is cosmetic, since it's just Super Speed with a new skin. There's none of this "Buy a starship with unique abilities" crap.
3) Price; I think this also is particularly annoying to me - I'm OK with dropping five bucks here and there; but 15 dollars for a ship? Let me restate that this is the same amount of money one would spend on a subscription. To another game. As much as I like STO; there are other games I'd like to play too, and if I felt I could justify the extra 15 a month, guess where it'd be going? Not to a starship. CO's purchasable items tend to be significantly cheaper - mostly in the 3-5 dollar range.
4) Free Stuff - CO has added many, many costume pieces since the game launched, completely for free. First there were a ton in Vibora Bay (themed around the various enemy groups) - They were grindy; and still are to a point - but you can get lucky and one will drop right in your lap. You can also just buy them on the auction house, since other people can sell the ones they get that they don't want.
Then there were those added for the Adventure Packs - you have to buy them with Tokens, gained by doing said adventure packs. However:
a) The adventure packs are at least fun. (Particularly Demonflame - Serpent Lantern is kind of obnoxious I admit. While it is the same content again and again; it's enjoyable content, rather than the same damn patrol missions over and over. There is, at least ,a story.
b) You get enough tokens that after one run, you can almost always buy at last one costume piece. Even the most expensive only require 2 runs. In other words, you are progressing, visibly - you get a reward almost every time.
c) Even to get an entire set, it doesn't take an entire month of constant playing.
Again, these are free - you can't even buy them if you want to.
Then they've gone and added a bonanza of additional costume pieces that are free for subscribers with the new Free to Play release.
The worst unlock grind in the entire game, the 5,000 kill perks, still only take 6-8 hours to do (sometimes less, sometimes more, depending, but still, it's the kind of thing you spend a week doing, not a month. And even then it's not a constant - you can knock it out in one day if you really want.) - These I will add ARE available in the C-Store, and at a reasonable price that includes multiple unlocks.
5) Account-unlocks, not character-unlocks. Did I mention this is all account-wide? Once you unlock this stuff, it yours for good; no matter what character you play. So if you put in your 8 hours for a costume piece, you will always have it no matter what character you're on. You can unlock it with your max-level character and then start a new character with that costume piece that was essential to their look.
So how do we fix this?
Well, I actually have a few small-ish solutions that I feel would help the issue.
Obviously we can't reduce the price at this point - too many people who spent their money would feel cheated. That's not fair to them. (Maybe a ways down the road, as in another year or so out) - however what we can do is:
1) Account wide unlocks for emblem purchased ships.
The idea here is this: If you put in the month's worth of effort to unlock a ship, then you can play it on any character you have that is eligible for that ship type. Maybe make it so that once unlocked in this fashion, you need to spend energy credits to get it.**** - Obviously this shouldn't apply to ships you got via plaque; only the ones you actually spent Emblems to acquire.
2) More dailies available.
Just keep adding additional emblem sources. The purpose here is this: While the actual time-played requirement would not be lessened, this does allow someone who has say... a free weekend, to gather a great many emblems all at once; since a lot of people have jobs and/or lives outside of the game and, during the week, probably can't/won't devote 3-5 hours a night to emblem grinding.
3) More full-size free ships.
This is the big one: Start releasing ships for free. It's one thing if there are occasionally ships you need to purchase; but when it's practically every new ship it becomes onerous. So going forward, think about adding more non-shuttle ships available without having to grind like crazy or paying real money.
As to uniforms: since we have no idea how that's going to play out yet, allow me to add some suggestions on how maybe it should play out:
1) Consider making it possible to unlock pieces of a uniform package one by one instead of the whole package at once for a large sum. This way a player is constantly feeling rewarded as they work toward their goal.
2) Make sure that the grind fits the price-tag of the item. a 5 dollar uniform pack shouldn't take 20 hours of grinding to achieve. Sure it might mean more people will hand over the five bucks; but it also means more people becoming crankier and more ikely to eventually throw up their hands and quit playing altogether - which you probably don't want long term.
well said.i agree with everything you've said.
if they made the 500 emblem ships character wide it would cut down on a lot of negative feeling towards the cstore in one simple stroke,or reduce the amount of emblems down to 200 like the nebula was.
i grinded the nebula and 200 marks was boring enough.
i realise they put it up to 500 to "encourage" people to pay for them but the price for each ship is still too high for what they are,they have to maximise profits i realise, if they lowered the price surely they would make more money ? just ask valve how much money they make on steam weekend deals.
ideally i would like the ships back to 200 emblems or the cstore prices halved, i won't buy them at full price,but i would at half of what they cost now....imagine how many other people feel the same way.
Agreed. Every single ship now is coming through the c-store and I buy them because I won't even entertain the idea of spending that much time grinding 500 emblems and I don't have that much time to spend grinding emblems every single day. it'd take me months to get that many.
The prices are too high, but they're going to remain that high as long as people are buying those items. And people are buying those items.
Remember the big Galaxy-X thing? A lot of people got a Galaxy-X by signing up 5 new accounts themselves. That means they purchased 5 boxes and then also purchased 5 months of subscriptions. That's $250 for the 5 boxes and $75 for the 1 month subscription per new account. And a lot of people did this.
Finally, you need to just get used to the C-Store, because it isn't ever going to go away. Some of the prices may come down a bit, but the constant addition of new items to the C-Store isn't ever going to change.
I've seen the devs change course about in-game decisions because of complaints on the forums. I've also seen literally hundreds of C-Store complaint threads. Know how many things in the C-Store have changed because of our complaints?
The bean-counters that run the C-Store simply aren't going to let go of the C-Store as long as people keep spending money on it.
Oh I know that. I'm not asking them to get rid of it; I'm just offering some solutions so it isn't quite such a pain in my backside.
Whether I like it or not, every MMO out there does the microtransaction thing - I just feel STO has crossed (or rather, leaped, danced and sung) over a line between "fun stuff you can get if you pay a little more" and "stupidly expensive game that's asking for more than it gives".
I mean; I guess what it boils down to is, if I bought every ship on the C-Store right now, if my count is accurate, I'd be spending 170 dollars. This is getting into the same territory as stuff like miniature wargaming or hardcore Magic The Gathering stuff.
I guess really though my point is: I like that they're trying to provide ways to get stuff in-game without having to pay... but the current method is not at all good; and I want them to beef that method up; either by making it a smaller grind or by making it an account-wide unlock for having completed the huge grind. Either way - make it worth my time to at least consider it.
>.< I apologize if I'm repeating myself; I haven't slept lately - if this is more incoherent than I think it is; blame Mr. Ins Omnia - he's being a jackass again.
I agree with the original poster, I threw a fit when I heard that the lifetime sub was on sale, not only did I buy it when it was "meant" to be exclusive to preorder only, but to offer a discount a year after and give us (the ones that bought it a year ago) nothing....?
I mean what does it really cost to make the c-store items? Time, well fine, but it doesn't take that much time, the game would be a lot funner if they were made available for a cheaper fee, I mean I understand its a business, but I feel like I am getting rapped everytime I spend more then $5 on something....
I have dished out over $300 for this game and still play it less then TF2 (if you dont know what it is, your missing a good game) which is sad if you ask me.
The one problem that I have with the C-Store is this: There are no bulk discounts.
You know how if you buy your subscription in 3, 6 or 12 month blocks it is cheaper when compared to buying the equivalent amount of time in 1 month chunks. The thing is, why don't they do that for the Atari Tokens? If they looked at the straight F2P games, they would see that those game currencies do include a discount when bought in larger chunks... and Item store currency purchases are their ONLY source of income, unlike STO.
The current rate for Atari Tokens is 1 Token = $.0125
1000 Tokens - $12.50 ($.0125 per token)
Now, look at how much 2000 Tokens cost:
2000 Tokens - $25.00 ($.0125 per token)
As you can see, both cost exactly the same... now watch what happens at the 5000 Token Level:
5000 Tokens = $62.50 ($.0125 per token)
That's right... the more you buy costs you the same as buying lower amounts. Which begs to ask the question: If they can discount subscriptions, why can't they discount larger Atari Token amounts?
I suggest something like this (especially since these are being used to buy virtual items, there is no need to hard lock pricing):
1000 Tokens = $12.50 ($.0125 per token)
2000 Tokens = $20.00 ($.01 per token)
5000 Tokens = $45.00 ($.009 per token)
This would be an incentive for more people to purchase more Atari Tokens in larger chunks therefore balancing out the lost revenue with the current price scheme; it is a simple shift in the marginal utility curve for the consumer that would then increase quantity purchased of the larger block of Tokens.
While I agree with everything you've said, it will never happen. I have fell in love with STO. I even quit CoH to play it, and I've been playhing that game since Issue 2 came out. I'm not a lifer on STO because you really don't get much for it. If I was promised to get all the C-store stuff free or at least at a 75% discount, then maybe I'd do it. Back to the point you made. Those ideas are very good. I still say 500 emblems is to high. 200 would be better. This is the only game I've ever played were if I want new stuff, you have to shell out more money than your sub. The line that the devs, or whoever puts this stuff in the cstore, will give you is that you can play the game fine without the stuff in the store. Cstore stuff doesn't change the gameplay & you can get them ingame via emblems, as long as you don't mind the month or more grind to get 500 of them bad boys.
A good example of them pushing cstore stuff is with the Delta Flyer. It was good timing to put it in there at the same time they put out a new feature episode that requires a shuttle craft to do it. Now if they had put the craftable one out at the same time as the cstore one, it wouldn't be a problem. They knew that lots of players wanted the flyer & would fork out the money to buy it for the feature mission that requires a shuttle. True that you can do the mission without it & use the other shuttles ingame. I did on 2 of my alts & had no problems finishing the mission. It's the fact that it was the Delta Flyer that made people want it so bad. Sad thing is they don't give klinks much of anything like the feds get. Poor little klinks
Bottom line, while the ideas you gave would be great, they will never happen. Sad but true. It would take a mass quitting of players to change the cstore stuff. I think that probably within the next year or two, this game will go the way of CO & be f2p. You can only screw people so much before they get mad enough to quit.
**Side Note: I have bought most of the ship skins, ships, some species, & other stuff from the store. Sadly, after buying them & actually playing, I didn't like most of them. Gal-X, Explore Refit, Excel, Guramba, Varanus, Maurader, Nebula refit, NX replica I didn't like. Only ones I got that I actually play on is the Interpid refit & the Defiant refit.
The C-Store is my single biggest turn-off to STO. If this game was free-to-play it would make sense, but that isn't the case.
Paying for extra cosmetic stuff? Fine. Paying for renames and character slots? Okay. Paying for unique ships and game-impacting items? That gives me a bad vibe. It may not be pay-to-win right now, though I'm sure someone might argue that it is, but this feels like a slippery slope kind of thing.
Also, the price. $15 for a ship is rather shocking and depressing. I like STO, but the C-Store is a disappointment.
C-Store complaints have been beaten to death. I know it isn't going away, but I really do not like it. Nothing else I can do but voice my discontent, so here it is.