I’ve written about my love of special unlockables before, and so it would seem remiss to miss the (slightly belated) opportunity to discuss the STO C-Store, and contrast it with my pre-order bonuses in APB. For those of you that haven’t been paying attention, Cryptic recently released the vast majority of former pre-order bonuses as C-Store items. I haven’t visited the official forums in quite a while, but I’m certain that saying “reactions were mixed” is a generous summary of the fallout.
I own many of these extras already – I got the the Borg Bridge Officers through my Amazon preorder, and the Digital Deluxe edition netted me the Joined Trill, the Bloodwine and Khan emotes, the pet Targ and Tribble, the NX registry, and the Original Series outfits. If my math is right, that would run me a total of 1360 C-Store Points, or $17. I payed around $30 for the DDE (there was a good sale a few weeks after launch), so the difference isn’t that bad, especially considering I got an additional 500 Cryptic points (worth $6.25) and a Point Defense Laser out of the DDE.
On the whole, I really like that Cryptic released these items. I’m not disappointed that other people can now spend extra money, just like I did, to get extras for their account. Furthermore, the two ‘coolest’ things I had yet to get – the Constitution-class, and the Mirror Universe uniforms – are really neat, and I will almost certainly spend money to get them once I start playing STO more diligently. I feel sorry for people who spent extra money to get those extras – especially the Champions Online Lifers – but it’s like GeeCee said in a much better post than mine: “This whole situation just serves to remind me the importance of making a purchase decision based on the game itself, and not the bonus items.” Don’t spend $200 to get an exclusive outfit – spend $200 to get a lifetime subscription.
That said, I really hope that the Liberated Borg stays a Lifetime Exclusive. They did open it up to all Lifers, not just early subscribers, which is fair, I guess.
But APB‘s approach is much more to my likening. Unlike STO, there was only one set of pre-order bonuses – pre-orders got 10 more hours of Action playtime, 100 ‘RTW Points’, and exclusive clothing and car options (a head piece or two and a shirt for both factions) and factional cars with a special paint job. The only thing that really affects the game is the fact that the pre-order cars gets a resupply point in its trunk – something that other cars can be upgraded to have, so not a gamebreaker, but a nice small bonus-of-convenience.
The bonuses are very small but very nice. My character have looked a little bit cooler from the beginning, and the C.P.A. car that the Enforcers get is a really sweet ride. But I’m really glad that there weren’t a 100 different bonuses based on pre-order location, not only because that means there aren’t 99 bonuses I can’t get, but also because it makes it harder to break the play experience into discrete parts and sell them through an in-game currency. Which seems to be what STO is routinizing…
But back to STO…
… because what is a little frightening is that I can by a really awesome, game-altering ship for $25. Because let’s not kid ourselves here: the Dreadnaught-class ship Federation players can now buy is both really awesome (it’s the Galaxy-X!), but it also 1) has a unique weapon, 2) is the only cruiser that can equip dual cannons, and 3) is the only Federation ship with a cloaking device.
I mean, that’s a crazy awesome ship – it’s a Celestial Steed that fights in combat. It’s also completely unfair to require money to acquire something so much better than anything else in game. But I’ll probably buy it, if I ever get to Vice Admiral. What can I say – the Galaxy-X is really awesome. I’m just worried that this recent C-Store development heralds bad things to come for STO.