Hello, computer (and players)! As I discussed last week, heated discussions surround Star Trek Online's change to a F2P hybrid model and planned game mechanics updates. While new updates are being pushed to the Tribble server for testing and feedback, many aspects are in a state of flux as such feedback is collected, evaluated, and implemented. The biggest area affected is the economy. While everyone has his own thoughts on the matter, Cryptic is leaving no feedback forum post unread -- the players will help shape these changes.
Last week, we saw the push of another patch that seems to have made some giant strides toward solving some of the biggest concerns, including significant reductions in prices for most items and the return of free ship tokens for most ranks. Stephen D'Angelo, acting Executive Producer and Emergency Executive Producer Hologram (EEPH), explained: "Based on how rapidly we're getting data and revising the game, we're still probably two more weeks away from having the economy in a state that is close to good enough." Since he said a lot more in his recent dev blog post, I thought I should take some time to expound on it.
Ensign, warp 10! Let's take a look at what else the EEPH had to say and break it down...
The past few weeks have made for some of the most activity that the STO forums have ever seen. Before last Thursday, when players logged into Tribble, many were surprised and disappointed to see that most of the items that they could easily purchase in the past for a relatively low cost were now astronomically priced and would be unattainable without "grinding." Now, most items have dropped to as little as 10% of what they cost before. D'Angelo has let us know that Cryptic "may continue to lower the costs as [it] get[s] through reviewing the various systems."
One of the original reasons for the price increase was that the devs wanted to make top-end gear something to be proud of, something "brag-worthy." Those who have played the game know that it is fairly easy to deck out ships in very rare (purple) gear with minimal effort. D'Angelo told us that he wants them "to have actual value to the players who achieve [certain] goals" and "that only people who were subscribers before F2P or who worked as hard as they did could say the same."
The only other in-game currency (besides Gold-Pressed Latinum, which is only used as the Dabo minigame reward) is Dilithium. We discussed the mechanics of it last week, but we have received some further clarification. D'Angelo noted that "Dilithium currency is something that [Cryptic] think[s] many starship captains will never need in quantity" and that "if you enjoy playing the episode story line, getting your crew decked out with moderate gear, and so on, you may not need a single unit of Dilithium." In the same train of thought, he also said that Cryptic does "intend for Dilithium to enable captains to go beyond the casual and into the hardcore acquisition of items."
Dilithium, which will be awarded through content that "[goes] beyond the casual," will be used to procure extra starships and the "top-end gear" mentioned earlier. This includes Duty Officer missions, Special Task Forces, and other events. While D'Angelo admits this change will make acquiring such items harder than before (though not impossible), he hopes it will bring the desired mix that many Captains have been longing for. Finding the balance is most likely going to be tricky for the team, and that is why our feedback is crucial.
Well, Captains, we have come to the end of this week's log entry. Based on D'Angelo's words, we should at least give his team the benefit of the doubt that it will sort most things out before the game re-launches as F2P. I believe we are still a month or more away from seeing this happen, so there is plenty of time to check things out and voice our opinions. Next week, I am going to be livestreaming STO on Tuesday, October 25th, at 10 p.m. EDT; I hope you tune in to our Livestream channel as I team up with some readers of Captain's Log as they teach me some of their PvP strategies.
Until next time, let me know your own thoughts on the EEPH's words by commenting below or sending me an email to email@example.com.
Computer, terminate recording.
Boldly going where no one has gone before, Brandon Felczer transmits Captain's Log through Subspace right to your PADD every Thursday. Join him as he discusses the latest news, gossip, and dev interviews about Star Trek Online. Hailing frequencies are always open to his bridge through firstname.lastname@example.org.