Star Trek Online announces F2P Launch Date

Star Trek Online finally has a launch date for their official shift to Free-to-Play: January 17, 2012. After a few months of their "Path to F2P" Dev Blogs, it looks like the team at Cryptic has finally arrived at their target location. If you're planning on checking out STO in two month's time, why not satiate your interest for now by watching their new opening cut scene trailer.

New STO "Path to F2P" Dev Blog Outlines Rewards

Oh Star Trek Online, how you always want to be different. Rather than celebrating month rewards or yearly anniversaries, STO is giving out their veteran rewards based on 100 day increments. With their 700th day coming soon, Cryptic has revealed the new STO veteran rewards that will be available for all players at 700 days, 800 days, 900 days, and 1000 days.

The team is also clarifying some changes to the 600 day veteran rewards, as they are replacing the free Emblems with a free Vice Admiral Starship Token. Unfortunately, this seems to be wreaking havoc with all sorts of Tribble / Holodeck discrepancies, and I'll admit that my mind got a little fuzzy around this point. You should go take a read if this applies to you!

Star Trek Online's "Path to F2P" Blog, Issue #17

In their latest "Path to F2P Dev Blog," Executive Producer Stephen D'Angelo has outlined the rewards the team has in store for players who hop onto the Tribble Test Server to give feedback on new content. Specifically, there is a Klingon shortage on Tribble, so they really want some players to transfer their Klingons over for some high end Klingon gameplay.

So get onto the Tribble Test Server and get a-testin'! If you don't remember how, check out the Path to F2P Dev Blog #13 for details.

Dev Blogs: Mission Journal and Duty Officer System

Cryptic has released two more entries in its new "Path to Free-to-Play" dev blog series that features sneak peeks at some of the features coming to Star Trek Online this year.

  • Dev Blog #2: Interim Executive Producer Stephen D'Angelo introduces players Star Trek Online's new Mission Journal UI, which is now available on the Tribble test server.
  • Dev Blog #3: Senior Systems Designer Geoff “Heretic” Tuffli looks at the new Duty Officer System, which is also available for testing on the Tribble server.

Cryptic Kicks Off 'Path to F2P' Dev Blog Series

Cryptic has kicked off a new "Path to Free-to-Play" dev blog series that will feature sneak peeks at some of the features coming to Star Trek Online this year. The inaugural issue is penned by interim Executive Producer Stephen D’Angelo, who is filling the position while the team looks for a replacement for Dan Stahl.

In the first F2P dev blog, D’Angelo announced that the Tribble test shard is re-opening today, September 29, as a way to give current subscribers early access to changes that are coming in the free-to-play relaunch. In addition, Cryptic has opened a new public test shard named RedShirt.

Star Trek's Exec Producer Says Farewell to Cryptic

Star Trek Online Executive Producer Dan Stahl announced this week that he will be leaving Cryptic Studios at the end of the month. After three years with the company, Stahl has decided to move on in his career and "pursue other challenges." As the search for a new executive producer begins, Cryptic CTO Stephen D’Angelo will manage Star Trek Online as it transitions to free-to-play under Perfect World Entertainment.

Stahl went on to ask players to "have faith in this team," emphasizing that Perfect World is a great partner for Cryptic. He also mentions that he's always wanted to see Star Trek Online go free-to-play because he's "seen the value and success of that business firsthand by watching Champions."

"I cannot express enough how thankful I am for the opportunity to have worked here. It is a highlight in my career and something I will miss when I am gone," Stahl said. Live long and prosper!

Ask Cryptic Covers Star Trek's F2P Switch and More

Following the recent announcement that Star Trek Online will be going free-to-play by the end of the year, it should come as no surprise that this month's Ask Cryptic segment features questions from players regarding the F2P switch. As usual, Executive Producer Dan Stahl answers those questions and many, many more.

Get all the details in the Ask Cryptic segment for September 2011!

Star Trek Online Free-to-Play Details Revealed

Following last week's announcement that Star Trek Online will be going free-to-play by the end of the year, Cryptic Studios has released details on the game's upcoming F2P options. Much like Champions Online's free-to-play system, Star Trek Online will adopt two payment tiers: Silver (free) and Gold (paid).

As you may expect, Silver players will have limited access to some of the game's features, such as in-game chat and mail. They'll also be unable to access the Foundry. Gold Members, on the other hand, will have access to all features for $14.99 per month. More details can be found in the features matrix, which is subject to change.

According to the F2P FAQ, Klingons will be unlocked at level 25 with the free-to-play conversion so Cryptic can focus on improving the faction. If you have already unlocked Klingon play and created a Klingon character, your character will still be available to you.

As for the C-Store, Cryptic plans to review its content and prices. "For now, we know that some previously purchasable playable species will soon be free (Ferengi, Rigelian, Pakled, Tellarite), and others (Liberated Borg, Joined Trill, Federation Klingons) will be earned through other means," the team said.

Star Trek Online is Going Free-to-Play

When Perfect World Entertainment announced back in May that it was acquiring Cryptic Studios, most players assumed that Star Trek Online would eventually go free-to-play to match Champions Online's model. Well, it looks like the news is finally official. Perfect World CEO Kelvin Lau announced during a recent earnings call that "Cryptic is working on the free-to-play model for Star Trek Online" that will launch by the end of the year.

As you can imagine, players rushed to the forums to discuss the announcement. Executive Producer Dan Stahl made numerous comments, including the following statement:

"Before this spins out of speculation control, I can assure you there are no restrictions on content access, including future Feature Series. In addition, subscribers should notice little to no change. As far as I've seen, any changes in price will be to lower prices on some items.

That aside, if you don't like the game, you don't like the game. The entire concept of F2P is that you don't have to pay for the game. You can play it for free and if you like and want to play deeper into the game, then you can still do that for free. Perfect World has a strong philosphy that it should be possible for a free player to reach maximum level without spending a dime. In my opinion, if you enjoy the game, then you will spend money on it. And if you don't then that's ok too."

Stahl said that he's been focused on "ensuring that Star Trek Online has a big future ahead of it." He also mentioned that the team is working on a FAQ that will "spell out very clearly what this means for Lifetime and Subscription members."

UPDATE: Cryptic officially confirmed the free-to-play plans in a blog post on the Star Trek Online site. A full announcement with all of the details will be published next week.

Cryptic Hosts Endless Summer Sale

If you've been wanting to pick up some items in Champions Online or Star Trek Online, now's the week to do it! Cryptic is hosting an Endless Summer Sale in the C-Store of both games until August 29 at 10 a.m. PDT that slashes the price of all purchases by 20%. Some items are excluded from the sale, so be sure to read the fine print before checking out.

Head over to the Champions Online C-Store and the Star Trek Online C-Store to take advantage of the sale!