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486 Comments

Deal Of A Lifetime?

Would you pay $300 for one game? Jeff just did.

If all else fails, at least we can dance. 
OK, Star Trek Online is out on February 2--a little under two weeks. Much like it did with Champions Online, Cryptic is charging the industry standard $14.99 per month. But there are other options. If you go for three-month blocks of time, it's $41.97, or $13.99 per month. Stepping up to six months gets you in at $12.99 per month.

All of that is run-of-the-mill pricing stuff. Of course, you still have to buy the actual game, which is $50... unless you want the collector's edition, which gives you some extra doodads for a total price of $60 for a downloadable version and $80 for a physical copy, which comes with a fake communicator and some concept art.

Again, nothing out of the ordinary here. It's the two other payment options that are throwing me for a loop. These are limited time deals that are only available until February 1... you know, the day before the game actually comes out? If you opt for these, you can lock yourself in at a yearly rate of $119.99 (that's just under ten bucks a month) or you can just do away with all of this monthly fee crap and give Cryptic $239.99 for a lifetime subscription.

Keep in mind that's the lifetime of the game, not the lifetime of the player.

 SPOCK GOT GAME
Now, until I saw the lifetime subscription package, I had almost no intent of even playing Star Trek Online past the end of the open beta. The beta seems fun enough. The systems feel reasonably well-conceived, I guess. But I haven't really played enough of it to figure out if the game is actually any good or not. That's what makes these additional offers so tricky... you have to pay up front for a game that might not be all that great. Heck, it might not even reach or maintain the subscription numbers it needs to survive, if you want to get technical about all this. But that's probably a misplaced worry... surely something with the Star Trek name attached to it will at least attract an audience for the first year or so. From there, it'll all depend on how much support the game gets.

At this point, I'm essentially trying to talk myself out of dropping $300 on an MMO. But the notion of paying once for a game that normally has a monthly fee associated with it is incredibly appealing. What if the game's a hit? What if the late-game stuff is amazing? What if my latent Star Trek nerddom takes over and I get fully hooked on it? Regardless of all that, I have to make my decision before the game is even officially available. Sneaky. Very sneaky.

At this point, if I'm going to play it at all, I'm going to get a lifetime subscription. The other option, paying a monthly fee, would feel like an endless ripoff with what I know now. In the back of my mind I'd always know that, for the price of 16 regular months, I could have eliminated the fee thing entirely. It also removes some of the pressure of actually playing an MMO. Half the time, I played World of Warcraft out of guilt, just because I knew the meter was running. There's something weirdly liberating about eliminating the regular fee.

Christ, this is starting to sound like an informercial.

Maybe that's the worst part about all this. It's a very salesy sort of thing. By forcing players to make a decision based on time in a decidedly shaky open beta, players are asked to place a certain amount of faith in the game's developers when making this decision. I guess City of Heroes was/is well-supported. Seems like Champions Online has seen some meaningful updates since its launch. Surely a big licensed thing like Star Trek Online would at least get that level of support, if not an additional layer to keep the license holders happy, right?

Fine. OK. I've talked myself into it. I like Star Trek. So I am going to buy Star Trek Online. End of story. This, people, is why they still make licensed games. Because occasionally someone will get suckered in without paying any attention to the quality of the actual game. Now I just need to decide which pre-order bonus I want...

Steam. Done. I don't need a concept art book or little communicator badge that'll just sit in its box forever. $300. God, it's like I just bought a whole new console or something.

 POR VIDA, HOLMES

 Dear Star Trek Online,

Please be good.

XOXO,
Jeff Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
486 Comments
Posted by Jeff
If all else fails, at least we can dance. 
OK, Star Trek Online is out on February 2--a little under two weeks. Much like it did with Champions Online, Cryptic is charging the industry standard $14.99 per month. But there are other options. If you go for three-month blocks of time, it's $41.97, or $13.99 per month. Stepping up to six months gets you in at $12.99 per month.

All of that is run-of-the-mill pricing stuff. Of course, you still have to buy the actual game, which is $50... unless you want the collector's edition, which gives you some extra doodads for a total price of $60 for a downloadable version and $80 for a physical copy, which comes with a fake communicator and some concept art.

Again, nothing out of the ordinary here. It's the two other payment options that are throwing me for a loop. These are limited time deals that are only available until February 1... you know, the day before the game actually comes out? If you opt for these, you can lock yourself in at a yearly rate of $119.99 (that's just under ten bucks a month) or you can just do away with all of this monthly fee crap and give Cryptic $239.99 for a lifetime subscription.

Keep in mind that's the lifetime of the game, not the lifetime of the player.

 SPOCK GOT GAME
Now, until I saw the lifetime subscription package, I had almost no intent of even playing Star Trek Online past the end of the open beta. The beta seems fun enough. The systems feel reasonably well-conceived, I guess. But I haven't really played enough of it to figure out if the game is actually any good or not. That's what makes these additional offers so tricky... you have to pay up front for a game that might not be all that great. Heck, it might not even reach or maintain the subscription numbers it needs to survive, if you want to get technical about all this. But that's probably a misplaced worry... surely something with the Star Trek name attached to it will at least attract an audience for the first year or so. From there, it'll all depend on how much support the game gets.

At this point, I'm essentially trying to talk myself out of dropping $300 on an MMO. But the notion of paying once for a game that normally has a monthly fee associated with it is incredibly appealing. What if the game's a hit? What if the late-game stuff is amazing? What if my latent Star Trek nerddom takes over and I get fully hooked on it? Regardless of all that, I have to make my decision before the game is even officially available. Sneaky. Very sneaky.

At this point, if I'm going to play it at all, I'm going to get a lifetime subscription. The other option, paying a monthly fee, would feel like an endless ripoff with what I know now. In the back of my mind I'd always know that, for the price of 16 regular months, I could have eliminated the fee thing entirely. It also removes some of the pressure of actually playing an MMO. Half the time, I played World of Warcraft out of guilt, just because I knew the meter was running. There's something weirdly liberating about eliminating the regular fee.

Christ, this is starting to sound like an informercial.

Maybe that's the worst part about all this. It's a very salesy sort of thing. By forcing players to make a decision based on time in a decidedly shaky open beta, players are asked to place a certain amount of faith in the game's developers when making this decision. I guess City of Heroes was/is well-supported. Seems like Champions Online has seen some meaningful updates since its launch. Surely a big licensed thing like Star Trek Online would at least get that level of support, if not an additional layer to keep the license holders happy, right?

Fine. OK. I've talked myself into it. I like Star Trek. So I am going to buy Star Trek Online. End of story. This, people, is why they still make licensed games. Because occasionally someone will get suckered in without paying any attention to the quality of the actual game. Now I just need to decide which pre-order bonus I want...

Steam. Done. I don't need a concept art book or little communicator badge that'll just sit in its box forever. $300. God, it's like I just bought a whole new console or something.

 POR VIDA, HOLMES

 Dear Star Trek Online,

Please be good.

XOXO,
Jeff
Posted by SuperSecretAgenda

It's never worth this much...even if it is good...you'll eventually take a break. 
 
I shed a tear for you Jeff.

Posted by sirchode

Holy freaking crap dude

Posted by Ventilaator

You, sir, are insane.

Edited by NickLott

I thought you only like the most recent movie which this is not a part of?  
 
I don't know dude, I think it might be worth paying the regular fee for a couple of months to really dig into it before you want to commit to 300 bucks.

Edited by JauntyHat

I don't believe i'd ever pay 300 dollars for a game, Jeff, ESPECIALLY an MMORPG. You is a crazy mofo.

Posted by HeavyDuty32

Yeah, I did it too.

Posted by Fubar

Crazy ... i like 

Posted by Jeff
@nicklott: That's just it, dude... you CAN'T play for a few months and then get the lifetime subscription later.
Posted by natetodamax

Wow.

Posted by CrashTanuki

Good luck, Jeff.

Posted by JStaunton

Ouch.

Posted by Tranman409

jeff you really have guts

Posted by Laticsfan

........oh dear

Posted by ghostNPC

 Damn it Jeff, you should have waited for us to talk you out of it.

Posted by Zaphers

Crazy train of thought posts are awesome.

Posted by kenya24

I am also struggling with the same decision... I just don't know if I can drop $300 in one shot for a GAME.

Posted by mubress

I didn't actually expect Jeff to do it, thought it wa a joke or something. Well here's hoping it isn't terrible :)

Online
Edited by mnB

Lot of money, but yea - it's a bet. Let's hope it turns out to be a good one :) 
 
I'm still skeptic on Star Trek online. I haven't tried it yet, but Champions online didn't really do anything special for me, except for offering, possibly the best character creator ever seen in an mmo. I'm afraid I will feel the same way with STO, unfortunately, but I might be totally off here.

Edited by Babble

Haha wow, I'm not sure I could ever buy a lifetime subscription fee. Even if it removes the  "guilt" of a monthly fee, I'd rather be  charged once a month and be able to get out of it, rather then realize I spent $250 on a lifetime subscription for a game I don't want to play.

Posted by Driadon
@nicklott: It's a whole "Pre-order-only" payment plan, so, sadly, you can't do that.
Edited by VWGTI

I was hoping you wouldn't succumb to the temptation. But I'm in no place to talk seeing as how I went out on my lunch break and dropped $400 on a 32" LCD TV. Impulses are a bitch. Oh well, life is short.

Edited by MattyFTM

What's the smallprint like for the lifetime subscription? Are there any clauses that mean they could release an expansion pack six months time, and say that the expansion pack content isn't covered by the lifetime subscription, and force you to buy a new subscription for that?

Moderator
Posted by Matte_G

WHAT!  
 
Just do an endurance run and you'll get that $300 back in no time... 
 
YOU KNOW IT MAKES SENSE

Posted by sloppyjoe

If there's anyone that needs to buy the lifetime, if only as an experiment so we can all understand the consequences of doing so... it is you, Jeff.  Take it for the team!

Posted by YetiAntics

$300... It even hurts me!
Posted by sithy

bravo sir... bravo...

Posted by Foggen

Jeff, I think you're wrong when you describe this as poor impulse control.  This is more of a consumer mania.  It's brilliant to see, and I occasionally wonder how you can afford all this shit, but Jesus, dude.  You remind me of a friend and I in college.  Neo*Geo cabinets anyone?  There's a reason my fraternity has an arcade with Mark of the Wolves and Twinkle Star Sprites...

Posted by Novacain

Thing is, you will probably end up playing it for like 6 months, and you just threw down 300 on it. Now you might play it out of guilt past what you would play with a monthly subscription simply because of how much you dropped on it. Either way, good luck. I hope it ends up being worth it for you in the end.

Posted by BrickRoad
@Jeff said:

Dear Star Trek Online,

Please be good.

XOXO,
Jeff 

 
Shatnerfied:
 
Dear! ... ... Startrekonline. (PAUSE FOR EYEBROW LIFT) Pleaseeee... ... begood! Khaaaan!!
Posted by ZanzibarBreeze

Awww... poor Jeff. :'|

Posted by mubress
@Matte_G said:
" WHAT!   Just do an endurance run and you'll get that $300 back in no time...  YOU KNOW IT MAKES SENSE "
That's it! That's what this all means. STO will be the new endurance run. End off.
Online
Posted by billygoat117

Yeah, it's sneaky of them, but also kind of shitty, because like you said, they're asking you to bank that money solely on the performance of the beta. Well, and I guess your nostalgia/familiarity with the license. That's a hell of a lot of good will they're asking for.

Posted by EberKain

So you now have to play, and not just log in and look around, but actually play at least one day each month for 16 months before you get your money back.  Lets hope this goes well.  SWG didn't make it 16 months before they completely rewrote the game and turned it to trash did it?

Posted by Marz

Only if WoW had a lifetime subscription, i woulda jumped on that boat.

Posted by iAmJohn

As someone who equally despises money, I can sympathize with your plight, Jeff.

Edited by MrMiyagi

Great! You can play for a whole two months until the servers are shut down! 
Only joking, of course.

Posted by HydraHam

I would easily pay that for WOW.. im not a hardcore wow player but my subscription has been active since the day wow came out because i do enjoy playing it and i understand that feeling you have, i blow free time doing nothing in wow just for the sake of playing it because i know im paying for the month, i want to get the most out of it.

Posted by andrewf87462
@Matte_G said:
" WHAT!   Just do an endurance run and you'll get that $300 back in no time...  YOU KNOW IT MAKES SENSE "
Endurance Run! Endurance Run! Endurance Run!....Come on everybody, i'm sure if we all chant loud enough, it could actually happen....Endurance Run!!!
Posted by Fawk

Stupid money to pay for any game.  I don't care if the game lasts 10 years.  The fact is it will be a miracle if you are even still interested in it 6 months from now.
 
Just pay in 3 month blocks and be done with it.  People are starving and you are going to drop $300 on a damn game?  Give me a break.

Posted by Alphazero

Nicely done! You're an inspiration to us all. One time I bought a $1500 PC just so I could play Diablo 2.
 
My Series 2 Tivo with the lifetime subscription is still ticking away, like seven years later. These things can have happy endings.

Posted by SuperSecretAgenda

The problem is that yes, you love the game today. Sure, you'll love the game tomorrow. But -everyone- falls out of love with a video game eventually, and MMOs are no different. People stop liking them eventually. 
 
Imagine a kid who was crazy about Gears of War 1. He would play his Gears of War constantly. No one could best him in a shotgun duel. Well, Gears of War 2 comes out two years later. Now he wants to play that instead. 
 
There will always be a new awesome game that comes out which will soak up all your time. And this is why no single game is ever worth 300 dollars, IMO.

Posted by MeatSim

I understand Jeff's crazy rationale for paying 300's dollars, those monthly fees just nag at you and to get rid of them all together might be worth it.

Posted by PapaLazarou

I would if it was good but STO is crap lol.

Posted by Darkstar614

Goodness... You can pay me 240 dollars to be my lifetime friend if you want.

Posted by iAmJohn
@mubress said:
" @Matte_G said:
" WHAT!   Just do an endurance run and you'll get that $300 back in no time...  YOU KNOW IT MAKES SENSE "
That's it! That's what this all means. STO will be the new endurance run. End off. "
Oh shit, we've figured it out!
Posted by Branthog

I'd pay $300 for a lifetime subscription to EVE. That will be around long after I've gotten my money's worth for the subscription. I have no certainty that Star Trek Online will be around in two or three years. More, I don't see it keeping me entertained for more than a couple weeks. At absolute most, a couple months. Just like every MMO out there. Putting the mechanics of WOW in a Starfleet skin doesn't suddenly make it more playable. In other words, yes, I'd pay $300 for a subscription to an MMO. Currently, I'd only do that for EVE. In general . . . the MMO that would be worth a life time subscription has yet to be created and I'm excited for it to be. I'm really tired of getting worked up over each new big MMO only to discover it offers nothing more than the last twenty that I've played and that I wish I hadn't had to pay $50 for the game.

Posted by Scooper

Jeff. You're a fool for dropping $300 on an MMO that no one will play that isn't even really an MMO, just like Champions! KAAAAHHHHHHNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by AndrooD2

Your lack of self-restraint when it comes to spending money on video games is legendary. 
God bless you, sir!

Posted by Diamond

Just selling a lifetime sub means the makers have little confidence in the longevity of their game.
 
It's extra crazy when you look objectively at the qualities and weakness of Star Trek Online.  I wouldn't even pay $20 for a lifetime sub to it.