Gone In An Instance

So it is that I plopped down $240 on a Star Trek Online lifetime subscription.

  • Was it because I’ve enough geek in me to have a thing for Star Trek?
    No, but I’m sure that helped.
  • Was it because the gameplay is fairly tolerable – a rarity for an MMORPG?
    No, but this, too, probably helped.
  • Was it because I have great and unwavering faith in Cryptic Studios?
    No, after Champions Online, Cryptic Studios /cons dubious to me.
  • Was it because I believed I would honestly get ($240 divided by $15/mo) 16 months of play out of this?
    No, that would really surprise me.

Honestly, it was mostly a combination being curious about what owning a lifetime subscription to a major MMORPG would be like and having mentioned (both here and on the official forums) that I’d never pay a periodic subscription for an MMORPG again.

I knew exactly what I was getting to, and yet, I still have some buyer’s remorse… the main trouble is that this game lacks so many of those important, yet subtle, MMORPG touches.

  • There’s no real virtual worldly landmarks – even where you can find landmarks, there’s an infinite number of copies to make each landmark feel insubstantial.
  • Lacking landmarks, I feel as though I’ll never really bump into other players as I would in an old fashioned MMORPG.
  • The other players’ presence is quickly mentally streamlined out of lack of necessity.  Perhaps because the balance is set in such a way that you need them for nothing.
  • As is usually the case, there’s no real dynamic content: barring developer additions, the universe never changes.  The only thing that changes is your character as they climb to the maximum level.  As far as a true RPG narrative goes, it lacks.

The above video, which is a parody of MMORPG gameplay, demonstrates how a sort of camaraderie builds in a true virtual space.  That I feel this is missing is the true source of my buyer’s remorse: it’s just not as fun having a lifetime subscription to a game that lacks the essential point of what makes an MMORPG feel like one.

So, knowing that they have obliged requests in the past, why don’t I go ask Cryptic Studios for my money back?  It’s because there is no alternatives to look forward to.  Take it or leave it, this what all new MMORPGs are like these days: heavily instanced, completely static, and casually accessible to the point of losing themselves.

Maybe it’s not true buyer’s remorse.  Maybe I’d make the same choice again now.  $240 for a lifetime subscription?  What an excellently frugal idea – an extra expensive subscription whose main purpose is to powerfully remind you why you need never purchase another MMORPG subscription in your lifetime.

5 Responses

  1. I haven’t played it yet but I’ve been hearing mixed things — I suppose I’ll keep looking on youtube for some gameplay videos to help me decide if its worth it. I hear it’s similar to how Guild Wars (another game I missed out on) is played.

    Good to hear you are in a stronger financial situation to afford a splurge like that though! These are tough times but from the looks of it things are getting better. I’m personally still finding it hard to justify filling up my gas tank… argh.

  2. I think the guild wars comparison probably has a lot to do with how heavily everything’s instanced. You generally won’t have to deal with more than 20 players at a time (on a 10v10 PvP map).

    Though I stupidly spent most of it already, I lucked out in terms of receiving a few windfalls. Most of my STO life subscription came from my tax rebate. Prior to that, the University give me a larger grant due to increased tuition rates.

    I’ll probably pick up a student discounted copy of Adobe Web Premium CS4 – a wholly professionally-minded purchase based on an understanding that this software is most related to my degree and I’ll be getting it much cheaper now than when I’m no longer a student – and that’ll be it for my splurges for this semester.

  3. When do you graduate, or are you on a Masters now?

  4. This semester. Not on a masters. No plans for graduate school – I’m not sure my largely arts degree would apply well. Might get a second degree, but it turns out Financial Aid won’t cover that, so either I’ll find a scholarship or I’ll be paying my own way through that.

    Truth be said, I think I’m sick of school. Although it’s hard to get work right now, I really want to spread my wings and try making some money. Independent development would be ideal, but that’s a bit of a gamble, I might just do some simple work in the meanwhile, if I can find it.

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