Hmm, I'm considering trying this game out.
Apparently it's free to play, which means its "significant cash to actually do anything useful in the game"
What would I spend on average to get a useful gaming experience out of it?
My opinion is that STO has the least offensive f2p business model I have seen thus far primarily because they put value in having you play the game. Which means stuff in the paid store can be paid in $USD OR through playing events in the game OR a combination of the two. Not only that, all missions, areas (except 1 unused area), events, encounters, reputation factions are available to all players for free.
So the paid store mainly sells:
- Starships. Frankly unless you're a starship collector, you only need one starship per character.
- Lottery ticket called Master Keys that lets you unlock a random bunch of stuff of varying value
- In-game services such as additional inventory, bank, officer slots and character respecs.
- Cosmetic stuff such as uniforms, custom ship bridges, non-combat pets
Let me give the example of a Tier 5 starship which all players will eventually want and need. Each Tier 5 starship cost between 2,000-2,500 zen. That's $20-$25 USD ($1USD = 100 zen). Or you can play 271-339 Special Task Force events, which nets you 260,000-326,000 dilithium that you can convert into 2,000-2,500 zen. Each event averages around 15 minutes although good players can complete in 5 minutes while a totally newbie team might take as long as 30 minutes or even fail the event. Lets say you complete 4 such events every day, you can earn enough to buy a Tier 5 starship just by playing constantly for 2-3 months.
Normally if you are just starting out, it is going to take you at least 1-2 months of playing events to figure out what type of ship best suits you, and you are accumulating points to buy your ship in that time. So realistically, most patient players don't even spend a dime in the game. And I should add that you don't need to touch anything in the paid store until you've reached the maximum level in STO.