Effective today, January 17, Star Trek Online is live as a free-to-play game, meaning anyone can download and play the game -- without a retail copy or subscription -- via Perfect World Entertainment and Cryptic Studios. Access to additional optional features is available through a virtual store. And fans can join Cryptic and Massively for a virtual launch party going on all afternoon and evening, starting at 1 p.m. ET with a livestream of Federation character creation/tutorial and a 500 STO Promo Point Giveaway, followed at 2 p.m. ET by a Giveaway on DS9/Costume Contest for 1000 STO Promo Points, and continuing on with additional events at 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 p.m. ET.
"We couldn't be more excited," Cryptic Studios CSO Jack Emmert said in a statement. "Updating Star Trek Online to the popular free-to-play model removes those barriers of entry that previously kept fans and casual gamers away. Anyone can download and play Star Trek Online at no cost. There's no better way to see how sitting in the captain's chair feels."
Current players may continue subscribing as Gold Members, while newcomers can choose to upgrade to Gold status for $14.99 a month. Visit the official Star Trek Online site and the matrix there for information about the differences between Gold Member and free Silver Player options. As noted, a web and in-game virtual goods store provides players with the opportunity to buy additional premium content and gameplay upgrades as desired.
Star Trek Online unfolds in the year 2409 and features extraordinary elements that allow fans old and new to experience unparalleled adventures within the Star Trek universe. Players have the opportunity to become high-ranking Starfleet officers, including captain, and participate in missions structured like episodes that take them deep into space, across exotic planets and inside other starships. The vast, ever-expanding universe includes The First City of Qo’noS, Deep Space Nine, Starfleet Academy and many other iconic, unusual and/or notable Star Trek locations, as well as an option called The Foundry, which lets players devise and build fresh/customized stories and missions to share with the STO community at large.