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STO Uplink: Here We Go Again! Cryptic Sold To Perfect World

Here we go again! STO players are now screaming from the top of their lungs: “We’re all gonna DIE!” Okay, so maybe not quite so melodramatic, but pretty darn close!

Remember last week I told you that Atari had decided to divest itself of Star Trek Online’s production company, Cryptic Studios? Yeah, I talked about the rumors flying around the forums and the podcasts and the blogs – all of which seemed to take a “wait and see” attitude, hoping that a company who actually might love STO and Cryptic’s other products would be their knight in shining armor.

There was conjecture about almost every company – Blizzard, CBS, Microsoft – we even thought that maybe King Abdullah of Jordan might be interested…

Boy were we wrong.

Atari announced yesterday that Cryptic is being sold to Perfect World a Chinese company that has the reputation from gamers here in the US for producing sub-standard free-to-play MMOs. “Grinders” they call them.

To say that a collective “Oh crap” has been skittering through the playerdom on STO is, putting it mildly, Since Cryptic’s only other running MMO, Champions Online, is already free-to-play there is now a true worry that the same fate will befall STO.

Why is that such a bad thing? Well – maybe it wouldn’t be – at first. Free-to-play games only make their money by selling items in a store that can be used in game to level or fight or accomplish goals. An in-game economy tends to build for those who want to play the game with every advantage.

It would be very sad, and admittedly probably a game-killer if an economy like that bloomed in Star Trek Online. Right now we enjoy a pretty Trek-friendly atmosphere – I get what I need to play the game, well simply by playing it. I don’t need the items they sell in the store to play this game any better than I do right now.

If that were to change, I think it might actually suck the soul of the game.

HOWEVER! There is A LOT that hasn’t been really looked at yet. Perfect World is a Chinese company that is attempting to branch out into the American and global markets. Let’s face it – the products they currently produce are not very popular with the American and global gamer. Heck the American and global gamer are the ones calling Perfect World games “boring grinders.”

However, they have CASH and according to every article I have read, Perfect World is looking for technology and developers that will add to their R&D. Cryptic has 2 games that are already out on the American and non-Chinese market, and one in the throes of development. Cryptic needs cash to finish developing those games.

This actually might be a perfect marriage.

I do think it’s odd that a Chinese company bought a company whose games can’t be played in China under their new entertainment laws (let’s face it, STO is rife with fantasy and time travel) but if they’re serious about buying Cryptic for markets other than China – they may have found the perfect way to do it.

So once again I will sit back and see what happens. I’ve made a lot of friends at Cryptic now and I’m concerned about them, this has got to be stress on top of stress right at the eve of the release of the much-anticipated Season 4. I hope they’re faring well.

Now – just for a little fun, I decided to share the following screen cap! I reached my 500 day mark on STO on Sunday. One of the “Veteran’s Rewards” that I discussed last week was the new “Jupiter” uniform along with a fancy-schmancy United Federation of Planets belt that can be worn with it. I think Beth looks exceptional in it. Dav’mak, her friend, escorted her to the fleet party to celebrate the occasion.

Star Trek Online - Beth in her Jupiter Uniform

I sure do hope I get to see my 1000 day mark.

Bye Bye, Robot: Official Licensed Star Trek Fine Art