Currencies and Store Integration in Star Trek Online

Having been a Star Trek Online player since the beginning, I’ve seen the evolution of currencies and stores in the game. Initially, there were energy credits that were used to buy things in in-game stores, like weapons and gear for your characters. There were also Cryptic points, which were bought with real money to buy goodies, like ships and things. There were also other special purpose currencies, like ship tokens that you got when you earned a new ship through leveling up, and medals for PvP stuff that I had no familiarity with because the PvP mostly sucked.

Now, the developers have somewhat simplified currencies and stores, though they’ve added some. There are still energy credits, earned for missions, and they can be used in the Exchange (like the Auction House in LOTRO) where players buy and sell excess gear, as well as for most stores in the game for weapons and gear. The medals and such have now been replaced by dilithium, which is earned by doing daily missions, PvP, and in other ways that I don’t know about yet. Dilithium Stores tend to have higher quality gear that can only be bought with dilithium. There are also some Ferengi crystals that show up from time to time. These are fairly rare, but allow the purchase of nifty and rare items, though I don’t yet have enough crystals to buy anything, so I haven’t done so.

The most impressive thing is the seamless integration of Cryptic Points into the stores in the game, particularly the clothing and new ship stores. Now, when you want to equip your Bridge Officers or yourself with a new outfit, the store shows lots of items that are only available if you pay with Cryptic Points, the real-money currency. Same with ships: if you want a niftier ship, you can get one if you pay with Cryptic Points (you still can’t go above your level range, though). Very nicely done and a clever way to exploit (and I mean that in a good way) the Free-to-Play model that Star Trek Online has adopted.

Overall, the currency and store integration in Star Trek Online is well done and should serve as a model for other games in the future.

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