There hasn’t been any official word from Cryptic yet, but traditionally Star Trek Online always had a Black Friday (weekend) sale with everything in the C-Store at 20% off. There’s no reason to expect differently this year, and I’ve been eyeing some items I might be interested in….
While not a top “want”, I might try to grab the Valiant bundle when it goes on sale. The option to run stealth bombers with the Kor and the Malem is somewhat intriguing, but to be perfectly honest, I just want the trait “Withering Barrage” for my cannon-users. Otherwise there really isn’t a ship I’m dying to buy; too bad the T6 Nebula bundle isn’t — wait, hush now.
Other than that, I’m more interested in some service stuff, like character slots and playable species (I’m looking at the kitties!).
The main issue right now is the dilithium-to-Zen exchange rate: as of last night it was sitting at 420 dil/zen rate. It’s very high, and it has been sitting in that 413-420 range for a suspiciously long time. Why suspicious? Because the Dilex used to fluctuate a lot depending on events and gameplay changes. Say a popular C-store ship or a new lockbox is released, players would start buying Zen (for Master Keys in the latter case), thus driving up Dilex. Conversely, when a big new Dilithium sink is introduced, such as the Fleet Research Lab, dilithium goes up in value and Dilex drops. This time around, after Dilex rose above 410, it just sat there and wouldn’t budge -K13 Fleet Holding didn’t make the slightest dent in the Dilex.
Granted, unrefined dilithium is relatively easy to come by now with the advent of Admiralty system, but the effect of this supply should not have a direct impact on Dilex… after all, when you are selling Zen, you are effectively buying other players’ refinement limits, not their stocks of unrefined dilithium. Some players have long argued the economy is being manipulated by a small number of super-whales, and I’m starting to see signs of it. Frankly, it’s not even that difficult to accomplish given the relatively small player base of STO.
I know Cryptic has expressed concerns in the past about this high Dilex rate. At first I thought it’s counter-intuitive, because as the developer Cryptic surely wants players to spend real money to buy Zen, rather than having cheap access to it via free dilithium? And it certainly is true, but at the same time it’s also counterproductive to the game if casual players are driven away, because everything is so darn expensive and beyond their immediate reach. Like any real world business, you have to slowly grow your customer base to keep the business viable.
I don’t mind buying Zen at the high Dilex rate, but not if it’s being manipulated. And right now, I suspect that’s exactly what’s happening. Because of that, I haven’t bought any Zen since the Dilex rate was about 350-360, meaning I don’t have a whole lot of Zen to spend this coming Black Friday. Oh well!