Star Trek Online getting freemium model and weekly content for second anniversary

Big things are on the horizon for Star Trek Online. With the second anniversary of Cryptic's MMO in range, executive producer Stephen D'Angelo greeted fans with a rundown of the tweaks, additions, and events en route for season five and beyond.

The first major change will take place January 17, when STO officially launches its free-to-play model. From that point forward, players can chose to continue paying for Gold status, or explore the final frontier for no fees as a Silver member. Choosing to play for free will still allow players to enjoy full access to the game, however Gold members will still have the slight advantage when it comes to inventory space, the collection of veteran points, priority login, and enjoying all in-game chat features. Virtual goods and services will be available to purchase in the game's C-Store for both classes. A full list of Gold and Silver account differences has been posted online.

Beyond the free-to-play launch, D'Angelo announced the arrival of new Odyssey class starships and Klingon flagships to coincide with STO's second anniversary in February. Following this, Cryptic will fire up a new episode arc featuring the Dominion that will carry on through March, and be joined by the first expansion for the Duty Officer system plus even more events and features throughout spring.

Looking even further down the line, D'Angelo hinted at Season 6 surprises for June, which include “major upgrades on some key parts of the game”, as well as improvements to foundry, PvP, and crafting.

Overall, D'Angelo said he aims to keep the new content flowing on a regular basis, writing, “All told, it’s my goal to have something new in the game nearly every week starting with the second anniversary event and running through the end of April.”

Star Trek Online made its North American debut on February 2, 2010. We gave it a healthy 7/10 at time, but it sounds like it's made some significant upgrades since. Let us know if you're playing, and what you think of upcoming changes.

Matt Bradford wrote news and features here at GamesRadar+ until 2016. Since then he's gone on to work with the Guinness World Records, acting as writer and researcher for the annual Gamer's Edition series of books, and has worked as an editor, technical writer, and voice actor. Matt is now a freelance journalist and editor, generating copy across a multitude of industries.