The one million account figure I reported in the previous post is for all people with registered Cryptic accounts, not Star Trek Online alone. This may or may not include people who don’t play either Champions Online or Star Trek Online (details are still fuzzy).
While the exact figure hasn’t been published, there’s little doubt in the minds of most industry observers that this is far and away the most successful launch since WoW, surpassing all expectations, and I believe that the bottom line will reveal that it was double or triple the numbers of the World of Warcraft launch.
If (and this is a big if) they keep the content flowing freely and expand the game frequently and aggressively, they have the capability to steal the crown from WoW. On the other hand, if they drag their feet on expanding the main game while diverting too many resources to premium content or get bogged down in the quagmire of PvP balance, well, the race is theirs to lose.
At the end of the launch day, Star Trek Online had registered over a million player accounts.
That’s an incredible achievement by any measure. But I’ve seen some commentators responding with, “yeah, but World of Warcraft has 11 million active accounts”, as if to relegate STO to some niche beneath the notice of a WoW loyalist.
Let’s set the record straight. WoW has over 11 million active accounts AFTER six continuous years in operation. How many accounts had it registered on launch day, back in 2004? It took a bit of digging, but the answer is: somewhere between 200,000 and 250,000.
And THAT was an incredible achievement at the time for a massive multiplayer game. Give WoW its props; it didn’t just dominate the market, it expanded it into new territory and brought in legions of people who would never have considered an MMO prior to that time. It earned its place as king of the mountain.
STO is doing the same; bringing in a fresh horde of non-MMO gamers into the MMO fold. It’s not competing with WoW as much as it is helping draw fresh meat into the mix… something all the subscription titles ought to be applauding.
Only time will tell if Cryptic can hold onto and expand upon that remarkable start. But of all the games launched in recent years, I think Star Trek Online has the greatest potential to not only surpass the WoW peak, but to push the “Massive” in MMO to a new quantum state.
It’s been over 20 years since I first encounted the “Champions” RPG on a hobby store shelf and decided to make it my own. It wasn’t my first encounter with a superhero RPG — that was the unlamented “Villains and Vigilantes“. But Champions gained my undying affection. It was one of the first “classless” RPGs — unlike “Dungeons and Dragons”, your character could be created and grow in most any direction you could imagine. Want to be The Little Teapot, blasting your foes with jets of scalding water? Go for it!
Fast forward to last week, when Cryptic finally released Champions Online. I’ve been waiting for this one with bated breath ever since it was announced. I ran out, installed it, cursed at it while it patched (a tradition for me), and set out to explore the Champions universe.
And I was… underwhelmed.