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So I've got to thinking I need to put some thoughts down about why Star Trek: Online is bad, when it's sooo good.
It's like crack. Before I got into ST:O, I often described MMOs as a "digital crack pipe", and only marginally healthier than an actual one. Now I've been through the addition grinder of the game, I stand by that description.
Why is it so bad when it's Free To Play, you may ask? Especially since ST:O going F2P was what got me playing in earnest.
Well, it's because Cryptic/Perfect World KNOW they are essentially digital crack-dealers.
If you've never bought crack from a dealer before, and you try, they're going to want you to give them twenty bucks before they give you a rock of crack in tinfoil and the rest is up to you.
Just like Perfect World wants your email address, name, age, and other details (these things are worth real, actual cash to them and their advertising affiliates) before they will give you access to their digital crack pipe.
After you've bought crack that first time, knowing the powerful addictive properties of the drug, they can let you have more crack in twenty-dollar dosages on credit. "Come on man, I really NEED it, I'll pay you tomorrow."
They know you'll want more by then, so the hook of the addiction is what ensures your custom. Today, they will spot you some crack, tomorrow, knowing you'll be back, you'll owe them twenty bucks. Then the day after that, and so on.
In Cryptic/Perfect World's Star Trek: Online conception of the digital crack pipe, you have to ask them "Come on, I really NEED to refine dilithium!" and they will let you refine twenty starbucks worth of pink crack-rock every day, KNOWING that the likelihood of your eventually spending real, actual cash to speed that process grows with every click of the "Refine Crack" button.
Back to the world of crack addiction, let's say you have $200.00 of real, actual cash. "Can I buy this much crack?"
Of course you can!
Just like in F2P MMEHs (Massively Multiplayer Eternal Hell)! If you want to spend your money on digital crack, you can buy as much as you want!
You'd be an idiot to do so, and indeed I once heard a gem of wisdom from someone on The Daily Show being interviewed by Jon Stewart who'd written a book which broached the subject; "Crack is an idiotic activity."
In both the physical and digital worlds, idiocy is characterised by possession of the soul by the unlimited desires of the id. An idiot unfailingly repeats pleasurable activities to their own detriment as an organism, especially if the activity itself degrades the ability to recognise such diminishing returns of pleasure evidenced by repetition. Things which do this have "addictive properties" and it shows wisdom over idiocy to get off, and stay off both the physical and digital crack pipe.
Unless your ego can avoid the dissolution of addiction, subjugate the desires of the id, because you really, really enjoy crack? Powerful argument, from the heart, but it doesn't matter. Eventually, everyone reaches a point where realisation sets in--that no matter who you are, this sort of solipsism doesn't work forever. Either you put the crack pipe down and stop, or you die taking crack or from poor health caused by taking too much crack while life has passed you by too quickly for you to realise you're missing out on what else is happening.


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Nova Aurata Quiddity

June 2017

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