(NOTE: Cover Image is from the Legendary Miracle Worker Light Cruiser stats page.)

Hello, all, and welcome back to Joe and STO! I do hope you’ve enjoyed (…merely tolerated?) the first 3 parts of this series. I hope to either wrap this up or nearly do so with today’s installment.

When we talk about Zen prices and real world currency (US Dollars for me), we tend to equate $1 to 100 Zen, or $.01 per 1 Zen. Why is that?

Generally, items in the Zen Store cost at most 3,000 Zen individually. Bundles sell generally for 5,000+ Zen, which is when a Zen Charge Bonus normally kicks in. At those sub-5,000 Zen prices, though, you get no bonus. My bottom 2 tiers are 1,000 Zen for $10 and 2,000 Zen for $20. Both equate to $1 per 100 Zen.

That makes quick numbers nice and easy: I just take the Zen price and divide by 100! A 3,000 Zen ship, then, is $30.

So a 30,000 Zen Legendary Starship Bundle is $300!

Except, not really.

Oh, of course you could always grind out the Zen you’d need. I’ve seen/heard of at least 2 players who have accumulated at least 20,000 Zen, so they’re getting the Legendary Bundle for free or at a reduced cost.

But let’s say you’re not that good, not that dedicated, or you’re in-game broke. You’ll have to pay out cash to get it.

If you can catch Zen Charge Bonuses and Z-Store discounts at the right time, it may be as low as half of that in actual currency.

THE REAL COSTS OF THE LEGENDARY STARSHIP BUNDLE

Zen Provided Through Zen Charging

First, let’s see how much Zen you get for the money you spend, both during normal days and during Zen Charge Bonus periods.

I figured it was important to show how much Zen you actually get for however much you spend. The highest tier is $200 USD, the lowest is $10 USD. Steam can do $5 for 500 Zen, but there’s still no bonus and taxes may be charged via Steam.

As you can see on quick inspect, you see that 30,000 Zen isn’t exactly $300. In fact, it’s $200 + $50 + $20 = $270. That’s 23,000 + 5,300 + 2,000 Zen = 30,300 Zen.

So this “$300” pack is really $270…on a bad day.

What about at different sales prices, and/or during a Zen Charge Bonus period (where all tiers of Zen Charges get extra Zen)?

Zen Costs with Zen Charge Bonuses Figured

Depending on how we buy Zen, we’re most likely going to have to “over charge”, that is, we’ll have leftover Zen after we buy at whichever sales price gets us the best dollar value.

Real Dollar Values of Above Zen Amounts

As we see, we can get some decent discounts depending on what sales and/or Zen Bonus Charges we come across or plan on.

For example, we don’t see $300 anywhere except the column that says, “Without Zen Bonuses.” This Bundle will be less than $300 USD to buy. No, not by much, but any discount is a blessing!

The highest price of this bundle is $270. This assumes you buy without a Zen Charge Bonus period, apply only the standard Zen Charge Bonuses, and you’re getting as close to 30,000 Zen as possible.

During the introductory price is when it’ll be the cheapest. It won’t even be $200! If we get no extra Zen Charge Bonus, we’ll see $190. If we do get a Zen Charge Bonus this weekend, we’ll see the cheapest price at $150.

The Bundle is a limited-time but relistable Bundle. It may come up during an overall Z-Store sale (personal speculation), which is why I’m including 20%, 25%, and 30% sale figures.

At 25% and 30%, there’s no way to spend less then $200 if you’re doing this all on Zen Charging. At a $10 difference between 20% and the 25% & 30% costs, when a 20% sale hits, you might as well grab the Bundle.

When Zen Charge Bonuses are in effect, or when you buy during those Bonus periods intended to use the Zen on a Z-Store sale, you’ll only spend $200+ if you buy the Bundle at 30,000 Zen. If you can wait for a 20% sale, you’d only need to pay $190. The price decreases by $10 for every 5% extra in the sale discounts, down to $170 for a rare-but-not-unprecedented 30% off sale.

THE LOWDOWN ON COSTS

Saying this is a $300 Bundle is slightly disingenuous, though not by much. The most expensive this Bundle will be is $270 (US Dollars). In contrast, if we get a Zen Charge Bonus this weekend, it’ll be $150 instead, the cheapest price point even if we look at other sales in combination with Zen Charge Bonus periods.

During normal periods in the game, this 30,000 Zen Bundle will cost $270. If you hit 20%-25% sales, you won’t get below $200 unless there’s a Zen Charge Bonus period (either running with a sale like during the Holidays, or if you buy during a Bonus period and wait for a sale). If you can wait for a combination of sales and Zen Charge Bonus periods, this bundle will be no more than $190 to grab.

THE MATH ON DOING IT FOR FREE

Let’s say you want to try to get it for nothing. Zero. No Zen Charge.

Let’s make some assumptions:

  1. You’ll be able to aim for a 20% off sale. Our goal then is 24,000 Zen.
  2. You’ll wait for the holidays. I’ll assume that’s when they’d want to relist this Bundle. Generally at those times, there’s an overall Z-Store sale, usually 25% but we’ll aim for 20%. Anyway, this puts us at mid-November at earliest.
  3. You should assume a worst-case scenario of 500:1 Dil-to-Zen.

That gives a player 41 weeks and 6 days (as we don’t want to go into the Monday of the Black Friday Weekend sale that tends to happen with Cryptic titles, just in case sales end earlier than expected). That’s 293 days to get 24,000 Zen, or an average of 82 Zen per day.

Assuming a 500:1 Dil-to-Zen rate, that 82 Zen per day means you’d need 41,000 Dilithium per day to make 24,000 Zen for Black Friday weekend.

That’s potentially not too bad. Since each character can refine 8,000 Dilithium per day (without taking side trips to your Starfleet/Klingon Academy and the Fleet Dilithium Mine), that’s 5 characters that need to hit 8,000 Dilithium per day and 1 that only needs 1,000, or 11 characters doing ~3,800 Dilithium per day each.

Let’s assume the worst case instead: needing 30,000 Zen, but we’ll push our time to completion to December 31st. That’s 331 days, so you’d need ~91 Zen per day. At the worst case 500:1 ratio, that’s 45,500 Dilithium per day. Ten characters could do 4,550 Dil per day and you’ll make it to the end of the year.

MY PERSONAL DECISION: BUY OR PASS?

After careful thought, looking at the ships and consoles and traits and equipment that this will unlock for my Federation captains (plus the new traits for my KDF-aligned characters), I’m deciding to buy the pack while it’s at its introductory price for both my main and alt accounts.

Main Account Reasoning

My main account has been around for 8 years. It has most of the ships, equipment, and traits I want.

But here are the things I want from this Bundle that I can’t get otherwise:

  • Black Alert and the Lorca Maneuver console on each Federation character.
  • Pilot Defiant (Enough said. It’s a Pilot Defiant!)
  • PLOT Armor on each Federation character ship.
  • Point Defense Bombardment Warhead on each Federation character.
  • The USS Ross skin for the Galaxy-class.
  • Ominious Device on each Federation character.

Granted, that’s almost all subjective as I have those things on most characters. I’d just be missing the Pilot Defiant and the USS Ross skin.

However, after using Black Alert and Lorca Maneuver on my TOS-era Discovery-themed character (before we got proper Discovery-era character creation), well, it was fun. It may not be “Super DEEPS” on damage potential, but it’s fun.

PLOT Device is a personal survival choice. I love passive abilities, so if I have something that’ll save my behind when I take a huge chunk of damage, I’ll take it!

Ominous Device is a good “I have nothing else so I’m using this” console. It give a passive 20% All Damage boost (“Cat 1”, but 20% is a decent boost). Plus, if you’re needing a brief respite from enemy attack, activate the console. Enemies will flee and have their non-Engine systems knocked to minimal levels. If you’re buying this Bundle but are short on good Consoles, slot this.

Alt Account Reasoning

I promised that my alt account would only spend $15 per month on the game. I just didn’t figure I’d do it all by the time February was nearly half over.

As you all know, I’ve been grinding out free ships and have only bought 1 big “bundle.” With enough planning and dilligence, I was able to get the Gamma Vanguard Pack for (I believe) $75. I did put money into some charitable events, but I consider that abnormal and going to a good cause, so a bit of overspend on those things is fine, in my books.

Because of that, I don’t have things like:

  • Withering Barrage (T6 Defiant)
  • Checkmate (one of the T6 Odysseys)
  • Super Charged Weapons (another T6 Odyssey trait)
  • Phaser Quad Cannons (T4 Defiant, AKA “Tactical Escort”)
  • Wide Arc Quantum Torpedo (any Sovereign class)

I also want access to some of the other things I mentioned above, plus:

  • Temporal Anchor (new T6 Crossfield trait)
  • Mirror Crossfield’s Experimental Weapon (confirmed in the Bundle by Jette)
  • Tactical Flyers hangar pets.
  • Extensively Modified Warp Core (new Tier 6 Intrepid, AKA “Warship Voyager”)
    • For Tour of Duty runs, as I’ll need EC if I want to buy Keys for Lock Boxes for Lobi or even just to buy needed Traits and Duty Officers.

Plus this is a huge catch-up! I don’t have any of the ships on this list. I only have 1 Tier 6 Lockbox/Promo ship (so far; it’ll be 2 soon). To get 10 ships and all their previous versions’ equipment, practically, is a huuuuuge deal!

The Bundle will be $150 USD. With 10 months left in the year (I used this month to help pay off the Gamma Vanguard Bundle), this comes out to $15 per month, right on what I can afford. “But it’s $150 straight out.” I know, and I’m able to do that, so I’ll pay myself back as I get money in to the tune of $15 each month.

WRAP-UP OF THE SERIES

I hope this series has shown you possible ways to look at the value of this Bundle, both for good and bad. I also hope it’s informed you of what you’re getting and what you’d have expected to pay if the question of, “Is this worth it,” popped into your mind. Finally, this part shows you what you should expect to pay and how to get there if you want to try to do this completely free. (Though there’s no 100% solid confirmation they’ll re-launch this Bundle, I don’t see why they wouldn’t ,at least around the Winter holidays this year).

As for other concerns, I hear them and share some of them.

  • The only KDF-aligned stuff in here is the account-wide Starship Traits of the new ships…and I hope they consider a KDF-equivalent pack, even if it’s only perhaps 5 ships big (and priced as such).
  • It’s “Bundle or Nothing”…at least for now. There are plans being talked about for individual releases, but as Ambassador Kael said, don’t wait for a “mythical time” when they’ll all be available individually. (Those plans are not firm, however.) I’d love to see this available individually, but be careful what you wish for. You’re getting a new T6 ship with old T1-T5 equipment added plus skins previously only available from buying the old ship(s). I wouldn’t expect a 3,000 Zen price per ship when/if they’re available separately. I’d expect 4,500 Zen.
  • These ships are worse than their Lockbox/Lobi/Promo counterparts…which is noted and by design. In the latest Priority One Podcast (relative to this post going live), Ambassador Kael mentioned they didn’t want Lockbox/Lobi/Promo ship owners feeling like their ships were completely invalidated. To ease that, versions of those ships with changed Specialist ship abilities and BOFF seating & other stats are in this Bundle. Also (going into personal opinion), just because a ship isn’t the best for DPS doesn’t mean it’s junk. Underwhelming comparatively, sure, but I have a feeling your Legendary Temporal Flight-Deck Carrier will perform close to someone else’s Miracle Worker Flight-Deck Carrier given the same equipment (as console, weapon, and BOFF slots allow) and skill. Finally, fun should still mean something. The Pilot Defiant won’t set any Escort-based records, but it’s a T6 Defiant-class ship that can Cloak (or Battle Cloak with enough pieces equipped) and do Pilot maneuvers. My “Emergency Command Hologram”-themed Doctor character will love it!
  • It’s predatory…to which I ask, “what’s the legal definition of a predatory business practice?” Perhaps it is and I just don’t understand the legal definition, but that’s also part of why I’m doing this blog series, to put more information into your hands so ultimately you can decide if you want this or can even support it. That these ships aren’t being offered separately, to me, is not predatory. It breaks a pattern, sure, but Cryptic is under no obligation to make any items separately available. The high price isn’t predatory as its normal price is on an even level with 10 traditional T6 ships. Someone would need to file a lawsuit and be willing to follow it through so we can define what a predatory practice is, so until someone does and we get a final legal opinion, all we have is public opinion. I feel this is why the community is trying to put information into your hands, so you can make the decision that’s best for you.

Do not let “Fear of Missing Out” be a factor for you. “But I want that [insert ship here] and I may not get it later!” I know, but the best way to lose money fast is to spend it without thinking or considering the implications of your actions. For example, I’m fairly confident I can afford $30 per month ($15 per account) to buy this Bundle twice over. I’ve seen what they’re offering and I’ve decided I can and want to buy this when the Bundle launches this Thursday. You may be much tighter on funds, in which case you choose not to buy and start planning your STO budget around a re-launch (possibly this Summer but I’d almost put money on Black Friday and/or the Winter holiday period in December-early January). Don’t go into debt to buy this.

If Kael is sure it’ll come back at least once more, start planning for it, even at 30,000 Zen ($270 with normal Zen Charge Bonuses or $220 with one). Grind out some Dilithium, turn it into Zen, and then plan to make up the difference with purchased Zen. Sure, we won’t know when they’ll re-launch it, but I also feel it won’t be gone forever or even for long. Plan on the Bundle being re-listed, with the best shot being during Holidays.

That’s all the take I have on this Bundle. Feel free to leave comments about this Bundle, but please be respectful of Cryptic employees, PerfectWorld Entertainment employees, and the companies themselves. I don’t hate differing opinions, but name-calling, profanity, and threats on what’s intended to be a family-friendly STO blog won’t be tolerated.

I’ll be taking a long break from blog writing, so until next week at the earliest, enjoy your Anniversary ship (that you’re grinding away for daily for another roughly 2 weeks) and, if you buy it, these Legendary Starship Bundle ships and gear.

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