I can't help thinking that adding RPG-style levels and itemization to a competitive shooter was ill-conceived in the first place, especially without some well-tested system to balance PvP matches. In most shooters that have some kind of in-game advancement, progress gives you more options and small advantages rather than overwhelming ones. In CrimeCraft, it's very hard to enjoy the PvP until you've spent a lot of time leveling up in the repetitive PvE instances.
You can join a gang (guild), but gang matches and tournaments haven't been implemented yet, so for now they aren't much more than buddy lists.
It might be easier to overlook some of the game's shortcomings if it actually had more crime. There's nothing even remotely akin to a Grand Theft Auto inspired crime spree here, with car jackings, drug deals, high-speed chases, and heists. In CrimeCraft, like most multiplayer FPS games, you're almost always in a team-based shootout, although you might be wearing funky clothers rather than a uniform. While there is a game mode called "Robbery," in practice it's very similar to Capture the Flag.
The Business Model
Online games have been experimenting with a wide range of potential revenue streams in recent years, and CrimeCraft seems to employ all of them. The game currently sells for $29.99 including 3 months of game time, after which you can get a standard subscription for $4.99 per month, or a premium subscription for $9.99 per month. There is an item mall where you can purchase extras that are mostly cosmetic in nature, and they've clearly left room for in-game ads should a demand for them arise.
A free trial with no time limit is now being offered, but be warned that, even without a time limit, it's a remarkably crippled trial. Not only are you denied the bulk of the weaponry, including some low-level quest rewards, but character creation restricts you to using the "random" button to select an appearance. Worse yet, you are stuck with that appearance even after upgrading your account, unless you start a new character or buy cosmetic changes at the item mall. You are given some "gold bars" with your account that could go towards this, which is some consolation, but it would make more sense to allow people who are trying the game to create a character they like. At any rate, they've done a stellar job of ensuring that you won't have much fun in CrimeCraft without paying for it.
One of CrimeCraft's features that you don't often see in a shooter is crafting. At level 5 you can start training a profession: either Tailor, Gunsmith, Engineer, or Chemist. These allow you to make equipment for your character and for sale on the in-game auction. Materials are collected primarily in Stockpile instances, which accounts for their popularity. Unfortunately, the crafting system isn't well-documented enough, so you need to grope around in the dark for a while figuring out what you need and where to get it.
The Bottom Line
Despite having reasonably good shooter mechanics, decent AI, and the occasional well-balanced firefight, CrimeCraft is simply a poor value compared to other multiplayer shooters on the market. You'll pay less and have more fun with Team Fortress 2, Call of Duty, Battlefield 2, or any of a dozen other games out there. In fact, you would likely get better mileage out of a free title such as Combat Arms, Battlefield Heroes, or Quake Live. You may not get as much character customization, but you'll have a fighting chance right from the start, far more people to play with, a better selection of maps and possibly mods, and no monthly fee. Gamers have a lot of choices these days, and I'd be surprised if CrimeCraft could hold their attention even if it were free, let alone with its multi-pronged revenue approach. Vogster has a substantial list of improvements they hope to implement over the next six months, but it would take a small miracle to keep CrimeCraft alive until 2011.