CCP Has a Plan for EVE Online Free to Play

Welcome Back Poors!

-Tweety Bird, EVE Online F2P forum thread

I was going to push this off to see how it plays out for a bit, but then I realized tomorrow was a new month and I like to mark events during the month they happen, so here it goes.

My initial reaction

My initial reaction

CCP announced today, via a dev blog, that November’s release, which is clearly going to need some sort of epic name that we can curse at some future date, will include a free to play option for the residents of New Eden.

The basic upshot is that, come the release, there will be two flavors of capsuleers, those with Alpha clones, who are non-subscribers, and Omega clones, who are subscribers.

Nothing will change for Omega clones.  We won’t even get the usual “please subscribe!” in-game cash shop currency bribe.  Instead, focus will be all on the Alpha clones.

Alpha clones will be severely restricted.  There will be a 5 million skill point cap on them and they will only be allowed to train from a specific set of allowed skills, which will be based on the race of the character in question.  So an Alpha clone Amarr will get lasers, a Caldari will get missiles, and a Minmatar will get a roll of tech I duct tape and the usual kick in the ass.

They also won’t be able to extract skill points.  Glad somebody thought of that hole immediately.  Also, no cynos, no cloaking.

This seems to be following the early SOE F2P, which aimed to make free play so limited that anybody who really wanted to play would subscribe just to be done with the rat’s nest of “velvet rope” restrictions.

The thing is, EVE Online is different that a lot of other MMORPGs who have gone the free to play route.  And EVE Online is very much a game where having multiple accounts is a force multiplier.  And the real question of the hour isn’t so much how many new players this will attract to New Eden, but how the current player base will exploit this new method that will effectively allow them to have as many crappy, low skill alts as they want.

The first, and most obvious hole, which even CCP brought up in the dev blog, is suicide ganking.  This will allow players to go nuts on that front.  But even if CCP decides it needs to close that loophole, what else will players do with all those crappy, low skill alts?  Will a couple players being able to put eyes in every system in a region change the game?

I suspect that a lot of this, like simultaneous Alpha clone logins, will be locked down fairly quickly.  But still, having an alt hanging out in any system where you need eyes on only a login away will have some impact.

On the plus side, if/when your subscription runs out, your characters will become Alpha clones, only able to used the set range of skills, but you will still be able to log into the game a and chat with people.  More people in local is always better, right?  And when you try to do something you used to be able to do, the game will remind you that you need to subscribe.

Can't touch that!

Can’t touch that!

Anyway, this is a fresh item, CCP is still bouncing it around, and there are still a couple months to go before November.  We shall see where this heads.  I am sure I will return to the topic again, once things have settled down.

Others jumping right into the fray:

Bonus Assignment: Compare and contrast CCP’s play for EVE Online with Blizzard’s unlimited trial program for World of Warcraft.  Be sure to discuss what makes something free to play versus just being a trial account.

9 thoughts on “CCP Has a Plan for EVE Online Free to Play

  1. Pingback: Frjáls Hjǫrleikr | New Eden Vagabondage

  2. Knifesedge

    For me this is quite interesting. While never a hardcore EVE player I have spent a fair time in the game and would be nice to pop in to see who’s active of my friends and perhaps resub if I felt like it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Random Poster

    So I was all excited for this free option at first. And then I read that it limits you to Cruisers. And my old old old tune is in a raven and has all the skills to Pilot it though I don’t remember how many that is. Though to be fair if I were to come back I probably wouldn’t be flying The Raven right off the bat because I’d rather not die stupidly because I forgot how to play the game LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Matt

    WoW vs EVE: I’d say they’re different because while no one believes a level 20 can meaningfully take part in WoW’s mainstream, a commonly cited strength of EVE is that even newbies can perform essential tasks in support of endgame activities, as full participants. If this is true, it would mean that EVE is now far more F2P than WoW is.


  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Shintar – Is 1 better or worse than 10 in a scale that has no point of reference? She’s a 10, but I’m #1!

    The names actually have a root in the old clone upgrade system that was in the game ages ago. Your initial clone was your alpha clone. Then you had beta, gamma, delta, and so forth, on to omega. But you wouldn’t know that if you hadn’t played at the time. Hell, I didn’t even make the connection until I saw your question.


  6. Shintar

    Thanks for the answer, I guess that makes some sense though.

    Unlike with your numbers example, I personally can’t think of any (out of game) context though where being an omega is a good thing. I’m mostly reminded of all the animal documentaries I used to watch, featuring “alpha wolves” and the like.


  7. Pingback: Eve goes a little Free 2 Play | Morphisat's Blog

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