Daily Archives: February 18, 2022

Maximum Alpha

The subscription on my main account ran out last week and I declined to renew it for now.

At the height of World War Bee I was running four Omega accounts.  That was probably one more than I really needed, had I trained the right skills on the correct characters, but I was using all four account regularly during the war.

Once the war ended I turned off two pretty quickly, then turned off the third when the realities of the New Dawn quadrant hit, making sure to leave a note about that when I cancelled the auto-renew.  They conveniently have a “because of the last patch” option available when you answer why you are cancelling your subscription… though I suspect that they ignore than option when you select it.

It has been a long stretch since I was down to just one account.  Even when I was briefly in the fan site program I always had a second account running.  And given how CCP has been going… all stick no carrot… I just didn’t feel inclined to give them any more money right now.  So, for the first time in over a decade I am not a subscriber to EVE Online.

Of course, things have changed since the last time I unsubscribed, which was in protest of the mess than was the Incarna expansion.  Back then, when you were out you were out.

But in the era of free to play I can still log on.  I have merely been reduced to an Alpha clone.  I have gone from having nearly 240 million skill points invested in a wide range of skills to being the maximum alpha, with just 20 million skill points in skills I can use.

Now, I want to be clear.  This is not me rage quitting EVE Online.  You may not have my stuff.  This is me being bored with the meta that CCP’s war killing economic scarcity plan has created and trying out something different.

The free option is often viewed as hard mode in online games and, honestly, no small part of my motivation to drop from Omega status was to find out what life on the Alpha side is like.  The Imperium has said they have doctrine fits for new players and Alpha clones.  Time to see how well that works out.

Let the Alpha adventure begin!

The first thing I looked at was my skills window, where CCP highlights in gold all of the skills you are mission out on by not paying them the subscription fee.

There is a lot of gold in that picture

That is a lot of gold in my skills.  You can mouse over and see how many skill levels you have lost due to the Alpha downgrade.

Spaceship Command hit

Still, how bad could it be right?

So I started going through my hangar to see what I could still fly.

What options do we have here?

Of course, the T3 cruisers and destroyers were out.

And also all of the T2 hulls.  Omega only on those.

Then there were the battleships, which were T1 but which doctrine dictated T2 modules for the recommended fits, so while I could hop into them, half the modules and all the weapons were immediately offline.

I am basically good for battlecuisers… I believe our Ferox doctrine was actually designed with Alpha clones in mind… T1 logistics cruisers… Scythes and Ospreys are in our doctrines… and some of the T1 support frigates.

But even there I found, on closer inspection, that not all was going to be sunshine and lollipops.  One of the first ships I went to look into was the Vigil, a T1 support frigate used for target painting in some of our doctrines.  Yes, I can fly the hull, but the modules… not so much.

All those marks pretty much mean Omega required

A lot of T2 modules in that fit, so I went to find lower meta versions.  But even then, I was thwarted in fitting.  The Alpha skill set cuts into a lot of items I have come to take for granted over the years, level V skills that make fitting a bit easier.

But, if I was going to fly something as cheap as a Vigil, I can stop worrying about getting SRP when I lose it, which frees me up a bit to adjust the fit.  I still have to be able to do what the role intends.  Tinkering with the fit and discarding the drone aspects, I was able to get a fast target painting Vigil configured that I could fly and which would be able to paint targets to almost the range I could as an Omega.

I even managed to get it cap stable, since my primary defense is being small and too fast to track.  But capacitor usage looks like something that will dog me on my journey.

The Scythe, for example.  I can fly that as an Alpha without changing the fit.  However, all modules running, I can keep going for about a minute before I cap out.  If the fleet is moving fast and I need to keep my MWD burning, then I have to be very careful about how much shield repping I do.  I can run the two small reppers all day with the MWD on, but as soon as I turn on the medium repper, cap starts to drain very fast.

I have similar issues with the Ferox and the Drake fits, where I can run all the modules in the fit, but if the FC keeps us moving fast for too long I will soon cap out.

I thought the Osprey might be a good option, since it is a T1 logi ship that runs on a cap chain, so it never runs out of capacitor so long as the chain is up.  However, to fly the doctrine fit for the coalition I need to turn some modules off.  I don’t have the power grid available to run the whole fit.

So I need to do some work on fitting before I run off on an op.

Also with the Alpha layout, my ISK making potential, such that it was, has been diminished.  I was making some ISK with planetary materials, but as you can see from my skills, that is 100% an Omega thing.  It didn’t blow up my planetary operations, so I can go back to them later.  It didn’t even stop them from running.  But I cannot export any items to the customs office, so there we are.

As for alternatives, I was unlikely to go back to mining in any case, and the waste mechanic introduced means I would be unlikely to be welcome were I to even try.  I suppose I could rat.  I could probably come up with a Myrmidon fit that wasn’t horrible, but it would be slow going and ratting is just as mind numbing as mining.

I don’t know how long I will keep with this experiment.  If I were really serious about it I would set a time frame, like six months or a year as Alpha.  But I’m not that invested, so we’ll see how it goes.  I’ll certainly resubscribe if a war or an interesting deployment comes up.  But for now I am just al Alpha clone out in null sec wondering what is available to me.