For years, EVE Online captivated gamers with its epic-sized battles and the vast amounts of in-game currency won and lost by a select few of the so-called “capsuleers," or players. As one of the most popular massive multiplayer online (MMO) games, it requires a paid subscription in order to get the full experience. However, that will change in November when CCP Games will try out a free-to-play version of the game.
When you die in EVE Online, you are “resurrected” as a clone that has the same skills and abilities as your previous body. These skills are used to fly specific ships, use special weapons and excel at a specific role in the EVE Online universe. With the new free-to-play approach, you will be in one of two “Clone States.” If you have a paid subscription plan, you are in an Omega Clone State where you retain all your obtained skills and have access to the entire skill tree. If you don’t want to pay for the subscription, you are in an Alpha Clone State. At this level, you have limited access to the game’s skill tree, so most of the game’s advanced techniques are unavailable to you. In addition, you have access only to your faction’s ships and weapons compared to Omega Clone players that can learn ship and weapons skills from every faction in the game.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t participate in most of the game’s activities. At the Alpha Clone level, you can train to fly Frigates, Destroyers and Cruisers at the “tech one” level, so you can contribute in combat, run missions or mine resources like a paid subscriber. The time it takes to learn skill is also reduced in the Alpha Clone state so that you can quickly join in group fights or mining expeditions. For a full list of the skills available to Alpha Clone players, you can check out the studio’s latest developer blog.
The free-to-play approach is uncharted territory for CCP Games. Since its initial release in 2003, the game thrived due to its large subscriber base. However, the studio noted that the subscription prices were also a main reason why fans stopped playing the game after a while. The Clone States approach, then, is a way for those veterans to come back while also attracting a new group of players who want to try EVE Online for the first time.