EVE Vegas 2017: EVE Online’s free-to-play option is getting a huge boost

When EVE Online added its free-to-play alpha clone account option, it felt more like an infinite trial than a truly viable free tier. Alpha clone players are currently limited to a single faction’s ships, can only fly tech 1 cruiser sized ships and below, train skills at half the normal speed, and have access to only about 5 million skill points worth of skills. CCP Games initially expected there to be a section of the playerbase who would play alphas exclusively and never upgrade to a full account, but the options proved to be far too limiting and internal stats showed that most people upgraded to Omega quickly or quit.

At EVE Vegas 2017, CCP announced that EVE Online‘s free option is getting a massive boost this December after the Lifeblood expansion. Alpha clones will soon be able to fly battlecruisers and use tech 2 small and medium guns, allowing them to fly many of the common ships used in nullsec fleets and removing most of the power gap between alpha and omega pilots in those roles. They’ll also be able to fly battleships and train for all 4 races of ships, which has the side effect of allowing powerful pirate faction and cross-faction ships such as the Machariel and Stratios.

Read on for a brief breakdown how the new system will work for new and current players.

The upgraded alpha clone accounts will have access to over 20 million skill points worth of skills but will still train at half the speed of an Omega player. In a confusing twist for new players, alpha skill training will pause once you reach 5 million skill points and you’ll have to either subscribe or use skill injectors to progress beyond that. Once the skills are trained, however, you’ll still be able to use them indefinitely when in an alpha state. CCP also hinted that new boosters may be added to the store to enable training beyond the 5 million mark or increase training speed to that of an omega character, but these plans aren’t finalised.

These changes also come with the potential for additional abuse that CCP will have to keep an eye on. Gank Brutixes with tech 2 guns and ammo can deal an incredible amount of damage with a relatively small investment of ISK and training time, for example, so we can expect freighter suicide ganks to rise following this change. A fully trained alpha will even be able to fly powerful pirate battleships such as the Machariel without too much of a penalty, leading to some worries that some veterans will have little reason to stay subscribed. On a positive note, nullsec alliances are already figuring out how to fit the new alpha upgrades into their standard battlecruiser fleet doctrines.

Disclosure: In accordance with Massively OP’s ethics policy, we must disclose that CCP is paying for our writer’s travel, accommodation, and ticket for this event along with several other members of the gaming press. CCP has neither requested nor been granted any control or influence over our coverage of the event, and the writer is paid exclusively by Massively OP for this work. They also filled me with cheese fries and coffeeeeeeeee :D
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26 Comments on "EVE Vegas 2017: EVE Online’s free-to-play option is getting a huge boost"

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William Wyrick

For everyone saying they’re going to drop their subs. You can’t play at the same time with two different accounts if one is subbed and the other is free. Unless they mentioned that at the eve event.

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kanbe

This will be very intresting to watch unfold. As a former player this will get me back in my ships but I don’t see this move being profitable for CCP.

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Castagere Shaikura

I should login for giggles to see if i can play my 7 year old character. I don’t remember how many skill points he had though. He did own all the minmitar tech 1 ships up to battle cruiser.

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Koshelkin

CCP should start working on a sequel/spin-off with Valkyrie’s combat system.

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cista2bpo

Will they be able to do Planetary Interactions now? This is the EVE equivalent of farming and something many casual players would have wanted to do as alphas, but could not.

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Arktouros

I said it once and I’ll say it again what they need to do is sell skill packages in the PLEX store for Alpha Clones. So you start out with your basic package of skills you can train in Alpha. Then you can buy the “Battlecruiser Package” for X amount of dollars in PLEX that will let you train those skills or unlock them if already trained. This lets them sell distinct packages of skills while locking out the ones they don’t want to sell. It also lets them multi-monetize customers as someone who has a subscription might end up still buying these packages “just in case” they go idle.

However consider my scenario. I wouldn’t mind having some sort of “Industrial Package” that lets me do some mining and such. However when I’m done mining I’m going to have to haul my ore somewhere and that’s likely going to mean I’ll end up buying a PLEX to unlock my Freighter skill so I can haul my shit in one, big haul or even better I’ll end up paying someone else to do it for me thus improving player interaction and game play.

Brendan did they mention industrial skills at all, or is this still another free game trial that lets you trial some parts of the game but not actually play the game? I mean lolz Venture mining CCP plz.

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Oleg Chebeneev

I like this. Its how good F2P systems should be. You pay for what you need, not for what devs force you to. EVE itself suits really well for such model since they can introduce huge variety of packages for any needs and purses. I would most likely buy exploration package.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Lifeblood looks like the best EVE expansion ever

Aelzen
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Aelzen

As I’m now back in lowsec (albeit as a “pirate” rather than a FW participant), I would be very tempted to drop my sub if it weren’t for the loss of all my drug skills, overheating skills, the ability to drop a cyno for shits n giggles, and the use of a JF. So looks like I’ll be keeping two subs at least (well, two paid-with-plex subs).

Will have to look into whether it’s possible to make an incursion alt for under 5m sp, and if not, how many injectors are needed to make it viable. Will probably end up hating incursions as much as ratting and exploration, but it would be something new to try at least.

Maybe it will be time to flesh out a few alphas for fw level 4 mission running and dump one in each faction. That’s always been insanely profitable.

Regardless, CCP will still be getting my subscriptions, and I’ll have a few more useful pilots under my belt for when cruiser-down PvP is slow.

That said, a lot of folks in my alliance discord (both alliance members and not) are heavily reconsidering their dedication to the subscription system with this news.

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Jay Power

Good news, but what about T2 drones? If those are in too after December update, I’ll probably be playing again.

kofteburger
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kofteburger

Great. As someone who plays casually I don’t think I’ll ever sub again.

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John Mclain

Not just you, I plan to let 4 accounts lapse into alpha state after these changes as well, though I “may” keep one omega. This is a great change for us players, but this is gonna seriously hit CCP’s wallet. Strange that they plan to allow this.

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