EVE Online, CCP’s massive space simulation MMO is finally going free-to-play in November 2016, when the next expansion launches. However, there are a few things you need to know to fully understand how this new mode works.
CCP is technically dividing the game into two clone states: alpha and omega. Omega is just the same as it is currently, with all EVE Online players who pay a monthly subscription having access to their progress and the full game. The alpha clone state, however, is the one for players who want to play EVE for free, but this has some limitations:
“The most important thing to know about Alpha clones is that they may only use a specific set of skills and skill levels. To begin with, we are planning that the Alpha skill set will be focused on using tech one Frigates, Destroyers and Cruisers. Alpha clones will only be able to use ship and weapon skills native to their faction. If you have skills trained on a character in Alpha State, which are not part of the Alpha skill set, those skills will be locked and unusable until Omega state is reactivated. Characters will start the game with the same 400,000 skill points as they do now and will be able to train freely within the Alpha list. A fully trained Alpha will have roughly 5 million skill points.”
Players will be able to jump between alpha and omega states if necessary – if you’re an alpha player and decide you want to pay the monthly subscription, you switch to the omega state and have access to the full game; on the contrary, an omega player that stops paying the sub will revert to alpha and all his advanced skills will be locked and inaccessible until he restarts paying the monthly sub.
This seems like a very interesting take on the free-to-play business model and if it works well, should definitely be followed by other games.
Here is a video from CCP’s Seagull explaining the clone states in some detail.