By Andrew Dodson on August 31, 2016 at 9:49am
After 13 years of being an subscription-based game, the developers of "EVE Online" have announced that the title is going free-to-play, starting this November. Sorta. Seagull, the executive producer of "EVE Online" goes into the details in the video below:
So, essentially, "EVE Online" is doing something similar to what "World of Warcraft" did when it went free-to-play. Free players will have access to most of the game, but there will be caps on certain skills and levels, preventing them from having 100% access to all the ships that "EVE Online" offers. CCP introduces the new free-to-play model by using the game's own lore, and introducing a new biotechnology called 'clone states.'
"EVE Online" players that choose not to pay the monthly fee will be known as 'Alpha Clones' and will be limited in the ships that they can take skills in. 'Omega Clones' are the players that still pay for the subscription, and they will not have any limitations placed upon their character. While the change to a free-to-play model seemed almost inevitable for the ancient sci-fi MMO sandbox (and really, most MMOs), it is also one that it CCP had been trying to work out for a while.
Just like you, we’ve known this for a long time and, just like you, we’ve been doing everything we can to bring more people into our spectacular sandbox. Part of our vision for the future of EVE has included more open access for some time, but with the interconnected nature of the game comes vulnerability. We knew that if the flood gates were opened in the wrong way, we could see anything from server meltdowns to the collapse of the EVE economy. Over time, our hardware has improved, code has been untangled (mostly!) and we’ve found a design we believe in.
CCP Dev Blog
"EVE Online" is home to some of the most interesting politics and conflict in MMO gaming history. When a war happens in "EVE Online," it is something that thousands of people get involved. Based on official CCP numbers, the game seemed to peak in popularity in early 2013 with over 500,000 subscribers. There has been less transparency about subscriber numbers since then, leading to a lot of rumors that people are leaving the game.
It will be interesting to see exactly what happens in November and if going free-to-play and introducing the 'alpha clones' will be successful in revitalizing the "EVE Online" community.