It’s 2016, and free-to-play games are quickly becoming the norm. That’s why longstanding subscription-based titles like EVE Online are so amazing: they’ve continued to thrive under increasingly cheaper competition.
Well, EVE Online is finally changing its business model. As part of the Ascension update on November 15, EVE Online introduced free-to-play characters. After 13 years of being a subscription-only service, EVE Online is now free-to-play.
Of course, the free-to-play model is slightly different than other F2P games. Only certain characters are free-to-play.
Here’s how it works. EVE Online now has two new “Clone States”, including the Alpha Clones and the Omega Clones. According to developer CCP, “Your clone state will be determined by your account status. Characters on subscribed accounts will be granted Omega state, while Alpha state will be given to characters on any unsubscribed accounts.”

The news has been generally well-received by the EVE Online community. Many gamers have echoed the sentiment that the game was “ready for this”. Others, however, don’t like what it means for the future of the infamously-complex MMO.
If you’re an Omega Clone, nothing in the game changes. You’ll continue playing the game as you always have as a paid subscriber.
Alpha Clones, on the other hand, are the “new base state”. The free-to-play Alpha Clones are subject to the following restrictions:
-Only able to train certain skills
-Train skills more slowly than paying members
-Subscribers who cancel their subscription will enter Alpha status
-Any skills you’ve trained over-and-above the Alpha limit will be “locked and unusable until Omega State is reactivated”
CCP is quick to remind new players that Alpha State doesn’t make the game any less fun or usable. Alphas can still perform many of the same tasks. Alphas have “enormous freedom”, explains CCP, and they can do “everything from rampaging null sec in Caracal fleets to exploring sites in high sec to playing a major role in faction warfare.”
Many EVE players are excited about the changes, especially with how it could affect space battles. Most of EVE’s space battles revolve around massive, expensive ships. With more new players, space battles could become more multifaceted, involving many smaller ships that could change the course of the battle.
That being said, a large minority of EVE Online players disagree with the changes, seeing it as the beginning of the end for their hallowed game.
The important thing to get from this news is that it pretty much marks the end of the subscription MMO era. World of Warcraft is the last major subscription-based MMO standing.
Head over to the EVE Online Subreddit to get an idea of what some longstanding members are saying about the changes. There’s even an /r/evenewbies subreddit available to answer any questions you might have.

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