EVE Online goes free-to-play to open up space to everyone

EVE Online, the massively ambitious MMO, is becoming free-to-play in November, ending 13 years of paid subscription-only play.

In a bid not to alienate paying players, from November EVE developer CCP will introduce a feature called Clone States to help smooth over the transition. Previous players will become Omega clones, granted unlimited access to skill progression and rapid skill training, while Alpha clones become the new de facto player state and one available to all at any time. While Alphas don’t have the freedom of Omegas, they can train and use specific skills and fly some of the most frequently used ships. When an Omega player’s subscription lapses, they’ll revert to an Alpha clone. All skills will then developed beyond the cap will become inaccessible but – importantly – will remain there for whenever you decide to subscribe once more.


CCP’s thinking with this two-tier approach is to encourage co-operation between eager new players and experienced long-term subscribers.

“Our single-shard server means that every player truly affects every other, whether through economics, resource gathering, direct combat or bad posting,” writes CCP on the announcement blog post. “This in turn means that our universe is more interesting, more exciting and more dangerous with each additional citizen.

“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 floodgates were opened in the wrong way, we could see anything from server meltdowns to the collapse of the EVE economy.”

In the lead-up to the introduction of Clone States, CCP is opening up its development procedures so that players can feedback to the team about any concerns or wishes they have. You can find out more in the announcement video below.

The decision to go free-to-play, which appears to have been  considered, doesn’t seem to be a reaction to dwindling subscriber numbers. Unlike many other MMOs out there (not naming names – WOW – why would I?), EVE Online’s userbase has been growing steadily over the years (albeit with dips here and there). In fact, over its 13-year history, EVE has played host to some of the largest in-game events, including a ten-month heist back in 2005 to steal EVE’s then-most-prized ship and a 22-hour long battle that cost players almost £200,000 in damages.

As EVE is about to enter its 14th year, this isn’t just a bid to increase player numbers. It’s about allowing CCP to focus upon the new kinds of experiences it wants to create. If a free-to-play model can sustain EVE and grow its userbase without the team needing to devote as much time to it, it allows CCP to focus on its interconnected VR projects EVE: Valkyrie, EVE: Gunjack and upcoming tech demo Project Arena.

CCP’s open stance on development and the integration of Clone States should help abate any concerns that players have about the change, but it remains to be seen if some of its most passionate players will feel burned by the move. Still, if they are miffed, perhaps the new November expansion can help calm their woes.

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos