Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) Eve Online is to introduce a free-to-play membership model in November, developer CCP Games has announced.
Derided by critics as being little more than an insanely complex spreadsheet under a spacefaring graphical layer and beloved by fans for being an insanely complex spreadsheet under a spacefaring graphical layer, Eve Online has required players to purchase game time – a key feature of the game’s complex player-driven economy – in order to access the game. While trial memberships have been available, the need to pay a monthly membership fee for full access has been constant in the game’s thirteen year history – until now, that is.
CCP Games has announced the shift in a semi-fictional announcement concerning the availability of clones: Alpha Clones and Omega Clones. The latter are equivalent to current paying subscribers, and existing subscribers will see their characters morphed in to Omega Clones; the former represent a new tier of membership which can be accessed without paying a single real-world penny, and any characters with lapsed subscriptions will be converted to Alpha Clone status and become playable once more.
Like existing trial memberships, Alpha Clone players won’t have unlimited access to the game. ‘The most important thing to know about Alpha clones is that they may only use a specific set of skills and skill levels,‘ the company explained in its announcement. ‘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.‘
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