Originally launched back in 2003, Eve Online has had a subscription fee from day one. Countless other MMO games have come and gone in the past thirteen years, but save for a select few (including World of Warcraft), almost all of them have abandoned subscriptions in favor of microtransactions.
All the while, CCP Games, the developers behind Eve Online, stood pat. The dedicated paying community kept the complex space game running for over a decade, but as the market shifts, the developer is finally taking a stab at free-to-play.
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The subscription model of Eve Online will still be in place, but starting today, anyone that wants to play the game can jump in for free with an “Alpha Clone” account. There are some major restrictions for Alpha Clones: they have access to a limited number of ships and skills, and those skills take twice as long to train.
In spite of these limitations, Alpha players will still be able to access the entirety of the massive Eve Online universe. Unlike most MMOs, Eve Online players all play in the same shared server, which means free players won’t be relegated to their own space. Instead, they will be able to contribute to the ongoing battles between the game’s warring factions, providing they’re willing to dedicate some time to building up their characters and collecting valuable resources.
In addition to the free-to-play accounts, Eve Online is also getting a story mode for the first time, which should help ease new players into what is one of the most complex experiences in the history of online gaming.
Watch a trailer promoting the new Eve Online experience below: