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EVE Online's Free To Play Update Coming November 15th

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One imagines that the recent glut of space games – yer Elites, Star Citizens, even No Man’s Skys – are eating a few of the spacechips from EVE Online‘s plate [official site]. Why else would the MMO be partially removing its subscription requirement after thirteen years in order to offer free-to-play options on November 15th?

While other games may scratch your itch for inky black, there’s still plenty that EVE offers that no other game does – which is exactly the tack taken by this new aspirational trailer. It gets me right in the spaceglands.

Look at that, will you. CCP are good at using escalating electronic music, beautiful space vistas, massive fleet warfare and dialogue from real players in order to sell the dream of EVE Online. It’s almost enough to make me forget that every one of the players depicted is pushing at menu buttons to steer and probably moving in slow motion during those massive battles so the server can keep up.

EVE’s free-to-play option, which arrives with an update called Ascension, introduces characters who can be played for free but are only able to train certain skills. That will limit them to flying low-level ships and only being able to use basic weapons and ship modules. If players want to unlock the rest of the game, including dozens of ships, hundreds of skills and faster XP learning rates, they’ll still need to pay for a subscription using real money or in-game cash. CCP explained how the system works in a video back in August.

I’ve pottered about in EVE on and off over the past decade but never been fully immersed in its world. That’s mostly because it requires such an enormous time commitment, but the subscription fee does stop me from dabbing as much as I might. It’s unlikely I’m ever going to join a player-led corporation and set about conquering a part of the galaxy, but I might, now it’s going free-to-play, return to do some space tourism, to run some trade routes, and to potter about with spaceships. CCP hope of course that others will do the same, and that a “revised new player experience” will carry at least a few of those curious players beyond the basics and into the more consuming world of space bastardry.

And EVE Online has produced many great player-derived stories space bastardry. We’ve written about many of them, including grand betrayals, bankers funding wars and gambling kingpins destabilising EVE, plus propaganda and protesters blockading trade hubs. EVE has produced a lot worth writing about.

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Graham Smith

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