EVE Online’s free accounts getting to fly bigger ships

Spacegit MMO EVE Online [official site] is expanding its ‘Alpha Clone’ trial accounts. Alphas can play free forever but only with low-level ships and a limited number of basic skills. They’re not useless but, as a returning EVE player with my own account lost to the sands of time and dead e-mail providers, I had fun with an Alpha for a few weeks then grew bored and stopped. Huzzah, then, that CCP are giving Alphas more to do. Later this year, Alphas will become able to fly Battlecruisers and Battleships too, as well as arm themselves with Tech II weapons. This should make Alphas able to join in at most levels of play.

Introduced in November 2016, Alpha clone status is a type of free account which has no time limits and can go anywhere, but can’t fly, shoot, and use EVE’s shiniest toys. Those are limited to Omega clones, people who are currently paying subscription fees. While an Alpha player can still really get involved and have a good time, as Sin Vega experienced, some parts of EVE are essentially off-limits as an Alpha and Omegas are clearly better.

“We want to bring Alphas a little closer to their Omega counterparts in strength,” the dev known as ‘CCP Rise’ explained during CCP’s convention in Las Vegas over the weekend. “Even though we’re pretty happy with the power level that Alphas got, there are still big gaps, especially if you compare a full Omega pilot flying the same ship straight across against an Alpha pilot.”

So! Alphas will get to use Tech II variants of small and medium weapons – better, more expensive versions of standard hardware, also able to use better ammo.

Alphas will also get to fly Battlecruisers and Battleships, two higher tiers of spaceship. Low-tier ships aren’t useless in EVE, filling several useful roles, but this will broadly let Alphas go more places and fight more things. Both PvE and PvP will benefit from this. Alphas flying Battleships initially won’t be allowed to use Tech II weapons, though CCP will consider enabling that later.

The skill pool available to Alphas will be expanded too. EVE Online’s progression works by training specific skills, which progress in real time whether you’re playing or not, rather than ‘levelling up’. So far, Alphas have been quite limited, able to function but not excel. Giving Battlecruisers and Battleships to Alphas will obviously mean new skills to learn too.

All these new skills will come with a limitation, mind. All the skills currently available to Alpha clones amount to almost 5 million skill points. After these changes, they’ll total over 20 million. However, Alphas will have a cap of 5 million skill points – after which training will stop, so they can’t learn everything. If Alphas wish to train skills beyond that, they’ll need to bump up to Omega status for a while or buy consumable Skill Injectors (sold on the regular in-game market) for a burst of skill points. Pilots who use either of these methods to get beyond the 5 million cap will be able to use Alpha-available skills no matter what, so some might fancy buying a month or two of Omega to train up then drop back to Alpha.

CCP are also considering selling Omega time in chunks smaller than 30 days, for pilots who only briefly want to go Omega for training.

For more on all this, you can watch CCP Rise’s presentation on the archived livestream from 2:25:00.

These changes are due to arrive some time in December – not with the next free expansion, Lifeblood, which is due on October 24th.

Lifeblood will bring some changes relevant to Alphas, mind, with a rebalancing of many ship types popular among Alphas “to give them a little more punch, including a few slot layout and bonus changes that aim to shake up the combat meta a little, and provide new tactical options for these classes of hull.”

Annnd while writing this, I logged back into EVE and queued some skills that’ll be useful for Battlecruisers. You’re never fully out.

23 Comments

  1. vast_anusse103 says:

    I gave this a try a few months back. Spent three weeks mining and selling ore. Tried to make friends but failed, and it was really boring alone. While I understand that it gets better with a group, it was hard to find a group, and for this reason I currently describe it as the most boring game in the universe. Now I can’t really recall details of why or how it was fun, and mostly I think I’m confusing it in memory with Star Trek Online. Would love to go in again, but need an incentive. Maybe this is it?

    • Maxheadroom says:

      Joining a big corp is the way to go, but you’ll get sucked more and more into that world and their time table.

      “You can play Eve, or you can play other games” is something ive heard somewhere and ive found that to be true. I get precious little free time as it is without devoting it all to one game at the expense of all others. I guess you can say that about any MMO though (I shudder to think of the 8 hour Kara runs I used to do in WoW back in the day).

    • Sound says:

      Give it a try again. Join Karmafleet, one of a handful of good, large, new-player-oriented corporations. Karmafleet will get you in contact with lots of people in a similar situation as you, and help funnel you toward activities or social groups you’re interested in, nestled among veterans who will help you with anything. Theirs are the most organized, comprehensive, and effective new player programs in the game. It’ll also immediately put you right into the middle of the biggest fights and intrigues in Eve, as a member of the famous Imperium.

      If you don’t like Eve after that, then Eve just isn’t for you. ;)

  2. Alfius says:

    Absent structure and a self-assigned goal, Eve is a pretty hollow experience. It never holds your hand or tells you what to do to have fun.

    Fortunately, there are plenty of player run organisations which are more than happy to provide structure, goals, hand holding and fun. Try this one: karmafleet.org

  3. automatic says:

    This game is dead. EvE is the only multiplayer game I know where while cooperation is a requirement for success, it is highly discouraged by players and devs alike in favor of backstabbing and cheating. I think a more accurate description is: EvE is undead. A rotting beast, crawling while it hunts hungrily for some playerbase to suck the life from. People who stay in the community long enough inevitably become bitter and toxic. Playing as an alpha after years away from it showed me although one of the games premises is your actions have consequences, nothing changed really . I’m glad I stopped playing this crap. The game is full of potential but if you have more than 10 years of untapped potential it’s probably better to just throw the towel.

    • Sound says:

      You seem to have played an entirely different game than I have. The playerbase is thriving. It’s potential is thoroughly exercised constantly. And friendships transcend the game and can be enduring, while the betrayal of trust is uncommon.
      Of course, all the news comes from the exceptions to the latter.

      • automatic says:

        The game potential is on the awesome sci-fi setting, but what have been built around it is just broken. It is so that after EvE lost it’s shine CCP kept trying to capitalize on this setting with other titles.

        You can say betrayal is not on the game core until you visit a trade hub. 9 out of 10 messages on Jita chat are scams. Whoever played it for more than one month knows this is just how the game is.

      • jalaswsq says:

        “thriving”…and that’s including the alternate character accounts listed as “players” both “active and online”. even if you go conservative at 3 chars per player avg, which is quite conservative considering thats the avg in mmo’s and eve is known to have amuch higher avg of alts per player…that’s 1/3 of “online” that’s actually online. So on a 10k active time, it’s about 3k…on a 25k active time, it’s about 8k…thats not a healthy population for a game so large…which is why it’s totally possible these days to live in low sec or null without a corp. odds someone comes across you out there is slim. Din;t used to be the case years ago. when the online numbers were 4x higher…

    • StevieW says:

      Automatic is a textbook example of what we Eve players called a BitterVet (No offense intended).

      • automatic says:

        I know. And the fact that there is a whole class of people like me supports what I tell about the game. Play EvE actively for long enough and you either become a “bittervet” or redeem yourself to the toxic environment.

        • Kittim says:

          I agree, seems to attract a certain type of person.
          For some reason I always think of…

          Patrick Bateman: New card. What do you think?

          Craig McDermott: Whoa-ho. Very nice. Look at that.

          Patrick Bateman: Picked them up from the printer’s yesterday.

          David Van Patten: Good coloring.

          Patrick Bateman: That’s bone. And the lettering is something called Silian Rail.

          David Van Patten: It’s very cool, Bateman, but that’s nothing. Look at this.

          Timothy Bryce: That is really nice.

          David Van Patten: Eggshell with Romalian type. What do you think?

          Patrick Bateman: Nice.

          Timothy Bryce: Jesus. That is really super. How’d a nitwit like you get so tasteful?

          Patrick Bateman: [Thinking] I can’t believe that Bryce prefers Van Patten’s card to mine.

          Timothy Bryce: But wait. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Raised lettering, pale nimbus. White.

          Patrick Bateman: Impressive. Very nice.

          David Van Patten: Hmm.

          Patrick Bateman: Let’s see Paul Allen’s card.

          Patrick Bateman: [Thinking] Look at that subtle off-white coloring. The tasteful thickness of it. Oh, my God. It even has a watermark.

          Luis Carruthers: Is something wrong, Patrick? You’re sweating.

    • jalaswsq says:

      Of course it’s dead…or at least dying fast. Only 1 year after they release f2p they expand it in efforts to draw more players…whales carry the game, not average players. They spend enough to make up for the lack of spending on f2p accts but ccp have to attract more f2p to be fodder for the bittervets. If the noobs stop cooming and making noob mistakes (and taking months to years to train skills to be competetive) that allow the bittervets to gank them unexpectedly, the game will lose its allure for the whales who pay mostly for the sake of being ablke to vent their rl frustrations on people that can;t fight back or at least in a way they cannotbe held accountable for their actions. It always has attracted and been a home for the worst of the worst in MMO’s. It was the model for most all other MMO’s of the past decade and more, but at least many companies chose to do something with eve ccp did not…learn from the mistakes.

  4. Captain Narol says:

    I’ve burnt out of Eve, but it’s the deeper and most additive MMO out there and a model for the future, a single-shard dynamic sandbox with player-run economy and player-made politics.

    I’m happy the game is still thriving and getting new players by extending the possibility for free play.

    • automatic says:

      I wouldn’t say it’s a deep game though. It has a lot of different activities but there isn’t much challenge after you get through the thin veil of complexity. Most of the times, advancing on the game means waiting months for level 5 skills to finish for using items required for new activities.

      The game is built around expectation but in reality it is repetitive and boring. Most of the challenges you have revolve around dealing with toxic players, even from your own corp. Conflicts are always resolved in favor of the side with more players or cash (or both) and the thing you call politics is as lame as trying to convince spoiled players to join a fleet… more often than not it takes hours to set up and ends up in minutes.

      Regardless of how much players deny it, EvE is as much of a sandbox as WoW or any other “activate skill on target” MMO is. I’m really glad I quit it for other genres before spending years or real cash on skills for some endgame content that’s simply not satisfying, like I know some people did.

      • Sound says:

        I’m sorry you have a bad experience, but from the sounds of it, yours was a misfire, and unrepresentative of the kinds of experience I’m seeing new players get.

        • automatic says:

          On the contrary, I had great experiences on EvE. It’s just not this otherworldly thing ppl say it is. Behind the gorgeous graphics and the seemly alien, complex UI, it’s a pretty regular MMO with a lot of flaws. It is so that some of my worst experiences have been because the continuous patches from CCP, trying forever to fix the game.

        • automatic says:

          The fun fact is, most ppl who persists on the game likes it to be broken. It seems to attract exploiters just like flies to a pile of crap… and devs are ok with it. They even try to capitalize and encourage this kind of behavior, making it even worse. The game just burns people… not because it’s mechanics are challenging, but simply because it’s always lacking and demanding players to fill the void from it’s flaws. That’s why they are always trying to renew their playerbase.

  5. racccoon says:

    The basics of this game is training skills, your forever training skills, for friggin years & years & years!
    Its a never ending grind fest of training skills, the other part is the destructive measures of players you trusted & who just want fame! they just want to destroy all your hard work. Why waste 5 – xx years training your arse off for no apparent reason!
    Eve is a worthless game.
    CCP company just does not give a fthhhk about you as a player who spent his life training friggin skills forever n’ ever.
    Forget it!
    New players your never going to catch up at all, as you do not have years n’ years of skill training taken from your life like all the boring Eve players who have sacrificed a life out there.
    When CCP get rid of that encumbrance skill training program, the game might lift out of depth of its own stupidity.

    • Slazia says:

      If every player had exactly the same skills then there would be no specialization and the only limiting factor would be money. Then you would complain everyone should have unlimited cash to make things even?

      As a new player, you’re not supposed to be as strong as a veteran, but you can do certain tasks. As you stay longer, you will get to do more. This really isn’t any difference from experience in other RPGs, but it’s based on real world time rather than in-game time.

  6. sonofsanta says:

    Can you resurrect old (pre-F2P) accounts as Alpha accounts? Because Amarr knows I’m too busy to properly get back into Eve, but I do get nostalgic for my old Rainbow Abaddon, and wouldn’t mind swooping about in high-sec seeing the sights again for old time’s sake.

    And if you can–how does it work with the skill point cap? Do I get access to all the skills I had that are alpha-compatible, with thoe omega-only skills greyed out?

  7. VeNT666 says:

    You’re never fully out.
    This should be on Eve’s exit screen

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