Eve Online Goes Free-to-Play as New Expansion Launches

Eve Online: Ascension gives free access to all players, in addition to a bunch of new content.

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Eve Online's latest expansion, Ascension, is now live, providing free access to the space MMO for all. Developer CCP detailed the new expansion in a press release today.

In addition to the game going free-to-play, Ascension has now put all characters into two different categories. Characters in the Omega clone category behave similarly to those used by players who are currently active in Eve, granting unlimited access to skill progression and training. This is what players get if they pay a subscription fee, which is currently $15 a month.

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Alpha clone characters, on the other hand, are the new "base" experience that those who want to play for free get access to. These characters have the ability to train and use specific skills to fly ships, as well as accessing skills in the trading, industry, and exploration categories.

Additionally, Eve's gameplay introduction has been revamped with a new player experience called Inception. It features fully voiced mentors, newly designed UI help, and a storyline with new environments.

Other new features that come with Ascension include Command Bursts, which replace warfare links; the Fitting Simulator, which gives "deeper experimentation and optimization of ships;" and Effect Generators for Titans, which allow players the ability to warp across a large area. New ships, NPC mining fleets, balance changes, a new character sheet, and changes to the Roqual industrial capital ship are also listed additions in the update.

Eve Online: Ascension launched today on PC. You can play the game for free via Steam, but if you want to start with a little extra content, you can pay $20 for the Core Starter Pack and $50 for the Premium Edition. It's important to note that buying one of these editions will prevent you from buying the other.

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Avatar image for InYourMouf
InYourMouf

At this point, after so many years of being a subscription-based game, why would they make this change? As someone who has never played this game before, this is seriously the most intimidating game I've ever encountered. I wouldn't even consider jumping in at this stage, as if I could ever be competitive with those who've been playing for the last 13 years. No doubt, this only served to upset their biggest fans.

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tomcat205

WTF! AVG anti-virus, just block this game

Avatar image for Atzenkiller
Atzenkiller

So it's like a demo, or a very limited f2p option, same as what SWTOR did.

I wonder if mmo companies will ever realise that lowering their ridiculous subscription fees to an amount anyone would be willing to pay, like $5, could actually make them a lot more money. But maybe I'm wrong and you can make more money from the suckers who are willing to pay $15 every month.

What I see though is that many will probably be turned off by the heavily gimped free version, while a singificant percentage of those would likely have no problem paying only $5 per month for it to get the full game. But as nothing has changed over the last years it doesn't seem like it ever will.

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Pelezinho777

Is this worth playing for free? I really don't have fourteen hours a day for a grind fest.

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preacher001

I was hoping this would go F2P. It's not that I mind paying, it's just that I mind constantly paying a premium. Had this been set up as a $30 buy in with a $5 monthly, Eve would have gotten easily 4 times as much money from me as they have.

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gamingdevil800

Dust 514 was a disgrace hopefully this is better?

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Ice-Cube

Soo how hard is this to get into from someone who's recent space game was Elite Dangerous? I've always heard the learning curve was quite hard to grasp.

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Lu_Shen

Wow, never thought this game would join the MMO graveyard.

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Mogan

@Lu_Shen: Going F2P isn't the MMO graveyard anymore, because subscription is what's kills MMOs these days.

Avatar image for Atzenkiller
Atzenkiller

@Mogan: Financially? Maybe, although FF14 seems to be doing quite well. Gameplay wise? Yeah, f2p games are clearly superior in every way. Wanna avoid grinding non stop? Pay for it. Want to make your life easier? Pay for it. Sounds a lot like a subscription model to me. Only difference I see is that instead of expecting it upfront devs would rather make the game as grindy and annoying as possible so that you're forced to pay to avoid that.

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Mogan

@Atzenkiller: Depends on the MMO, but there's enough out there now that nobody needs to play one with bad F2P mechanics if they don't want to. My point was that MMOs don't die because they went free to play anymore, they go F2P to keep from dying due to being sub only.

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BovineDivine

@Lu_Shen: EVE population is fine and has been fine. This is just an attempt to bring more people into the universe who were put off by the learning curve without having to pay up front.

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Megawizard

@BovineDivine: Hi-sec's antics will convince most (new and not just an alt) free players to quit right back out.