EVE: Online goes free to play

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If you’ve run out of games to play – and given the recent release schedule, how could you? – and don’t feel you have enough pain in your life already, good news! EVE: Online, CCP’s spaceship MMO has just gone free to play.

For the last 13 years, if you ever wanted to play EVE: Online, you had to pay a subscription every month. The new Ascension update doesn’t do away with that option, but it does allow players who are perhaps (quite rightly) a little intimidated at the prospect of diving into CCP’s dog-eat-dog galaxy the chance to experience it without paying money up front – albeit in a pared down version.

With the Ascension update, EVE: Online players will have the option of two classes of character: The Omega class is essentially what exists in the game now – you pay your monthly subscription fee and for your sheckles, your clone has unlimited access to skill progression and rapid skill training. The Alpha class is free and targeted at noobs: your clone’s skill set is more pared down and there is a limit on the type of ships you can fly – although you’ll still be able to take part in epic space battles as and when they happen.

“EVE Online is a very special game. Our single shard server means that every player truly affects every other, whether through economics, resource gathering, direct combat or social interaction,” notes Executive Producer Andie Nordgren. “This in turn means that our universe is more interesting, more exciting and more dangerous with each additional citizen.”

It’s a pretty bold move by CCP, but it does seem to hint that the Icelandic developer believes that subscriptions for EVE: Online may have plateaued. It’s likely that CCP is hoping that by allowing players to try out EVE for free, it’ll snag more subscriptions as the noobs become embroiled in the game’s Machiavellian metagame. To date, this has included pyramid schemes, massive ongoing wars, backstabbing of the highest order and even trolling and abuse on social media.

So if you’ve ever wanted to experience a game that’s basically Game Of Thrones set in space (sans the sex) there’s never been a better time to get your feet wet.