Thursday, November 3, 2016

EVE Online F2P Almost Here

I find myself looking forward to the newest expansion of EVE Online (EVEO).  Titled "Ascension", it promises a load of changes, not the least of which is "Clone States", the name given to the Free-to-Play (F2P) system model of EVEO.

Originally slated for release on November 8, 2016, it has been pushed back a week and is now scheduled for release on November 15, 2016.

I fully intend to download and check-out this MMO "sandbox" marvel, which has been going strong since its launch in May of 2003, when "Ascension/Clone States" launches.  Oh, maybe not the same day it launches (ideally, yes, but sometimes real life gets in the way of such things), but if not "the" day, within just a few days afterwards.

Ever since Geoff Hanna posted about the actual, real-world memorial to the player base in his blog, and subsequently finding out that EVEO is going F2P, I've been doing a little online research, reading various blogs, guides, and other information on EVEO.  It amazes me that they have been able to thrive on a purely subscription-based model for so long.  But I know that part of that has to be the "sandbox" approach they've taken from the start.

While I understand there is a story-line, there is no "end game"; you can pretty much do whatever you want - within the confines of the game, of course.  But there are plenty of options.  From piracy to mining to infiltration and sabotage to...well, just about anything you can think of,

I'm sure like a lot of other games, there are those current subscribing players who feel the going F2P spells "DOOM!".  I expect there to be some animosity to all the "newbies" jumping on board.  I also expect several 'pirates' will likely find "easy pickings" with the new, influx of inexperienced and ill-equipped players as well.  I further expect that shortly after jumping into the game, I'm going to die.  Oh, I'll stick to the "High Sec*" areas at first, but there is something about exploring "Null Sec" areas that I find appealing.  And unless I get an escort or two or several hundred...well, there is a reason it's called "Null Sec"...

Still, for gamers like me, who simply refuse to be bound by a subscription fee, the opportunity to jump in and explore the vast and well-known universe is exciting.  BE WARNED:  if you've never played EVEO but are thinking about trying it out with me (so to speak), it is reported to have a very high learning curve.  I would urge you do some research, first - just make sure you find some of the more current "guides", as many are way out of date (so I've found).  For instance, one guide suggest playing a specific race and a specific faction because of the various 'traits' they received.  That system has, from what I understand at least, been replaced and all races/factions now have the same initial traits.  Different races do use different weapons systems, though, and while subscribers can "cross-train" to use all systems, F2P players will be restricted to "race only" training.

There are limitations to being F2P, as one would expect (as in the aforementioned 'race restrictions'), but it sounds like a lot of thought has been put into the limitations** to still provide an engaging experience and not feel that you're a 'second-class citizen' least, not too much.  Still, if you like the game and want to subscribe, you can do that, of course.  There is also a way of using in-game currency to 'subscribe'.  So maybe you can consistently make enough in-game money to fund several months of 'subscription' play.

It should be...interesting.

* "High Sec" = High Security zones, which are 'patrolled' by what effectively amounts to an automated police force that will quickly move in against those who violate the high security 'laws', such as those against piracy.  You can't just 'blow someone out of the sky' just because you don't like them.  At least, in theory.  There are also "Low Sec" zones, which is more lax and the 'police force' slower to react and while there are no 'patrols', there are 'fixed' placements.  And then there are "Zero Sec" (aka "Null Sec"), in which there are no 'patrols' or fixed placements at all; it's a free-for-all:  you are on your own - enter at your own risk.

** As far as I know, all content is available to both "alpha" clones (F2P players) and "omega" clones (subscribers).  And you can go back and forth between "alpha" and "omega" as your finances dictate.

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