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EVE Online goes free to play after 13 subscription-only years of epic space battles

EVE is ready for this.” That’s the key takeaway from CCP’s latest blog post, announcing that after thirteen years of subscriptions EVE Online is going free-to-play. Sort of.

This November, EVE will introduce two new “Clone States,” the Alpha Clones and the Omega Clones. According to CCP, “Your clone state will be determined by your account status. Characters on subscribed accounts will be granted Omega state, while Alpha state will be given to characters on any unsubscribed account.”

And as such, Omega Clones function the same as current paid subscribers. Nothing will change.

The big addition are the Alpha Clones, the “new base state.” There’s a huge Q&A under CCP’s blog post, plus the video above, but here are the basics: Free-to-play users are only able to train certain skills, and at a slower pace than paying members. If you go from a subscriber to free-to-play, you’ll also enter Alpha status. Any skills you’ve trained over-and-above the Alpha limit will be “locked and unusable until Omega state is reactivated.”

CCP is quick to specify though that this doesn’t mean Alpha users are useless. “Alphas also have enormous freedom. They will be doing everything from rampaging null sec in Caracal fleets to exploration sites in high sec to playing a major role in faction warfare,” says CCP.

Combat is liable to be most important. While EVE battles tend to focus on the high-end ships, the ones that are equivalent to thousands of dollars of real-world money, it’s the smaller pilots weaving around the battlefield that make up most of the fighting. A move to free-to-play should see EVE’s various coalitions courting an influx of new players. Or an influx of alt accounts, at least.

EVE Online - Clone States

 

As for how the EVE community is receiving the news? A quick sweep of the EVE Online subreddit reveals mixed feelings, with some saying it’s the end of the game, others saying “It’s the end of the game if such and such conditions aren’t met,” and some small minority seemingly excited. It’s exactly what I would expect from the highly-insular EVE community when they’re told to prepare for a flood. We’ll see if feelings change come November.

Regardless, it’s a huge change for EVE and basically the end of the subscription-MMO era. Oh sure, World of Warcraft is still holding it down in the corner, but it’s the last major one—and WoW’s always been a bit of a special case.

It’s much more surprising to see EVE go free-to-play because its mechanics are so closely tied into its sprawling and complex economy. That’s why we can talk about so-many-thousands-of-dollars-worth of ships being destroyed in a battle—because subscriptions (PLEX) are tied so tightly to the in-game economy. Adding this new Alpha State means big changes ahead for every facet of the game. Hopefully EVE’s unique nature survives the transition.

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EVE Online goes free to play after 13 subscription-only years of epic space battles

EVE Online goes free to play after 13 subscription-only years of epic space battles...

EVE is ready for this.” That’s the key takeaway from CCP’s latest blog post, announcing that after thirteen years of subscriptions EVE Online is going free-to-play. Sort of. This November, EVE will introduce two new “Clone States,” the Alpha Clones and the Omega Clones. According to CCP, “Your clone state will be determined by your account status. Characters on subscribed accounts will be granted Omega state, while Alpha state will be given to characters on any unsubscribed account.” And as such, Omega Clones function the same as current paid subscribers. Nothing will change. The big addition are the Alpha Clones, the “new base state.” There’s a huge Q&A under CCP’s blog post, plus the video above, but here are the basics: Free-to-play users are only able to train certain skills, and at a slower pace than paying members. If you go from a subscriber to free-to-play, you’ll also enter Alpha status. Any skills you’ve trained over-and-above the Alpha limit will be “locked and unusable until Omega state is reactivated.” CCP is quick to specify though that this doesn’t mean Alpha users are useless. “Alphas also have enormous freedom. They will be doing everything from rampaging null sec in Caracal fleets to exploration sites in high sec to playing a major role in faction warfare,” says CCP. Combat is liable to be most important. While EVE battles tend to focus on the high-end ships, the ones that are equivalent to thousands of dollars of real-world money, it’s the smaller pilots weaving around the battlefield that make up most of the fighting. A move to free-to-play should see EVE’s various coalitions courting an influx of new players. Or an influx of alt accounts, at least.   As for how the EVE community is receiving the news? A quick sweep of the EVE Online subreddit reveals mixed feelings, with some saying it’s the end of the game, others saying “It’s the end of the game if such and such conditions aren’t met,” and some small minority seemingly excited. It’s exactly what I would expect from the highly-insular EVE community when they’re told to prepare for a flood. We’ll see if feelings change come November. Regardless, it’s a huge change for EVE and basically the end of the subscription-MMO era. Oh sure, World of Warcraft is still holding it down in the corner, but it’s the last major one—and WoW’s always been a bit of a special case. It’s much more surprising to see EVE go free-to-play because its mechanics are so closely tied into its sprawling and complex economy. That’s why we can talk about so-many-thousands-of-dollars-worth of ships being destroyed in a battle—because subscriptions (PLEX) are tied so tightly to the in-game economy. Adding this new Alpha State means big changes ahead for every facet of the game. Hopefully EVE’s unique nature survives the transition. ...

Overwatch's new Sombra character and Arcade Mode go live for everyone today

Overwatch's new Sombra character and Arcade Mode go live for everyone today...

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Five to Try  Asphalt Xtreme is mud-slinging fun, and Adobe debuts three new creative apps

Five to Try Asphalt Xtreme is mud-slinging fun, and Adobe debuts three new creative apps...

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Here’s an interesting experiment in storytelling from Amazon: its new Rapids service offers up hundreds of original short stories all delivered in conversational bursts. Instead of participating or interacting in any significant way, however, you’re simply watching the dialogue unfold between multiple parties. For example, the clever sample story is an amusing exchange between a human boy and an alien invader, who is trying to disguise the fact that he’s both alien and invading. It’s a neat format that is very much built for today’s smartphone and tablet-wielding kids, and all of the content is focused on the 7-12 age group. They can also have the stories read out loud, or use the built-in glossary to look up any word’s meaning. You’ll pay $3/month for unlimited access to the growing library, although there’s a free two-week trial available. DC Legends Heroes and villains form an uneasy alliance in DC Legends. Hot off of last week’s Android release of Batman – The Telltale Series is another DC Comics game—and this one works with a much larger slate of devices. DC Legends is a turn-based combat game set in the wider DC Universe, and it sees heroes and villains alike teaming up to defeat Nekron and the Manhunters. Inspired by the “Blackest Night” comic arc, the game lets you pair the likes of Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Harley Quinn, Doomsday, and more. DC Legends plays out a lot like Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, as you’ll build a team of a few fighters and then face down an opposing squad in streamlined skirmishes. It’s a freemium grind through and through, with an energy system, paid perks, and heroes to unlock and upgrade, but hopefully the sharp graphics and comic trappings help smooth over any rough spots along the way. Microsoft Flow Flow isn’t as fully-featured as IFTTT, but with Microsoft’s backing, maybe it can get there. IFTTT (If This, Then That) is a spectacularly handy invention, as the free service allows users to create and share applets (previously called “recipes”) that connect different services together. It’s a way to bridge the gap between cloud services, smartphone apps, connected home devices, and more. And now Microsoft Flow is here to try and challenge that established market with its own solution for linking up disparate services and devices.  Right now, Flow has a strongly business-centric angle, but it’s free to download and tinker with. You can browse the existing workflows or modify and make your own, with the ability to connect services like Office 365, Twitter, Dropbox, Slack, Instagram, and more. For now, Flow doesn’t seem to have as much value as IFTTT for anyone not entrenched in Microsoft’s business ecosystem, but that could change as the service becomes better established. ...

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare on Windows Store won't let you play with Steam gamers

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare on Windows Store won't let you play with Steam gamers...

  Continuing the trend of “Windows Store versions being demonstrably worse than their Steam counterparts,” Activision’s put out some disturbing news about Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare—namely, that the Windows Store version isn’t cross-play compatible with either the Steam version or the Xbox version. Wait, what? I thought the big draw for games in the Windows Store was making Xbox and Windows 10 could play well together? Not here, apparently, because while Microsoft’s platforms support cross-play, it’s not required. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare isn’t an Xbox Play Anywhere title (meaning your PC purchase doesn’t transfer to the Xbox) and the multiplayer communities won’t have any contact. Nor, more disturbingly, can you see your fellow keyboard-and-mouse brethren playing through Steam. On the game’s FAQ, two similarly worded questions read “Can I play Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered for Windows 10 on Windows Store with my friends that are playing on Xbox One/another PC platform?” The answer, in both cases, is “No, you can only play these titles with other users of Windows 10 on Windows Store.” I’ll keep it simple: Don’t buy Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare through the Windows Store. Get your PC copy literally anywhere else. This is a ridiculous constraint, and whether it’s the fault of Activision or Microsoft or just a limitation of the Windows Store's sandboxed universal Windows platform format, the consumer is getting screwed. Windows Central received a statement from Microsoft that says “We support cross-play between devices and platforms for partners who want to enable it.” That makes it sound like this befuddling, deal-breaking multiplayer restriction is Activision’s fault, but there’s enough wiggle room that it doesn’t really rule out it being a limitation of UWP itself. Regardless, Call of Duty’s PC presence is already minimal compared to consoles, and the number of people buying through the Windows Store instead of Steam is undoubtedly even smaller. With no cross-play, the Windows Store-specific multiplayer community is a niche subset of an already small group, and it’s going to dry up faster than a puddle in the Sahara.   ...

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