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After 13 years, Eve Online will become free to play

WOW.

Internet spaceship MMO Eve Online will be free to play from this November via a new offering similar to World of Warcraft's free offering.

The change comes after a veteran 13 years of operation, and alongside the upcoming Clone States expansion.

Like WOW, Eve Online will soon let players venture into its full world - albeit with some limitations. In WOW this is a level cap of 20. In Eve, it will be restrictions to training on just the most-used ships.

Eve Online's current trial account system which will be retired alongside the November update.

Existing characters will become "Omega clones", with the same unlimited access to skill progression and rapid training. Nothing will change there.

All new characters will become "Alpha clones", able to fully explore and trade in the Eve universe but whose ability to train is limited to a specific set of commonly-flown ships.

Here's executive producer CCP Seagull on the changes:

"We've been doing everything we can to bring more people into our spectacular sandbox," developer CCP explained. "Part of our vision for the future of Eve has included more open access for some time, but with the interconnected nature of the game comes vulnerability.

"We knew that if the floodgates were opened in the wrong way, we could see anything from server meltdowns to the collapse of the Eve economy. Over time, our hardware has improved, code has been untangled (mostly!) and we've found a design we believe in. Eve is ready for this."

History has shown Eve to be its most exciting - and most accessible to non-Eve players - when hundreds or thousands of players get involved at the same time and usually get into an enormous scrap in the process. A more open, more inviting game will only make this kind of event more common.

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Tom Phillips

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Tom is Eurogamer's deputy editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and makes sure we put the accent on Pokémon.

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