Alpha Clones

There are some well considered and comprehensive blogs arising from the recent announcement about “Introducing Clone States and the future of access to Eve Online”.  It seems that 2 days later CCP felt the need to clarify and enhance their original message to calm a community that was basically in melt down. The “Clone States post announcement follow up” deals with the fall out.

Regardless of the tone of CCP’s follow up message there was serious confusion regarding the original message. Not everyone disagreed and there are quite a few articles supporting the change, however most of the players I spoke to asked why?

Why introduce Clone States?

CCP Seagull said that “The monthly subscription is a big barrier for new players and the most common cancellation reason.”

As it is, the free trial account doesn’t require cancellation or a reason to discontinue, it just runs out and this in itself could be an issue. How many trials do not respond to the call to return? How much feedback is coming from the end of a trial account? Are trail players unhappy with the experience and how does CCP gauge this?

My reading of other players forays into the re-roll world, where they open a new account to run the trial period, indicates that it is a fuller experience compared to when they started and the result is a viable player that is capable of the basics. According to the accounts I have read, the new player experience is quite enjoyable. [The counter to that is the re-rolling player has all the knowledge of the ancients, when they start the new toon, which colours their judgement] Either way, CCP have made meaningful changes to the new player experience over many years to draw people into the game. The new player experience, through the 14 day trial, may well be broken to the extent that CCP see the only fix as the introduction of Alpha’s.

Alpha Clones will allow a player, who has not committed to paying for the game, to continue to play for free. The internal restrictions in skills, ship and modules should stop an unsubscribed player from specialising and limit their ability to advance, but it won’t stop the initial enjoyment of the game. Are CCP betting that this free game time encourages subscription?

CCP Seagull also says that “Eve is was designed fundamentally a subscription game from the start and it has been a challenge finding a way to change that without messing with the Eve we love.” 

CCP want more people to enjoy Eve which makes sense considering they are in business and growing a player base is a positive business outcome. But that outcome is only positive if people pay, or are enticed to pay at a later date, and this is the bit that concerns me. I can’t see how Alpha Clones, as they have been presented, encourage subscription. Having said that, the introduction does allow CCP to remove the ‘trial account’ facet of the game and may allow for better reporting outcomes.

The time spent playing a new paid account is crucial – be it a month, three, six or even a year – the experience the player has in that time will be the deciding factor when it comes to opening the wallet again. Alphas won’t change that. Only the game can deliver an experience that encourages players to continue to fork out real cash.

November’s release will be interesting.

My travels took me to Tash Murkon last week.

The Traumark Installation in Saminer

Fly Safe as Always,


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