I've been anxiously awaiting a dev blog containing clarifying details on the imminent Alpha clone "free to play" option, to be available in November, and it came out today. The impact of Alphas on EVE Online was clearly a principal focus of the conversations at the recent Council of Stellar Management (CSM) summit meeting.
I've written previously in this blog about the potential negative effects of Alphas on the game, especially for increasing the likelihood of ganking in high security space. Originally, my suggested solution was to lock safety switches on for Alphas when flying in high-sec, but after thinking about it further, and reading some useful ideas from commenters, I softened my position, and came to the conclusion that if multiboxing with Alphas was prohibited, then any potential adverse impact would be acceptably minimized.
I urged the CSM to plead with CCP Games to limit Alpha players to the same restrictions as those currently imposed on free Trial Accounts, which would prohibit simultaneous log-in of Alphas with other accounts, including Omega paid subscription characters.
Lo and behold, today's dev blog reveals that this is exactly what CCP intends to do.
Clearly, I am a genius, everyone on the CSM reads my blog, and they all agree with my irrefutable and flawless logic.
You're all quite welcome, folks. (/me bows)
Impressed with CSM 11, so far
I must confess that after the results of the CSM 11 election were announced at Fanfest last April, I was highly dubious that they would be able to represent any interests except for those who play in null-sec space. Every CSM 11 representative lives primarily in 0.0, except for good Steve Ronuken. I expressed my cynicism quite pointedly in this blog, and frankly, gave up hope that anything useful for high-sec, low-sec or wormhole space would arise from CSM 11's efforts.
When CCP announced the F2P Alpha clone concept, I despaired that the CSM would turn a deaf ear to the woes of peace-mongering industrial-loving space hippies like myself, and I envisioned hordes of Alphas freely ganking every high-sec target in sight. I figured the CSM would push for unlimited multiboxing and multimixing of Alphas and Omegas, since the value of potentially infinite and free utility characters in null-sec would be immense.
But CSM 11 has surprised me by being entirely reasonable and balanced, as shown in their discussions in the summit minutes, and now, in this dev blog. In a way, I'm a little disappointed - the bittervet in me was looking forward to an entire year of whining and gnashing of teeth. Alas, it appears that CSM 11 actually does care about the majority of us who play outside of 0.0 space, and I must now graciously acknowledge their sound thinking, and extend kudos to them all.
A well-conceived plan
The degree of reasonableness and thoroughness to which CCP and the CSM have considered the potential implications of Alpha clones is apparent from refinements described in the dev blog. The Alpha skill set has been tweaked to prevent Alphas from using Entosis Links, farming planetary interaction bases for free, abusing Tech II ECM jammers, or fueling starbases. They will now be able to mine gas, use a single jump clone, and employ drones effectively. These are all good changes, and indicate how well CCP and the CSM are thinking this through.
CCP acknowledges in the dev blog that there are still some uncertainties associated with Alpha clones, but that they will monitor their use and make adjustments, if needed. If ganking proves to be an issue, despite the multiboxing limitation, CCP will lock Alpha safeties on in high-sec. If Alphas are abused for skill points farming, they may intercede there as well. It appears that CCP and the CSM have considered a variety of contingencies.
On to EVE Vegas, baby!
After reading this dev blog, virtually all my fear about Alpha clones has abated, and I now feel very confident that their impact in November and beyond will be almost entirely positive for the game. To be honest, I really did not think I would feel this way a couple months ago.
I'm now looking forward to my trip to EVE Vegas at the end of October with great optimism and enthusiasm - something I've not felt about EVE Online since April.
Fly safe! o7