Today I came across a discussion in Eve Uni chat where a particular player said he felt that CCP was setting Eve up to go free to play. The changes in the trial accounts sealed it for him. With them leaving so many skills open that a trial account cannot reach, he feels that it is the first door opening to change.
I disagreed. He ignored me and continued on his points. I disagreed. He ignored me some more. Not being successful in the communication point I found myself thinking that it was a ludicrous idea. Of course it is. Ha, Ha. But if I'm honest with things, it is one I've heard before on other blogs and forums.
The is the argument that Eve currently is a free to play game. As long as people are willing to buy PLEX to exchange for in game currency and others are able to subscribe their accounts through PLEX, Eve is free to play. I never really agreed with that. Maybe it is because I pay my sub. Some feel that means I look down on people who use PLEX. Other's tell me I'm stupid because of it. For me its the simple fact that I enjoy Eve and budget it as my personal entertainment.
So, is Eve free to play because of PLEX? IF it is or if it is not, is a free to play model that is not a pay to win model bad?
My knee jerk reaction is yes, but I'm not sure of why. I believe I may have an uninformed view towards free to play games. I know that some of the most successful games are free to play with micro-transactions and such. I played City of Heroes when it had free to play and subscription versions. In fact, I believe that City of Heroes transitioning to Free to Play and then dying is what has me scared that a announced free to play model will kill Eve and that is why I don't like it.
My first MUD was free to play. The server was hosted at the collage the owner attended and later at someones place of work. We even chipped in to do a server upgrade once in a while. Free to play doesn't make something bad. Subscriptions don't make something good. Subscriptions do invest people a bit more, perhaps. Perhaps. I don't really know.
And so, I went from wondering if said person was a crazy conspiracy theorist to wondering if I was ignorant about what free to play is and if or how it would damage Eve. Is the current status of PLEX an indication that people would sub who curently sub and would not sub who do not? But would they still need the PLEX as they currently do?
PLEX is income. Plex is also unaccounted for game time that CCP owes and does not claim until it is redeemed. If people did not have to sub, would they need PLEX? That assumes that subscription would have a positive net benefit that a free to play account does not.
I'm assuming there would be some limits. Things like Sov, POS, and certain ship classes and items would not be accessible. If I were to take the earlier conversation that changing trials is a method to open up a unlimited simple level account, there would be reasons to subscribe to access all of Eve.
It would eliminate a current dilemma of people trying to make enough ISK to subscribe their accounts before their trial ends. That could also be solved with a longer trial period. Something that gives a player enough time to start sinking into Eve. If they could play for longer and earn their PLEX they might stay. Or they might burn out. That also feeds back into my feeling that PLEX has become our poverty level. However, this is somewhat a different meandering wave of thought.
I just don't have enough information to properly figure this out. It is also not the most important thing for me to think about, but such is the path of thought. As far as I know, CCP isn't planning to release Phoebe and "oh by the way Eve is F2P now too!" But, sometimes thinking for the sake of thinking is good. And, I do dislike feeling abjectly ignorant as I do now.