Eve Online moves into free to play today and the Ascension update also brings a lot more content to the game, not least of which is the new Clone States feature which removes free trial accounts.
"Characters now exist in one of two clone states", a press release explains. "Omega clones will act similar to current active Eve characters, granted unlimited access to skill progression and rapid skill training. Alpha clones will become the new base state for all characters and available to any character at any time for free, able to train and use a specific set of skills to fly some of the most often-used ships into battle - Tech 1 frigates, destroyers, and cruisers. Access to trading, industry, and exploration skills will allow Alpha pilots to explore the vast, mysterious universe, harvest its raw materials, fulfill their shrewd economic dreams, and construct the war machines that make Eve battles famous."
Inception is another big change, and is a new player experience with mentors, UI help and an giant storyline with new environments and a large space battle.
"EVE Online is a very special game. Our single shard server means that every player truly affects every other, whether through economics, resource gathering, direct combat or social interaction," Executive Producer Andie Nordgren commented. "This in turn means that our universe is more interesting, more exciting and more dangerous with each additional citizen."
More sandbox gameplay features also make their way into Eve Online with the Ascension update, such as engineering complexes, player-built structures allowing for research and manufacturing, expanding on the citadel structures introduced in April.
The list of new features doesn't stop there though. Battles are now more dynamic with warfare links replaced with command bursts, there are now opportunities to disrupt the operations of mining fleets, ships can be experimented with and optimised in a deeper way, there are new ships and changes to the Rorqual industrial capital ship.
There's also a simpler commander over character development with the new character sheet, and a balance pass on tactical destroyers. The ability to warp the fabric of reality across a large area using effect generators for titans should also be exciting for players, as should new explosions and wrecks.
Understandably, the Ascension expansion is described as "perhaps the largest, most fundamental change to EVE Online in its rich, 13+ year history." For more on Eve Online's updates, visit their website. Which of these new features is the most interesting one?