Announced in a devblog on august 31st, Eve will get a free 2 play component. The regular subscription accounts will stay though, the free 2 play accounts will have limited access to the game.
The Alpha Clone State is the new base state for all clones and it will be available to any character in New Eden at any time. Clones in the Alpha state will be able to train and use a specific set of skills including tech one Frigates, Destroyers and Cruisers for your faction along with essential weapons and modules. Alphas will also train skills at a reduced rate compared to Omegas.
That is pretty much stuff you do in the first few months of the game. Doing missions and mining in a frig or cruiser. From what I read above any specialised ships are out, so if you want a real mining vessel or go out exploring in a Buzzard, you’re out of luck. But I am sure it’ll bring in some new players who can play longer now without having to spend money on a subscription, but how long they’ll stay I don’t know.
This seems very similar to what other MMOs do, for example you can play World of Warcraft all you want for free, up to level 20. There are restriction just like the ‘Alpha Clones’. You can only earn 10 gold and talk in /say or wisper your friends. This is of course to limit abuse for gold farming / selling etc. Since Eve is a very different game focused on PVP there are of course dangers in free throwaway accounts. The ancient gaming noob is going deeper into that. Since Eve players are very creative, I am sure they’ll come up with more loop holes CCP will have to fix ;).
There’s also a big thread on this on reddit, you can find it here.