By Tommy RobbinsA long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… Wait, nope. Wrong story.

This story takes place in a galaxy not quite so far away. In fact, it’s as close to you as your PC monitor. EVE Online, the galactic MMO that has been creating profound and elaborate narratives of space exploration, feuding factions, and shifting alliances for 13 years will soon be entering a new era.

CCP Games announced on Wednesday that the next expansion for EVE Online will feature a little something called Clone States, a new feature that will allow anyone wanting to jump in and get their hands on the core experience to do so for free as Alpha Clones. While players with paid subscriptions can continue with full access to everything the game has to offer, as the slightly superior Omega Clones. (What, you thought there wouldn’t be a hierarchy?)

Bye-bye, mandatory subscription! Hello, thousands of new players!

Image: CCP Games

Image: CCP Games

Eve Online boasts a player base unlike many other MMO’s. With multiple player factions reaching into the thousands, all controlled by single enigmatic leaders with wavering alliances, the game has boasted some of the largest feuds of any game to date, occasionally resulting in online battles with repercussions of lost ships and materials worth thousands of dollars of real-world currency. Simply put, to play EVE Online is to live it.

Now, CCP Games wants to bring the EVE Online experience to players who may have been turned away by the idea of paid monthly subscriptions by opening up the game’s business model. Starting in November 2016, an update will go live that allows new players access to the game without a subscription. There are a few features that will remain locked for these ‘Alpha Clones’ but the core of the game’s content will be readily available. Paying into the subscription model opens all abilities and upgrades to the player, while a lapsed subscription will simply lock out those features until the subscription is renewed, at which time any previously purchased upgrades will reactivate.

The update will also contain a few other new features, like: a new ship, changes to warfare links and Rorqual industrial capital ships, and new industrial arrays for the Citadel structures. CCP plans to roll all of these out alongside the Clone States update in November.

The new influx of players will surely change things for established pilots as they see old factions grow, and potentially see new groups sprout into the community. It’s an exciting time for both the old and the new.

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