F2PMeter: Is EVE Online Truly Free to Play?

EVE Online opened up its free to play access in November last year, giving players near complete access to the game with their “Alpha Clone” f2p status. With it players could try out the game, explore the wonderful MMORPG space strategy with all its depths and see if it was what they were after without ever having to pay a thing. Whilst the game offers some interesting alternatives to the standard subscription based business model we thought it was time to put the game through our F2PMeter. We’ll see how free the game really is.
Does the game require an initial purchase?


No purchases are required to play the game.
Does the game require any continued paid subscription?

'Yes (but...)' takes away 10%

There is a subscription model in the game called PLEX that allows players to either purchase with cash an in-game item (PLEX) that grants them their subscription for a set amount of time, or they can choose to sell this item for in-game currency, allowing other players to buy PLEX/subscription without spending real world cash. Free to play accounts have a number of restrictions on them such as limiting the skills they can use or the ships they can fly.
Does the game require spending money on DLC packs or expansions?


The game patches and adds extra content for free instead of charging for expansions.
Does the game support micro-transactions? Can anything be purchased in-game using real world money?

'Yes' takes away 5%

As well as the PLEX in-game item, players can spend PLEX (which can be bought with cash) in the New Eden Store to buy skill extractors, multiple character training, and various apparel for characters and ship skins.
Do any of the micro-transactions give players an advantages?

'Yes (but...)' takes away 5%

Players can purchase character training and skill extractors with PLEX, which give players a slight convenience advantage; the bigger advantage with “micro-transactions” are through the PLEX system purchasing Omega Clone status, which provides a lot more advantages over free to play accounts.
Is the user interface customization restricted to paid options?


UI isn’t customizable for free or paying accounts.
Does the game give access to all available classes and/or races?

'No (but...)' takes away 10%

The different in game factions are all available to free accounts, however, with over 300 ships in the game that Omega Clones can access, regardless of their chosen faction, along with the different techs of each faction, free to play Alpha Clones have a much smaller initial pool of ships to choose from and can only use ships/tech from their chosen faction.
Does the game require have limitations to how the Trade system is accessed?

'Yes' takes away 10%

There are some limitations to in-game trade for free to play accounts in terms of the number of max available trade slots, levels of broker and various skills unavailable to Alpha Clones that allow certain types of trading.
Are personal inventory and/or bank slots limited at all?

'No (but...)' takes away 5%

Whilst ship cargo/inventory space isn’t directly limited, as the number of ships available to free players is extremely limited then it does by proxy put some inventory restrictions; such as players who enjoy mining only having access to the Venture ship means they aren’t going to do as well than players with a Mining Barge.
Are all dungeons and zones accessible without purchases?


All areas of the game are fully accessible.
Does the game restrict high endgame content (PVE, Raids or PvP)?


End-game content can be accessed by any type of account.
Can the game be fully enjoyed without ever having to spend a ‘penny’?

'Yes' adds 10%

Whilst the initial Alpha Clone status does have some restrictions, there is still plenty for players to do and get immersed within the game. Aside from that, with the PLEX system being an in-game tradable item it means players can pay for their subscription/Omega Clone status by earning ISK in-game currency just by playing the game.