EVE Online 'Arms Race' update dramatically expands free-to-play options

CCP has released a new update to EVE Online called Arms Race that promises to dramatically enhance the experience of the game's free-to-play pilots. Alpha state players (so named to distinguish them from the Omega state subscribers) now have access to a much wider array of skills and options, a new Daily Alpha Injector training options, and most important of all, can get behind the wheel of 145 ships in the game, including battlecruisers and battleships. 

The Arms Race update was actually announced in October, although without the catchy name. "We want to bring Alphas a little closer to their Omega counterparts in terms of strength," Steve 'CCP Rise' Clark said at the time. That means access to all Tech 1 hulls up to the Battleship class, and free cross-faction training, making ships from all of the empires in New Eden available to Alpha state players. Free access to skills that enable the use of Tech 2 small and medium weapons system will also be granted. 

"In addition to this, the Arms Race event will kick off today, when new improvements to Pirate Forward Operating bases, a new Project Discovery Monument, and more visual renovations to New Eden are also released," CCP Falcon wrote in the update release announcement

"The Arms Race release will also contain additional iteration on Resource Wars, with the introduction of the support role, as well as some balance changes to rewards. Jump fuel and jump fatigue changes are also included in this release, as well as the deployment of the new empire selection process to all new characters."

The rollout of the EVE Online Arms Race update also marks the beginning of an Arms Race event that runs until December 12. "With this release, capsuleers can enjoy an event catered toward the newfound power of alpha clones, that celebrates free access to battlecruisers and battleships, and provides rewards themed around them," CCP said. "Tackle the Rogue Drone hives to gather points, and check The Agency in game to see what rewards are available for your efforts!" 

The EVE Online Arms Race update is live now. The full patch notes, which as usual contain an extensive array of fixes and tweaks, is available at eveonline.com.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.