Earlier Team Size Matters dropped the details on the proposed new alpaca capabilities and limitations. While far from the biggest item put out at Eve Vegas, the updated Alpha did cause a bit of a stir by giving them far greater potential to fly doctrine ships of the line.
Alpha clones will now be able to have access to far more skills than was previously allowed. The total skill package is now 20,443,989 skill points worth of available skills. This includes access to T2 small and medium weapons (and the specializations skills that go with them), Battle ship and Battle cruiser hulls. And finally, now Alphas wont be constrained to ONLY the race they choose at character creation.
Obviously, and the first point of contention, this allows Alpha clones to fly not only faction battleships but pirate ships off all sizes. Yes readers, alpha clone Mach fleets may soon be a viable thing. Now a grain of salt to go with that, this theoretical alpha bs fleet’s bite is also going to be somewhat reduced without the T2 large weapon systems to go with it.
While yes, having broader access by F2P players is a bit of a stir, it isn’t really THAT big of a deal. The issue is that those free players can’t just TRAIN those skills. After 5 mil skill points the queue stops all together (as it does in the current model). So the only way to GET those extra skill points is to either inject them or to buy omega for long enough to train them all and then let it lapse. Some players seem suspicious that this may be ‘a cash grab’, but CCP’s interest in microtransactions is well-established, and diversifying off of the subscription model is clearly a priority.
Another odd and interesting observation that has been made is that for an expansion dedicated to mining, those opportunities have been largely with held from alphas. While they can fit a venture, there is no opportunity to move into barges or other craft to make mining viable even in the limited sense of the word. Ice mining lasers in particular are completely precluded as there isn’t any hull an alpha can fly that is allowed to fit them. And yet, ICE HARVESTING is one of the allowed skills in the expanded list. Perhaps there will be a change to make the humble venture an ice harvester in the future.