It's been a bit since I've written a post here, but I think Kaphine's last article did a good job summing up what was keeping us busy. Currently Tso's is deployed to Molden Heath in an effort to support our 1500 or so Dust players and to grief the ice mining operations in Teon that Brusanan has been doing for months. I'll write another update (hopefully) before the end of the month with more details about Tso's, but that's not what sparked my interest in doing this piece.
Two articles, one from EVENews24, the other from TMC, have mentioned a free-to-play (FTP) model for EVE Online, which you should know is a subscription-based game. If you didn't know this... sorry to break it to you, but you've been running up your mother's credit card and it won't be too long before she finds out.
The EN24 article itself isn't the interesting part relevant to this conversation, but the post by the ANONDEV in the comments:
If this is to be believed, and this is actually an insider with information, I'm really curious how Zulu and Soundwave envisioned a FTP EVE. And so, I will grace you all with my take on how this would be possible.
As mentioned in the TMC article, everything created for the NeX should be in the game. I'm also of the opinion that clothing, when equipped to a player, should be destructible when the pod is destroyed. For this to not cause immediate outrage, items that exist now must be multiplied by a fair amount, around 20 or so. With the equipping process of the clothing, it makes having spares useful if you wish to dress all jump clones the same. And with pod kill mails, it could be one more thing to rejoice over when you see a monocle was equipped.
Custom Paint Jobs
While I like the idea of being able to paint your ship any way you see fit despite CCP's fear of flesh-toned Thoraxes, I also think there is a technical hurdle to leap over. Since the idea is for vanity, a player would want other players to see the paint job. This would require every single ship to have additional color attributes attached to them so each client could render it the proper color. And that's just if players could only choose pre-existing patterns/colors to apply to specific subsections of a ship. This could get really out of hand in large fleet battles.
The simplest solution to this specific problem is to make it something that is only visible when doing "look at" on a ship, similar to turrets being rendered now.
Of course, the TMC idea of selling pre-existing paint jobs is most likely the easiest, except the ships need to be treated as the raw hull with an equipped item instead of an "Ishukone Watch Scorpion" class ship. It should be a Scorpion with an Ishukone paint scheme "equipped" to the ship, where the paint would be visible on the kill mail and add to the value. I support everything being destructible, so there should be an amount of "paint" a pilot can purchase and equip, with different sized hulls requiring more paint than others. Shuttles needing 1 bucket up to dreads needing 100 or something, selling 100 buckets of paint for 1000 Aurum or so, with potentially cheaper ones through loyalty point stores of the factions.
Holy crap, an idea NOT mentioned on the TMC article! Is it an original thought? Probably not.
This is where EVE would truly move from subscription model with some micro-transactions thrown in, to actual free-to-play.
Allow AUR to be purchased directly through dollars/pounds/euros OR through the breakdown of PLEX. Currently PLEX breakdown is the only way to create AUR in EVE. However, in Dust, AUR can be purchased outright. AUR can then be used to buy boosters, skinned versions of various gear (that is the same as existing gear you earn through skill training, mind you!), and militia-level BPO's (for convenience of not restocking items.)
Now, AUR in EVE should be a way to activate skill training, have full market/contract/ISK transfer access, and the ability to utilize multiple accounts at the same time. In a way, this uses many of the limiting factors of a trial account, coupled with a new, all-important skill training lock-out. Since SP is king (for some players its the only thing that keeps them subbed), this would motivate individuals to dump some of their ISK (or $) into AUR to train, even if only a couple days at a time.