At one time or another you've probably heard of EVE Online. It's one of the longest-living MMOs in history with 13 years under its belt and one of the most consistent subscription pools ever seen in the gaming industry.
Its sense of wonder and political elements have made it an attractive topic of discussion among gamers, but many have been put off by its high barrier of entry and $14.99 monthly fee. Well, both of these concerns have been addressed in a new update titled Ascension, and in a big way.
Although there is still a monthly fee, you can download and play EVE Online for free starting this week. Free-to-play accounts are limited in a few ways that are, for all intents and purposes, reasonable. You'll be encouraged to pay to play, but it isn't required by any stretch of the imagination. You can create a character, level up, play with friends, and participate in all types of activities without worrying about aggressive barriers.
The free-to-play barriers come in the form of skill limitations. You'll only have access to a few pre-selected skills, and will earn skill points at a reduced rate. It's worth noting that the available skills are the most important ones, and only if you are looking to configure advanced ships with highly specialized modules will it pose a problem.
In addition, EVE Online is much easier to get into thanks to a revamped tutorial and several quality of life changes across the board. Systems are explained in a much clearer way, and you'll be ushered through a few starter quests that offer a much better idea of how to play the game than in prior years.
EVE Online is a great game to experiment with no matter your tastes in games. Its massive sandbox galaxy of over 5,000 star systems is host on a single server cluster, and includes tens of thousands of players concurrently who participate in activities such as trade, combat, piracy, bounty hunting, investment, and more. If nothing else, you'll gain some context to the multi-million dollar battles that are regularly reported in the press.
You can create a free-to-play account on the official website.