"The Alpha Clone State is the new base state for all clones and it will be available to any character in New Eden at any time. Clones in the Alpha state will be able to train and use a specific set of skills including tech one Frigates, Destroyers and Cruisers for your faction along with essential weapons and modules. Alphas will also train skills at a reduced rate compared to Omegas."
One of the fascinating parts of the new clone states in EVE Online is the statement that Alpha clones (i.e. non-subbed players) will train skills at a slower rate than players who pay a subscription. But how, exactly, will CCP accomplish the goal?
I think CCP will do something radical. The skill set for Alpha clones includes Cybernetics III, which allows the use of +3 learning implants. Does not allowing Alpha players to not use +4 or +5 learning implants make that much of a difference? I could see CCP not allowing Alpha players to remap attributes. One of the problems with the current system is that new players get 2 neural remaps and sometimes get themselves into trouble. Still, does limiting alpha clones to +3 learning implants and no remaps really reduce the rate Alpha players learn skill points compared to subscription players? I don't think so.
If neural remaps get new players into trouble, then why not go all the way and just remove learning attributes completely? That way, Omega players can have one set training rate while Alpha players train much slower. For those who want to train faster, CCP could sell cerebral accelerators in the cash shop. Experience point boosters are very popular in MMORPG cash shops. Up until now CCP has limited the availability of the cerebral accelerator to new accounts and to rewards in live events. The introduction of skill point injectors boosted CCP's bottom line in February. Selling the skill point boosting cerebral accelerator would result in another financial bonanza.
Removing the learning attributes would leave CCP with a major problem. What about all the implants already in use? Unless the plan is great, more than half of EVE players would probably start shooting monuments in Jita. Does CCP want to risk that? I don't think so.
So what is CCP's plan to make sure Alpha clones train slower than the Omega clones? Maybe we'll find out at EVE Vegas. I'm really curious to find out, but I don't need to know right away. I still wonder if I should sell my replacement implants now, though.