Been in game since 2005, and I actually liked the idea of Alphas, especially given how difficult it has been to get people into the game traditionally. Not sure how I feel about Alphas having access to Battlecruisers and Battleships, but I can see the logic behind it, and don’t think it is a big deal. I think it could give newer players more of a goal to hang onto, as the only way to stay with this game as a new player is almost out of spite of having the game beat you. I think the addition of Tech 2 small and medium weapons was the best call, as they are so relied on for players to be effective, and don’t really introduce a significant change to the state of the game, other than lots of new players.
I created an Alpha alt just to see what Alphas had available to them in the form of gameplay, and to relive the days when I was new a bit. All the skills allowed to Alphas seem to make a lot of sense, and give new players a solid foundation to get engaged in most types of gameplay, as well as to be successful and useful to existing player corps. But there is just one thing that strikes me as weird…
So, restricting Alphas to Tech 1 ships makes perfect sense, and honestly, people should have to invest in the game in order to enter the specialized roles that Tech 2 ships allow. However, I’m not understanding the decision to restrict Alphas to Racial Frigate/Destroyer/Cruiser Level 4 (Level 4 makes sense for BC and BS, as that may be a bit too much). Seeing as how every ship class above Tech 1 requires a specialized skill to be trained (Assault Frigates, HACs, Command/Tactical Dessies, etc), including Racial Frigate/Destroyer/Cruiser level 5 does not allow Alphas to access any additional ship content. All the restriction to Level 4 seems to do is to arbitrarily ensure that Alphas maintain a base lower power level than Omega players of the same ship, even though this is already ensured due to the support skill restrictions for armor, weapons, shields, fittings, etc. And the reduction of allowed levels of support skills makes sense if wanting Alphas to maintain a lower level of efficacy that paying customers. However, not allowing Alphas to have the last level of the base hull bonuses of the starting Tech 1 ships they can fly just seems to say that CCP doesn’t want the level barrier to be Tech 2 ships or Large Weapons. Rather it implies that they would prefer Alphas basic ship class ability to be restricted. If so that is fine, I was just wondering if that was the case or if this had been brought up before.
Additionally, I think that the inclusion of Racial Frigate/Destroyer/Cruiser 5 could be more of a motivator for Alphas to subscribe, as they will be right on the doorstep of being able to fly the Tech 2 ships, with just a subscription and an hour keeping the Alpha from the ship they want to sub into. Honestly, maybe not even Destroyer/Cruiser 5, but Frigate 5, especially since there are so many ships and specializations available at the Tech 2 frigate level and many, if not most, player specializations begin in the Tech 2 specialization frigate. And really, this doesn’t make a whole lot of difference with Tier 1 Tech 1 ships, but comes into play significantly when talking about Tier 2 Tech 1 ships (Faction, Pirate). Example: If an Alpha is flying a Hookbill or Comet, they will have a full 20-25% damage reduction at the base hull skill level at maxed Alpha skills.
Honestly, I think that it would be great for Alphas to have access to at least Racial Frigate 5 in order to get all they can out of the Tech 1 ships they can fly, with the support skills being limited as they are causing the power differentiation between Alphas and Omegas. That way, the limiting factor is not around ship capability, but player skill as it relates to the pilot himself. And it would allow Alphas to get the base level of power for those ships, while having more powerful ships much more closer and much more enticing, which could lead to more subscriptions.
TL;DR: Omega player started Alpha alt. Noticed no Racial Frigate 5 possible. Researched, but couldn’t find any discussion on the topic. Asking if anyone knew a reason for this limitation, while just posting an observation.