Space MMO Eve Online is set to adopt a free-to-play model, after 13 years of subscription-based operation.

This November, players will be able to log into the game and explore its universe, though with more restrictions than paid subscribers.

The mechanism by which accounts are differentiated is actually explained with in-game fiction, centring around Clones, the system whereby players can respawn and teleport around the galaxy.

Subscribers will become labeled "Omega Clones," and will operate as they do now, while free accounts - "Alpha Clones" - represent the "base state" of clones, and will have a slower training rate, on a subset of oft-used ships only.

Developer CCP reassured potential new signups, however, that Alpha Clones will have "enormous freedom," able to engage in activities "from rampaging null sec in Caracal fleets to exploration sites in high sec to playing a major role in faction warfare."

The change in payment model mirrors that of World of Warcraft, which started offering free accounts limited to level 20 in 2011.

Executive producer CCP Seagull said that the studio would not have launched free-to-play if its servers had not been ready.

"We knew that if the floodgates were opened in the wrong way, we could see anything from server meltdowns to the collapse of the Eve economy. Over time, our hardware has improved, code has been untangled (mostly!) and we've found a design we believe in. Eve is ready for this."

Eve Online is notorious for its expansive game universe and often complicated and storied economic and political systems, on which entire books have been written.

The Clone States expansion, and the new account structure, will hit Eve Online in November.