My gut feeling is that CPU tokens will underperform subscriptions in terms of revenue (and I have a fair amount of experience in this area).
It seems like the devs are replacing a simple elegant system with a fiddly complex one.
Is the goal to ultimately charge more per clock cycle? I.e. will running with CPU tokens 100% of the time cost more than a subscription? I wonder if the real fix is just to charge more for subscriptions if that is the case. We're all programmers. Our hourly billing rate is 30-50x the monthly subscription cost right now. We don't care what it costs, probably. I don't even know what it is.
I'm happy paying for my subscription right now even though I hardly play at all any more because I like supporting this weird indie game. However, I hardly ever participate in any game economy that involves microtransactions, and the mere presence of them in a "skill based" game for anything other than purely cosmetic stuff makes me not want to play the game any more. Maybe I am old and out of touch.
High level question: if Screeps were twice as good at converting free players to subscriptions would the devs be considering this change? If not, is the real problem actually somewhere else?