Leaving EVE seems to be the topic of conversation at the moment. It is practically a blog banter at this point.
Jester started it with the 7% solution (currently at 260 comments and counting).
The last time I commented about something like this, I was fairly ambivalent about it. My thinking was CCP will do was CCP will do and I will either play because I like or leave because I don’t. It still is. But, I am going to write about it anyway, because I have some time to kill.
I probably get more “contact me” emails from this blog than I do actual comments. One fairly recent exchange went something like this:
Been playing EVE for about 4 years now and I am considering whether I should continue. I am a solo player. I was in a couple of corporations for a short time, but it was unsatisfactory and I can’t say I really liked it. Roaming for 2 to 3 hours and finding nothing seemed quite pointless. Mostly I just mission in hi-sec.
I gave some of my experience as a solo player and then I wrote this:
EVE can be a lonely game. If you are going to play solo, it is helpful to find some level of interaction, either by reading and commenting on blogs or the forums or participating in some player events. Or even leading a player event. Or going out of highsec and forcing some level of interaction either as hunter or spy or runner.
Yeah. So I am probably not going to cut it as a GM anytime soon. I probably should have given better advice. But honestly, I didn’t know what to say. EVE really isn’t designed to be played solo. Yes, there is solo content out there and several of us find satisfaction is setting our own goals and achieving them within the game. And I have heard that mining is relaxing for some people (kind of like fishing in WoW). Not surprisingly, the player responded with this:
I know this happens a lot. And players (and presumably CCP) are concerned about it. Much of the blowback seems to be that CCP doesn’t care about solo players or high-sec only players.
And there is an interesting set of viewpoints from CCP. On the one hand, we have CCP Seagull stating as a response:
I want EVE to have more things to do for small scale groups and solo pilots– and all over space, not just in null sec.
But both small groups and solo players are very important in the design work we are doing now and to our vision for the future of EVE.
First project where this should be visible is the corporation and alliance system work we are starting after the summer – that will look deeply at small and medium sized groups, including corporations where all characters belong to a solo player.
On the other we have CCP Rise noting that the players that stick with the game are the ones that are “..trading with other players a lot, they’re in corps more often, they’re talking in fleet chat more often, they’re on PvP kills more often. These people tend to stick with us.”
I don’t see these 2 viewpoints as being in direct conflict. EVE does have solo content and small group content and several of the changes (particularly the deployables) have really opened up options for solo or small group players. But player interaction is at the heart of what drives EVE. And if you are missing out on that player interaction, you are eventually going to get bored and leave. Also, I would consider retaining a player (especially with multiple accounts) for four years to be a success. Four years is a long time. For most of us, a lot changes in four years, so while someone leaving after 4 years is still a loss, I don’t consider it a failure of the game.
In upcoming posts, I want to talk about what CCP can do to encourage that vital player interaction as well as give some tips to solo players on how to make the most of their gaming experience.