Do you belong here?

Obviously the focus of this blog is on playing EVE Solo. This approach tends to be maligned – including at times by CCP. If you take it personally it can be rather disheartening.

Luckily for me I’m stubborn and objectionable, so despite the slurs, I continue to play the game how I want to, and get a lot of enjoyment out of doing so.

I know through reading other blogs and the comments here that a lot of other people also play EVE the same way. They do this for a wide variety of very valid reasons.

This year during Fanfest I was hoping for something new to do in the game that was accessible to the solo player. I’m not talking about something focused on us – just something we could access. Aside exploring the use of the T2 Prospector frigate, there wasn’t much. In fact, there were a couple of slides and comments from CCP which pointedly classed Solo players as not likely to stay around, not being involved in the world, and not really adding content to it.


TurAmarth at a Carbon Based Life was prompted to write an open letter to CCP asking where Non Null-Sec players fit into their vision for the future, if at all.


Ripard Teg also posted about one of the more interesting slides I saw during Fanfest. It suggested that of the new players that subscribed, 50% left the game after a short period of time. I’m guessing 1 to 3 months. Of those who subscribed for longer, 80% follow a solo pattern of play, and 20% joined groups and had a diverse experience within the game.

CCP did not say specifically, but the indication was that the Solo players tended not to stay long term. I’ll guess than means for 3 to 12 months. The players who had a diverse experience in the game tended to become long term players – I’m guessing again at more than 12 months.

So CCP are keeping 10% of new subscribers for a year or more, and it appears this is where a lot of their development efforts are directed. Their solution to increase this retention level is to try and get more Solo players to join groups.

The obvious question is – why not look at supporting solo play and keeping these players around for longer? I am not suggesting some utopic theme park where solo players are left alone. I am talking about encouraging this solo group to be more diverse. Given them more in game options, and access to more content. Think about solo play when you add new functionality to the game – look to scale it so that it is accessible at different levels by solo / small group / corporation / alliance and coalitions. Think about all the ways you can encourage (instead of force) interaction between all these player groups.

This is not about changing the development of EVE to concentrate on Solo play. This is leaving room for solo play in your general development.

What approach would end up with more long term subscriptions?

13 thoughts on “Do you belong here?

  1. I suspect there is an avenue for the newer player in the same way you can find and sell entrances to WH space. A pathfinder in other words. Thinking specifically regarding the proposed new space. After all, no corporation or alliance wants to spend a truck ton of effort/isk/material to a build a gate to a system of little value. It is unfortunately still likely to be gamed by the higher SP player.

    Whether or not this would be a satisfying game existence would very much depend on the individual concerned. But unless CCP is adding something in the order of thousands of systems, it won’t support too many people for too long…

    • Actually I’ve started looking into living as a nomad out in Null, and did some trial runs living out of a string of depots. The biggest problem is getting loot to market. Battleship NPC drops tend to fill up a bomber after 3 belts. More details on my blog.

      I imagine the Prospect will have similar problems with storing and trading its ore.

  2. I’d have to say as a player i squarely know I’m one of the 80% of the 50% that remains that didn’t quit EVE after 1-2 months. That is not short term when i can count being here for 4 years since. CCP can’t say I or someone like me is not a valued customer to their bottom line, especially when ever i pay 2 accounts charged to my Visa monthly. In the 4 years i’ve played I’ve only ever bought PLEX once! And that was to see how it worked. So CCP can’t say someone like me don’t help them keep the lights on at their office every month being charged for 2 accounts in hard cash. Now how CCP shows their appreciation for solo players like me is an entirely different matter.

    But i don’t also believe ALL players who start as solo players remain solo forever. Some players just excel at the solo activities they choose to do and they way they do it. I might have been a solo player, but i’ve squarely done lots of group stuff for friends and friends with small corps. I’ve helped out in the Help Channel as well with new players to the game because i don’t consider it beneath me to help new players learn a few things. Done group stuff with my own corp, some WH activities as well as manage my entire corp trade and market assets for benefit of my entire corp on my own. I can even say i’ve made more ISK for my entire corp than what 9/10 of every other member have paid to my corp in all their tax activities and contributions combined. And reason i’ve been able to do so was because i was very good at the solo activities I choose to do. That made me or someone like me very reliable to perform things in my corp and with friends smaller corps to help them out. So just because some players play EVE Solo don’t mean they don’t contribute to the game and other activities in many other ways. We may not play how CCP wants us to play but contribute we do in the grand scheme of things.

    Just through my sheer activities in small ways I’ve kept System Miners Employed and others employed in Logistics. I’ve helped buy out and keep entire region of Ice products flowing in and entire region. How is that not creating content for those involved as well as those that prey upon those me and others like me help keep employed. And i’m just a small bean in the pond of New Eden.

      • I feel a little that way myself at present. This is something the CSM and CCP needs to get onto pronto imho, even if it is a case of managing player expectation… I don’t know whats on the horizon and am prepared to give CCP some leeway. But if Jester is throwing out those kind of stats, sooner rather than later is a damn good idea.

        That said, I tend to look for my own fun. Sometimes missioning, sometimes exploration. Sometimes even ice mining. All dependent on how I’m actually feeling at any given time. Haven’t done it for a while, but running an L4 in an Ishkur can be an absolute blast. If I’m feeling tired or likely accident prone, undocking a marauder is a far better idea.

    • It can be difficult not to get irked by the inference your long term commitment to the game is not considered to be of value. I might not be one of the tiny cogs in those rare huge battles that reaches mainstream media, but every time I log in I am part of this game, interacting and impacting on other players. Even the solo player who totally ignores everyone else in the game generates possible content every time they undock, or use the markets.

  3. Every Single player in EVE who actively plays the game affects the game content. You affect the content of the game wether you choose to consciously act or not act at all. Your chosen actions may be small on a micro level or large or in some great way on a macro level that affects the content and dynamic of decisions in the game. Every play actions has some consequence wether its seen or never noticed.

    Unfortunately the only actions that happens to really gets noticed are huge battles that make it out to the media for people to perk up and take notice that content has actions have consequences. Yet on a micro level every second of every day many other players create micro actions that over time have macro consequences that permeate through the game. Those player actions don’t get noticed or reported in the media as they form the the background fabric of the universe as well grease the engine of the economy in EVE.

    I like to say and think that my actions in game may not necessarily affect any battle or any great conflict. But who can say for certain because you, me or anyone else exist in the universe and have performed actions that that very ripple effect haven’t affected another player, their actions, some eventual bigger impending actions or something else that in the far end of things affected some greater action.

    Does one lonely inconsequential Butterfly somewhere in the Sahara going about its daily business help create what eventual become a local windstorm that in time grows to become a Tropical Depression off the coast of Africa. A Tropical Depression that eventual becomes a Hurricane, eventually roaming across the Atlantic Ocean and wrecks havoc up and down the East Coast US, yet in nature it helps nurture life. A single inconsequential action that in the end help create Chaos and Life as a result. What if that one Butterfly wasn’t there at all, removing itself from the equation of things. Who knows what may or may not have happened. So goes the same for the EVE Universe. Every active player should be valued by CCP and not just the ones that only seem to grab the headlines because in the end all our actions in the sandbox help support all those actions in one way or another.

    By simple not choosing to play EVE i’m affecting the content of the game and Universe in some way that cannot be seen. But consequences it does have because I certainly know I have the power to affect regional economies in subtle ways just through my actions alone.

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