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?