A good number of people who chronicle their experiences in EVE Online examine the fact that they are more individual oriented players. It’s not particularly surprising. If everyone who played EVE joined a fleet immediately upon logging in, there wouldn’t be as much of a reason to share experiences out of game. Everyone in their social circle would have experienced it or been told the story about what they missed from their friends who were there. Ultimately, EVE is a series of intense, satisfying moments with a lot of dead time in between to mull over the complexity of the game. Those of us who would rather kick back and listen to music instead of logging in to voice comms have blogs to tell the stories behind those satisfying moments that can happen, even while flying alone. Also, I’m just anti-social most of the time.
EVE as a game does lend itself well to solo play, I disagree with those who say it doesn’t. One just has to come to terms with the fact that there is no point where you are in a self contained bubble and can’t be fucked with by other players. The atmosphere of the game is much richer when you accept that you don’t know who you’ll bump into… or who will bump into you… in your day to day activities.
EVE’s PVE experience feels very flat, no matter where you are in the game. It’s the preparations and precautions you take to avoid being killed by other players that can make the game so intense. This is why, as a solo minded player, I abandoned high security space long ago. A newer player to the game will eventually understand that highsec is safe unless you put a target on your back either through expensive cargo or an expensive hull…. and these days mining alone. There is a “This is it?” moment that I experienced after playing solo in highsec for a while (too long) that led me to explore PVP, nullsec, wormholes and eventually settle into lowsec.
The new player experience (NPE) has become a hot issue lately, mostly because CCP has stated they are working on it. There are those that say corporations and alliances are the way to go and new players need to be funneled into organizations and trained by other players. What is left unsaid is that putting someone in a frigate in a fleet of a hundred is a great way for some, but not all new players to be introduced into the game and feel engaged. I believe that there is a significant amount of people who come to EVE content to make their own story and forge their own path through New Eden. The problem is the current tools new players are given encourage them to put down roots in some Level 4 mission hub and never try anything else. It’s a shame and a big factor why most new players get discouraged, never to play again.
I consider myself fortunate to have finally found my niche corner(s) of EVE that get me excited to log in on a regular basis. My hope for an updated and improved NPE is that newcomers to the game are given the opportunity to sample the many types of gameplay EVE can provide both for social players and those who enjoy flying solo.