And no, I did not say Solo was dead. I sure hope not, since that is primarily what I do in Eve. I try to pick my words carefully. Solo is a dying art and it appears, for all intents and purposes, that CCP is perfectly happy to let it die. And yes, I know Eve is a MMO thank you very much. Let's start from the beginning of this argument.
When a Solo player says they prefer playing Solo they are immediately judged. I believe most other players imagine a lone-wolf, traveling thru the space-lanes by him or herself, bereft of friends, lonely, consumed by social issues, an outcast. They must have the pox. The most have no friends. The must be sad, pathetic people. Best to marginalize them. Push them off to the side and forget about their constant cries of Doom!
^^ That is how most of Eve sees you when you mention you are a Solo pilot.
This is horribly wrong of course. In fact, everyone that plays Eve is a Solo pilot. We are all one person, flying in one ship (Except for the multi-boxers of course) thru the Universe. We are all solo pilots. You may choose to spend the majority of your time flying with other Solo pilots, a few, a dozen, a hundred, or a thousand - but essentially Eve boils down to you and your ship first. If you see it any other way, then you are missing out on the whole point of this game. Every change, every single re-balance, re-tier, introduction, modification, affects you first. Just as it affects every other player first.
Of course there are lone-wolves in Eve. Just as there are people who will not undock unless surrounded by other people. I know both kinds of players. But the vast majority of us fall in-between those extremes. For me, I enjoy flying in what I call the "Solo With Friends" formation that is typical of Stay Frosty. I've written about it before so I won't bore you with the details now. Suffice to say we fly together, help each other, but typically strive for good fights that involve one on one combat, when possible.
Which is a long way around the post to say the following, which I said last night on Twitter: "The scales of Eve have tipped against the Solo pvp pilot and may never tip back."
Solo has always been the hard path, the impossible choice, the difficult dream. And it will remain so. But, if anything, recent changes have finally tipped the scales to the point where they won't be coming back. Not on the current course. Not unless something is done, and soon, to at least tip them back a little bit. The fact that Solo is hard is what draws so many players to it as a play-style. Believe it or not, many of us choose to play Eve on the HARD setting. This is both challenging and rewarding to us. It is incredibly frustrating at times and yet also insanely rewarding. Typically those two things - Difficulty and Reward - are at least in some semblance of balance.
In just the last two years we've seen an insane growth in the amount of T3 links in low sec systems, a proliferation of risk-averse prey and an insane growth in the use of WCS, cloaks, and other measures designed to avoid conflict, a rapid spread of available ISK faucets that have increased the use of ship types previously unusual or rare in low sec, and - most recently - the removal of the one basic tool upon which we rely - the d-scan.
And we can argue about Combat Recons all day. And no, I have not lost a single ship to one since the change. It isn't the change itself that is worrisome, it is the fact that we can no longer rely on our d-scan. And yes, I know that cloaked ships don't show on d-scan. I also know that cloaked ships have a target delay. I also very very rarely lose a ship to a cloaked opponent. 'Cause duh.
And no, I'm not going to change how I play Eve. As always we will adapt, change, and work within the system we are given. That is what we have always done. We've already made some changes that are very effective. But those changes require additional resources,which are not always available to a true Solo pilot.
Everyone that plays Eve worries over their play-style. Null pilots want CCP to address Sov, some people want POSes fixed, and the list goes on and on. This is a constant. All I'm saying is that we should be considered in this mix as well. There are a lot of us. In the rush to change, let's not forget a basic fact about Eve that often gets overlooked and rarely mentioned.
We are all Solo pilots.
And the food chain starts with us, in space, in one ship.