Why Solo is a Dying Art


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.



12 comments:

  1. Cannot agree more with this. The increase in the use of T3 link ships was one step for the "psuedo-solo" player. But, the change to directional scan is a major change in the game.

    Yes, combat recons have been red haired stepchildren for years. Yes, they needed something to give them an advantage over their cloaked brother or the T3 variant of this hull level. But, removal from d-scan is a huge step in the wrong direction.

    CCP went way too hard and too fast in my opinion with this.

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    1. What ever happened to changing links to require you to be on grid with them? Sine sort of AOE effect?

      That, plus a link activation delay after uncloaking and a signature bloom when boosting, would do nicely.

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  2. CCP Fozzie has a real thing about unengagable, hard counter ships. When I moved to Low sec in Nov '13 there was no OP Sentinals, Worm and Garmur. I spent my first few weeks sitting in a nov plex and shooting what ever came in, but those days are fast dissapearing as the current meta is moving towards 80m+ Pirate frigs and away from the 7M frig. I ain't got the time or resolve to farm up for isk for pirate frigs, just to yolo into a nov plex.

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    1. to thiscday I still think novice = t1 frigate. not pirate or navy. if you look at the meta level navy and pirate are higher than t2. how can they not allow t2 frigates in novice but their better version the navy and pirate frigate can? makes no sense to me.

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    2. No doubt the Novice exclusions make no sense at all. Frigates have been buffed but they still sit at the bottom of a tree that just keeps growing and expanding, now we are adding t3 dessies to the mix.

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  3. I tend to agree with your comments on the state of solo pvp. It's even harder than before. Though not a very good practitioner of the craft, observations are not lost on me. Having said that, there are ways to counter this to an extent, I think.

    Combat recon ships are a problem but so are lots of ships especially when you fly a rifter or stabber. I just lost a rifter the other day to a lachesis on the flip side of a gate, but he was there with a cane and a maller too. Dscan wasn't gonna help me there, so you just have to try and burn the other way, pray and if it goes pear-shaped spam 'S' like the devil.

    The other thing I've been thinking is EWAR. Yes, I know. How unfair, but against what's out there now? Maybe in these solo with friend roams add a griffin to the mix. We did that yesterday in low sec. Four frigs and one tac dessie. Ran into an omen, shut it down with the griffin and blew it up. Nailed a raven after I had to log even. Now, I know it sounds unfair, but unfair is as unfair does, right? We weren't camping either, just roaming and {dscan} oh look an omen coming our way. Jam-boom.

    The other thing is an idea for CCP. If it makes sense to make combat recon ships invisible to dscan, then how about a special 'solo' ship? Make it a frig to keep the balance. Imagine a beefed up frig that's invisible on dscan. That would be cool during these changing times. Sure it'll be expensive. I'd even say make it as expensive as a pirate frig. Maybe, in fact, it's a new addition from the pirate factions in response to all these changes. On the other hand, the tactical destroyers are pretty cool too. Waiting to see what the Minnie tac dessie looks like, in fact.

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    1. None of the changes are bad on their own, it is the cumulative effect of all the changes taken together. Death by a thousand paper cuts.

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    2. I do hear ya, Rixx. Reminds me of the stories of the air war in WWI. It all started as solo pilots dueling in the skies and eventually evolved into tactical and even operational operations where individuals became components of the whole. But, in WWII there were still instances of 1v1 fights between highly skilled aces. Not a lot but still there. Times change, I guess.

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  4. Think of the D-scan immune recons as an uncloaked cloaker. IT will have the same targeting delay as the cloaking recons because it has to land on grid coming out of warp at which time it is seen landing on grid and you can gtfo before it can initiate targeting sequence. If you have never been caught by a cloaky then this change should be of little difference to anyone paying attention.

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    1. I appreciate that Harri. And I'll say it again, this change on its own isn't the sole issue, but yet another small step in an overall scale that doesn't favor solo players.

      Also, the potential presence of a Recon already inside a medium or large plex is cause for pause. And that certainly affects how people play.

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  5. I think you are right on some general points, but you are not doing a constructive approach to the changes. How must we as solo pilots adapt to the new environments? It tends to be the farmers and industrialists and pve-ers that are the best to analyse and adapt to changes. Solo PVP-ers must do the same. I think we need to fly more expensive to get the upper lip.. eh hand .. and to fly smarter. That is my main issue with all the blingy ships entereing the scene: It's easier to get into a frig and pvp now than before (fw plexes, no clone upgrades, more viable frigs to choose from) but it is way more expensive, because the meta shifted towards frigs and thus all the isk were thrown at that area of pvp. Hence all the link ships and garmurs and such... It may become better as the met might shift again towards bigger stuff again. The only battlecruisers I see are in fleets or the odd dude coming back to the game after a break...

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  6. Solo is still there but in my experience it is either a very easy kill or a linked out the arse pirate frig. Rarely do I get a fun close fight unless I go 2 vs 1.

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