My name is EJTruthInAdvertising, or for short, EJ. I have played Eve Online for over 11 years now, having lived, fought and died in Low, Null and wormholes of all varieties. I stepped away from sov null years ago, having come up through the normal ranks of being an F1 pusher in blob alliances and actually deciding to fly my ship. In that time I’ve been everything from line member to CEO and learned a few things along the way.
My goal at the beginning of this persona’s journey was to help people. Maybe not those I see as guilty parties but rather the new guy, the returning vet, and the battle-hardened monkey looking for more. So let us begin. What will follow is a small series on the facets that make a good corp. These are pieces that I feel are equally important and work to make the full picture.
What Makes a Good Corp?
Facet 2: Identity
This series is aimed at the young CEO, may he/she be a new player, aspiring to run or corp, or one with more experience but looking to improve his or her corporation’s place in the game. The previous installment focused on the smallest kernel of what goes into a good corporation: people, or more specifically, the connections that bind them to one another. As stated, the corp ticker and name are merely a jersey they wear, what really makes a corp work is the bond between members. However, let’s not entirely dismiss that ticker or corp name. People are visual and emotional creatures, and deep in our brains, some symbols translate across time and space. In Eve, this kind of symbology still holds true with our own myths and heroes. That said, these names didn’t achieve their status by accident, they were built. The members that built them had to discover what they wanted from the game and their reasons for playing (and sticking) together.
Throughout Eve’s history, there have been many names that have risen and fallen for any number of reasons, with their highs, lows and in-between. Play the game long enough, and you eventually meet each of them. BoB, RA, Goons, MC, PL, the list goes on, but I don’t want to explore the past for more than illustrative purposes, instead I would like to discuss the young CEOs, the upstarts, and the actual ‘strong independent alliances’ who might struggle with this idea of “Identity”.
Eve is said to mimic reality in many ways; MMOs are unique like that, and in our case here, CCP has given us a very robust sandbox. In it, we can shape our own paths through the relationships we foster and the eventual conflicts that ensue. In the sandbox, gameplay is emergent, as is your own identity. It is something that deserves some attention and planning. In the same way that you as an individual would open up EveMon and lay out the skill plan to develop your character into a small gang pilot or miner extraordinaire, the same care should be given to the development of your corporation and its own identity.
Looking through the thousands of corporations within the game’s fifteen-year lifespan can be difficult, but a few examples that are known to the game at large: Eve University, Red versus Blue and CODE. These are still household names within the cluster, and there’s not much explanation needed to illuminate what they are about because of it. But as entities, they are focused on specific playstyles and to a particular, if never-ending, outcome.
The underpinnings of this entire discussion are ‘Honesty’, mostly with yourself. You need to be honest with exactly who you are, who you want to be, and for what you want to be known. Across the cluster, there are countless “We do all the things PvP/PvE/AvP/RMT, also did I mention the dankest of memes?” groups out there. As you build your core group of like-minded individuals and begin to foster a collective understanding of your group identity, be honest with yourself and your members and find your reason for playing together: Do you want to be excellent PvPers? Do you want to hotdrop everyone? Do you want to mine? Do you want to get into proper null action? What about awoxing? Ganking? Ransoms? 1v1s? Scamming? Are you going to be pirates or good guys? The list goes on, but you, young CEO, need to be honest with yourself and what direction you want to go in.
The struggle with this kind of honesty and open questioning of yourself is that the answers are not always readily available. To divine them out you will need to consistently return to analyzing yourself to understand further how and more importantly why your group operates as it does. To compound that difficulty is that your identity will be something you’ve grown from inside as well as the portrayal to the larger audience, the latter of which is harder to overcome due to the nature of the game, but isn’t an impossible task.
But to circle back around and bring you to the bottom line: be honest with yourself and your people, understand who the collective ‘you’ is and play to it. Have your defined ideals and work for them, the rest will come in time as you continuously refine yourself.