“Oh dear,” I hear you say. “Yesterday was about hard, eve-online basics like Fleet Commanders and this time you’re going to waffle on about touchy-feely social-worker nonsense with no relevance to Eve.” Fear not, gentle reader! This one is going to be more practical even than “find a willing FC“.
If you are looking at leading a corporation in Eve, then you have to know what your real job is. Just as the job of FCs is really entertainment, so the job of corporation leadership is actually less Mussolini and more maitre’d. Every month or two you’ll get to make a “big decision” about where to deploy to; which alliance to join; which faction in that horrible alliances’ interminable backstabbing and infighting to back; who to blame for its fiery and embitttered collapse. Stuff like that. But your day job is less glorious.
You need to take fifty or a hundred people who have never met and turn them into a community so sticky that they care not one jot about the loss of their ships, their assets or even their space in comparison to the continuation of their group of friends. This means being Solomon in a hundred petty disputes, yes, and in that bit you are on your own. But there are solid, practical things you can do.
Everything boils down to this: create places for people to talk, and they will be far less likely to leave your corporation. Reach beyond Eve to retain your people.
- Forums – As a long-time member of the Goonfleet Intelligence Agency, first as agent and now running it, I see a lot of disposable corporations, and I can tell you now that if they don’t have corporation forums so much as a tap from an attacker will see them crack like glass. Members will come and go and the leaders will never even notice. You are an autocrat. Autocrats need a way to disseminate propaganda. If you control the forums then you control the means of communication. You also need a way to make sure that people know what is happening, what to fly, why hostiles are camping their system and so on.
Forums will also help retain people who are currently unsubscribed from the game: they will keep posting and reading, and when everyone is posting about that great roam last night, or how CCP actually released a patch with stuff about flying spaceships for once, they will be tempted back. Recruiting is hard and newbies need work: hold onto your members.
Post ops in corp mail by all means, especially to get people into the habit of going on them. But link to a forums post that explains them more fully. This will drive people to your forums: “Important operation 19:30 on the 29th read this link for more details on where and what to fly be there GOGOGO http://www.fakecorpaddress.com/dontclickthisyouretards.html”
If people log into the forums for two days in a row and have nothing to read then they will begin to stop logging in, which in turn will make the forums quieter, leading to a vicious circle. You need to give people content at first, so in the words of Goonswarm: “never stop posting” (does not apply to Amok). Post up a storm and get people into the habit of posting, also.
- Jabber – Jabber is a great tool. Partly because it lets people hang out together in a fairly passive way when not playing Eve: they can chat a bit, wander off, come back and see what has been said and so on. It has a second, huge benefit though, and it beggars belief that people try to run a PvP alliance without this: if people idle in jabber you can let them know when to log in for Stuff To Do. That might be strategic defence during invasions, or it might be an impromptu corp roam, but the ability to say “log in and get in fleet defence gang forming” is more effective than you will believe until you see it in keeping people entertained.
Goonswarm have demonstrated this repeatedly, whether in the great PR- camp which killed Band of Brothers, the 6VDT camp which killed IT Alliance, and most recently in the defence of VFK. On each occasion a couple of dozen people logged-in would raise the alarm that a fight or a break-out attempt was about to happen, and in literally one or two minutes entire 255-person fleets would be filled.
- Voice Comms – Some people hate voice comms, and you’ll be lucky if they buy a headset even for ops (kick them they are spies), but when you have a dozen dudes who sit around in your voice server while they play Eve solo, or even while they play other games like Heroes of Newerth, World of Tanks, League of Legends or more, then you know you have a healthy corporation that people are incredibly unlikely to leave on a whim. As with all the rest of these ideas you need to prime this pump by sitting on there yourself, probably through long hours by yourself at first. Mumble or TS3 are both fine for a corporation.
- Know your people – We’re talking Cheers here: people want a place where everyone knows their name. And especially where the corp leader knows their name. And their Planetary Interaction alt’s name. You will soon have seventy or more people, on numerous accounts, each of whom believes that they are a special, unique snowflake, and who expect you to remember this fact. So remember them; tease them about that falcon loss; thank them for fuelling that tower last night.
If, like me, you are terrible with names then write down a few reminders. You can do it on the “notes” tab of heir character screen. Or you can do it innotepad, on a rolodex, or whatever else takes your fancy. I would recommend Excel or (for free) Openoffice Calc: set up a spreadsheet with the mains and alts of everyone grouped, with their APIs and forum names there and with a few notes on each person. And never let anyone else see those notes, since at least one will say “argumentative chucklefuck and possible spy who – if there is a good and caring God in heaven – will soon be dead of the SuperAids.”
- Run slosh ops – This comes under many headings, but I mention it here because the corp that gets drunk and has a laugh while flying stupid ships together, stays together.
In summary, you are the guy who greets people at the door and says “Mrs Henderson! You’re looking great today! Hey there Tom: how’s the golf swing?” You just get to say, every now and then, “take Anderson outside and shoot him.”