What Makes a Great Corporation: Fleet Commanders

In my role of consigliere to The Mittani, CEO of Goonswarm, one of the roles I have is advising him on how healthy and active corporations within the Alliance are. This enables him to cull the weak, headshot the unworthy and reward the faithful and doctrinally pure.

As a result of spending about a year and a half sorting the wheat from the chaff, corp-wise, in one of the most successful alliances in the game, I have learned to spot patterns in what makes corporations healthy and what kills them. Contrary to what you might think, being on the winning side is barely relevant. Good, well-run corporations will thrive, even in times of adversity for the alliance, while peace and prosperity will kill weak corporations even more surely – though less dramatically – than war.

By way of backing up further my bona fides here, I’ve lead (either officially or unofficially) a thriving corporation for almost five years. I’ve done this stuff.

So, what will make a corporation successful? Why do some corps die and others thrive? There are a few very common factors, and I’ll describe them over the next few posts.

Fleet Commanders

Forget space, POSes, supercapitals, high-end moons, T2 BPOs or the rest: I would swap any for a skilled FC. If a corporation has at least one reasonably capable FC within its ranks then it can entertain its members no matter where it finds itself, and no matter what happens in the wider alliance.

Eve is a game. Games are meant to be fun. And the key role of your FCs is not to take down Sovereignty Blockade Units or even to kill hostile ships. His key role is to entertain. Specifically, to entertain the rabble of petulant and needy members who, beaks open like hungry fledglings, demand that you provide them with fun. Eve is a horrible solo game and you really do not want, in your corporation, the people who will bloat it up by ratting like a Chinese ISK seller on a deadline, all day every day. They are not worth the taxes.

FCs are like gold dust. I pay for the subscription of anyone who will run four operations a month for my corp, and I long for the day when that is a crippling cost due to constant PvPing. Goonswarm pays for the accounts of its strategic FCs. Some Russian alliances are reputed to pay cash salaries to attract FCs like Nync to run their operations: money well spent. If you don’t have FCs in your corporation then you will only ever retain the sort of players who don’t mind you having no FCs in your corporation.

You can train to be anything in Eve from a logistician to a logistics pilot and Fcing requires practise like anything else. In fact it requires practise like nothing else. But if someone doesn’t have the bull-headedness to shrug off welping his fleet; if they don’t have the multi-tasking genius to hold maps and scouting information while calling primaries and align points and probing down on-grid hostiles; if they lack the spatial awareness to understand where two or more fleets are in space in three dimensions at all times, then they can’t FC more than a drunken roam. Although those are a thousand times better than nothing.

Be aware, however, that FCs are basically narcissistic drama-magnets who will burn out at the drop of a hat and whose … ahem … delightfully cookie individual mannerisms will range from massive cocaine intake, through the need to have their egos fondled by the forums-equivalent of half a dozen underage masseuses all the way through to demanding actual, monetary reimbursement for their services.

In addition to this, remember that there is an upper limit to the number of FCs you can cram into one corp before vicious, feral infighting starts. This number usually stands at one, but unusually troublesome individuals will manage to shatter even that limit. As you gather more active, competent FCs, expect to spend a lot of time telling them that they are all brilliant but to stop passing intel on each others’ gangs to enemies in real time during fights.