Monthly Archives: August 2011

I Have Corp Leadership Trained to Zero!

The Post Where Corelin Talks About Running a Corporation

As an EvE CEO as well as a leader in real life I like to think I understand some leadership fundamentals.  First I think managing a small corp is a totally different kettle of fish than running a major alliance like Goonswarm or Morsus Mihi where a wide ruthless streak is necessary.  When I talk about this I mean balancing Authority with Responsibility, or Entitlements to Services Owed.  A leader who balances these well has already won half the battle; however as Elliot Ness (as played by Kevin Costner) said in the Untouchables, “surprise is half the battle. Many things are half the battle, losing is half the battle. Let’s think about what’s the whole battle!”

Don't Touch my Fancy Hat.

Practically every corporation in EvE falls under the sociological definition of a Tribe.  A tribe runs between 20-120 members, possesses a defined, if usually somewhat informal hierarchy, (chief, medicine man, elders) follows a natural division of labor, everybody knows everybody, groups under that size tend to fade, groups over that size tend to fragment without stronger leadership means.   Basically an informal arrangement of power only works in a fairly narrow size range.  At the low end in the 20s or so at the high end a little over 100.  If your corp (or alliance) is bigger than this you probably will not get a lot from this blog.

So what draws people to a good corporation?  Opportunities to do what one wants – if you can help people do more of what they want, whether its mining or killing titans, you will always find friends.  A good atmosphere – you cannot have fighting and backstabbing on a regular basis and still have a healthy corporation.  Variety plays a large role as well – no one wants to sit on a gatecamp for 3 months running no matter how great the kills are; mixing in a roam or a hotdrop or even something off the wall like running an incursion site or clearing out a wormhole might make for a change of pace.  Good leadership is key – an FC that wins more than he loses, an alliance forum-warrior that keeps the membership insulated from the politics of the alliance, a shoulder to cry on, whatever is needed for the corporation.  The final thing to consider is all the “little things” – covering all the bases as far as stuff people don’t think about, whether its moving ships around, knowing how to make money in a new area, understanding the mechanics of your area of operations, or even knowing who to call when there’s something strange in the neighborhood.

Ghosts scare the crap out of me though.

I ain't afraid of no poorly planned remake/reboot.

I’m not going to talk a lot about opportunities or variety.  These are broad topics and you should already know what you want to do and recruit with that in mind.  Your hisec wardec corp will not mix well with then 50 miners that just applied to join.  Variety is mostly just knowing what to do, and sensing when people need to mix it up.  So we’ll start with atmosphere.
Maintaining a healthy atmosphere is crucial to your success.  If someone is causing problems regularly, it can have a polarizing affect on your group as a whole.  People will support him, and others will oppose him.  Drama like this in your “house” can destroy a corp and a leader needs to act quickly to identify the root problem that caused it, whether it was an act or a pattern of behavior by one person.  If it was a simple mistake, offer redress to the wronged party, get people to talk it out and move on.  If it’s a pattern of behavior often the simplest solution is to boot the offending member.  Remember, the Drama Llama is an outdoor pet!



However, it’s not all about solving problems.  Sometimes it’s about stimulating activity, always being present on voice comms, organising activities and getting people to try new things to stir the pot and keep EvE Ennui from setting in.  Sometimes its about bribing people, setting up contests and rewards, or other motivations.  The key is to break up the distinctions.  A lot of corps run into problems where the “elite” chat with each other; often in completely separate chat rooms, and the nooblets have no one to talk to and lose interest fast.

This leads directly into leadership.  A good leader has to be empathic.  They have to understand the mood, be insightful enough to honestly assess the reason for it and be strong enough to take the required steps to solve problems.  Setting goals and moving towards them is crucially important for a corporation in EvE.  Without an objective it’s all to easy to drift in EvE and get bored.  Once you have a goal you need to develop a plan, or make someone do it for you.  In addition showing actual in-game leadership is important.  A good FC always has friends, and offers for bigger and better things.  Someone who can organize industrial efforts to facilitate miners smoothly providing materials to industrialists and find the best market for the final products is going to be a popular fellow himself.  Finally a leader should protect his charges.  Seeing an alliance on the verge of failcascading he should either quietly start the evacuation, or at least get his people leaning that way.  When someone makes an accusation against his corp or a member of it he should defend them at the very least until he gets the complete story.  Finally a CEO has to be a big enough man to shoot his own dog.  Sometimes one of your people really fucks up.  Whether its shooting a blue, stealing someone’s stuff, leaving someone hanging out to dry or whatever, some things cannot be allowed.  Make sure your people know and understand your philosophy on this; and when it’s time, pull the trigger yourself.

Good boy. Good boy.

Yes its Old Yeller.

Finally a corporation needs to do the little things right.  Operating at the end of a long tether in a wormhole, lowsec or null?  Have a plan to replace ships.  Teaching new people how to play?  Have ships with the proper fits available and people who can hand them out.  Doing intricate operations requiring specialized ships?  Make sure you have lots of people who can fly the core ships needed, and make sure new people understand what is expected of them so they can prepare accordingly.  Not every eventuality can be foreseen, but a bit of planning ahead can make or break a corporation.

And I have taken far more out of whiskey than whiskey has taken out of me.

Failing to plan is planning to fail.



Clear Decks!

So I had some backed-up work that I needed to get out of the Drafts.  I’ve caught up on that with the exception of a post on how well the new alliance was going.  That one is now in the trash.  Enjoy it mayhem, it was a victor well earned.  So now I have a clear draft queue and I’m finishing getting my sec status up in NPC null.  Which means that I now have a completely clear set of options.  Clear Decks in navy parlance.  I can set up to do whatever I want next.

Yes I see the sea-service Hurricane ruining my metaphor.  Deal with it.

HMS Indefatigable

So I’ve got some options for The Fancy Hats.  I want to stay in Hisec for a while, train up some nooblets in the fine art of PvP, make some money for people who need it (including me… fragging griefing suicide gankers NOT named Corelin) so now I’m looking at some options.  Obviously there will be some shenanigans with can-flipping, one of my guilty pleasures in EvE, as well as a fun way to teach nooblets pvp.

Seriously would you throw your wallet on the ground?

If you throw it away we will take it!

There’s the inevitable Fancy Hats wardecs.

How about Global Thermonuclear War?  Or Love?

Would you like to play a game of Chess?

For moneymaking… I’ve been looking at missions but the thought of even group running L4s makes me want to scream and cry.  So I’ve been looking at Incursions.  Good money, pretty intense, gameplay at least somewhat similar to PvP (the best thing in EvE, and possibly the best PvP in any MMO)

What do those Yellow Boxes mean? OHSHITOHSHITOHSHIT!!!!

So expect to hear more both fresh blog ideas that haven’t been (poorly) edited a million times and more interesting stuff as I am not simply orbiting Great Wildlands a million times.

I'm using it every time I can

It’s a Fight, not a Dance

Leadership in EvE is a practically unique challenge in MMOs.  I’ll be talking purely about when the rubber meets the road today.  EvE values leadership that is agile, calm, and alert.

Theme park games, like WoW need leaders who can stick to the plan and keep people on their assigned task.  Rhyolith fights exactly the same every time you fight him.  Using the optimal strategy will win.  Period.  EvE is not like this, the high-end PvE, incursions and sleepers, creates a constantly shifting battlefield, where PvP requires meticulous leadership while somehow maintaining awareness of everything ELSE going on in the system so that when the trap hits you aren’t totally fuxxored.

Now this isn’t intended to malign leadership in WoW.  Any key leader in an MMO is herding kittens on a GOOD day.  However the style of leadership is very different.  I like to compare WoW leaders to choreographers.  You make sure every person knows their role and will do it exactly correct every time with no deviations.  The best players are like dancers, where they do their routine each doing their own part in lockstep with the rest to accomplish whatever that stage of the fight requires to beat the boss.

EvE fleets require similar discipline for most of the people, DPS is DPS usually.  Get to the right place, get your transversal up (Don’t stand in the fire for those not familiar with EvE lingo), start doing damage to whoever you are supposed to do damage to, however the healers have a big difference.  WoW generally lets you control who is taking damage.  Most boss fights the tank grabs aggro and will be soaking up the greatest portion of the damage.  In EvE, especially in PvP whoever is calling targets is looking for where he can do the most damage to the enemies capabilities in the minimum amount of time.  A good FC knows the capabilities of each ship type, how tough it is, how hard it hits, whether it can be used as a bait ship, and what it adds to the enemy fleet.  It’s not an easy topic and I wont get into it but I’d say target calling is a scientific art.  There’s a lot that goes into it and you have about 2 seconds to make up your mind.  What this means to the healers is that they have to redirect their heals constantly, making sure to hold up the fleet long enough to win the fight.  Want to see how chaotic and evil it is?  Jester’s Trek has a great blog on the subject.  When it works you feel awesome, when it doesn’t work you feel like a jackass. 

To me an EvE FC is more like a high school coach.  The people on your team may or may not know what the hell they are doing, let alone have any actual ability, and the opposition is active.  They have a plan, and will try to disrupt yours.  You have to take their abilities into account, and you aren’t sure what the game will actually look like.  You can plan everything perfectly, run into the next Michael Jordan and lose by 80, or nothing goes to plan, but the other team’s biggest kid is 5’1″ and weighs 90 pounds soaking wet and you win by 50.  There’s no telling what happens.  Ideally you know what’s going on more than you don’t and you win more than you lose, but there’s two sides to every conflict.  Both are playing to win.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics.

I am a baseball fanatic.  I follow my Red Sox religiously.  Actually my Rabbi wishes I was at the synagogue that much.  One of the things I love most about Baseball is the absolute cornucopia of statistics it offers to evaluate your team or player.

Jobu says FUCK your statistics.

From Babes Love Baseball

EvE online is run by many serious players like a business more than a hobby or God Forbid, a game.  I have no problem with this.  There’s times I have done it myself.  What I do decry is the lack of good tools for doing so.  Baseball has some great statistics for measuring a players value to his team.  In EvE you have very few tools.  Let’s look at it from a few standpoints.

For all players there are certificates.  These certify that a player has a certain set of skills.  That is like watching a player take batting practice in a cage against a machine.  Is it relevant?  Sure, is it demonstrative in a real situation?  No.  To use an EvE example lets take my favorite whipping boy, mining.

I out earn all of you while I'm asleep (No I'm not kidding)

Miner A doesn’t have all the certificates, but he can fly a hulk, and has multiple fittings at hand to change out for different situations, and generally knows when to do so.  Miner B Has never been in a corp, only knows 1 way to fit his ship and is resistant to change.

When these two show up for a mining op with their new corp, Miner A immediately recognizes that the orca will be doing all the hauling so he doesn’t need a huge cargohold, he goes ahead and throws in his mining upgrades, and maxes out his tank in case of hostiles.  Miner B goes with the same old same old fit he always uses, and isn’t nearly as efficient as Miner A.  How is a CEO supposed to pick up on this?

PVPers have a little bit better tool for this.  Killboards, whether eve-kill, battleclinic, evekb or whatever have a wealth of information for leaders to peruse.  I won’t go into a lot of detail, but it should suffice to say that PvPers have a much easier time.  How about mission runners / incursionists / WH junkies?  The amount of information you REALLY REALLYwant to have for these guys is just amazing, and very difficult to get.  You need to know peoples fits, their discipline, their trustworthiness, if the toon has been sold… the list goes on.

What I’m saying is we need better tools. - much more entertaining than that Corelin guy.

Now I won’t get into an argument on who needs to come up with these tools.  Frankly that is a LOOOOOOONG topic that I will tackle another time, however the tools need to be found.  Leaders need effective ways to judge applicants without giving them the tools to the kingdom.  I want WAR, VORP, FIP, OPS, and ISO and I want them yesterday!

What about Major Kong?


Wormholes are a totally different playstyle of EvE.  Even PvP in Wormholes is utterly different from K-space.  Stalking a target from cloak, trying to keep probes out of range, until you are sure you can get a good fix, then dropping in on the target.  Its closer to U-Boat warfare in WWI than anything else.  Neither side has a way of finding the other accurately that doesn’t involve at least letting them know about your presence.  What you end up with is a game of blind-mans bluff played out over a solar system.

  • Gates as they exist in empire don’t exist, and wormholes have a bunch of subtly different rules to keep in mind.
  • Much of your strength will be in probe ships unless you have a staging tower.
  • Surprise kills.  If you are surprised you are already dead
  • Sleepers can totally mess up a fight.  And they will shift targets during a fight so staging an ambush with sleepers on the field can get nasty.
  • People with capital ships get REALLY confident in their abilities.  Even when they shouldn’t be.

Thank you

So what you end up with is fleets hiding as best they can, ideally cloaked, at least off d-scan maybe even logged off, hunting after other fleets, either catching them in a complex, or defending a tower, or some other asset they can force a fight over.  It can be absolutely nerve-destroying, and it frequently ends with battles going until late in the night, or early AM hours.

That’s not a good time for US players.

But it’s rewarding, a unique style of combat and for the people that like the cloak-and-dagger element it’s an excellent change of pace.  Just remember, you can go from hunter to hunted VERY fast, so watch your D-Scan and fly dangerous.

I'm using it every time I can

The bear got me GOOD this time.

This was me this morning.

Got ganked in a hauler carrying 6 lokis to market.  Ouch.  Big Ouch.  Been spending too much lately, and this pushes me pretty much to the edge of even being able to operate my industry at a constant rate.

Corelin is continuing to sec up in order to return to hisec.  And it may not be a day too soon as a former friend has wardecced my industrial corp.  It’s possible its just a mistake.  Well its a mistake either way, my alt isn’t defenseless by any means.  Well, when she isn’t flying a hauler.  But we will see the results before too long.

Hard to do much in eve when all you can do is try to make money and kill rats.  I just don’t feel that interesting and I’m not really seeing much else deserving of comment.  Yet.  Other than Mayhem(dot)’s forums continuing to provide me with traffic.

Recruiting Video

That is all

I'm using it every time I can

Girl from Ildoken

I didn’t want it to end up this way.  Things had been falling apart rapidly,  We’d grown too big, too fast, people at both ends had been pulling and as the poet said “The center cannot hold,”

I knew exactly when it had started, and I knew with the cold, clear knowledge of hindsight when it had gone critical.  I did my best to hold things together at my end, and our other leaders did the same, but we had too many chiefs, not enough indians, and simply lacked the resources to hold out against a growing and successful opposition.  We got greedy, our eyes got big and we saw our own capabilities through rose-colored glasses and reaped the ashes of our lack of vision.

So now we head back to Empire, battered and defeated, but far from broken.  We will go back to what we do best, we will rediscover our fundamental skill at the game, we will fight smart, we will fight hard.  I will make the long trek from -10.0 to -1.99 and maybe higher.

To our friends, and those that worked with us, our thanks, to our enemies, well fought and well won, enjoy your rewards.  To all involved good luck, fly dangerous, score kills.

Still recruiting.

I'm using it every time I can