Tuesday, October 26, 2010

EVE Blog Banter #22 - Corp Loyalty

Welcome to the twenty-second installment of the EVE Blog Banter
, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux
. The EVE Blog Banter
involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week or so to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter
should be directed to crazykinux@gmail.com. Check for other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

This month topic is brought to us by L'Dene Bean of Nitpickin's
who asks: Why, and how did you pick your corporation? Is your loyalty solid or just until a better placed organization "recruits" you. The shorter version: Who holds your Unshakable Fealty and why?

This is a great time for this question to come up, because I have recently changed corporations. I’ve been playing EVE going on three months now. When I first started playing EVE, I joined a corporation of friends I have from other games.

I chose my first corp mainly because it was made up of people I knew. I’d never played EVE before, but I knew from my previous MMO experiences that these games are a lot easier to learn if you have some experienced players to help you. My first corp was a newly-formed corp. It had only been around for a month or two when I joined. But we had some long-time players in the corp, and even those who had only been playing a couple months knew a lot more than I did!

EVE is a BIG game, and it would be easy to become lost in it. I am very grateful to my old corp. I don’t think I would’ve liked this game nearly as much if I wouldn’t’ve had a good group of fun people to play with. Playing EVE alone would be dreadfully boring, I think, and if you’re playing EVE solo, I strongly recommend you find a good corp of like-minded people to play with. You will get a lot more out of this game if you do.

As I began to learn more and more about the game, I came to realize I needed to find a new corp. There’s nothing wrong with the corp I was in; they’re a great group of people. But, like corporations in the real world, corporations in EVE are focused business entities. Each corp has its own goals and its own culture and way of doing things. I realized pretty quickly in the game that exploration and PvP were what interested me most. The more I learned, the more I thought I really wanted to get myself out to wormhole space. Each arena of EVE has its own appeal—high sec, low sec, null sec, and wormhole space. But to me, wormhole space is the most appealing. Not only can you make a ridiculous amount of ISK there, but the heavy reliance on scanning and teamwork within the corp really appeals to me. I also really like the sound of the sleepers and their enhanced AI. As long-time readers of my blog know, I’ve had a lot of experience with gaming. I’ve played games all the way from Pac Man to Minesweeper to World of Warcraft to EVE. In all of those games I’ve never found an AI that impressed me. Playing against the computer (as we used to say in the day….do people still say that?) is just no challenge.

PvE in WoW was very easy. I frequently found myself doing quests that were “too high level” for me to be a challenge. In EVE, it’s not much better. Don’t get me wrong, the first time I started doing level 2 missions, I found them very challenging, and the same thing when I started doing level 3’s. But it seems to me each subsequent mission level in EVE simply represent a new plateau of understanding of ship fitting theory. Once you know how to fit your ship and how to tailor your damage and resistances for each mission, they’re not much of a challenge. The AI is much like WoW and other games—overly simplistic and unable to adapt to each individual player’s strategies.

From what I’ve heard, the sleepers in wormhole space are, if not “smarter,” at least more difficult. If there’s no challenge, there’s no point, in my opinion. I also like how with the more difficult wormholes, it takes real teamwork to defeat the sleepers.

So, I decided to find a wormhole corp. But when you’re looking for a corp, there’s more to consider than how they make their ISK and spend their time in the game. You want to consider the culture of the corp and the personalities of the people you’re playing with. We’re not all the same, and all kinds of people play EVE. If you find a corp of people with the same interests as you (out of game as well as in game), you’ll be a lot happier.

I’ve answered the first question—How did I choose my corp. Now to discuss corporation loyalty.

I view corporation loyalty in EVE exactly like I view corporation loyalty in the real world. In EVE a corp is very much a player group you work for. You have a mutual agreement of employment. Just as in the real world, this agreement can be terminated at any time by either party, for any reason. This is as it should be.

Don’t fall into the mental trap of thinking you have to be in a corp with someone to be their friend. In fact, I would argue that the successful players in EVE have contacts far beyond people in the corp and/or alliance. That’s why we have watch lists. There are quite a few people from my original corp on my watch list, and I try to keep in contact with them.

Any successful corp in EVE has a focused interest in the game—a purpose or business model. Some corps are industrial corps, some corps are PvP corps. You’ve got missioning corps, nullsec corps, faction warfare corps, wormhole corps, pirate corps, and many others. Each of these corps represent not only a different way to make ISK in the game, but also different play styles. PvE, PvP, oulaws, etc. Within these types of corps you will have many different corps made up of many different people.

As you play EVE, you interests in the game will change and evolve, and they should. As your interests change, you will naturally want to change your corp to coincide with them. For instance, you may start out mining and missioning in high sec and join a corp that’s all about that. Once you’re sick of running missions that are all the same and staring at rocks all day, you might want to try something else. Maybe you’ll go into low sec for some PvP; maybe you’ll decide to go into wormhole space; maybe you’ll join an alliance in nullsec. This is all natural and expected. When the day comes, you shouldn’t feel bad that it’s time to move on. Just as in life, no one expects you to have the same job (or work for the same company) forever. If someone does expect that, then they’re not being realistic, or they just don’t understand EVE yet.

But, as in the real world, when leaving one company for another, there’s a right and a wrong way to do things. I think you can draw a lot of enlightening conclusions about human nature from how people play EVE. In my mind, EVE shows us what people will do when you start to remove consequence. It shows what we really are, the nature so many of us try to hide, and so many of us fool ourselves into thinking doesn’t exist. Humans are, underneath it all, merely animals, and if you doubt this, or you want to see some examples of human animal behavior, play EVE for a while, and you’ll see plenty.

EVE removes consequence because it’s a GAME. Sure, there are consequences for your character, but who cares? It doesn’t affect you. And if you do totally ruin your character’s reputation by stealing from corporations, you can always make a new character and no one will ever know it’s you (especially if you make a new account). So you can infiltrate and steal from a corp with no fear of consequence.

Now, there are definitely those of us who rise above our animal nature and hold ourselves to a code of conduct whether or not we think anyone is watching. Those are the people you want to be friends with in EVE. I have a belief about people in the real world and it applies to EVE—keep your eyes open, and everyone shows their true colors eventually. A lot of people are full of shit and aren’t the people they want you to think they are. A lot of people aren’t nearly as nice as they’d like you to believe. But if you pay attention, everyone betrays themselves eventually. I follow the advice of the Tao te Ching in that I tend to trust people until they give me a reason not to. But once that trust is betrayed, it’s next to impossible to get it back.

So, who is my fealty to in EVE? Well, I don’t believe in fealty to anyone, but if I do have fealty to anyone in EVE it’s myself. That said, I am loyal to my corp, whomever that may be. That means I don’t lie to my corpmates, I don’t cheat them, and I don’t steal from them. When I leave the corp, I leave on amicable terms. I don’t clean out the hangars on my way out. Who knows, I may want to work there again someday, or I may want to use them for a reference.

Besides the obvious pragmatic reasons for operating this way, it’s just the decent thing to do. If you want to behave like an animal in EVE, feel free to do so. The game allows that. Just understand that myself and many others like me will treat you like an animal when we come across you. And unless you fancy constantly making new characters, your reputation does precede you in this game. Not even pirate corps will hire someone they can’t trust.

Well, I think this dead horse is bloodied to a pulp now. Stay tuned for new blog blanters. I will be posting a new episode in a day or two on safe spots.

Until then,
Fly smart.

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