A corporate experience can make or break your enjoyment of EVE. After seven or so ears of playing, I’ve witnessed this many times. Being in an inactive group, or being in a group with people you don’t really ‘click’ with can negatively impact your view of the game in general, in a big way.
And, I believe that it’s mostly common knowledge now that pilots who are involved in a corporation are a lot more likely to stick around and continue playing EVE.
I’ve heard of lots of ‘solutions’ and ways to get people to get more involved in corporations, for this reason. Most of these seem to be centered around making pilots (especially newer pilots) more safe in joining a corporation—from reducing risk of wardecs to removing the ability for corp members to shoot each other freely.
Right now, corporations server two primary functions in EVE:
The first ‘function’ is the sort of game-play stuff you can do as a corporate entity. You can setup structures, declare war, share assets. You have corporate wallets, and corporate market orders, and corporate contracts setup for the purpose of doing business and functioning as a corporation.
The second ‘function’ is as a way to organize a social group. It allows people easy ways to communicate with each other. It makes it easier to fly together, and socialize. And, it gives people an identity as part of ‘a group.’
It is my opinion that the inability to separate, or differentiate the two is an underlying problem in a lot of corp/high-sec stuff in EVE:
The former ‘type’ of corporation is something that is (and should be) subject to various risks and responsibilities. You operate as a corporate entity, and therefore you run the risk of being wardecced, of being competed against, and all manner of other things.
However, the latter should not have the same strings attached. People who have no interest in actual corporate gameplay should not be discouraged from joining social groups because of the risks involved. In fact, it is my opinion that joining a ‘group’ for purely social reasons should have no risks involved at all…outside of social risks. (Annoying people, etc...lol)
Until CCP divides the two ideas, they will always have problems. They will make changes to make the social aspect of Corporations better to encourage people to join corporations and improve player retention. However, they do so at the risk of negatively impacting other corporate functions and disturbing the balance of risk and reward to operating as a corporate entity.
And, on the flip side they will have their hands tied, afraid to make changes to things like wardecs that could negatively impact the social aspect of corporations and drive down player retention.
So why not simply create a new non-corporate group that is primarily directed toward helping people create more social interaction in EVE? This would fall below a corporation and would have four primary functionalities:
-A group chat channel
-A group mailing list
-The ability to set standings to other groups, corporations, and alliances
-The ability to setup fleet adverts open to a group.
Players would be allowed to join more than one group, and the groups they are a member of would show on their character information similar to employment history, decorations, and etc.
You could have groups created for special ‘topics’ in EVE—perhaps a group where Traders do things and share information.
You could have political groups such as a player-made faction or coalitions –using a group as a way to manage standings, fleet adverts, and other things.
And you could have groups for people who just want to hang out, fly together occasionally, and chat –without all the stuff that is involved in committing to a corporation.
CCP would be free to do a lot of stuff to corporate game mechanics without running the risk of hurting player retention or impacting the 'social' aspect of corporations in the process. They could add new risks, new benefits, new gameplay, new tools.
And yet, the ‘social’ aspect of EVE would be allowed to thrive as well, hopefully giving newer players more opportunities to making friends and enjoy the game a little more.