Monday, November 17, 2014

Corporations and Keeping People in EVE

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,

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.


  1. You could have a 'faction war' based on security rating. Cops and robbers sort of thing. I might be redundant, but who knows?
    -Xavi Bastanold

  2. One of EVE's greatest "flaws" is that it's a military game masquerading as a social game. The need for command and control and operational security creates a system in which some people give orders to other people, often in ways that dictate how those people play the game. It's logical. It's reasonable within the context of the game's mechanics and structure. Given the "value" of the assets that are at stake in an engagement, it totally makes sense for a small group of commanders to rule their fleets with an iron fist.

    But, regardless of why those things are true, paying money to be a private or a pawn and spending time carrying out the orders of others is not a lot of fun for most people. In small doses, all is well. Over the time spans that EVE operates on, it is virtually guaranteed to drive off all but the smallest percentage of players.

    I often wonder how big a player base there would be if EVE were more like Ender's Game and less like Civilization. It would be really nice to engage in fleet warfare without all the encumbrances of asset management and the endless administrative, logistical, and economic crap. For all the talk about NPE, it just never addresses what brings a player to EVE in the first place. They come for the battles, not the bullshit. No amount of toying with "social" structures is going to address that core reality.

    1. Bad idea. It's not like being in e.g. RvB or most FW groups has a huge amount of administration burden anyway. If you're really after a monotone series of meaningless and consequenceless action instances, get your friends on the test server or just play CoD. Those ecumbrances *are* EVE.

  3. ‘social’ groups....sounds like a geek dating site.

  4. I think non-corporate groups are a good idea. The flip side is the benefits of being in a full corp (in hisec -- since we're talking about most NPE cases) should definitely be worth it.

    POS anchoring could definitely be pushed as one of the main benefits. In addition to mining/industry, perhaps POS could be used to slightly buff other incomes, such as PvE, also (e.g. a small increase to bounties, or combat buffs, etc). To new players, POS could be promoted as "MMO housing" (and being EVE, your house will not be very safe unless you take proper precautions).

    Non-corporate groups without POS facilities could be seen as "homeless" fleets floating through space. I think small fees for docking/storage in NPC stations, and increased fees for e.g. station repairs, would not be inappropriate.


  5. The primary problem with corps and new player retention is that noob corps are discouraged by the current game mechanics.

    A far too common story is a bunch of friends who join EVE, set up their own corp to do their own style of game play, only to immediately be ganged up on if they try to set up in low or null sec. High sec used to be the place for noob corps to naturally form, but the changes to wardec mechanics has made it far too easy for large corps and alliances to prey upon smaller noob corps.

    Since the wardec changes, I've seen no less than a hundred noob corps form, only to be shutdown within a month, due to persistent wardecs by older, larger corps. For the most part, the majority of the new players in these corps simply stopped playing EVE completely - they had no interest in joining someone else's corp, just to be able to keep playing the game.

  6. I agree, CCP ought to give players the ability to define groups in whichever way they wish just like they do with in-game chat channels. Then those groups ought to be applied to 1. Contracts, 2. Chat Channels, 3. Fleets, 4. Etc.... XG

  7. that be nice...what you're essentially asking for is a beefed up 'standings' mechanic married to the current mailing lists in evemail (both which kinda compete for fail at the moment)

    I would add a suggestion that this is where BULLETINS should be kept...a new hire to a corporation really doesn't want to start their corp life reading oodles of things they need to learn and do. Let them be accepted into corp, enjoy the chat, and get a feel for a corporation - outside of bulletins, mailing lists, fleet invites.
    A corporation shouldn't have a bulletin board, really. MOTD, yes; bulletins no...a corp should be a front door only...since in effect the real benefits of a corp should be in assets. I mean, that's why i started my own corp - for the assets, certainly not for social reasons.

    1. as a 10 year vet i forget the corporate bookmarks, and corporate fitting manager. those are helpful...i'd like to see an alliance level fitting manager...yet...why not change corporate fitting manager to this new social network GamerChick is talking about?

  8. WTF.....sry but i had to say it. so basically what your asking for is a corporation that cant be wardeced where people can just float around without a care in the world(universe) and all the little "WoW"(bronies) players can tell each other how awesome they are.

    First off, Eve Online is a PVP game rather it be through the market or blasters and you are never safe outside of an NPC station.

    You talk about player retention like that is all that matters, that Eve Online should just be a game that complies with your utopium expectations so no one would ever want to leave. all the while disregarding what Eve Online is and what it means for the other players.

    I do agree with you that there are some things that CCP can and are already doing to make it easier for new players to learn how to play and what is expected of them in New Eden.

    some people have already pointed out that most of what you are asking for is already available and with miner changes to the fleet advert system so people could use specific list with-in the standings window to cross check for fleet invite. all the while "members" can stay in NPC corps to avoid wardecs.

    And as for alliance fitting window would be a nice addition to eve but its not necessary with the use of 3rd party sites like for example