This series of articles over the next couple of months will explore some thought experiments on creating EVE Corporations. In MMOs, one of the common themes is that of like-minded players grouping together in miniature societies called Clans or Guilds. EVE Online is no different, only these smaller societies are called Corporations.
Corporations are unique to the MMO world, as they can go much deeper in concept than that of other MMOs. Due to the nature of player-based sandbox of the EVE Online universe, different issues can spring up in Corporations than in typical guilds or clans of other games. Potential pitfalls such as espionage, corporation-crippling theft, scams, economic warfare and much more can leave a Corporation in ruin and in some cases unrecoverable.
Yet Corporations in EVE represent powerhouses of economic and virtual might that is unparalleled anywhere else except perhaps the real world – and even then that may be stretching it a bit. Alliances built from two or more Corporations add even more power and might to the Universe. Not all Corporations live up to this type of fame and high calling and indeed building a Corporation is perhaps one of the game’s best kept secrets.
In the months I have searched, I found very little information regarding strategy, tips, etc. for building up an EVE Corporation, or even once you've built a Corporation how to push it to the next level of being a super power or major player within a region of EVE space. Yet, clues are there… reading the history of EVE and of various Corporations; reading Corporation profiles in EON, the EVE Online magazine; studying what little info is there in various blogs, posts and ramblings you can get a sense of what is needed and the thought processes behind it all.
In this series of articles, I am going to bring together all of these sources and add into it my own experience from various MMO's and EVE, as well as real world thoughts and experiments. The result should at the very least help you arm yourself with how to go about creating the next major Corporation or Alliance in EVE. Just remember to put me on a NAP (Non-Aggression Pact) agreement, so I can fly around safer in the systems you will one day control.
In most MMOs, guilds are broken into one of several types. It should be noted that this does not mean that is the only goal of a particular guild, but the main thought behind it and more importantly its members. These types are:
EVE Online has many of these same core concepts for its Corporations plus several others. However, more casual and smaller Corporations and Alliances need to prove themselves in a more niche environment in order to compete – if that is their intention. A truly casual Corporation in EVE is very plausible and indeed many such Corporations exist. The scope of these articles though will go beyond these needs and concentrate on more hardcore aspects of Corporations and Alliances. Indeed, my thought experiments and concepts here will be geared toward CEOs and future CEOs who want their Corporations to leave a mark in EVE. This in itself is one of the draws of EVE Online for many players – the ability to create an entity that will be remembered in a virtual world, to leave its mark on future generations of players, for others to aspire to.
The Business Plan
One of the first and most vital steps I think you can take as a potential CEO in EVE, is to decide if you want your Corporation to be a casual Corporation or a major enterprise. If the casual route is your cup of tea, then there isn't much strategy to pass onto you. Simply start your corporation up, gather your friends and go do what you want to do in EVE – just be sure to enjoy yourself. If, however you want your Corporation to be a major enterprise, then I suggest to you that you begin with a business plan.
A business plan is used in the real world to map out your strategy in order to build a business and so you have landmarks along the way to see how and where your business is succeeding and growing. Choosing to create a Corporation in EVE Online that will grow up into a major enterprise is similar in concept to building a business in the real world.
With a player-based economy and game play that is EVE Online, the same concepts that work in real life work in the virtual universe of the game as well. One such thing, which we will work on in this article, is a business plan. Like in the real world, this plan will map out for us where we want our Corporation to go and give us definite landmarks that we can measure our success with. It will also keep us focused on the how, why, where and when of building our Corporation.
The following link is to one of the most famous IPO (Initial Public Offering) in EVE history. This is a prospectus and while you do not have to go to this extreme, is an example of what a business plan looks, feels and even reads like for our purposes in building our own EVE Online Corporation.
Now, our business plan will vary a little from what you just saw in that link. It won't be a giant sales pitch, but the concepts you see there are exactly what you will be doing: explaining what, where, why and how your Corporation will succeed. Where a prospectus and a business plan differs, is the amount of detail. The goal of a prospectus as in the above example is to give you enough information to make you feel secure that a company knows what it is doing and therefore be trusted with your ISK. A business plan though goes into much more detail in order that the officers and members know exactly what is going on or will go on within a Corporation.
The very beginning of your Business Plan should have your Mission Statement for your Corporation. A Mission Statement should only include a couple of sentences – a full paragraph at most and be the primary focus of your Corporation. Too many Corporations don't have a primary focus and the result is stagnation. A primary focus always allows you to get on track with the Corporation's goals and ambitions, and allows everything else that is secondary to tie into that focus. Let's look at some examples (please note that these examples are fictional and any relation to actual EVE corporations are simply coincidence):
((Please change font, size, howEVEr you need to do it so that this next section is different in look – thank you))
Plasma Creations: The focus of Plasma Creations is the development and deployment of Tech 2 weapons, weapon upgrades and ammunitions in the Molden Heath region. The weapon trade offers Plasma Creations a chance to compete in the region as a trade-orientated corporation. Plasma Creations seeks to offer the region with the best prices on Tech 2 weaponry and arms in order to further our profits and the interests of its members.
POS Fuel Resources: PFR operates in the Placid region with the goal of supplying 25% of the market's isotopes. PFR utilizes smaller corporations in an Alliance devoted to protecting our interests and expanding our market share. Profits from the sales of isotopes are divided out amongst the members to pursue their own interests.
Catch 22: Catch 22 is a mercenary corporation operating out of the Catch region, but available for hire anywhere in the universe. We specialize in capital fleet deployment, POS and Outpost Defense, fleet security and escort duties. Our members are all very PvP capable and we are politically neutral.
As you can see from the above examples, Mission Statements are brief, to the point and can even be used as advertising. In all of these examples there is much more to the corporation than stated. Each of them probably has different ways of operating on a logistical nature as well as various internal departments – in one example, it is EVEn part of a larger Alliance.
The next step beyond your Mission Statement is an Overview. An Overview is just what it sounds like and gives us more information about how we attain or maintain our focus in the Mission Statement. The Overview however does not need to go into much detail. There is a time and place for more detail later in our business plan. A good overview gives us enough information, that if shared with an officer or management of the corporation, everyone will know have a good idea on how the corporation operates on a daily basis. It is here in the Overview, that your plan for your Corporation starts to take root and will branch off from this point.
Let's take an example from above and format an Overview:
Plasma Creations is responsible for the manufacturing, distribution and selling of Tech 2 weaponry and arms in order to make profits that allow its members to pursue their own interests. The following departments within the corporation help us realize these goals:
Regularly scheduled mining ops within the Mining department provide us with the materials we need to build our products. The Corporation buys the Ore from our members and it, in turn is given to the Manufacturing department to make various Tech 2 weapons, weapon upgrades, and ammunitions. The corporation provides resources and a percentage from the sales of these products are returned to the manufacturer, logistic and security personnel.
The Logistics department is responsible for the distribution and selling of our products throughout the region. They work closely with the Security department to ensure our products arrive at locations safely. Once our products are sold, it is divided between the corporation and members of 3 of the departments (please not that the 4th department is also paid – but from their efforts, not the sale of products).
Ships, weapon systems, POS activity, corporate warehouse, and loan programs are available to members in good standing. Profits from our business is put into various special projects which is covered later in this business plan.
As you see from the above example, the Overview takes over from where the Mission Statement started and puts forth the basics of the business model that the corporation follows. It didn't go into details but gave you enough information to see how the corporation runs.
In our next instalment, we take our next steps in the Business Plan, including on how to go into more detail about the various departments that may make up your corporation, what to look for in your leadership and a brief look of handling finances in the corporation.