Our corp in EVE Online has been through an interesting growth phase. We had some issues, lost good people, owned 2 wormholes (a C2 and a C) and generally were spread too thin. The decision was made to close one of the two holes, sell the C2 and move everyone out to a new C4. Sounds easy in practice but it was a rather massive undertaking considering that we had 6 or so towers to tear down, shuttle everything out to high sec, find a new C4 and do it all again in reverse. It was weeks of “work” during which we made no ISK but the corp also lost a few haulers (Orcas even, one with a Tengu in the bay) and mood was pretty low.
Corp member numbers dropped further when we set up the C4 and were struggling along with enough people to barely run the Ladar sites and scan down the route to high sec. We did not have the numbers or the ships to take on more complicated – but lucrative anomalies or even signatures. The people who stuck with the corp slowly wore out their patience and good will and looked for other – more fun – things to do in New Eden.
So, we made the decision to recruit new members in small batches, for 3 months. Life in Wormholes is complicated by the shoddy design of POS and the total absence of security. Theft within badly-run WH corps is rampant and every day, we see abandoned POSes in WHs – one of the most common causes for a collapse of a WH corp is theft followed by massive exodus, followed by the leadership scrapping everything and dissolving the corp. We did not want to go this way and recruitment was required but carefully and slowly – with security checks going as deeply as the game would permit. Folks with affiliation of the broadest sort with Goons, PL or other unsavory alliances were excluded right away. A complex system of questions was developed to see if the member would fit into the corp, skill and attitude-wise and we built a very well-played in interview panel that grilled prospective members for about 1 hour and left them with the feeling that we were the CIA or some other para-military organization. Honestly, I have been offered jobs in real life with less scrutiny. But we managed to catch several players who were highly suspect and clearly out to rob us.
New recruits were introduced and invited to fly with us as soon as they could come out into the hole but activity was still too low to really capitalize on the massive resources that present themselves in WH space. One needs at least 6 people online to really run multiple sites, with Alts standing in for security and salvaging. One gets by with 4 but fewer and activity generally reduces itself to sorting out Planetary Interaction. And that - by the way – was both the saving grace for us as well as a slight curse:
PI is awesome to generate nearly risk free ISK at very high levels. The nullsec planets in WH space can generate ~ 25mil ISK / 2 characters per day reliably. More likely with lots of attention to detail. Some of our corp have 4 alts running PI and with fine tuning this becomes a full-time game. During which time, of course, nobody runs sleeper sites. That is the curse part. The risk-free collection of planet goo replaced the risky shooting of sleepers. In addition, PI is a solitary game. Watching one hauler after the other zoom to / from the POS to planets without the player engaging in conversation in the corp channel is very demotivating to the others online.
We needed more people. A lot more. A number was generated out of thin air and we realized that our very slow and deliberate way of background checking and interviewing will not sustain the number of recruits we would need. At the same time, we did not want to compromise and developed a faster paced method but retaining the core features (deep background check, grilling on Teamspeak). With this method, we recruited a very large but solid number of players to the corp and are nearing our target for the summer. It was a ton of work for the directors involved and it turned nearly into a full-time position. Frequently, I log in and find myself answering questions about the corp in the recruitment channel, have several private convos open with new members and assigning hangar spaces, roles, titles, find someone’s lost GSC and bump the recruitment posts. After a couple of hours, my game time is up and I have not even decloaked.
Was it worth it? Over the last few days, I looked at activity in the corp and I am quite proud of what we have achieved. The corp channel is buzzing with chatter, fleets are formed spontaneously, sleepers are not safe anymore within 3 jumps from our hole and we routinely fly Tengu fleets in neighbor systems with gas and ore miners raiding those riches as well. It is fun to see this much positive vibe and while we are not done with recruitment yet, we are very well on track now where a few months ago the future of the corp was a lot less certain.
In real life, I work a lot with small corporations and while the mechanics is wildely different between game and real companies, the motivations of joining a small outfit is pretty much the same. People want to be part of something bigger than they can achieve on their own. We want to build something, look back at our achievements and we want to strive for new, and higher goals. Stagnation simply is anathema to the human condition.
And with this, we are wrapping up our recruitment drive and are setting very aggressive targets not just for the corp, but the alliance and the individuals. It’s a fun time to be in New Eden and maybe I get to actually fly a spaceship soon!