In mid 2011 Eve was becoming a huge chore for myself. I had been with The Red Circle for almost a year, doing the usual scanning and scouting and was in the process of graduating college at the time. I played an inordinate amount of spaceships compared to a normal, hardworking adult. At the time, The Red Circle was a wormhole corporation founded by a couple of industrialists from Eve University, and interspersed with a few people who enjoyed PvP, and a bunch of guys that just liked wormholes. After regular recruitment from EUNI, the leadership decided it was time to look for ways to move upwards out of our C4-C3. We had tried and failed to form an alliance with the old Red Mist, who then went on to join Aquila, and had decided to move to a C5 in the hopes of expanding the opportunities for our older members. I wanted to be a part of a PvP corporation. I enjoyed the “elite PvP” aspect of Eve. I liked trying to get better, and wanted others to want to try as well. This led to my blind challenging of a couple corporation rules. I was vocal in my frustration, which led to the good old spaceship drama that unfortunately everyone has experienced from time to time.
I entered the C5 wormhole a couple months after everyone else, and things went swimmingly for a while. The use of capitals was a huge boon to a lot of our older members, and as we were a relatively young corporation, the shiny toys gave everyone something to train towards. More than that, however, we were learning how to wormhole in the deep end of the pool. We started chain collapsing, attending evictions, killing capitals regularly, finding ways to get rich quick, and improving our fleet compositions. One of the hardest things about those times was the old recruitment policy, which we had kept closed. It ended up in a slow decline as our membership went bittervet, even with a steady trickle of excellent pilots from Eve University. I personally took point on a couple of apprenticeships, and one of the skills I’ve been able to exercise is administrating workshops. Even so, activity would drop. One of the comments that has stuck with me is when someone said he would check Mumble every night to see if there was enough people around to play with, and if not, he wouldn’t bother logging on.
What we needed was a wholesale change in the way our corporation went about Eve. In what has ended up as a multi-year process, we have gone to open recruitment, changed our method of finding kills, and revamped our leadership. It’s extremely critical to be willing to make these changes on a fundamental level. With the recent disbanding of huge alliances due to lack of leadership (Insidious Empire, Gents) I have thoughtfully considered our perspective. The Red Circle has gone through a huge flux and has come out of the other side, and this is due to the fact that we have developed a thread that ties us all together, and we were willing to make the big changes necessary to keep the corporation plugging forward.
Back in 2012, there needed to be a cohesive way for our corporation to think about Eve. If we were going to be a smaller corporation, what did that entail, and how did that functionally change the way our members had to play in Eve? The structuring of an entire corporate philosophy is a slow process, and it was never even really discussed at that level, in that detail, but I believe it was always a goal, from the day the current leadership was let in on the discussion. What we really needed was a way for our average pilot to create content on their own, which led to us choosing nullsec roaming as our focus. One of the things that I think is so important is the fact that up until now we hadn’t had a focus. We were simply a bunch of guys who didn’t hate each other, playing Eve. Now, we had a couple of people that had lots of experience, understood Eve, and were incredibly eager. Despite the huge experience gap we had in our general membership, things naturally flowed towards k-space roams. This was back where there was only one other wormhole corporation, Aquila, that thoroughly embraced k-space roaming at all, let alone on a similar scale. The huge benefit is it creates an environment where pilots can go and solo, or go out in small groups, without needing a huge critical mass of players to get into a fleet fight. When we recruit people with the correct mentality, we have a self-sustaining membership. Recruitment is where I found my niche in Eve with The Red Circle, and after running the entire recruitment process for our corporation for a few months, I was brought into the corporate leadership.
It was hard for me to realize how healthy it was for our members to be playing other games together, and to be going on fleets outside of our own. When the corporation leadership creates the content top-down, you get a shell. When people go out and do whatever they wish, but always come back to our little corner of the universe, you’re creating a competent member base. In addition, developing a core group of players whose friendship extends past TRECI, or past Eve, makes it much more likely to have pilots who leave to return a couple months later. What’s also interesting is how few players actually want this freedom, and it illuminates, in my mind, the success of the hand holding game experience. While we did end up losing a number of our US TZ players in the growing pains, we’ve created an opportunity to rebuild it in a way that mimics the success of the rest of our corporation. In any case, for myself, the simple fact that this corporation has been such a large part of my life for years on end is nothing short of unprecedented.
Tags: building, corporation, growing, joran, WH, wormholes