One of the biggest decisions for a player is what corporation to join, if they should make one for themselves, or if they should just stay in their default NPC corp. Some players come to EVE having been leaders of guilds in other games, but few of those guilds ever break 100 players. Here in EVE, some Corporations can have hundreds if not thousands of members.
What does it take to be a leader of that many? What skills are needed? Carneros is a veteran player and leader of the alliance The Bastion (a member of the Imperium). He sat down with us to discuss what it’s like to run an alliance and corporation, as well tips for newer players about the responsibilities involved with such a task.
You’ve played a long time. Has a lot changed in EVE over the years?
CARNEROS: I joined in the Summer of 2009. EVE is always changing. Always. I’ve been a guild leader in World of Warcraft, and I’m currently an alliance leader in EVE Online. And I’m also a leader in Marvel Strike Force on mobile.
How crucial are a CEO’s game skills to run a corporation?
CARNEROS: I make a distinction between game knowledge and game skills. The first means you know how the mechanics work. The second means you can do all the mechanics competently. Game knowledge is very helpful and probably necessary. Game skills is not a factor in being a great corp CEO. It’s more important to have empathy, people skills, perception, focus, clear communication, and the ability to make decisions and explain them. It’s more important to pick good helpers and empower them. That makes your group scale in size.
You’ve probably been in both small and large corporations. Is running one with 30 the same as running one with thousands?
CARNEROS: In some ways, yes. Let’s skip the “starting one” and go all the way to “running one.” Let’s say you are hosting a dinner party for 30 people. You try to figure out who to seat next to whom. Who has something in common? Who might enjoy meeting each other? Who should you keep separate? Running a corp is like that. You try to build social bonds between members so they have emotional ties to the group. You try to keep the peace by separating and buffering those that don’t mix well. You make a rule that no politics or religion can be discussed at the dinner table (or in corp chat).
What would you say is the key to good delegation?
CARNEROS: Identifying potentially talented people and growing their talent. Give them areas to manage and let them manage it. If someone comes to you and asks you to make a decision in their area, defer to their leadership. If they are going to make a mistake, decide if the mistake is too expensive for your organization to handle. If it’s recoverable, then let them make the mistake. They will learn more, develop more, and it’s worth the cost. If your focus is on growing each of your helpers, you won’t need to worry about delegation. If they get overworked, then split their job in half and find someone to help.
Particularly with a large alliance, sometimes you have corps dedicated to certain philosophies or duties such as PvP or PvE.
CARNEROS: If you are forming a corporation, decide what you want to be your group’s special thing. Your reason for existence. Your special characteristic. What makes you different from someone else? Then figure out how to message that and make it part of your group’s brand. Don’t recruit people faster than you can absorb them into your culture. Onboarding is huge. Have someone be in charge of onboarding new corporations and pick someone who best embodies your corp culture. Pick people you know or someone else knows. If no one knows them, do you really need this person? What will they contribute? Why are they a great fit? If you are well managed and your group is happy, you won’t have to do as much recruitment as you think. People will come to you. If you go to public channels and advertise for recruitment, you will get professional spies. They are undetectable and can damage you a lot over time.
What do you think it takes to make a great corporation?
CARNEROS: Make sure whomever you choose is active on comms and talking to people. Make sure they are active in the time zones of your corp’s directors. If they are in off hours or don’t get on voice comms, they are not a good fit. If they join and are active for two weeks then drop out of sight, then kick them and send them a note saying that you enjoyed getting to know them and they should re-apply when they come back to EVE.
What do you have to say to new players looking for a good corporation, or wanting to start one?
CARNEROS: Find people you want to spend time with. Ignore corporations — pick people. Find people you like in the game and then try to join their corporation. If you are trying to start something, define it really well first. If you can’t come up with what is special and different about your group, then you aren’t ready to start yet. Join someone else’s group, watch what works, watch what resonates with you, and make lists (in Microsoft Excel, of course). One might have the skills to fly a Destroyer across the galaxy. They can have all of the shooting skills in the world, but in the midst of everything, it is how you deal with people that is the foundation of an intergalactic empire.