Art by Major Sniper
Recently I started my new adventure: one where I try to start a corporation in EVE Online. Like most players, my entire gameplay experience has been under someone else’s flag. There were a few events in-game that drove me to try to start my own corp, but I mostly want to talk about the challenges of it, and why a lot of corps don’t make it in EVE Online.
In my short time as a CEO, I have noticed three main problems: money, members, and leadership.
A big problem with starting a corp in nullsec or wormhole space where structures are not provided for you is money. The corporation is going to spend different amounts of cash based on how many members they have, where they live, and what they are trying to accomplish. As I started the corp, the first thing I noticed is how much structures can actually dent your wallet. As a small corp, the ISK that is going to be used most likely comes from the CEO, or the first few members of the corp. For my corp, my partner and I have been splitting all of the ISK for structures, and at the same time working together to get more ISK for more things needed.
At this point, with such a small amount of players, there is no corp income. We have no industry, buyback, or taxes.
When going down my checklist, I was looking at the cost of the things and structures needed, and it can lower confidence. As a new corp, the cost of structures is overwhelming before you add in the cost of fuel and fittings. When you are starting a corp, determining how you are going to get corporate ISK and how you are going to spend it can help a lot. A ton of corps charge tax, but at the same time offer SRP, or other corp programs as a return for paying into the corp. The hardest part of starting a corp is in the beginning, where you don’t have any corporate ISK, only private.
As I stated, it is easier to make ISK based on the amount of members you have. More members can kind of be like splitting the workload a bit, but the number of members you have can be a problem of its own. As I look in the recruitment channel, I am competing for members with other corps, who are more established, have more players, and could maybe offer more to a member. This is the nature of the game.
A few people come in and out of my Discord or in-game recruitment chat. A lot of them ask how many members we have. When you tell them how many you actually have they leave, without seeing what you have to offer. The current EVE landscape is full of corps with hundreds or even thousands of members. With a landscape like this, the quality of corp a lot of the time can be “predicted” by the amount of members the corp has, which can damage a lot of the smaller corps as they don’t even get looked at a lot of the time.
And lastly, a huge problem is leadership. When you are starting a small corp that you want to grow most of the time, the first few people that join become your leaders. A corp is most vulnerable when it is new; when starting a new corp, the first few members may be thrust into leadership roles, even if they don’t want it, they are not ready, or they are bad people for the job. You don’t really know these people, and they can destroy the corp before it gets off the ground.
On top of this, when the corp has so few people, I worry about leadership disputes. One of my top five problems in this game so far has been my age. I am 16 years old, and I have been playing since I was 12, but people tend to ignore the experience I have and look at my age…Which is not to say I have not made some dumb mistakes—I have made plenty of those. I could imagine people not wanting to join because of my age or other people in corp wanting a higher position, because maybe they don’t want to follow someone as young as me.
Knowing what the early stages of a corp looks like can be important. A lot of people can see what large successful corps look like because they have joined them in the past, but coming across newer corps can be a bit harder. I want to start a small C5 PVP corp—nothing complex, pretty simple. Not only do you have to compete with larger groups in the economy and on the battlefield, but you also have to compete for members. I have heard the key is to find a niche. Not only are people looking for the right corp for them, but I am looking for the right person. Not a lot of people want to join a small corp and help grow it, and a lot of people don’t realize how hard being a leader is. I think your CEO deserves a round of applause, for they and the others around them have put in a lot of hard work.