Corps, Community, and Training Friendship to V

While overall, I am a friendly and easygoing guy, I also find myself to be somewhat antisocial. In my real life, I have never been one to go out for the purpose of going out, and I hate sitting in restaurants and bars. I'm not really the kind of guy to get in a vigorous discussion with a random person. I'm not introverted by any means, I enjoy other people and make good conversation in the right settings, I make friends easily, and overall I think people are good. I just wanted to mention all this because it's important to realize that we all do what we do in fundamentally different ways, and that my opinions and experiences with corporations in Eve are very likely to have differed from yours.

With the Ascension update, we are surrounded by new players, eager and ready for content and glory within our universe. Every forum is filled with ads for rookie corps, and most of the advice is centered around finding a group to help you get your footing. All the major organizations are in a full on recruiting push, no doubt the intentions of some are more honorable than others, but that's not what I'm on about today. I feel I have some unique insight on this, once upon a time I ran a very successful rookie corp.

When I started Eve I was in no hurry to join with a corp. I started with a buddy who had played a little before we were friends, and we were able to handle the learning curve leaning on each other.

Like many new players, we turned to exploration. Back in the day, exploration used to be hugely profitable, and many new guys braved nullsec and wormholes for dank drops of intact armor plates. It was good for content, and it was good for the profession of exploration. The nerf to this area of Eve hurt content creation in wormhole and nullsec space, but that is beside the point.

We joined Signal Cartel, a large corporation of nonviolent exploration monks. I would consider SC an excellent corp for new players, Mynxee is an excellent hands on leader and great at this. I had fun with them, and though my friend left eve during that time, I stayed with them and learned to be a good scout.

Exploration, at least at the basic level of cracking cans in pirate sites, is a solitary activity. You just make more money when you don't have to split the loot at the end of the day. So, being only very passively involved with the rest of the corp was easy. We were always spread to the far reaches of the universe anyway. At the end of the day though, explo is lonely, you spend all your time doing your best not to be noticed. It's very hard to make connections.

On a whim I decided I was done being an explorer, and that it was time to shoot things, and I joined up in Minmatar factional warfare. I would spend the next couple years here.

There was not much organization among the Minnies, and they were universally known as the worst fw faction, having been in t1 for years, and outnumbered four to one. I joined the npc corp, Tribal Liberation Force, and did my best to figure out the mechanic. After several months of exploding badly in plexes, I started to meet a few people, and finally started getting my first kills under great minmatar fc's like Renee Chanlin and Jebi Vjeter. Eve was fun alongside these people, and I was starting to get a feel of the social side of the game. I made a few friends, and after bothering him for a few weeks, Jebi let me into his little corp, Kill'em All, Let Bob Sort'em Out.

When I joined kea there were only about ten pilots, all tight friends and solid in their skills. Since I had spent time with these folks ahead of time, we were all already at least acquaintances, and so flying alongside them was easy, and more of the same. For a long while we did our thing, fighting, plexing, bullshitting in comms. It was a great time in my Eve career.

Jebi, good man that he is, has never given up on the Minmatar cause. He has, for as long as anyone can remember, led the charge for control of the warzone and The Medal. At the time, the Minnies had never won the war, the only faction who hadn't. During our pushes, he would spend weeks at a time running open fleets for 20 hours a day. Handing out ships and advice, working with new players, and setting the pace for the rest of us, and getting us all good kills and content.

One day we sat in a plex, and I brought up the idea of making kea a newbro fw training corp. It's an idea I had been playing with for a while. The Minmatar side of the warzone was stagnent. The Amarr outnumbered us 3/1, and no pilot who wanted to make money within fw was going to join a faction in teir one. The only thing we were really rich in, was content, and I was hoping we could build on that.

Jebi said go for it, and within a month we were over a hundred strong, within three we were twice that. We gave away all the ships any newbro could use, ran multiple daily plexing fleets, and trained every group of rookies in all the basics of Eve and pvp.

As we started flipping systems, other groups started to want to work with us, and we took this as an opportunity to unify the Minmatar. There had always been infighting, mostly between groups that wanted the win, and those who wanted the content, but as it started to look like we might make a stand, those groups found they had the same interests after all.

For me, I went from being in a fleet, to leading a fleet, to coordinating a fleet of fleets, in a really short time. Eve for me became more about paperwork and meetings. I would log in for hours just to write mails. Tens of billions of my own isk went into making the project work.

Eventually, after a sustained siege, we won that war, and it was a hugely proud day for me. We flipped every system in one day, letting the farmers do our work for us, and I called targets in the last battle for the last system.

I was war weary, and I had spent years in the pursuit of this goal. Now that it was finished, I wanted nothing more to do with any part of that warzone. I was going to go try something new, see the universe. I was really looking forward to making some new friends and being an important part of one of these organizations I had respected and been curious about over the years.

As you can probably guess, it was a lot harder to create that sense of friendship again, and finding that sense of being an important part of a team, that has never come again for me. I spent time with many larger orgs, from merc groups to pirates and everything in between, but have never found a group that seemed to want to accept new members in the way that I had hoped I would find. When I joined fw, I had all these inherited blues, and a good amount of time to meet people organically. I joined with a small group of pilots that I already had some time to fly with. I think that this contributed greatly to my success in finding a home in those days.

I think back to that core group of 10 pilots who I joined with in my early days as my personal golden age in Eve. We weren't particularly good, a laughingstock even to some, but we set a goal and through an effort that can never be described to anyone outside this game, we accomplished it. I know how much of a hand I had in that, and I am proud.

A oldschool pilot in the original group of ten, who I really respected, told me I ruined the corp when I opened it up to the masses. He was right. As we grew, the core group was spread thin. They started logging into teamspeak less or into different channels, and there were new groups and cliche's forming. It was like trying to force a bunch of new friendships on these old pilots, and while eventually it payed off with the victory condition, none of us are really the comrades we once were.

Since then I have been across the universe, into all manner of groups, always chasing the dream of 'community' that everyone in Eve insists is the basis of the game. I'll admit I've never found it. Large groups that actively recruit are just so hard to break into socially, for me at least, because these cliche's and groups that already exist at the core.

Nowdays I try to make connections as a solo pilot, but it's not easy. Eve is indeed hard to play by yourself, and not only in the literal sense that nobody has your back. It is just lonely, and to that end it is easy to see how people become bitter and wander away. As a solo pilot, there are a few great nights out here and there, but mostly you are just holding your head in your hands and wondering where the glory days went. Hardly a healthy relationship with a hobby.

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