Bringing the Boys the the Yard, Getting a Good Fleet Up
A typical night in Impass these days involves a lot of PVE. From what I understand, the Alliance has been at war for over a year, and recently took this area of space with the intention of slowing things down and refilling their wallets. Players are now in good money making space, and have been taking advantage of that by learning or re-learning an area of the game they had forgotten was even an option. The Angel rats in the area are getting a lot of good kills.
As predominately a combat pilot, learning new things like this is really fun, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who gets excited about Eve and all it has to offer when we stop to look at it. Getting roped into a single play style is really easy, the learning cliff in this game extends to veteran players as well. Learning a new area of Eve is uncomfortable, unforgiving, and difficult, but that's obviously how we like we like our video games.
Last night I was messing around in a Tengu, my new favorite exploration ship, clearing a DED site. These are challenging combat sites that you scan down to fight rats that will sometimes drop faction modules. Its a fun way to make isk, and I prefer it to simple afk ratting.
As is very often the case a ping went out across Discord to form up for a fleet, leaving from the combat staging system momentarily. I sigh, because I know how this is going to go, but I want to make the effort to be a good line member. I will always show up for a fleet when my schedule allows it.
So here is what typically happens. I bookmark and discontinue my site, park mine and my alt's ships in a nearby citidel, and then switch to a blank clone. If I have a jumpclone window available, I will consider jumping there, but I don't often have that option. I burn six or seven jumps to staging and switch to the doctrine we are flying, run to the bathroom and fridge because this is scheduled for an hour and a half, and jump into fleet and comms to find the fleet long gone, and the FC upset at the turnout. There is often a lot of pointing fingers at people 'carebearing' too hard and being unwilling to show up for fleets, and it feels like the folks taking charge of leading content and taking care of the business of being a successful alliance and holding sovereign space feel unappreciated. I totally get that, because from your point of view if you can only pull a few dozen pilots away from a group of hundreds away for a operation, that is highly unsatisfactory.
This is only an example, but it scales to trying to form for anything, be it a fleet in Eve or a gathering in any location.
As an example, let's use a different game, baseball. (Oh a baseball metaphor how original!)
Unless you're dead inside, baseball is awesome to play with your friends. I dare you to have a bad time playing baseball with your friends and family in the park. If you've ever randomly picked up a proper game of baseball like this, you can attest that it is always a cherished memory. I am not a skinny man and I am prone to twisting an ankle when I really get going, but I will play baseball anytime the opportunity arises.
Now, pick up your phone, and text fourteen people to come to the park and play a game of baseball with you. Make sure they bring the correct fit (a glove, maybe a bat), and that they are dressed for the occasion cause it's a little chilly. Tell them they can't bring their kids, cause we want a serious game, and tell them it needs to happen right now or it will get dark and we will lose the ball. How many people do you think are coming to the park?
On the other hand, send out a text that we are all getting together this time tomorrow for a game, get people into the idea, and you just might get those people to the park.
For the most part, Eve is populated by adults. Everyone is busy, and while we would almost always rather be at the computer playing this game we love enough to pay for every month, its not often the case that we are in the right place at the right time to be exactly where we need to be. If you can manage to give your average line member enough time to reasonably plan on attending he most certainly will, because fleeting up together to have awesome spaceship battles is why we are here. There is nothing more important to the success of an Alliance operation than awareness and scheduling by the people who have chosen to take responsibility for the gameplay of others.
We follow the people we chose to in this game because we like and respect them, because we share the same dream and have the same goals. There are thousands of groups like ours out there, it is not by coincidence that we are following the people we are following. We respect what they stand for, so we wear the same proverbial t-shirt. The quickest way for a leader to lose the people who turn out for them is to not share that respect back.
There is an argument to be made for spies in a game like ours, and it is obviously valid. In my opinion secrecy can hurt your organization more than help it. Spies will know often know a formation is going to happen, because so much of our game is based around timers. And even if they do, risk makes this game fun, let's get in that fight!
Tools like slack and discord are great for getting a word out, and almost every group uses them. In addition to that, the new mobile app makes in game mails easy to send and receive mails on the go. If you give a heads up to the people who want to follow you into battle, and they can, they most certainly will. Nobody wants to carrier rat over smashing reds, but they know when there is not enough time to make a fleet in time.