Having now seen how large alliances run things from both the perspective of the top of the chain of command and the bottom, I wanted to share my thoughts and ask why people in leadership make the same mistakes and lose focus of who they serve?

The key thing to remember here is that Eve Online is a game and that players pay a subscription to have fun and interact with a community. It’s understood that you have to do some work to achieve something, just as in real life, but organisations regularly push their members too far or lose focus on balance.

Long ago I had experienced a few times what it’s like to be leading an alliance and lose focus of the member base, trying to figure out how to maintain control of space, making decisions based at an alliance level with less thought for how the member at the bottom of the chain may be feeling.

You start to view campaigns in terms of numbers because it’s easier to comprehend, but as a result forgetting that each one of those numbers is a human doing a boring task at your request. Its only when you become a grunt again that you see the mistakes of such.

Balance

Balance is the key, as you have to ensure that there is always a fair balance for members between the things players enjoy doing and things they don’t enjoy but are necessary for the organisation.

Players enjoy good fights, perhaps a close fight that could have gone both ways but where one party made a good call and tipped the balance their way, or perhaps a good fight where you lost but it was still fun.

Problems occur when we have to participate in extended sovereignty warfare which involves either:

  1. “Getting the larger blob” – Forming up such a large fleet the enemy can’t hope to win so does not fight, thus you hold the field. Good because the alliance can then secure an area, but boring because you and hundreds of others have to spend hours in fleet doing nothing.
  2. “Shooting infrastructure” – Spending a few hours shooting static objects that don’t shoot back. These objects count towards sovereignty and get spammed so you have to waste weeks shooting them.

Now and again you might get an epic fight between hundreds of players but it’s so rare and so laggy that many members see these types of operations negatively because the fun-to-time ratio is not balanced well.

As leadership, you have to ask players to do this from time to time but if you do it too much without allowing players to do something enjoyable, the members will question if the organisation really has the members best interests at heart and eventually leave to other organisations where the balance of fun and work is more favourable.

Unfortunately many leaders fail to see this happening in time or know how to combat the problem when they encounter it.

Responsibility

There is often debate as to what a leader’s responsibility is in Eve Online. Because its a computer game and people play for fun, the question of what leadership needs to do for it’s members vary from perspective.

Goggles Deudigren actually made some good points with this. Relatively new to our corporation and Eve Online, he basically made points that were from a fresh mind, so honest and with no bias.

“I am here this side of the river and everybody else is on the other side doing tons of stuff, and I am frustrated trying to find a way across.”

This was in response to alliance leadership demanding people to join an operation, but failing to investigate and solve why some people were not.

Organisations should be more responsible for their set campaigns, which includes being responsible for logistical matters. Very rarely is the fault of not attending going to be with an individual player if you’re asking them to do something that’s not enjoyable far from home.

Alliance leadership will on occasion make the argument that they should not have to hold the player’s hand all the time, which is a fair point but it’s a bit naive.

If you want a player to spend four hours shooting a control tower for example, which is boring… You have to make it as easy as possible for that player because they are playing the game for fun. As soon as they encounter an issue, they will be reminded to think about if it’s really worth their time to look for a solution.

As for leadership complaining, acting hostile or aggressive to the members. It’s almost always the wrong path to take and in most cases a quick way to alienate your own members. Why so many leaders make this mistake and send messages to the entire community complaining because their members don’t want to do something that’s not fun is beyond me. Being negative is bad propaganda.

The next point was in response to Volition Cult leadership saying that its their job to ensure people have fun. If we direct the organisation down a path that is not fun for members, we need to address it.

“I want it to be clear that it is not anybodies responsibility to make the game enjoyable for me.”

I can understand that people should always be responsible for themselves, and that if your going to play a computer game, it’s your responsibility to have fun in that game and if you’re not, move on.

However from the leadership perspective, it is our responsibility to make sure our members have fun because our organisations main strength is its members (not technetium moons), if they move to other corporations or games then we lose strength as an organisation so it’s in our interest to have our members interests in mind all the time.

If that means letting some corporate assets burn or losing control of something so you’re burnt out players can take a break or do something fun then so be it, in the long term… Those members, those friends even, will pay off more.

Leadership should remember their priorities, because if they are right you can end up with a large persistent community that survives during the good times and bad times because the members are loyal. Get it wrong and at the first sign of trouble, people will look for greener pastures.