It is an interest problem.  As a corporation, should you move your members to a specific area of expertise, or should you keep your membership generalized so that all bases are covered?  That can be a hard question because different people want to do different things, and even a group of friends may have different ideas about how to grow.  Plus, if you turn out to choose wrong, maybe the pride and joy of your corporation might go down in flames.. and your reputation along with it.

So, let me give you an outsiders view of what I’ve seen happen in Eve, with both types of corporations.

First off, there are some basic rules to forming a corporation.  These things should sort of be “set in stone”.  I don’t mean you can’t change them, but they should be things that every current member and every new member know the moment they enter corp, or even if they are just thinking about joining you.

  • Corp Goals – Ideally, this should be figured out long before you even form the Corporation itself.  Now, what is a “goal”?  “Be the best module maker in all of Eve Online” isn’t a goal.  That’s a hope, not a goal.  A goal is tangible AND reachable.  A more proper goal would be: ” We wish to build Amarrian modules for use in expansion of the Amarr Empire.”  It may be a more RP-ish goal, BUT it is a reasonable and possible one.
  • A Plan – Essentially how you are going to get to that goal.  Everyone should know it.. and everyone should be actively involved in it.
  • Standards – Basically, what you will and won’t accept.  Sounds simple, but people can get crazy with this, or they can be far too lax in it as well.  Standards help establish stability, which is a core part of a corporation.  Without stability, you don’t have a corporation.
  • Presence – The directors and especially the CEO need to be on often.  Maybe not daily, but your people should never wonder when you will log on.

 The Generalized or Jack-of-all Trades Corporation

The Generalized Corporation is really a corporation made of people who like each other, but have different goals.  These corporations are usually more relaxed, more fun overall, and usually have a more diverse membership.  (Side note:  They also tend to be more social, a bonus that leads to them generally having more of the fairer sex.. i.e. women.  Women gamers tend to be fun to have because they are more talkative, more interesting, and more concerned about a corporation’s morale over iskies or kills.  Not saying they don’t have their own unique issues, however).  A generalized corp will usually have a couple guys who know about mining, a couple guys who know about PVE, a guy who knows somewhat about PVP, another who knows about scouting, someone else who knows about a good pub just down the street where you live, etc.  Overall, they are nice corps if you are just starting out in Eve Online and really wanna just get a basic feel for life in the game.

The downside is that usually any specialization that a generalized corp will have will be in the areas of mining or missioning, and not PVP.  I’ve seen quite a few “ship experts” make some pretty strange claims about how effective their setups are.. and often times it was because they got either very lucky, or they had a 5 to 1 advantage they forgot to mention. 

As a player, you need to be aware of this right off the bat, or else you might have unrealistic expectations of a magical cavalry just a system away.  If your buddies aren’t already prepared for combat, chances are you are going to die before they can help you.. even if you are just one system away.  As a CEO, its important to be aware of your PVP limitations and to account for them, either by working together to figure out PVP tactics or by developing strategies to help your people escape with the least, if not zero, losses.

These corporations do fine in High Sec space, but tend to crumble rather quickly when introduced into low-sec or 0.0 space.

The “Industrialists with Teeth” or Focused Corporations

The “Industrialists with Teeth” Corporation is often confused with a Generalized Corporation.  The difference is that the Focused Corporation has some more specific goals, and instead of everyone doing their own thing, the members are herded into a few set of categories.. almost always including PVP as one of those  (Side Note:  Be careful, a lot of Generalized Corporations think that they are “Industrialists with Teeth”, but turn out to be just space sheep that get slaughtered… often.  Always check evekill.net as well as their own killboard to make sure what they say matches with what they do).  These corporations are usually the result of harrassment by local pirate groups, combined with some success in countering them.  A solid Focused corporation will often have about a third of their pilots familiar with PVP as well as low-sec mechanics and also have a fairly active leadership group that is involved in PVP.  Likely, these corporations will have some minimum requirements, though not many and should have some local intel channel that they are active in.  A big plus to these corporations is that they tend to be more aware of their surroundings as well as be more prepared should the need arise.

The downside is that you should still not expect a calvary rescue, though if they are reasonably capable they might be smart enough to take advantage of the situation.  They also generally require a few million SP and more participation in group activities.  If you are one to do things alone, a focused corporation may not be for you.. but then again.. if you are doing things alone.. why are you even in a player corp at all?

As a player, make sure that you see their CEOs or Directors are on often and they are often either a part of PVP fleets and/or part of whatever operations they gave going on.  It’s a good thing too if they have been in Eve at least six months to a year.  As a CEO, this is the point where you start dealing with metagaming.  So, be diligent about checking out your new hires.  This is also the time where you will need to have good directors who can be on and able to resolve issues.  Be honest with yourself about the capabilities and lack thereof of your corporation.  Pride in your corporation is one thing.. it can be based on fact.  Bragging is another.. and usually is the result of fear and failure.

Specialized Corporations

Specialized Corporations are those corporations that have resolved to doing one thing well.  Very well.  As of right now, this breaks down into three distinct categories: PVP, Industrial, and Wormholes.  The first two are actually rather common in Eve.  Pirate organizations, Mercenary organizations, and successful 0.0 alliances are made up of corporations who specifically choose to PVP.  Industrial Corporations are often found in successful 0.0 alliances as well, providing their alliance and leadership with ships, modules, and very often, isk.. and lots of it.  I have also chosen to make Wormhole corporations into this mix because, while the activities of wormhole corporations are a mix of PVP and Industrial, they also require a specific set of skills for their members to be effective (even just to get home).

Specialized Corporations strengths lie in the fact that they start off with a better membership foundation.  Good ones will have very stringent joining requirements, and some are even invitation only.  Because of this, there is little conflict when working towards goals and it is a reasonable expectation that your partners are going to competant in going about their duties.  Success in achieving those goals doesn’t go unnoticed.  As major 0.0 alliances often look for skilled talent to bolster their strengths and mend their weaknesses, it is not uncommon for them to contact these successful corps for admission into their alliance.  In those cases, the corporation’s reputation usually transfers to the individual pilots, garnishing respect and honor as well as improved opportunities to make more isk.

Still, the downside to specialized corporations tend to be many.  First off, the ones that have good reputations, also tend to have the more stringent membership requirements and more rules and more regulations.  They also tend to be far less forgiving of really stupid mistakes (i.e. “ratting in a carrier or supercarrier”, poor ship configurations, “know-it-all” antics in comms, etc.) and they aren’t likely to keep you around if you don’t follow orders.

Second, Specialized Corps usually require more time and effort to be given on the corporation’s behalf.  CTAs, Mining Ops, Invasions, Moves, etc. all require that you bring more ships, do more tasks, and work with others more often to get the corporation to a ready status and to keep its reputation up.

Third, the Drama tends to be much greater as well.  Being Specialized tends to put a corporation in competition with other corps within an alliance.  Sometimes this can be a good thing, such as if two PVP Corporations fight for the top spot.  This can benefit the alliance as a whole as more enemies are taken down. 

However, it can also be a corrosive thing.  The most common and outstanding examples of this is usually the conflict that arises between PVP corps and industrial corps.  PVP corp involvement is very public.  There are killmails, people see your corp name in comms, people see the ships your corporation is bringing to fights, etc.  Whereas industrial involvement is private, with tedious mining operations being the only visible accounting of any activity at all.  Without supporting documentation, PVP corporations often accuse industrial corporations of taking advantage of pilots for selfish profit.  Since most alliances like to keep their finances private, small scale arguements that could easily be defused by a quick look at the books, often blow up into major disagreements.  This is particularly true if modules and ships commonly used in the alliance’s defense are priced far above normal market value.

As a player looking into a Specialized corp, it is important to find and review any “papertrail” that the corp has.  For PVP corporations, this is fairly easy as Killmails can tell you how effective they are in combat and a review of their alliance history can tell you if they are well liked (i.e. they don’t change alliances often) or not.  Feel free to contact current members to get an overall feel of the corp, whether morale is high, or if they are about to collapse, etc.  For industrial corporations, you’ll need to be a bit more diligent.  You certainly don’t want to join an industrial corporation, bringing your armada of mining/industrial ships along with your well researched BPOs.. only to find that they are only going to allow you to mine, but not to make and sell modules, fuel, etc.  Because of the more private nature of these corps, I would contact former corp members and former alliance mates to make sure the corporation and its leadership are honest and trustworthy.  The big thing for both of these is to make sure that what they say matches with what they do.

For CEOs, if you have chosen to take your corporation from a general or focused organization to a specialized one.. expect losses in personnel.  Be honest to everyone about it because if a lot of people leave it can affect morale.  You also want to make sure that you are prepared skill wise to make the jump because if things don’t start out well it may crash your corporation before it has a chance to shine. 

For new PVP Corporate CEOs, I recommend becoming skilled at a particular style of combat, be that Black Ops, gate camping, frigate roams, whatever.  That way when they improve, morale will improve, and you will be stronger to take on new challenges.  For new Industrial Corporate CEOs, I would recommend finding ways to make everyone’s contribution public and easily accessable to others.  I would also suggest, should you join an alliance, that you find a way to show how your industrial efforts are benefitting the alliance(in detail) and make it known every at every single meeting.  This will allow CEOs of other corporations to stifle any of that “Their not doing their part.” discussions that will invariably happen.  It will also show them what you have control over and more importantly.. what you DON’T have control over.  If all your corporation does is build and sell ships, you don’t want to be blamed for any sudden increase in T2 Damage Control prices.

In the end, all of these types of corporations can be fun and enjoyable and they all have their place in Eve Online.  But it still is up to the CEO and the individual player to make the most of the opportunities given them.