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Contingency – (n) – A fact, or event, incidental to or dependent on something else.

As you might have guessed.. everyone has contingency plans.. or at least everyone should.  But, that isn’t what we’re hear to talk about today.  The question is more challenging than that.  It is simply, “Does your corporation or alliance have contingency plans?”

The scary part is that the likely answer is, “No.”

Oh, there may be hints of a plan, but really most corps and even quite a few alliances have a main operating plan that looks something like this:

  1. Go into new area
  2. ???
  3. Profit

In fact, the above plan is often Plan A, and Plan B, and Plan C…  and as you might guess, they aren’t all that successful.  There are a mighty number of corporations and alliances that, even if successful in their current location, can not and could not translate that same success if they move to a new location, or if a new element suddenly appears.

And in Eve, both happen frequently.

So, how does an corporation or alliance prepare and have contingencies?  How do you ensure that no matter what happens, your alliance or corporation can regroup and rebuild regardless of the adversity?  One way is by developing a contingency plan, or a plan with the main plan fails.  However, it does require a bit of work and a lot of forethought.  This though will always be less work and heartache than trying to rebuild your corporation or alliance from scratch.  There are several steps that a corp CEO and alliance CEOs need to do.. some of these should be on-going.  The first of these steps is:

Know Your People

This cannot be stressed enough.  The CEO NEEDS to know his people.. not necessarily that he knows his kids’s name, how hot or ugly their spouse is, or things like that, but how he/she plays the game and more importantly what his or her goals are.  It is what the foundation of your corporation is built on and doing this in the the beginning of the corporation really pays off.  Many corporations are put together because a few guys (and/or gals) starting playing Eve and were either living in the same space or were in the same NPC corp together.  That is all great and good.. but it poses a problem.  Every member of your new corporation will have different desires, different playstyles, different levels of learning, and most importantly, different goals.  If you all have different goals, you’ll never agree often on how to grow the corporation.  Think of how worthless a spider would be if each leg had a goal of its own.  Your corporation will be less useful, even useless, if your CEO can’t focus your members on what to do either.

At the alliance level, the CEO/Dictator needs to be confident that the corporate CEOs are knowledgable about their people, and has their goals in mind when corporate discussions happen.  One major piece of advice:  Make sure your alliance CEO isn’t a CEO of any corporation in the alliance.  Too much drama there to be had, and believe me it will all spill out.

Having a REAL Plan B

Plan B should always be on the CEOs’ and Directors’ mind.  Your Plan B is your “Escape from a slow death” plan.  Its the plan where you start looking for a new home, figuring out how to slowly get ships to a safe location without really letting on that you are about to bail.  Understand the subtly and non-disclosure are the order of the day for everyone in your corp.  There are two reasons for this.  The first is that no matter what there are going to be hurt feelings, so moving stuff out before you drop the bomb is always a good idea.. especially if you realize that either (or both) the alliance and leadership is unstable.  The second is that if the alliance and leadership isn’t half bad, you don’t want your actions to cause a cascade of trouble which will besmirch your own corp’s reputation.  As you know, Reputation actually matters in Eve.

For establishing a Plan B, you want to make sure of the following, though this information should stay only within your corp leadership:

  1. Set up an Evac coordinator and make sure he/she is aware of whoever has available freighters and carriers.
  2. Pick a nearby high-sec location where you can start evacuating ships from.  Open an office there and make sure that those helping with the initial evac have freighters stored in that station.  Made sure that your office is setup so that there is a hanger where people can drop off ships, but only leadership and/or the Evac Coordinator and his trusted helpers have access to it.
  3. If you live in low-sec or null-sec, next pick a nearby low-sec system, one that is out of the way and still in your current alliance’s relative sphere of control, but within one jump of a null-sec station that you can use safely.  A place where you can bring in carriers safely and evac unused ships and equipment.  Open an office in that station and move carriers to that location.
  4. If you live in null-sec, start having your people base their operations out of the null-sec station where you plan to evac from, if you can open an office there.  If not, then have your people consoludate their inventory and ships in the null-sec station that you do have an office in.
  5. Set up some initial moving documentation, or a set of checks to make sure that ships and equipment that is moved gets back to the right people.  One way we did this in m3 Corp was to have everyone rename their ships and containers with their name and where it was suppose to go to.  Like: “Orakkus – NOL” or “Billybob – Jita”.  Then the shipper sent an e-mail to pilot when he delivered the goods.  If you are moving stuff through High-sec for your members, it would be a good idea to go over courier contracts and how they work.  Courier Contracts can save you a lot of hastle and documentation problems, but they only work well for Freighters and Jumpfreighters.  Not so much for Carriers.
  6. Once everything is in place, let your people know that they need to get ships and modules out about two weeks prior to leaving the alliance.  If you are in null-sec, have your members try to sell off Tech 1 battlecruisers and battleships, ammo, minerals, and modules instead of trying to take up space bringing down items that too bulky or too cheap to waste time on.  Some of your members will be resistant to the idea… it is okay to lean on them.  Tech 1 ships are easy to replace and relatively cheap.
  7. Once you have a sizeable amount of gear moved out, then you will want to have a sit down meeting with the Alliance Leader and discuss your leaving.  Usually by this time you probably have already indicated that you wanted to either try something new or that being in the alliance isn’t working out.  You want to play this out as professionally as you can.  If the meeting goes real well, you may be convinced to stay.  Even if you still decide to leave, so long as the meeting went well, you might be able to get some good reviews as well as extra time to get gear moved out, even a retaining of blue standings.  However, if it goes bad.. then you’ll need to move to Plan C.

PLAN C – When You Have To Go, and NOW!

What is a “Plan C”?  Well, you know.. last week your Null-sec alliance was on top of the world, but just a few moments ago the alliance folded, all friendly forces have left, and you are left with your corp in a very hostile location.  What do you do?  You need a reasonable plan of action.  Let me stress the word: reasonable.  You will not get everyones’ ships out.  Likely you are going to leave a whole lot of equipment there while you jump out whatever you can get out right away.

  1. Tell everyone in corp what the situation is asap.  Tell them on Evegate, Chat, their home e-mail address, texting, forums, whatever.  Some folks who may be goofing around might be able to log in and help evac stuff.
  2. First priority is finding a safe low-sec station to evac to.  Make sure it isn’t populated or might have potential spies or enemies lying in wait.
  3. Second Priority is getting the most number of expensive ships out.  If you are stuck between taking out a marauder or four HACs, take down the four HACs.  Hopefully you might be able to get another run in, but don’t expect it.  So if its not back in low-sec, the owners had better find a way to sell it.  Tech 1 ships should not even be considered unless you happen to have extra room in your carriers. Re-iterate to the Corp that it will not be risking a multi-billion isk ship so that you can bring down their 50 million isk Drake or your 10 million isk Rupture.
  4. If the hostile area is null-sec, you do have some time before the stations come under control of the enemy, so during the lull times you could sneak in and out.. but be sure you have scouts watching the station and the system, because nothing would make your enemy happier than to gank a fleet full of carriers.. loaded with expensive ships.

If you are an Alliance CEO, you should be on the phone with your corp leaders and directors.  The sooner they know, the sooner they can enact their own version of Plan C, while you draw up plans to rally a defense that might allow you to get more ships out safely.. or even to grab new allies to defend your space.

Conclusion – Preparation is Good

So, having these Plans in mind before hand will help you think of ways to keep prepared.  Imagine, for example, if you didn’t prepare and you had to fall back on Plan C.. but you forgot to fill your carriers up with fuel…   Not only did you lose most of your corp member’s ships.. but you lost at least your carrier as well.  Think about these things.  Preparation has benefits.  So if you are a CEO, start talking with your directors and your most trusted members.  Get something down in writing that you can share with your leadership group so that if you happen to be on vacation when the world crashes.. your corp won’t be flapping around like a dead fish.