So you’ve decided that you want to build your own corp in EVE Online. That’s not an easy task. Whether you’re doing it for money, to build a community, or simply because you didn’t find another good option, you need a plan. I may not be the best CEO out there, but I’ve done it for three years now and if that isn’t experience, then I don’t know what is.
I’ll be focusing this article mostly on creating a wormhole corp. This isn’t necessarily different to making a high, low, or nullsec corp, but it’s what I know best and I’m sure you can translate the ideas to kspace if you need to. My experience also comes from starting EVE’s equivalent of hard mode, being alone. I personally kicked Foxholers into life entirely on my own, having started with only my dreams and a plan.
I’ll be breaking this down into key do’s and don’t’s for simplicity. If you feel that you’ve got a grasp of everything I’ve written here then I see no reason why you can’t be the next big group to write your name in the stars.
Who are you and what kind of corp do you actually want to build?
This might seem like a minor point, but you need to be sure of who you are and what you actually want. I’ve seen far too many small corps exist based around some nobody for the sake of being together. I even did it myself back in the day and people eventually drifted apart, going their own ways. There has to be some collective mission to unite players and it ideally has to be one that needs to unite those players. If people don’t have to play together then 90% of your recruits simply won’t. That corp objective has to come from you.
You don’t have to be some EVE celebrity to get started, though. If you’re an old capital FC starting up something new then tell people your story. Tell them where you’ve come from, your experience, and why you’re doing this. I know I sure as hell wouldn’t join a young corp without knowing more about who the CEO is and why they’re here. The same thing is true for a brand new player making a brand new corp. Be genuine and honest about being new and your corp members will allow you to make mistakes. We were all new at some point and you’re only going to get better through experience and by asking for advice.
We can visualise some example scenarios in a roleplay style if we think of them like this:
- Tom, an alpha highsec miner, wants to explore wormholes to earn more ISK from higher-class gas and combat sites. He needs people to help scan, run the sites, and share in the wealth. People will come for the ISK and hopefully stay for the community.
- Dick, an ex-nullsec cap FC wants to hunt supers and to use a nullsec static C3 or C2 as his base of operations. He needs a fleet and he has a very specific goal in mind. If he proves himself to be effective then more will join his group.
- Harry just came back to EVE and doesn’t know many people. He is building a ‘generic’ PvP corp in a C5. Why would someone join him instead of an established group? He either needs an outside source of people or some other attractive prospects.
Learn how to FC and how to fit a ship.
As the CEO of any group you need to learn to lead not only the corporation, but your fleet members. Sure, someone else can do this for you 90% of the time, but if your corp relies on someone else in every engagement then your authority extends only as far as they allow. This is important even as a mostly PvE player for calling combat site targets. After all, that’s how I started my EVE career. “All DPS on the Emergent Keepers.”
Small note for brand new people: FC – Fleet Command(er). This is the act of running or the person who runs a fleet and tells the other pilots what to do.
This extends to being able to fit a ship well. You don’t have to be amazing at it, but as a leader in a spaceship sim, you had better know what to do with those spaceships of yours. In time, you can meet other people who will be better at it than you, but starting off well sure can help. To give a great example of this, our original Drekavac fits from the start of Foxholers 4 helped us quickly respond to fights, tank a lot with our spider tank, and MJD when it got too hot. We still use them today, but there’s no doubt that having the right tools helped us perform better and attract more members.
Another reason to learn to FC is that a CEO of an upstart corporation really needs to be at the forefront of the action 90% of the time. You straddle a fine line between burnout and a healthy corp. Eventually, others will FC and help create content but in those first few months, it really all is on you. If not you, then someone else will have to take those reigns and they should be rewarded accordingly.
Update: If the task of actually putting together some doctrines is proving difficult then check out my guide to doctrines for a new corporation.
Learn to effectively communicate internally and externally.
What this is about is keeping in touch with the community. EVE (and any other MMO for that matter) is a social game. Part of why my corp has stuck together so long is because of those bonds that we’ve formed with one another. We created a core group of members that formed the identity of who we are and those people came back time and time again. Without myself, without my command structure, Foxholers wouldn’t be Foxholers. You could argue the same thing for any IRL corporation or business. Cut out the management and it isn’t really the same any more.
So what am I saying? Don’t be a stranger. Encourage all of your members to be on Teamspeak or in Discord comms if they’re in-game. Not doing so is going to make life a whole lot harder and goes back to what I said at the beginning. Why would anyone care to stay in your corp if they don’t know who you are, if you’re just a name that they sometimes see in chat.
This same attitude can be taken outside of your corp, too. Obviously, a new CEO shouldn’t spend all their time on Teamspeak with another group, but they shouldn’t be silent either. Whether its shit-talk in local at the other group who won’t fight you or it’s a diplomatic discussion to join forces and fight someone bigger, make yourself known. There are too many small groups out there who have no aspirations and are too afraid of anything to show their faces. Staying quiet doesn’t make you a neutral partly like Switzerland, it makes you about as irrelevant as Sealand.
Miscellaneous tips and advice for a new CEO
- Time. You need it, it isn’t possible to build a good corp without pouring your heart and soul into it, being available, and providing content for others.
- Find people to help you build it up if you can, friends ideally. Having that core group of 5+ people from the start eliminates the majority of the early growing pains.
- Have a corporate identity. This goes back to “who are you?” but you need to fly under a banner with an objective. This works better with a great name or logo.
- Centralise the corp. Whether that’s being central around a nomadic carrier group or one system, you need to be together.
- Consider your IT systems. Teamspeak, mumble, or Discord for voice? What are you going to use for out of game chat?
- Delegate to your command team to help avoid burnout. You burning out will kill your corp.
- I can’t stress enough that you need a goal. It doesn’t have to be super long term, but it needs to be something that brings people together. A reason to exist.
- Be honest with recruitment. There is no point saying that you’re a hisec, lowsec, nullsec, wormhole, PvE, PvP, mining corp. You’ll get members in the door only realise that you have no content for them.
It’s difficult to place all of what I’ve learned over the last few years into one article. If you do it right then people will be online and Teamspeak will look a bit like the picture below. If not, then things will be quiet and nobody will be online. The best thing I can suggest is that you don’t beat yourself up about it. When you pour so much effort into a project and it flops it can really suck, but building a corp in EVE Online is hard. If you find your own way to manage the stress, the logistics, and the people management, then I have a lot of respect for you.
Furthermore, a perfect storm can happen that kills your corp. It happened to me several times. People will stop playing. Your best directors will fall ill or have children and be away from the game. Evictions can destroy corp morale. Luck is certainly not a small part of the equation, but if you keep trying with the right doctrines, a common identity, and the ability to adapt to change, then eventually you can succeed.