Monday, October 25, 2010

Corporate Identity and Large Numbers

The Ivy League is a very interesting case for most alliances, as it has 1500 members, all but probably 5-10 of which are in a single corp (EVE University).  This leads to some strange dynamics.

In a lot of other alliances, individual corps can be much smaller, allowing them to form very tightly bound associations within the corporation, and a much looser loyalty tie to the alliance, and a looser one still to the powerblock of which their alliance is a member.  This can frequently be seen when corporations stay relatively stable and just switch alliances whenever alliance drama hits.  It usually takes significantly more drama to make an established corporation collapse when its alliance collapses, unless it was the central entity of that alliance.

Ivy League alliance is fundamentally just EVE Unversity, with a few support chars (very few) in associated corporations.  This alters the normal alliance/corp bond, as the two are interchangable entities.  However, it can still be seen to some extent even in E-UNI by the number of pilots who only identify themselves as E-UNI pilots, not IVY pilots.

In the University, this leads to some interesting social dynamics.  With 1500 people, we have too large of a community to allow more personality based leadership styles to easily function. Dunbar's number helps explain this to some extent, especially when combined with the global nature of the alliance and the fact that no central leader will ever be equally present in every TZ.

This causes subgroups to form within the University.  Sometimes they are groups of friends that share a same TZ, or other groups that share a central activity they enjoy (missions, PVP, wormholes, etc...). Some of the groups are established by the University to organize students (such as ILN battlegroups), while others are formed by the students themselves.  However, the University has to insure that all of the subgroups that form are always oriented towards the central goal of the corporation, which is to educate students.  This can cause some drama from time to time (see D6 - just an you guys).

In my opinion, any organization of 1500 people will never be able to prevent unoffical groups from forming.  Its just trying to stop human nature.  People have a much easier time bonding to a close group of friends than to a 1500 person entity organized around an ideal.  However, as long as we can insure that the groups that form are inclusive, not insular, and that the groups continue to contribute to and participate in the University community as a whole, problems can be avoided. The largest problems develop when groups become closed off and develop a them vs us mentality.

Without mentioning specific groups or individuals, just discussing the concepts, what are your thoughts?

-----Warning: Comments on specific people and/or groups will be removed------


  1. If anything I think small, goal orientated groups should be encouraged, not stifled. As long as they're organized on some roughly standard template there is no reason that, for example, a EU TZ WH group shouldn't be allowed to set up and operate.
    It would involve a shift in focus perhaps, but if there was a wiki page, similar in content to the channels page, listing the various groups and their goals/actions it would explode the idea that the groups are insular or elitist.
    A lot of the time the Uni is too big in a way. It can be daunting to even form a fleet for a first time because you know that, given the numbers online at any given time, you can be swamped. Ditto for, for example a WH op.

    In my rambling way, what I'm trying to get across is that in a org the size of the Uni, allowing smaller, more intimate groups to flourish might actually result in a greater integration and participation by the members.

  2. When I first heard of E-Uni, I was given the impression that it was a great starter Corp, designed almost as an incubator for Eve. It accepts, from what I've seen, just about every single person with the patience to survive the queue.

    I entered the Uni with the expectation that I would be moving on in roughly 3 months. That is the timeline of the Uni experience I got from the marketing material ( blog posts, web site articles etc. ). After 3 months or so, most pilots would start finding themselves looking to do more with the game than the E-Uni structure allowed for.

    This in mind, be it a correct perception or not, leads me to think that encouraging small organizations in E-Uni would actually detract from the mission of E-Uni as I understood it. It may foster a spirit of permanent home as opposed to the incubator.

    Allow the special focus groups to decide if it's time to move on, keep the Uni as the generic noobie welcome mat. This would protect both groups from drama I imagine, given that my imagination is limited only by 3 months of play time.

    Please let me know if my perceptions are way off base.

  3. I'm not trying to judge people's opinions one way or the other. I'm just hoping to share my opinion and compmare it with the opinions of others. I feel its important for directors to share the underlying ideals that go into how they approach problems, but also open those ideas up for legitimate debate in order to reflect and continually evaluate/change those ideals as needed.

    This is not to say that I believe E-UNI should be, or ever will be a democracy. It is and will remain a dictatorship under the CEO, with the directors working in their departments. However, as a director I think I should be willing to debate my ideas. Maybe I'll learn something that will improve me as a player in Eve and division leader.

  4. I, similarly, feel that forming smaller groups is on it's own, not a harmful activity.
    So far I have seen (most of) the drama begin after murmurs of discontent from the higher ups.
    Maybe it's just the way it seems to some people.

    Certainly there are dangers to small groups, it can allow discontent to simmer out of sight until it becomes a serious issue, and I wonder if that is one of the problems the directorship have with cliques.

    Trying to be as vague as possible, but you can delete this comment if you feel it's too much.

  5. Two-way communication.

    Directors/Managers more visible,throwing a Hi! in chat (too bad corp role chat tags aren't color coded)

    Regular newsletters with links to wiki articles and forum discussions.

    And truthfully some lines in the sand should be able to be formed with regard to unacceptable groups. Groups are going to happen but if they are closed off to other members then its time for the group to form a corp.

    Even something like a wormhole group should have a page with minimum fit requirements to join (not any different than t2 tank requirement for BC and BS in pvp fleets).

    But if groups are isolating themselves from the rest of the UNI then thats a problem that should be fixed by the group or the directors.

    Also when the management get winds of an isolated group, they need to be approached with "Hey guys we need to talk" not "QUIT DOING THAT NOW!!!". That will always cause drama.

  6. Beanard,
    One of the reasons I started this blog was to try and improve my communication with the Unversity as a whole. All too often, my job is behind the scenes and students might not know me as well as I would like. Hopefully it has been helping some of the issues.

  7. I was tired and made some edits. I left out that I realize communication is being worked on.

    Once being in corp/guild management in another game. I just wanted to point out two-way communication and being visibly logged into the game (throwing Hi guys! in chat went a long way toward helping with the drama). If members don't see directors logged in then the 'Directors don't care' and no you can't expect members to check corp members currently online.

    The directors have to be proactive in communication to keep the members focused and to help the members realize when its time to move on, given the UNI's mission. This may mean talking about why the SOP is the way it is every week (yes it irritates me having to link it over and over and over).

    I really think things have improved alot over the short time I have played and was actively in the UNI. If I wasn't for limited playtime and still needing to grind standings for a few corps (part of long intergrated income plan) I would be back in a heartbeat.

    I left the UNI because I was not playing and had intended to quit the game alltogether, but things change and I started playing again. After doing some planing I realized that the SOP could be a problem and didn't want to do the join, drop, join thing. I still hope to return and learn more and help out, which is why I have tried to keep up with whats going on.

    And why did this turn into a post about me?
    I should just start a blog or something.

  8. L'ouris, I'd personally point out that there's nothing wrong at all with some people permanently staying in the Uni. After all, that way there are always some excess people around to help teach and train. People are generally expected to leave the Uni in that timeframe... That doesn't mean that it's bad to have others that are more permanent members of the corp, as long as they help contribute to the organization as a whole.

  9. In my opinion,

    Comparing the T2 fitting rews for BC and BS use in fleets does not compare well. Even the guy just in from the NPC corp can go out with the fleet.

    There is no exclusion on participation, just the role. The same applies to the locust fleets that destroy the L4's and the 2 week old pilot follows the group in a salvage corm.

    I would think that any group that sets a 'you must be this high to ride' sign up to participate at all, has already began to isolate themselves from an organization that houses so many that will lack the required vertical requirements.

    Just my opinion, of course :)

    Kierr: I hope I didn't give the impression otherwise. I was just pointing out that your broaden the gap between others in the corp when you have a population that does stay.

    I would think that this would provide more opportunities for conflict.

  10. I don't really see anything wrong with broadening gaps, if the people that do stay are willing to help train the new recruits. Hell, I personally don't see a problem with potential conflict, as long as it's able to be dealt with. Conflict is part and parcel of the game.

    The thing is, there already ARE several "you must be this tall to rides" within Uni Fleets. You have to have a certain level of skills to use battleships in Ivy fleet ops, for instance. I don't see any real problems there even for PvE ops, as long as they were willing to help train newbies for it too.

    A good example would be the recent wormhole op by EDROP. They set a few very generous minimums as far as things you had to be able to do. You had a week+ to be able to attain them. In doing so, they gave some people - myself included - a goal to work towards... A goal that turned out to be quite profitable.

  11. EVE has different levels of play and to think that there should never be any requirements is silly. You cannot be a scout unless you have certain skills trained, you cannot be part of a C5 wormhole op in a frigate. The issue I feel is not requirements, all those do is set is a goal for someone to work towards. The issue is openness. As long as a group is open and lets people join once they have the requirements (or able to join before to seek guidance) there shouldn’t be an issue.

    EVE is a complex game, and there are many different aspects. Even in a normal university, you may have a core curriculum that everyone has to take (this could be the first few months in E-Uni) but then you choose a major and specialize. Sometimes you get a major and a minor, sometimes you double major. In EVE, I might want to try out advanced production. To learn this, do I need to drop from E-Uni and join a more specialized one to find out if I like it and want to pursue it?I would hope not.

    As long as anyone in E-Uni is still willing to learn, and to assist newer players, there shouldn’t be any conflict of interest. Most groups are not really isolated as members still participate in other fleets, listen in on classes, talk and help in chat and so on. I feel E-Uni shouldn’t be a place where everyone has to do everything, but where you can try out everything, see what you like, learn, and teach.