Archive for the Corporate Management Category

Betraying MVN? Say goodbye to your super!

Posted in Against All Authorities, Corporate Management, Killboard Stats on July 23, 2011 by Easley Thames

Tonight was an excellent example of what happens when a corp catches a spy (or soon-to-be deserter on bad terms) that does not know they have been exposed.

In this kind of situation,¬† a corp’s leadership has the upper-hand, and can plan any sort of devious retribution imaginable against the disgruntled member.

In MVN, you can expect any act of revenge to be as malicious as possible, and this is probably our best “traitor trap” to date.

For two months, we have had suspicions about a certain person. This person had applied to PL (Gk Inc corp), insulting AAA as a way to try to bond with them, and had more recently applied to Raiden (presumably after Gk Inc turned him down).

To make matters worse, he sent mails with our fleet numbers and movements to hostiles and neutrals who were looking for drop opportunities on us.

When someone is shopping for a new corp and/or passing on intel to hostiles, there is only one sensible solution… KILL THEIR SUPER-CAP(s)!

We made up excuses to get him to log-off and kicked the Nyx alt out of corp while simultaneously book-marking the safe-spot in which he had logged.

We planned for dictors to meet him when he logged back in, and he was soon joined by the rest of our fleet.

The lesson is, if you do join MVN, and if you are flagrantly disloyal, you stand a fair chance of dieing.

Finally, as you can see from the pic above, he isn’t exactly making a good case for his innocence.

“Guys, guys! I only talked to their recruiters! I didn’t even join the enemy yet!”

Better luck in your next corp, ex-Maverick guy. On the bright side, you still have the titan!


Corporate Elitism :: The Pros and Cons

Posted in Corporate Management on March 6, 2011 by Easley Thames

It is always the most active members that set the stage for a corporation’s successes or failures.¬† These people determine the norms, both culturally and in terms of formal rules, and they are far more important than the transient group of casual players who often hop from one opportunity to the other.

Because no two humans are exactly alike, no two organizations can ever be truly identical in the truest sense. However, that doesn’t mean that there are not similarities between corporate “cultures” that can often be summed up in ways that make generalizations possible.

One of the most common self-proclaimed corporate descriptions is possessing many “elite pilots.” While it may be true in some cases, many times the supposed elite status of a corp is greatly over-stated.

In many cases, what we have in a particular corp is not so much an “elite” force, but a culture of eliteISM (and didn’t your postmodern philosophy professor at the 50k/year undergraduate program tell you to be suspicious those pesky -ism’s?).

Corporate elitism (in the context of Eve) is the belief that one’s organization is “better” than the average corp, or ‘maybe even the best in New Eden!’ This belief can lead both to excellence in conduct, which is a positive thing, and/or to some very detrimental psycho-social problems.

PROS of Corporate Elitism

I strongly believe that if you demand excellence and provide strong criticism to those that foul up, you will lose out a few good pilots with weak stomachs, but mostly you remove people who lack the potential or correct attitude to get better.

I have met countless people who think they know everything but perform absolutely horrendously before eventually getting kicked. Excessive e-peen is perhaps the single worst obstacle for combat pilots trying to improve their skills.

How DARE you tell me not to fit plates on a drake!

Sometimes it rubs people the wrong way, but if you’re in a corp where there are constantly groups asking to merge-in, there isn’t really any reason NOT to be picky about people’s choices.

Elitism can also foster a high standard that members aspire to, as well as high-level theory and discussions of how to improve tactics, fittings or fleet composition. These are all critical to the success of a corp and its alliance (if associated with any).

Elite pilots are also among the most helpful because they actually have useful things to teach. For example, it’s much easier to learn about de-cloaking on gates, cycling weapons in lag, how to fly a dictor in large fleet fights, or combat probing from other people than just browsing a Wiki page.

Handled properly, having pride in one’s corp and pursuing excellence is a good thing, especially if your corp-mates are actually as good as they think they are and are willing to pass along the knowledge to their brothers in arms.

CONS of Corporate Elitism

Despite the obvious advantages, a culture of elitism can have some serious drawbacks for a corp. The bigger the egos, the easier it is for small disputes to lead to explosions.

One of the biggest ways this can happen is through blame-shifting. When no one has humility, it’s impossible to apologize for mistakes and move forward. Typically these arguments are most common at the top-leadership level.

Another problem that occurs commonly in corps with a culture of elitism is that the expert pilots can easily go down the road of being unwilling to tolerate the presence of noobs in their fleets, leading to division and/or refusal to run important corp-wide operations.

Sometimes elitists go beyond being helpful..

Corps within corps are never good, and often this leads to a mass-exodus. When players leave a corp they can do a large amount of damage, both in terms of isk and your corp’s reputation.

Even if they stay and make good-faith attempts to help new players, sometimes criticism is simply not constructive. “What the fuck were you thinking?” “Holy shit this is a terrible fit.” Both are not constructive, regardless of whether or not they hold any truth.

It’s always better to explain mistakes and try to correct them – up to a point – beyond which some members are better of just being kicked.

Still, if you aren’t going to kick someone, you might do well to keep in mind that you have to fly with them again in the future and there are limits to what is appropriate.


Contrary to a great deal of evidence to the contrary, I believe that no one wants to be in a terrible corp full of terrible players. Even if a corp looks terrible from the outside, the members within don’t feel that way or they wouldn’t be there.

Even the alliances that seemingly embrace a swarm mentality have a secret belief that their sworn enemies are un-ironically even worse in some ways. It’s human nature to believe you can do things as well or better than anyone else “if you really wanted to.”

However, cracking down too hard on players who make mistakes can be counter-productive.

The problems arise when the honest desire to improve a corp causes the most important members to burn-out or otherwise start to resent others within the organization.

Elitism is beneficial as long as the active members are having fun. As soon as they feel burdened by the corp, rather than proud of it, those elitists will become ticking time-bombs.

Maverick History :: Our 5-Year Aniversary

Posted in Corporate Management on March 1, 2011 by Easley Thames

The Mavericks will have been officially operating as an internet spaceship corporation for 5 years as of March 30, 2011.

While our name changed once along the way from “The Mavericks” (-MV-) to “The Maverick Navy” (-MVN-), Avi’s project is now officially older than some of the boys he fancies.

I was recently inspired to write a short account of the history of -MVN- from my own perspective. It has been added as a static page of the blog under the “pages” header. Please feel free to check it out.

I will update the history page only as MAJOR events unfold in our history. It will not be touched very often.

Maverick history goes back to March of 2006 when “The Mavericks” was formed. It was not until a couple years later that the corp would reform as The Maverick Navy, but the change was purely cosmetic. The only thing left behind in the transition was one very short-sighted director.

I have to thank Avi for somehow holding such an interesting bunch of players together and tricking us into enjoying it so darn much.

From humble beginnings, the corp has come an incredibly long way:

> We’ve managed to find great members that “fit” here with us.

> We’ve developed new leaders in all departments, including many people outside of the U.S. timezone.

> Many of our pilots autonomously developed an active social media presence, without being asked, simply to share experiences they want to remember. To me that speaks volumes.

> We’ve also built a huge number of giant e-peen machines (aka supers) that are more important now than ever before in 0.0 warfare.

The best part is that we did it all without losing our identity along the way.

It’s easy to be a large corp in Eve Online. It’s even relatively easy to be a moderately-successful large corp in 0.0.

What’s hard is making a corp/clan/guild into a gaming community, with all the benefits that come along with such a thing.

-MVN- has always been a fun community to fly with in this crazy browser-esque click-fest we call an MMO.

Here’s looking forward to another 5 great years (or more) in Eve.

An Offer We Couldn’t Refuse

Posted in Against All Authorities, Corporate Management, Roaming on February 15, 2011 by Easley Thames

With IT Alliance in stasis, adrift and losing corps at an alarming rate, -MVN- recently moved into Curse. Our only goals coming in were to enjoy flying together and pick fights.

I am a big fan of the Curse region, and I recommended a constellation that I felt would provide everything we needed in a new playground.

On my first roam with the corp in Curse, I caught and nearly solo’d an Orca before being so generous as to invite the rest of the gang to jump in and whore the mail. They caught a Loki earlier in the day, and as more people moved in, the number of gangs was steadily increasing.

While I would be fine never joining a sov-holding alliance again, it wouldn’t be the preference of most of the corp, so inevitably we would be going somewhere new if IT didn’t start to show signs of life again.

Despite many good offers from other alliances, our plan was to stay in Curse for a significant amount of time.

Not only were we unwilling to seriously consider any offers while IT still stood some chance of fighting back, but we also wanted to do our own thing for a bit.

Even with RKK CEO Argentina announcing we would not try to protect our remaining space, all of the officers agreed that there should be no rush to join a new alliance.

Things changed suddenly when our ideal offer came along.

One of Avi’s connections indicated that there was a possibility for us to join someone whom we respected. We would be taking over systems we have always wanted back since they were lost to us years ago in IAC. Most importantly, we would be staying in the South close to all the action we want to be a part of.

I wanted us to stay in Curse for a while, but this offer makes it possible to play in Curse without losing the benefits of holding sovereignty.

The Maverick Navy will be joining Against All Authorities and living in Catch.

The problem with choosing a new alliance was not a lack of offers, or even a lack of good offers, it was the lack of places we would fit-in with and could be proud of.

AAA provides a best of all worlds arrangement for us, and we are excited to come aboard and devote our efforts to supporting them to the best of our ability.

We joined with a minor condition, that we would not be required to be directly involved in purging IT infrastructure. I admit it would be somewhat fun to bulldoze certain constellations, but the rest of AAA can do that without us anyway since IT has already said it will not fight for its remaining space.

Individual Mavericks can get involved with any ops they want, but we’re not forcing our members to shoot IT stations/infrastructure.

Why Didn’t You Join XYZ/ABC/123 Alliance?

(1) The NC was not an option. The lack of proximity to hostile alliances makes roaming more of a chore than it should be when you have NC standings. We also don’t want to sit around waiting for a single brave alliance to assault our coalition before blobbing them into the stone age. The NC is the most effective coalition in Eve’s history, and I’m not saying the individual alliances are all bad, but this just isn’t a viable option for us.

(2) The GSF/TEST coalition is slightly more promising than living up North, but also not an option for this corp. The Southwest might be a fairly busy area in the future, and it would be great to be part of a U.S. coalition for once in our lifetime as a corporation, but there are too many barriers to this happening. There is too much irrational hatred between those entities and most of our grunts. Even if these alliances were open to it, our corp would freak out at working with, “goonie scum.”

(3) The Drone regions didn’t get any serious consideration. The only thing exciting about joining would be the chance to potentially invade the NC from the east, but that isn’t enough to make us want to live in drone space. The East has some strong alliances but it just wouldn’t feel like home.

(4) PL was briefly discussed, but we knew it wasn’t realistic. We would have to kick 90% of our members and go terrorize some poor pet alliance for months to get the requisite street cred, and even then it probably wouldn’t make up for the stain of being ex-IT in the eyes of PL corps.

(5) Providence was a somewhat interesting option. NCdot and Evoke are currently stomping CVA, and the addition of around 800 ex-IT players from the reformed BNC corp + DICE should make this even more imbalanced. At this stage, there isn’t much of an attraction in helping to pacify Provi into an NBSI wasteland, even though I must admit I get a little satisfaction in seeing Aralis buried time and again due to his personal interpretation of how CVA should operate.

Why Was AAA So Appealing?

(1) The Location: Our corp functions better with some of its own systems. Not everyone can embrace a nomad’s life the way I do. The location we are moving into is ideal for both indys and combat pilots.

Combat pilots get proximity to Curse, Providence, low-sec Amarr empire systems, and IT space (which we are hoping will become a thunder-dome soon) among other great spots for pvp. They can also run anomalies with less risk than in NPC 0.0 systems to replace lost ships.

Indy pilots get incredibly easy logistics to empire, security, and profitable space to use. Our indy wing is also undergoing an overhaul that will have major advantages for the corp and its members.

(2) Their Politics: AAA is a southern power with a southern mindset. AAA has historically had more than enough targets to roam or invade. There are times when they had a fair number of allies, like last year’s invasion of the NC, but they at least value the concept of avoiding unnecessary standings.

(3) Strength, Willpower, and Good Allies: AAA proved they had the dedication to retake their space and impressed us in the Catch campaign. AAA also has good allies who support it when needed. The overall “Stainwagon” coalition has shown itself to be formidable and dedicated. This coalition consistently punches above its weight.

(4) Their Culture: When our representatives were on comms with the AAA people to discuss things there was laughter. It generally seemed like we would all get along very well. People with sticks up their butt are no fun and we’re somewhat tired of those types. The AAA leadership we’ve met with are chill guys who like to roam around and shoot people.

(5) A Familiar Mission for MVN: While AAA doesn’t have a strong U.S. timezone yet, we have a great opportunity to once again step up and make things happen. Since AAA has a very energized EU timezone, our Euros will have no problem staying active in the period where we have less leadership online. They might want to brush up on some Russian though.

Alliance Communication Strategy :: An Introduction

Posted in Alliance Leadership, Corporate Management on February 9, 2011 by Easley Thames

Communication is a basic and essential behavior in communities of all sizes. Despite this fact, there are glaring differences between the way leaders in Eve Online choose to communicate: both externally and within their own organizations.

I have been fascinated by the importance of communication in Eve for a long time. This is my first attempt to compose my thoughts on the topic of alliance leadership & communication.

Here, instead of focusing on specific examples, my emphasis is merely on setting forth a general introduction to the importance and practice of communications from the position of an alliance leader.


There are many ways to communicate internally. Some alliances do a monthly or weekly meeting, while others simply post orders for the rank and file to comply with.

In general, I think alliances in Eve should avoid implementing any form of direct democracy, but members shouldn’t feel terrified to make suggestions either. The correct balance depends on the circumstances surrounding a particular discussion.

If things are going badly, members will look for guidance and reassurance. When things are going well, you don’t have to deliver fire-side chats quite so often.

Regardless of HOW leaders announce their plans to members, the medium is often just as important as the message. There is something markedly different about alliances that use graphics, videos and songs when conveying messages.

Having a creative side to your message can help you play up the humor in a simple brag-post (perhaps after a victory) and alliances with a strong overall “brand” (of which message and creative material is a part) tends to make your alliance more cohesive.

Compared to those who lazily type out a few lines of text, alliance leaders who can tap into a shared culture (even something shallow like a catch phrase or image theme) will get much greater results.

Further complicating the problem are the issues of “encoding” and “decoding” a message. Using images pulled at random are less effective than ones that are familiar to your audience. In other words, the most effective communication comes after taking steps to build a relationship with the membership.

I am going to reference ( repeatedly to introduce some basic theory from marketing 101.

For reference, here is a brief introduction to business communication theory:

The communication process is made up of four key components. Those components include encoding, medium of transmission, decoding, and feedback.


In order to convey meaning, the sender must begin encoding, which means translating information into a message in the form of symbols that represent ideas or concepts. This process translates the ideas or concepts into the coded message that will be communicated. The symbols can take on numerous forms such as, languages, words, or gestures. These symbols are used to encode ideas into messages that others can understand.

This symbolism is evident in numerous, successful alliances. The Goons with their bees (and now Frogs?) or the NC with their rainbows and carebear dolls are examples of this. When a bee is stinging a clown to death, that’s an encoded message.

However, the extent to which members relate to (and understand) a message will depend on several factors.

After the appropriate channel or channels are selected, the message enters the decoding stage of the communication process. Decoding is conducted by the receiver.


The receiver is the individual or individuals to whom the message is directed. The extent to which this person comprehends the message will depend on a number of factors, which include the following: how much the individual or individuals know about the topic, their receptivity to the message, and the relationship and trust that exists between sender and receiver.

All interpretations by the receiver are influenced by their experiences, attitudes, knowledge, skills, perceptions, and culture. It is similar to the sender’s relationship with encoding.

When does a gimmick seem stupid or a diversion from important events? When you’ve lost faith in your leadership.

The message will not be effective, no matter how clear, if the relationship between a leader and his members has been degraded sufficiently.

This implies that, when attacking an alliance on a psychological level, it is wise to destroy the image of their leaders first.

If you insult pilots directly, they’ll stand up for themselves. If you give them someone else to blame for their defeats, human nature will lead to finger-pointing.

That is why strong internal communication is necessary to dispell misinformation and rumors as soon as possible.

Beyond playing defense, alliances should have strong messages that have a positive influence on membership pride and trust. Don’t let others define your organization from the outside!

Finally, a major part of internal communication – and the area that differs the most from communication with those outside your corp/alliance – feedback.

Feedback is the final link in the chain of the communication process. After receiving a message, the receiver responds in some way and signals that response to the sender.


“Even a lack of response, is in a sense, a form of response” (Bovee & Thill, 1992). Without feedback, the sender cannot confirm that the receiver has interpreted the message correctly.

Feedback is a key component in the communication process because it allows the sender to evaluate the effectiveness of the message. Feedback ultimately provides an opportunity for the sender to take corrective action to clarify a misunderstood message.

“Feedback plays an important role by indicating significant communication barriers: differences in background, different interpretations of words, and differing emotional reactions” (Bovee & Thill, 1992).

Effectively communicating requires a safe-cracker’s ear. You can’t simply churn out information in a one-way stream.

Even if you do not want to engender democratic practices (and I don’t feel Eve CEOs should to any significant extent) it is essential that a leader LISTENS.

Not only does turning a deaf ear to feedback prevent you from effectively adjusting your message, it is flat-out aggrivating at times!

Key members, valuable corporations, and even entire alliances have changed sides because someone simply failed to listen to their feedback.


As far as MMO’s go, Eve Online stands alone in terms of the use of propaganda by players. It really adds something to this gaming community that I haven’t seen anywhere else.

Sure, there are terabytes of WoW-related guild machinima and other videos / blogs / news sites. However, there really isn’t a need for players to attempt to influence each other in a way that can impact in-game PvP.

When I was a noob running missions in empire, videos like Stahlgren’s classic Goonswarm campaign records opened my eyes to the world of 0.0 warfare. I know their newbie drives added many fresh pilots every year, and this has clearly impacted the balance of power in 0.0 over the years.

Recently, Goonswarm Federation took back the title of largest alliance with a whooping 88 corps. Most members are concentrated in the massive GoonWaffe corporation, but “pubbie” corps are a large part of the alliance, and many of those pubbies were drawn in by the successful forms of communication that have become inextricably linked to Goon culture in Eve (and other MMOs).

Band of Brothers has had some good propaganda over the years, including the “Relentless” video of great notoriety a few years back. While newer players likely have no recollection of such events, the circumstances surrounding BoB’s alamo-like stand at that time were impressive to say the least, and stand in stark contrast with the current situation in Delve.

Unlike BoB, IT Alliance was simply not successful in creating propaganda, managing its image, or even releasing your run-of-the mill fleet pvp videos on a regular basis.

This was the first thing we put out as an alliance: I will leave you to judge for yourself how effective this clip is compared to what Lofty and Stahlgren produced.

Since IT has imploded before a major challenge in Delve, I thought I’d share some -MVN- propaganda we had cooked up for the siege. A few examples were also included above, and in my previous post.

Enjoy the shameless pic dump:

By Janos Vaas

By Captain Sonic

By Cugel Iocounu

By Janos Vaas

As a quick note to Popsikle and other MVN Artists not featured in any posts: Most of your work would break Word Press rules against NSFW images. I don’t want to get anyone fired over pics of Avi and Mittani shopped onto gay porn, erotic as they may be.


Those who spew forth nothing but propaganda when communicating publicly become pariahs, or mere things of amusement at best. They lose the potential to be credible sources of information.

I think all of the best known CAOD-posting heroes might fall into this category. Sensible posters looking to discuss in-game events rarely bother with that forum anymore. It has become the default presumption that anything posted on CAOD is a troll until proven otherwise.

How can you persuade anyone if you are only seen as a dishonest or delusional? Remember that your credibility factors into how your audience will “decode” a message from you.

Public relations is a term that gets thrown around alot, usually by people who don’t understand it or do very much of it. If you really want to have a relationship with the public, you need to do more than lie (or exaggerate) when communicating with them.

If your entire “PR” department is limited to creating propaganda, you have already failed in a sense.

There is something to be said for “un-marketing” in Eve.

Being a relateable human being and engaging in communication not related to “serious business” can be one way to do this.

Truthfully, it shouldn’t be a purposeful or conscious decision to do this. You should simply allow yourself to be something other than a caricature of yourself when representing your alliance publicly.

Humility: In some ways, Test Alliance Please Ignore might embody this fairly closely. They are the 2007 Goons, before all the un-ironic smugness crept in.

Finally, “hugs.” I think that a little bit of respect for others is important. Expressing it at times can help you keep friends around for when those ties will really count.

Alliances with strong allies can rebound from a devastating event more easily for at least two reasons: (1) Others can step in for you directly and prevent your collapse, or (2) they can at least offer you a couch to crash on while you recover.

If you try to shoulder everything alone, your alliance will fall as soon as you’re unable to deal with even one major crisis.


Effective communication can take on many forms. While there is sound theory that can guide a leader along the way, it isn’t so important to follow a recipe that he or she should ignore inspiration or the desire for originality.

What makes certain alliances truly great is not their moon revenue, territory, or the size of their titan fleet on any given day. Those things can all be taken away by your members at any time if they decide to do so; not to mention your enemies.

What make an alliance great is uniqueness. As long as you offer some particular kind of identity and experience, there will always be people who simply “fit” there.

Evals :: Praise and Shame

Posted in Corporate Management on September 4, 2010 by Easley Thames

Every corp has its own way of evaluating members. For some corps, this is done on an ad-hoc basis, sometimes without any consultation between officers.

In -MVN-, “evals” have always been a big deal. We sit down and evaluate every member, starting with probationary members and moving all the way up to considering promotions of active full-members to the level of lieutenant, captain or even – in rare cases – bringing someone new into the directorate.

With the corp growing from a nearly exclusively American organization at the time of its founding to a far more diverse, balanced-group including substantial numbers of active European-prime players, we’ve now split evaluations into two groups so that the officers who regularly deal with the members in their timezone are assured to be able to make the relevant meeting.

After looking at the performance of our combat pilots (including both kill-board stats and anecdotes from fleet commanders) and evaluating the effectiveness of industrial pilots (who have certain quotas in place) we ended up removing over 40 players from the corporation. This is not only because evaluations had been previously delayed several times, but because we want to send a strong signal that we expect a higher standard to be met.

The number of kicked pilots does not include those who received the “fail penis” title, which is a serious warning that suggests you will be removed at the next evaluation period if you do not shape up, or if you repeat a serious past-mistake.

Some examples of previously-committed embarrassing actions that could justify a “fail penis” include losing a capital due to jumping blindly to beacons, getting tackled in a pimped ratting ship, repeatedly failing to adhere to corp and alliance standard ship-fittings, and – of course – general shitty performance or bad attitude.

Maverick Macro Megapurge!!

Posted in Corporate Management on August 29, 2010 by Easley Thames

Ok, so let’s be honest for a moment. Every large alliance ends up with a few macro ratters here and there. I’ve seen it in every region I’ve ever roamed through.

One of the problem with macro ratting ships is that they are soulless isk-grinding machines that often upset other players in the zone by warping belt-to-belt and tagging rats with no deference to other players.

In our own space, we’ve seen a couple pilots using macros and – after confronting the pilots – we got stories ranging from “it was my kids playing” to “I just didn’t see you talking to me.” Neither are valid excuses, especially during a deployment such as the one we’ve just begun this weekend in Syndicate.

There are plenty of reasons to hate macro-abusers, and everyone CLAIMS they try to purge their own corps of these leeches, but how many of them just get ignored? How many people turn a blind eye to this because of the taxes they generate or because they tacitly accept macros as acceptable?

In -MVN- we have a different approach to dealing with clearly afk macro-ratting pilots. We warn them once and if it ever happens again, we kick them without any warning and offer them no safe travel out of our space. Three pilots were recently identified and given a stern warning.

After finding pilots who were previously warned using macros, we would normally have simply removed them, but many of us felt that this was sending a strong enough message. Starting today, we’re hunting our own pilots and murdering them in the belts.

Our first field execution was a Paladin macro ratter whose pod continued to warp belt-to-belt after being killed in the exact same manner as before. The macro, apparently, has its limitations.

Within minutes, another pilot was located and shown to be using a macro. I think you can guess what happened to the second paladin macro-ratter.

More will follow in the near future. My only regret is that I can’t clone back to our space at this precise moment to help with the purge.

For updates on our macro-killing, feel free to visit The Maverick Navy’s Killboard.