On Wednesday I wrote about some of the reasons I am in a one person corporation in Eve Online. While many people have good reasons to do so, Eve is a massively multi-player online role playing game. In such games, joining a guild, or in Eve's case a corporation, is usually a good idea. I know, I know, the modern MMO is turning away from that idea, at least recently. Just look at Star Wars: The Old Republic or what World of Warcraft turned into, although perhaps comparing WoW to SW:TOR on the social aspects of the game is a bit unfair to Blizzard. But Eve is a game that is 18 months older than WoW and still influenced greatly by what MMORPGs like EverQuest were like.
I am not opposed to the idea of joining a real corporation myself. After all, I had a great time when I was in Eve University. So why move from my nice cozy niche and join the wider game? Here are some reasons.
6. NPC starter corporations are horrible: I'm already past this part, but I cannot say this strongly enough. Whatever you do, do not stay in the starter NPC corps. I'm not even referring to the 11% tax on mission rewards and bounties. The two corps that Rosewalker and Wandering Rose were in were cesspools. I was really glad when I got my interview with the Eve Uni recruiting officer and got out of the starter corp. In Wandering Rose's starter corp, I actually watched one player hounded out of the game. I tried to convince him things were better elsewhere and tried to encourage him to join Eve Uni, but it was too late. I know that the NPC corps are just starter corps, but that kind of environment is just horrible. If nothing else, do what I did and start your own corps. I'm never going to disband mine because I'm never subjecting Rosewalker to that again.
5. Making dull things fun: Earlier I wrote that Eve is a throwback to games like EverQuest. In EQ, boring tasks like camping mob spawns turned into social occasions as players met and waited around together. Eve has plenty of those moments, whether it be gate camps, structure shoots or large mining operations. Those are the moments it helps to have people on voice comms to help pass the time.
4. Meat Space bragging rights: I didn't really think about real life face-to-face interactions with people until I went to Fanfest. What sounds better: I'm a member of a one-man corp or I'm with -A- and I engage in big fleet fights? And Fanfest isn't the only place I can meet other Eve players. There are occasional meet-ups in Chicago with one happening tomorrow at The Tilted Kilt.
3. PvP is less scary with friends: It's true. Solo PvP takes real skill and cool nerves as you have no one to rely on but yourself. In a corporation you have friends to watch your back (and scout out front) and a fleet commander to make the tactical decisions while you just worry about killing and avoiding losing your ship. By myself, I'm always worried about jumping into low sec, but I never had worries when flying with Eve Uni.
2. Wider option of things to do: A single player can only do so much. Sure, if you play the market then you may not need a corporation. Solo PvP is an art form that can get a lot of respect if done well. Players are well able to run level 4 missions in high sec with no problems as long as their ships are not so shiny the attract attention. Mining can be done solo. And setting up a POS is viable, although I don't know how viable after the upcoming patch.
As part of a corp the world opens up. Low sec roams. Null sec warfare. Extended living in wormholes without having to hide all the time. Moon mining. In fact, as part of a corp a player has a chance to partake in the epic stories that make Eve famous.
1. More goals: As a sandbox game, Eve challenges players to find their own goals and motivations to play the game. Even with all the content in the game, sometimes players have some difficulty deciding what to do next. As part of a corporation, not only does a player have their own goals but the goals of the corporation as well. In fact, sometimes personal goals can grow off of the corporation's goals. Having goals and the ability to work toward achieving them makes the game more enjoyable.
Looking back at my gaming history I spent almost the entire time from October 2005 to May 2010 in a guild or corporation in one MMO or another. These last two years have been a bit strange, but I had my reasons, some good and some quirky, for remaining in a one-person corporation. I don't really see that changing before fall, and not just because that's when my training plan finishes. For those without real life reasons that restrict your actual playtime, I would encourage you to join a corp. Eve is, when all is said and done, an MMORPG. These games are more fun when you are playing with, and not just against, other people.