Corporations are the backbone of EVE Online. They empower their members with cooperative action, enrich them via social interaction, and ennoble each other with large-scale goals that affect the political landscape of New Eden.
Nor are corporations' utility limited to their own members. Many corporations offer services that are accessible to others, sometimes for a fee. The corporations discussed in this guide are beneficial to every player in EVE Online, whether directly or indirectly. Some provide a free service, others provide a paid service that is nonetheless critical to the larger EVE Online community. Without these corporations, EVE Online just wouldn't be the game that it is, today.
#4 Estel Arador Corp Services
Moving around EVE Online can be pretty painful. Thankfully, jump clones allow instantaneous (if infrequent) travel between two locations. Unfortunately, in order to use jump clones the way CCP intended, you need to grind standings for weeks in order to get just one corporation or faction to like you well enough to leave jump clones in their stations. And any time you grind up standings for a particular corporation or faction, that group's enemies are going to like you less and less, making it pretty darn difficult to get access to very disparate areas of space.
If you don't have the standings or access to a null-sec station, then even getting your first jump clone can be an insurmountable task. Having at least one clone is important so that you can swap out of a body that has expensive implants (usually learning implants) when doing something dangerous, like piracy.
Fortunately, if a player corporation has high enough standings with NPC groups, it can extend jump clone access to its members. Over the years, various corporations have taken advantage of this to provide jump clone access, often charging a fee for this service.
Estel Arador Corp Services doesn't do that. And it doesn't just have a tiny smattering of jump clone stations, either. It has a huge list of stations that you can put jump clones in. Over a thousand, actually. And not just in high-sec space, either. There are a ton of places in NPC 0.0, too. Nobody else has as many stations as Estel Arador, and nobody else offers their services gratis.
It's impressive. If this sounds like something you could use, check out Estel Arador's thread on the EVE forums.
#3 Red Frog Investments
Sure, hauling large amounts of material around high-sec space can be done en masse with freighters or orcas, no problem. But it's a drag, especially if you have other stuff that you would prefer to be doing. Indeed, the human labor required for transporting goods is often the sticking point in an otherwise sound business plan. That's where Red Frog comes in.
These corporations should win Nobel prizes.
For a large-scale industrialist, this is a godsend. For people that have a market character in Jita but live elsewhere, this is essential. Especially if their main character lives in low-sec or null-sec.
While you can likely get away with paying less for a public courier contract, Red Frog specializes in rapidly moving freighter-loads of goods between sites in high-sec space, and this specialization is what keeps the industry of EVE Online running. So many pilots rely on them that it is difficult to do them justice. If you suspect that Red Frog might be what you are looking for, go ahead and check out the Red Frog web site.
#2 EVE University
For more than half a decade, these guys have been taking clueless EVE newbies and putting them through their paces. Their curriculum includes a thorough grounding in game mechanics, an amazing wiki that is available for use by anybody whether they are a member or not, and recorded lectures on various topics from EVE Online experts.
Thousands of players have already gone through EVE University's curriculum. Without this corporation, thousands of players would be worse off. More than anybody else, they enrich the game by populating it with educated, interested players. They provide their members with organized, reliable information, and as a result EVE Online retains more players rather than those people flaking out and quitting out of frustration with inscrutable game mechanics.
Nor is the University solely for new players. Veteran players join as instructors, and pass on some of what they have learned. Graduates return and give their alma mater donations to help fund its ongoing operations. Really, it's a big love-fest.
Basically, I cannot sing EVE University's praises loudly enough. If this sounds up your alley, check out the EVE-Uni web site.
#1 Otherworld Enterprises
Less a corporation, more a single man that has offered essential EVE-related services for years, Otherworld Enterprises is the corporate face of the most popular man in EVE Online: Chribba, the man with the Veldspar asteroid tattoo.
Forgive the hagiography but Chribba's services are legion: he runs a host of essential web sites that include EVE-Files, EVE-Agents, and EVE-Board. He also runs EVE-Search.com, which is pretty good but once upon time it was essential due to the unreliability of CCP's own search engine (this has since been rectified, but boy was it a pain back in the day), though EVE-Search retains some utility as a way to read closed threads or moderated posts.
None of these are singularly why Chribba's corporation is the most useful corporation in all of EVE Online. Rather, it is his in-game services as a trusted middleman that make him useful. Indeed, uniquely so. If you are familiar with the biblical story of Lot, you may recall Lot's entreaty to spare the city of Sodom from destruction if even a single good man could be found. If Chribba had lived in Sodom, the city would have been spared. You see, Chribba is the most successful, well-known pilot with actual scruples in EVE. His entire reputation as a businessman is based around his unimpeachable neutrality and total reliability, and he has turned this reliability into a career.
Chribba's services as a middle-man are essential for many things, due especially to certain game mechanics: the pricy-as-heck supercapital ships like titans and supercarriers cannot dock or be built inside stations. Without docking, setting up a contract is impossible.
So you see, the only way to transfer a supercapital is to leave it floating inside of a POS or in empty space, so that the receiving pilot can board it. Unfortunately, if money changes hands before the boarding takes place, the boarding probably won't ever occur. And if the boarding takes place before any (or even just half) of the agreed ISK is sent, the rest probably will not ever be transferred. Thus, a reliable middle-man is required.
For most pilots in EVE Online, that middle-man is Chribba. Though there are other corporations and people that perform a similar service, none are so famous nor so long-running. Chribba takes the ISK, and if the services are delivered, he delivers the ISK. Less his fee, of course. If things go awry in the transfer, the ISK is returned to the purchasing party. It may not seem like much, but if you stop and think about how often people rip each other off in EVE Online, you will appreciate how essential something like this is to the general pilot community. And not just ship transfers: alliances have used Chribba as an escrow when transferring stations, or when hammering out an agreement for evacuation with a political rival.
Without trust, no commerce can occur. And as literally the only trustworthy man in EVE Online with name recognition, Chribba is a living hub for commerce. If you find yourself in need of Chribba's services, check out his thread.