Many EVE Online corporations want to test their mettle outside of high-security space. Doing so will require some adjustment on the part of the players, and perhaps a cultural shift from your membership. This EVE guide will help you explore your options, whether you are thinking about renting space or taking it.
The Impetus To Move
Let me editorialize a little bit: leading a high-sec corporation isn't as exciting as
as leading one somewhere else. You still have all the social aspects that I consider to be the most important part of being in a corporation, but you lack the competitive "sink or swim" gameplay of living in null-sec. Also, leading high-sec players is like herding cats: everybody is doing their own thing.
For many corporations it can be a challenge to even get members into the same solar system, at once. Certainly, there are better corporations out there, that teach their members to play EVE better, help them earn more ISK, or do interesting things with PvP and/or roleplaying. But for corporations and CEOs looking to put it all on the line, roll the dice, and see what happens, it's all about moving to null-security space.
Why, Where, And When?
The first thing you need to decide is why you want to move. Is your corporation really going to enjoy the new challenges of null-sec and the trouble that comes with it? Are you? Will your corporation earn enough ISK to stay solvent?
The second thing you need to decide is where to move. This is pretty important, since it will essentially determine your odds of success. Are you moving to a rental area owned by a large, stable alliance? You'll probably be out there a while. Are you moving into an area of NPC null-sec adjoining a failing, beleaguered alliance? You may or may not manage to grab a piece of the pie. Are you trying to take a piece of territory that is relatively accessible from high-sec? You may succeed, only to be replaced after not too long. It's all in the details.
The third and possibly most important thing to consider is when you are going to move. Many, many corporations have made vague plans to eventually move out to null-sec, but only a tiny fraction of these ever see their plans to fruition. Try to imagine realistic goalposts along the path to null-sec. Present these to your members, and explain how they can help you achieve them, and speed the corporation's migration.
Big Choices For Corporations In EVE Online
The main choice that a corporation moving to null-sec needs to make is: do you rent space, or do you take it? There is much to be said for either option.
Renting Space In EVE Online
Renting space relieves you of the burden of defending your space, as most agreements only stipulate that you should contribute personnel for PvP if your space is threatened. It replaces that with a tremendous pressure to earn ISK: every month you'll need to pay a big chunk of ISK, which means you need to attract members and get them churning ISK taxes into your corporate wallet.
It's nice to have all that stability and the guarantee that you will succeed in establishing yourself, but the loss of funds and focus on non-PvP activities may end up guaranteeing that your corporation never breaks free and stands on its own. If nothing else, it will probably help the corporate leadership understand the rigors of leading a null-sec corporation, and be an interesting experiment.
Taking Space In EVE Online
Taking space is another bag of trouble entirely: long-term struggles for conquest are something that people are definitely not ready for, the day they leave high-sec space. One usually ends up basing out of NPC null-sec, with no CONCORD, no market, and hourly visits from pirates in the top percentile of PvPers in EVE Online.
These are challenges that can be met and surmounted, but many players get frustrated with them and decide they are happier in empire, after all. As a CEO or important member of your corporation you can take steps to ameliorate these problems by teaching players to move around safely, importing goods to the market (perhaps fitted ships available via corporate contracts), and organizing defense fleets that will give pirates pause before cruising through your space.
Taking space is something that relies on political context: never attack space with the goal of holding it, unless the defender is already experiencing myriad troubles. The successful groups that have made the jump from living in NPC null to holding space have done so because there was a power vacuum that they could fill. Usually this is because a big alliance is falling apart, and the attackers do not wish to actually occupy all this now-empty space. But they do want that space to be controlled by friendly, unthreatening entities. That's a role that your corporation could conceivably fill, whether it is a constellation or, if you band together with some other corporations, an entire region.
A Sample Plan For Moving Your Corporation To Null-Sec In EVE Online
This is a generic outline of how one might approach the transition to null-sec space in EVE Online. Customize it to meet your own needs, as appropriate.
Why: Your membership should want to move to null-sec. This is best discussed in a meeting format, whether in a chat channel, ventrilo server, or other means of communication.
Where: As of this writing, war is raging in the north and east. Regions haven't started changing hands yet, but they will. When that happens, the best areas will certainly get snapped up by the conquering alliances involved. Some of that space will likely remain empty, though, pending the installation of "buffer groups". Once things start shaking up, consider making some contacts with the winning party, and asking if they have any space they would consider letting you move into. Such buffer groups often take some of the heat off of the larger group, and buy them time should a real invasion occur. It ain't glorious, but if you do well over time you can expand and/or move into better space.
When: Some simple goalposts include: having over a hundred members in the corporation, having a weekly PvP fleet op where more than twenty people show up to each one, and having over 3 billion ISK in the corporate treasury. The idea is that you should be a real corporation, capable of attracting members, projecting PvP force, and having the ability to consolidate ISK for corporate projects. What is important here is that your members understand how you are going to make the transition happen, and how they can help you do that. A lot of CEOs have some bad habits in that they will keep information close to their chest, and not explain what is happening for fear of spies. This is terrible because members are curious, and one of the jobs of successful CEOs is to help players stay interesting in EVE Online by providing entertainment, whether by leading fleet ops or maintaining open corporate politics.
Other Options In EVE Online Aside From Null-Sec
A lot of EVE players don't want to jump through the hoops of coordinating dozens of people. For players that are a bit more casual, or a bit less interested in mass networking, there is always wormhole space. There is a culture shift there in the transition from high-sec, as well, but it is entirely surmountable by EVE Online players willing to learn the mechanics of wormhole space and the wormholes that allow access. Controlling a wormhole system often comes down to just living there, usually by maintaining a starbase and possibly closing some potentially dangerous wormhole connection.
This is much more manageable for corporations with twenty or less active pilots. It can also be viewed as a dry run for null-sec, with lower stakes and less pressure. If your players cannot be tempted into a transition to null-sec, consider presenting them with this option.
Another way to go is just permanently basing in NPC null-sec. This has worked wonders for corporation in Stain and Syndicate, though to the best of my knowledge it has been rather less successful in areas like Pure Blind and the Great Wildlands. As in all things relating to EVE Online, your mileage may vary.
From all of us here at Ten Ton Hammer: have a happy holidays, and a great new year!
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