As a very social game, I don't think EVE truly takes off until you get into a good corporation. In addition to help and advice, a good corp with some solid corporate goals will offer players a sense of purpose and direction that can be hard to find on your own. The opportunity to be a part of something bigger than yourself and accomplish goals you could never hope to on your own can be a great motivator. Whether your corporation's goal is to build a freighter from scratch, run a massive industrial complex, engage in PvP or even lay claim to a system, it stands a much better chance of being achieved when pilots cooperate.
In this opinion piece, I show how the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts as I look at a few of the goals corporations commonly work toward as a team.
Mining for ships:
One of the most common goals a corp can set is to mine all the minerals required to build a ship. Back in 2004, corps routinely mined together to furnish each corp member with a battleship. Today, the goals of choice are usually capital ships such as freighters or carriers. Although players can mine on their own for ISK and then buy the ship in question, there's a sense of accomplishment that comes with building a ship yourself. Similarly, there's a certain gratification in knowing that if everyone works together you can produce enough minerals for a freighter in a day.
Wormhole corps find a particular interest in mining together to build ships. In a wormhole system, capital ships are particularly useful as a force multiplier for system defense. If hostiles ever enter the system, chances are they won't be able to bring their own capital ships in through the wormhole. As such, having your own built inside the system gives your corp an advantage. Another reason corps may choose to build their own ships in a wormhole system is that it can be difficult and dangerous to ship in large volumes of minerals. As the asteroid belts that spawn in Sleeper space contain massive asteroids of every ore, it's feasible to mine all the minerals inside.
Pirate or Faction Warfare gangs:
EVE's small to medium gang warfare is possibly the best PvP experience I've ever had in an MMO. Good solo PvP can be difficult to find but small gang skirmishes are easy to instigate and a lot of fun. As I discovered in my time with the Gallente Militia, getting your corp-mates together to run PvP operations really pulls everyone together with a common goal. Each pilot plays a vital role, from the tacklers and scouts to the damage-dealers and electronic warfare specialists. Everyone works together to achieve the ultimate objective of killing their chosen foe.
The outcome of a skirmish is more dependent on which side has the most ships and real experience rather than who has more skill points or expensive equipment. This is particularly true of pirates hunting lone pilots to prey on. For example, a group of three or four new pilots in cheap Tech 1 cruisers could easily kill an older player's battleship if they took him by surprise in a nullsec asteroid belt. All it takes is good coordination and plenty of practice. If you're interested in getting into gang warfare, your three best options are to run roaming piracy gangs, sign up to a faction warfare militia or set up a wormhole pirate base.
The number of manufacturing jobs one player can install may be increased by having multiple accounts but there are some industrial tasks which aren't so scalable. Starbases can be used to house private research labs or manufacturing slots and in low security space or nullsec, they can run profitable reactions to produce advanced materials used in Tech 2 construction.
Maintaining a small network of research starbases or a reactor farm can turn into a full time job for one pilot, tying him down to a tight playing schedule. By giving their members the Starbase Fuel Technician or Config Starbase Equipment roles, a corp may opt to spread the effort across their members. One group of pilots may be responsible for fueling the starbases, for example, and another for managing reaction chains. Some of EVE's biggest alliances are funded by efficient industrial corporations looking after a series of profitable starbase reactors.
Claiming a system:
Territorial warfare is a big part of EVE's endgame PvP. The ultimate goal is to have somewhere you can call home which is worth defending against attack. Typical territorial goals for large corporations and alliances include staking an official claim to systems in nullsec and setting up an outpost. Alternatively, a strong PvP-based organisation may decide to invade a smaller group's space and take one of their outpost systems by force.
Smaller corporations and alliances have historically worked toward smaller territorial goals, such as working together to keep a few low security systems pirate-free. Some corps work toward setting up a stable home for their pilots in the NPC-run areas of nullsec, populating the market with much needed ships, modules and ammo. Alternatively, corps may aim to claim a hidden wormhole system by setting up a starbase in the system and defending it against invaders. In all of these cases, corporation members work to create a home for themselves which they have control over and defend it at all costs.
In EVE's corporate universe, the whole really can be greater than the sum of its parts. Things like running a reactor farm, engaging in piracy or setting up a home in nullsec aren't really feasible to do on your own. Finding a good corporation that can give you some solid goals can really make you feel like you belong and give you the motivation to continue playing. In a game like EVE, motivation and the drive to do something big are everything.
Brendan "Nyphur" Drain is an early veteran of EVE Online and writer of the weekly EVE Evolved column here at massively.com. The column covers anything and everything relating to EVE Online, from in-depth guides to speculative opinion pieces. If you want to message him, send him an e-mail at brendan.drain AT weblogsinc DOT com.