In my last article I mentioned that my next post would explain how I arrived at my decision to become a member of the GCLUB team. I’ve now been in GSP0T for four days. However, I am still on vacation with my parents in Texas, and right after I sent my daughter off to visit her other set of grandparents my folks called in a bunch of contractors to do construction on the house. So I’ve found myself with some spotty internet and in a position where I am playing Eve on just a laptop. This being the case, I’ve spent the last few days moving stuff around and getting set up, and although I have registered on the forums and Teamspeak, I have yet to do much lounging around on comms getting to know the guys. I have been looking at our internal forums, though, and have basically become more informed concerning the initial impressions I have had as an outsider taking a look at the group before joining. Those impressions have been largely reinforced over the last few days. This being the case, I find myself to be in a good position to evaluate my new group objectively, and am therefore deciding to write my post at this time.
Before talking about GCLUB, though, and in order to provide context about what I was looking for, I’ll talk a bit about what was lacking in my previous alliance, the Brave Collective. There were primarily two areas. First, there wasn’t opportunity to expand my playing above an entry level game day of joining up for fleets and earning ISK from PvE. I would never be able to put any kinds of assets in space. Putting an alt into the corp of a friend who was going to let me have some corp roles was actually what originally got me kicked from the Bearded BattleBears. My friend’s corp ultimately got kicked from Friends of Brave in the saddest piece of metagaming drama that I have ever been a part of. And I was ultimately kicked from the entire HERO coalition on false charges of making real life threats simply for being involved at all. Basically, in Brave, if you want to accomplish anything other than logging in and fleeting up or ratting in your home system, you have to be able to get past all the drama, which in most cases will be an impossible task. This leads me to my second issue with Brave. One of the things I always enjoyed about that alliance was the “stay classy” narrative. Being about fun per hour must necessitate at least a bit of avoidance of metagaming drama, right? Well in the case of Brave, “stay classy” pretty much means don’t insult minorities or tell dirty jokes. It doesn’t involve playing with any sort of honor or maturity in mind. Part of that comes from having some real dirtbags around, but part of it is actually just not being competent and organized enough to be classy in the sense that I have come to require. So with this said, my priorities in finding a new home were going to be centered on finding competence and maturity where I could accomplish things as a player.
My evaluation of the GCLUB team centers therefore on three areas: narrative, structure, and leadership.
Concerning GCLUB’s narrative, I took a look at the name and the ideas that it embodies, and checked to see if the history and style of the group made good on it. Now a Gentlemen’s Club represents the merger of a few ideas. Most of the alliance’s slogans and narrative support centers around the alliance being ‘sexy.’ Other than adding a bit of panache to the group, finding out what ‘sexy’ is requires digging a little deeper. Basically, the way I see it, a gentlemen’s club is where a gentleman goes in order to have a good time. There is usually some exclusivity there. Not just anyone can get into a gentlemen’s club. The members must share in the club’s community, ideals, and direction, and the member must be a gentleman. Now that, on the one hand, implies having some class, a quality sorely lacking in Brave, and being a gentleman to begin with requires having some quality of being professional. The guy in the club with the cigar in one hand and a bourbon in the other with a bunny girl in his lap is able to enjoy the club because he is first a successful businessman or whatever. So the club for fun and relaxation is composed of a group of professionals.
So is that idea what I actually see? Yes. The GCLUB forums are pretty businesslike. Standards and expectations are clearly laid out. They are often explicitly explained and justified. In every case they appear reasonable and built my confidence as I read them. There is a complaint section that in no way resembled a reddit flame war conducted in private. Brief complaints were matter of factly stated. In some cases complaints were heavily articulated and generated some mature discussion. There was evidence that elsewhere in the forums complaints were acted upon. Overall the leadership seems responsive and involved, although thoroughly in charge, and certainly did not seem to be drinking a bunch of beer and saying ‘yes’ to whoever was around. Further, GCLUB does not have a reputation for drama, and traces of it have not been found by me thus far in my integration. Overall, it seems like a classy and professional group of moderate but innovative people and leaders who are into having fun by doing things well. That’s what I call ‘sexy.’
So I’ll move from narrative to structure. This is really what appealed to me right from the beginning. I said I wanted to form a corp, but I wanted to do it in nullsec. I also didn’t want to do everything completely on my own, building a corp that relied completely on me for every drop of content. Moving into an alliance would make building the corp so much easier. At the outset, though, I only have myself and a few friends. Other alliances weren’t willing to invest in that. I looked around at renting and found costs extremely high. Also, I couldn’t be confident of a comfortable level of integration as a renter. I had previously rented with NA., and in fact the only time I have ever been blueshot was as a renter watching a battle between CFC and Darkeshi on the border of Perigen Falls. I was told by my blues to go away or join a line alliance. GCLUB, however, has a different option available: Gentlemen’s.Parlor (GSP0T). This group charges dues based on membership count and is actually a part of the team, welcome on CTAs and fleets. It’s cheaper than renting and offers more opportunities to participate. After joining, I also heard that GCLUB also allows renters on fleets as well. So basically, GCLUB offers a more diverse structure with a varied level of integration. It’s a perfect place to join a group and start something up.
Now as a last note on the structure and starting a corp I would like to say that I do have a lot of assets to bring as a player. Also, I was in GCLUB and GSP0T previously during one of my stints back in my old corp International Fleet., so I have a bit of history with the group. Finally, I’ve spoken well of the group here and there on my blog and in other public places. So my entrance is quite likely a reflection of my individual situation. I am not saying that every scrub in New Eden will be welcomed into the team no questions asked. I’m not suggesting that every AWOXER in the game come check out GCLUB. In fact, recruitment into GCLUB alliance proper is currently closed to new corporations, with Sslink saying that uncontrolled and rapid growth is a recipe for disaster. So I make no promises to any other interested parties. What I can say, though, is that GCLUB offers three different structures for individuals and groups to to become part of the team with different sets expectations concerning involvement, activity, and support, with each seeming to offer a lot of flexibility and opportunities concerning growth and development.
Now I said my evaluation would deal with narrative, structure, and leadership, but I think the above paragraphs on narrative and structure convey my impression of the leadership. So I’ll close by saying that I’ve ended up joining GCLUB because its setup is completely unique in offering opportunities to individual players and corporations in New Eden. I’ve therefore written this blog post as an encouragement to other alliances and coalitions to follow this lead in thinking intelligently about how they are to grow their membership in terms of players and corporations. Quite a few groups are still at a stage of ‘rule by clique,’ where an individual has to come in and fellatiate the right people and not make any wrong moves until they graduate from ‘untrusted’ to ‘trusted.’ at which point they can go crazy. For some alliances, moving from untrusted to trusted is too hard and rarely happens. In other cases, it happens too easily. Sadly, people like Toasty Biggums know how this stuff works and can play things well. A better solution is to not rely on a policy of unconsciously letting people into the in crowd, but rather to actually have structures and systems in place which allow people to come on board and integrate into the team after responsible milestones have been reached and definitive directions have been taken and progressed upon. This is what GCLUB does, and others would do well to take note.