Let’s talk about Culture:
[kuhl-cher] Show IPA noun, verb, cul·tured, cul·tur·ing.
1. The quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regard as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc.
2. That which is excellent in the arts, manners, etc.
3. A Particular form or stage of civilization, as that of a certain nation or period: Greek culture.
4. Development or improvement of the mind by education or training.
5. The behaviors and beliefs characteristics of a particular social, ethnic, or age group: the youth culture; the drug culture.
A lot of entities in Eve profess a desire to have culture, and others identify their miscreants and behavior as a part of their culture. I am relatively new to Eve; I have been a dedicated player for about four and a half years now. I can remember from early on when my friend (a member of the GoonWaffe at the time) convinced me to join the community and try the game out. I never joined the goons, I was never a member of somethingawful.com, nor did I have an interest in their alliance. However, I was impressed by the cohesion, the structure, and their culture.
I knew that I wanted to build something like that in the future too. I wanted to build a community that could reach beyond the game, and survive. I didn’t want a corp or an alliance that could only exist in Eve, I wanted an “extended family” of gamer brothers and sisters that I could enjoy a multitude of games with and grab a few drinks with should we meet.
Culture, as the Goons and Dreddit can tell you, is everything. Looking at the definition of culture we can firmly settle the Goons and Dreddit into the fifth definition: “behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social..group.” Their age and ethnicity varies, but they all come from the same social group. SOLAR would fall into an ethnic group definition and that defines their longevity in Eve. If an alliance or corporation collapses, it is simply because they lack the cohesion and cultural identity that keeps them together in tough times.
How can we build a culture from scratch using only Eve, teamspeak, and some forums? That is the challenge an Eve corporation faces that does not recruit from a reddit.com or somethingawful.com. We draw our members from in game resources, each with their own goals, intents, and experiences.
It would be a bit unfair or generalized to say that Dreddit and Goons are monolithic in nature, culturally homogenous, but in comparison to an in-game developed culture they resemble a Japan while successful corps grown in game come away more as a mosaic of cultures immigrated into a central place, like an America. However, I think the imagery holds true to some degree.
The benefits and the drawbacks are felt, and the ability to grow your own “colony” inside Eve is daunting.
The Nyan Cat Pirates somewhere in our short history has developed its culture inadvertently and with little conscious effort. We have a lot of long term members, and members who have been with us often tell me this is their corp for the rest of their Eve career. Now, this is likely due to the fact I keep them all poisoned and only periodically provide the antidote to those who are loyal, or it could be the fact that as a mosaic of varying personalities we have centralized around the idea of our idol: the glorious rainbow shitting pop-tart cat.
From my experience, cultures in game are built first on play style and behavior, and importantly after they are constructed there needs to be continuity to it. Cultural shifts should be gradual, mutual and natural. If you start a corp that is for laid back gamers, then suddenly pinging your jabber for CTAs every night is counter to the culture. Let your members have room to flourish in the atmosphere you have set for them.
Another observation about culture is it is something that is grass-roots. The leadership should never dictate the final product of corp culture, they set an atmosphere and have expectations, but they need to allow a corp to evolve and they need to be able to see the contributions of their members and allow their members’ contributions to matter. A CEO or directorate should never try to bring down the edicts of their culture, rather should manage and observe the culture that the members develop. The memes from the many are always more entertaining than those from the few.
Recognizing your members is one of the things you must emphasize. There is no “front-line grunt” in the Nyan Cat Pirates, we are a family and everyone provides something. As the CEO I never want to rise above my members or be captured in some sort of “internet fame”. I want to be a part of a successful and viral culture that helps us grow into something great.
Perhaps, even one day we can expand our culture to cover not just our social group, but to provide something of quality and memory for the Eve community.
On our forums we’re asking the members what it means to be a Nyan Cat Pirate. The variety in the responses is incredible and everyone’s image and idea is both different in ways and the same. More importantly they are all true, we are what they make us. One word that everyone seems to use though and what makes me confident we will last beyond our 2 year birthday is: family.
Fly Safe my NYAN brothers and sisters, o7