A corporation’s first incoming wardec is the true test of its leadership and its general cohesion.
Let’s take your average highsec mission running start-up corp as an example (we will call this corp ACME).
Let’s imagine that ACME has 20 members, mainly with only a couple months experience.
Most of the members of ACME will likely never have experienced pvp, other than perhaps being ganked in lowsec once or twice on their way from Hek to Jita, a canflip here and a random attack there.
Suddenly, everyone in ACME gets notification that GRIEFERS INC (GINC) has declared war on ACME and that within 24 hours, fighting can legally occur.
I’m willing to bet that within 24 hours, there will be a quick evemail discussion between the chief executive officers of ACME and GINC, during which the latter corp’s ceo may demand payment of a ransom. ACME pilots will discuss the matter, though it will mainly be discussed by upper management. The ceo will send out a corp mail, telling everyone that this whole thing will only last a week and that ACME pilots should simply dock up, stay safe, try not to lose any ships and generally, wait for GINC to get bored.
Someone in ACME will log on and then complain about griefers in general. Someone will suggest fighting back. No-one will disagree that fighting back is a good thing to do. People will talk about fighting for their honour, about how the corp is strong and how they should think out of the box.
No-one will do any actual preparation for the war.
Soon enough 24 hours will pass by. The events of the next two days will consist of one newish corp member undocking a mining ship and getting ganked in a belt, an upper tier member trying to blow up a bait frigate or two outside station and losing his battlecruiser to an off grid HAC and the ceo of ACME logging on briefly to do some station trading or contracting, telling anyone online not to worry and then leaving without doing much else.
After two days of this, no-one in ACME will be having any fun. Someone else will have undocked and been podded with a full set of implants. The newer members just don’t understand station trading and have nothing to do. The CEO sends out another mail about not undocking, not playing on GINC’s terms and how “if we just don’t give them kills, they will get bored and move along. Only three more days to the end of the war”.
Of course, GINC extends the war. Soon enough, one or two of the more senior corp members will quit the corp due to a lack of direction. Disillusion will set in. Some members will go permanently afk, quite possibly including the CEO, who likely, by this time, is sick of replying to evemails from grumpy pilots and in order to avoid his corpmates has started a new alt who pirates.
ACME is dead.
The question then is what could have been done to ensure that ACME survived the war? The simple answer is preparation. The more complicated answer is that the CEO or relevant delegate should have actively maintained corp activity.
I will discuss preparations for wardecs and security measures in another post.
Consider the above example of ACME v GINC. Was it heavy losses that caused ACME to close? Absolutely not. It was the simple fact that a wardec has one certain outcome – the war will likely put an end to all current non pvp day to day operations.
Without regular pve activities, members of a non pvp corp will grow bored. Boredom leads to frustration and frustration leads to corporate collapse.
Without corp activities, members will suffer from a lack of isk, become disillusioned and, after a while, go afk. A corp with a large proportion of afk members is a dead corp.
The key here for corp leaders is to make a decision whether or not to fight back and stick to that decision for a reasonable amount of time (about a week should do it). Once a week has passed by, a re-assessment can be done, and strategies changed.
Either way, corp leaders should lead the corp’s activities – if your going to fight back, leaders should arrange fleets, set out ship requirements and FC the fleets (or at least, delegate these tasks to competent pilots who will perform these tasks). If you are not going to fight back, arrange to teach newer players how to do some station trading, arrange low or nul sec exploration fleets (test the waters as to whether your enemies will follow you), organise a karaoke night on vent..
A fun night in new eden is a fun night, no matter what might be done, even if it involves singing into a plastic microphone for corporate goodwill.
Whatever you choose to do, make the decision and “lead” the corp through it. Don’t end your new eden career because of a simple wardec. If you can’t fight back with ammo, fight back with your superior leadership skills – keep your corpmates entertained, keep the isk flowing and all will end well.