In January Abis Cann profiled Aperture Harmonics, [AHARM]. As part of an ongoing series of profiles, we now look at C5 wormhole corporation Future Corps (effectively synonymous with and perhaps better known as Sleeper Social Club alliance), another of the larger and more active PVP corporations in wormhole space.
Future Corps – FCFTW / Sleeper Social Club - SSC
Founder: James Arget
Diplomatic Contacts: Risible Spoon, HerrBert
Home System: "R3" C5->C5
Public Channel: "FCFTW Public"
Future Corps Founding
In the beginning, it was just James Arget, one of the top Fleet Commanders in EVE University's Ivy League Navy. He had spent time in wormholes with Adhocracy, Inc (ADHC) but had not found what he was looking for there. Then he hung out with Shiva in the sovereignty wars, and found that not to his taste either. Now back in EVE University (E-UNI), James was restless. While lowsec roaming with the Unistas was fun, he spent almost as much time in his informal "Wormhole Club" channel. E-UNI CEO Kelduum Revaan had declined the request to turn the Wormhole Club into an official wormhole campus, but the pilots in it flew daytrips to wormholes anyhow, and it was good.
It wasn't long before James posted on the EVE University forums that he was potentially recruiting for "A Future Corp". The unintentional name stuck: in December 2010, James pulled the trigger and "A Future Corp" became Future Corps. He recruited around 20 other pilots, most from the Wormhole Club, and embarked for unknown space.
Another fellow EVE University FCs, Sto Lo, was similarly restless. Within the same 24-hour period, Sto started the lowsec pirate corp The Corporation of Noble Sentiments, taking many Unista lowsec PVP pilots with him. Other than the cameraderie and common bond between their members, however, there was no formal connection between the corps ... yet.
James' goal was to eventually have a Class 5 system with capital pilots, although that seemed far off to their battlecruiser pilots at the time. The key to the development of Future Corps is "to have a goal, and keep on track to it," James said. "I posted on day zero that we were going to move into C5 space and play with capital ships. It took us somewhere around a year to do that, but every step of the way we knew where we were going. It's a really great motivator when you have something you're aimed for."
They picked a system inhabited by two members already - a Class 2 with exits to Highsec and Class 3. In honor of the fact that they were changing from daytrippers to full-timers, the system was given the simple name of "Residence".
Moving In and Early Development
The first year wasn't without bumps. The first of these was when two experienced members ended up stealing ships and getting kicked from corp. More instances of theft shook corp confidence and led to a lot of recrimination and hard feelings. Some targeted harassment from another, more established wormhole corp only added to the difficulty.
The key to getting through it was keeping a critical mass. "I had twenty people signed up before we moved in," said James, "which meant that at peak we had about ten guys and even during off peak we had multiple people on." This philosophy of balance of peaks across time zones proved a key factor in keeping the corp going through the challenging early days.
Key people stepped up to the challenge. Founding member sean1121 took on an "XO" position and helped James with some of the day-to-day work. Lessons were learned the hard way about how to manage inventory through the difficulty of the shared-inventory POS model. Future Corps developed a unique model of weekly payouts based on effort rather than purely by ISK generation. The Sleeper Social Club (SSC) alliance was created to meet requirements for Alliance Tournament bids (SSC made it to AT X) and to allow for future expansion.
The heavy lift was beginning to take its toll, however. As many small corp CEOs know, a "cult of personality" corp can only grow so much. James began to burn out from carrying much of the load. He started logging in less. After one particular longer-than-usual time offline, he was confronted by his XO, who suggested that he pass the CEO reins to someone else while he took a needed break. "Sean pulled me aside and told me it needed to be done," said James. "It was an invaluable lesson to me about knowing my limits."
The baton was passed to sean, who took the title "Interim CEO". He didn't intend to be there long. But the CEO search dragged out, and sean would lead Future Corps for the next seven months.
Growth and Alliance
After a hard first year, growth began to pick up again. Future Corps had their first capitals and decided they were ready for a C5. They bought a hole on the market and moved up to "Residence II" (R2). And for a while, life - and PVE activity - were good. But there was not as much PVP as the expanding membership wanted, and the numbers were not quite enough for large sieges.
In reaction to some of the earlier theft problems, Future Corps Limited was opened to house new members and shield full members' assets. In the end, however, it was not a good fit for the corp philosophy. "It was a horrible, horrible mistake," James said. "Even if we had a sour apple every now and then, keeping new members segregated was much more harmful." Limited lasted only 2-3 months before the dual frustrations of the trial members and the management at having to do double-duty POS management killed the idea, giving way to more granular POS privileging approaches that reduced workload and need for separation.
Meanwhile in Gallente lowsec, Sto Lo and Noble Sentiments had hit a growth plateau and individual pilots were having the typical lowsec difficulty maintaining funds. They were getting a lot of PVP, but fewer new people, and fleet doctrines had limited capabilites. While a decision took some time, old bonds were eventually reconnected and the two corps decided to link up under the SSC banner for mutual benefit. It would allow Future Corps to engage in more group activities at more times and bring more force bear during major engagements. It would give Noble Sentiments additional personnel and a "shiny fleet" capability for lowsec operations, as well as experience in sieging. Both took comfort from the idea of flying with "not just a coalition of opportunists, but the same guys we know and trust because we do fly together," as James put it at the time. As an April Fool's joke, SSC even took sovereignty over 89JS-J in Etherium Reach for a few weeks in 2012.
Unfortunately, due to finally tiring of the security status grind to retain highsec access, Noble Sentiments disbanded in the spring of 2012. Some members joined Future Corps, but the majority followed Sto Lo back to the sovereignty wars, joining Repercussus in RAZOR Alliance.
In the spring and summer of 2012, Future Corps really made the transition to their current state. First, sean1121 and the Directors announced that a permanent CEO, MyrddinBishop, had at last been selected. "Bish has just the right balance of personality to really do well as CEO. He also never loses his cool," said James. "Even with his Orca dead, Moros bubbled, and getting drained by a Bhaalgorn, he just closed the dead client, hit siege, and blew the Bhaalgorn out from under the nose of a Starbridge gank fleet. Solo. I've never seen him intimidated."
Shortly thereafter, tired of dealing with the accidental crashes and mass limitations of R2's static C3 wormhole, they targeted James' originally-stated "goal residence" - a C5/C5 wormhole. In June, they evicted Destructive Cult from what would soon become known - unsurprisingly - as R3.
After some searching, they found a small system with good planets. "We found it and I fell in love with the idea of fighting for our new home," said Bishop. "We almost got caught bringing in a Moros." In fact, The Russian corp Destructive Cult was convinced that the Moros jumping into their hole was accidental. Unsurprisingly, they were evicted shortly thereafter, selling Future Corps their capitals at a steep discount on the way out.
Future Corps Today
Over the two years since its founding, Future Corps has developed a strongly PVP-focused culture. While the ISK must be made to pay the bills, PVE it generally falls second to wormhole fights, nullsec ganks, lowsec roams and seeing just how far a wormhole chain can be stretched out. Bishop notes that the culture is also built around members helping one another, reinforced by their unique payment approach. "Since the moment I joined Future Corps I desired to benefit the corp in any way I could and made every effort to advance my position in Future Corps not in a cutthroat way that you would expect in EVE," he said. "I did it by being respectful of others and really out leading by example. Everything I now expect out of others in this corp is nothing I wouldn't do on my own or in fact at some point or another have done on my own."
In general, they have a strong "No Blues" culture - with two exceptions. EVE University is +10, since a significant portion of the corp members are alumni, and years after James first requested it, now E-UNI has created a formal Wormhole Campus. Future Corps runs regular classes and occasional camps, ops and arranged battles with the Unistas, as well as working to aid the E-UNI Wormhole Campus when needed.
The other is fellow wormhole corp Lead Farmers (a.k.a. Kill It With Fire [KILL]). As Future Corps diplomat HerrBert puts it, "This goes way beyond spacebros. They are family." While the initial collaboration between the corps was built on a common E-UNI heritage, it was early partnership in battle, much like with Noble Sentiments, that cemented their friendship. "I remember in particular a [KILL-batphoned] triple-carrier-kill where there were only 2 guardians, one from each side, and we met each other on grid trust each other to know what we were doing, and being good enough to get the job done," James recalls. "After that, fanfest happened, and they all got smashed together. They woke up and found out they'd set each other +10 overnight or some such." Current CEO Bishop clearly agreed, saying, "I know that to this day and for all time they will be +10."
But beyond these two allies, they often operate on a "shoot first ask questions later" basis that has gained them a reputation for making offense their best defense. They have been known to intentionally crash themselves in to fights in order to bring the maximum possible firepower, even if it means being forced to find a new route home. They also have a reputation for occasional but highly successful sieges and counter-sieges, including the most expensive battle in wormhole history where alongside KILL and others they defended the Hard Knocks home system, generating 100 billion ISK in killmails. This in turn has gained them a reputation in some quarters for being more likely to bring an ambush than an arranged fight, but that is the reputation of many a wormhole corp due to the mechanics that encourage stealth approaches and swift, decisive, overwhelming force.
On the whole, Future Corps (and thus SSC) is on a strong growth path, having added over 30 new characters since the start of 2013. Ironically, many of these are former Noble Sentiments members who are tired of the sov grind and are not just returning to the alliance but joining the mothership. Despite a well-known long-held suspicion of wormhole life, Sto Lo himself at last joined Future Corps in January, and now pushes extra roaming activity from inside the corp. "Why am i back?" he asked. "Due to some very slick tools designed in-house at Future Corps and the changes to lowsec I now PVP way more than I ever did - it's awsome!"
Most members are content with much of the way wormhole space is currently functioning, with the notable exception of POS problems that many wormholers share. Corp roles and theft tracking are key concerns for most in the wormhole community. As in many wormhole corps, discussion of dreadnaught and T3 balancing along with effects to fleet comps and tactics are primary concerns.
The corp is looking forward to the possibility of competing in Alliance Tournament XI. With the retirement of Two Step from the CSM imminent, and Future Corps in good hands and on a positive trajectory, James Arget has announced his candidacy to run for Two Step's CSM seat as his next challenge.
When asked about how he would advise those considering starting a wormhole corp, James focuses in on the crucial importance of having a long term goal in mind and having that carry you through the tough times. "Certain bumps in the road we were only able to roll over because we had that momentum," he said. "At times, we had to shift the course, and that took a great deal of effort once things had been travelling in one direction for a long time, but we accomplished it. It's been said a lot of ways, but make sure you're going toward where you want to end up."
"I am really proud of Future Corps of how far we've come since R1," says CEO MyrddinBishop. "We have grown so much since then and even since we've moved to R3 we've really come a long ways. One of the things I feel that sets us apart from most other WH corps is our versatility. I love the fact that even facing an up hill battle we will jump in and fight without hesitation. I really love the community that we have built up here. In the face of the harsh environment that is EVE we still have a very positive and respectful community. Our members are always willing to help out and for the most part very loyal to the corporation. I think it really says something for what we have built when we can pull some pretty hardcore K-Space members out from that environment and join us and absolutely love it. At this point Future Corps has been going strong for more than 2 years now. I hope to continue our solid reputation for many years beyond that."