Death and Taxes

“But in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Death is certain in Faction War. Why, then, do we not also have meaningful taxation? I would like to address an idea that is slowly gaining popularity in my militia: a corporation-level LP tax.

Life in Faction Warfare can present some fairly unique challenges to its pilots. Most of these challenges, like station-lockouts, are welcomed by militia membership as they add to the excitement and flavor of our game. There is, however, one ever-present problem facing militia corps that no one welcomes. It’s name? Player Retention. Those two words are in the back of every recruiter’s and CEO’s mind, and with good reason.

Since its inception, Faction Warfare has been a split community made up of three distinct camps. The first being the much-maligned farmer. We know them, we hate them, they are the pest-like alts we all see flying around in stabbed/cloaked ships causing the war-zone to swing in that now too familiar pendulum pattern. They join and leave NPC FW corps as the LP markets change and aren’t really a concern when talking about player retention. The second camp are the dedicated militia members. These are the players that, for whatever reason, have decided to make a life in the warzone. Their loyalty is often more centered on the militia itself rather than a single corp or alliance and these are also the players you often see on central comms, lurking in intel channels, and in combined corp fleets. Player retention for this group, although inherently high, is of major concern. The third and final camp, and the one that is most in need of our attention, is what I’ll call the “learning players” group or, more commonly, “noobs”. These players are in militia to…well, learn! Chances are they’re brand new to EVE or just they’re trying PVP for the first time. They’ve been told Faction Warfare is a great ISK maker, that it can teach them how to PVP in a controlled environment, and that they will have an easy time making friends and feeling useful. These players often join whatever militia faction they are geographically close to or the one that matches their own racial trait and therefore tend to build their identity around the corp they join over the militia as a whole.

Now what does all this about player retention have to do with taxation? Quite a lot. The two are linked and until the issue of taxation in Faction Warfare is addressed, the problem of player retention will persist. As I mentioned above, the two groups we are looking at in relation to this problem are the “learning players” and old vets. Each require different things to keep them interested and enrolled in the militia, but one concrete and universal issue is the Ship Replacement Program (SRP). A new player who can learn with free hulls is going to be more dedicated and loyal than one who has to pay their own way. The chance then presents itself to turn that learning player into a dedicated member who, instead of moving on after a few months of basic training, wants to stay enrolled. In the same vein, a high-SP pilot who can undock their capital ship without fear of its replacement cost is going to stay engaged and happy. Conversely, offer a cap pilot no SRP and watch them seek greener pastures in null-sec or with out-of-faction  low-sec pirate groups. How can your average militia corp build up enough ISK to cover a cap SRP when taxing your membership isn’t an option? And so every month, more and more high skill point pilots say farewell to the warzone and find other groups that can provide what they need. This is all rather ironic considering how wealthy we as individual militia pilots tend to be. That’s why an LP-tax is so important. We have the ISK, we just need an in-game mechanic to funnel it in the right directions.

While both learning players and vets will benefit from a formal SRP, the opinions on how to fund it will vary wildly. For the “learning player” an LP tax might sound like an unwelcome proposition. They joined Faction Warfare in part to make ISK and any dent in their personal LP stream will certainly be seen as an uncomfortable hit to their lifestyle. The old vet has a different outlook, though. Chances are they’ve branched out over the years and no longer rely on just simply plex LP to fund their lifestyle. Maybe their corps already offer some form of SRP or perhaps have a profit sharing program from moons or POCOs. These dedicated militia members will more freely give up some percentage of LP to fund corp level activities because they know they will, in turn, benefit from those activities they’ve funded. The key to getting the newer militia members on board with an LP tax is simple. Expose them to what a corporate budget can do. Offer some form of SRP, stock basic hangers with ammo and drones, start a tournament team, or fund weekly events. Show your membership what can be accomplished with a little collective effort and then think about how much more you could do with even a low-rate LP tax. As with normal ISK tax now, each corporation would be free to select whatever rate they choose and then each pilot can make a choice on what style of corp they would like to join. It’s also quite  easy to see how much more control a corporation could have over its local i-HUB if given the choice to donate LP from the corp wallet. And that’s really what it comes down to, choice. Whether or not you support an LP tax personally, I can’t see why anyone would oppose the idea of giving corporations the choice. Now it’s just up to CCP and our stalwart CSM to give us those options.

About Ciaphas Cyne

Ciaphas Cyne flies with Exodus. alliance, who base out of FW low-sec.

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17 comments

  1. One thing you can do as a corp/alliance is escalate the corporate tax as the tier rises. At Tier 5 my corp raises its tax to 100% which may make you go O: NO! but what that does is every FW you complete gives you boat loads of LP aswell as 5-10 million isk on the side depending on your skill.

    At Tier 5 for roughly 2 weeks our corp was able to pull in billions of isk to fund SRP programs so that 5-10 mil the players lost per mission was returned in replaced ships.

    And remember: Even though you loose 5-10 mil per mission, you gaing 50-100 million or TONS more depending on tier per mission through Loyalty point hand outs alone.

  2. I struggle to see how paying a tax to the corp which then buys ships for me to explode is significantly different from paying for my own ships to explode.

    It seems like SRP is dangled out there as the carrot to explain why corps desperately need the ability to tax their members. It sounds good. It’s something most players will support, but honestly its just a roundabout way of paying for your own ships anyway. Corp tax is needed to buy a corp titan, pay for fuel for corp towers, build up corp reserves or reward content creators. However none of these are likely to garner the support of the unwashed masses.

    SRP appeals to the masses. But taxing your members to buy ships to give to your members “for free” isn’t a SRP, it’s just a corp logistics service saving the corp members the hassle of buying their own ships and have them shipped down from Jita.

    NOTE: I’m not opposed to the idea of a corp tax. But don’t try sell the idea as a SRP enabler.

    • Hey, so I certainly understand where your coming from. Having been in some pretty poorly run corps myself over the years, I know how Ship Replacement Programs are used as the “carrot” for taxation. A properly run SRP isnt a free ship service or a forced logistics scam, though. It is a way to effectively enforce and deploy a doctrine and replace full fleets quickly as they’re destroyed. Its a willing surrender of some agency so that you can participate in a collective goal. It should be upfront and clear where the money goes and under what circumstances its to be spent, and ideally, all the members in the corp should have a say in the matter. Even in the case of cap replacement, where maybe only a small percentage of members are covered, it benefits everyone to keep those pilots in ships. Again, its about the collective goal. Are you willing to give up 2% of your LP so that Billy, Steve, and Suzy can have carriers?

  3. I agree with Gavin on this one. LP tax could be useful for enabling corps to help fund/drive systems upgrades, but null-sec SRP doesn’t work in a place like FW where the isk is bottom up. It only works in top-down isk making scenarios. If FW corps want an SRP, they can do it with isk donations from individuals, just force each player to donate x amount of isk to the corp or be kicked. It is no different.

    I also don’t like SRP, so I may be biased. SRP makes you a bad Eve player. It makes a player not understand how to make their own isk. It makes them not learn from their mistakes as losses don’t hurt them. Its great if you are running a corp where you need lots of F1 monkey’s, but its bad if you want a corp full of solo/small gang pvpers. It is not fair to spread the losses of small gang combat evenly across all corp members. Those that less ships shouldn’t be forced to pay for those that lose more ships. Almost every FW corp has a form of SRP in the sense of stockpiles of thousands of hulls at the ready for defense plex warfare and in some cases “free” logistics ships, as that is needed to get others in militia to come help you defend your system or for people to fly logi.

    Absolutely nothing is free, somebody always pays either with isk, LP, or time.

    • Shadoo`s Eybrows

      site needs a like button …………… what andre said

    • you are saying really contradictory things here. you say SRPs make people bad pilots and doesnt have a place in small-gang but then go on to say giving out free logi ships when needed is a good idea and that “Almost every FW corp has a form of SRP in the sense of stockpiles of thousands of hulls at the ready for defense plex warfare”. again, just like i said to Gavin, you are looking at SRPs through a very very narrow definition.

      when does my corp offer SRP? when defending a tower, during important plex fights, to encourage participation in larger militia fleets, and when caps are undocked. does any of that make our members bad pilots? I like to think it makes them eager pilots who feel supported and appreciated.

      • Good point Ciaphas. I don’t like SRP where it means handing out ships for free. The SRP that we (QCATS/YNOT) have is more along the lines of
        1) Doctrine and standard ships are available on contract at Jita cost + a few percentage points
        2) Corp will “own” logi ships to hand out when we need them as it is not practical to have individuals fund/maintain their own logi ships. Nobody wants to fly logi, so we don’t charge for them so people will do it. When we lose them, individuals in the corp will donate new ones.
        3)Corp will “own” stockpiles of plexing ships to hand out should a home system come under attack. When they are used, individuals will replace them via requested donations.

        LP tax is just a forced donation. I don’t like it and wouldn’t use it, but I guess its a fine idea as long as the rate can be set to 0%.

  4. This article is a red herring. LP taxation would not lead to higher player retention. It WOULD lead to larger corporation wallets which would lead to more centralized power. From a militia RP perspective, this goes against the philosophy of a “militia.”

    Centralized power has its advantages. We could control fits and fleet concepts much more easily and we would then be able to take on more well-organized opponents – low sec or null sec. We could also purchase larger assets (Titan bridges, cap ships) without having to negotiate with multiple members of our corporations or other members of militia.

    • I don’t think you know what “red herring” means. You can certainly disagree that an LP tax would increase player retention, but please don’t accuse me of having some kind of hidden agenda. If you want to know my personal opinion (which I purposefully left out of the article) I’ll tell you: I wouldn’t join a corp with an LP tax. My current corp has a 0% tax rate and as long as I’m involved it will stay that way. To agree that “We could control fits and fleet concepts much more easily and we would then be able to take on more well-organized opponents – low sec or null sec. We could also purchase larger assets (Titan bridges, cap ships) ” but then to deny any of those things would keep membership engaged longer is odd to me. Right now all 4 militias bleed high SP members to other groups and replace them with fresh faced frig pilots. That’s great if you view militia as a stepping stone on your path or as a training organization, but its not so great if you are trying to create a lasting culture.

      I would like to know what YOU think needs to be done to address player retention. What does JustK do to keep their cap pilots happy? What do you do to keep membership over many years? I would also like to call bullshit on the whole “decentralization” bit. Just because CCP decided to name faction warfare groups “militias” doesnt mean we have to avoid any kind of logistical organization. The strength that comes from our militia is a geographical decentralization and that doesnt have to change with greater taxing options. Considering JustK is a corp that advocates a central comms system, central staging systems, and a centralized moon mining system Id like to know why you draw the line at taxation?

      Does your group prefer a voluntary funding system? Thats great! And I’ll be right there with you advocating my Tax
      Free corp. My point is that we shouldn’t actively fight against a tax overhaul just because we individually don’t think the system is right for our two very specialized corps.

      • Why would you write an article about how an LP tax would increase retention and then say you would never join a corp that implemented one? IMO, your statement is clear evidence that LP Tax and Player Retention are perpendicular to each other.

        I don’t think I ever made a decision to leave or stay in a corp because of how the corporation tax structure was set up. The decision has always been about whether or not my in-game goals matched the corporation, and whether or not the players in the corporation were good guys. As a CEO I worry about generating content as well, but I’ve never had a problem doing that as a player (and most of my guys can generate their own content anyways – we look for those sorts of guys to join JUSTK).

        Note that I did not say LP tax was good or bad, just that it was counter to “militia” in an RP sense.

        I think the key thing to know is that each corporation/alliance in Eve has a niche to fill. A corporation should find its niche, and then like-minded players will join that corp over time. Retention problem solved, and IMO it’s perpendicular to level of corporation tax structure.

        • My argument was never LP Tax = Player Retention, so I’m not sure why you keep arguing against that point. My argument is that a corp that can offer SRP to its cap pilots and keep ships on hand for Ops is going to have higher player retention than one that cant. LP Tax is just another way to fund that activity. They are LINKED, not directly correlated as you’ve suggested I said. Its even more needed because of how little ISK tax actually brings in, effectively giving us less choice than every other corp in game. Now i know you don’t disagree with taxation entirely because you run a 5% ISK tax yourself. I’m sure you have good reason to take that tax and im sure your members appreciate what it funds. Why deny that keeps pilots happy? Its great you like the culture and focus on content generation. That’s certainly vital to retention, as well!

          I’m in a 25 person corp that doesnt spend a lot of time plexing and almost 0 time doing FW missions. We have 0% ISK Tax because everything we need is funded with other programs. If I were running a 200 person training corp full of mission runners and farmers I would want more options, but I’m not. Thats why I wouldn’t use LP tax. It wouldn’t really be effective for corps like mine, or probably yours. Why write in defense of something I don’t personally desire? Good question.

  5. Well for as far as “Free ships” Say you do 1 mission you give 10 mil isk to the corp make 80 mil + in LP (assuming t4-t5) But knowing missions you have 10 guys do missions at once then everyone gives 100 mil and thus if you loose a ship the corp now has isk to replace ( Like said above specifically doctrine ships to relieve the stress of you having to pay for an entire ship. So the wealth is spread around to keep doctrine ships ready to go.)

  6. I don’t normally comment on these things. I’ll just put that out right now. So, take my words as you will, but I honestly think that a corp LP tax isn’t really something that goes perpendicular with player retention. I understand where you’re coming from, I do, but personally, it doesn’t match up. Think of it from a new-player perspective. You see two corps, corp A, and corp B. Corp A has a 5% tax. Corp B has a 0% tax. Who would you pick? Corp B, obviously, because you can keep your money there. ”
    I also agree with the other point, that it doesn’t really encourage “responsibility”, as in it doesn’t really make newer players realize “Oh, hell, that’s part of my assets that are gone, how the hell can I keep that from happening.”, making a better PVPer instead of thinking, “Oh, hell, I lost a ship. Oh well, [insert Corp name here]’s SRP will cover it, who cares.” which honestly just makes a pilot that nobody really wants because they never learned. Honestly, I wouldn’t want my money, my time, my LP going towards some shit player losing hundreds of ships a month because he’s too lazy to take care of his shit, and learn how to fly better. I doubt many others would too. It was a rule in Sniggwaffe that you took care of your shit and got what you needed, and, honestly, with the FW isk sink, it shouldn’t be an issue to have a shit load of frigs and destroyers, and some cruisers at your disposal.
    The biggest way to keep players is to shot them that things can be fun. Show them how much fleets are, show them how much fun doing solo or small gang is. That’s how you kept me, and and I’m sure you’ll keep people by making them have fun. Also, if you guide them right to where they’re self-sufficient, they’ll be more confident in fighting, and risking assets, because they know they can cover it.

    Tl;Dr?: Tax won’t solve shit, showing them fun and making them self-sufficient is.

  7. Thanatos Marathon

    I’m all for having the option to tax LP for several reasons and have said so for quite a while, a “standard” SRP isn’t one of them. Being able to set it to zero is mandatory though.

    – Than

  8. Auga By Christmas

    I’m not sure about null style SRP, but corp lp taxes could be a boon to smaller corps that don’t have JF pilots. One of the big hurdles for new players is logistics – fitting ships at lowsec markets is relatively expensive, but needing to go back to highsec every time you need to reship is annoying and dangerous. The players who would need to take advantage of corp level services often don’t have the logistical means to stock their own hangars, they live in a highsec hub and fly ships down one at a time.

    Retention means getting those players to move into lowsec full time. Whether it’s in the form of corp JF runs, black frog fees funded by the corp wallet, or a “take a rifter, leave a rifter” hangar, easy logistics make it much simpler for new players to get involved.

    One problem I foresee is that the cost of a corp tax would land on those same new players. Eve is a flat-tax libertarian paradise, and that’s always going to hit the poor hardest. I can pay 5% or whatever of my lp without it affecting my gameplay at all. When I joined fw as a two month old capsuleer? Not so much. And as you touched on, veteran players don’t really make a living off of lp anyway. We trade, stock the markets in our home systems, invent and manufacture, run ded sites, hunt those who run ded sites, etc. I know for my part I’d rather make a few hundred mil in an evening running 4/10s than deal with cashing out the same amount in lp.

    There’s also the danger of scam corps advertising themselves as “newbie friendly,” then setting a high tax rate that goes straight into the CEO’s wallet.

  9. I got shit for ‘stealing’ this piece http://crossingzebras.com/death-but-no-taxes/#comment-3361
    Honestly, I hadn’t read it, but given the title, I could see how someone would get that idea :P. I talk about the same issue but from a somewhat different angle. Just FYI.

    /N

    • Niden o/

      Hi, I read your article yesterday and enjoyed it quite a lot. I’m glad more people are talking about the lack of options for facwar corps. It’s also not surprising we used the same famous quote… after all, great minds think alike. No accusations of stealing mah shit, but I will accuse you of not checking out factionwarfare.com sooner!

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