Maintaining Teams / Crews?

Do you have a mechanism for maintaining team identities within your larger organization?

Some people will want to play regularly as a strike team, others an enduring exploration crew. My buddies and I are looking at scouting/investigations. We want to play together. Exactly what we do is secondary. If your policy is so strongly against also belonging to other organizations, how do you provide for the teams of local friends that want to play together online as a unit.

This is not just belonging to a division, this is forming a regular operating unit under the division.

I, for one, love your organization and set up, but I also don’t want to lose the local connection amidst the throng.

Might look like this:
Longarm Investigations. A division of ADI. Your reach into the 'verse.

How can that work, if at all?

Hi Bill,

So this is a bit of a complicated topic, and it’s not the first time it has come up.

I can totally understand the desire for groups of friends to want to play together and maintain their group identity that they’ve built up. That bonding and camaraderie is important and a good thing to have. But at the same time, joining an organization like ADI means that you’re part of a larger group. And while nobody wants to feel like they are just another insignificant cog in the machine, it’s not good to have exclusive cliques that exclude other members or expect special treatment somehow.

I’ve been approached by small groups of friends that have formed a small org of 10 or so members. Several of them discover ADI and see the enormous benefits of being part of an org with the organization and structure that we’ve worked so hard to build. But some of them don’t want to lose that small team feeling. So what does one do? Well, they could keep doing what they have been doing. Or they split off from their group and join ADI. And that’s a tough decision to make.

So you have to ask yourself, what is it that you really want? Is it a name or a logo? Or is it that you want to feel like you belong to a community? Like you’re not just crew member #8159, but a part of a family? What if I told you that you can still have that as part of ADI? Even though ADI is a large org, I’m still impressed by how cohesive and community oriented we are. We’ve all come into the org alone or with a small group of friends. And yet, I don’t think anyone here feels lost in the crowd. We’ve made new friends and new connections and discovered new opportunities to play games we never knew about. And introduced others to the games we love to play. And if your team has honed a certain set of skills to a fine edge, then you can bring those to the org and contribute to a larger goal. And if there’s some aspect of game play you really wish could improve upon, then you have to look no further than ADI for some help.

And then there’s a whole other aspect to being part of an org. The resources that would be available to you. The training. The in-game job opportunities. You need some security escorts to get your Carrack through that bad part of space but don’t have the manpower or the ships? Check with our Asset Protection and Recovery division. You need some cargo brought in from that far off star system but don’t have time to do it yourself? Commerce, Mining and Logistics. I could go on and on with the benefits.

But in the end, it’s up to you. You can play in the universe with just you and your crew and whatever resources you can manage to build up, or your friends could do that exact same thing, but as part of a larger group with all the resources and benefits that come with ADI.

I hope that helps. And I’d like to invite you to jump onto our Mumble server if you want to talk more.

Rob8s

Rob8s,

Thank you for your reply and the time you took with it. I wonder if we are talking past each other a little bit. I hear what you are saying about being a member of a larger organization. I see the same. I’m seeking a large org for exactly that reason. You also suggest you see the value of the small team relationships that form. Where I am confused, and wonder if we are seeing the same thing, is that you seem to see them as separate things. Your answer seems to force one to choose between being in a large team on a division or in a small team out alone and unafraid.

My time in the USMC has taught that both are required and work together. At one point in history, I was a member of an F-18 squadron, VMFA-212. We were a family that went by the moniker “Lancers.” We were a close knit group of fools having the time of our lives. We were also part of a Marine Air Wing and a part of it’s larger mission. That overarching mission gave us the sense of purpose and delineated what we would train for and what we would not train to. The Squadron and the larger MAW were part of the larger Marine Corps. The assets (planes) and the vision came from the 'Big" Marine Corps. When push came to shove, however, what gave us the daily meaning was not the USMC or the MAW, but the buddies that we ate and slept with.

I observe that your group’s current structure covers 2/3 of what I think forms a stable para/military organization. You have the top order organization and the division into mission areas. Both are great, and far exceed what most orgs have bothered to outline. Camaraderie only forms in enduring relationships, however, which is fostered well in regular small teams. I believe ADI would be better served by encouraging small team relationships like squads, companies, and squadrons, but it seems that ADI is, in fact, hostile to them believing they lead to a feeling of entitlement or favoritism. What is a great strength is interpreted as a risk and you force a destructive choice when it should be additive.

Perhaps my real world experience is invalid in this context. I’ve never been part of a virtual team like this so I am only extrapolating from what I do understand. Maybe it actually works out fine. Perhaps the clock and normal availability patterns pares down players so esprit de corps forms naturally under the larger organization.

I look forward to your rebuttal and clarifications.

Respectfully yours,

Wild Bill Hickock

If I may jump in here (and I’m sure Rob will follow up with a more eloquent response later - I’m on mobile at the moment), Bill - your last paragraph hit the nail EXACTLY on the head. We are by no means against people becoming friends and hanging out with the people they find themselves playing with regularly, but we are careful to avoid regulating their structure at that lower level so as to maintain flexibility around our biggest rule, Real Life First (RLF).

A good portion of the members of the org (including senior leadership) are ex-military and I am sure can identify with your experiences working in squads (I am an Eagle Scout and can pull from that experience as well, although it’s not military) - that bond and familiarity can be both incredibly powerful and incredibly useful in the day to day and in one’s enjoyment of the game. With the game so far out, so in flux, and members’ activity levels so subject to change (both on a day-to-day basis per RLF and on a macro, a-lot-can-change-in-18-plus-months basis), we are trying to avoid forming too many small groups that will inevitably change down the line and make re-integration of new teams difficult. By fostering the large group culture first and letting the small team culture grow organically, we hope to make these transitions more natural.

TL;DR: Small teams are great and we fully expect groups of friends to naturally form as well as know that we’ll be working on smaller teams for various ops once we get in game, but we’re avoiding forming them now so we can solidify the large-group bond (ADI:divisions::USMC:MAW) while the game and org are still coming together.

Bill,

I’m one of the Board Members here at ADI, and a former USAFR officer, we have a number of current and prior military members in Leadership positions within the org. Military experience is a great asset, and we like having more prior military people within the org.

But, online gaming is not the military and a lot of organization skills, and methods we learned do not apply directly.

Small teams don’t work, and here is why… in real life you train with the same fire team or squad day in and day out, you don’t go into the field without all or most of that team… In this environment that doesn’t happen… maybe for a couple hours a week you’d have the same 5-10 guys on, but day in and day out the group you’re playing with changes organically.

Because, of that we must have a fluid structure that allows for people to play when they want, without placing limitations on them… If you have a small 10 or 20 man team, with a leader, and a couple of squad leaders, and 2 of your players are on, but need access to a base, or a ship only the squad leaders have access to, they’re limited by the command structure and can’t have fun.

So the smallest organizational unit must be much larger than a squad, or even a platoon. And that structure must be fluid so that any player in that team can work with any other, and that any TL can approve or lead adhoc ‘squads’ as they organically form and play the game.

Now don’t get me wrong, you’ll have friends, and make new one’s, and play with them often… to the point they’ll seem like a squad, or a fire team. But, you’ll also have other members you’ll play with less often, just because one of your core groups isn’t around on a given day at a given time. Our method of using large teams, that provide flexibility for your day to day schedule works.

The management team, came from very popular large simulator based games, such as ArmA 2/3, Falcon 4 BMS, where we had to learn how to manage these issues. This isn’t our first rodeo, and truly believe from experience this is the best organizational method for ADI moving forward.

I hope you’ll trust us, and join, this is the ADI culture. Either way, look forward to seeing you in the 'verse.

I am brand new here at ADI. I do not know a lot of the members yet, nor do I have a complete grasp on the entirety of the org. The one thing that I do know for a fact, is that these cats mean business. If you want a professional, well trained, awesome group of guys/gals to fly along side you and get things done… Look no further. I am proud and happy to have found ADI, and I can not wait to continue my training. One day when folks like yourself come along asking the questions you laid forth here… I might have some wise advice to go along with the words that I type. o7 Hope you find your place here mate and I look forward to meeting you.
-Levo