First of all this isn't a recruitment thread, it's a fact finding mission and I am hoping anyone who takes the time to answer will not only help me, but also other fleets who want to have more comprehensive answers to questions available to those looking for fleets.
We all play an MMO, one of the main advantages of this game set up is that it allows us to play with others, to group and forge new friendships along the way. For that reason your fleet can either negatively or positively impact your game to quite a surprising degree. I have met people who finding a fleet have made them realise just how great MMO's are, and conversely those in a bad fleet find it saps their enjoyment and fun right out of the game it's self.
That's why my personal advice for anyone looking for a fleet would be shop around, visit sites, talk to people and if you join one and it's not what you want...leave and find another.
Fleets are important and this sandbox is large enough that their is room for all manner of fleets and communities. In summary what YOU are looking for IS out there. We as fleets just need to help you find it. Which is where this post comes in.
I am going to hold my hand up and say I am a truly sucky player, I play for fun and any attempts to educate me are hard for the person doing it as I don?t have the min/max frame of mind at all. You are looking at the player who drove a rainbow boat for a YEAR because it was preeety....
There is some fleets that if they saw me coming would quite rightly bar their doors, so why am I never unfleeted. Well what I lack in game smarts I make up for in the fact I can code websites, forums and am, if I do say so myself a very good graphic artist. That means I am useful, very much so, to my fleet out of game.
So I am working on our website and it occurred to me, it would be helpful to have all the information someone who is looking for a fleet would ask for, in easy access. This saves you time, as it means you can look and know if we are the fleet for you after a bit of light reading, and hopefully with your help I can have an idea of the questions you ask, when looking for a fleet.
Hi there read your message and just wanted to give you a few pointers. I guess you can take a look at our site at www.libertytaskforce.com for some ideas. The website should have an "About Us" page with a mission or vision statement. You should have some forums with enough different topics for people to post. Perhaps some polls to make it interactive and such. Your general rules should be posted somewhere along with how you handle promotions and fleet bank/provisions permissions.
Hope this helps some, don't know exactly what you were looking for.
Few things I've noticed from players out there looking for fleets and other stuff:
A lot of fleets are small. There are some larger fleets out there who are top of the chain in all the various areas, but for the most part the vast majority are smaller fleets, or larger fleets with a lot of inactives.
For players searching, it seems everyone wants that T5 fleet where they can get the T5 ships out the door. They hop from fleet to fleet searching. Personally, when someone joins OP just to turn around and hop on out, it's irritating to me. I have no problem if you're simply looking for a T5 shipyard, let me know or others know in your message that says your looking for a fleet.
Often I see "Looking for a fleet to join" and I'll send a message and tell them a bit about OP before I send an invite, only after 3 seconds to have them pop out of fleet again and resume their looking for a fleet message.
Just be honest about what you're looking for, say up front what your looking for and save both fleets that are looking for active players as well as yourself some time and trouble with the invite / leave issue. This is probably the biggest annoyance of mine personally when doing recruiting nights.
I would just like to also say that being clear and honest with what your looking for, whether your a fleet or a player is very important. Also if you have a website, it helps having an easy to navigate site. I personally find not having too many rules also helps or at least having a concise version to make it easier for visitors to get an understanding of what the fleet is about.
A lot can happen on first impressions and having a chat & getting to know people can build a clearer picture of the person looking for a fleet and the fleet that is recruiting.
I could only hope one day there will be an option in game that will display a list of players who have flagged up they are interested in joining a fleet. But this is probably one of the better areas to come to anyway, to find fleets or find players and gain a clearer picture.
I think that the main issue is that the game nearly forces you to join a fleet.
People join because they want better gear so that's what they look for.
The purpose of fleets should be to bring together people with similar interests not a "arms race".
Although I'm not looking for a fleet, these would be the main questions I'd require answers if I were:
-What is the base of this fleet? (Why does it exist)
-What is(are) this Fleet main objective(s)
-What is expected of me?
-What is the current status of the fleet? (number of members and state of development)
-What are it's main rules, regulations and guidelines
I know as someone in a small fleet of friends it has been aggravating to try and build our numbers. We are hitting the part of the Fleet Holdings grind where numbers would be nice, but any time that someone's joined in they've gotten upset and bailed within a day because we weren't Tier V and didn't have our bank open so that could potentially bolt with hundreds of Particle Traces.
Aksmith those are the players you don't want in your fleet anyway. We've also invited a few members that left within seconds...the seconds it takes for someone to realize we aren't Tier V yet and that you can't rob our bank as easily as one would hope.
In fact even our provisions are locked from new members to prevent one member coming in and cleaning our provisions In a single day. We control our provisions closely.
I think what veterans want now from the game is something the game can't offer them and that is a community. Our fleet has grown exponentially in just 2 months of being formed. I believe that players want a community to chat, post, have events, and activities. Fleet lotteries, in-game scavenger hunts, fleet mixers, RP sessions. Just small things like that can set a fleet apart other than just PvP or STF's. having a voice chat also helps a lot to make friends.
I think fleets should be open about what they stand for and what they are about. Blind invites are also not a good idea to do. What a fleet should do is try to build a core group of players and build something around the interests of the core. People will flock to other people having fun...if you build it they will come.
The flip side of robbing the Fleet bank is the Jump Thru Hoops game which some Fleets play. A lot of Fleets are quick to point out what level their Base and Embassy are at. A lot of Fleets seem to only be interested in me as a potential resource generator, not a person. I'm only valuable to this type of Fleet if I can drop Dilithium and Duty Officers on the Starbase by the shipload. And maybe some day, when I've contributed about 1,000,0000,000 Dilithium or Marks to Fleet Projects or the Starbase, I'll be allowed to take one green item which is Mk IV or lower from the Fleet Bank per month. All because I might be a thief and a liar. Thanks, but no. Think I'll pass on that less than generous offer.
What do I want from a Fleet?
1) A Fleet which is not so bloody obsessed with completing their Starbase that all other considerations are secondary.
2) A Fleet where people, not ships or gear or Dilithium, are put first. Far too many Fleets exist where you cannot get promoted past Galley Slave 2nd Class until all of your gear is Mk XII Purple.
3) A Fleet staffed with people who play STO because they want to. And they play all of it. Not just STFs and Fleet Actions.
4) A Fleet where it is possible to just grab some buds and go do whatever.
5) A Fleet where the leadership leads. Instead of just arbitrarily dictating to the peons which part of the Dilithium mines they are going down into today. A leader's first obligation is to serve those being lead.
6) A Fleet which actually does the things the website says it does. Instead of paying lip service to things like helping newer players level up or treating them as part of the team. Lots of Fleets seem to talk about these things but there is a world of difference between talking about such and actually doing them.
7) Lastly, a Fleet which is drama free. Nothing sucks the fun out of a group session faster than unwanted melodrama and disorganization.
"There are warriors and then there are Jade Falcon warriors."
"The only gear a ship or away team requires is a competent Captain."
Agreed and well said. A fleet that is too restrictive is no fun a fleet that is too loose is bound to fall apart. Leadership is very important. As leader of my fleet there are times I come into STO and I don't even play or get to do my dailies because I'm organizing and just doing administrative stuff on the website or in-game. It's okay, I enjoy it. I've been takin a little vacation on Risa lately since it started.
Though browsing around so many fleet websites and reading their requirements I think a lot of fleets are in tune with each other. I've noticed that a lot of fleets put their highest rank between 100,000 - 200,000 total contributions, which I think is not so bad.
As far as bank access there are one or two parts in there that are restricted to admins...where we keep the Zen stuff mainly to reward our members (keys and what not). The rest is pretty liberal. Nevertheless, I have to admit I have a hell of a group of fleet mates that just give and give and ask for so little. For these members I give back whatever I can, yes even if at times I have to dip into my wallet to get some tradable Zen item as reward.
Stuff like that isn't necessary to maintain a good fleet but while I can I don't mind. I think the biggest thing you said is people don't want to be a number. It's important to give everyone a voice at least in some way. In our fleet we have a section in our forums called the Voting Booth where we hold a vote for major fleet stuff. Every member gets a vote and the administration follows with the most popular vote.
I'm from a type of player that would always love to join a fleet/guild/supergroup/etc. but rarely does because of the demands brought upon them. I know a handful of others like me. From those and me, I can add a few things, perhaps:
1.) Is the fleet Family Friendly? If John Doe's kid listens in on the chatter, is he going to hear things his folks wished he didn't know for several more years? Likewise, some players prefer a group where such things can be said freely. Some want to know that this is the fleet for partying. Having a clear definition of these things up front will prevent some problems later.
2.) Is it supportive of a player's needs and schedules? Is John Doe going to get chewed out because he missed Tuesday night raiding to help his kid with homework? In my case, I'm on call to lend assistance with my invalid father. My schedule can be erratic, and I cannot guarantee my presence to anyone not paying my wages. Of those I know like me, this is probably the #1 reason they either don't join a fleet/guild or that they leave one. Having a clear statement up front helps.
3.) Is it courteous to the player? I've had a few guilds elsewhere that insist I go help the new cadet level up, or assist the guild in pvp or other action, when what I logged in to do was push another 2 levels up on my character. I love helping, but I don't want to push it to the exclusion of my needs as well.
Addendum to that: I also watch for and avoid guilds that hunt me down if I'm on another character not associated with the guild, or if they insist I move my characters to their guild.
This category is probably the #2 reason guys like me leave a fleet/guild.
4.) We'll watch for an accurate report of players in the fleet as opposed to characters in the fleet. I've seen several websites (or in-game recruitments) broadcasting "50 players in the guild!" and when you see the list, and who is playing what, you realize that only 9 people are playing all 50.
5.) Similar to #4, I'm going to be looking over the site, its forum, etc. to see when these players or their characters last logged in. (assuming the website links to the game to identify when someone last came online) They may indeed have 50 players, but if 35 of them have not logged in for 3 months, I wonder how viable the guild is.
6.) If there is a forum, I'm going to be looking to see how often the fleet corresponds with each other. Do they often post pictures, drop funny comments about the last raid, frequently leave tips & answer questions, etc.? Frequent, good-natured chatter says a lot about a fleet. So does the opposite.
7.) the look of the website says something as well. Cheap graphics, harsh colors, or hard-to-read fonts give it a look that at least says someone didn't understand what they were doing. But more often I'm left with the feeling that they felt having any old website would magically solve issues and just tossed something haphazardly together. In contrast, I remember one CoH supergroup that had a 1930s theme, and their website was a grand display of Art Deco styling, with pictures, not only of events, but each character. Included were the character backstories for any who submitted them. Made me really sit up and take notice.