Typecasting [EVE-O]

Somebody recently told me that, since I’m a woman working in the male-dominated games industry, I ought to be super competitive. Mind, this was another woman telling me this over a game of pool that she was getting absolutely rabid about, and pool is a game where I’m far more interested in making that tricky shot than in actually winning.

But no, I don’t consider myself particularly competitive. I prefer to succeed over my own best than over another person’s worst.

People talk a lot about personality types. Alpha types, and Beta types; those who lead and those who follow. But there’s one personality type that isn’t considered very much, yet shines brightest in games such as EVE Online.

As long as we’re talking pack mentality, let’s break it down. Alpha-male/female is the ambitious leader type. You’ll find them starting corporations, displaying initiative in new mercantile or wormhole ventures, and FCing immense operations. Beta-male/female gravitates towards strong, charismatic leadership, and while they’re not the pushovers that makes them sound, they prefer to sit back and enjoy the ride.

But then you get your Lone Wolf-type personalities. These are the sorts of players who will happily sit in the passenger seat with the Betas, but when they see a need for something that they can provide, they’ll rarely let someone else take the credit for it. If they end up in a disagreeable situation, their first response is to say, “Bugger this for a game of soldiers, then, you boys have fun with that,” and go looking for something that benefits them more.

Do you know what happens when Lone Wolves choose to lead? You get corporations started by someone who’s fed up with everything else and who just wants to dance to their own drum for a while. good examples of this quality are Hellcats and Veto. (I would love to give more examples, but I’ve little experience with other corporations that aren’t headed up by an A-type.)

As leaders, Lone Wolf personality types appeal to all personality types: An Alpha will see opportunity for easy advancement, a Beta will see a charismatic leader, and other Lone Wolves will see a kindred spirit who will likely understand them better than most. A Lone Wolf who takes a leadership position will often be bemused by the number of followers they acquire.

There are some very positive points about Lone Wolves as leaders:

– They’re fantastic at figuring out who’s best for what jobs and delegating accordingly; they prefer to be able to trust people to do things well, rather than taking the full task upon themselves and becoming overloaded and stressed out.
– Speaking of stress, they prefer to avoid it as much as possible and make certain that everyone is enjoying things the way they are; if people aren’t happy, they’ll be diplomatic and try to find a solution.
– They won’t kick up a fuss if a few corp members decide to go do their own thing for a while; they understand that everyone needs a break, and you won’t get kicked out if you choose to take time off to build up your wallet or go on a killing spree in Providence for a weekend.
– They’ll encourage their followers to develop their skills and experience independently in areas of personal interest, rather than shoe-horning people into roles that need to be filled. This may leave fleet complements lopsided, but it ensures that, whatever each member is flying, they’ve got damn good with it.
– Lone Wolf leaders bear no ill will to followers who decide the group isn’t a good fit and who choose to leave without rancour. They understand that your personal comfort in the group is important to you, and won’t attempt to guilt-trip you into staying.

Balancing those good points, however, are a few very strong negatives:

– Alphas expecting an easy ride to the top are guaranteed to be disappointed; Lone Wolves do not do rank progression. Positions of responsibility are granted as part of the delegation process to corporate members who have earned the privilege; seniority has little to do with it.
– Betas hoping for a guiding hand may swiftly become disenchanted: Lone Wolves expect those following them to be able to make their own fun when bored, rather than relying wholly on the leadership.
– While diplomatic and largely democratic, it is still the Lone Wolf’s party, and if they want to listen to The Prodigy, that’s what’s going on the sound system. A benevolent dictator, they will listen to all concerns and input, and every bit of it will matter, but the final decision is all theirs; if you don’t like it, you can either deal with it, or take your toys and go elsewhere.
– Lone Wolves favour their own. This isn’t out of any sort of personality type nepotism; it’s a subliminal preference for others who share similar qualities and the feeling that they can trust them more with responsibilities
– If the Lone Wolf gets tired of leading, the group will fall apart shortly thereafter. They ARE the glue holding things together, sitting behind the steering-wheel while the rest of the group provides the power. Power without guidance can end you up in a lake or halfway up a tree, neither of which is an ideal position to rebuild from.

Your CEO may be a Lone Wolf if:

– They allow the corporate membership autonomy and prefer to let the directors do the leading.
– When challenged by another player on a point of skill or knowledge, they either shrug it off or readily admit that they aren’t an expert. Lone Wolves don’t see the point in proving themselves in front of others, as long as they know where their own strengths and weaknesses lie.
– If a member leaves in a fit of pique, the standard response is, “Well, fuck ’em.” lone Wolves aren’t going to go to great lengths to retain people who are easily upset.

Care and feeding of your Lone Wolf leader:

– Do take initiative. Even if it’s not your thing, pushing your personal comfort zone will earn you respect; doing so and achieving success may earn you a bit more responsibility further down the line.
– Don’t badger them. Pestering your Lone Wolf CEO is the easiest way to find yourself back in NPC corp without a second chance.
– Remember that they call the shots. You could argue their decision til you’re blue in the face, or you can save yourself the effort and choose whether to try it or go elsewhere.
– If you have an issue with something, bloody well say so. Nursing a grudge will lose you those valuable Lone Wolf Respect Points. Bonus respect points if you can work out personal differences between yourself and another corpmate without coming to blows.
– Do remember that they aren’t mind-readers. They won’t know there’s a problem if you say nothing; conversely, they won’t know you’re enjoying things if you stay silent. Communication is a key feature of the Lone Wolf’s social contracts; use it wisely and well.

Cross-posted from SweetLittleBadGirl