Part 2 of this guide centers primarily on choosing a null-sec corp and alliance. Part 3 focuses on your first few weeks in that corp or alliance.
Again and again during this section, I'm going to make reference to your "primary driver" for moving to null-sec. This is the reason, chosen in Part 1, that you want to move to null-sec. What is it that you want to get out of the experience? Whether it's the sovereignty war, PvP, null-sec care-bearing, or whatever, it's important that you keep this primary driver in mind as you choose, join, and start to participate in the activities of your new null-sec corp.
This is not a step that you can skip! If you can't quickly and briefly lay out why you want to move to null-sec, not only should you not do so, but you probably won't be doing so. Every recruiter in every null-sec corp in EVE is going to ask you why you want to move to null. Have a reason. Be able to express it. If you don't or you can't, then that recruiter or his corp's directors are going to reject your application. And don't be disappointed if your reason causes a recruiter to say that his corp or alliance is probably not for you. As I said in part 1, don't chase someone else's dream. If the way you want to have fun in EVE doesn't match the way members of your dream null-sec corp have fun, then getting into that particularly prestigious null-sec corp isn't going to matter to you after a few weeks or months anyway because you're not having fun!
One other thing. The best piece of advice I can give you during this part of the guide is: be patient. Take your time and move slow. I will be repeating this advice frequently, in a variety of situations in Parts 2 and 3 of this Guide.
Choosing a corp
This is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Choosing a new corp to join in EVE is one of the most difficult tasks there is in this game, even when null-sec isn't involvd. Even if you only consider corps that live 100% of their time in null-sec, there are still hundreds to choose from, at all activity levels, time zones, and styles of playing the game. Many -- but certainly not all! -- corps in null-sec will also be members of alliances, even if that alliance is limited to the corp itself and a very few satellite, allied, or alt corps. As a result, most of the time you make the decision to move to null-sec, you're making a choice not only to join a corp, but that corp's alliance.
I recommend starting by reading this excellent article at Ten Ton Hammer. Some of the points in that article, I made in Part 1 of this guide. But you'll find other tips in that article that are also quite helpful. In particular, though, if you are new to null-sec, I recommend in the strongest possible terms that you seek out a viable, existing, long-term null-sec corporation. Many null-sec corps and alliances that are accepting new members, you'll find, are new to null-sec themselves, or are otherwise just getting up to speed in null. This can be a fine choice for someone who is experienced in null-sec. But if you're just starting out, this is not the right choice for you. You want to first learn null under the wings of players who have lived there for a while.
In Part 1, I urged you to consider your primary driver toward null-sec: that single most important thing to you that you wanted to get out of the null-sec experience. Once you decide that, though, there are certain minimums that you should expect from your new null-sec corp or alliance before you should even consider joining them as someone who is new to null-sec:
- They need a private message forum of some kind. This is non-optional.
- They need a private voice communications method of some kind. This is also non-optional.
- Even if they are not involved in PvP at all, they should have some form of kill-board. And,
- They should have a good number of members publicly active in your time-zone.
There are four or five ways you can start to look for an ideal null-sec corp.
- Recruiting threads on forums are a good place to start. Often, the first post in these threads provide detailed information of what that corp is about and the activities that they pursue. I find the recruiting threads on Failheap Challenge and on the EVE-O forums themselves the most useful. Still, there are lots of other similar places to look.
- Often, you'll have an idea of a null-sec corp that you want to join for some reason, either because you like their videos or because you've fought them or because you've read news stories about them and like how they operate.
- You can seek out advice from people that you trust (for whatever reason) regarding corps that they should consider. This probably happens more than all the other ways of choosing a corp combined, I suspect.
- You can watch killboards, looking for corps that are active at time periods that you are able to play the game.
- If you're looking for a more null-bear experience and have some type of bearing in mind in particular, you can look at the dotlan maps of null-sec to find corps that participate in these activities. For instance, if you want to take financial advantage of GSF's Blue Ice interdiction in high-sec, you can seek out corps that have access to Thick Blue Ice in null.
And then start asking questions.
Once you start narrowing down your list of potential corps, start expressing more interest! This will almost certainly lead to some form of "first interview". First interviews in null-sec corps happen in a variety of ways. Sometimes, you will be explicitly pointed toward that corp's forums. In the public section, you'll find a recruiting thread that you're asked to post to. Other times, a recruiter in the corp's public channel will conduct a first interview either in a private chat channel, or right there in their public channel.
However it happens, this first interview is just that: a first interview. You probably aren't speaking to a corp director or other decision-maker. Most of the time, in fact, you'll find that you're talking to someone who's been in the corp himself for five or six months and has been asked to act as the corp's recruiter. This happens because recruiting for null-sec corps is hard work, and is a thankless job. Nobody lasts in the job for long, and they are replaced quickly with newer players. It's a path to corp leadership, though, so if you're at all interested in corp leadership, you'll probably have to spend at least some time as a recruiter, learning the challenges the corp faces in this area.
Expect to be asked variants on the following questions:
- Why do you want to move to null-sec and/or what do you want to get out of null-sec?
- Why should we recruit you? What do you have to offer?
- Why are you considering us?
- How do you make ISK? Can you continue to make ISK if you move to null? If so, how?
- Can you provide ships, mods, ammo, and the like for yourself in null if needed?
- What are your long-term plans in EVE?
- Why are you leaving your current corp? (if you have one)
However, during the first interview, it is also perfectly acceptable for you to ask questions of your own. These questions should rank high on your list:
- How many players are active during my time zone?
- What kinds of scheduled ops should I expect during my time zone?
- Are there required CTAs, and if so, what kind?
- What kind of freebies or assistance does your corp offer its members?
- (If you're applying to a PvP corp...) What is your corp's reimbursement policy?
- What is your corp's logistical backbone? Jump bridges, jump freighters, carriers, etc.?
Once you learn where a null-sec corp lives, you are absolutely within your rights to put a cheap clone (or possibly an alt) into a Warp Core stabbed, MWD-equipped fast frigate and travel to your potential new corp's home space! Get a feel for the area. Learn how many camps that you can expect to encounter on the way. Once you're there, scout around a bit, see what ships are being flown, how many people are in local and (if the corp you're considering lives in NPC null) dock up and see how many are docked up with you. This is part of your verification that the information that you're being provided is true. If the corp still looks promising at this point and you get an alt into the proper system, go ahead and log out, leaving that alt there. If you can dock up your main and jump clone out, do so.(1)
Assuming your first interview goes well, expect there to be a second interview. Expect this second interview to be carried out by one of the corp's directors or more senior recruiters. It will probably happen on Teamspeak or Ventrilo, and will probably go over much the same ground that was went over in your first interview. Don't be discouraged. This is how the process works. Many null-sec corps are infiltrated by spies, and this process is used to try to weed them out a bit. In addition, I'll say again: be patient. Often, it will be a few days between the first interview and the second, and a few more between the second interview and your hearing a decision. In fact, I daresay that as long as your waiting period isn't excessive, this wait of a few days or even a week is a sign of a healthy corp with a good recruiting process.
It's important during these interview to keep your mind fixed on your goal: again, what is your primary driver for wanting to move to null? Make sure your potential new corp is compatible with this goal. Do not let anyone make fun of you or make you feel bad for this goal, whatever it is. EVE is a game! It's supposed to be fun. You're allowed to have fun in EVE in whatever way you like, even if that way is incomprehensible to others. If your recruiters don't see the value in your primary driver, then you're interviewing with the wrong corp. Don't get discouraged. The right corp is out there.
One last thing: avoid corp recruiting scams! No matter what anyone tells you, no reputable null-sec corp or alliance has recruiting fees. You are doing them a service by joining. Null-sec corps and alliances need members. They need you, or if they don't need you, they need some other EVE player. When they find the players they want, they're not going to charge those players a recruiting fee. Membership fees and taxes may be charged, once you're in a null sec corp.(2) Some corps have this, some don't. But these are very different things. Taxes are moneys taken off your mission and rat bounties. They're used to pay corp expenses, depending on the services that the corp provides. Membership fees are usually monthly dues of some kind, generally payable to the alliance to which the corp is a member of (Alliances currently don't have automatic means of making ISK to pay their own expenses). However, this sort of fee or tax gets assessed after you've joined, not before. And it will not be arbitrary or excssive where it exists... a few million ISK at most per member is typical. Almost always, if this sort of fee is being assessed, there will be a clear method that you're expected to use to make the ISK to pay it (such as ratting). And always always always, there will be some delay until the fee is first expected of you, usually the first of the month after you join.
Corps might be charged a fee to join a prestigious alliance, or alliances might be charged a rental fee to move into null-sec. But individual players will never be charged such a fee, at least not by reputable corps or alliances. If you're asked to pay such a fee, run... do not walk in the other direction.
Sooner or later, you'll make a decision. Sooner or later, the corp you've chosen will also choose you. And that's where Part 3 will begin.
(1) If you get killed on the way, try again, and again, and again, until you make it. Trust me, this is going to be good practice for getting around null on your own. And for null-sec newbies, don't try to use direct high-sec to null-sec gates. Find a path to get you to the right location using low-sec as your means of entry. Most high-sec to low-sec gates aren't camped, whereas most high-sec to null-sec gates are. Take a few more jumps and get where you're going via a few (or not so few) jumps through low-sec.
Checking in on your new potential corp-mates in this way is an excellent means of seeing if they "rattle". If they tell you during the interview process that they are a PvP corp, but then you jump into their system in a frigate and you see lots of Ravens cloaking or docking up...
(2) This is after you are accepted into the corp and are wearing that corp's ticker, not before.