Boom-Boom Room, Cosmic Ventures HQ on Cassel, Goss system
20th March 2944
Impromptu Interview during book signing...
Interviewer: I’d like to ask some general questions about your organization.
Capt. Bruce: I would be glad to answer any questions you have.
Interviewer: So, what is the purpose of your Organization?
Capt. Bruce: I know it sounds cliche, but to have fun. A fun, healthy environment, where mature gamers can work together and accomplish their personal goals while helping others with theirs. We are lucky to have a large group of people who have known each other for over a year and a half, solely through the Star Citizen Universe. In general there are a few things I have envisioned that a few “experienced” MMO members have felt would be difficult for members to embrace.
Interviewer: What sorts of things?
Capt. Bruce: For example: No one is going to hold any membership Tier prior to the game coming out, except maybe in the Beta depending on whether they do a full reset of the universe or not. On the same note, we do not want members to feel their time in Alpha and Beta was a waste. So, we are developing a chart that will allow members who join prior to game release, the ability to fairly utilize their time in the organization without being unfair to members who join after game release.
Interviewer: So, everyone has to work their way up?
Capt. Bruce: Yes, so to speak. What most organizations would refer to as Ranks, we call Tiers and view them more like membership levels within a club. The higher Tiers allow access to a wider variety of Roles, as well as greater influence and responsibilities.
Interviewer: What do you mean when you say “Tier”?
Capt. Bruce: A Tier isn’t a rank. You aren’t promoted or have it awarded to you. It is requested and accepted by the individual member, and based on their personal level of ambition. By that I mean- after you have met your current Tiers requisite time requirements, you submit a request to move up to the next Tier Level and, after interviewing with the appropriate council, they will assign it to you. Members then would have additional Roles available to them, and their Donations percentage will increase based on the Tier.
Interviewer: And what kinds of rights and responsibilities would you get for your Tier?
Capt. Bruce: As more game mechanics are released we will modify the appropriate Tier, but, a few examples would be - Tier 1 allows you to join Ventures within CV, Tier 2 allows you to start a Venture, and at Tier 3 you are eligible to serve on the Curiati Assembly and manage company factories. In Tier 4 you are eligible to serve on the Board Of Regents, while at Tier 5 you are eligible to serve a term as the overall Consul of CV. As a side note, your Tier level as well as Tier tenure are both variables in the formula for your bi-annual stipend.
Interviewer: I can see how this would make your organization unique. Why do you do it that way?
Capt. Bruce: It makes sure we only have members who truly want to give more to the organization in the higher Tiers, the ones who put their money where their mouth is, so to speak. At the same time, allows people to contribute as much or little as they desire. Of course, holding a Tier will allow certain rights and responsibilities, but it is geared so that if you want to stay at Tier 0 there is nothing wrong with that. You aren’t penalized for enjoying being a worker bee. Also, and this is a very important benefit, some Roles will subtract a certain percentage from your overall Donation amount, so that the more Roles you accept the less you pay in Donations.
Interviewer: Are Roles and Tiers different?
Capt. Bruce: Yes, Tiers are levels of leadership and decision making that you accept based on how much of your time and energy you wish to give to CV; Whereas Roles are assigned based on your specific skills. Roles include managing specific tasks, as well as functional leadership. Also, you can look at Tiers as the symbolic doorway to certain Roles. Some specific Roles will not be available to members until they accept a certain Tier level.
Interviewer: Can you give an example of a Role?
Capt. Bruce: It can be a job in-game (Weapon Over-Clocking Analyst) or in real life supporting the game (Web Tech for the organization).
nterviewer: You mentioned requesting support, and also that CV takes Donations from its members. What kind of support does CV provide and how do those Donations come into play?
Capt. Bruce: I’ll give an example: After reaching Tier 2, I want to start a Venture within CV, like a refueling business. I would submit my business proposal to the Curiati Assembly so they can examine it and decide whether it is financially viable (this would include if there are other like Ventures already operating in that System, or does the Owner want to use 20 Auroras to haul fuel, etc). If it is viable, they allow me a Venture permit. But lets say I do not have a Tanker, I can ask CV to buy it for me. Then, based on certain variables, including, but not limited to, my Time-Of-Membership (Length of Membership), Tier Level (Current Tier), Tier Tenure, Number of Prior Stipends Requested, and Total Amount of Donations, they will give me a specific amount of credits towards purchasing that Tanker. In some situations a member could also request money to pay off any bounties you get, depending on the situation. If we are able to meet our organizational goals, we will even be able to give all of our members an annual bonus, but that will be up to our Accountants and Council Members to decide if we can afford it or not. Of course, any money you receive is a gift, not a loan. You will not be required to pay it back.
Interviewer: So in that way, CV works like any real world business corporation.
Capt. Bruce: Yes. I call it an Umbrella Corp, because it will have multiple Ventures, but I guess it is more like a Holding Corp. I do not claim to be a corporate lawyer or hold a PhD in business, so the terms may not be correct in the real world, but it works for the game environment.
Interviewer: I get what you mean. Are there any currently planned Ventures?
Capt. Bruce: Yep, but we are still working on how to best handle those in Alpha and Beta. Without members in the actual Tiers being established how do you decide who can do what? It would seem like a “horse before the cart” scenario. The latest train of thought is for the members who have already joined, to allow their time in Alpha and Beta to count and thereby, allow certain Roles to be filled. Once we decide it is time to actually “go live”, we will give those members the opportunity to continue in that Role, or to relinquish it.
Interviewer: For someone who might not be acquainted with the CV team, this model might seem like a “long shot”. How confident are you that CV will really do well?
Capt. Bruce: I know that my ideas are radical and outside the box thinking compared to most of the organizations in SC. I have been told that I have an Utopian view about online communities. I've been called naive. These things are all true. In other words: come join us if you are ready to take a chance, but if risk scares you, it is best to stay where you are. I do believe that whether my ideas work or not, our group is very committed and packed with very intelligent members, who are able to adapt wherever we need and insure we are successful. Most importantly, we will definitely have fun
Interviewer: Have you figured out the percentage that you will be charging people who move up in tier?
Capt. Bruce: That is something the whole organization will have to get together and discuss. We’ve talked about progressions including Tier 0- 5%; Tier 1-10%; Tier 2-15%; Tier 3-20%; Tier 4-30%; Tier 5-50%; but as of now, they are truly just placeholders until the Beta (Economic phase).
Interviewer: Wow. 50% monthly as a Consularis. That's quite a bit.
Capt. Bruce: We may have secondary figures for tiers 4 and 5 since everyone that is Tier 4 can’t serve on the Board Of Regents (BoR) at once. They will rotate, probably semi-annually, so by that scale for an acting BoR Member, it would be 30%. If holding that Tier, but not on the Board, maybe 25%. For Tier 5, 50% if you are acting Consul, 40% for just holding the tier Consularis, or maybe vice-versa. At 40 and 50 percent, you will only get people who truly are committed to CV which will hold that position and therefore, only people who have the members of CV best interests at heart.
Interviewer: How do you plan to distribute jobs?
Capt. Bruce: Well, during Alpha and Beta, everyone will be Tier 0 but there will be Roles that people can be assigned if they volunteer. We will have a webpage where tasks that need to be accomplished are listed, like a bulletin board where members can "take those bulletins" off the board as they accept the job, whether it is a long term or short term job. Once the universe is live, we will have “Ventures” like I mentioned before.
Interviewer: What kind of jobs will you be accepting?
Capt. Bruce: Anything that needs to be done prior to the game releasing such as marketing functions like creating posters, videos, propaganda items, and others. Technical jobs like forum management, teamspeak admin, will be included as well. That way, we don't go around overloading people with work, it stays there on the board until a member wants to volunteer to do it.
Interviewer: Tell me more about your Ventures.
Capt. Bruce: Well to start with, there will be no micro-management. When the member applies for his Venture permit, he will state whether the Venture will opt to pay the set quota and make its members exempt from the Tier Donation or keep the individual Tier Donation for all members. The Curiati Assembly will set the amount of quota when they issue the permit. If the quota option is selected, then as long as they meet it, hands off. If they have trouble, then the Council is there to assist in getting them on track, probably assigning the Venture a Mentor(a Role for members). If they just can not make a profit, their permit will be pulled and they will have to apply for another Venture Permit in the future. Until then, they are free to run however they wish. With the Caveat that it doesn’t cause any bad publicity to Cosmic Ventures as a whole.
Interviewer: What happens with a Venture’s income after they’ve met their quota?
Capt. Bruce: That is up to the Venture, anything above and beyond the quota is theirs to handle how they like. They might feed it back into their business, or just split it up and distribute it among their employees- whatever they think is best. An example: A member starts a salvage operation. There are 5 of them, 1 Tier 2(Venturion) the owner, 4 and Tier 1’s. After one month, and having the UEE already taking their tax out, there is 1 mil credits left. It is up to the owner how his group splits the money, say he takes 60% and he splits the remainder evenly between the other 4 (10% each). If he has chosen the Quota system, and the Quota is set at 200k a month, he has 800k remaining. So he gets 480k and each crewmember 80k. Now if they had just kept the normal Donation system, he at Tier 2, donates 15% of his 60%(600k) or 90000 to CV (he pockets 510k) and each member at Tier 1, 10% gives 10k to CV (each pocketing 90k). Again, nothing is in stone, this is just to show the formulas and options.
Interviewer: Are people allowed to work on multiple Ventures?
Capt. Bruce: Yes, as far as CV is concerned, but both leaders of the Ventures involved, would have to agree to allow that agent to work with another Venture. Another thing, only Tier 1 and above members of CV can be hired to join, and you cannot recruit from outside CV for your Venture.
Interviewer: So each Venture is basically its own company and players have to join CV first and be Tier 1 before they can be accepted into a Venture.
Capt. Bruce: Correct, and essentially they are, but each is supported and united by CV.
Interviewer: So, what do potential members or Tier 0 (Auxilia) do until then?
Capt. Bruce: They are independent agents, or contractors, allowed to work with other CV members, but will have to pay the monthly Donation as opposed to contributing to the Ventures Monthly Quota of a Venture they are working. The monthly Donations that agents would pay, will need to be carefully balanced with the percentage they have to contribute to help their Venture make its Quota, if they join a venture. In other words, if you want to work with a Venture, you can not be counted as part of the crew. It is up to the owner to pay that individual and it will be after all calculations are done for figuring Quotas and/or Member Donation percentages.
Interviewer: What kinds of work are available to Auxilia?
Capt. Bruce: They can be hired by Cosmic Ventures, but they will be paid individually. There will also be CV Spheres of Influence which will be manned by Tier 3 CV members to contract and pay the these independent agents (Auxilia) to perform as guards/escorts, or transport goods to and from our factories, or other tasks.
Interviewer: It sounds like there are details to “iron out”.
Capt. Bruce: Before we get started, we will sit down with as many members as possible, and brainstorm. If I’m an Auxilia and don't want to join a Venture and instead I choose to fly my own missions, maybe team up with other Venture members, or non-Venture members to make money and I pay my 5% to CV. What I get back, is being part of a larger group that I can call on for help, or share information, not to mention I can still request the financial support I mentioned earlier; not very much based on my Tier, but time in service counts. Thats why they are labeled as Auxilia,, they are really free to make money however they wish and only have to pay a small monthly amount to gain some company benefits. Not to mention the security and prestige of being part of something larger.
Interviewer: Are you worried about the Venture set up dividing the organization too much?
Capt. Bruce: Divide because of competition of Agents or Work?
Interviewer: Work. For instance, what would happen if people decide to set up two of the same type of companies to do bounty hunting or security escort?
Capt. Bruce: It’s a big damn universe out there, but that is a primary function of the Curiati Assembly. They look at each proposed business and see if it is going to be in an area or system where there is already a business. If so, they evaluate whether there is enough business there to make the new Venture financially viable. If not, they look at optional systems in which to start. If nothing else, when they are both working in the same system they can work towards "price fixing" the business there. For example: I am a bounty hunter and I see a bounty, get it assigned from the bounty hunting Guild, and put out the word to my organization. Another bounty hunter in CV will be aware that I’ve taken it and doesn't have to take it and instead they can work with me to claim it, or they can take it by their self/themselves. I would not be upset over that, it is going to happen whether you are in another Venture or organization or individually. We don’t claim to have all the answers. We can definitely adjust to make things work when we need to, but primarily, I believe we have the type of members that this type of situation would be worked out without any hardship.
Interviewer: You haven’t mentioned the number of possible members, have you thought about what size CV should be?
Capt. Bruce: This is another thing that we will need to work out, but I don’t see it as being a potential problem. We want to be very specific with who is in CV, and it isn’t very likely that we will end up with more members than we can handle if we stick to that. In other words, if we continue to only allow quality members in, the quantity won’t be an issue. I have to add that, I believe it is more an activity level issue than quantity. I think we are striving to have 17-25 members active at any one time, on any given day.
Interviewer: What are CV's plans are regarding the operation of economic nodes? It's been stated that organizations will be able to own property like mines or factories, does CV plan on owning a production chain of some sort or is it just going to independently move cargo from nodes owned by others?
Capt. Bruce: So, if you look at the CV structure (http://www.cosmicventures.org/structure.html) or for more detail (http://www.cosmicventures.org/assets/images/CVStructureDetailed.png) at Tier 3 (or Title Curiae), we have a manufacturing sphere of influence. Tier 0's and 1's will be able to support our Venture’s commodity needs to run a specific factory. There will be an Advisory Committee that looks at each Factory, its location in the Universe, as well as its potential uses in the creation of other commodities, and guide the company in the most efficient and cost effective creation of the next Factory. It is the penultimate goal to daisy chain each Factory with the next Factory built, in an effort to make them symbiotic (grow from each other, feed each other).
Interviewer: What is the purpose of the Spheres of influence? How do they influence the Ventures? I understand how the Manufacturing sector would influence the Tier 0 & 1's since they are factory owners and have specific needs, but I'm curious about the Recreation, Products, and Services spheres and how they work.
Capt. Bruce: The SOI's are more like what others may call Divisions or Departments, but within those Spheres will be Tier 3 guys that will act as managers and mentors for the Venture owners in Tier 2, as well as have the opportunity to serve on the Curiati Assembly (which reviews and approves all Venture applications). Also, at this Tier you can manage the company owned Factories. The SOI’s will be very organized in regards to supporting all Ventures that are operating within them.
Interviewer: What are the purposes of the Senate, Plebian and Curiati councils/assemblies? Is each dedicated to a specific project, task or sector? How do they influence CV as a whole?
Capt. Bruce: The Senate members are chosen by the acting Consul, from any members who are 50+ years of age. They counsel him in general matters, common sense situations that make their years of experience valuable. The Plebian Council is made up of CV members that have a lot of experience in online gaming/MMO's, those that have run online organizations before. They will run personal “political campaigns” to promote why they feel they should serve on the council. They are elected by their peers, and provide counsel to the Consul in matters dealing with in and out of game mechanics. The Curiati is made up of Tier 3 members who have owned a Venture within CV. They provide counsel on matters specifically affecting CV in-game and are selected by the BoR. Now, each Council will elect a chairman and that chairman serves on the BoR. Seven members total, these 3 CM's and 4 selected Tier 4 members. These 7, basically oversee the general operations of Cosmic Ventures and work hand-in-hand with the Consul to promote and manage the whole organization.
Interviewer: Thanks for your time Capt. Bruce, best of luck and see you in the ‘verse!
Capt. Bruce: It was a pleasure talking to you Brother. I look forward to chatting with you again sometime.