February 3, 2015

From Gearing Up to Switching Gears

Some pretty major changes have happened since my last post which was all about getting ready to move out for our first of two back-to-back contracts. I was very excited for them both, despite many misgivings - especially in regards to that first contract I mentioned. Neither of these contracts actually came to pass, however. For me, that was one of the final straws. For reasons such as this, Noir. has decided to leave the Suddenly Spaceships alliance. Before I continue, let me say that I have enjoyed practically every moment in Suddenly Spaceships, and I have a great respect for all the members. No one in Noir. leaves the alliance feeling bitter or upset, and we all come away happy with our time spent. Having said that, it was an unsustainable situation, and I'm glad we're moving on. I'm not going to be naming names, and I'm not trying to make anyone look bad, but I think it's important to be very open and honest about why we're leaving.

Let me first start with our most recent contract. Noir. has, for a long time, avoided taking large tower contracts. They're horribly boring and we burnt ourselves out doing them. We really don't enjoy them; an eight hour tower bash will do that to you. With Suddenly Spaceships we did have the firepower to theoritically take them on again, but we've been unimpressed with both our own experience flying capitals in Noir. (we rarely, if ever use them historically) and Suddenly Spaceships capital fleet FCs. That combination doesn't lead to a confident large tower contract. Nevertheless, despite direct warnings not to do so, we accepted a contract for four medium towers and one large one.

Things started well enough. We deployed smoothly and began hitting towers. The large tower was reinforced without much trouble, in fact, and we reinforced a few of the mediun towers the same day we did the large one - all in the first day of the contract. When we formed up to take the large tower down we were met by a fleet of Easily Excited Ishtars double our fleet size. The night's operations were called off right then and there. Disappointing, but what can you do.

At this point, the Contract Organizer (proper noun, as we'll be coming back to him), who is not a member of Noir., mailed the employer to give an update on the situation. The employer agreed to reenegotiate the contract based on Easily Excited's involvment and agreed that the large tower was no longer on the table. After a few days of no response however, Contract Organizer decided to call the whole thing off then and there. Uh, what? The only time Noir. has ever left a contract early is when we finish it early. That really pissed me off.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the first red flag. This had happened once before, but the leadership in Noir. chalked it up to inexperience and excitement to get started on a contract from Contract Organizer's part. We were assured by Contract Organizer that we were all set up, that all interested parties were involved and on board, and that we'd be paid very handsomely. We deployed the whole alliance (fortunately this was before Phoebe, unlike the most recent contract), only to find out within a few days that nothing was actually in place. The "employer" didn't even know what we were doing there.

Two strikes.

Then we have an alliance leadership meeting in which Contract Organizer informs us all that the second contract we had lined up (which I had been led to believe was bought and paid for) was also being canned because the alliance was going to move staging areas from Taff to Placid to hang out with Cynosorul Field Theory. Really? Three contracts don't pan out because of poor execution? That's unnaceptable in my book.

Luckily we had already decided to leave the alliance by this time, so canceling the upcoming contract didn't even count as strike three for us. Coupled with all these contract snafus were a handful of mindblogging leadership decisions and the unwillingness to take responsibility for leadership errors, instead trying to dump that off on the line members who acted exactly as they were told by the leadership. That's another really big issue for me. A good leader should accept the blame and deflect the praise onto those who help them. There's no way I could do what I do with Noir. Academy if it wasn't for my instructors, and when I make a call that doesn't pan out? It's not their fault; it's mine. Own your mistakes.

Anyway, I should mention that a lot of people were surprised when we announced it in our corporation meeting and I can understand that. All of Noir.'s leadership put a lot of effort into trying to bandage these problems and keep them from affecting the membership. Multiple conversations about these problems had occurred and we had been assured that these issues would be resolved, that things were going to change. Unfortunately they never did.

 The timing did seemed a bit strange from the outside, and I think we may have done a poor job of explaining to people why things were happening now and not later. The order of events was like so:

  1. Planned leadership meeting in which alliance move was brought up. 
  2. Noir. announcing the intent to leave the corporation so that the alliance wouldn't take us into consideration when planning the move. 
  3. Noir. announcing the intent to remain with the alliance to finish out the second contract since it was already in the pipe.
  4. Contract Organizer informing us that the contract had vanished.
  5. Noir. corporation meeting in which it was announced that Noir. would be leaving after the current contract.
  6. Contract Organizer announcing that the current contract had vanished.
From some of our membership's perspective, it looked like we were jumping ship on the alliance and leaving them in a lurch. In reality, if we had delayed informing them any longer, we would have risked causing a severe negative consequence had they made decisions assuming we were going to be there in the next few months.

So what's next for Noir.? Well, we've got some cool things happening as I write this. We're still mercenaries of course, and we always will be. We're still Noir., and we always will be. But something new is coming, something that's going to be a ton of fun. Something I can't wait to be a part of. Something I'll write about soon.