February 7, 2015

What's in a Name? The Quest for TRUST and George Michaels

It's funny how you can become so invested in something you never expected to care about. Never let anyone tell you that those little things don't matter, because sometimes they really do. Such was the case for me over the last few days. I've been in Noir. since 2011. I like to associate myself with that name; it's part of my persona now. Realizing that, I still was not expecting my reaction to the name of our alliance.

As I stated in my last post, Noir. left Suddenly Spaceships alliance to form our own. When the idea was first brought up, I assumed we would move back to Noir. Mercenary Group, our previous alliance. But I myself had realized and brought up months and months ago that corporations that would join the alliance seemed to lose their own identity and culture. I think a large burden of responsibility lies on us as the alliance leadership for that, but the name didn't help. It's hard, even for me, to articulate the difference between Noir. and Noir. Mercenary Group. For an outsider, I'm sure it's even more difficult to understand the difference. When they would see Noir. Mercenary Group, they would call us Noir. and that sometimes made the other corporations feel like they weren't an invididual entity I think. So, anyway, when the idea was brought up, I immediately thought we'd be going back to Noir. Mercenary Group, but almost as quickly realized that wasn't the best idea. Thankfully Alek had already had the same thought and let us know he planned on making something different, something new.

The idea was fairly simple, if a bit of an official culture shift for Noir. We would create a mercenary organization that had a more lighthearted outward facing profile built around FC empowerment, unique doctrines, and fun, while still maintaining a professional disposition on contracts. Noir. has always had a reputation for being a very serious organization, and there's no doubt that we still very much care about our reputation as mercenaries who get the job done, but over the years I think we've all grown a bit more mellow. Honestly, our personal attitudes within the corp have been shifting towards this type of culture anyway, but it's never been a cornerstone of our persona.

So, once we knew what type of alliance we'd be creating, we needed a name for it. Noir. directors and our initial corporate partner, Unkindness Incorporated, began thinking about names. Unfortunately, the communication here was not very good. Names were batted around, but either they were purposefully troll names that were being suggested, or sometimes they were considered to be troll names when they really weren't. Add to that the fact that we weren't being very organized about our suggestions and Alek, the alliance leader and Noir. CEO, didn't think he had any good options other than his initial name (which I was always adamant about not being a fan of): Disinterested Reptile Cartel.

Now, some of you reading this may look at that name and shrug your shoulders. That's what a lot of other people in the alliance did, and I don't blame them. But me? I couldn't stand that name. It made me so angry! And the thing is, I don't even know why! It's just a name, I kept telling myself. It's not about the name, it's about the people you fly with, and you're flying with some of the greatest pilots in EVE. Just get over it! I kept telling myself that, and others were really trying to give me good advice by telling me the same thing. But I couldn't get over it. I don't know why, I really don't. It bothered me so much more than I ever expected or even understood. But it was done. The alliance was created and both corporations were in it.

I was so embarrassed of that name, and embarrassed about the fact that it made me so angry, I really didn't want to login. I kept trying to get over it, to remind myself of how little it really mattered, but I kept realizing that I didn't want to tell people who I was associated with. "Yes, I fly with the Disinterested Reptile Cartel." I would have to tell people that! 

It got to the point where I was very angrily typing in the leadership channels about it, and finally Alek gave me a phone call, and after we had a little chat (with voices raised sometimes), I was given the go ahead to create a list of 10 names that I thought were better. I put my head together with a few other people to try and curate a list in a few hours and show it to Alek. Finally, after thinking and talking all day, I sent him the list. We're three hours apart in time zones, so I was asleep by the time he actually had time to read it. I went to bed without knowing what he'd pick, or if he'd decide to keep the Bored Lizard Crew name. Regardless, I washed my hands of it and decided that I'd figure things out later if need be. Here's the list I presented:

  1. Pay to Win [VICTRY]
  2. Paid [2WIN]
  3. Paid in Advance
  4. Weapons of Mass Seduction
  5. Slackers (In an attempt to reference our use of the Slack app and a one-word alliance)
  6. Mercenary Playground
  7. Doubloon Diplomacy
  8. No Not Believing
  9. Calamitous Cloaky Congregation
  10. Totally Inept Pacifists

I woke up the next morning to a message from Alek in Slack. "I love No Not Believing." And thus, it was changed, thanks to one of our members, Fayral! Now, No Not Believing is sort of an inside joke, although I think it's also self explanatory. It's basically a phrase we used to say a lot a few years ago, starting with former Noir. director Ninja Turtle. We'd either be about to do something stupid or trying to set up a trap, or whatever it was, and we'd say on comms "No not believing, boys! We're going to do this!"

And so Noir. and Unkindness Incorporated left the Disinterested Reptile Cartel and reformed together as No Not Believing [TRUST]. I'm really happy with the name, and I think it's going to be a lot of fun coming up with a mascot and marketing material for this alliance. My first thought was either a monk of some sort or George Michaels. For some reason, I have a feeling Alek will love a George Michael butt picture for our mascot. He's weird like that.

So now our alliance is working on getting our legs underneath us. It's going to be an amazing time, and our FCs are going to have a blast. Noir. has always been a very FC heavy corporation, but we've never been in an organization that's going to give so much freedom and support. We're also incredibly lucky to have Wacktopia part of the team, who has helped support this vision with some Fleet-up changes that will allow for personal doctrines and doctrine folders. 

Off contract, we're going to be really letting people go in interesting and unique ways with doctrines and using that time to test and hone them. Those that really turn out well will be integrated into our contract doctrines, and those that don't can continue to be flown off contract if people are having fun with them. It's going to be a complete blast, and if any of you guys want to get involved, I'll be more than happy to talk with you. This is going to be one of the best times I've ever had in EVE, a chapter in my personal history book that's going to have a very memorable name.