I was busy with my weekly shopping trip to a nearby market district on Alioth when I noticed the advertisements. A veritable overlapping wall of colours all demanding attention. Thanks to today’s over reliance on adverts, I have become immunized to those that want to sell me everything from the latest ship to the promise of finding a perfect home. A veritable multitude of organizations all vying for new recruits or customers. Not me. Not today. The electronics industry element wasn’t going to buy itself.
Then I saw it. An advertisement simply proclaiming “Ministry” “We will train you”.
Curiosity piqued, I looked up the organization on the DU community page and was surprised to discover they were one of the top 15 largest organizations in Dual Universe (at the time of writing). Nestled between the well known Dark Star Imperium and highly creative Infinity Corporation. I decided to contact Ministry’s ‘Superlegate’, WhiteMeat, and set out to discover what Ministry was all about.
Kurock: Thank you for seeing me on such short notice. Could you introduce yourself to the readers?
WhiteMeat: Sure. I’m WhiteMeat, I’ve been playing Dual Universe since the very beginning of Alpha 1. Like most players in DU, I have come from a plethora of space games and as busy as I can be in RL I have a surprisingly large amount of time to play. XD
Kurock: Tell me about Ministry. It seems to have grown massively during alpha.
WhiteMeat: Thank you, it has been evolving for sure.
For a while there, we focused on recruitment and retention. There’s also been a lot of work on our internal structure and governing system.
Very recently Bramse and I implemented a constitution where all citizens can filter through and send in ‘proposals’ to change the constitution or amend it as needed. There is a High Council who vote on these proposals ultimately but it is determined by the citizens if it even makes it that far.
Each high council member are leaders of their own divisions and have the freedom to structure their divisions as they see fit. What we are doing is creating an environment where citizens can be creative and invest in the direction of the organization. The more invested one is, the more one will have to lose, and so it helps create a very trusting environment where we know where everyone’s best interest is. I feel that it helps create a loyal member base.
We consider ourselves Neutral Good and although this may change depending on the citizens and where they want to take us (along with the High Ministers) I doubt we will ever go as low as piracy.
Our goals are to become a dominant force in DU in all areas of the game and as we grow to be well organized. To be able to create a fun safe environment for our builders and execute the will of the High Ministers.
We are potentially a RP org as we develop that may include rites of passage and initiations.
As you start in Ministry you become a member. Members have no responsibilities other than to learn the game, have fun and maintain a positive image for Ministry. After they have been in the organization for 90 days they can choose to apply to become a formal citizen where they are granted “proposal rights” and can start having a say in where the organization goes.
Kurock: That is a great summary. No further questions. Thank you for your time. No wait, I just thought of some more…
Some organizations have gotten into quite a bit of trouble in the past for questionable recruitment practices. Can you share any of your recruitment techniques? Where does Ministry predominantly recruit from?
WhiteMeat: Purely in game. We have multiple ads on the market place and lately have had members messaging us to pick them up at the district and take them back for training.
If you haven’t noticed we have a blimp and a few other advertisements on the market.
We also take advantage of opportunities if we see people struggling. We are heavily focused on helping our teammates out.
Kurock: I may have noticed some of your ads and I certainly do approve of blimps.
Can you be more specific in what your organization does to retain your new members?
WhiteMeat: We have them invest in the organization by giving them important things to do (for those who want to) and keeping it light and fun. We also discourage mandatory mining ops but funnily enough people asked us to have a tax system or “Ministry Dues” in place to help the org out. I guess we are all adults and understand the purpose of a tax system.
Kurock: You mentioned Ministry’s constitution. Given that it can evolve over time, what does the current incarnation of the constitution look like?
WhiteMeat: It is still an evolving document but currently it really hasn’t strayed too far from how we originally intended things to be…
As you start in Ministry you become a member. Members have no responsibilities other than to learn the game, have fun and maintain a positive image for Ministry. After they have been in the organization for 90 days they can choose to apply to become a formal citizen where they are granted “proposal rights” and can start having a say in where the organization goes. From there they have the option to move into other areas of our divisions and can apply for positions as heads of any department on the high council or to work under the current structured departments that interest them.
Kurock: What are the departments that citizens can currently choose from?
WhiteMeat: For the simplicity of viewing and reading, I’ll structure out the departments they can apply for, with a general overview as it’s quite extensive. This is not the entirety as each Division will have their own structured subdivisions and specific jobs for people interested
General Strategist – in charge of fleet operations and mining logistics
Architect – handles the construction of Ministry buildings and Ship Design
Lua Dev – takes care of all our organizational scripting needs
Quartermaster – ties up loose ends and oversees operations to make sure things are getting done.
Public Relations – handles the image of Ministry as well as a diplomat to our allies, general relations manager and is responsible for our recruiting.
Treasury dept – accounting, income strategies etc
Security Lead – Protects assets and creates measures against espionage etc.
Chief Technology Officer – in charge of all our technology operations to advance the Ministry Vision.
High Council Facilitator – responsible for a great deal of organizing and facilitating between members regarding our constitution.
Kurock: How do you get the citizens to invest in your organization? Can you give a few examples?
WhiteMeat: Sure. I’ll try to give you some more examples. One question we often get from new recruits is “Where do I start?” or “How can I help?”. After their initial training, let’s say this person is interested in mining as it’s very relaxing for him and a way to feel he’s contributing. We send him over to Symeon and have him work with our main person responsible for mining or to our logistics department. He is investing the second he asks how he can help us and we are providing avenues for these new members to be important parts of our system.
We have other guys that have been with us a while who have some great ideas on how our city should be built. Now they are applying for one of the building positions. As a citizen you have a say in what direction the organization takes, as these players help shape our foundations, we create a very trusting environment that everybody has a stake in: They have invested their time and efforts into contributing where they can to make Ministry something they want to be a part of.
Kurock: Do you worry about betrayal and sleeper agents that just want to steal an organization’s hard earned resources? Why or why not?
WhiteMeat: You know, we had one issue in the past where members were slowly (unknowingly) being manipulated and absorbed into a seperate group in the organisation that we weren’t aware of, but since we remedied that situation we have had no problems and continue to be transparent with our members on most matters. As a fair amount of our org came from EVE we are well aware this will be an entirely different game at the release of Beta and fully expect the PvP aspect to be quite cut throat, and as such we continue to have our guard up and know that security is still very essential.
As Ministry is part of the Ascendancy Alliance, we have already experienced our fair share of spies and treat every channel as if it’s a public channel. As our organization and alliance continue to grow we expect to see them more frequently.
Kurock: There isn’t really a large and serious RP org in DU yet (unless you count the crusaders of New Genesis), what level of RP are you hoping for? Do you hope it will extend beyond ceremonies?
WhiteMeat: It hasn’t been discussed much internally but I foresee the ceremonies first and eventually I would like to take Ministry to the point where we have a backstory and lore involving Ministry’s origins, similar to DSI as they have quite an extensive background covered for their lore. It’s funny you ask this, as it was just yesterday I was talking casually with New Genesis how we could possibly incorporate their RP with Ministry. Nothing serious at the moment though.
Kurock: Do you have plans for a city or station that will be Ministry’s base of operations? If so, what’s its name and what kind of theme will it have?
WhiteMeat: There has been much discussion regarding this as we have a couple RL architects and some other great builders making a name for themselves. The current idea is to build a sky base with some techniques learned; we will utilize the dirt and soil as we have not seen any organizations take advantage of this yet and we will build a sky island on Alioth and will eventually place some cores and city like structures on top somewhere around or above 1000 meters for anti gravity accessibility.
We also have plans for a moon base and as the game changes we will most likely be building a space station near alioth depending on how safe our moon outpost will be in the coming months. Currently we have not chosen any names for these yet but we will in time.
Kurock: And lastly do you have any advice for those aspiring to create and grow their own organization in Dual Universe?
WhiteMeat: Absolutely. Firstly I think the decision to be part of an organization is great as it opens up a lot of doors for you that would normally take forever as a solo player if possible at all. And as the creator you are now the grand designer of what’s to come. It will be discouraging at times; every large org I know has had some sort of drama internally they’ve had to learn how to handle. If you’re not careful your organization will consume your life. Make sure you delegate to people you can trust who can run things while you’re on vacation.
For Ministry, we had to shift our thinking and remind ourselves… the changes we make aren’t about me or you, but about the organization as a whole. We had to think, how can this organization survive without me if I were to suddenly disappear from the game. And lastly, don’t let your pride get in the way of common sense. We all need help at times and there’s nothing wrong with that. When making Alliances be very cautious to the terms as you don’t want to sacrifice your vision by compromising too much. The Ascendancy was one of the only Alliances that allowed us to operate without compromising what we were about. We got lucky and were recruited into the Ascendancy Alliance when we had about 20 members only. They helped us grow and overcome dark times in the organization as we became bigger. We exchanged strategies and overall I was always given sound advice from much bigger orgs on how to handle specific situations that really helped us to grow. As big as Ministry or Hyperion or DSI or New Genesis are, all these orgs realize that we will still be small fry when the EVE player base decides to move to this game. It’s going to be more important making friends over enemies early on. The Ascendancy is there to band the Alpha organizations together against the new emerging Beta threats. It may be a good place to start.
My curiosity sated, I went back to the market. Next time you are out shopping and can’t decide between chicken or pork, be sure to give some attention to the other WhiteMeat.