Org Profile: The Convoy
(Citizen Star News/Crusty Collins) - 2014-06-25 - They are 700+ members strong, they probably have the biggest combined cargo tonnage in the 'verse and they are build on a 'we get the job done' claim.
We are talking about the haulers of The Convoy™, one of the bigger organizations in Star Citizen, which has already gained quite some renown.
They became known collectively as ‘The Convoy™’, owing to the spectacle that is a one hundred strong fleet of Starfarers strung bow to stern & skid to skid as far as a Drake Radar suite can see.
From their history page (with dates given in-verse with respect to the Star Citizen Lore timeline):
The Convoy™ started as a humble Starfarer Owners Club back on October 15th, 2924, and has since grown to include all types of haulers and escorts.
The small club originally formed out of necessity for group protection while carrying cargo across the vast web of star systems. Cargo haulers often ended up having to plot courses through lawless territories in the interest of time. These routes sometimes sent them cruising through pirate territories and pirate attacks continued to be an issue. It was all too common to find precious cargo, ships, and even lives lost to those pirate raids.
The Starfarer Owners Club grew in size over the following nineteen years, its reputation spreading far beyond the scope of just a humble owners club. It soon became known as home to all the best Hauler Captains, from Freelancers to Starfarers and even the great Banu Merchantman. By July 2nd, 2943, that same group of Teamsters had built such a reputation that they became known collectively as ‘The Convoy™’, owing to the spectacle that is a one hundred strong fleet of Starfarers strung bow to stern & skid to skid as far as a Drake Radar suite can see.
On January 22nd, 2944, The Convoy™ officially became an organization and over two hundred of the best hauler & escort pilots signed on as full time Convoy Captains in the first weeks of affiliation, that number continuing to grow over time.
Big businesses, mining magnates, and remote worlds all knew that no matter the size or distance of a given job, The Convoy™ would get the job done. Our original motto, “Neither the vacuum of space, nor pirate raid will stop this Convoy hauling its cargo through”, represented the core principals and spirit of what The Convoy™ & her Captains stood for. While the Trail Boss’s share the spirit of this motto, they were tasked with making it happen internally and so our young Swampers and Prospects more likely remember the phrase, “We stick together. We get the job done.”, being drilled into them. Some learned that lesson well while others went to their graves wishing they had heeded the veteran Trail Bosses words.
Today, our organization welcomes all haulers, along with those who would provide escort and any who might need escort or company, on the long treks across the galaxy. The Convoy™ consistently hold its place among the most trusted organizations the Verse.
The rest, as they say, is HISTORY.
Especially interesting with Star Citizen, compared to other MMOs and online worlds, is the idea of affiliate organizations (or 'guilds'). In the Star Citizen universe you will be able to join organizations, which share a basic idea or interest (in this case haulage and trading), which is more of an underlying theme for which you do not have to spend most of your game time. As these orgs do not tie you down completely and because they even offer lone wolves a place to connect with others, they will eventually add more diversity and community to the game.
We spoke to Morphe (Mark), one of the founders of The Convoy™.
Citizen Star News (CSN): What inspired you to found The Convoy™ ?
Mark - Eschatos started a forum thread nearly a year ago now for the Humble Starfarer, by page three of that thread "CONVOY" had been coined and by page 4 "The Convoy" had effectively been born.
At that early stage "The Convoy" was essentially a Starfarers owners club and people started joining even though there was no organisation to join.
Good ideas have a tendency to spread & grow. 'The Convoy™' as it stands now, a fully fledged Star Citizen organisation that specialises in transport, trading & mining with a support fleet of escort pilots has evolved from that very simple beginning.
Its caretakers & founders are essentially four people @X01 (Bossman), @IOXON (Arphaxad), @Eschatos & Myself @CallmeMorphe (Mark).
CSN: How do you plan to build the organization as the game draws closer to launch?
Mark - So much theory crafting and so little time. We've done a decent amount of infrastructure work as far as the administration of the org is concerned. It's ongoing of course but as of this week we have our own TeamSpeak server setup on our own Linux Virtual Private Server. Website and private forums are just being brought online as we speak, they still need populating but the core components are just about ready.
Even though it's all really boring stuff for the average member - databases and website set-up doesn't really get the blood pumping - it does form an essential part of our ability to communicate and flow information to our members.
So that's what we are doing from an Admin perspective, from a membership perspective we have been logging interested parties for nearly a year now. Bossman has been keeping tabs on dozens of threads and we've sent out in excess of 750 invites [...], not a mass mail mind you, but people who have posted in our thread or have declared themselves Starfarer owners or people who have indicated that they would be interested in hauling.
On the membership and community front, getting that TeamSpeak server ready for the DFM is key, getting the members set-up and ready to road-test the DFM and start playing Star Citizen and any other game they feel like in the company of other members will be important to grow that feeling of community.
At the end of the day, The Convoy isn't here to be lords of 'The Verse', but we are here to help grow a great & committed gaming community. We'll be focusing on that and leaving the mass of politics and theory crafting to others.
CSN: What are your thoughts on how the organization is going to work? And what's your concept for the 'in-game presence' of the org?
Mark - The membership is essentially a union of independent teamsters, en mass though we form 'The Convoy™' & as that entity we are a haulage, mining, trading group that has enough interested pilots to fly a full Convoy with its own tagged defensive fighter escort for large contracts.
Looking through our ship logs or Primary members, we have enough trading ships (Banu Merchantmen, Starfarers or Freelancers) to allow each and every captain to pilot one of those haulers. If things get bad and piracy is a problem, there are enough escorts & fighters like the Idris, Hornet, Avenger or tally to completely equip each of our captains with an offensive craft.
It's not that we mean to bully anyone in The Verse, but for a group of haulers we sure have our fair share of teeth if things get troublesome.
On that note, The Convoy is aiming to stay as geo-politically neutral as we can, we aren't looking to form a power block or be part of one, our business is hauling & if you need something we'll do what we can to get it through.
Wars chew through resources & somebody has to keep the supply lines open, that's us - the hope being that if trustworthy hauling organisations that can mobilise and transport massive contracts to awkward places are really needed then we aim to fill that role.
If an organisation chooses to fire on The Convoy, then best of luck getting those much needed supplies through because we won't be taking your contracts in the future.
We are like Switzerland - politically neutral & every citizen is armed.
CSN: What are the challenges of organizing such a big organization?
Mark - Keeping all of the members happy most of the time!
There is no game yet, so the community is pretty laid back and relaxed which is great, just like the broader SC community for the most part. We've had nothing really in the way of trolling or ranting yet.... *touch wood.
Infrastructure & communication, managing expectations & making sure everybody who joins knows what we are about. With so many members, some will be full time hard core players with very different goals and expectations from our group and the game compared to the members who may play a little more casually.
Luckily we have leadership that has similarly differing outlooks and we will look at tailoring the community so there is something there for those members who have different play styles and time availability.
The real challenge though is creating that bond, that sense of community that allows a full time hard core player to care enough about a brand new casual member to spend some time teaching them the ropes. At the end of the day our challenge is to provide a platform that enables that community to grow & allow our members to get the best out of the game.
Being humble and acknowledging that we work for the membership and not the other way around is the first step.
CSN: Would you mind sharing a bit about your plans & ideas for your own in-game character?
Mark - Morphe is an Idris captain, surrounded by people who just have to know what is beyond that next star. He'll explore, trade & skim fuel from that gas giant just to get by.
He's a teacher, a listener & a watcher, fully understanding that he only knows a very small amount of what this massive Verse has hidden. Talk less and learn more.
He's happy to go out of his way to lend a hand, even if it costs him a credit or two.
He'll get his hands dirty if needed & those calling out for assistance with a pirate attack will likely get a 250 meter Aegis care package delivered right where they need it.
CSN: What could CIG do for you to help you be successful? What do you need in the Star Citizen 'verse?
1 : A great, long lived, fully immersive game. (W.I.P)
2: Communication tools, fully fledged, functional, flexible and game integrated organisation website, private forums and VOIP solution.
We have put our own suit together, but it's all third party and takes away from the general immersion.
Getting a great integrated VOIP solution working with 450,000 people is a massive ask & I don't know of any multi-player game that has seamlessly pulled it off with ease of use and codec quality.
Teamspeak with its opus codec has really lifted the bar for voice quality. If we can get a VOIP solution in game and allow us to tailor how it works with privilege levels etc then that would be astounding.
Quality voice makes a real difference, especially when it comes to a global game with so many accents.
Add to that an integrated and private website & forums for the org and it will be a real first and something for other studios to follow. A Game changer as it were.
CSN: Thanks so much for your time!
Mark - That was fun, let's do it again some time.
Neither the vacuum of space, nor pirate raid will stop this Convoy hauling its cargo through.