Org Profile: Citizens' Aid Society
(Citizen Star News) - 2014-02-28
The Citizens' Aid Society (CAS) is a fairly unique organization, focused on assisting others rather than it's own core membership. It is one of a few service organizations that has existed in some form for quite some time and finally becoming official with the release of the Organization system. Patterned off the old Traveller game's Traveller's Aid Society and the more terrestial automobile clubs (like AAA), CAS was formed by one We-Yan "Stanley" Crube (@We-Yan_Crube), also known as Sinperium in some circles.
(Editor's Note: On a personal level, I'd like to say that I encountered Stanley's good posts and the CAS organization while I was investigating the Star Citizen phenomenon. He and it where part of the inspiration for me backing and joining the community. It is a pleasure to publish this feature in the Citizen Star.)
From the Manifesto:
There are a lot of squadrons, guilds, clans and corps that a pilot can join in the ‘Verse and the biggest problem with almost all of them is you have to join them. Well welcome to the Citizens’ Aid Society (CAS) where you can be a member without “joining” at all. That means you get all the benefits of membership but are free to pursue your own interests without obligation to us.
Membership benefits will include (but are not limited to): free updated system threat reports, hostile combat capability assessments, safest route suggestions and advance scouting services when you need to make sure the way is clear or a decoy to draw unwanted attention away from you.
Need a spare part? A tow? Out of ammo? Out of gas? No problem with CAS! Member service providers fly every ship in the ‘Verse from militarized civilian fighters to tankers and corvettes. As a member, just contact dispatch and we’ll route one to you ASAP! There is also help in those more delicate situations: hostage negotiations, bribes arrangements with hostiles and bargaining leverage you only get from being a member of a multi-squadron collective. CAS is more than just a gas station and parts hauler—we leverage our influence to benefit pilots—often in ways the UEE can not do for you.
Our mission is to meet you, the pilots’, needs.
With only a voluntary donation membership fee, the doors of CAS suppliers are open to you! All membership requires is recommendation from a CAS officer or member in good standing and valid citizenship in the UEE.
We also provide special explorer and salvager support through our exclusive “Explorer’s Club” and if that’s your interest you’ll definitely want to check it out. The explorer’s Club has a small annual fee and any CAS member can request to join but membership requirements are more stringent. Please contact our office if this sort of gentleman’s club appeals to you.
Finally, we are accepting applications staff volunteers. Staff positions come with service and stock benefits and details may be obtained through our office.
Exclusive interview with founder We-Yan "Stanley" "Sinperium" Crube (@We-Yan_Crube):
CSN: What inspired you to found the Citizen's Aid Society (CAS)?
We-Yan "Stanley" "Sinperium" Crube (@We-Yan_Crube): I used to drive 3000 miles a week for my job -- meeting with lawyers, court clerks, judges and property managers. I had a AAA membership just because of winters here and found out how useful it was.
Combine that with the Traveller's Aid Society from the old RPG Traveller and you get the [main] concept.
The final [additional] concept was from growing up with National Geographic and knowing of its explorer's club start. I thought that was a really neat foundational idea and plan to incorporate that as well.
CSN: Were there other events that drove you found CAS?
Crube: On the very first forum incarnation the issue of PvP vs PvE erupted in an unholy fury. I think it even trumped 3PV (third person view) and mouse/stick arguments in scope and venom. The rancor and bitterness projected in those "discussions" (which they were not at all) really struck a sour note with me. Here we were at the very beginning of every sci fi geek gamer's dream and already people were dividing and attacking within the community.
To be honest, I was a bit angry with the PvE crowd that instantaneously appeared and began demanding "PvP" be removed or they be given their own server. This was completely in contradiction to what Chris had promised in his pitch for the game. It was as if Chris's game belonged to them first and him second and I thought, "Oh wow--we have people who feel like the game is going to be made to their specs because they backed". I am not a fan of entitlement on either side of the fence and I rankled at the entitled attitude on both sides. The "slider" was the first compromise I saw Chris make regarding how he had planned to do things and I didn't want to see the development continue to be steered by angry forum mobs.
All that said, the nasty and non inclusive response from the PvP crowd (of which I am a part) in general also bothered me. The whole aim was to create a realistic, interactive experience--not split it in half by winning with an angry point. I also noticed a lot of PvE players were really discouraged, worried and put off by all this and the fact they were going to have to deal with PvP at all. I started PMing a few of them and asking what was the stumbling block for them.
There were a lot of reasons but for some it was simply a personality issue combined with a lack of PvP experience (and/or positive PvP environment experiences). In Vietnam the Top Gun program was begun to address what it was that was causing U.S. pilots to suffer losses against Soviet aircraft. In the end, it came down simply to confidence and a fear of the unknown. Top Gun does teach tactics but what it primarily focuses on is giving the pilot knowledge--and knowledge is power. Once a pilot knows what he is up against and has been trained to respond--fear takes a back seat.
So I thought of the Traveller's Aid Society from the old RPG Traveller--which I had just happened to be around when it started and figured "CAS" could work in a similar fashion. I PMed a few PvE'ers and posted and got some positive responses from a handful of "PvE only" players who had basically been ready to abandon the game--so I announced when the game started up that I'd be doing this to help PvE'ers deal with life in a potential combat environment. I also wanted to send the signal that "not all PvP'ers are the same.
The ironic thing, is I had planned nothing more at that point other than staying in touch with some of the PvE players as a reassurance. As it turns out, a forum member, ODonovan, glommed right onto the concept and the next thing I knew he was expanding and promoting and commenting on what "we" were going to do. At that point, I just accepted it was "going to have to be an organization". ODonovan has been instrumental in most of "the public" even knowing we're here and I consider him a co-founder...even though he has made me have to work at "developing stuff" as a result. ; )
CSN: What does it mean to you?
Crube: First, I had no intention of founding "a clan". Normally in games I don't even like being a member of them. While they are great for rapid advancement and acquisition they generally diffuse and steal your time. You're constantly on call for the "next group/raid" and generally bombarded with, "Hey! I'm bored!", "Someone come help me!?" and "Everybody assemble at X for a meeting raid"...followed usually by a lot of disorganized time wasting that takes you far from your own activities and then usually leaves you with a group of people who end up leaving half-way through.
The worst case is the "elite" group that ignores new users, demands complete devotion to their playstyle and denigrates players who aren't "as uber as they are"--particularly within their own organization. I find nothing "fun" or "appealing" about that sort of group--it attracts the most volatile, immature and egotistical group of players as a rule. If you could find my early posts when some backers started wanting "built in clan entitlements"--I was FIRMLY against them. Fortunately Chris has so far stayed committed to "player influenced, NPC controlled" as a core concept. As long as he does that I am optimistic we can all coexist.
So my intent is for CAS to be a "safe place" for players to play, park, join or interact with and not have to deal with a lot of negative, ego-driven, angry personal drama all the time. If you want to know my annoyance spot--that's it. Your personal problems and 'feelings" are just that: your personal problems and feelings...the rest of us are here to have fun playing a game. The entire focus of CAS is to "facilitate individual player enjoyment of the game"...period.
CSN: How do you plan to spend the time and build an organization as the game draws closer to launch?
Crube: Aside from just having a very basic infrastructure in place I personally see 95% of our development happening only AFTER the game is released in a playable form and I intend for it to develop naturally and organically--just like it would in real life. This is a tough concept for most organizations--even some members within our own as organizations usually get seen as the whole point rather than simply as a means to have fun.
CAS is about networking--and doing it by promoting the efforts of other players and their own organizations and their play. This is a really tough concept for a lot of "involved guild" players
I personally find managing "a chore"--it isn't something in and of itself I find to be "fun". So for myself, having a role play aspect to parts of it can make it a little more enjoyable. By "role play" i don't mean exchanging sonnets with other players and detailing my love interests in game but by simply building a little story around the things we are already doing anyway. I call it "real play". Role play is an option within CAS and not a requirement and the cardinal rule is no one can be forced to participate in it.
I will want to actually "play' the game myself and do not want to spend all of my time "playing CAS management" and that's something I don't expect anyone else to have to do either. Once the concept is firmly developed and in-place--and we discover if it fits in with the players--then I plan to build ways for me to be replaced or even fired...though I don't anticipate that being the case for quite awhile. I actually have developed a successful guild before (notably the Junker's Congress on the DiscoveryGC Freelancer server) and it is a lot of work to keep an organization from being derailed--usually by members within it.
CSN: What are your thoughts on how the organization is going to work?
Crube: Organization--as I practice it in a game--is pretty much how I organize in management in real life. You oversee and nudge and look for natural talent--which you then promote and encourage and incorporate into the organization. It's the people who make the organization--the structure is just a skeleton--lifeless and of little value. But because what makes it work is people, there is a need for a hand-slapper and referee and rule maker to be present. People naturally form groups but individuals want to be in control by their nature. It takes a bit of effort to be harmonious and productive while retaining respect and individual freedom.
In the practical sense in-game, our job is to identify players offering genuinely valuable services and help them to succeed and attract 'customers'. These are our service providers and a lot of what we'll do is simply strike up relationships and make mutually beneficial arrangements with them. CAS will be run as a "non-profit" NGO and memberships for it services will be available on a "suggested donation" basis. I'm hoping this will convey our sincerity about actually being there to help other players have a good time. With luck, that will become our primary appeal and reputation with others.
CSN: Would you describe your concept for in game presence, your personal character and how the Org will be present?
Crube: We're intended to be a "Rockefeller-esque Think Tank" concerned about the future of the UEE worlds. While patriotic, we're also not interested in seeing the empire have dictatorial control and require blind sacrifice and obedience. So see us as visionaries who want to preserve the union so we don't devolve into chaos and anarchy but also be an influence to see that a just and free society remains the end result. Primarily we want to help keep the peace and resist anarchy and totalitarianism in all its forms.
To most and even with some of our core members the focus will be on the AAA aspect but the heart and soul of what we are meant to be is the motivation we have as members of the empire to preserve our society and safeguard the people.
CSN: Would you tell me more about the Explorer's Club concept?
Crube: The Explorer's club is really a social experiment. The goal is to win player trust to create a cadre of players who are essentially "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen"...a group of individuals that any non-criminal player can call on and who will assist you in exploration with a guarantee they will take nothing from you nor reveal it to others. This will be a really small group of people who can prove their abilities and trust.
If this can be pulled off, I think we'll have a unique organization in the game that will also reinforce the play-like-it-is-real vibe of the game.
CSN: What could CIG do for you to help you be successful? What do you need in the Star Citizen 'verse?
Crube: Facilitate inter-organizational mechanisms in the game that let us communicate and organize and interact with other groups and players. Additionally to maintain a real "business hub" so services and organizations can have a real, working marketplace within which they can advertise, sell and trade and conduct diplomacy.