It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s ESPRT! This week’s Clan Spotlight shines on ESPRT, an up-and-coming Clan that leapt into the Top 10 in the Clan Wars Third Campaign. ESPRT has earned respect for their strength, their professionalism, and their values. They’re ESPRT, and they can do anything.
We interviewed these players to learn more about ESPRT:
Inchon - Commander, handles recruiting and any personnel issues, or anything that comes up.
Bulldog1986 - Executive Officer, Head of the Diplomatic Section.
Bolt_Upright - Executive Officer, Head of Operations.
Black_8 - Personnel Officer, essentially Bolt_Upright’s right hand man.
Brutalas - Private, conducts evaluations.
Inchon - A lot of us are former military, or had this connection of the idea of friendship, camaraderie, and bonds that last regardless of name, and when we were all at our other respective communities, everybody kind of was like, “How’s everything going over there?” “Eh, not so good, could be better.” We wanted to try to take all those “could be betters” and actually execute it. The term esprit de corps is used a lot in the American military to mean the morale of a unit. Every time that we get asked if we’re French, we’re… we’re not French, but that’s where the name came from.
Bulldog1986 - Yeah, and that’s actually one of the things we have on our Clan application. We give them the definition from Webster’s and we actually ask them, “What does it mean to you?” That helps us judge whether they’d be a good fit for our community.
Bulldog1986 - Inchon likes to describe it as “the local bar.” It’s just an easy-going environment. You can jump into a channel and be rest assured that you’re going to be with another group of guys that have the same kind of mentality that you do and the same skill level.
Brutalas - I agree with that very intensely, and so recruits not only need to be at a certain skill level, but they also have to actually have the social skills that we’re looking for. Similar to any company’s job interview, you’d want the people you’re going to have working there be very similar to your coworkers around you. We want that sort of attitude and mentality within the Clan for people to get along, so we don’t have very many issues, and since everybody is very like-minded, we all have bonded together.
Bolt_Upright - They’re basically quiet, efficient, lunch pail types and I don’t have to worry about these guys going off on the forums and causing all kinds of issues, and I like that. Personally, I haven’t experienced such palpable electricity within a Clan since the very early days after we formed FORGE years ago. It was the same atmosphere right before FORGE took off like a rocket, and it’s the same here in ESPRT.
Inchon - So to let you know the environment, there are two things that Bolt’s going to poke fun at: I do not call this a Clan, I call this a community. To me, people join Clans and they leave Clans. When a person becomes a member of a community, regardless of if they leave the game or come back to the game, they’re always going to be a member of that community.
Inchon - Everybody that joins is immediately introduced to everybody that’s online. That’s one tradition that we started ever since we were small and carried out even to when we’ve been at max members. When someone accepts, we pull everybody into a Teamspeak channel.
You find something out about a recruit and say, “Hey, if you’re ever looking for somebody who really knows how to abuse the Leo 1, check this guy out.” Everybody welcomes him in, and it really gets that quick absorption to the community. It’s so you don’t just get an invite and have to go find your own way. I would say that’s one tradition that we started that really, really has an impact.
Inchon - We first got our feet wet in the D-O-S engagement. Bulldog, you want to answer that?
Bulldog1986 - Yeah, we were looking to test ourselves against a Clan that was very well known on the map, but didn’t have a lot of diplomatic ties. We were still up-and-coming at that time, and we knew that if we attacked a Clan that had a lot diplomatic ties, we would bring a rainstorm down upon us that we wouldn’t be able to handle. We attacked D-O-S because they are very solid, and we were able to come out victorious and eventually map them. That was actually right before the campaigns, so it didn’t last too long.
Inchon - I think that the timing of us forming was just right to attack D-O-S. This would let us see how we would actually execute Clan Wars, and Bolt and Black set up a very unique organizational system. During the campaign, there was structure, and it helped us reach top ten in the campaign.
Inchon - For us, Strongholds is a way to take someone that’s great in public battle in a small platoon, and have them learn larger team play. Strongholds are a great way of training and practicing because practice makes perfect. It also gets battle callers to think on their feet, so we do use it to train battle callers. We also use it to evaluate new recruits. I think it’s honestly one of the best things Wargaming has done to increase Clan participation. You can start up Strongholds any time, whereas Clan Wars are a very specific time.
Bolt_Upright - Strongholds allows me to see how well the caller controls coms, and if they can spot critical points in a battle and react to them. In Clan Wars, there are certain points in every battle that you can look at and go, “Yeah, we missed an opportunity” or “Yeah, we jumped on that at the right time.” Strongholds are much more reactionary, and I want to see how well they react on the fly.
Inchon - One reason for our success is that we’re not trying to bite off more than we can chew. We’ve taken a very phased approach: here’s our goal; let’s meet it. After we get that goal, we move on. Slowly, slowly building up and then building upon those accomplishments.
Black_8 - Another thing Strongholds gives us is the opportunity, with the randomness of the teams and maps, to try some new things that we necessarily wouldn’t be able to try in a Clan Wars battle.
Inchon - One thing that I enjoy the most is the participation by the tanking community in general. Everybody’s participating, and it gives you a high when you defeat a high-level Clan. On the opposite side, it can be very humbling when somebody does a strat that you weren’t expecting and newcomers surprise you. I think those experiences are great for any community.
Bolt_Upright - Set attainable goals and realistic expectations, and follow the building blocks you’ve set out for yourself.
Inchon - Go slow. There were a lot of times as we were moving up that we had merger opportunities or groups of 8 looking to come in with 3 really good players and a few bad players. Hold to your values, whether they’re in-game performance, personalities, or whatever theme you have designed your Clan around, hold to that theme. Every new community will be challenged and hit speed bumps, but if you have a strong structure and keep communicating with your players, you’ll get over those and be even better after them.
Bulldog1986 - Find and set your standards. I don’t just mean win rate or WN8, I mean the values in people. What do you value and what do you want your community to be like. For us, it’s professionalism, integrity, and honesty. You can’t put 100 different personalities in the same room and expect them to get along; eventually the whole community would implode. As Inchon said, perseverance and patience are important. Some Clans take off like wildfire and fizzle really quick, and some will take off and become monsters.
If you’re a new and upcoming Clan, don’t be afraid to ask for help – whether from those in your community or even other Clans. One thing we’ve benefitted from is that we’ve gotten several people from other Clans that have experience. On the other end, if you’re starting a new Clan and don’t have the experience or knowledge to do so yet, don’t be afraid to ask others for help.
Inchon - The first step is to put in an application on our website. It’s really the first line to see if someone is serious or not. If they put in 5 words and spend 3 minutes trying to get in, it’s probably not a good indication that this is a place they really want to call home. You don’t have to write a college essay or anything, but make it to where we think you’ll be a good fit here and will embody the values and missions we’ve presented. The next step is a recruiter will get a hold of you or jump on TeamSpeak and we’ll do evaluations with players that we trust to get a feel for in-game abilities and how well you’ll work with the Clan personality-wise. It’s been interesting to reject people with higher stats based upon them just not being a good fit, and we’ve had some interesting reactions from it. After enough people have gotten a good enough idea about the person, we make a decision.
Bolt_Upright - A lot of how we think is embedded from some of our military careers, but I’ve definitely picked up a few best practices along the way from Clans and people I’ve played with, such as Yankee, BarrooM, Nagatron, and Lozarus, to name a few.
What: Absolute Stronghold Skirmishes
Who: [ESPRT] and WGA employees
When: Jan 28, 16:00 PST (19:00 EST) to approx. 18:00 PST (21:00 EST)
Where: NA East server
If you face off against our Spotlight Skirmish, you'll have a chance to win Gold prizes!
If you are streaming on your own Twitch.tv channel and you send a link to your stream with the time at which you face us, your entire team will double their winnings! This link must be sent in a PM on the forums to veganzombiez by 09:00 PST (12:00 EST) the following Friday morning.
If you have any questions you'd like us to ask [ESPRT] while on the stream, please leave them in the comments thread for this article or you may also ask them in the Twitch chat!
Gold from this event will be distributed by Wednesday, February 4, 2015.
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