Note: A version of this post was originally published on r/eve and is cross-posted here for the sake of posterity.
Over the last year, I became very interested in New Eden lore because of Thera and the Drifters story arc. In exploring the lore, I got addicted to the Hydrostatic EVE podcast (thanks, Ashterothi and Phyridean and all your Lore Panel regulars!) and became friends with a few folks who are lore specialists as well as roleplayers, among them Makoto Priano. Mak has graciously served as a lore and RP mentor of sorts, even presenting an excellent Research, Lore, and Roleplay Q&A session for my corp last year.
The upshot is that many in Signal Cartel, including the leadership team, have become quite tuned into lore and some of us have begun to dip our toes into roleplay. So when the Upwell Consortium research race began, the leadership team saw it as a potential opportunity to do a little corp-level roleplaying although we weren't quite sure of how to approach it.
Then OSS attacked Upwell's prototype citadel sites and that gave us an idea. As a serious competitor in their research race, why should we trust Upwell with all these valuable Research Components when their site and supply chain data security seemed to be so poorly managed? Why not hang on to the RCs and encourage other concerned capsuleers to entrust their components to us until our concerns were addressed? Why not conduct our own PLEX giveaway as a way of rewarding those capsuleers' trust and giving them another way to profit from their RC inventory? (And yes, what a perfect way to encourage outsiders to assist us in amassing Research Components!) Thus, our first roleplayed message to Upwell's agent and a related Press Release on the matter.
We crossed our fingers and hoped that Upwell would do something to mitigate our concerns so that our RC inventory could still be applied to the research race...although there was a bit of hand-wringing discussion about what we'd do if they didn't. We did kind of worrisomely wonder what we might have gotten ourselves into, but nothing ventured, nothing gained! And we figured if there was no response, we could just RP our way out of that. I think if we had thought too much about potential consequences up front, it might have stopped us in our tracks so I'm glad we didn't. But we are sensitized for next time because as Upwell's response to OSS' destruction of the prototype citadels demonstrates, things don't always go the way you expect. CCP Affinity, CCP Falcon, and others who are behind the story arcs like to play hardball (which is awesome, imho)!
Anyway, the first thing Upwell did was secure the prototype citadel sites so that capsuleers couldn't shoot at them--a fact confirmed by a couple of our pilots. That was a promising move to mitigate our expressed concerns. Then they [held a press conference](http://community.eveonline.com/news/news-channels/world-news/upwell-reports-excellent-progress-with-research-component-program-calls-on-capsuleers-to-redouble-efforts/) where their agent Lee Brinalle addressed specific concerns and rival capsuleer RC acquisition programs (e.g., ours):
Asked to comment on rival capsuleer component acquisition programs, such as that being operated by the well-known surveying outfit Signal Cartel, Lee Brinalle urged co-operation with Upwell. "I would like to say to those with concerns as to the security of the prototype sites that we have addressed the previous vulnerabilities and it is a major concern that large numbers of research components may not be released for use in our efforts. The Upwell Department of Friendship and Mutual Assistance is monitoring the situation and we hope that our capsuleer friends will see the benefits of placing any recovered components under our control."
I won't lie, we were giddy here at Signal upon seeing our corp mentioned! After discussing Ms. Brinalle's statements, leadership decided that we could feasibly roleplay that our concerns had been addressed and that there were good reasons for us to not continue withholding Research Components from Upwell. And that continuing with our alternative RC deposit service made sense because it simply gives capsuleers another opportunity to profit from their own inventory of RCs. So we issued another Press Release to address all that.
Fortunately all of this RP stuff meshed very nicely with our desire to be competitive in Upwell's research race. It was fun for our members to see it roll out, too, since they knew nothing about it until our first Press Releases was in the wild. And now we are looking forward to seeing if our competitive efforts were enough to be a top contributor in Upwell's research race, which I guess we'll find out next week. However that turns out, we are seriously enjoying the ride.
Again, thanks to Mak and other roleplayers and lore geniuses who have answered our questions and served as fine examples to follow! While we are noobs at doing this kind of thing, it is fun. The thought, planning, and creativity required to engage in the game at that level of immersion is remarkably satisfying--not least of which when it is acknowledged from the NPC side of things as in this circumstance! In any event, I'm certain there will be more dipping of our toes into the RP side of the game in the future.