Concerns regarding differences in free company size came up on Twitter last night. What size matters? Or does size matter at all?
This is arguably my favorite size of Free Company to be in. It’s intimate and personal–you likely know everyone or there aren’t enough people around to avoid getting to know everyone. Yes, being small means losing members hurts more and you know each other’s secrets which can be bad. But on the same note? Airing out your dirty laundry among a small group of friends tends to work out more often than not. They know how to deal with your bullshit, and you do with theirs. There’s a depth of understanding here with each person who puts in the effort to be part of this family that shouldn’t go without proper recognition.
However, with small free companies you’re also waiting on people to login many times. Or queuing things solo–or relying on your Linkshells to fill in the gaps. This can lead to things getting kind of boring sometimes. The only real ways to counter this are joining or forming a Free Company with people who have similar schedule and activity rates, or relying on those legendary high-energy empathetic types. Y’know, the people who genuinely care about ALL of their friends at the same time, always seem to have unlimited resources, and are essentially a leader without a title? Yeah. Those people seem like freaking magicians but they tire out too–cherish them and feed them all the happiness, respect, and patience that you can offer.
If a small Free Company is up to fifteen members, I’d consider a medium up to fifty active members. This gives enough people online at most times to pull together a dungeon run or something, at the very least. Medium Free Companies are really neat in that they’re still mildly intimate, but generally much more proactive in the community as a whole. They’re more likely to pull their resources and skills together to create events for anyone, even outside of the FC, to enjoy. This enables you to be a part of something greater than yourself and to give back to the server you all call home.
Unfortunately, medium FCs have their own fair share of problems. You might find that people know way more about you than you want them to know, or that you know too many secrets about too many people. Things begin to feel like you’re watching a Jenga puzzle that’s stacked unreasonably high on a table with one peg missing. Everyone’s somehow maintaining amicable relations, but you know when one little thing slips that shit will hit the fan. This might’ve spawned from an us vs. them officer and members situation or too many smaller FCs absorbed with too many disgruntled members or any sort of usually avoidable issues. Wanna resolve them? Communicate! Doesn’t matter how many people you have, they need to be willing and free to chat about it with at least the right people–if not openly–to resolve the matters.
Big houses, tons of points, and great buffs! Large Free Companies seem to exude one of two things: power or chaos. At this point it’s no longer a family, but a community. One that demands rules and order to maintain some semblance of peace, because you can’t expect to know everyone anymore. You can’t sit there and worry about what fallout might come from kicking someone. Though honestly, you’ve probably got the numbers to endure it as long as it can at all be justified.
This would probably be the type of Free Company where people like me, who value strong organization, would do well in the upper ranks as small and medium groups tend to not need it as thoroughly. If you join one, don’t expect to get all familiar with… anyone, really. But there are people who are ready to do things with people if you can find them when they aren’t busy! But if your main concern with being in a Free Company is just being another number, there’s a really strong likelihood of that in large FCs.
Honestly, size isn’t necessarily as big of an issue as one might thing. The key players in any FC are those high-energy feel-good types, the ones who make everyone feel welcome. The more you have in comparison to your other players the better so you don’t overwork them. Believe it or not, but they’re human too! Have them in a large FC and more people will feel right at home. In a small FC, it’ll feel as active as a huge group. And in a medium FC they’ll likely be able to better bridge communication to reduce drama.
These people tend to be like magnets to one another and to happy times. So always do your best to make fun for your Free Company, no matter how small nor large, and hopefully everything will set into place naturally over time!