In recent weeks the harshness of New Eden and it's impact on new players has come under scrutiny. In previous Freebooted interviews we've discussed some of the ways to participate in the world of EVE whilst avoiding the brutal asymmetric player-versus-player combat that is one of EVE's defining characteristics. But the violent and lawless underbelly that is low-security space intrigues me.
Being a low-sec dwelling industrialist and missioner who occasionally PvPs, I wanted to make contact with some of the more aggressive locals to gain a better understanding of their play-style. I wanted to learn about their approach to EVE to offer an interesting counterpoint to previous posts.
The thing about low-sec is you only have to drop your guard for a moment for someone to pop up and punish you. Well, it's not really an advantage, but it is how it works. Complacency, stupidy and ignorance are what the pirates thrive on. And lately they're all something I've learned to specialise in so drawing someone out wasn't going to be a problem.
A foolhardy solo industrial run into a system crawling with a known pirate organisation called T-Wrecks unsurprisingly resulted in me going home in an egg. After the customary moment of resigned annoyance, I realised this was the interview opportunity I'd been waiting for and invited my assailant to the OLD POND PUB channel.
After his initial bemusement at the invite (his opening statement was a curt "Why?"), he relaxed and agreed to an interview. Local war correspondent Rebecca Aventine was in the Old Pond Pub at the time and sidled over to join the interview too.
Seismic Stan: Sar'duakar, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule terrorising the Derelik inhabitants to talk to me. To start with, can you tell us a bit about your corp T-Wrecks and what part you play in it?
Sar'duakar: T-Wrecks: straight-forward pirates. Nothing more, nothing less. We ruin other player's days and have fun doing it. As for my self, I'm just a regular scurvy deckhand, beefing up the killboard.
Seismic Stan: What does it take to be a successful member of T-Wrecks?
Sar'duakar: I dont think there is a check list for success in corp. Obviously arse helmets need not apply, but as long as you can have a laugh with us, be able to hold your own financially and dont mind the long haul in both skills and learning whats right and wrong then your pretty much there.
Seismic Stan: Do you keep abreast of local politics in EVE? Do you have any thoughts on the CVA/AAA/New Providence situation?
Sar'duakar: We dont do much in Provi to be honest. The times we've jumped into the region and local either empties, or the locals hug the stations like a bunch of girls made us not bother with it much. We hardly see any -A- or AAAC for that matter. Personally, not interested. Although I do watch various killboards just to see who lost an expensive toy; faction battleships, MOM's, Titans etc. We see more Curse residents than Provi.
Rebecca Aventine: I've heard SF [Star Fraction] and U'K [Ushra'khan] will come out for a fight when some of the others dock up at the first sign of trouble.
Sar'duakar: We've run into Star Fraction once or twice, same as U'K. SF are too keen to hotdrop, so we only engage when we are sure the odds are stacked in our favour. Eve is becoming a hotdrop nation in low sec nowadays. Seems the only way people can win.
Seismic Stan: So you're based in the Irshah system of the Derelik region. Who would you say are the key players in the surrounding area at the moment?
Sar'duakar: I'm not going to say T-wrecks as there are more pirates here than just us. We might kill them a few, they might kill us a few. I wouldnt say there is a dominant force though. Equally split would be my best guess. 0utbreak, Aegis Cartel, WarMongers. There are others that I know to watch, but thinking of them off the top of my head ain't happening.
Seismic Stan: T-Wrecks recently declared war on an entire alliance. How successful was your war effort against TREAD?
Sar'duakar: War effort? More like chasing ghosts.
Seismic Stan: So there were never any combat engagements?
Sar'duakar: 40 kills, 5 losses on a war-dec that spread nearly a month.
Seismic Stan: What did TREAD do to draw the attention of T-Wrecks?
Sar'duakar: That's an answer I cant give. it seems there is a past between TREAD and T-Wrecks from before I joined. Never asked, never been told the reason to be honest with you.
Seismic Stan: Intriguing. Perhaps somebody will enlighten us after reading this interview. You said something before the interview that suggested that there is belief that TREADs withdrawal from the region was as a result of the T-Wrecks war-dec.
Sar'duakar: Some of us think so, others are unsure. We know they joined another alliance, but the exact reasons are unknown. I dare say we, as a corp, would like to think it's because of us it happened.
Seismic Stan: Have you had much dealing with the Important Internet Spaceship League? They're an alliance that have recently moved into Nakah and seem to looking to fill the void left by TREADs departure.
Sar'duakar: [With them] being new to the area, we have yet to see any sizable gangs from IISL. There has been the odd gank but nothing to write home about. Time will tell.
Seismic Stan: The PvP-centric way that you play clearly requires knowledge and funding to be successful, how did you achieve those?
Sar'duakar: I'm a five-year-old character, so I've been about a bit. Lived in 0.0 most of my eve career, so a lot of my pvp experiance is from that. In terms of funding, I've been a good boy and PvE'd, I did a 4 month stint in the drone lands just carebearing which created a massive isk pool.
And on the other end of the scale, I've also taken that which did not belong to me. Its no secret, an old corp I was in handed me 5 caps, or should I say I walked off with them. Up until that point, I'd played by the rules and kept my respect. Trouble is, when directors start treating you like something stuck to the bottom of their shoe, things become "tempting". I'm basically your "cross me, reap what you sow" kind of guy. And that's what happened.
Seismic Stan: So whose capital ships were they?
Sar'duakar: FC.UK. They disbanded not long after I did it and merged into Pandemic Legion. Just happens FC.UK was a Pandemic alt corp anyway.
Seismic Stan: So there's no love lost between you and Pandemic Legion?
Sar'duakar: Not at all. I'd gladly slap Pandemic. But the "Elite PvP Alliance" in EVE is the same as all the other big alliances. We are gods, but when you see 20-30-40 people on a kill mail, makes you wonder where the skill went. I'm all for 1v1 but that's a rarity in EVE.
Seismic Stan: So would you and the rest of T-Wrecks honour a 1v1, or would it be wise for your opponent to expect the unexpected?
Sar'duakar: I cant talk for the rest of T-Wrecks, But I would unless I know otherwise. I think to get a 1v1 these days it's got to be force. Catching someone in a belt for example, or just roaming through 0.0.
Seismic Stan: Right, so pre-arranged duels wouldn't be your thing.
Sar'duakar: Not pre-arranged, no. Not my idea of 1v1. If say Player-X jumps into local in a Crow for example, and I'm in a Taranis and get asked for a 1v1, I'd honour it. Unless I can see he's got ten mates two systems back..
Seismic Stan: It is said that "if you get a fair fight in EVE, someone did something wrong." What advice could you give other pirates to keep the deck stacked in their favour?
Sar'duakar: Fight dirty. Outnumber, outgun and outsmart. Scouts are your best weapon. Getting to know what are the flavor bait ships aswell like Prophecys and plated Abaddons.
Seismic Stan: Have you, or T-Wrecks as a corp, ever met your match?
Sar'duakar: All is fair in PvP. Win some, lose some. One thing about T-wrecks is we dont lose much though. As a corp, we are normally all logged on in the same time frame, so its not always to gank just one of us.
We do lose ships just like everyone else though. Stupid mistakes, out classed and out gunned. No excuses.
Seismic Stan: What has been your most impressive of most amusing kill?
Sar'duakar: In terms of isk, a Rorqual that undocked at our station. He walked straight into a gang waiting for him, Was taking a while to break him though so we undocked a Dread just to finish it. In terms of impressive though, its got to be a bait Tengu. Pilot was from a corp called Sense of Serendipity. Tengu was basically fit to hold myself and Bane down and keep us jammed until a Cyno went up.
Unfortunately for him, he never jammed us, and his cyno alt left it too long to fire up and let my Tempest lock him and 1 volley the cyno ship. Rest is just wreckage :)
Seismic Stan: Have you ever been close to an 'emoragequit' moment?
Sar'duakar: Never. I make mistakes just like anyone else. Hardly worth getting all sissy cry baby over. I just pick my bottom lip up and carry on. Eve gives me great enjoyment, satisfaction and an escape from real life.
Seismic Stan: You are currently operating in the low-sec region of Derelik, is low-sec your first choice of location? What are your thoughts on the criticism that low-sec often comes in for with regard to risk versus reward?
Sar'duakar: I've been all over eve. Tried most forms of career except building. I needed to find a path in eve that suited my play style and time I have available. Piracy provided just that. No alarm clock op's, No POS warfare, No logging in to find my station has changed hands, no trudging through Empire lag reading dribble in local from people who think they are "experienced". But its true - risk vs reward - if you're willing to take the chance, you might come up trumps. In the first week of joining T-wrecks I accumulated a billion isk from loot and tech II salvage.
Seismic Stan: I recently watched several of T-Wrecks conduct a gate-camp. Although there wasn't a huge amount of action in the 15mins I watched, was it a profitable and/or enjoyable past-time?
Sar'duakar: The camp was profitable. If you kill stuff, dont loose your ship and make back your ammo + change its always profitable. in the 30 minutes T-wrecks was there, 10 ships popped. From Tech I Cruisers up to tech II HACs. Nothing was lost on our side, so was all good.
Seismic Stan: Recently, I also witnessed T-Wrecks pounce on the tail end of a AAA-Citizens fleet as they assaulted a CVA POS. It was a confident move given the numbers they had nearby and the possibility of their capital fleet engaging. Can you tell us how that cam about? Was it opportunism or a planned ambush?
Sar'duakar: Piracy isnt planned. It's opportunism all the time. You can circle back to Risk vs Reward with this I suppose.
Seismic Stan: If you could only have one ship in EVE, what would it be and why?
Sar'duakar: I honestly dont know. I try and vary my ships all the time, so I dont make myself a huge target. I might be out in my Machariel for a few hours, then switch down to a Vagabond.If I dont present myself as a possible "pay check" too often, things generally work out well.
Seismic Stan: What are your hopes for the future of EVE? Are there any upcoming expansions or changes that you're particularly looking forward to?
Sar'duakar: I'm hoping piracy does get looked at and improved. For once it would be nice for us Outlaws to get a nice new toy designed for us. Carebears got their Orca, Marauder's, 0.0 got Titans and Supercarriers. We pirates just get the same old crap served for yesterdays dinner.