Outlaws of EVE Online: Masu'di Part 2

How do you handle the inevitable conflicts with territorial alliances who likely have greater numbers and firepower?

Most of the areas of space we need access to are claimed, with various levels of effectiveness, by large and powerful territorial alliances. We can not begin to match them with manpower, so we have to take a more cracks between the pavement route.

In EVE a little good will can go a long way. So we will always try an open upfront approach first, and try and build a mutually beneficial relationship. Cheap boosters, resource and information sharing are all things we try and bring to the table.

However, whether this is accepted or not, very much depends on the organisation involved, and their modus operandi. Some alliances in EVE develop because their leaders have good business sense, focus and strategy, they know what they want for the alliance, and know what they can offer in return. Other organisations build up from a pure quest for power. For these organisations trading and business can take away from this. They prefer to try and do everything in-house as this is perceived as a sign of strength.

"We moved a number of agents into their alliance, who could help facilitate the acquisition of the resources we needed. They provided intel, allowing us to conduct our own covert resource gathering, while causing internal disruption where possible."

In the latter scenario we have to take a more covert approach, for example one recent alliance, former resident of Fountain, was an alliance called Brutally Clever Empire. We had already moved into the booster production constellation earlier, taking advantage of the chaos there when Band of Brothers pulled out. Not being perceived as a threat by anyone else we were generally low down on the target list and left alone to get on with what we like doing best. When Brutally Clever Empire arrived and claimed the region as their own, they wanted exclusive control of all the region's resources, and allow their in-house booster producers to build up a monopoly on the Exile booster type. However, the stronger boosters need resources from other regions too. It's something which we could easily provide and they tried to negotiate with us over this, however they refused to let us continue our access to our former operational areas – something which we found unacceptable.

Without going into too much detail, we moved a number of agents into their alliance, who could help facilitate the acquisition of the resources we needed. They provided intel, allowing us to conduct our own covert resource gathering, while causing internal disruption where possible. We also we hired some mercenaries for a couple of months to harass Brutally Clever Empire, but luckily for us they had made enemies of most of their neighbours. With few friends and allies, and being yet another alliance that puts the wagon before the horse, they quickly collapsed.

I've seen video footage of Hedonistic Imperative's largest drug shipment ever smuggled into the high security trade hub of Jita. Can you tell me a bit about how you pulled this off?

Recently, the Secure Commerce Commission, took the unprecedented move of allowing combat boosters to be sold on the open markets, even when illegal under the jurisdiction of the sovereign faction. Before this, nearly all our drug transactions had been through direct trades, or leaving drug drops in secure cans. While we do miss the social element, something that you don't get with a market order, it has allowed us to sell in much higher volume.

To anyone who flies in EVE, Jita is an obvious trade hub to concentrate on, so we planned to move a large shipment up there to keep us tidied over for a couple of months. While the risks of being caught by a customs agent is fairly low, with such a high value of contraband we wanted to minimize all risks to as close to zero as possible. Normally, we take a much more discreet approach to things, but decided to flex our wings a little.

For this operation, we hired some mercenaries, Trinity Nova Alliance, who we had had dealings with before. To not put all our eggs in one basket, invited some old friends along, Borderlands corp, that we knew and trusted from a long time back. Both of these corps were assigned two groups of customs agents to eliminate each. The rest of the fleet, our own pilots, provided direct escort to be on hand to "fix" any problems that we may have encountered along the way. For example, we were particularly wary of the possibility of being targeted by suicide attacks, especially if details of the operation had been leaked outside the alliance.

We carved our way through the customs officials and successfully delivered boosters with a street value of somewhere close to 18 billion ISK.

Hedonistic Imperative gained some notoriety during the 4th Alliance PvP Tournament. Following a match disqualification, your team attacked and destroyed an Opux Dragoon Yacht that functioned as the tournament's camera of the event, in either protest or defiance of CCP's decision. Predictably, Hedonistic Imperative was banned from the rest of the tournament. Was there any fallout from this incident?

My main concern at the time was it turning into a public relations disaster. Thankfully, while everyone was in a pretty crazy mood that day, they managed to stay fairly restrained on GalNet (the EVE forums). We still believe that it was an unjust disqualification. An unfortunate mix of bad, almost comically bad, timing and ambiguous referee instructions led our team and some of the other team, fingers over trigger, to believe that the countdown we were watching being typed out in local was for the beginning of our match -- and not for the end of the preceding match that we were unaware was overrunning.

Without dwelling on the referee's decision for us to forfeit the match, and how that decision was made, once the initial disbelief had sunk in, this quickly turned to anger. In our brief little rampage, the cameraman fell victim to a salvo of missiles from one of our pilots, DamienUPB. There was no going back from there, and our fate was predictably sealed for the rest of the tournament. Once the dust had settled we issued a public apology to EVE TV, and accepted our disqualification honourably.

You are, undoubtedly, the drug kingpin of New Eden. But are there other aspects of the underground you'd like to get involved in? Where would you like things to go from here with Es and Whizz and Hedonistic Imperative?

I've always enjoyed using spies and conducting covert operations, with a few interesting stories around that. Though it's something I don't have enough time to pursue as much as I would like. Most of my time is spent plotting, scheming and organising for the alliance. Other than that, I think in EVE it's important to stick to clear and focused goals; boosters and narcotics are our primary, though we are hoping to build up our combat division and get a few more heavies on board, through either more combat pilots joining our corps or possibly recruiting some combat focused corps to join the alliance. We have the resources and goals for them, but for us, it's just a case of finding the right people.

Thanks for speaking with Massively, Masu'di.

This article was originally published on Massively.