Massively: Hellcats is the first and only corp of its kind in New Eden. Why did you want to establish a women-only pirate corp and what challenges has this presented?
Mynxee: I had two initial motivations for establishing Hellcats. The first was to provide a nurturing environment for women players -- especially those with less experience in New Eden -- who were interested in a pirate lifestyle. It was clear from talking to them casually that quite a few new women players felt intimidated by the game and a less-than-supportive environment often found among more experienced players.
The second was to build a tight-knit group of yarr girls respected by peers and victims alike for doing what we set out to do in an effective and professional way. The biggest challenge has been attracting enough of the "right kind" of women, e.g., those who want to live as outlaws, are self-starters willing to invest in continual improvement (reading guides, using tools like EVEMon and EFT), and who enjoy both solo and small fleet action.
Thus far, has Hellcats lived up to the expectations you had when you came up with the concept? How has Hellcats changed over time since the beginning?
In terms of numbers and membership stability, it has not. We originally accepted players very new to the game, offering training in the basic skills of piracy. This turned out to be an enormous drain on time and energy given our small number of experienced players available to do such training. Furthermore, it turned out to be a dubious investment since a good percentage of new members ultimately decided that either piracy or EVE itself was not for them -- or they just dropped off the radar with no explanation. So we set some modest minimum requirements (4M PvP-related skillpoints), figuring that such players would at least have a clue about skill planning, ship fitting, and piloting -- not to mention a better idea of whether or not they plan to stick with the game.
"The biggest challenge has been attracting the 'right kind' of women, those who want to live as outlaws."
Higher requirements also cut down on the amount of unsuitable applicants who applied with new accounts at the prompting of husbands or boyfriends keen to get their ladies playing EVE
-- but were clueless about our corporate agenda beyond the fact that we are an "all chick corp!". However, it has also slowed the number of applicants we get. That said, I'd rather get a few high quality applicants and build ranks slowly
than a flurry of people here today and gone tomorrow.
When Hellcats started, I had the idea of a small corp that could roll an effective small fleet around low sec, ransoming and killing. Considering the blob tactics so popular these days, that limited our targets considerably. By joining forces with our friends The Bastards
for over a year, we had a lot more fun and a lot more kills. However, after a time I and my directors (Shae Tiann
and Venom Orchid
) began to feel a need to re-establish our independent identity. So we departed amicably from The Bastards and pondered our next steps. Accepting that Hellcats' numbers may always remain low, we decided to form the HellFleet alliance
for the purpose of bringing together like-minded players to pursue our agenda of "piracy everywhere". Having the alliance reins in our hands means we can run the show the way we think it should be done.
You're well-known to many players in EVE for being a pirate, but I remember from our first conversation some time ago that you weren't *always* a pirate through-and-through. What steered you down the road towards becoming an outlaw, and did you find it difficult to make that transition?
I started playing EVE
with a character specifically designed to be a trader. With her I spent time in industry corps mining, inventing, exploring, manufacturing, and yes... even doing some market trading! When I wandered naively into low sec and lost my ship to pirates, I happened to become friends with an anti-pirate by the name of Austinus who (along with some corpmates) rose to my defense (and got their asses kicked, but that's beside the point). When Austinus turned pirate not long after that, I was intrigued by his tales of low sec shenanigans and decided that was my desired path in New Eden. It's just too much fun to be bad, you know?
"The transition from carebear to pirate was not particularly difficult as soon as my eyes were opened to the fun of being an outlaw."
However, my first character's PvP skills were practically non-existent. She was a terrible candidate for becoming a pirate. After comparing training her deficient skills to creating a new PvP-oriented character, it made more sense to do the latter. Of course, this was back when you could customize a character for a given path
and started with nearly a million skillpoints that were focused on that path. That's how Mynxee was born. While I trained up her basic skills, she supported my other character as a hauler. (Ironically, the tables are turned now; the first toon has become a highly-skilled hauler and probe alt that supports Mynxee's piratey fun.)
The transition from carebear to pirate was not particularly difficult - as soon as my eyes were opened to the fun of being an outlaw
, I knew it was only a matter of time before the mining lasers would be tossed into the recycle bin. The hardest part was getting over the initial jitters that came from being clueless about PvP tactics
and ship fittings. But that's what friends, forums, cheap frigates, and the Undock button are for! You literally just have to get out there and engage time and time again. There is much to be learned from both defeats and victories.
As someone who's active in different (if not opposite) spheres of the game -- industry and exploration on one hand, and piracy on another -- what are your thoughts on the divide between players from each camp? Do you find that after you've experienced these different walks of life in New Eden that your perspective has changed?
Much is made of the differences between pirates and carebears and both sides frequently ridicule the other. However, I know a lot of players from all walks of life in New Eden and - particularly among experienced players - don't see that much of a divide. Many players who embrace the yarr
also engage in other activities (usually on second accounts). For one thing, there's too much interesting content in New Eden; willfully maintaining tunnel vision that excludes that content means you miss out on a lot. For another, pirates gotta pay the bills and keep themselves in ships. It's hard to do that by staying focused purely on piracy (though some manage it), so a lot of pirates do carebear stuff on the side. Oh, we might not be strapping on the mining lasers, but many of us run missions, do plexes and Sleeper sites
, engage in trading, have low sec POS's
working for us, etc.
Any divide that does exist between pirates and carebears is probably more between the experienced players who accept that EVE is a PvP-centric game and the less experienced ones who've not yet had their misguided sense of entitlement to "safe" game play removed by the realities of New Eden