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Interview with SUAS of Black Omega Security/OSS

December 19, 2015

By Seraph IX Basarab

Eve truly is an amazing game where you can find unique cultures and histories much the same way you can IRL. I view Eve as the “best version of chess” we have. As a student of history and international relations, it’s a very valuable platform for social experiments and engineering as well as analyzing trends and traits. You can see how cultures evolve and how myths and a sort of nationalism can form. In many ways Eve is simply a smaller version of our own universe.

Recently I had the pleasure of sitting down with shutupandshave (SUAS), leader of Black Omega Security and formerly a pretty big name in Goonswarm. He played a large role in Goonswarm’s success both as a military leader but also as a cultural creator. My personal favorite of his classics is Little Bees:

The following is our interview:

Seraph: I’m with shutupandshave (SUAS) former long time member of Goonswarm, and legendary Eve singer-songwriter and he’s been kind enough to share some of the history of himself and his first corp, Black Omega Security. Thank you for taking the time.

SUAS: Thank you very much! I’m not a proper e-famous celebrity like Grath or Laz but I’m beginning to feel like one after that introduction!

Seraph: Well, I feel like I’m still a relatively newer player in that I was not deeply involved with Eve Online during the early days of Goonswarm, the fall of Band of Brothers and all that ancient history which still affects the Eve 0.0 political landscape today. Tell us about how you got into Eve and some of your early experiences.

SUAS: I got into Eve, what felt like incredibly late. I used to play a game called Homeworld (which the BoB corp Evolution used to play), and so was a rival of SirMolle from day 1. He and his group Freelancers dominated that game until myself and Thorthegreat knocked them off the top spot. I am not sure why he but he seemed to hold a grudge about that. A handful of members of my Homeworld group moved over to Eve and when I joined Skull HSC, was CEO of Black Omega Security (HSC was the name of my Homeworld group and Skull kept the name when joining Eve), Thor was second in command and so it was odd for me. They all knew I was a pretty competitive gamer so I was essentially power leveled by them. Skull teaching me how to lead and Thor teaching me how to play (I’m still pretty bad at Eve).

I joined BOS just as we were leaving Syndicate and but hadn’t played enough to know what I was doing in the battle of VV-VCR. That was (although I didn’t know it) one of the biggest battles in the game to date and it was overwhelming. After screaming about hostiles on the gate (rats) and interrupting the FCs enough, I think people decided I really needed sitting down and the game explained, and so the real training began.

I remember wanting Eve to be like Elite with good graphics, but that was NOTHING compared with the hugely intricate meta gaming or the sheer volume of time that people put into co-operative gameplay of Eve Online.

Seraph: Better to scream about rats. I’ve flown with ‘ceptor scouts that got killed by rats because they didn’t have them set in their overview properly. Anyway how do you think those early times shaped your perspective on Eve? How was your early time as part of the SA community in Eve?

SUAS: I joined Eve when the majority of the really nasty bugs (features) were ironed out. I never flew Scorpions MWDing at 5Au/s or fitting torp launchers onto Kestrels. I think the fact that Eve is constantly evolving is really helping. I can see the way that CCP are constantly nerfing/buffing things to change the game around and I wholly approve. I suppose now I just train what I want to train. I know it’s going to eventually end up being the flavour at the month at some point.

The story of my SA involvement is a little convoluted. Black Omega started off as Minmatar anti-pirate RP’ers (pretty much everyone RP’d at some point in the game, and whilst that’s not at all my thing I think the mockery of RP’ers was one of the really negative things to come out of GF’s involvement with the game) and so we’ve always supported the underdog. GF moved to Syndicate after the collapse of the original Curse alliance (which we were a founder of). We saw a number of people who understood Goons’ potential in the game if they got big and they tried to annihilate them. We rented out a handful of belts in Syndicate to them (for little more than token ISK to be honest, we always made a loss on them) and used it as an excuse to look after them. BOB came (well before the “there are no Goons” statement), along with a number of other alliances to “eradicate Goons”. We got offered quite a lot of ISK to both turn on them or abandon them but that’s never been the kind of thing that BOS would do. E-Honour appears to have gone the way of RP but I don’t think we’ve ever backstabbed anyone in the game, I don’t think we ever would.

Goons were certainly grateful for the protection. So much so that they even created a foreign legion to come and help us a couple of times. As a consequence I think someone subbed me a SA account sometime in 2007 [need to check that date].
I’ve posted in a few other SA threads and for the most part the community seems to be pretty good. Like all large communities they have their good and their bad people. They seem to really rally behind good causes though.

Seraph: What sort of role did you and BOS play in the conflict between GF and BoB? How did that shape your relationship?

SUAS: The answer to this question is literally huge. Mittani had a breakdown and quit as CEO, I persuaded him to give CEO to someone who would listen to my advice and be a huge help, and in exchange for not letting BOB win I asked for a constellation out of our vast space.

BOS helped lead fleets early on in the life of the RSF. BOS then left the arena to form PL with Snigg. I left as CEO and stayed with GF, becoming eventually what they called Sky Marshal. BOS however still had some hugely important roles to play. Despite the huge number of players RSF had, BoB had titans, cap supremacy and most importantly, a reputation for being undefeatable.

Within GF I had a small group of tryhards called Specops. One of the specops members had a super building in the “specops constellation”. We were getting our shit pushed in BADLY. BoB were steamrollering our space and our logstics were getting hammered. Stampert and Grayton were doing everything they can but we just weren’t able to win fights. I had a chat with Nync, from RA, and the two of us came up with a plan to at least slow BoB down enough to get the super finished. He handed over HUNDREDS of towers + fuel and mods. Things had just changed in game to prevent POS spam and so corps were only allowed to anchor 5 per day. BOS members dropped corp and used alts and we set up loads of alt corps. We POS’d 2 entire constellations. BOB thought we were broken so weren’t really expecting much of a resistance but this is the first time I really got to understand that logistics win wars. Certainly BOS knew that the only way to lose is to stop fighting, and we’d had a hand in helping GF learn that making the enemies’ gameplay was not fun, but this is the first time I’d done something like this on such a scale.

We POS’d up the entire constellation with XGH and G-DON in it, then we drew BoB into the constellation to fight. For some reason BoB only had 49% of 9-9 POS’d. So while BOB were fighting us (and of course winning) in XGH, I started POS’ing 9-9. The last POS (which would’ve been the decider) was a really hot POS to put down. BoB were filtering back into 9-9 and I got caught about to deploy the POS at a moon by an interceptor. I thought “this is it, after EVERYTHING BoB are going to drop this tower and we’ll lose the system) however the moment I was tackled, Nync uncloaked next to me (I had no idea but he was following me around watching out for me). He nuked the inty as my tower started anchoring and I warped off as the rest of the BoB fleet warped in. Just after that point we hit our very short timezone majority and so were able to protect the POS. THAT night was the night that BoB lost their titan, they were throwing it around 9-9 but we had safe moons and were determined to protect the system. 20 minutes after I logged off, Sesfan led the op that killed Shrike’s titan.

Bob never really recovered after that night. The combination of Sesfan killing the titan and BOS putting up all those towers stalled the entire war effort. We burnt out BoB’s logistics and as a consequence managed to push them all the way back into Delve.

It was an incredible effort and whilst we didn’t win the war in that phase, we took a system in Delve. Briefly. The damage had been done though. People knew that BoB weren’t invincible and there was blood in the water.

I count that moment when Nync decloaked and bailed me out as the turning point in the war. Both Nync and myself got screwed over by GF in the end which I don’t really want to go into, but that moment was a pivotal moment in Eve. Perhaps the most important moment in my Eve career and perhaps the most important moment in Eve up until that point. BoB the invincible alliance suddenly lost their invincibility. It would be a long time (and a lot of luck) before they eventually died but die they eventually did.

Seraph: The focus regarding BoB’s defeat always seems to center on the betrayal within, an act often claimed by Mittani to have been a central player in such events. Many of these details and specifics often get left out in the “official” narrative these days so this is very interesting. What sort of role did you and BOS play after the Goon’s victory over BoB? Did you see any particular developmental trends within the alliance you thought were good or bad?

SUAS: I think that the betrayal of Haargoth was vital in turning the war so quickly, but I think that BoB’s loss had become inevitable by that point. It stopped being if, and started being when. BOS were busy forming PL during this point, and Haargoth’s betrayal was about the time I stopped playing for a while. I wasn’t needed.

Seraph: I think the popular narrative usually presented is that The Mittani pulled off a master meta stroke that brought BoB down by recruiting Haargoth. Would you say that is pretty accurate or was there more to it than that? Did you play any particular role in the events?

SUAS: No I had nothing to do with that. However, it was a stroke of luck not some long term plan that came off. I think there was a fair amount of skill in talking Haargoth round, and helping him create maximum damage with the access he had. Someone with less knowledge of game mechanics would have stolen some hangers and turned off some POS, but they coached him through BoB’s literal obliteration.

Seraph: What prompted BOS to leave PL and join up with Goons? Was it motivated by your return?

SUAS: No, it was the other way round actually. OMEGA floundered in PL after a while. Leadership went inactive and so the corp went inactive. I got contacted by the three people that were left and told what was happening. We agreed to put me back in charge and together try and regrow the corp. I put OMEGA back into Goonswarm as they had a war on and we started the slow return to activity.

Seraph: And between 2012 and 2015 you managed to do just that. A lot of people tend to simply assume all corps just fit into the alliance they are in no different from the others but your corp managed not only to maintain its identity but to also flourish. What factors events really helped solidify your corp during these years?

SUAS: I think BOS has always had a strong identity. Before I joined, we were famous as the “blacks ops” of Curse Alliance, fighting behind enemy lines, the same in the 5. The groups I’ve led/been in have always had been renowned for getting the exceptional done, to the point where detractors are quite vocal in their criticism (even if it’s made up).

I’ve always been (sometimes woefully) unaware of politics and I think this has been a major contributor to helping BOS retain it’s identity. If you don’t realise there’s a right thing to say/do/act it’s difficult to find yourself doing it. I think that I’ve always held onto quite strong ideals within the game too. Not morally or idealistically but just the approach I (and therefore BOS) has when it comes to playing the game. We play the game. We don’t log on for pings. I think it’s important to play with people that enjoy playing. You can get a lot more done. Even the great alliances were built on the back of people that logged on regularly.

Seraph: I also enjoy the whole “black ops” gameplay style. I always enjoyed playing smart rather than hard in any game that I can. Are there any black ops campaigns that BOS undertook that you could think of, perhaps while part of GSF?

SUAS: I think in GSF, with my bloc level knowledge we tended to have other roles. We put together some allies and took all the R64’s in Syndicate and then handed over any of high value. We went to Fountain to help FA and took all the moons there (and gave them to FA), as well as to destroy the Fountain core assets. I think we got used really as leadership and logistics, which is something that BOS excel at. We’re the heart or a glue of a campaign.

Seraph: BOS seemed to have played a very vital role within the GSF. I’m sure you’ve discussed this elsewhere but for the sake of integrity, what were the factors that contributed to BOS’s departure? Is it true you were pushed out for “not clicking pap links?”

SUAS: No, and I think the GF leadership have even admitted that. We got told we were being kicked for 2 different reasons (depending on who you spoke to).

1) Because Lakz, the CEO at the time, leaked some director-level stuff to the corp (mostly about how we were being treated I believe).

2) We had a lot of very vocal opposition to the monetisation of the CFC. We have a fair few intelligent players in the corp (I don’t claim to be one of them!), and they saw what was happening with TMC long before a lot of other people appeared to. They were unhappy that funds they had helped earn (such as all the neo/dyspro moons we handed over in Syndicate a year or so earlier) were being filtered out to essentially pay real money salaries to people. It didn’t seem right.

Seraph: I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t enjoying the drama going on over there inside the “Imperium”. It’s a roaring dumpster fire to put it mildly. As far as I know you’ve been silent about it and most BOS members seem to have a distant disinterest in the affair, at least publicly. So I won’t badger you much about it, but do you have anything you’d like to make mention of? Shared thoughts, experiences? Shameless offers at poaching former comrades?

SUAS: BOS is not anti-Goon, after being the victim of the spin machine we’re certainly not pro-Goon either though.
A lot of us are not Goons but we enjoy playing Eve. If anyone (not just Goons) is interested in playing the game on a day to day basis, instead of just logging in for pings they can look us up.

I’m going to start a newbie Corp at some point. I’ve enjoyed newbies and guiding people ever since I joined the game. We did it with GF, we did it a bit with Brave, we did it with Karmafleet and I always wanted to do it with Test too, but I am not interested in being part of the Grr Goon narrative that’s so prevalent at the moment. If people are interested in small gang NPC Space/Low Sec warfare then I’m hoping that the newbie Corp we set up is going to cater effectively to that. We want to pick people up that look at these huge fleets of faceless ships and want more than that. People that are willing to lose ships to learn, and well, play the game.

Seraph: Aside from flying to your home in Syndicate, where can they find you and who should they get in touch with?

SUAS: We’ve forums: https://forum.oss.rocks/category/2/public, and if you have an Eve account you can get onto Jabber (although you need an API to do so, an API that gives us no details other than your name). Come and say hi! Come roam, we fly all access roams pretty often so if you’re an old (or new) friend, just head down and jump in fleet!!!

Seraph: Thank you so much for your time. It was a pleasure learning about your corp’s historical legacy. I look forward to seeing what else BOS, now leading OSS alliance will accomplish in the coming year.

SUAS: Thanks!!! It’s been a real pleasure, both collating the memories and reliving them here!

Truly a classy guy to speak with. BOS is currently leading OSS, a strong & respected alliance based in Syndicate focusing on PvP, known for hitting hard. If you’re a newer player, I think it would be worth your while to get in on the ground level of SUAS’s newb friendly corp project. I look forward to see how the coming year will shape up for SUAS and his members.

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