This is a collection of short in-character fiction pieces about Awakened Industries, a group of capsuleers and their crews living in the enigmatic and dangerous regions of Wormhole Space in EVE Online. None of the protagonists are actual characters or corporations in-game. All similarities with persons fictional or real are possibly coincidental and only sometimes intentional. - Emergent Patroller

For an introduction to this blog refer to this link. You may also want to check out the guide for new readers

: The stories on this blog contain mature themes involving sexuality and violence and are not suitable for minors or sensitive people.

29 Oct 2012

OOC Entry 54 - We interrupt our regular program

I put my next story chapter aside for now because something else came along that I could not let pass by without jumping on the opportunity.

A gentleman calling himself Telegram Sam has taken the initiative to set up a fiction writing contest for EVE Online. He managed to get several sponsors on board and two CCP fiction writers will act as judges.

Needless to say I am very excited.

Of course there is the possibility of winning a prize, but not only that.

While I don't really count on winning anything, I really hope that this contest will motivate many creative people to write great stories that will enrich our game-world.

Of course all the exciting player-generated emergent gameplay content is great, but what is a fictional universe without some fiction?

So if you enjoy your little online escapist fantasy in ways that go beyond shooting-people-in-the-face(tm) and actually like reading stories, check out the submissions here. Already, only a few days after the announcement of the contest, there are ten stories, and submissions are accepted until december.

I will get sore eyes from reading.

Thank you Sam for that great initiative.


Immersed in the balmy liquid of his pod, Yevert drifted calmly with his eyes closed.

The mining lasers of his ship were coring through the material of the vast floating rock outside. Their immense heat liquefied the asteroid's material, broke molecular bonds and sent a stream of precious ore back into the hold of Yevert's ship through a magnetic field tunnel within the powerful beam.

He gave himself over to that sensation which he had always found difficult to describe. Being one with the angular bulk of his mining vessel, it felt like a combination of drinking sublime nectar while wriggling one's toes in warm sand.

The neural feedback of the capsule interface was something that fascinated him with it's complexity.

Still, after all this time, he could enjoy it. He found ever new aspects in the experience that tingled his nerve-endings. He even loved how it's intricacies confounded him whenever he wanted to write about them in his personal diary.

Yevert drifted off into a state of half-aware torpor, just feeling the hull, the workings of it's systems and the flow of material infusing what effectively was his ship sized body.

But then the sensations changed in a disturbing way.

There was a rush, an urgency and a focused aggression invading his consciousness. An image appeared before his mind's eye: A mining vessel, not unlike his own, with a targeting reticule superimposed. Yevert felt how his muscles spasmed in unaccustomed ways. Something rushed from him and he involuntarily felt a sickening pleasure at what could only be a weapon discharge. He wanted to turn away from the image of the defenseless ship being bombarded with blaster charges but his vision was riveted to the unfolding carnage. Yet, behind the murderous exhilaration that flooded his senses there was a cold wrenching feeling deep within his guts.

A communications window opened before his internal vision.

A ship's bridge appeared, full of screams and stumbling figures illuminated by plasma fire. A desperate scorched face begged for mercy before another explosion obliterated it in a storm of superheated gas.

Yevert jerked and thrashed while the sound of his helpless scream was swallowed by the fluid in his pod. His mining lasers rotated crazily through empty space as they reacted to the panicked movements of his body in the liquid cradle deep within the mining barge.

Eventually his heart-rate slowed down and he regained his bearings, only to see a squadron of Federation Navy warships appear from warp. Suddenly he felt as if a massive fist squeezed the air from his lungs. The sensation conveyed as clearly as the combat system's warning message that his warp drive had been disabled and that his ship was caught in a powerful stasis field.

'Yevert Geadroit.' A synthesized voice traveled through his aural nerves 'This is the Federation Navy speaking. Power down your ship's systems and prepare to be boarded. You are under arrest for crimes against Federation citizens.'


When the two armoured Federation Navy security officers brought the subject in, Ceila Laminasse immediately saw that there was something definitely wrong with the picture.

It was not only the shackles, gag and blindfold that made the prisoner seem meek and unassuming. He was thin and his muscles looked atrophied. Very likely he did not leave his capsule often. When he did, he rarely took care of himself physically. From his looks, the capsuleer was maybe in his late twenties. A timid, narrow faced, blond boy who winced with pain when they pushed him down in a chair facing her desk.

'Remove his restraints.' Ceila ordered the officers.

'But ma'am, he …' The bigger of them sounded off with a voice distorted by his helmet's built-in microphone.

'He's hardly going to be a threat, and if he turns out to be, you will be right outside my door. Correct?' She implied the order rather than directly issuing it.

The officer nodded reluctantly and removed the small-framed man's gag and blindfold. He left the handcuffs on though. 'He's all yours.' He announced with a salute and then the two officers left the spacious office overlooking Carirgnottin VII's main city.

The young man looked around the office with confusion bordering on panic. Ceila allowed him to get to grips with his situation while she took a seat. She decided to not sit behind her desk, but rather in a lounge chair not far from him and beside a cushioned sofa. It would make her seem less distant.

Eventually the view and surroundings had their desired effect on the disturbed capsuleer.

Outside, the the lush urbanized oasis characterized by the smooth lines and slender spires of Gallente architecture was set in a landscape of sweeping dunes. The scenery lay bathed in bright blue sunlight which was turned into a soothing violet by the polarized windows. The office itself was decorated with tasteful, abstract art pieces, that complemented the comfortable designer furniture well. Essential oils subtly scented the room with the aroma of wild cactus flowers.

Everything was arranged to have a calming influence, and it worked.

When her patient had settled down, Ceila got up from her chair and walked over to him. She pulled a codekey from a pocket of her leisurely cut off-white jacket. 'Let me get these off.' she offered and released the electronic lock on the capsuleer's handcuffs. He shook them off with a surprised look on his face.

When she returned to her chair, Ceila intentionally presented her back to the seated man. She wanted him to feel like he was in control of the situation as much as possible

'Do you know where you are?' She asked after she had sat down again.

'I guess I am at Duvolle headquarters.' He replied with a weak voice.

She smiled at him and nodded 'You have been here before I guess?'

'Once.' He confirmed 'I was working for Duvolle Laboratories as a freelance contractor for some time. You can look it up. My name is Yevert Geadroit.'

'Yes, your record says so.' Ceila picked up a neocom from the desk next to her 'You were a successful manufacturer and miner until your security status began to drop significantly in recent weeks.'

He wrought his hands and shook his head in distress 'I don't know how that happened. I never killed anyone.' He looked down at his nervously twisting fingers. 'Not even criminals.'

Yevert looked up at Ceila's benevolent mature face again. Pleadingly this time 'I am a miner, a trader and manufacturer. I am not even trained to fly combat ships or fire shipboard weapons.'

'I know.' Ceila smiled at him accommodatingly. 'You are officially not even certified to use them.' She put away her neocom after having another look at it and smoothed over her light-gray skirt. 'So how do you think it happened that your capsuleer registry shows you as a wanted criminal?'

Yevert sunk deeper into the gel-cushion chair he sat in. Deep insecurity overcast his features. 'You will …' He began haltingly 'You will think I am crazy.'

Ceila shook her head and leaned forward, resting her chin in her slender hands. With an earnest but soft voice she said 'I am a capsuleer psychologist. I have heard many things that may sound crazy to other people.' She looked deep into the young man's eyes to create a rapport. 'Whatever you tell me will not leave this room.' She leaned back again but held his gaze. 'It is my job to help you'

Fretfully the capsuleer ran a thin hand through his spiky blond hair. 'I've been …' he swallowed, gathering courage. 'I've had these dreams.'

'Tell me about them?' Ceila encouraged him.

'In those dreams I am a pirate.' Again he swallowed. 'I kill people. I am a mass murderer.' He wiped sweat off his brow.

'Do you wish to be that person?' Ceila wondered with her head inclined slightly.

'Damn no!' He almost screamed. 'It makes me sick even thinking of it.'

'What kind of people do you kill?' She wondered with genuine interest.

'It's mining ships most of the time. Sometimes cargo transports.' The memory definitely seemed to distress him. 'They are all defenseless and I …' He paused, shaking his head in disbelief. 'I just kill them. All of them.'

Ceila stood up and poured a glass of fresh spring water from a carafe on her desk. She handed him the filled glass. He drank quickly and thanked her with a curt nod.

'Maybe it is your own fear of becoming a victim that makes you have those dreams?' Ceila suggested while leaning against the edge of her desk.

He chuckled dryly. 'You must be kidding.' He said cynically. 'Do you know what it is like out there? I get shot at and podded all the time by those bastards. I'm way too used to it to still be afraid of it.'

Then his expression hardened momentarily and he looked at Ceila with an intense glare. 'No, I tell you, they are not just dreams!' He raised his voice again desperately. 'I mean, damn, look at my security status.' He rested his face in his palms and uttered a sobbing whine. 'The navy arrested me for killing them. I really did it.' He confessed against all sanity.

Ceila shook her head slowly. 'I do not believe that you are a murderer Yevert.' She comforted him and walked around the desk. She opened a drawer and took out a device that looked like a visor with cup-shaped ear-protectors attached.

Yevert raised his face from his palms and looked at the apparatus.'What is that?' He asked, his voice brittle with fear.

'Nothing to be afraid of.' The psychologist replied with a soft smile. 'Just a device that will make you sleep and record your brainwave patterns.' She walked over to the cringing young man and offered her hand to him. 'It will tell us where your dreams come from.' She inclined her head slightly, still smiling 'Wouldn't you like to know where those dreams come from?'

Yevert nodded, took her hand and rose.

'Come.' She offered and walked him to the inviting couch next to her lounge chair. 'Lie down and relax.'


Jinneth Duvolle closed the report on her desk with a quick gesture of her wrinkled hand and looked across the large table at her Psy-Ops director Ceila Laminasse. She had always liked that woman. Diligent, thorough and good at what she did. She was still a good two decades younger than herself. Attractive and intelligent. Someone with a promising future.

Inwardly the old Gallente executive already regretted what she knew would have to be done.

'So how is that possible?' She asked the other woman.

'Neurotech division tells me that there is a slight chance of something like that happening if two capsuleer profiles are retrieved by the system within the same second.' Ceila explained. 'They call it neural state entanglement. In a way the minds of two capsuleers can become subconsciously linked through the neural mapping systems that constantly update their profiles in our quantum data stores.'

'I understand.' The matronly tycoon replied. 'But how does that reflect on that miner's security record?'

'A pilot's registry with CONCORD is directly linked with his or her neural imprint.' Ceila elaborated. 'In the case of such an entanglement the security record becomes …' she groped for words. 'Well, entangled is the only way to put it I guess.' Ceila shrugged defensively. 'It appears that Yevert Geadroit got killed in his pod and retrieved the very same moment as another one of our customers met the same fate. Needless to say the other one is a marauding killer.'

Jinneth Duvolle pressed her thin lips together and looked at the psychologist imploringly. 'Tell me that there is a way to fix it.'

Ceila took a deep breath. 'Well, in a way.' She hesitated. 'It would be possible to reset their clone images to a backup state.' She looked at the company's director earnestly. 'The next time either one is killed in his pod, he would lose all of the memories acquired since the incident.'

'Do any of the Neurotech staff know what you have found there?' Jinneth Duvolle wondered with a furrowed brow.

'Of course not Madame Duvolle. I inquired on a purely hypothetical level.' Ceila replied immediately.

'Very good.' The old woman nodded and relaxed noticeably. 'Tell them to proceed with that reset.'

Ceila nodded dutifully 'Immediately Madame Duvolle.' She began to rise from her chair.

'Ceila.' Jinneth Duvolle looked at the other woman with an intense expression on her wrinkled face. 'I hope that you understand how sensitive that matter is.' She paused and Ceila nodded slowly. 'If that comes out we would lose a lot of customers, not to mention what that would do to the reputation of our company.'

'Certainly Madame Duvolle.' The Psy-Ops director answered with a short nod.

'Good.' Jinneth Duvolle said. 'Make sure to keep a tight lid on it.'


The old tycoon sat in her chair for several minutes after Ceila Laminasse had left, eyes closed in contemplation. Finally she took a deep breath, opened her eyes, and touched the interactive surface of her desk to open a communications channel to her least favorite department in the vast business empire she commanded.

'Damage Control.' She sighed 'I need you to take care of something for me.'

She hated losing good employees. Especially the ones she liked personally.

23 Oct 2012

OOC Entry 53 - As announced

Finally I finished that story chapter which had been stuck due to RL issues.

It is my second achievement I can be happy about today. The first one was at work where I finally made something run again that fell apart in pieces last Friday after I thought I had it all but finished with only the small details to deal with.

I continue with telling the story mostly from the view of Savant Hegomir Torstan. I go some more into the Arek'Jalaan backstory, mainly how the sudden appearance of Hilen Tukoss would have felt for the main antagonist/protagonist of this story.

I sort-of started to like that arrogant and narcissistic old bastard. I have actually made his character up with The Mittani in mind. Like if that guy were a genius Minmatar scientist instead of someone playing EVE and ruling a make-believe space-empire. Horrible but oddly likeable.

In the end, he will be in a situation that is not at all how he expected or planned things, but the final instalment of the story will tell how he deals with that.

Stay tuned.

OOC Entry 52 - Yes, I am still alive

Ok, I have been absent from writing and from playing EVE to the detriment of this blog of mine.

While my friends have had all kinds of adventures including settling a new wormhole, I could hardly find the time to log on. Even chatting on our alliance jabber server has become less. Basically, there was lots of RL stuff to do. Work had me travelling and otherwise occupied. In my home city there was a big music festival which I was sort-of involved with and spending time at various events, and I actually consummated my relationship by spending some quality time together.

All this ended up with me hardly being online and only jotting down a sentence here or there for my next story chapter.

However, I can tell you, that by tomorrow it will be online, finally.

I basically finished it just now, and I will sleep over it, proofread it (inadequately as usual) and then publish it.

So, yes, I am still alive and well and have not forgotten that I have a story to finish. Tomorrow's instalment will not be the last chapter of this one though. There is at least one more episode after that.

13 Oct 2012

OOC Entry 51 - Recruiting and Background Checks - 2

So now I have re-read my last instalment a few times and found some horrible spelling mistakes as usual, it's time for Part 2.

We'll get into things right away.


I have mentioned in the first part how sec status can be misleading. If you consider someone's sec status and combine what you see there with information on a killboard, things become clearer.

Many corps and alliances have their own public killboards, but there is of course also EVE Kill and the Battleclinic Killboard. My personal favorite would be Griefwatch because it also has sec status statistics, but only people who pay for it are on there.

It is in any case advisable to check more than one because the information will vary.

The first thing you will notice here, is of course the kill to loss ratio. If that is something which matters to your corp, take note of it. Also, if you look a bit closer you will see where a pilot gets most of their kills and how many others participated. Do they mostly kill haulers and miners by suicide ganking in highsec? Do they mainly fly in big fleet engagements in nullsec or are they usually in small roaming gangs.

With this information available, start back referencing to what you already know.

What have they told you about their playstyle, their attitude to PVP and the corporations they have been with? That information should match with what you see emerging as a PVP profile here.

If - for example - a character has a lot of highsec suicide ganks on their killboard, but they do have a positive sec status, then they took an effort to get that sec status up again. Be sure to ask them why.

Do not only look for the player's personal kills, also check what the rest of their corp does and what their alliance - if any - gets engaged in. It is entirely possible that your applicant is an alt account appearing be an industrialist while the rest of the corp or alliance appears to be a bunch of griefers.

Allies and Friends

Another very valuable thing you can learn from killboards is who your applicant flies with. Of course they have corpmates and alliance members who are on there with them, but there may be others too.

Look for kills with lots of participants and go through the list.

Check who the people are that are recorded on those kills and are not member of the applicant's corp or alliance. That can tell you a lot about informal relations they have with others.

At this point you can go several layers deep. You can look up those other pilots and corporations on EVEWho again and see what they are all about. Maybe that pilot is actually flying a lot with people who are red to your alliance while their corp looks like it has a clean record.

If they have been with any alliance or coalition that is or was involved in major conflicts, make sure you ask the player later what their attitude towards the opposition is. If your corp recruits from many different sources, you don't want to have some ex-CFC pilot always having arguments with your other corp member who is a former member of Against All Authorities. 

Also, you might find obvious alts in other corps that show up on killboards. Many people are not very imaginative with their names. Some name characters similarly and can be spotted that way. It may be that you find such an alt in a corp that has an entirely different MO from what the applicant is telling you.

Further Information

From EVEWho you will also find a link to EVESearch This tool allows you to search all posts made by players on the EVE Online forums. The things they write can tell you a lot about their attitude. Are they people who are constantly raging and complaining? What do they agree with and what not. Are their posts mostly helpful information or useless trolling?

There is a chance that you wont find anything at all. Some people never use their main to post on the forums, others never use their alt. An empty forum record does not have to be a warning flag, but if a character is six years old and never posted a single thing, it's worth thinking about why. It might be an indication that they have some other account or character they use for that. See whether you can find anything under other names they use (you should be able to see those on their API key).

Bought Characters

One thing will be of particular interest is whether they posted on the character bazaar.

Maybe their character is bought, and then the question is why.

While it is common for people to buy characters, it should be a thing that raises a warning flag. There are all kinds of shenanigans possible by hiding behind an assumed identity. Also, that throws a lot of the conclusions you can draw about a character's corp history and kill history out of the window.

It might mean that they come across as much more skilled than they actually are. A player buying a supercapital pilot might have all the skills to fit and fly one, but that does not mean they have the experience needed to field one in an engagement.

One very interesting thing that can be found out that way, is who the main or alt may be that actually bought that character. That person should certainly be checked if they do not appear anywhere else in your dossier so far.

Filling in the Last Blanks

I have already mentioned back-referencing and cross-referencing a few times.

At this point you have several sources of information checked and they should result in a rather complete picture where every piece fits with the other. Always compare each piece of information you get with all the information you already have. If question marks appear, try to dig deeper and note them down for later.

Finally, you will of course be asking your applicant to submit an API key.

It is advisable to ask for a full API key that lists all characters. Check out whether their skills actually match their claims, but also see whether they get income from any source that is suspicious. Do they have an income that matches with their playstyle, or do they have way too much or way too little. If so, ask yourself where that money went to or came from.

If you want, you can also check all their other characters with the same process you have just used on this one.

If you have not decided that an applicant wont be fitting with your corp by then, you will have a list of blanks you might want to fill in, and you will have a number of questions you like to have answered.

This is where the last part comes in.

The Interview

Set a date for a voice interview with your applicant. Voice communication is faster than the written thing, so people tend to react more spontaneously.
They wont have the time to think about every response, and if they have a hidden agenda, they might accidentally reveal it or at least slip up in some way.

Also you can sometimes hear from a person's voice whether they are being truthful or not. Not that this is a sure way of spotting a liar, but it can work.

Collect all your notes that you made earlier and have them ready. Tick off each particular question you still had.

If you can, get a second person to join in. Two people are better than one to form an opinion and notice things that seem wrong or raise a warning flag.

When you interview someone, start with easy things. Begin with questions you already asked or which they already wrote about in their application. Take note whether they say things the same way or whether they contradict earlier statements here.

Use information you gained during your background check and build questions out of it where you imply that knowledge. Specifically target things here that raised flags or questionmarks earlier and things that they did not tell you initially.

For example, if you found out that someone ended up in roaming fleets with an alliance they never told you about, ask them how they enjoyed flying with those guys. If they got on a particularly valuable freighter gank in highsec, ask whether they bought anything nice with the loot share.

Chances are you will get them talking about things they would not tell you earlier, for whatever reason. That might reveal inconsistencies or it will tell you more about the person.

In every question you ask them, try to be as open as possible. Never suggest an answer or ask questions that can be answered "yes" or "no". If you noticed that someone worked their way up from a low sec status, don't ask "Was it hard for you to get all the way back from -7 by ratting?" but rather something like "I saw you had a few highsec kills, how did you deal with the sec status hits."

The more you can get a person to talk about themselves, the better. If you can, build in rephrased questions that should come up with the same answer as before and see whether they contradict themselves or tell things in a different way.

For example, ff you asked them earlier about their experience in a strategic alliance fleet op, come back to the subject later by asking them how the war that was going on then influenced their gameplay.

If you have found out that they bought their character, try to find out why and which of their skills are actually supported by experience.

Again, use implied knowledge. Many people who try to deceive you will become insecure if they find out that you already know quite a lot. They might entangle themselves in their own web of lies. For example, ask them how they made the ISK to afford their character. Did they mind that this character's history marks him as member of a hostile alliance? Which other character did they want to supplement or replace by getting this one.

Many of the questions at this stage depend on specific things you want to know or which matter to your corp, but if you stick to the general guidelines you should get a pretty clear idea how to conduct the interview.

Closing Words

All that work may seem like a lot to do just for one applicant. Whether you want to really go that deep depends on your preferences. If you want to grow your corp rapidly, you may not have time for this. If you are looking for quality instead of quantity, you will benefit a lot from taking the time.

Like I said before, this whole procedure becomes very quick and intuitive once you get the hang of it. I myself often need more time to write down what I found out about someone than actually digging it up. Many people are also very easy and straightforward to profile. Usually it becomes harder with older players who have a long and varied history.

As stated in the beginning, even if you dig up every last piece of information about someone and conduct a really in-depth interview, you will never be 100% sure that they wont betray you one day or end up not fitting in at all. You can minimize the risk though. Most people are not all that cunning. If they have some dodgy character traits or in-game history, it might not be hidden all that well.

If you have doubts, always ask yourself whether you want to take the risk or rather wait for someone who looks more like a person you think you can trust.

Again this is something where your recruitment strategy plays a big role. If you are really desperately looking for lots of capital ship pilots, you might not be able to just send one away and have ten more waiting, but if you are starting a new corp and you are looking for a core group of good people to build on, you should take every effort and better refuse someone than just take everyone in who sends an application.

So, I'll end this here. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to add them below.

I hope that was a helpful guide for you, and you don't feel completely intimidated by the workload I presented here.

Happy recruiting.

12 Oct 2012

OOC Entry 50 - Recruiting and Background Checks - 1

I was planning to write a bit of a guide on background checks some time ago because I never found any on that subject. Over the last year or two I learned a bit about this by doing. If you know me (and if not I am telling you now) then you are aware that I am a wormhole dweller. This is one of the most paranoid environments when it comes to recruiting because the mechanics make it hard to restrict access to corp infrastructure and information and therefore vetting recruits is pretty crucial.

Also I have a bit of a background on the subject IRL, so here we go.

Before we start

So how do you make sure your potential new corp member isn't a spy, a corp thief, a conniver or anything else you would not want in your serious spaceship business?

The short answer is, you can never be 100% sure.

The nature of interaction online means that you inherently can not know enough about a person to be confident, even less so than IRL where this is already a difficult issue.  Also, in EVE Online, pre-mediated betrayal is not only possible, it is a playstyle for some, and there are people who are really good at it too.

There are ways however to get reasonably close. So how do we get there?

I hope to illustrate the process as good as I can. I handle this based on hunches and intuition a lot, so some things might be difficult for me to put into words, but I will do my best to make myself clear.

If you are already a successful corp recruiter or if you are working with a corp that usually only admits friends and family, this wont help you much. 

If you have looked for a way to get some tips on how to handle recruitment better, then this might help you.

The whole thing may seem long and tedious sometimes. You might think "I will never manage all that".

It all reads more difficult than it is in the end. If you practice, I can tell you, you will become really efficient and fast in this. As with many things, you will need to put some effort it in and you will make mistakes you'll have to learn from.

Look at it as a piece of metagame to learn, and you will be doing fine.

First Contact

The first thing you will see from an applicant is a mail or a conversation in your recruitment channel.

Read that carefully.

What is the attitude of that person?

Is that person talking about making ISK while you are a PVP corp who only want as much ISK as it takes to buy ships? Are they really gung-ho about fighting while you are industrialists? There are many subjective exclusion criteria.

Some people will very obviously just not fit with your corp and it will become clear in the first few sentences of interaction. Try to get as much of a picture about someone during those initial communications. It will save you a lot of work later.

There is one thing that should always make you pay attention: Does someone ask a lot of questions or does that person mainly try to pre-empt yours and anwser them?

Take special care about people who try to milk you for too much information.

Do not answer questions right away about your main active timezone, how many ships of which kind you can field, how far your jump-bridge network extends etc.

Rather steer them towards telling you about themselves. If people avoid that, take note of it. Someone who will not answer a simple question like "At which time are you most active." likely have a hidden agenda. Ask them about which ships they like to fly rather than telling them about yours. Ask them about what they are looking for in a corp rather than talking about what you offer. Be informal and casual and don't go too much into depth. Especially not about insider information.

At this stage you want to put them at ease but play it close to the chest at the same time. Don't sound too paranoid though. Stay friendly and helpful and attentive. The best way to do so is to listen rather than to talk.

Most people like to talk about themselves. Try to get them to do so and listen/read as much as possible.

Enter EveWho

The starting point for any background check is the very useful site EveWho.

You can look up the pilot there and get a few pieces of information immediately: Their sec status, the corp and Alliance they are currently with and their corp history.

Let's start with that.

Sec Status

The importance of that will vary a lot from corp to corp. But quite objectively it tells you a few things.

A high sec status can be deceptive.

Initially one could conclude that this is a mainly PVE oriented player with little inclination to PVP. Negative sec status can - however - be raised rather quickly if you rat in lowsec or nullsec. You can have years of fighting experience in nullsec fleets and still have a 5.0 sec status. So don't draw too many conclusions based on that.

A low positive sec status indicates a PVE character more reliably. It is pretty difficult to raise sec status quickly by running missions. Particularly a 5.0 sec status is hard to get just by highsec carebearing. Miners usually don't accrue much at all. Somebody who is a miner mostly will have a low positive sec status between 1 or 2 more likely than 5.

Still, people with positive sec status are not necessarily "harmless". You can check that by looking at their killboard stats, but that is for later.

A negative sec status tells a clearer story. It tells you that this player has attacked people in lowsec or highsec who are neutrals and non-criminals. More importantly, it tells you they either did it so much, or care so little to improve it, that their sec status stays low.

They would most likely be pirates or highsec gankers.

At this point you should ask yourself if that playstyle fits with your corp or not. Take a decision whether to add a positive or negative flag to that player based on that.

Again killboards will be a valuable source of information here. This will be a whole heading of it's own in Part 2.


Corp and Alliance History

That not only tells you how old a player is, but also how long they stay in their respective corps.

Of course it also tells you which corps that person has been with, but I will get to that in a moment.

Initially you will get an impression of that person's behaviour.

Are they corp-jumping every few weeks? If so, they might just not be the most committed people. It could also mean they join different corps to rip them off. On the other hand they might have jumped between corps in the same alliance a lot.

This is where you want to start looking into the corps they have been with.

People who repeatedly spend extended amounts of time in NPC corps should raise a flag.

The question is why they would do that.

Is it because they need to hide from prosecution? Is it because they are not really group-minded individuals who want to stay on their own a lot? Is it because that character is an alt that is mostly parked out-of-corp or out-of-alliance.

These are questions raised by that information and they should be taken down for later.

Go through their corp history and look at each corp they stay with for a significant amount of time.

See whether that corp (and it's alliance if applicable) has a webpage, a forum and a killboard. Look those up and try to get a picture about them ... you can also do a lot there by using EVEWho which also offers corp and alliance information. More on that in a moment.

Maybe there is information at this stage that will immediately tell you that a person is not suitable for you.

Maybe you find out they were lying about parts of their in-game history or "forgot" to mention it. Maybe they were part of a corp or alliance you would immediately flag as undesirable. Of course there can be positive indicators there too. If someone tells you they have been with mission running corps for years and they're fed up with it, you might see it matched here. If someone told you they wanted to leave a large powerbloc and rather take it easy with casual FW PVP, it should show too.

Remember how I said to read their application mail carefully and pay attention to what they say in your recruitment chat. This is where you begin to match their words with the facts. 

If someone jumps a lot between different corps within one alliance, that is generally not a reason to be wary about them. If they jump between several different small corps doing more-or-less the same thing, that's not much to worry about either. Chances are they were just looking for the right place that suits their playstyle and ended up choosing wrong, but that should be noted for a later question.

It becomes dodgy - and should raise flags - if people jump between different corps of different playstyles way too often. That might indicate someone who is either a spy, a thief, a conniving or inactive person or any other kind of problematic individual who can not or does not want to fit in.

It is a good idea to contact a few CEOs of those former corps and ask why that player is no longer a member.

People who stay with only a few corps for a long time are usually quite faithful and committed, especially if you can find out that their older corps and/or alliances have folded.

At this point, you should also look into any alliance histories of the corps they were with.

I already mentioned checking whether corps they were with are all members of the same alliance. It is also valuable to know which alliances those corps have been with in the past. That information is something you can find by looking up the corp in EVEGate or in-game. If they have been in an alliance that is red to yours, you should take note and wonder why they are not with them anymore. Do they collectively hate their former masters and are they maybe looking to change sides? Or have they left and stayed away from an alliance they are still loyal to and are looking to seed their members into opposition corps?

Constantly back reference information you gather at this stage with things you know already. See whether everything matches and creates a conclusive profile of the player so far.

If the answer is no, you can stop here and say no to that person.

... and next?

In the second part of this series I will go into details about killboard examination, the meaning of the presence and lack of a person's forum posts, more on cross referencing of information and on how to formulate questions to ask an applicant during the final interview.

I hope so far the information was helpful for you and you will stay tuned.

I promise it wont be long.

9 Oct 2012

OOC Entry 49 - Ok I am a bit late

Hello dear readers.

So, my self-imposed schedule - which you can mostly rely on* - dictates that I release a new story chapter every week. Usually on the weekend.

The last one came last week monday, and this time it got pushed a bit further down the line again, but here it is.

This time I go a bit more into Arek'Jalaan  which I consider the greatest thing I ever experienced in terms of story-driven live content in EVE. Too bad it was discontinued. Maybe they will pick it up again. I'd really hope so.

I have also included a shoutout to the wonderful contribution Tech-4 News has made with their great recorded audio-episodes. If you have never heard of them or listened to them, I would really urge you to do so. You can find the first one here. If there is any RP-related EVE content that is worth being preserved for the posterity, this great contribution by a number of different people should be in the top-ranking spots.

Thanks to everyone who contributed. I wish I were as good or confident to undertake something like that.

I hope you enjoy it, and like my story too.

Fly creatively!

* mostly at night, mostly

1 Oct 2012

OOC Entry 48 - Enough of that ...

Enough of that polemic agitating about other people's posts and nullsec matters.

I'm not sure where I was going with all that anyway. Must have been the time of the month ;)

Well, sometimes things hit me in some way and then I start thinking about them, and if you have a blog where you can think out loud, it's tempting.

Also I have provided people on reddit with something to rip apart, and if the crowd on the EVE subreddit love something, then it's ripping apart other people's opinions.

But there is a story to continue.

This chapter mostly is of a 'the-plot-thickens' sort, and I am spending some time on Savant Torstan because I have decided I want to develop him a bit more as a character before the story progresses too far.

Ever since the days of pen-and-paper RPGs where I often ended up as the GM, I have loved developing antagonists.

So far there were creepy fanatics, intimidating mercenaries, insidious spies, merciless Amarrians and more. This time I wanted to go for a different sort of character. I hope I can convey enough of his motivation and traits to make him a fully developed individual.

The question with an antagonist is, what their ultimate fate will be. What happens to the 'bad guys' in the end is always an interesting thing in any narrative. It says a lot about the world in which the story is set.

Of course some of the main protagonists are bad guys too. Keram once was a pirate, Sylera used to be a loyalist capsuleer of an oppressive regime and who knows all the things Sandrielle has done during her life as a capsuleer among the alliances of nullsec space. She certainly is very good at killing, torturing,betraying and manipulating people.

The world of EVE is a world of Black and Gray Morality where even the 'good guys' are flawed. Cedrien is - after all - a disgraced military man who has cut his ties with the society he came from. Alira is not above recklessly endangering herself, her commander and other people when driven by jealousy. Sylera is a deeply judgemental person, and that trait can turn her into a furious murderer. Shisei, well I have not decided what his dark side could be, but I'm sure there is one.

I think I need to come up with a story about that.