The Mittani returns this week with an interview of one of the most notorious spies in the Eve Online universe known as 'Darwin's Accelerator'. For years this agent has crept in the shadows of many hostile fleets and left a trail of leaked fleet information and destruction in his wake. Find out what this agent has to say about the difficulty of spy work and much more in this week's Sins of the Solar Spymaster.
Surprises regarding espionage-While it is easy to give just one player the credit for an intel success, it is like most things in Eve, a true team effort. Information flows constantly; fleet movements, pos locations, CTAs, chatlogs, etc. The victory comes though from the correct analysis of the information and the ability to create the appropriate reaction. So much of my work gets passed on to others who then use the information to actually pop the cynos and spring the traps. Sometimes it is quick, real-time minute by minute analysis and reaction, other times, its planning hotdrops days in advance. In either case, it usually starts with just a bit of information that, with the right analysis and preparation, blossoms into glorious tears and nerd rage. All of which is recorded for later use.
- Read the full SOSS here.
No player personifies the 'operator' class of agent quite like this man, who has chosen to be referred to as 'Darwin's Accelerator' for this interview. Unlike many agents who pull off a big win and then bask in fame after their cover is blown, he has lurked in hostile fleets for years, occasionally leaking teamspeak recordings through a back channel, but never coming forward to enjoy the public fruits of his success. Shirking the spotlight and leaving a dizzying trail of bought and sold characters behind him, 'Darwin' has been entirely responsible for the death of at least one Titan, had a direct hand in the deaths of several more, and left a trail of wrecked capital fleets (literally hundreds of wrecked hulls) and imploding alliances in his silent wake. Even convincing him to answer a few questions required no small effort. So here it is: an interview with the single most destructive agent in the history of EVE.
The Mittani: What made you decide to get into the spy game?
Darwin's Accelerator: The massive scale of Eve Online. I realized pretty quickly that simply being good at killing a few enemy ships would never have the same impact as, possibly, sending entire fleets to certain, trapped, flaming, screaming death. And yes, I have the team speak recordings to prove it. ÂBomber DownÂ anyone? But spying is so much more than simply being part of a fleet that you know is heading for a trap, passing POS passwords, leaking jump freighter/logistical movements, or the occasional corporate theft. Other absolutely vital activities include effectively gauging ÂenemyÂ combat readiness, keeping tabs on effective FCs, monitoring recruiting and, perhaps most importantly, keeping the Âmorale-pulse.Â Hurting a target-organization isnÂt just a function of knowing how best to destroy their ships/infrastructure, but also how best to twist the psychological ÂknifeÂ in ways that break the will to continue the fight. Sometimes vectoring in the Black-Ops guys to kill a particularly vocal care-bear is worth more than wiping out an entire fleet.
The Mittani: Where have you served your time?
Darwin's Accelerator: The first time I was on both sides, both fleets, and both teamspeaks of a truly epic fight was in the LV ÂDG- Dread RapeÂ that occurred . . . three plus years ago? In retrospect, the actual role I played in that turkey shoot was quite small but it did allow me to establish a great deal of credibility and generate some contacts that are still very much in use. Although I donÂt want to get too specific about the targets I have been assigned since then, suffice to say that I have served under every LV, BoB, and coalition FC of any particular note since then. IÂve also been fortunate enough to be part of almost every truly epic battle, on one side or the other, and frequently both sides simultaneously, since then. Finally dining in NOL- was tasty.
The Mittani: For you, what was most difficult part of being an agent?
Darwin's Accelerator: Maintaining a presence on an enemy team speak. I think gamers, and people in general, necessarily gravitate towards like-minded, or like-acting, players. Maintaining a suspicion-free persona amongst people you may not necessarily enjoy spending time amongst can be tedious and emotionally exhausting. The constant poseur pressure gets old sometimes but thus far, I have largely been able to mute my mic when I have to start screaming.
The Mittani: What surprised you the most about espionage itself, or about your target?
Darwin's Accelerator: Surprises regarding espionage-While it is easy to give just one player the credit for an intel success, it is like most things in Eve, a true team effort. Information flows constantly; fleet movements, pos locations, CTAs, chatlogs, etc. The victory comes though from the correct analysis of the information and the ability to create the appropriate reaction. So much of my work gets passed on to others who then use the information to actually pop the cynos and spring the traps. Sometimes it is quick, real-time minute by minute analysis and reaction, other times, its planning hotdrops days in advance. In either case, it usually starts with just a bit of information that, with the right analysis and preparation, blossoms into glorious tears and nerd rage. All of which is recorded for later use.
The Mittani: What was your proudest moment or greatest accomplishment as an agent?
Darwin's Accelerator: Without getting too specific, I have had a hand in the death of a several alliances, a few Titans and more cap ships then I can count anymore and every success has a little back story. Foreknowledge plus accurate analysis and clever planning wins battles and often, with a little luck, victory is a foregone conclusion. Now at this point, I should say something stupid and clichÃ©Â like: ÂIt is like chess, with planning the battle is over before it even beginsÂ but only a moron of Darwinian proportions would say that . . . . Well . . there was a little battle, just a skirmish really, over two years ago. It was the wrong time zone, wrong system, wrong fleet composition, fighting under the enemyÂs POSs. It should have been a lop-sided slaughter but the one thing ÂweÂ had going for us was real-time information and a very innovative FC who turned 70+ v. 28 into a run and shoot victory. To be honest, we had absolutely no business even fighting the battle let alone turning it into an unqualified victory. It took a couple hours, but we eventually eliminated that fleetÂs combat effectiveness and willingness to fight. My favorite TS quote of that night was ÂJesus Christ, this guy must have ESP.Â For all you FCs out there who have lost winnable battles, you can now tell tell yourself . . Âhrmm, I am not a lousy FC, maybe I lost because of a spy.Â You might be right.
The Mittani: What do you think is the Achilles Heel of alliances in EVE?
Darwin's Accelerator: ThatÂs an easy one: arrogance. No organization is perfectly strong or weak, but the worst attribute an organization can possess is arrogance. Arrogance makes people think they have 'it' all figured out. Arrogance makes explaining defeat very difficult. Arrogant organizations rely much too heavily on cults of personality. Arrogant people donÂt go back to the drawing board and rethink the perfection of their strategies. Especially when those stratagems exhibit both genius and ÂpatienceÂ. Organizations that admit their failings, hold them up to the light, honestly examine and evaluate strategy and tactics, and then try again. Those are the organizations that will ultimately succeed.
The Mittani: Did you have any 'near miss' experiences where your cover was almost blown?
Darwin's Accelerator: Perhaps surprisingly, no. I buy/sell characters fairly often and they are sprinkled all around the universe. So every trail I leave will, at some point, lead to a dead end. In addition, because I no longer have a ÂmainÂ character per se, IÂm largely immune from complete exposure if it were to come to that.
The Mittani: How would you compare your time as a spy to other professions/paths in EVE that you've experienced?
Darwin's Accelerator: They are not mutually exclusive. Being a capable pilot, part-time FC, a helpful logistician, a willing Cap pilot, a fair-trading industrialist are all part and parcel of the package of social engineering required to make spying work.
The Mittani: Do you feel any sympathy for your target?
Darwin's Accelerator: Sympathy? None. EVE is a game. We make, then blow up, internet spaceships. eHonor is a game mechanic specifically NOT programmed into the universe by CCP. All organizations should be prepared to deal with it and those that donÂt . . hrmm . . . well I guess they just didnÂt evolve.
The Mittani: Do you think spying reflects on you as a person?
Darwin's Accelerator: Yes, absolutely. I consider myself a bit of an ideologue and I frequently become obsessed with attaining goals by any means possible. I am fully committed to bringing down the most self-important (yes, as defined by me) organizations in the game. That, plus helping those with a similar view point, has been my goal for the last three years. Interestingly, I am currently not in any ÂcoalitionÂ organization but do maintain a lot of contacts.
The Mittani: Anything else you'd like to comment on about EVE or espionage?
Darwin's Accelerator: Yes . . TonightÂs messages for the Freedom Fighters across the universe . . . . for Period Basis- ÂThe chair is against the door.Â In Syndicate- ÂThe Governor is in ThadÂs seat.Â In Khanid: ÂSouthpark starts at 5:00Â . . .good luck . . . . . that is all. /cue the Picard Song.