Meet the Outlaw: MrChuckNorris from The Bastard CartelLynx Artrald
For the majority of capsuleers who live in high-security space and make their ISK by mining, manufacturing or mission running, low-security space is no more than a nuisance, an area of space that blocks the shortest route from hub to hub, and that is only entered if no other options present themselves. Similarly, for many players living deep in nullsec, lowsec is a scary zone, populated by Faction Warfare militia “pubbies”. An area in between their familiar ratting systems, their battlefields and the major trade hubs, where gate guns shoot you when you attack a neutral, and the Frigate Menace reigns supreme.
However, for some denizens of New Eden, low-security space is home. Based out of an NPC station, pirates and outlaws band together in in small roaming gangs, corporations and even alliances, preying on young militia members and careless veterans alike. They put up gate camps on the choke points between regions, sometimes to pad their verdant green killboards, sometimes just to chill with a few drinks. Ganking in neighboring highsec, solo PvP in expensive deadspace-fit faction frigates – each walks the “Path of the Outlaw” in their own way.
Among the general population of EVE, very few outlaws have gained the kind of fame (or infamy) that the major nullsec alliance leaders enjoy – or suffer, depending on your point of view. Notable exceptions are Rixx Javix, whose art and community projects have made a mark, and Sugar Kyle, who represented lowsec in the previous CSM and ran a popular blog. But who then are they, the secretive ring leaders of the lowsec alliances? That’s what this new series will unveil – prepare to meet the capsuleers behind the villainy, and to find out what makes them tick!
For this first installment of Meet the Outlaw, we talk to MrChuckNorris, CEO of Mostly Sober and executor of The Bastard Cartel alliance. The Bastard Cartel is a mid-sized outlaw alliance, currently about 370 strong and living in the north of Black Rise in Hykanima. Just recently, The Bastard Cartel was featured in some fights that made it to the front page of Reddit, as they brawled over a number of Citadel timers in their region. It’s in the aftermath of a bloody rout by Rote Kapelle (backed up by Escalating Entropy reinforcements) that we catch the ever amiable MrChuckNorris.
CZ: Hi Chuck – great to have you talk to Crossing Zebras. We’re trying to get a better picture of what a lowsec alliance like The Bastard Cartel is all about, and that includes its leadership. Tell us a little bit about your EVE career – how did you end up leading a 370-strong outlaw alliance in Black Rise?
MrChuckNorris: “My EVE career has brought me to every end of the universe in New Eden. I have played in highsec mission corps when I first started off, did the pirating scene for a while, did a few nullsec wars that included the Delve wars and even dabbled in wormholes. But I had to come back to low sec, as that has always been my calling.”
“Fast forward to the creation of Mostly Sober in 2013: I founded Mostly Sober with the intent of just me and a couple of real life friends to play around in faction war, as that was one aspect of the game we had never done before. After a while Mostly Sober got some real attention in Gallente Militia and it started to grow pretty quickly, and we started The Bastard Cartel (TBC) shortly after, to accommodate other corporations in GalMil who wanted to fly with us under a single banner.”
“TBC had a really good start, but was unable to really make traction in the militia and break out from the “ceiling” many alliances across EVE face. So we left the alliance to join Dead Terrorists (DT) in early 2015.”
“We stayed in DT for almost a year, building our corp up, refining our skills, and generally making ourselves a much more competent group. Later in 2015, we ran into a corp called FUITA who ended up joining Dead Terrorists after a short period of time, and we have been best friends ever since.”
CZ: So what prompted you to pull Mostly Sober out of Dead Terrorists, and reboot TBC?
MrChuckNorris: “Dead Terrorists took part in World War Bee, along with many other lowsec alliances. At one point during the campaign, tensions were high with Dead Terrorists leadership circles. AFK leadership (always an issue in DT), embezzlement of campaign funds, lack of direction, and no motivation were only a few issues that DT faced at that time. After much drama was had, Mostly Sober and FUITA left Dead Terrorists, and we decided to rekindle the fire that was once TBC.”
“I still held the executive role of TBC as I had left my alt in control of it, so we invited FUITA along for the ride, and they were happy to oblige us with their company. We moved to Hykanima for the easy JF route to Jita, instant action of being in Black Rise, very active nullsec surrounding us (at the time, The Imperium only lived 3 jumps away, so there was always content to be found) and geographically it’s almost like an island from the rest of the nearby lowsec. Hykanima has been a great choice of home for TBC and were very happy to where we stand.”
“Hell no, we are making Low Sec Great Again!”
CZ: Looking at your career in EVE, it’s all been about finding content and FCing fleets with a fairly gung-ho attitude. The Bastard Cartel has become known for taking fights even outnumbered, and punching above its weight because it can field quite a number of capitals compared to the number of people in the alliance. How do you feel about the current state of TBC – are you happy with how far you’ve come so far? Are you Making TBC Great Again?
MrChuckNorris: “Hell no, we are making Low Sec Great Again! The Bastard Cartel has already achieved greatness in my eyes.”
“We don’t have to be the biggest baddest low sec alliance there is for me to be happy. We have a really good group of dudes who know how to have fun, but can quickly change and go fuck shit up when needed. I have to say I am thoroughly impressed with everyone in TBC and the countless hours my team of directors have put in to guarantee its success.”
CZ: Chuck, I’d like to talk about the recent fights with Rote Kapelle to shed some more light on what makes a pirate alliance tick. These particular fights weren’t over money moons, which is what people tended to turn out for in the past, but over Citadels. Do these types of fights also have a strategic purpose for you as pirates?
MrChuckNorris: “These fights against Rote Kapelle were really nothing more than the constant pursuit of content – which we all have in EVE.”
“Rote had recently placed two Citadels in our home system in Hykanima, and we were very quick to remove them. We even had a pretty good brawl on the second Citadel they dropped. The video for this fight can be found here! (Do fast forward through the guy refitting as it is kind of painful to watch) So after this, we saw that Rote was ready to fight and we were looking forward to fighting a group where we didn’t have to travel 15+ jumps to get blue-balled. Rote brought us a damn good fight and we were excited to have a few more good brawls with them.”
CZ: “So basically you were just looking for reasons to have a good brawl with a similar-sized group. What went wrong with the next fight against Rote?” (watch here)
MrChuckNorris: “Like I said, we were looking forward to another nice fight, but it turned out a bit differently. Batphones were had and Escalating Entropy showed up – to my surprise – to help Rote turn the tide against us. And quickly that’s how it went.”
“we started to bleed Machariels faster than they were bleeding Rattlesnakes”
CZ: “You lost a lot of capital ships there. That must hurt even for an established alliance. Not salty?”
MrChuckNorris: “Not really. These things happen, and we’re generally not scared to field our capitals. We just didn’t expect them to batphone as they had pretty decent numbers for the comp they had (Rattlesnakes are insane by the way). The fight went on for a few minutes and we started to bleed Machariels faster than they were bleeding Rattlesnakes, so we decided to escalate a handful of dreads to nuke down their triage.”
“As soon as we brought the dreads/triage in, here comes the local spike. Escalating Entropy tailed behind our fleet (bad on our scouts for not seeing them) and came to bail Rote Kapelle out of losing their fleet. And at this point, when our subcap fleet decided to disengage and pull range, is when Rote decided to undock their dreads and bring them on field. We felt it was not worth escalating more capitals on field with what we were up against, and cut our losses and bailed instead.”
CZ: “So what happens now? Will you be more careful about taking fights like this?”
MrChuckNorris: “Not a chance. The Bastard Cartel doesn’t give up just because we lost a fight. Most of us have been around for a little while, and realize that this is what happens when you get careless.
Some mails were sent to our leadership from Rote Kapelle members and leadership alike that were fairly distasteful. So now we go back with a vengeance. Time will tell what the outcome will be.”
Needless to say, the slightest sight of a new blood feud between two PvP-focused alliances makes our heart rate spike. We reached out to Btr0n of Integritas, a veteran and director of roaming PvP for Rote Kapelle.
CZ: “How would you describe Rote Kapelle, Btr0n? At first sight, there are more than a few similarities between yourselves and The Bastard Cartel, other than your preferred living space?”
Btr0n: “Rote Kapelle is a small gang, dread bombing, medium-scale fleet fight alliance who lives for the ‘gud fite’. We’re pretty well organized, and we don’t take ourselves too seriously.”
CZ: “That is quite nicely put, Btr0n. About the recent fights with The Bastard Cartel – did you go looking for a confrontation with TBC intentionally?”
Btr0n: “We actually did not. The Citadels in Hykanima were staged there for another reason, but when TBC caught our eye we figured it would be nice to see what they were capable of.”
CZ: “A happy coincidence, then. Can you describe how the latest confrontation played out from a Rote Kapelle perspective? TBC was not expecting you to escalate, even after you lost the previous Citadel fights.”
Btr0n: “Yeah, we brought Escalating Entropy in for back-up on the second fight because of a few ties between our two alliances. There is an old Rote Kapelle member in Escalating Entropy with some pull, as well as many members of Ice Fire Warriors who were previously in Hashashin Cartel with myself and a few other ‘new’ Rote Kapelle members. For our first Citadel fight, we underestimated TBC and there was a bit of a blunder on our part dropping our High Angle weapon fit Naglfar before we saw the entirety of their dread fleet.”
“This time, on the Citadel in Tartoken, which was anchored to assist in moving some assets up from the south, we were not going to make the same mistake, so TBC reinforcing it was great for us. In this second fight, we knew there were capital frags to be had and we wanted to include some of our friends.”
“We had expected stiffer resistance, and in hindsight we didn’t really need Escalating Entropy to deal with TBC on that day – but no problem, we held back some of our own assets and brought Escalating Entropy in for an easy win.”
“poking big bears with sticks”
CZ: “That makes sense. Looks like you expected TBC to go all out, but bringing back-up made them decide not to swing their…, well you know.”
“Back to you, MrChuckNorris. Can you tell us a little about your plans for the future of The Bastard Cartel? What can we expect from TBC?”
MrChuckNorris: “You can expect to see us start turning up our operations tempo, seeing us more active across the cluster, and poking big bears with sticks. We’ll probably have a few whelps because we’re never too prideful to not take semi-questionable fights. We’re here to have fun, don’t give a fuck what others think, and remember this. Don’t cross your friends. We always get ours one way or another.”
CZ: “Sounds like Black Rise will heat up again. It may just have been me, but of late it felt a little stale – with the same powerhouses dominating every meaningful fights, and everyone else shying away from confrontation. What do you think?”
MrChuckNorris: “Black Rise has had a lot of shake ups over the past couple months with the massive expansion of Escalating Entropy, GalMil losing a lot of its active leadership and FCs, and the constant overwatch from nearby nullsec groups ready to pounce.”
“But low sec in general I feel uses batphones as a crutch far too often these days. Everyone seems so afraid to lose a fight anymore, that no matter what the timer is for – be it a POCO, an Astrahaus, whatever relatively worthless asset. Feels like most people would rather batphone to ensure victory, than take a chance and commit to a fight to show what YOU are capable of.”
My biggest gripe is that low sec today is essentially what null sec was before Aegis Sov
“Low sec really needs a change in how the mechanics work in general. My biggest gripe is that low sec today is essentially what null sec was before Aegis Sov: you have two major entities who control 90% of what happens and own anything that is of valuable. I think something game changing like Aegis Sov was for null sec is in order, to free low sec from the domination of Project Mayhem/Snuff” on the one hand and “Shadow Cartel/Escalating Entropy” on the other.”
“I’m not quite sure what that is yet, but today’s situation is far from ideal. Everyone in low sec who wants to own anything has to suck up to one of these two entities, or get bapthoned to death for every fight.”
“The Bastard Cartel tries to be different. We say fuck that, we’re a strong independent black women who don’t need no man.”
CZ: “A strong alliance motto if ever I heard one, and an interesting view on the state of low sec! Something entirely different now – did you watch the Alliance Tournament? Is that something you’re into, and can we expect a TBC team in the future?”
MrChuckNorris: “Haha, thanks. I tried to keep up with the Alliance Tournament this year, but I’ve mostly only caught the last 2-3 hours of each day. I was pulling for Templis CALSF since they are cool as hell – some pretty fun dudes to fly with. Besides that, I love seeing all these AT ships dieing along with all the bling flagships going down. This year has been bloodier than the last few combined in just flagships alone. And as long as we don’t spontaneously combust, you will most definitely see TBC in the Alliance Tournament next year!”
CZ: “Great! I look forward to that. Any parting words?”
MrChuckNorris: “TBC is actively recruiting, both corporations and pilots! We’re very active in the US timezones (East and West coast) and we always want more freedom in our ranks. But we are now trying to expand our EU timezone. That means that we’re looking for a strong EU corp to help us organize our EU members and get them into some fleets!”
In the next installments of this series, we will talk to other Outlaw ringleaders, and try to find out if they share the same desire for reckless pew pew, or have bigger, more strategic dreams. We will investigate whether the stifling presence of the two lowsec power blocks is felt as acutely everywhere, and generally try to paint a clearer picture of the murky, sometimes seedy place that is lowsec.
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