The End of an Era: Noir. has a New CEO


I’ve been in Noir. in one form or another since early 2011. Over that time I’ve been the CEO of Noir. Academy for two years, acting as a director in Noir. itself for part of my duties. I’ve seen ups and downs of which there have been many. Over the years, Noir. has become part of my own identity. I even moved across the country to take a job in Silicon Valley after being referred by the CEO of Noir., Alekeseyev Karrde. To me, Noir. is more than just an in-game group. Some very real friends are members of Noir.

When I first joined Noir. we were in the alliance Noir. Mercenary Group. Since then, we’ve been a part of Black Legion., Suddenly Spaceships, a very brief stint in the horribly named alliance Disinterested Reptile Cartel, the redemptive No Not Believing, and now we’re in the legendary Mercenary Coalition.

Part of being a mercenary means being willing to move and move frequently. In the olden days, we’d deploy dozens of carriers stuffed full of ships for a deployment and do it all over again in a week or two. Now we deploy for longer times, but we still move. Movement is sometimes defined as progress. For us moving means a new contract, and I guess that’s progress for a mercenary.

one of its biggest, most dependable strengths: Alekseyev Karrde

But moving from alliance to alliance wasn’t always about progress. I believe Noir. moved alliances so often because of an obstacle, one that held the corporation back. Sometimes more than it helped it. And, as is sometimes the case, that obstacle – what held Noir. back on occasion – was also one of its biggest, most dependable strengths: Alekseyev Karrde.

Alek, as he’s known by most people, formed Noir. in 2008 with the purpose of being able to make money PvPing, paid by others. That makes you a mercenary by default. But he wanted more than that, he wanted to create the most effective mercenary force New Eden had seen. And that’s not an easy task, especially at the time, with Mercenary Coalition recently folding. I’m sure the Guiding Hand Social Club stories still echoed in every pilot’s mind.

But despite the overwhelming odds and huge shoes to fill, he succeeded in creating – in my honest opinion – the most effective small-gang mercenaries EVE has ever seen.

Mercenary Coalition was the first.

Pandemic Legion was and is the biggest.

Black Legion. was the shortest lived.

But only Noir. means mercenary.


Noir. has people who fear it, envy it, despise it, people who think it’s washed up, useless, overrated, and I’m sure many other things. But when I meet another EVE player and say I’m in Noir., their eyes widen and they tell me a story about how they read about us, heard about us, died to us. They ask what it’s really like being a mercenary. Noir. has earned its reputation one successful contract after another over the last 8 years.

Alek and Noir. are inseparable in most people’s minds

Alekseyev Karrde forged that reputation, often single-handed. Alek and Noir. are inseparable in most people’s minds. Their legends were built together and on top of one another. If you’ve spent any length of time with Alek in game you’ve heard of his love for ponies and yelling at people for making mistakes. We’ll ignore the ponies, they’re fucking weird. The rage that Alek would unleash on people made those who could endure it better pilots. We all knew that we didn’t have to be there or put up with it if we didn’t want to (many didn’t), but our desire to fly tighter and be mercenaries overrode our apathy at being yelled at for a video game.

In truth, he’s not an angry person in real life. As I mentioned, we work together. His desk is 10 feet away from mine as I type this. When he’s in game however, he casts off weakness like a watershed. Phil Jackson, the Michael Jordan’s legendary basketball coach, said of Jordan, “It wasn’t about how great a star was himself, it was about how great he made the players around him.”

Another anecdote Jackson shared about Jordan is that he wouldn’t accept anything less than perfection. If a player was on the court and wasn’t playing up to Jordan’s standard, he would look at Phil Jackson and Jackson would know it meant, “Get this guy off the fucking court,”

Alek, like Jordan, forced those around him to be better, and if you wouldn’t put out the effort required, you were gone. This type of attitude lends itself well to leading a small, elite military force in EVE. Unfortunately, it also causes lots and lots of friction when dealing with equals in an alliance.


There are many instances in Noir.’s alliance history where we kicked corps or left alliances because of personality clashes. Over the years, it became all too familiar to the leadership. To my dismay, it happened again in Mercenary Coalition. Alek approached the directorship about leaving Mercenary Coalition multiple times informally but was always rebuffed. Finally, having had enough, Alek formally approached the leadership to propose leaving MC. We even chatted about it at lunch once and I immediately said I wouldn’t want to go anywhere. The entire directorate decided to stay in Mercenary Coalition.

I won’t go into all of the details, but as you can see from Psianh’s corp history, I did leave Noir. to join Apogee. – the new corp Noir. leadership founded together. We realized that our time in Noir. was coming to an end. I drew out the decision tree for one of the other directors:

1. Alek changes his mentality and works with the alliance leaders effectively

2. Alek steps down as CEO of Noir.

3. We stay with Noir. and leave Mercenary Coalition

4. We form our own corporation and stay in Mercenary Coalition while Noir. goes its own way

It seemed clear to us that options 1 and 2 were impossible. We didn’t want option 3. Alek eventually backed down on leaving the alliance at the current time but none of us felt it was a permanent stance or was a true mental shift. If it had been, option 1 would be fulfilled and things would have worked out well. Alek wanted us all to stay together, but I don’t think he realized how exhausted the alliance leadership was. Staying in the alliance without a total change on Alek’s part just wasn’t in the cards.

I think Alek needed to see how serious we were about staying in Mercenary Coalition and how much we were exhausted by the general trend of bickering at the alliance leadership level – however justified he sometimes is. So we all left and formed our own corporation with the intent of staying there indefinitely, a member of Mercenary Coalition that continued the values of Noir.

I can’t imagine how much it pained him to not only consider it, but decide on it

In the end, Alek realized that he didn’t have the time in real life to dedicate to rebuilding Noir. and I think he didn’t really want to do that without the leadership team – and friends – that had been in place for so many years. In his view, the only option to save Noir. was for Alek to leave the corp and let his long-time XO, Deletor, become CEO. To be clear, this was his idea. We never considered it as an option and never presented it to him as a solution. I can’t imagine how much it pained him to not only consider it, but decide on it.

So we’ve joined Noir. again, prodigal sons now tasked with carrying on the torch, making sure it burns ever bright, and avoid burning ourselves. We don’t take it lightly, and we hope to make Alek proud, but we do believe the future is bright, illuminated as it is by the legend of Noir.

Alekseyev Karrde and Noir. are synonymous. He’s been the CEO since its inception, held it firmly and grew it over two CSM terms. He’s led the corporation with a steady hand, allowed us to fly with some of the best players in EVE Online. His focus, determination, hard work, and drive means that Noir.’s name can live on without him. Noir. is more than one person.

But there will always be a hole that won’t be filled.



Tags: Aleksyev Karrde, Mercenary Coalition, Noir, Psianh

About the author

Psianh Auvyander

Psianh Auvyander has been a mercenary in Noir. practically since he started in EVE. He also spent two years helping lead Noir.’s alliances as the CEO of Noir. Academy, teaching newer players how to PvP.

  • Fara

    I have never dealt with Noir, but I always disliked them for some reason after exposure to their forum posts, ads and interviews for years. Now I remember why; you guys keep posting how good you are too much v0v

    • Saint Michael’s Soul

      You’ve got to keep blowing your own whistle as a merc, it’s what your contracts are based on.

  • Dumbledore

    Noir.? 0/5 would not hire after they accepted conflicting merc contracts for killing goons at Jita undock and for protecting goons at Jita undock during Burn Jita…

    • lolz

      Seraph was literally kicked from Noir. academy for being bad at EVE,he wrote a bias Greedy Goblin story with Goblin(of all people) as it’s only person to back it, and you bought it.

      If you knew how stupid you looked.

      • Dumbledore

        Oh so the goblin/goon dual contract never happened?

        Nevermind then. Man, was I wrong and misled! I guess the parts where Alek told why they picked both contracts were a ruse too.

  • I recently joined Noir. – strongly motivated by Aleks’ attitude toward the game, small team combat and trust. Its been an amazing ride and I regret nothing. Thank you Aleks for making Noir. into what it is today.

    May you and your ponies find a great new stable. Friendship is magic…

  • Taram Caldar

    Just a minor minor correction, Psionh 🙂 Back in the OLD days we stuffed Orcas and freighters with ships to move them. Those carrier things came a bit later once more folks than just a couple of us had them 🙂

    I was really suprised when Alek and I were talking about his path with Noir and he informed me he was stepping down as CEO and going his own way. When I was helping build Noir. back in the original times if anyone had told me one day Alek wouldn’t have been CEO of the corp anymore I’d have laughed and said “yeah, when he dies maybe”. I remember when I stepped in as CEO for him for a month when he had to go on a long trip I told him “you better come back or I’ll hunt you down buddy”. Unfortunately my EVE career wound up going another path, largely from my stint as Noir.’s CEO… I realized I wanted to run my own corporation and, thus, Black Watch became a real PVP corporation instead of just a corp me and a couple of my friends stashed our alts in. But I’ve always had a fond spot in my heart for Noir. and RBWH has teamed up with Noir. many times in the past, lending DPS when needed or just having fun together. We even considered joining alliance with Noir. a couple times and, in fact, just recently we almost joined MC alongside them, on two separate occasions.

    Very sorry to hear Alek stepped away from Noir. as CEO but I am sure he will have fun wherever he goes. I hope you guys manage to keep Noir. going. I’d hate to see it end. Make us all proud.

    • Psianh Auvyander

      We were equally shocked when he suggested it. To be honest, we didn’t even want it at first. It didn’t seem like it would be right for anyone but him to be CEO, but I don’t think his super busy RL schedule would allow him to put the time he needed to build it up again.

      We’ll definitely continue the Noir. traditions alive. There’s a reason we got this far, and a lot of that is the corp values; they won’t be changing.

  • Bill

    They were hired once upon a time to “break” our alliance by a disgruntled former member. Not only did they fail to do that, we ran up such a kill-board score on them that their client demanded his money back, which I don’t think he got.

    It’s not that they were all that bad. Their shtick was just centered around doing cloaky camps and other risk averse stuff, instead of straight up fights – something that we had learned how to counter living where we were living, since the Russian locals did it 23/7. I have to admit, it was pretty satisfying to hear their client rant on coms about how they claimed to be “elite” PvPers, and then couldn’t deliver.

    Don’t know what Alek’s complaint about the MC was, but hopefully he’ll have a better time doing whatever he chooses next.

  • EvePeanutGallery

    Maybe I skimmed over it, but what’s the reference to rebuilding Noir about? What needs to be rebuilt? Is the corporation lacking for members? Did you take on a bunch of chaff?

    And why did Alek want to leave MC? Should I look at your Michael Jordan anecdotes for the implied reason?

    Because if we are being honest while MC is a decent tool for sov warfare, pound for pound they are trash and have no business engaging in real small-gang fights.

    • Bill

      They don’t play for ego. They play to get paid. It’s probably rare that someone would want to pay them to engage in “real small-gang” AKA meaningless except for bragging rights, fights.

    • AlexB

      The rebuilding was in the case of Noir. leaving MC.
      In that case Noir. would be without most if not all current directors and would probably lose a bunch of line members to Apogee aswell.
      That would have effectively decimated Noir. and would require a lot of hard work to rebuild.
      Since Noir. is staying with MC and I don’t think has lost (any?) members in this transition I think Noir. is doing great!

  • Kamar Raimo

    So, is the TL;DR that Alek decided to throw the towel after years of raging about people who aren’t meeting his standards?

    TBH, I never knew how Noir was on the inside, way back when they were new I worked for a competing outfit and they had a good name in the business. Noir stayed alive much longer than most mercenaries. I always enjoyed DoW, it was a good show run by good people, and I have a friend who stayed some time in Noir to learn more about small-gang PvP. She only had good things to tell, but then again she’s a former soldier and a very disciplined person. Maybe the strict environment that Alek enforced wasn’t such an issue for her.

    • Nick

      As long as you didn’t fuck up he wouldn’t give you shit. There are plenty of CEO’s that will give you shit for being a baddy. Some people just get upset for being called out as being bad, especially when it happens in front of the whole corp. Basically anytime I heard anyone talk shit about how they used to be in Noir., but left because of Alex, it was a big red flag that they in fact are awful at EVE.

  • Provi Miner

    My Noir story the provi civil war, Sound mind hired Noir. It was a nasty furball in 9UY we stayed on grid 30 seconds to long the bombers showed up and we went boom. A bunch of us were close enough to get out with out pods we hit a noir gate campe and blaped us to our med clones, well except for the boys and girls in -7-. Noir honored their contract they could have blaped everyone instead they waved at the -7- ticker and burned the rest of us down. The crazy part was we came through that camp going the other way and -7- was shooting noir just like us. Turns out Sound specifically told noir not to shoot -7- unless -7- was shooting them. Noir was great till the goblin goon dual contract.

  • Fat Elvis

    Cant help but think this is the best thing to happen to Noir for a long time. Reading between the line overs the years listening to DoW the constant change to recruitment process, training process, forming alliances, joining alliances etc Alek was doing as much harm as good thus the reason none of this own alliances ever lasted and the corp never really grew in size or scope.

    Best of luck Noir

  • McBarnacle

    I’m not surprised. Alek is a good guy when you chat to him, a good PvP pilot and a good FC but has always had anger management issues in game. OK, you had to make a mistake to feel his wrath – and I made some corkers, the shuttlethron being a classic – but losing your rag on comms and literally screaming at people because you can’t control your temper is not good leadership plain and simple.

  • Pingback: Oscillations | A journey through the mind()