An interview with an AWOXer

AWOXing is something I’ve been hearing a lot about lately. An AWOXer is someone who infiltrates a corp in order to put themselves in a position of trust so that they can take advantage of it by being given expensive corp assets to move or use, which they’ll then take for themselves, or they’ll attack other corp members (which are also called Safaris).

It’s quite a fascinating career choice, and it might occur more often than you think. I’m interested in finding out more about it, and so I bring you today’s interview with an AWOXer. The information she provides here is amazing, and I think that if you’re serious about running a corp as a CEO, then you should take notice of what you learn here.

Hi Xuixien, thank you for your time with this interview, I really appreciate it. First up, can you tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?

I’m a fairly new player – I’ve only been playing EVE for about 2 years. My first 6 months was pretty much off and on, noobing around in HiSec and trying to find a decent player corporation. I noticed a trend that I didn’t like: HiSec corporations were generally really bad, really paranoid, and full of people who had a bad attitude towards EVE Online as it is.

So trying to find a decent HiSec corporation, unless you’re a perfect upstanding citizen who has never shot another player or trolled a chat channel and gotten a bounty, can be a pretty difficult endeavour. I can’t tell you how many times I was searching for a corporation to AWOX and the first thing they asked about was my bounty (she’s up to 250 million right now).

The thing with EVE Online though is that there’s no “good guys” or “bad guys” – it’s a sandbox. So the player who joins your corp, shoots your Orca and ransoms it for 500 million, and then turns around and gives all that money away to newbies who have joined their main character’s corporation… is that person a good guy or a bad guy?

This is something that I like to explore in EVE Online. The freedom you’re given really blurs those lines.

You talk about a corp’s paranoia as being a bad thing, while at the same time talking about your planned activities in a way that justifies their paranoia. Do you resent them for their paranoia because it makes it more difficult for you to AWOX them?

Yes and no. I resent their paranoia that is in no way shape or form related to the AWOXing activities. For instance, I had a corporation that wanted to put my alt in a “holding corp” for a month because, after checking my API, they saw that my character had trained for a Catalyst. Apparently that made me “gank trained” and a “security risk”.

However, every new player who runs the tutorials will have destroyers trained because… that’s what the tutorial has you do, and destroyers are the best boat for level 1 missions. They never bothered to check my kill-log in the API key, otherwise they would have rejected me for the obvious AWOXing.

And corporations that will not accept a character with negative security status or high bounties… you can get a low sec from accidentally shooting a station, and any troll can apply a bounty to another player. So if you really want to grief someone who’s corp-less, give them a really high bounty and it’ll make it really hard for them.

But if a corp checked my kill-log and said “You’re an AWOXer, application rejected.” – well then they’re intelligent and doing things right. There’s nothing I can teach them, they have the proper attitude and protocol, so I leave them be.

By the way, the corp that rejected my alt and wanted to put me in a “holding corp” was recently AWOXed by another member of Belligerent Undesirables to the tune of 2 billion ISK in damages, about a week after rejecting my toon.

You said ‘there’s nothing you can teach them…’ Are you saying that you join corporations to AWOX them so that you can teach them how to be better corporations?

In a way, yes. Some CEOs are good leaders, but don’t know anything about EVE. I can usually tell this right after AWOXing… they’ll tell their members to dock up, reimburse the loss (as they’re able), and convo me asking what it will take to make me drop corp. These CEO’s are usually receptive to learning how to avoid AWOXing in the future and how to identify pilots that actually are a security risk.

Other CEOs also don’t know anything about EVE, but have gigantic egos which put their members at risk. One CEO I joined up with REFUSED to listen to my advice, REFUSED to admit that there were things about the game he didn’t understand… he was pretty much resolved to “drive me away and force my surrender” – and it cost his members hundreds of millions in ship losses and security status (when they attacked my neutral logi). Those sorts of players shouldn’t be CEO’s. A lot of times members will drop those corporations and I’ll direct them to EVE University or another corp that I know is good for new players.

At the end of the day, though, I can’t deny that I also get a lot of laughs out of it, and there is always of course bragging rights, like the Rattlesnake I killed. So what I’m doing is playing the predator, in a way culling the weak and unfit, and making the fit more adapted and stronger.

In my interview the other day with Tenaris Zeratul, he mentioned “I’ve seen 7 day old accounts in catalysts kill 5 year old toons in Rattlesnakes.” When I posted the interview on Reddit, that’s when you mentioned in a comment on that Reddit post that he was talking about you, which is what inspired me to contact you for an interview. Thanks for agreeing! But could you now tell us the story of the Rattlesnake?

Yeah no problem. So because of my history on Xuixien of suicide ganking and running contract scams in Rens, I’m apparently a major security risk. So it’s nearly impossible for me to get into any HiSec carebear corporation or a WH corp. This I actually do resent. I’m not a security risk! At least not on Xui. I don’t scam corp mates nor kill corp mates on Xui. I’ve always gone after neutrals, not blues. But try explaining that to a paranoid WH corp or arrogant HiSec CEO who thinks he’s God because of CONCORD.

So I created an alt, a clean alt with no connection to Xui, who I would train up to join a WH corp, and put him in FW to farm LP for the ISK I’d need. That’s when Callie was created – she was going to be placed in the opposite militia to drive away allied militia so I could maximize my LP farming. But I decided that was too much work, and after training her for about a week, I decided to go on Safari and show people that even a fresh, clean, “upstanding” pilot can be a major security risk.

So I joined a corporation, and with great glee and enthusiasm, warped out to where they were mining, and killed their AFK miners (AFK mining is an activity that I really hate). Afterwards, one of the older members, the 5 year old guy, apparently thought he was a badass and invited me to fleet so we could “talk”. I told him I was still at the belt if he needed a warp in on me… I was expecting a combat ship and didn’t know how well things would go, even with Xui running logi… and to my surprise, he landed on grid in a Rattlesnake.

Callie was actually only 5 days old at the time, and with neutral logistics on field, his cruise missiles had no chance of hurting me. His drones hurt a bit, but after I killed off a flight, he stopped launching them and just gave up. So, in the span of about 15 minutes, I’d killed… let me tally this… 1.3 billion ISK of stuff.

The CEO asked what it would take to make me leave and I said “a medal”. He refused, so I camped them in station for an hour… [Alexia: camped in, afraid of a 5-day old pilot in a destroyer. Wow.] Finally one of the directors (the Rattlesnake pilot I killed), convo’d me and we talked about the medal… and about 10 minutes later he gave it to me, and I dropped corp. The Rattlesnake pilot, while somewhat on the dumb side, actually did more for the corp than the CEO, who did nothing more than smack talk me and provoke me after the AWOX. So really the Rattlesnake pilot should be the one in charge of that corporation, because while we were chatting he actually went and RESEARCHED what happened, and tried explaining it to the CEO, who basically told him to shut up.

I think there’s a lesson here for anyone who keeps up on nullsec drama and politics. While I did a billion ISK of damage on Callie, that’s actually rather small potatoes. There’s really not much a player who just joined a corporation can do to hurt the corp (unless you’re infinitely dumb and give them roles). We can blow up an Orca or camp you in station, but that’s about it. The REAL security risks come from disgruntled directors and corp mates who have roles that have been kicked around by leadership. Just look at BoB and -A-. They had their share of AWOXers, but the real damage was done by unhappy people from within.

So what advice would you have for corp CEOs to help them avoid being infiltrated and AWOX’d? Please go into as much detail as you want.

Well, to defend against someone who really knows what they’re doing… like a straight up sadistic, evil bastard… there’s not much you can do.

I know a guy who keeps AWOXing the same damn corporation for the past year. He will literally sub a new account, train the character, change his typing/syntax, join a different corp for a few months, then go into that other corp and literally smash the shit out of them, over and over.

You can’t really stop something like that. The best you can do is just mitigate the damage via cheap fits, cheap ships, etc. Also have big tanks and logistics/combat ships on call will help a lot. And make sure to bring TWO logistics so they can rep each other… one corp brought out one basilisk to save their mission runners. They lost their Basilisk. 🙂

Against people who do Safari’s in series… well just look at the corp history. There’s no reasonable explanation for jumping in a different corp every day for a week… that’s a definite red flag.

Also get their API key and check their kill log. That’s really the best way to avoid AWOXers who have already done it at least once. You’ll see it right there in the kill log. That’s the best defense against it. Security status? Bounties? These mean nothing. Even the word of a former CEO means nothing – he could be butthurt about something else and lying to get even. I’ve had former CEO’s contact my current CEO and accuse me of AWOXing. Xui has never AWOX’d. These other CEOs are just bitter about whatever drama or nonsense that happened while I was in their corp.

So really the best defenses are:

  1. Don’t AFK mine. If you’re mining, have a good tank fit and corp mates on standby who can bring out logistics and DPS if you’re being AWOX’d.
  2. Be NICE to people in your corporation. The first corp I ever screwed over… I only did it because their leadership were arrogant douchebags who constantly threatened to kick me out unless I “fell in line”.
  3. CEO’s should check legitimate red flags… long corp histories and kill logs in APIs. Checking wallet transactions and such don’t help… I funded Callie initially by undocking a shuttle with a PLEX in it, ejecting from it, and boarding it on Callie. You can transfer ISK “invisibly” using that method.

Let’s go back to that sadistic, evil bastard who’s been AWOXing the same corp for a year. Do you know why he’s doing that to them? And can something like that be petitioned to CCP as harrassment?

Yes, I do know why he’s doing that. The only single reason he’s doing that is because they pissed him off by being douchebags to him. Pardon my language. 🙂 His stated goal (to me) is that he wants to make their CEO and 2 directors either quit the game or close the corporation. He’s driven out at least a dozen of their regular, core membership. Apparently the CEO and their “old guarde” were really rude and elitist and he didn’t like it… He demands an apology each time, and each time he’s told “fuck you!” so their losses keep going up and up.

For something like that… I guess it could count as harassment. But he’s made a lot of ISK, even after paying the subs in PLEX, by salvaging the wrecks and selling the loot he gets. So he is profiting from it, which really blurs the line between “harassment” and “career choice”.

So right there he is playing the “predator”… the corp he’s AWOXing will either apologize and fix their attitudes, continue to suffer losses, or… go the way of the dodo.

Someone like that… I have no idea how to stop. It’s actually kind of scary. I guess just don’t be a douchebag and be polite to people you meet in EVE Online. I don’t always follow that advice, but we’re all human I guess.

Xuixien, your candid discussion about AWOXing has been very educational. Is there anything you’d like to add before we finish this interview? Anything else you’d like the readers to know, or to think about?

Yeah. There’s no “good guys” or “bad guys” in EVE Online. That guy who just blew up your mining barge in HiSec might be a firefighter in real life who volunteers at a soup kitchen, or a nurse who takes care of the sick and elderly. 99% of the people who play EVE are really not “out to get you”, and a simple, sensible security protocol will weed out the majority of those who are. Instead of being more paranoid, just be smarter.

EVE is a game about risk – the new player you recruited could be the one who blows up your Orca, or he could be the person who takes it upon themselves to do a massive recruitment drive and grow your corporation to a level you never thought possible.

You’ve just made me think of one more question – what do you think that simple, sensible security protocol would be? What should CEOs do to weed out the majority of ‘bad guys’ and ‘those who are out to get you’?

If they fail an API check, talk to them on comms. Ask them about things that concern you. Then ask them a few more questions. Then rephrase an earlier question. When you’re in text, they can just scroll up and rephrase their answer. But on comms, they’re talking it all out. You can notice discrepancies and hesitancies. It’s harder for them to keep track of their answers. You can usually tell when someone is lying. But, most corps… at least hisec corps… don’t use comms cuz they’re bad.

Any corp that wants to be good should be using voice comms, and people who are playing should use voice comms frequently. That is probably the single most important criterion to forming good corporate culture and cohesion. A corporation in EVE is really a collection of friends playing together towards a common goal/s. The best way to facilitate that is voice comms. To me, voice comms really build a strong corporation, and makes activities 100% more effective.

Xuixien, thank you again for your time. This has been really enlightening, and I really appreciate being able to talk with you about your activities, your thoughts, and your advice for people out there. All the best with your own activities in Eve!

Thanks, and you’re welcome. I hope I was a good interviewee.

You absolutely were. 🙂

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