While a war rages across the cluster, Discord back-channels and espionage thrive. Today, we release the interview with RUSROG, a spymaster from Northern Coalition, on his perspective. This interview has been heavily edited for formatting, structure, clarification, and grammar. If you would like to read the raw logs, click here. These are RUSROG’s thoughts and opinions, and are not necessarily reflective of mine or New Eden Report’s.
Curt: Can you briefly describe who you are and your role in Polaris?
RUSROG: I am RUSROG. I run Polaris and help maintain the organisation. I’ve been playing EVE for 8 years now, and run my own corp.
Are you able to give some insight into what that involves/what Polaris is?
Polaris is an intelligence gathering platform that empowers individuals and alliances to stay ahead of their enemies through superior intelligence gathering, whether it be day to day fleet activity or long term operations and campaign support. We provide for big groups as well as the common man. I can’t particularly speak about what involves our actions, but we have been publicly relaying TEST pings for over a month on Kugutsumen Discord for fun.
Would you say that it’s also the Panfam intelligence group?
I don’t believe that an intelligence group can exist independently of an alliance as it needs direction and backing of bigger ideas. As such, we are allowed to exist the way we do. As for whether we are the PanFam group, I don’t think so. We primarily work with PanFam, but we are not the only group.
When did you start running Polaris?
March? Yeah March.
So 2-3 months into joining NCdot, you were put in charge of Polaris? What’s the story there?
I used to be the human intelligence director for TIA, TEST intelligence agency prior. So I had the experience and contacts. I like doing what I do, so I hit up Laz (former director of Polaris) and asked if I could help. From there he introduced me to things. I’d known Laz prior through Kugu and was always supportive of his work even though at the time he was “an enemy”.
Do you find yourself at odds with TIA now, or Black Hand? Does counter-intelligence factor into your operations as well as usual things?
I don’t find myself at odds. We all have a goal, and I believe I have a close relationship with Canenald (one of the TIA directors). Sometimes we discuss how things work with IT and methodology.
I do some CI work, but there’s a limit on how much can be done. Discord has made spying/relaying so easy it’s laughable. You can’t detect a discord user spying. It’s great. As for all the other CI work (forums, fleets) I so what I can and catch careless people, but there is no such thing as getting rid of a dedicated agent, especially someone who’s in the alliance on their main and spying for whatever reason. People get caught on fuck ups. And baiting dedicated hostile agents takes too much time. You’d rather invest more effort into development of your own agents and accelerating what they can do.
You’re also the CEO of NCdot member corporation Avalanche right? How do you find trying to balance time between the two?
Yeah. Train people well and pay them well and they’ll manage themselves. We let our agents run freely doing what they want and pushing their limits. I love those people the most. They want to show off what they can do, and I don’t have to manage them at all. As for running Polaris, we have a great team that does our IT and some staffers that take care of paper pushing. As for my corp, those dudes just run wild and I give guidance where I can, usually they’re 3 steps ahead of me anyway. I just fill wallets for deployments/content and provide groundwork for intelligence for them. The rest is in their hands as they are some vicious, content-hunting bastards.
What kind of budget do you guys work with to fund Polaris? Do you rely on outside funding or Kugu more?
Can’t disclose budget. But I can say I’ve hit the Plex market to raise prices by a bit a few times. Our funding from external clients that we host on Kugutsumen is what I call “fun money”. I buy people titans and supers with it or inject them brand new capital characters and invest in their future as spies. Financially, Polaris is very interesting. I have been given the opportunity to be as liberal as I need, provided I hold the interests of my backers at heart. As such, I have the same freedom that I provide our agents. It lets me get creative. Because at the end all we have is memes and fun. If you can’t have fun and take it too serious and personal it becomes a job and not a game.
Was Polaris particularly active during the UALX defeat and subsequent rout?
Yes. It was a pleasure to organise people for it, it was challenging, but very rewarding. It was difficult to schedule agents around their real life schedules as some has to go to work or other ccommitments. We capitalided on a lot of things. Having to ultimately concede the grid was disappointing, but I was very happy with how we performed on Polaris side. We’ve been very active since the “hellcamp” started. It was similar to when I was in TEST and we had the fight of F4R2. I Performed the same role, running agents and relaying comms. Sadly, during these big fights, I don’t get to play as it takes away my attention from doing a good job. Additionally, being an FC does let me filter information on what is relevant and what is not. You’ll find that many groups, like Polaris, are run by paperpushers and individuals that do not understand what is useful to the FC. In the heat of the battle you have to be quick and efficient
What particular instances of sabotage/espionage have you been proud of in either Test or Polaris?
In TEST, it was messing with Stain Wagon. Watching their leadership yell at fleet that there are spies in fleet, and them screaming that they’ll find me, only for me to convo their fc’s each time they start talking on teamspeak and go “no you wont”. It was a lot of fun. Obviously bumping capitals out of POS towers mid fight was a good chuckle too.
For Polaris? Nothing yet, still working on things, you’ll see from us soon. There’s other things I can’t take credit for unfortunately.
How relevant to the course of wars are spy agencies currently? Do you think their usage has declined or risen recently?
Risen. Spies are dope, it’s fun, and you get to do fun shit. Groups that have good spy team can do great shit like this battle.