THE SWARM’S SMALL YET MIGHTY MEMBERS
In clear contrast to our inaugural “Goon Who?” article, I sat down with Ranik Sandaris and chuck Utrigas of El Ultimo Hombre [EL U], a GoonSwarm Federation corporation of only around 100 members. As you will see, what they lack in numbers they make up for in activity, tenacity, and loyalty to The Swarm. From humble renter to illustrious member corporation, EL U’s journey has been relatively brief, but storied. By the end of this article I hope to highlight their unique culture, fighting spirit, and fun-loving attitude.
HUMBLE AND ADVENTUROUS BEGINNINGS
Before EL U’s association with GoonSwarm Federation, chuck ran a quaint operation, mostly made up of US time zone players, out of a wormhole. As usual, wormhole living was a precarious lifestyle. While insulated from reliable access to his system, every hole that opened potentially threatened his small operation. Like all successful EVE players, chuck is a reader and a researcher, and found the opportunity to become a renter with GoonSwarm Federation in the areas surrounding Deklein. EL U worked with Dunraim26, their rental coordinator, and seemed to be very happy with the arrangement. Unlike many other rental empires, GoonSwarm collected through the in-game tax system instead of demanding tributes. Renters were still granted access to many coalition services, content, and most importantly the sense of community and direction at the alliance level.
BUILDING THE BROTHERHOOD
While living as a renter, chuck and his hombres enjoyed a rough and tumble relationship with Ranik Sandaris and his EU time zone boys from Jade Falcon Outcasts [JFO]. Through good natured teasing back and forth, the two corporations formed a bond. After a while, JFO’s activity started to decline, and Ranik and the remaining JFO members were invited to join EL U. This marriage solidified what had come to be a hallmark of EL U culture; the corporation was filled with members that worked odd shifts, night owls, early birds, and erratic play times. Now the corporation could be described, as Ranik put it, “The United Nations of Gaming.” No matter the time of day, you could always find a few EL U members to work with.
Chuck also talked to me about how they really liked staying small. He praised Karmafleet and Ascendance for their teaching and recruiting abilities. He also said that he enjoyed developing and watching a few pilots grow at a time. “When you first get into this game, and into one these large newbee friendly corps, it [can feel] like you are swallowed up. We aim to provide a home for a good mix of long term players as well as cute newbees, to keep a tight knit group.” I can totally agree with this sentiment. A large corporation just might not be the right fit for some players, and we are fortunate to have multiple corporate cultures to fit player’s needs. Players who want a smaller corp community and are very active will find a great home in EL U.
The corporation enjoyed some sovereignty stability for a while. However, that all changed as the might of the entire EVE community came down on the Imperium.
THE RISE OF A RENTER
If anything will test the loyalty and the mettle of a corporation, a galaxy-wide war will. The Casino War, blooming from bad blood between the EVE casino IWANTISK and Imperium coalition member SpaceMonkey’s Alliance <SMA>, set the EVE community on fire when it came to attacking the Imperium. After the retreat to the holdout of Saranen, The Imperium fought and harassed their oppressors. Even with an unsure future of the coalition’s stability, EL U fought hard alongside The Imperium. As small as they were, EL U was always at the top of the leaderboards when it came to renter participation in the conflict, and were praised by The Imperium for showing their ongoing support. “As a renter, we didn’t get access to the Ship Replacement Program, but there was no way we were leaving” chuck professed to me. “We loved the war, and we decided we would go broke fighting before we left. Many of us are ex- or current military, and all of us are fighters.”
With this mindset, EL U fought on. As GoonSwarm Federation retook Delve and started to get re-established in sovereignty space, it was announced that the rental program would be discontinued for an unknown period of time. This was very concerning to chuck and the EL U leadership, and they appealed to the alliance about what might be done to keep their affiliation. In GoonSwarm “Service Guarantees Citizenship,” and it was clear to the alliance that EL U had done their part in The Casino War. As a result of their hard work, EL U was welcomed into the alliance as a member corporation.
THIS END UP
As EL U settled into alliance life, a marker of progress comes from corporation level infrastructure. Great care was taken by the leadership to deploy as safely at possible, at 0-Dark:30, with all insta-warps aligned. Once anchoring and onlining started, their Azbel was a sight to behold. It was deployed perfectly… backwards. Most of this was blamed on the interface that comes up when you are deploying a citadel. The translucent outline makes it hard to tell which end is which, resulting in this humorous, while also frustrating, situation.
THE GREAT MELTING POT
Our alliance has member corporations, big and small, and they all contribute in a special way. I would like to thank everyone involved in the written Q&A and live “story time”: Ranik Sandaris, chuck Utrigas, Dynuxyz Bocin, and also Fury Wrath for his perspective as a new member to a large coalition after coming to us from Rote Kapelle. Although Fury’s remarks didn’t make it into the story, it was great to know that we are a much different, but still very fun and welcoming, environment for our players.
Chuck also had a short appeal to new players coming to GoonSwarm Federation; “Get involved!” It’s true that you only need to want to take part in the alliance to gain rights and privileges. This especially applies to Fleet Commanders, Logistics Anchors, and Boost coordinators. In GSF, we all have a hill to climb. The mountain is full of the wise and the dedicated, so do not get discouraged if you aren’t a Supercapital FC from day one.
Also, use and practice all of your talents through EVE Online! We always need writers, programmers, artists, accountants, and all kinds of other specialties to make the swarm fun and efficient. If you’re interested in joining El Ultimo Hombre, find them in their in-game chat channel Hombre’s Bar. You will always have a group of passionate, active bees to back you up.