Last updated:   Editor: Cubeinator

COLUMN: The Smoke Begins to Clear Troglodyte

It has been two weeks since we witnessed a frenetic series of shootings, resulting in an intriguing game of ‘pass the bullet factory’. We haven’t seen the return of Victory, so it would appear that the dust has settled, and their adversaries are now advancing into a comfortable position. My previous column, ‘A Battle for Victory’, garnered a lot of positive feedback, accompanied by calls to delve deeper into the possibilities of behind the scenes crew alliances and political motivations. I felt that approaching the crews directly would yield the best information and supplement my previous observations well. Consequently I have pursued input from a number of parties, and received some illuminating replies that, I think, explain why Victory was always going to lose.

One of the cornerstones of my initial investigation was the drama surrounding the account, Friction. Having spoken to underboss of The Vanguard, Scarcio, he made it abundantly clear that: “Friction is, and has never been a member of The Vanguard. He is a friend who made the crewspot for us.” Having first helped his friends by securing a crew spot, he then began his own bloody agenda, by first avenging The Sacred Empire following their wipe, then shooting some crewless accounts including Mesrine and gwiz, amongst others. When asked if he was concerned about a potential backlash on his crew, Scarcio told me that he is well aware “if his actions reflect on us that is our problem for the time being.”

Historically, if a member or even a visitor was to make some high profile kills without the blessing of the crew, then that crew would make things right by taking out the rogue member and thus distancing themselves from the issue. At the time, crews were not allowing holders to pass the spot, putting The Vanguard in the unfortunate situation of needing to shoot themselves in order to remove Friction from the equation. Since then however, Friction has been able to leave the spot (now a member of Dutch Inc) and display ‘The Syndicate Associate’ on his profile. As the kill count on Friction’s profile continues to increase, it does not look like The Vanguard are interested in trying to shed some of the blame that they have accrued. Maybe they condone their friend’s actions, or are feeling threatened themselves. These are not positions that a crew will freely disclose, that much is true.

While looking into the role of The Vanguard, I quickly noticed that some members were also representing Death Valley. Both Scarcio and the boss of Death Valley, kingofdeath, admitted that there was a lot of history between the crews and that they were indeed allies with each other and The Sacred Empire. In fact, in a recent development, I have been informed that the two crews are set to merge, possibly due to the crews feature finally being fixed and capacities increasing. This explains why, several weeks ago, New York bullet factory was able to change hands without any further repercussions. Despite confirming some form of friendship between the crews, there was reluctance to reveal the full extent of their cooperation. Given the nature of Friction’s actions and circumstances so far, it would seem that this posited alliance is operating at a very high level.

The man in question, Friction, replied to my request for an interview but did not continue the conversation once I posed questions as to why he helped The Sacred Empire or has been shooting crewless accounts. As I learned, not everyone is as forthcoming as you would hope. On the other hand, Aburagheb, boss of The Sacred Empire, did reply to my enquiries. Regarding the attack on his crew, he told me that “we are often targeted without proper explanation” and that they are now accustomed to the perpetrator’s “game of shadows”. There was however still no indication as to the identity or motives of their attacker. Again, questions about The Sacred Empire’s relationship with Friction were overlooked, but a more concrete truth on the existence of a large inter-crew alliance was addressed. According to Aburagheb, “our relationship with several crews has been taken to a new level”. Mirroring opinions that he posted in a game forum topic last week entitled ‘nothing has changed’, he told me that “there is no room for neutral sides” and that every player’s fate is “eventual war”. He believes that the current alliance of crews is the final barrier to a repeat of domination, as seen in previous rounds. In the very same topic there was debate as to whether one form of domination is any better than another, and that the new alliance will have to kill neutral players to make certain their victory over old oppressors.

This is a notion that I wanted to explore further during my meeting with Event Horizon. BettyB along with her council member, Mason, took the time to answer a few more questions focused on ascertaining the nature of an inter-crew alliance, and what we can expect from Event Horizon in the near future. In the past couple of weeks, the graveyard has been slowly filling up with crewless accounts ranked Boss and above. Verified culprits are few and far between, but two that stood out to me recently were that of Crusade, killed by Event Horizon member, Tynos, and several others by fellow member, pinkster. When asked whether they plan to resort to the controversial tactics employed by underground crews of old, specifically shooting crewless accounts, I was told: “We don’t believe shooting random crewless accounts is the way the game should be played. This is the reason for us standing up against the group doing that. Carefully choosing our victims would be our preferred method, if possible.” Nevertheless, it seems as if this culling of the neutral player has already started. Surely it is a matter of time before innocent parties are drawn into this feud, just as they were last round. Having already assisted The Sacred Empire by babysitting one of their bullet factories, BettyB confirmed: “crews who we are friendly with will benefit from our help at times”, thus substantiating the rumours of an alliance between all the big players on Statistics. The recent attack on Event Horizon may show just how committed the other parties are to reciprocating the help that was offered, not that long ago, to The Scared Empire.

An additional development in the overall investigation was something that I touched on earlier, the introduction of The Syndicate. Friction’s claim to associate membership casts new questions on the alliance, and where The Syndicate fits into it. The delayed decision to display the picture on his profile, and the averseness of anyone to commit ties to him could all be a tactic to shift the blame for his kills onto the shoulders of this infamous underground entity. Of course, it is hard to discern motives without word from the man himself. He is now resident in the crew spot of Dutch Inc, having spent some time already in Get Money Cartel, which brings me to the final facet of this investigation, regarding Michigan and Nevada bullet factories.

My brief exchange with the bosses of Get Money Cartel (GMC) and Dutch Inc has shed very little light on their origins and ambitions. I have learned that not all of Dutch Inc are actually Dutch, and was also told by both parties, that their split of bullet factories after the demise of Victory is not an indication of their working together. They both appear to be content with their properties but are adamant that they are playing independently from the alliance. Given their coy responses and the confidence of GMC as displayed in the comments left on caraken’s gravestone by Congo, they are either being foolishly ignorant to the alliance that has formed, and surely await certain destruction, or were being even more economical with the truth in our interviews than I first thought. GMC at least, feel that they can come back strong if they are attacked, and combined with the knowledge that Friction has now visited The Vanguard/Death Valley, Dutch Inc, GMC and assisted The Sacred Empire, it would be reasonable to assume that all bullet factories are now controlled, in some way, by the alliance.

I finally return to the topic of that illusive crew, Victory. Given what I have discovered so far, I would speculate that they were in fact, a manifestation of The Family and their allies, given the swift nature of their departure from both the Statistics and States page. The crews to take their place have stood firm so far, with no intervention from the established alliance. The community may feel relieved then, that the bullies of last round are now without bullet factories and most likely, on the back foot. And yet, in their absence, the pot shots on crewless accounts will not cease, as the alliance proactively tries to root them out, and we are now seeing the return of similar underground groups like The Syndicate. As yet I have failed to reach anyone from The Family or their allies, so if anyone out there reading this can point me to an account or Skype address for an interview, the Buzz would greatly appreciate it.

In conclusion, the reset and game changes appear to have rallied the losing parties against the dominating sides from last round. Previous alliances and enemies have transferred seamlessly from round 7 to 8, which in the long term, could result in The Family, Asura, Most Wanted and co. being played out of the game. With the goal posts moved so considerably, and with such a large alliance collaborating proactively to prevent domination, does this beckon an new age in Bootlegger’s history? Have the game changes rendered the old underground crews dead and buried? Perhaps a different flavour of domination is upon us, but unfortunately still one where the neutral player cannot persist. In the coming months, as this alliance becomes stronger, is the game set to become boring again, or will the top tiers of this alliance decide that they no longer need the lower tiers, and pick them off as well? As some questions are answered, many more present themselves, such is crew politics.