First Fight

Plus one.

When I first started playing Eve, I was lucky enough to have friends who were already playing.  They gave me some cash, hooked me up with some modules and ammo and pointed me in a direction for skills that would allow me to make money so I could afford my losses in PvP.  Don't get me wrong, I got plenty of excitement doing level 4's with my 1 month old Drake pilot, but the guys in Teamspeak doing the PvP stuff, they seemed to be having a lot of fun.

I didn't start playing Eve for the PvE.

During my first month in Eve, my best friend, one of the directors in our corporation, encouraged me to come out and PvP with the corp.  I didn't have a lot of skills, I couldn't fit a real PvP fit, I couldn't fly anything good, but he told me I could come out in just about anything, have some fun and get on some killmails.

He designed a ship for me.  A Condor, pre-2012 buff of course.  Rocket launchers in the highs, MWD / Target Painter in the meds, Micro Aux Power Core in the low.  My job: fly around at a safe range from the fight, paint the primary, get some mails and learn how the fleet worked.

The night came when the alliance was going to go out and do a roam, maybe camp a chokepoint gate.  My friend asked if it was okay if Bren came along, he'll just be in a frigate, just getting some mails and a little fleet experience.

No.  He's too little.  We'll end up spending too much of our time making sure he doesn't get killed.  Besides, he can't fly anything that can really help the fleet.  He can come out when he can fly a cruiser.

Hurt my feelings.  I endured because my friends encouraged me.  They told me to train cruisers.  I trained cruisers.

My first PvP loss was a Caracal.  I went on a roam in a 20 man gang.  I'm flying a cruiser.  I threw a fit together, thinking I was set up to be be anti-frigate. T1 equipment all over the place.  A web but no point or scram.  Don't let it fool you, this is a PvP ship.  No one checked my fit, no one told me to do anything except fly with the fleet and shoot the primary.

15 jumps into null sec, we got spotted by a larger gang.  The FC decided to run, so next thing I know, I'm warping gate to gate and jumping on contact, but the bigger gang was keeping up.

Okay lads, we're going to stand and fight.  Burn off the gate to your optimals.  Get ready!

Atlas Alliance jumped in.  30+ guys.  Fight went a little like this:

Orbiting the gate.  Overview fills up with hostiles.  FC calls a primary.  Search overview.  Locked by someone.  Shield warning.  I'm in armor.  I'm in structure.  My ship explodes.

Bren is down, I say in TS.  Get your pod out, someone says.  I don't exactly know what that means, but I see another pod warp away so I click on the sun and warp.

My first PvP fight lasted 15 seconds.  Maybe.  I had no idea what happened, but it was great?  Maybe?  I don't know.  I certainly didn't learn anything from that fight, except that Cerberus are bad assed ships.  My fleet took a lot of  losses in that fight.

Made me sad.  I endured because my friends encouraged me.  They told me to train stealth bombers.  I trained stealth bombers.

Looking back now, I wonder, in that first fleet that I wasn't allowed to join, what would have been the harm in letting me fly with them?  What was the worst thing that could have happened?  I jump into a system by accident and cause the fleet to miss a kill?  Was there some secret way that I could have caused the fleet to be wiped out?

Any FC's out there that ever lost a fleet to save a newb in a frigate?

Didn't think so.

But they brought me out when I could fly a cruiser.  What did they gain from putting me in that cruiser that I didn't know how to fit or fly?  I really don't know.  I didn't get on a killmail.  Never applied damage to anything.   Never applied any tackle or EWAR.  I just lost my ship and learned that I didn't have a chance against a Cerberus.

My experiences eventually led me to Open University of Celestial Hardship.  OUCH takes a pilots with no PvP experience, and teaches them the basics.  We give them the tools that can make the difference between killing or dying.  These are the things that drive me, and the pilots like me, to do what we do.  I think it's pretty simple.

Come on out, dude.  Do what we do.  Try not to die. 

It'll be fun.

Minus one.

LOTB: Your Rookie Corp

Plus one.

I hit Poetic Stanziel's blog this morning.  When Poetic was new and Drama Llama-ing away, I used to follow her religiously.  I found her very entertaining, but nowadays, I've got so much more to read.

That being said, today Poetic put up a post entitled Protecting Our Newbies.  In it she talked about helping new players, not by giving them stuff, but by teaching them stuff.  She'd like to see more of it.

We already exist.  Poetic's written about us once, but doesn't really know anything about us. Unfortunately, sometimes it seems that OUCH is New Eden's best kept secret.

So below, I'm reposting the first post from the Life on the Bubble section of the OUCH forums, written in September 2011.

And yeah, I don't know if Poetic is a girl or a guy, but I'm assuming that everyone playing Eve is playing their own sex, until someone tells me that they are not.  Personal pronouns are hard.

Minus one.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Open University of Celestial Hardship [OUCH] gets its members one of two ways:  People find us on the internet, through a forum or blog, or someone they know points them in our direction.

Me?  My RL best friend sent me here to work on my PvP skills, with the eventual goal of joining his hard core PvP corp.  20 million skill points later, the business of teaching null survival still seems much more enjoyable than fighting for sovereignty.

OUCH has developed a program where a pilot with little to no experience, can join and get the basic training they need to travel and survive in low and null security space.  Many corporations, large and small, appreciate the level of competence they’ve seen in our graduates.  They enthusiastically request that we forward our graduates to them.

On paper, this is a great idea.  In reality, it’s a bucket full of fail.  Here’s why:

When a student joins OUCH, it’s usually after they’ve done all the research and decided that OUCH was the right place for them to learn something.  They graduate and have to decide between staying in OUCH to help teach, or move on to play their own Eve.

When a graduate decides to move on, it’s usually because it was part of their original plan.  They complete training and leave to rejoin their old corp, or leave to join the corp of their dreams, or leave to try to build a corp of their own.  Otherwise, they stay for the ride.  This means that a corporation passively recruiting from OUCH is dependent on successful OUCH recruitment followed by a failure of OUCH retention.

Ask yourself this question:  When the OUCH graduate is deciding what they want to do at this critical point in their Eve career,

What does your corp have that makes it the right choice for them?

Stop.  All the things that you’re listing in your head, there are a hundred corps offering the same thing.  What you need to offer the potential recruit is a home.  The problem is the seasoned players you really want already have homes.  They’re playing their Eve.   That leaves you with new players, the ones that haven’t made up their mind what their game is.  These players typically don’t have the skills you need to help make your corp successful, unless you are willing to make a healthy investment of your time into developing them as players.

We can help.  Let OUCH help you by giving those players a step up.  If you’re actively searching for new members, and you find some new, untried but enthusiastic recruits, send them through OUCH’s null sec survival program.  Make graduation from our course of study as a requirement to join your corp.

In other words, make Open University your corps Basic Training Course.  A good player can complete the OUCH course in less than a month.  A great player, or one with a lot of time on their hands, can complete the course in a little over a week, schedule permitting.

One of the most successful corporate uses of OUCH we have experienced is by a PvP corp that sends recruits to OUCH, with the caveat that after they graduate, they will be welcome to join their corp.  They keep tabs on their recruits and receive an assessment of their recruit’s performance during their time in OUCH.

This is a corp that is actively recruiting experienced PvPers.  The ones that don’t quite make the grade, they give them the option to go to OUCH and get some training, get some small gang experience, graduate and apply to their corp.  They are weeding out the weak, because since some of their recruits don’t finish our training, they haven’t wasted time investing in a player that can’t follow directions.  This corp has no standing with OUCH (we frequently shoot at each other) but uses OUCH as their Boot Camp.  They mentor their recruits through our program and are standing in the aisle when they graduate to bring them home to celebrate.

What does OUCH get out of it?  New blood.  It’s kind of hard to teach without students.  We’re looking for corporate partners who want to use our product, null sec survival training, to their advantage, by feeding us with pilots to train.  We want partners who actively recruit for themselves, but send their recruits to us first for training.  Partners who would rather take the chance at getting a trained pilot than pad their membership rolls with untrained ones.  If we’re successful, these students will be the solid foundation of several good corps throughout New Eden, and all it will cost is a little time and patience.

Make Open University your corporation’s Rookie Corp.  You won’t be sorry.

Eve Online Continuing Education


A couple of weeks ago, I posted about my issues with the Eve Online Educational Organizations page in the Evelopedia.  I had an idea to try to fix it, so I wrote to Kelduum Revaan and Christina Bamar, CEO’s of Eve University and Agony Unleashed respectively, to see if we couldn’t work out some sort of Accreditation Program for organizations that actually teach players something in Eve.

Unfortunately, they haven’t gotten back to me.  I figure that they have to be at least 2 times as busy as I am, dealing with the drama that comes with being a CEO in a major corp or alliance.  Khelduum has the added issues that come with being a member of the Council for Stellar Management (CSM).

To be honest, they have nothing to gain for doing anything to fix the problems that I see in that page.  They are well established institutions.

That being said, I’m putting links on this blog to organizations that I can confirm have an actual program that trains new players how do play Eve.  Accredited by Art of War Alliance, so to speak.

We’re not putting up links to any organization that’s “join us and we’ll teach you” or “we teach by doing”, but organizations or individual players that actually teach, lecture, or coach.  If you can’t show someone how to do it, and explain why to do it that way, we’re not interested.

That being said, if you know of an organization that teaches, shoot me a mail and let me know.  If you’re the real deal, I’ll put you on the list.

If you’re someone who’s joined an organization that didn’t live up to your expectations, let me know about that, too.

I’ve already put Eve Uni and Agony on the list.  While Eve Uni isn’t PvP driven, they do a lot to help new players sift through the tons of info on the internet and actually learn stuff.  They have lectures and actually interact with new players:  They educate.  And while Agony isn’t a training organization per se, they actually train players in PvP.  OUCH’s training program is very similar, albeit a little more formal.

Today, I’ve added Azual Skoll (The Altruist) to the list.  He has a private instruction program where he is teaching individual and small gang techniques.  The former driector of Agony Unleashed’s PvP U, Azual is the real deal.

And I believe inspired by Azual, Taurean Eltanin (Flight of Dragons) is offering private 1v1 PvP training.  He’s a pilot who has been working his way into PvP the old fashioned way, using the school of hard knocks technique, but he’s been kind enough to leave a trail of lessons learned behind him to benefit others. He’s new at this, but he’s looking good so far.  I think that he’ll find teaching to be a learning experience.

Lastly, I’ve put Sard Caid (Broadside) Twitch TV stream on the list.  Sard’s doing solo pvp live and interacting with the viewers, explaining what he’s doing and why, and answering questions from the audience.  He’s the real deal, too.

There are people out there trying to give the new player, or the older player, help in gaining a new experience.    Art of War Alliance and Open University of Celestial Hardship are doing our small part.

It’s like eating an elephant.  You do it one bite at a time, but it helps if you bring friends.

See you on the bubble.

Bren Genzan


So What’s Your Point?

Plus one.

In my previous post, I kind of poked at the concept of “fair and honorable” gameplay in Eve Online.  I tried to explain that both of those concepts are culturally driven and the players of Eve don’t have a common culture driving societal norms toward “fair and honorable”.

It’s more appropriate to describe Eve Online’s culture as “fairly horrible”, Bren.

From the new player’s perspective, I would tend to agree.

But I tried to make another point at the same time.  I tried to show that the game that CCP sells, where one pilot’s actions can affect thousands of players, forging or toppling empires, is false advertising.

CCP is one hell of a used car salesman:  They’ve been selling the same car for a decade now.

You seem to have issues with CCP and the New Player Experience anyway, Bren.

That I do.  A new player cannot change the face of Eve.  They cannot start a new corporation and build it into a superpower.  The superpowers are already built.  The only hope a new player has is to put in the time, develop contacts, build alliances, grow into experienced player, and hopefully, not become a bitter vet in the process.

In rereading my last post, I realized that, in an attempt to be entertaining, I derailed my own post.  So I’ve gone back and cut out the bullshit from ruthlessly edited it.  In the future, I’ll try to stick with telling it like it is, instead of filling space with unnecessary drama.

Minus one.


For Sale: Galactic Empire, 14.95 Per Month

I reread this post and decided I didn’t like it very much, so I edited it. 

Sue me.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Plus one.

One of the students remarked the other day that they didn’t think that it was fair that Eve Online favored the older player.  I went on to explain that Eve Online, a game, is not about fair.  There is no such thing as fair.

Unlike other MMO’s, Eve has no level cap.  The new player has no hope of grinding experience to catch up the players who have been playing this game years long then they.  For an achievement oriented player, where levels and gear are measures of self worth, Eve is a terrible world to grow up in.  It may take some getting used to.

I mean, Time may be the greatest enemy of the new player.

But a 10 million skill point character can defeat a 100 million skill point character, if the 10 million skill point character has developed his skills properly. The 100 million skill point character is limited by the ship that he is flying at the time.  His millions of skill points in large guns, battle ships, battlecruisers, heavy assault ships, etc, only apply when he is flying the one ship that he can fly at a time.  If the 10 million skill point character is specialized he can win.

See, Eve is fair because the older player is more versatile.  Eve is fair because the older player has more skills and more opportunities than the younger player, but then they’ve also invested more time to get there.  That makes it very fair indeed.  It makes it like real life.

Yes, I know, the younger player can’t fly supercapitals.

Well, that’s not fair, Bren.

Well, if life was fair, we would all be able to buy Microsoft stock well before the Dot Com boom.

The subject came up that it was a shame that there was no sense of honor in Eve.  I said a sense of honor is something that society, or a culture, imparts on individuals, and there is no common culture in Eve that imparts a common Code of Honor.

Social groups form, they make rules of conduct within the social group and develop common bonds based off of common interests.   Honor and dishonor are not common values of the players of Eve.  It’s the concept of the Sandbox, where every player chooses the rules that they want to play by.

In the real world, we are constrained by the rules of the society that we live in. Our culture is that of the world we grow up in.  We choose to follow the rules of society, or we choose not to.  Most of us choose to follow the rules.

The common culture of Eve society is at the corporate level.  Bands of people who develop those common bonds, and work toward common interests.   They gain influence and strength.  They grow.  They acquire wealth and power.

But this too takes Time.

I think I see what the problem is.  If Eve Online was a fair game, it would let new players catch up and build their galactic empire.

Well, if we could just work real hard and put in extra time, we could all get into supercarriers and fight on equal terms in the End Game.

True.  If there was an End Game you could do that.

We could build a galactic empire and challenge the superpowers.

That would be fair, Bren.

I mean, we pay our 14.95 a month, too.

I know.  I know.

Minus one.


Agony Unleashed – The Halloween Roam

Over a week ago, I was in a cool little bar in New York City’s East Village, drinking bourbon, admiring the ladies in their Halloween costumes.  A few day’s later, I’m pretty sure the bar was underwater.

Nothing like a little natural disaster to put your life in perspective.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Plus one.

So one night, while doing a quick delivery of skill books for a corpmate, I try to point a battlecruiser in my interceptor only to discover that I left my warp disruptor in my other pants.

You remember the scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, where Indy faces down some Thuggees and reaches for his revolver, just like he did against the bad guys in Cairo in Raiders of the Lost Ark, but this time the gun is JUST NOT FREAKING THERE?!!??

I know just how he feels.

I love interceptors.  They are like the motorcycles of Eve.  I just feel free flying them.  But I have a bad habit of flying them like they are Rifters and generally, the Eve gods punish me for flying stupid.  This time, I got away and reminded myself to refit that ship.

Halloween night, I’m undocking over in the system next door after putting a couple of rigs on my Ares, when Azual Skoll jumps into local.

Azual Skoll, Tusker.  Former Director of Agony Unleashed’s PvP University.  It’s arguable that he wrote the book on scouting and skirmishing during his time with Agony.  He’s a mentor of OUCH’s own Training Director.  He taught a private interdictor class for Open University of Celestial Hardship a while back.

I wave in local as I reach the outgate.  He waves back.  I tell him in Local to keep that roam away from me, and Local spikes.  One of the first guys in is an OUCH student, flying with the roam.  I call him a <censored> in Local.  He shows good discipline and says nothing.

Laughing, I jump into the next system and warn the boys in the camp:  “Agony’s coming,” I tell them.

“How many?” someone asks.

“All of them,” someone jokes.

I land on a tac on the out gate and align back to the in gate.  Azual jumps into local and the fleet jumps in seconds behind.  Plus 50.  Nice.

Local lights up. “Boo,” “Trick or Treat,” “All your candy belong to us.”  Having not enough tricks or treats for them all, I suggest that our guys get out of their way.  Lots of frigates shoot past me.  Azual is flying…  an Ares… very nice.  They jump through and I warp to the gate and jump in after them.

A few minutes later, they’ve moved on into the next system and I’m chillin’ like a villain on the CL gate when an Incursus jumps in.   He’s a straggler in a ship named “trick or treat”.  He’s more than a match for the Ares, but I’ve got friends in Local and he doesn’t.  I try to grab him, but he warps straight for the outgate.  Damn.

Wait a sec.  I go to warp after him…

… and land in a stop bubble that Gorgon Empire left on the outgate.  He’s 5k away from me, trying to burn for the gate.  I engage.

“Scram on Incursus!” I call out.  The Incursus turns to engage, points me, tracks me.  I’m outside of his gun range and I track him too, but then I play with my orbit and speed to get into gun range.  My blood thirsty OUCH pirates call out that they are in warp.

The scout reports that Agony is on their way back, but it’s too late.  Everyone arrives on grid, gets on the Incursus and we take his ship, his pod, and warp away into the depths of space.  Buh-bye.

If you can find the time to take an Agony Unleashed PvP Basic Class, I highly recommend it.  They do really cool events like this Halloween roam, and once you’re an Agony Alumni, you’re welcome to roam with them anytime they run a Basic Class.

But you might want to get there on time.  Playing catchup with the gang sometimes ends badly.

Minus one.

Bitter Vet Syndrome, CCP Style

Plus one.

I’ve made reference to the concept that everyone is roleplaying the same asshole in Eve more than once.  I’m more and more convinced that this is CCPs intent.

CCP:  We love Drama.

Art of War Alliance used to be blue with Waterboard.  One of the factors that made it easy for OUCH to move our base from Derelik to deeper into Curse was the fact that they flew out there.  We were in an epic battle with WTB, where all the Denizans of Curse took on a White Noise capital fleet, resulting in my first and only Capital kill:  An Aeon!  We flew with a few pilots of their pilots here and there, but soon afterwards, they moved to SOV and left us to our own devices.  After a while, we dropped standings with all of our blues.

What’s the use in being blue with people you don’t actually see?

But The Flaming Sideburns left Waterboard and SOV and came back to Curse.  We hung out, made them blue again, and they joined AWA for a while until the desire to play the SOV game reared it’s ugly head and they moved on.

I like to think of Adeptus Mecanicus as my own personal booster dealer.  The Flaming Sideburns do PvP, but they do PvE stuff too, and are well known for their “illicit drug” manufacturing.

You need Boosters?  I know a guy.

Every so often, I check the recruit threads of a few corps, one of whom is The Flaming Sideburns.  I call Adeptus the only guy in Waterboard that still likes me.  Occasionally I say, “Hi” to him on his recruit thread, and he does the same on Open University of Celestial Hardship’s.  So when I checked his thread today, I was shocked to see this post.

“Friendly bumps”, also known as bumping by characters who are not the original poster is not allowed. Locking for 24 hours to prevent a further bump.

CCP Eterne | Community Representative@CCP_Eterne

The rules for thread bumping can be found here.


Use this channel for alliance and corporation recruiting announcements or to ask recruiters what their requirements are. This is the only channel where recruiting is allowed.

Remember, this channel is for recruiting only. It is not an open forum for discussing the merits (or lack thereof) of a corporation or any of its members. Keep posts on topic.


* Bumping is allowed only by the character who started the thread. If you use another character you will get warned.

* Bumping must consist of a real sentence, not simply the word “bump”. For example, “Recruitment still open” is an acceptable bump.

* Bumping may only be done once per day.
Once per day means that the date has to be different on your post. If you bump 2008.06.15 then your next bump can only be 2008.06.16 and then 2008.06.17. It doesn’t matter when during the day you bump, as long as the date is one day apart. For more information you can read the Thread Bumping Guideline.


*If you hijack a recruitment thread, whether to promote your own recruitment or run it off course with non recruitment related chat, you are liable to receive an off topic warning or a possible ban.

Please respect other peoples’ recruitment threads.

So  I guess The Sideburns broke a posting rule and posted twice today.  And I guess their friends shouldn’t post friendly bumps every couple of weeks.  No help for the tiny corp with really cool guys that could use a couple of good pilots.  I mean, their thread only has less than 15k views.

But I guess it’s okay for Red Vs Blue, the “MOST active PvP corp in Eve” to do the same damn thing on the same day.  Their thread has 100K+ views.  No 24 hour lock for them.

Well, Bren, they are a MAJOR corporation and alliance.

I’m not hating on RvB, cause they are great.  I have a link to their forum here on the blog, advertizing their Noobfleet Training.  And I guess CCP Eterne locked Razor Alliance’s thread today, too.  And CCP did step in once to stop some clown from derailing my recruit thread.  I just wish that CCP would spend the time doing something more constructive than picking on the little guy.

You know, act like you aren’t like all of the other assholes in Eve.

Minus one.