LOTB: It’s a Training Corp

Plus one.

Been busy as hell with the Easter Holiday approaching, still last week we got a chance to see Susan Black  of @GamerChick42.  We gave her a warm Art of War welcome.

Unfortunately, later that night I lost a Falcon.  Someone forgot to take of their shoes and count above 10.  I got owned.

Karma.

Karma.

But in talking to new students this week, and some recent allies, we’re seeing that more and more people do not understand what OUCH is doing camping in Curse.  They do not realize that OUCH isn’t just a bunch of lame bubble campers, it’s a null sec survival training corporation.  So I’m breaking a post off the OUCH forum from last year that talks about what we are trying accomplish.

Minus one.

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

Last year Agony Unleashed and Eve University were called out by CCP Uniflex for teaching him how to play Eve. Not too shabby. They are well known corporations with reputations for helping people learn concepts in Eve Online that are pretty tough to grasp unless you have teachers.

Over the last year or so, I’ve found that where Agony Unleashed and Eve University are talked about, Open University of Celestial Hardship [0UCH] is at least an honorable mention. Makes us feel pretty good considering the company we’re rubbing elbows with. But OUCH isn’t Eve University, and OUCH isn’t really Agony either. We’re some kind of corporate hybrid of the two.

The bastard child of Agony and Eve Uni? /laughs

Eve University is a high sec based Training corp. They have 1400 members, students and staff, of various levels of knowledge. They teach courses via lecture, MP3 and on their wiki on many different aspects of Eve: ships, fittings, mining, missioning, trading, etc. You name it, they probably have a course for it. I admire what Eve Uni does, they have provided a service to generations of new players for years now, and they even PvP under the banner of the Ivy League Navy, but no one is going to mistake Eve Uni for a PvP corp.

Agony Unleashed is a null sec based PvP corp with about 400 members. A small contingent of those pilots periodically provide training on certain aspects of PvP, through their “PvP University” program. You do not need to be a member of Agony to take their classes. Their PvP Basic course gets taught probably once a month over two days: four hours of lecture, followed by at least four hours of roaming in a frigate gang, looking for fights. Their course covers the basics of EWAR, communications, fleet movement, bookmarking, dscan, weaponry, then they take you out the next night to give you a taste of null sec PvP combat.

Miss Teri and I had the opportunity to take Agony Unleashed’s PvP Basic Course last year. I enjoyed my time flying with them: it gave us the opportunity to be just regular pilots in a larger fleet, roaming about looking for trouble. I moved a jump clone and some ships out to their staging area and plan to take the opportunity to rejoin them as Agony Alumni. Miss Teri has already had second roam with them and had a blast. Previous to this, OUCH received a private Interdictor Class from Agony’s PvP Director, Azual Skoll, where we picked up some more tools to use in the OUCH toolbox.

Agony’s PvP Basic and OUCH’s Basic PvP have a decent amount of overlap, so as an OUCH Instructor, I found the Agony PvP Basic course a decent refresher for most of the things that we teach every week. There were a couple of game mechanics that Agony confirmed for us and maybe even one or two that I didn’t know before. All in all, it was a positive experience.

I admire what Agony does. They are a high ranked PvP corporation, passing along what they’ve learned to the masses. They have recently opened their wiki to the public. But they aren’t a Training corp, they just get mistaken for one. They are a PvP corp that for a fee periodically gives training to members of the community.

OUCH is a null sec based Training corp. We have about 120 members, mostly students. Every permanent member of OUCH is required to teach part of our nine hour null sec survival and basic PvP course. Then we give our students a taste of PvP combat in our regular fleets, camping in our home systems in Curse. Idle members, student and staff alike, are expelled to keep the rolls tidy. All permanent members of OUCH continue to train on more advanced techniques in more advanced ships, mainly on the Singularity server. We’re small, and home grown for the most part. We sometimes get mistaken for a PvP corp, but really, we’re a Training corp that does small gang PvP.

We’re three different corporations, with similar goals to help the Eve community at large. Eve Uni does it by helping people to learn how to play Eve, Agony does it by helping people get a better combat PvP experience, and OUCH does it by helping people learn to travel and survive in low and null sec space.

I think it’s best to say that in a perfect world a new player interested in Eve PvP could join Eve Uni and learn the game, then join OUCH and learn how to travel and fight in null sec, then join a big corp and take some Agony Unleashed courses to become a better PvPer.

It’s not a competition. OUCH isn’t trying to be as big as Eve Uni, or as highly ranked as Agony. We’re just trying to do our part to help some pilots learn another part of the game.

All while having some fun being mistaken for PvPers.

Ready Here, Light the Cyno

Plus one.

Bob is a good soldier.  He’s flying around in null sec and jumps into a system with 10 neutrals in it, all in the same corp.  The last few systems have been relatively clear.  Null sec systems are pretty safe that way.  He warps straight to the out gate.

Bob knows that the neutrals are on the other gate camping a drag bubble.  They always are.   He’s ready for it.  He’s in a dual ASB fit Cyclone and his scout is already in system, in a Rapier.  He knows something the campers do not know:  He’s cyno fit and there’s a pack of covert ops pilots sitting a short bridge away to come in and save him.

Bob and his friends have a plan, all they have to do is execute it.

Bob lands in the bubble and five ships are waiting for him.  Frigs and assault frigs, a dessie and a cruiser.  He’s quickly scrammed and webbed and four more ships decloak around him.  Torpedos rain in.  He turns on his first ASB.  He’s jammed.

That’s expected:  these fellows always jam.

The rapier decloaks ready to provide tackle, but it’s locked, tracked, and jammed faster than he can imagine.  Things are not going as planned.

Bob lights the cyno.  Local pops.  Plus one.

When the cyno lights, the campers all go to warp.  By the time Local has increased by three, the campers are all gone, the cloakies all back in hiding.

Bob looks at local.  Only three?  There were a dozen or more guys and… oh… three blackops battleships on the field.  Panther, Widow and Redeemer.

That’s doesn’t seem right to me, Bob. 

There’s a heated discussion going on in Mumble.  Bob’s not paying much attention, but looks like the black ops jumped when he should have bridged.  Now they need a cyno to get back.

They’re working on it, Bob.

The fleet takes up positions near the Cyclone.  Bob sits, willing the cyno to cycle faster.  The neutral frigates come back to tacticals on the gate.   Nah, they can’t be serious, thinks Bob.

Guess again, Bob.

The frigates warp to the cyno and immediately burn for the Widow and the Panther.  Covert ops ships decloak again and torpedoes home in on the Widow, who calls out that he is scrammed, webbed and jammed.  He doesn’t last long at all.  Boom.

The Panther is also scrammed and webbed, and now, he’s primary.  Frigates  burn out for the Redeemer and the Rapier, but they’re already aligned.  They GTFO.    The Panther explodes.  Boom.

Bob watches it all happen, the cyno holding him in place, ECM keeping him from engaging.  The frigates all turn on him, torpedo salvos start to work on his shields.  2 XL Ancilliary Shield Boosters shrug off much of the damage, but not all of it.  Boom.

Bob gets his pod out.  He and his two remaining fleet mates leave system.

When our guys looked at the Panther mail, we talked about it for a while.  We are convinced that the Panther pilot jumped when he should have bridged.  From what I understand, that happens all the time.  Mistakes happen.  The Eve user interface is not always easy to work with.

But the real mistake was using a 3 billion isk fleet to protect one 70 million isk cyno.

Minus one.

Punishment Fitting the Crime

Today, Ripard Teg on Jester’s Trek was discussing the latest and greatest topic of discussion among the blogs, forums and CSM candidates:  The Safety of High Sec.

There are those (carebears) who would argue that high sec is not safe enough.  There are those (gankers) who would say that high sec is too safe.

My stance on the issue is simple:  I think that high sec gankers are bullies.  If you pick on someone that can’t defend themselves, you’re a dick.  If you drive someone out of the game because your sandbox is kicking over someone else’s sand castles in high sec, you’re killing Eve, one subscription at a time.  It’s pretty simple.

But.

Yeah, there’s a caveat.  I think that if Eve is supposed to be real, then gankers need to exist.  It goes along with the thought that I think that it’s wrong to burn the symbol of my country but I’ll defend the right to burn it.

Even if it kills the game.

So is high sec too safe?  No.  People can be ganked.  Is high sec not safe enough?  No.
It’s not easy to gank expensive stuff or people who take precautions.  Non-consentual pvp with no war declaration exists, although as an aside, I think the war declaration system is still broken.

That’s a different story.

You can gank in High Sec.  Yes, it’s harder gank a valuable target solo, but I’m okay with that.  My problem is I don’t think the punishment fits the crime.

Negative security status is an inconvenience, not a punishment.

If the real world was like Eve, a person would be driving a brand new Mercedes S class, blinged out like a billion isk Tengu, and someone would crash a 15 year old Buick into the side of it at 60 miles an hour, knocking it off the road.  The cops would show up almost immediately and blow up the Buick.  The Buick driver would jump out and wander down the road.  The cops would let him get away.  A pickup truck would pull up next to the Mercedes wreck and a guy would hop out.  Quickly and efficiently, and under the nose of the cops, he would strip the Mercedes of everything of value.

If Eve was real, right after that ganker’s Buick got blown up and he’d be running down the road, and the cops would be on his ass.  He’d have a short time where he’d have to keep moving and avoid discovery or the cops would catch him and lock him up, or pod him for running.

Don’t make me run, Motherf<Boop>!

And when that second guy came over to strip the Mercedes, the cops would jump on his ass for effing with their crime scene.

Crimewatch is still broken.  Security status is meaningless.  Suspect flags are meaningless.  Bounty system is meaningless.  Selling kill rights are meaningless.

If while under a criminal flag, you couldn’t dock and had to run from all the cops (even in a pod) in the region until you:  a) left their jurisdiction (the region), or b) they caught and podded you, or c) after a suitable amount of time, they got bored and went back to their donuts (and you changed flags from criminal to suspect) then Eve would be real.

And high sec would be a whole lot more exciting.

Minus one.

Tools of the Trade: Tackle

Plus one.

Previously, I’ve posted the typical Rifter fit that we use for a student tackler in OUCH.  Since we grow our staff up from within, it’s not unheard of for a new staff member, or even a veteran staff member, to fly the Student Fit.  After all, it’s proven its worth a thousand times over.

Now of the student fit frigates, I kind of have a soft spot for the Merlin, with the Rifter, Incursus and Tormentor as our other options student tackle options.  The Merlin isn’t the fastest tackler.  Probably not the toughest.  But the Merlin is a combat frig with 4 medium slots and we fit our students with a Dual Web/AB/Scram configuration.

Don’t run, you’ll only die tired.  

Since the first rule of surviving the fight is “Don’t get hit” our student fit Merlin’s tank, like all of our student fits, is pure unadulterated small signature radius.

But OUCH instructors aren’t restricted in how they fit their ships.  “Fit for the Role” and “Don’t Fly Stupid” are mantras chanted by our little cult.  So when the FC tells me he needs a light tackler, I’m probably coming out in a T2 fit Merlin.

Merlin, T2 Tackler

Light Neutron Blaster II x3

Experimental 1MN Afterburner
Medium F-S9 Field Extender
J5b Phase Prototype Warp Scrambler
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator

Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Micro Auxiliary Power Core I
Damage Control II

Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I x2
Small Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I

Tackle.  Unless you can use an alpha strike to remove a ship from the field, you have to be able keep your opponent from warping away.  There’s nothing more disappointing than tackling a guy,  breaking him deep into armor only to have him destroy his tackle and warp away.

This passive shield tanked Merlin is a Tackler, best for a bubble or gate camp where your target lands on you, or you land on your target. It’s designed to be able to stay on the field 2-4 times times as long as its student fit counterpart and put out twice the DPS.   Shield resist rigs only strengthen a ship designed with improved shield resistances.  The DC2, otherwise known as “the best single module in the game,” improves the survivability of the ship that much more.

Once again,   The most important modules on it are the mediums.  The J5b scram and the X5 web are two of my favorite modules.  Dirt cheap Meta 3 modules that are easy to fit, much improved over their meta 0 counterparts, and marginally poorer than the Meta 4 or T2 version for a fraction of the cost.  And a meta afterburner used increase speed without using all of your CPU.

Some folks like to use a pair of Small Core Defense Field Extenders and 1 Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer.  You can downgrade the guns to Light Ion Blasters and upgrade to a microwarp drive to get that burst of speed to burn in and make that critical tackle.

Of course, the increased sig radius can put you on someone’s favorite hits list.

Like the student fit, this ship is designed to hold a ship in place while other guys apply the damage to destroy it.  You can probably get into the fit for less than 8 million isk, with the DC2, shield extender and guns being the high cost items in the fit.   Just remember, it’s not a damage dealer.

It’s the bulldog that latches on to your leg and doesn’t let go while its master beats you with a baseball bat.    

Works for me.

Minus one.