From the Other Side

Plus one.

We’ve been getting a lot of interest from the Eve University Work Fair lately.  I’ve posted publicly that it’s a great thing that Eve Uni provides, a central location to advertise your corp.  There’s a lot of the same old, same old, from myriad corporations:  fun casual pvp, hard core pvp, free ships… the one I love are the corps offering “training” in their feeder corps, so you can lose ships but not affect their KBs or AWOX them, of course.  But all and all, I like what Eve Uni is doing over there over there.

Keris Soleil came to us from Eve Uni, graduated and is now killing more and dying less in Red Federation.  He sent me a preview of the review he planned to put on our recruit thread and posted it with my blessing.  With his permission, I’m posting his review in full here.  The original post can be found on the Open University of Celestial Hardship thread on the Eve Uni Work Fair.

Minus one.

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

Fun and games in nullsec!

Having graduated from the Uni, and looking to explore strange new places and then shoot everyone in them and take all their stuff, I decided to get a headstart on null by joining OUCH’s nullsec survival programme. Having now completed that, I thought I’d come back and share my experiences both good and bad.

First up, while death in null can be instantaneous, the actual dying is often a slow and painful experience. When you hit that bubble camp, or get caught by that interdictor, you’re dead… you just don’t actually die until all their friends are ready to whore in on the killmail. This is unpleasant, and is the focus of OUCH’s programme – how to a) avoid getting into situations like this one; and b) give you a small chance at survival if you can’t avoid it.

OUCH offers, for free!, a fully structured training course during which you’ll learn movement and survival skills in null (bookmarking, D-Scan, MWD-cloak trick etc.), basic combat (tackling, bubble camping, avoiding bubble camps) and null-think (intel analysis, situational awareness and neighbourhood watch).

Before you graduate from OUCH, you’re expected to complete a 27-jump solo trip through Curse, in a T1 meta-0 fitted frigate, within a 5 hour window (so none of that sneaky “log off until tomorrow to avoid that gatecamp” nonsense!). Oh yeah… and you have to complete that trip without losing a ship. Thing is, though… if you pay attention to your lessons and implement the things you’re taught, this expedition is (if not easy) certainly feasible. While it’s always possible you’ll get unlucky and run right into a roaming fleet, such things are the way of null. You just grab another ship and try again.

The Good

  • The OUCH programme is an excellent crash course on null survival. If you’re looking to move into a null alliance after the Uni, spending a month taking the OUCH course before making the move is likely to be a valuable investment. Even if you’re not looking to move to null, the OUCH lessons can be applied (with adjustment) to wormholes, low-sec, high-sec PvP and wardecs etc.
  • It’s free! That’s always good, right? Also, they replace any ships that you lose during fleet ops. Nice. (Note that you’re required to be flying the T1, meta-0 student fits)
  • OUCH places no post-graduation demands on you, yet again making OUCH an ideal stepping stone to other things. Like the Uni, you’re encouraged to move on afterwards. In fact, unless you plan to stick around OUCH and teach, you’re required to move on.
  • OUCH has a good reputation amongst several null alliances, so your OUCH Graduate medal will be an asset during your application to those alliances.

The Bad

  • OUCH is pretty heavily US-based (although most most classes are equally accessible to US and EU timezones). If you’re AP-based, get used to staying up late or getting up early. This can lead to some activity problems as, under OUCH rules, unless you’re in a fleet (generally around 22:00 – 03:00 Eve Time) about the only thing you can do is high-sec PvE. You can fly around low/null etc. but you’re not allowed to engage anything, so once you’ve completed your survival test, it’s kinda pointless. It can be fun cloaking up near an enemy gatecamp, watching them kill people and reading the local-sperg that invariably follows, but that’s about it. Make no mistake though, there are good reasons for why the rules and student fits exist, but it’s important to take them into consideration (as I failed to do) prior to making the move to OUCH. See comments below.
  • Every OUCH Graduate who stays on is required to teach at least one class per month. As a result, the quality of instruction can be variable. The best instructors are those with the experience to share and the skill to teach well, and that’s an unfortunately rare combination. OUCH has some excellent instructors, from whom I learned a great deal. On the other hand, after one class I was left with the impression that perhaps I should have taught it and the instructor should have attended.

The Ugly

  • DON’T suggest shooting blues for lulz or playing gun-tag with corpmates. No, not even as a joke. Seriously. Just don’t do it. I know it’s pretty common during slow fleets / activities (it certainly was while I was in the Uni), but really, really just don’t go there. :D All joking aside, this is a much bigger deal in null/low/WH than in highsec, so try to avoid the inevitable culture clash that I walked straight into.

How to make the best of your time in OUCH OUCH is a great opportunity. To make the best of your stay there, I’d suggest the following:

  • Make sure you’ve read up on the OUCH student fits and put five (or so) fitted ships into the Berta HQ. The last thing you want is to have to run to some highsec trade hub (or pay premium prices) when you get killed. And yes… that’s “when”.
  • Move your clone to (at least) Berta. Getting podded in null is easy and (for your attacker, anyway) consequence free. I’d be amazed if it doesn’t
    happen at least once during your stay. You don’t want to end up 35+ jumps away on the other side of highsec when it happens. Also, if you don’t get podded at least once, I think you’re doing it wrong – OUCH is about learning null, learning your limits, learning enemy limits etc. If you don’t get podded at least once, you probably played it too safe to have learned much. Dying in Eve is no big deal. Take advantage of that.
  • Due to OUCH rules, you’ll probably spend your first week (possibly two) confined to highsec PvE. After that, although you can go into null, your activities are limited unless there’s a fleet. If you’re EU-based, or especially AP-based, make sure you have backup activities planned – you will have downtime when there’s very little you can do on your OUCH character. Move your mission ships to highsec near Berta, play an alt, play another game, read a book, unplug and go outside. Whatever works.
  • Get on TS and listen in. Even if you can’t join the fleets yet, you can learn from what’s being talked about in channel. Introduce yourself. Ask questions. Eve is a community based game. Although there is a (small) niche for solo players, you’re only gimping your own experience playing that way. Make yourself part of whatever community you join.

Conclusion All in all, OUCH is a fantastic experience and an excellent platform to launch a PvP “career”, one which I’d recommend to any Unista looking for a stepping stone to scary-land. That said, it isn’t perfect and there are several areas that could be improved upon, and OUCH management are fairly open to appropriately presented new ideas. In addition, most of my concerns can be offset with suitable planning on your part – if I’d known then what I know now, I’d have spent my time with OUCH a little differently… but I’d still have joined OUCH.  Hopefully, my experiences and comments will help you make the most of your time in OUCH and, once you graduate, you’ll come back here to share yours and help the next student along.

Keris out.