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.

zp8497586r

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.

General

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

* 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.

Hijacking

*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.

The Price of Admission

Plus one.

Eve Online is a very complex game.  Flying spaceships is easy enough, flying them well is harder than you think.   But playing Eve is more than just flying spaceships.  It’s a game where you have a ton of information hidden in the myriad interfaces that CCP has provided.  Sifting through the information can be taxing.  Research, manufacturing, market trading, planetary interaction, corporate management to name a few, playing Eve (the Spreadsheet Game) is Hard.

And while the new player is trying to find a happy medium between flying spaceships and getting their Microsoft Excel Certification, they have to deal with the biggest hurdle in the game:  other players.

The greatest challenge to New Players in Eve Online are Eve Veterans.  A new player can expect to be disinformed, scammed, robbed, ganked, and in general, abused by the Eve Veteran within days of starting to play.  Eve players take great pleasure in the idea that new players need to suffer though all the same hardships that they went through.

Some would call it a Right of Passage.  I call it Hazing, or even Bullying. In the United States, there are laws prohibiting it.  In Eve Online, it’s the prevailing culture.

I’m sure that the handful of Eve Veterans who just read the above are rolling their eyes.

Don’t try to make my Sandbox a Theme Park, Bren.  Eve is Real and newbies need to Harden The Fuck Up.

Roger that.  Have a seat.  Here’s some cocoa.  Take your meds.

When I was in college, when asked why I never rushed a Greek fraternity, I just smiled.  I really didn’t want to explain that the idea of standing outside of cafeteria, head shaved, barking like a dog for the entertainment of my future “brothers” just didn’t appeal to me.

Before you come at me in the defense of your college fraternity, understand that I know you love your brothers, but really, this isn’t about you.

I just believe is something innately wrong with a culture that instructs you to demean yourself in order for it’s members to accept you as their equal.  I believe that if you want to be in a group, and the group has standards and encourages new people to work hard to meet them, people who want to join that group will work hard, if being part of that group is important to them.  But if it involves pain or humiliation as a rite of passage, you can keep it.

Can a culture have clear standards and demand potential members meet that standard? Absolutely.   Military organizations and adult fraternal organizations do so every day.  But the culture of Eve is that of a society which makes a guy climb a cliff to prove his worth, while being shot at by veterans who laugh when he falls.  It seems pretty dysfunctional to me.

I joke about Eve Online being a role playing game where everyone plays the same asshole.  I don’t think anyone can deny that there’s some truth in that.

Now imagine for a moment how tough it must be to be a game developer at CCP.  How do you encourage new people to try your game when it’s players are just jerks?   If you tell the guys who have been playing since beta that they need to be nice, you lose revenue from subscriptions when they quit.  If you let them treat newbies like crap, you lose revenue from subscriptions when they quit.

Don’t get me wrong, CCP actually encourages those same Eve veterans to be jerks, because it makes the game more dramatic than any reality TV show.  Go figure.  But they need to improve subscriber retention somehow.

New players.  New blood.  Profit.

Maybe in order to encourage new players to try out your game, you need to make it easier to access.  Maybe you need to separate the new player from the hardened veteran somehow.  Make it easier for them to start to like the game without dealing with the guys who chase newbies away.

Maybe you put your development dollars into developing a F2P console version of Eve.

Minus one.

Sometimes You Eat the Bear

Plus one.

So Red Alliance has been playing the NPC Sovereignty game.  They are a top ten alliance mixing it up with Solar Fleet in SOV space,  getting into the big fights with the big guns, dropping supers hither and yon.  They’re temporarily based out of NPC space and flying off heaven knows where to do heaven knows what against other SOV holding alliances.

It’s a cool game. I guess.

They are currently staging out in Open University of Celestial Hardship’s home region of Curse. We see 50 to 100 ships in local at a time.  We figured that they were licking wounds and preparing for a big push back into wherever the hell they came from.  No idea what they really are planning, but while they are here, we’ve been bridged, blobbed and bombed by RED pilots with nothing better to do than to try and kill frigates and cruisers.

They’ve taken up residence in Hemin, one of the handful of systems in Curse that actually has cloning facilities.  They blast through the Curse Pipe in 20 to 50 man gangs looking for fights.  We dodge and watch and pick off stragglers:  That’s what the evil little small gangs do in Curse.  We’ve had a lot of practice.  RED’s not the first major SOV alliance we’ve had as customers:  RAZOR, INIT, -A- all have come and gone through Curse at one time or another.

A RED Manticore decloaks in our bubble.  It’s amazing how many times this happens in a week.  Scram-Web-Paint-Track-Damp-Jam.  Boom.  48M.  Get the Pod.  Scram-Web-Paint-Track-Damp-Jam.  Pop.  We send him back to Hemin or wherever he came from.  18M.

An hour and a half later, same guy jumps in from VOL.  He’s on Dscan.  It’s a Drake.  Oh no!

You know that there is a gang on the other side of that gate waiting to jump in.  You don’t need to be a fortune teller to know this.  You don’t even have to have a scout over there.

It’s payback time you freaking Art of War Alliance noobs!

The Drake lands in the bubble.  Scram-Web-Paint-Track-Damp-Jam.  The torpedoes of four stealth bombers, one of each race, stream in.  Boom!  His shields drop a third with the first volley.  His fleet jumps in as the second volley is on the way. Boom!

You guys are sooooo dead it’s not even funny.

Boom! His shields strip away and he’s in armor.

Guys, I could use some help here!

We’re in warp!

Boom!

Guys! I’m in structure!

RED fleet on Dscan.  Hurricane, Hurricane, Rapier, bunch of T1 and T2 Frigs.  Ready to Rumble!

RED interceptor lands on the bubble and the AWA tacklers all go to warp.  1-2-3-4-5, GONE!

Boom!  The last of the torpedoes finish the Drake as the rest of his rescuers land in the bubble.  80M.

<Censored>

An OUCH student miss clicks a tactical warp and lands in the bubble.  There goes the clean kill.

Get him!!! 

They pop the Rifter.  800K.  Thankfully, the kid’s trained enough to get his pod out.

Victory!

Ah well.  I guess sometimes, you eat the bear and sometimes, the bear eats you.

Minus one.

The Eve Online RPG

Plus one.

I came to realize why I keep coming back to this game.  It’s not the spaceships.  It’s not the explosions.  It’s not the tears in Local.

It’s the new guys in the Open University of Celestial Hardship who come to us honestly and wholeheartedly wanting to learn.  I want to give them the tools to protect themselves from people who would offer a 1 day old pilot free stuff in a can in high sec, and justify blowing the same 1 day old pilot by telling themselves that they are teaching them a valuable lesson.

It’s the old guys I hang out with in Teamspeak that I log in for each day.  The permanent members that we call the Operations Department of OUCH.  Sometimes they are funny, sometimes they are jerks.  But they log in and hang out with me and make me laugh.  Then they laugh at my jokes, and listen to the same stories I tell over and over.  They tell me I’m right when I am right and, boy, they tell me I’m wrong when I’m wrong.

It’s seeing the transition of the new guy to the old guy, from the newbie to the vet, from the rookie to the up-and-coming team leader.  It’s being part of that process of personal and social growth.

These guys are my friends.  Not Online friends, not Eve friends. My Friend friends.  People when you haven’t logged in game for a while, they pick up the phone and they call to make sure everything is alright.  Even when they are across country, or around the world.  They’re here for me and I’m here for them.  Let the entertainment begin!

They prove to me that while Eve Online is a role playing game where everyone is playing the same asshole, all the cool assholes are in my corp.  In my alliance.  Among my blues.  On my contact list.  In every game I play, it always comes down to the people.

I do so like the spaceships though.  And the explosions.  And the tears in Local.

Minus one.

Eve Online Educational Organizations

Plus one.

Ripard Teg over on Jester’s Trek writes a monthly post with small snippets of interesting things in Eve that didn’t rate a full blog post.  In his September junk drawer, he pointed at the Eve Online Educational Organizations page and noted that, strangely enough, Goonswarm was listed.  It was enough to make me comment on his blog for the first time.

If you check it out, Goonswarm essentially claims to be an educational organization that helps new players.  I suppose that is true:  Goons educate baby Goons everyday.  It just seems kind of dubious to me.  But the Goons are not alone.

Of the 33 organizations on listed on the page, discounting the corporations targeting non-English speaking players, the vast majority are not what come to mind when I think “Educational Organization”.

Eve University?  Definitely.  Agony Unleashed? Certainly.  Open University of Celestial Hardship?  Well, I hope so.  But most of the other corps are just regular corps using the page as a recruiting tool, claiming, like every corporation that accepts new players, that they are going to teach you how to play Eve.

So the question comes, what’s the purpose of this page?

Hello,

I wanted to let you know, as the CEO of Open University of Celestial Hardship, that we have created an article in the EVElopedia to highlight all the educational organizations that can be found in EVE Online. The purpose of this article will mainly be to direct new players to it so they can find people to help them get a good start in the game, though of course we list all educational organizations, even those that are not set up for new players.

As the EVElopedia is a wiki you are of course more than welcome to go in there and edit any information on your own organization as you wish, or even remove it if that’s your preference. If you have any questions, please let me know.

http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/Educational_organizations#

Vänliga hälsningar / Best regards,
Christian Danhill
Community Team Manager
CCP NA, EVE Online

That’s a note sent to our founder a year ago.  That’s where this started.  But only a year later, it’s just become another useless page of corporate propaganda.  “Join us and we’ll show you how.”  There’s lots of promises on that page, not a lot of substance.

So what’s the fix?  How does a player sift though all the corps out there selling themselves as teaching or training organizations to find the one that’s right them?    How do you find a corp where someone is teaching something other than “fly a Drake/Tengu” or “get in 50 fights”?

What educational organizations in Eve Online need is accreditation.

Minus one.

With A Little Help From My Friends

Break-Break.

I’m looking for a direction of what we’re going to be covering here.  Of course, I want to spotlight what the Open University of Celestial Hardship [OUCH] does: teaching null sec survival and basic PvP.  Eve has a learning curve,  er, cliff, and we’re trying to equip new pilots with mountain climbing gear.

It’s not my intent to repost all of my Life on the Bubble posts here, because they are easily accessed in the OUCH public forum. I plan to keep the posts on the forum separate from the blog, but there are a couple of really good posts that I think I will definitely mirror here.  Don’t despair, there will be plenty of fresh content here.

But this post is all about giving Gunpoint Diplomacy’s Sard Caid a shout out.  He gave OUCH and Art of War Alliance props on his Twitch TV Live Stream, and I can do no less than to thank him publicly and promote what he is doing over there.

Sard is out doing great work, soloing in everything from T1 frigates to battlecruisers all about New Eden.  What makes him different than all the other guys out there videoing themselves?  He demonstrates solo combat piloting, then he explains to you the how and why of what he’s doing.

You want to know about “fighting in falloff’?  Overheating?  Target selection?  Gank versus tank?  Watch, listen and learn.

He’s teaching solo and small gang PvP as he does it.  He’s doing it because he wants to.  He’s answering questions LIVE and explaining how he plays his Eve.  Right now, he’s started a new character and is walking through how to build a combat frigate pilot from the ground up, step by step, live and in color.  I think there’s a lot we can all learn from following his stream.

OUCH was founded on a principle of teaching new pilots the lessons we learned the hard way.  Sard Caid has learned in his own school of hard knocks.  He’s helping new players make the jump into low sec by passing along what he knows to the next generation of pilots.

You don’t have to be in a training corp to be a teacher.  You just have to teach.  Bravo Zulu, Sard!

See you in Curse.

Bren Genzan

Welcome to the new Art of War website

It’s been a little while in the making, but finally we’re here. The new domain and website for the Art of War Alliance, and the Open University of Celestial Hardship (OUCH).

It’s quite exciting to be at this point!  I bought the domain last year, but didn’t do anything with it because we just weren’t ready to expand the website yet. But then one of our alliance members very generously offered free hosting for the alliance, and so here we are. Plans were set in motion, research was done, forums were tested, and today we have the beginning of this website. Tomorrow will be the transition from the old to the new.

As time goes by, I will use this blog to make announcements about the alliance, and about OUCH. If you’d like to keep up to date with what’s going on, please subscribe.  I will also be providing excerpts of our forum’s sticky posts, along with links to those posts. These will, of course, only be available to OUCH members, but they’ll give you something of an idea about what resources and training material OUCH members have access to.

Thanks for joining us on this ride.  Please leave us some feedback if you have any, or comments on any of the posts you find here.