Saturday, January 30, 2010

OUCH's growing pains continue

One of the really annoying things about providing ships and fittings to OUCH members to help them with training is that eventually, one of them decides that it's a really good idea to steal everything they can.

As a result, our security measures have been increased so that corp theft is (almost) impossible, and members can still get what they need to receive their nullsec training. Everyone wins, albeit with a few minor inconveniences to ensure stuff's not stolen.

We're planning on moving to another region soon, as there's been a number of homeless alliances that have moved in to Curse, taking advantage of the NPC corps there. So we're packing up and shipping out to find somewhere a bit quieter, but that will continue to allow us to proviide nullsec survival training to our members.

Our alliance is growing along with OUCH, and we're getting more joint operations occurring to go roaming and getting kills. It's nice to see the trainees forming up and taking the 'pain stick' to the nullsec locals. They're getting some decent PVP and some decent successes too. I love it. :)

Our industrial arm is beginning to take form, so that we'll be starting to build our own ships for members soon, and sell any excess on the market.

It's all very exciting! We're approaching 200 members and still growing, with a lot of self-sustainability occurring. It's been an interesting and busy time, but we're getting there and establishing ourselves as a decent training corp that's providing a service that no one else is.

On the more personal front, I'm training Megacorp Management V, and once I complete that I'll do Empire Control I, which will allow 2,000 members per level. That should keep OUCH going for a while before I have to train level II.

Alexia Morgan, my alt, has just completed everything she needs to fly a Vagabond, so as of last night, I've been playing around with it. No combat in it yet, but it's only a matter of time. I'm reading up on tips and tactics for it, and if anyone out there has some good advice for me on succeeding with Vaga's, please let me know in a comment.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Eve Uni teaches you how to be a carebear

From all the stories and complaints I hear about Eve Uni, amongst others, it's obvious that all they do is teach people how to be carebears. Their trainers are carebears, their fleet commanders are carebears, and their students are taught to be carebears. It's just ludicrous if you have a few dozen fleet members who are forced to hide in a station or POS because the fleet commander is afraid of a lone hostile in local.

No wonder there's so many carebears in New Eden when you have major universities teaching them how to be that way...

Sure, if YOU want to be a carebear, and if YOU want to learn how to be in a fleet of 30 people and hide from a lone frigate, YOU can go join Eve Uni or any of those others that teach you how to be a carebear.

But there needs to be a shakeup of the status quo. There needs to be a new kid on the block. And... there is! It's OUCH.

It's training organisations like Eve Uni that made me decide to start OUCH (Open University of Celestial Hardship). It's the 'celestial hardship' that we promote. You don't succeed in life by being pampered to, by being protected, by being trained and encouraged to hide.

OUCH offers 'nullsec survival training', with an emphasis on survival and PVP. We provide free ships, fittings and skillbooks so that our members don't have to worry about losing their own hard-earned possessions (unless they want to, of course). We sit on the border of empire space and nullsec, and most of our training and operations are in nullsec itself.

Our motto is: "You're going to die. A lot. But along the way we'll teach you how to die less."

We stick to that. We don't mollycoddle anyone. All our training is operational, in lowsec or nullsec, against real hostile targets. If there is opportunity for combat, we're often taking that opportunity. Even if our members don't win the battle, they learn from the experience.

We don't force our members to hide in stations. We encourage them to get out there and seek out PVP in the hard and painful areas of deep space. We provide them with the ships and training that empowers them to do so without worrying about their own ships.

We don't kick anyone out for moving their assets around. We don't let the possibility of combat stop us from doing anything, as that's entirely what we're about - teaching our members how to survive, prosper and win in the harshest areas of space.

We're an 'open university', which means anyone can join for any reason, stay as long as they want, help or learn, and leave when they want. The only time we'll ever kick anyone out of OUCH is if they try to cause harm to their corp mates or the corp itself.

We're new, and we just started in December. We want people to join us to learn how to survive and fight in nullsec. If we're at war, that's fantastic! It just means there's more targets for our members to shoot at and learn how to improve their aim and tactics.

So if you're interested in being part of a real training corp, please consider joining OUCH.

Remember - you'll die a lot, but dying is just part of the game. Along the way you'll learn how to die less, and then you're going to kick some serious butt!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Here we go again

A few months ago I wrote about carebears:
It's a game, and yet there are a lot of people who take it far too seriously. They treat this game as if what happens in it is so very, very important to their personal wellbeing and their life. They take in-game actions personally, as if people are threatening their very existence outside the game by what they do in the game.
My belief is that people who rage in-game are people who rage out-of-game. If someone threatens to kill you as a result of what you do in-game, it really shows how stable they are in real life. That's right - they're unstable, to the point that they actually want to physically kill someone for doing something in a game.
So we should do everything we can to bring that carebear rage out in these people, and point out to them that there are other things they could be doing with their time than spitting with rage at their computer screen. They could be sitting under a tree with their loved ones, having a picnic and watching their children playing in the park. That would be much better for them than playing a game that enrages them.
Well, someone is doing that, trying to bring that carebear rage out in people: How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways

I think he's doing an admirable job of bringing out that carebear rage in people, and I applaud his efforts.

But I do have one thing to talk about....

When you take the actions of the carebears so seriously that it causes you to rage as much as, if not more than, the carebears themselves, then all that happens is that you become a carebear too. You 'care too much' about them, to the point that it affects your own life, and your own game.

Helicity's gameplay has been influenced by anger and rage. And I don't think that's healthy.

Helicity says:
And now that I know I can piss you off with everything I do, and that you seethe in anger every time someone says “Hey man, cool event”. Now, I have an even better game. It’s making you miserable, it’s making you HAVE to be responsible for at least something in you miserable shitty life.
But Helicity, don't you think YOU have been pissed off with everything they do? Don't you think that YOU seethe in anger every time someone shows they're a carebear?

Helicity also says:
I don’t like people very much. This is not the reason I am a pirate in EVE however.
Really? I'm sorry, but I just don't believe you.

There's this really interesting thing about human nature - our true nature will become apparent when we are not held accountable for our actions, and what we do in the game is often a reflection of our out-of-game personalities. Helicity even said it himself:
...the carebear is repeating the motions of his mundane life...
He also said:

It’s not an optional thing, I will sit through fucking horrible movies JUST BECAUSE I NEED TO KNOW. I will play terrible video games to see the ending. I voluntarily read the fucking Illiad.

And it is with this same interest, the same motivation of the child pulling the wings off the fly, that I pick at the psychology of the carebear.
It's fascinating to observe the choice of words being used, which, if you look just a little bit deeper than the surface, are signposts to truth.

Helicity has the same motivation as the child pulling wings off flies. I imagine it's because he wants to cause pain. Is it because he enjoys causing pain? Well, he says he's interested in it (" is with this same interest..."), so I guess so.

He also says:
Of course what I’m doing is not really evil or immoral, from where I sit, it’s still pixels on a screen. They have no value past the value people assign to it.
But he knows the result his actions has on people, and he even describes it as:
So I do horrible, immoral, evil shit to them just to hear the sound of their squeeling. I do comparative analysis of what kind of mocking or activity makes them the maddest, I want to see what name to call their mother in reply to their hatemail to get the best rage-filled rant in my mailbox.
He contradicts himself... He says what he's doing is not evil, but then describes what he does as evil and immoral. And since he knows the real-life effect he has on people in the game, he chooses to act in such ways for the real-life results he gets.

So after reading Helicity's rant, I have to say I'm in agreement with him. Carebears need to stop raging about the game going against them. It's just a game after all.

But in the same rant I can see exactly what kind of person Helicity is. And I can understand why he says:
...I socialize with various “scumbags” in EVE on a daily basis...
Which leads me to ask, who else but 'scumbags' would happily fly or associate with Helicity?

Helicity, you've been Punished. :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

The great POS op

Once we purchased our two new POS's and all supporting infrastructure, we then planned how we were going to move and set it all up. Right up to the very beginning of the operation, however, most of it was all just very ad hoc. We had an idea of what needed to be done, but none of us were experienced in the logistics of organising a corp to get it done. But being the CEO, it was up to me to make sure it happened.

So an evemail was sent to the corp by the 'primary organiser' of the POS op. Discussions were had with people in corp chat. After all that, we had 9 corp members state they would show up at the allotted time. We felt this was enough, and moved forward with the plans.

Hours before the time, I discussed the operation with the 'primary organiser' and discovered that there was significant confusion with timezones. He wanted it to be 05:00 Eve time on Sunday, but because that was his Saturday, he mistakenly announced it as 05:00 Saturday.

After I slapped him around a little (!), I quickly tried to correct the announcement. Some people still turned up at the now-incorrect time of 05:00 Saturday, not having seen the changes in time. Some even woke up at 4am in their time zone to attend, and I had to apologise to the now-grumpy pilots who had interrupted their valued sleep... It was a big mess, but it taught some of us a strong lesson - be clear on what timezone Eve time is. :)

So at 05:00 Eve time on Sunday, the operation finally began. More than 30 people turned up! We ran out of available slots in the Vent server, and we had people overflowing in the fleet chat, needing to rely on text commands.

With so many turning up, when it was only expected to be 9 or 10, organising the fleet turned into a 20-minute nightmare. At first there was a bug and I was unable to create squads or move anyone around. So then it was disbanded and we tried again. It worked the second time around, so I organised 3 squads. Two scouting squads and a transport squad.

I quickly decided that I need to spend more time on organising fleets in future.. It would have been much better splitting scouts into named teams rather than 'scouts 1' and 'scouts 2', especially when the squads were set up quickly to accommodate people, rather than for any operational purpose...

I also realised that with having to manage a fleet of 30 pilots in a manner that was completely unlike a roam or combat fleet, it was going to be rather intense. I ended up having to dock in a station so I could have the fleet chat maximised to the full height of the display to allow me to monitor ongoing intel reports. I also had a 'command' chat window maximised as well, so that myself and the POS organisers could discuss logistics.

I sent about a dozen of the pilots to monitor each of the systems that were on the transport route, as well as each of the systems on either side of the route. Cloaked scouts were sent to the potentially hostile 'primary' systems, like the lowsec and nullsec border systems, while uncloaked frigates were sent to the secondary systems to sit in a safe spot. The purpose of these scouts was to maintain 'eyes' on the entire area, to monitor potential hostile activity, and determine the best time or route to where the POS was being set up.

After all the scouts were in position, it was reported that a large red gate camp was in one of the primary systems, so an alternative route was organised that would go around the 'hot zone' and come in from behind. It would add about 5 jumps to the transport operation of the POS infrastructure.

I reassigned some of the scouts, and added a few new ones, so that the alternative primary and secondary systems were monitored. Finally all scouts were in position, and all systems along the alternative route were quiet. The transport began its journey.

It was a single transport ship which had two forward scouts to be 1-2 jumps ahead of it, and 1 rear scout. These would complement the scouts monitoring the systems along the route. I also had the remainder of the fleet not involved in scouting to act as a reserve combat fleet, and they were following along about 1-2 jumps behind the transport, ready to provide combat support should it be necessary.

My plan was that no one would be bunched up in any system along the route, and no one would be bunched up with the transports. If anyone looked for suspicious activity, it would rest with the reserve combat fleet.

All of this was done with me sitting in a station, watching reports, getting status updates, being aware of which systems were covered and where the moving fleets were, with the printed map in front of me on the desk. There was no way I could have done all this while flying my ship as well.

Tactical decisions were ordered to various pilots or fleets based on intel, rather than my direct operational involvement.

I felt like a real life fleet commander. :)

Two hours after the op started, the transport arrived in the destination system, and the POS guys began setting it up. Apart from single scouts, I ordered the main fleet docked up 2 systems away, to ensure they would not draw attention to the POS location, but still be close enough to get there if required.

Then the transport headed back to the empire system it had started from, as that was only the first of 3 planned trips. The red gate camp along the primary route had dissipated by now, so after reassigning scouts along the primary route, we were able to get it back through the hot zones safely.

Logistics conversation ended up deciding that instead of 2 more transport trips, we would put all the remaining POS infrastructure into a Charon freighter that had been donated to the corp just the night before.

I reassigned the scouts once again along the alternative (safer) route, and once again when everyone was in place and the primary and secondary systems were clear, the freighter set off on the journey.

Again, it went smoothly, and again the main fleet docked up 2 systems away from the POS location, before finishing up the op with the same tactics back into empire.

Four hours after the op began, we finished.

I drank beer.

That was the single most intense, enjoyable and longest-lasting op I've ever been on or responsible for. It was fantastic!!

Thank you to all the OUCH members that answered the 'call to arms' and stepped forward to help OUCH set up and secure its first POS. Your support, your adherence to orders and your fleet discipline were all exemplary. Great job!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Thank you to all those supporting OUCH

Last week I started selling shares in the corp so that we could raise some money to help make us self-sustainable. I never expected the interest that resulted, and I really appreciate those that have purchased shares to help out with OUCH's goals.

Some people's generosity is just too awesome to put into words. There have been so many people providing so much support, that my 'support' page is pretty much a waste of time. Too many, too fast... I can't keep up!

It's quite difficult to find the words to express my gratitude. Words just aren't enough to describe how grateful I am, nor are they enough to get across the enormity of what some of these people are doing.

Needless to say, with their support, OUCH has a huge chance of being very, very successful. Thank you to everyone who donates time, effort, money, resources. Just... thank you.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Eve Blog Banter #14 - Where am I going?

For the first time ever, I'm participating in CrazyKinux's Eve Blog Banter. For the first time since it started 14 months ago. (Edit: oops, my mistake... I just found I'd done #2 back in November 2008.) Why now? Because I felt it was fitting for me to actually do something for this one. This is gonna be a long one...

Welcome to the fourteenth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by none other than me, CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed to Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!
The first banter of 2010 comes to us from the EVE Blog Father, in which I ask the following: As we begin another year in New Eden, ask yourselves "What Now?" What will I attempt next? What haven't I done so far in EVE? Was it out fear, funds, or knowledge? Have I always wanted to start my own corporation, but have never dared doing so? Is there a fledging mercenary waiting to come out of its shell? Or maybe an Industrialist? What steps and objectives will I set myself to accomplish in order to reach my ultimate goal for this year? EVE is what you make of it. So, what is it going to be for you?

Before I talk about where I'm going in 2010, I thought it would be appropriate to review where I've been in 2009...

On the 4th January 2009 I put Black Claw out to pasture and created Alexia Morgan. I decided I wanted a fresh start and focused on becoming a 'pure PVP' specialist instead of the generalised pilot that Black Claw was. I started a new corp and called it The Punishers, and started my focused PVP training. I can't even remember what I was doing back then to raise money for upcoming PVP ships, but I suspect it involved mission-running (hence why I can't remember, as that stuff kills your brain cells).

It was a month after I started Alexia that I was inspired to start, the Eve Bloggers Portal. I had already started the EVE-BLOGGERS chat channel in-game, and had been quite active in the Eve blogging community since I started playing and blogging in early 2006, so creating an Eve blogging portal seemed like it was a good step in the right direction. I also set Alexia on the path of becoming a Recon pilot.

I took an active break from Eve for a while and played Lord Of The Rings Online (LOTRO) until I got sick of it. It took a few months. In that time, I continued logging in to Eve every day or every few days to continue Alexia's skill training.

I was asked to pilot some battleships from highsec to lowsec for a pirate, and they offered me 15 million ISK just to take it one jump. 0.O I decided this could be lucrative, so when I discovered that training up every race's battleship would only take me a week, I did it. After that, I trained so that I could fly every T1 combat ship of every race. It took me another week. I think it was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

My Recon training finished! 7 long months to get from a 1 month old character to a qualified Force Recon pilot. A friend of mine convinced me I needed to make money to afford the Tech 2 ship, and I agreed with him. I joined him in Providence, a 'carebear' region, where one could reasonably safely make a lot of money from ratting. Lucky for me I was able to fly a Caldari Raven, even though I was Minmatar, and so I spent most of my money on buying it and fitting it. And it was pathetic. The DPS output was just ludicrous. So I did some research and discovered I had to train up some significant missiles skills to really take advantage of it. So I started doing that.

I decided I wanted to move somewhere else. Maestro Ulv, the CEO (and blogger, Biomassed) of Phaze-9, a corp within Ushra'Khan, invited me to join him. I accepted the invitation a few weeks later and joined at the end of the month, moving all my stuff over to where U'K resided.

What an exciting month! Lots of action in corp and alliance fleets against CVA and other targets. I had a ball!

On 2 December I created a post and came up with the term OUCH, for Open University of Celestial Hardship. It was a post suggesting new players should learn from the 'school of hard knocks' in nullsec, but OUCH sounded better. The feedback was very positive, and a lot of people thought there SHOULD be a nullsec university, as there wasn't one in Eve. And so an idea formed.

One thing led to another, people approached me and offered their support, and a lot of discussions focused on planning and preparation. I'm the kind of person that doesn't sit back on his arse when he has a good idea. I run with it.

On 11 December, only 9 days after I came up with a throwaway idea, a humorous comment, OUCH was created as a corporation within Eve by a new character I created especially for the project, and then quickly joined the New Bastion alliance. My intention with the new character as CEO was to use it to run OUCH while still being active in U'K as Alexia. It didn't work out that way though.

It became obvious very quickly that running a nullsec training corp would not only take up most of my time, but also would require someone with far more skills than a 2 day old character. I discussed it with Maestro and his 2nd in command, Xious, and they gave me their blessings to leave Phaze-9 and focus on OUCH.

And so I did, but then I had another problem. Interest in OUCH was so high that I was getting more recruits than I was able to sustain. Alexia's corp management skills were unable to keep up with demand. We reached 30-something members in just a couple of weeks, and to train Corp Management V would take 9 days. I had to suspend recruitment until I could accept up to 50 members, except that I had membership applications piling up... I decided I had to come up with a solution that would allow momentum to continue.

On 30 December Black Claw returned! He already had Corp Management V, so I set him up as CEO of OUCH and recruitment continued. I immediately trained Megacorp Management I, then II, so OUCH was able to have 150 members.

As of 11 January, OUCH had 102 members, and we're still increasing! Yesterday I paused active recruitment so that we can consolidate what we're doing now, before moving on to the next stage.

And that's where we're at now. What an incredible, action-packed, roller-coaster of a year it's been!

So where to next?

I have plans. Big plans. And I don't see why those plans should fail. With 100 members having joined us in our first month, I see no reason why we can't continue that. By June I expect to have 700 members in OUCH, all of them either as students learning how to survive and prosper in nullsec, or as teachers providing training.

I'm already working on building up our infrastructure so that we can start our own POS operations, with the intention of using income to support the provisioning of ships, fittings and skillbooks to all the students.

As we build our infrastructure and our resources, I intend forming a significant military force to take and secure our own Sovereignty. We will own our own area of nullspace before the end of 2010.

I have big plans for 2010. I'm glad so many others want to support those plans, and I think I'm looking for more people to add their support.

OUCH is not just for people wanting to learn nullsec survival with PVP and making money. It's also for anyone else that want to offer their support for what OUCH stands for, and for what OUCH wants to achieve.

We're not going to be able to do it alone, nor do I want us to. OUCH needs:
  • students to learn about surviving and thriving in nullspace
  • skilled and experienced trainers who can help provide security for operations
  • industrial corps to assist OUCH with manufacturing and logistical support
  • combat corps to assist with security for OUCH training and logistical operations
  • corps or alliances to offer support so that OUCH can carve out its own nullsec home
  • friends that support OUCH's vision
So that's where I've been in 2009, and that's where I'm going in 2010.

Will you join me for the ride?

List of Blog Banter Participants:
  1. CrazyKinux's Musing - A beginning is a very delicate time...
  2. The Wandering Druid of Tranquility - Words, words, words…
  3. My God It's Full of Stars - What Now?
  4. The Elitist - Plans for 112yc
  5. Into the unknown with gun and camera - Show me the money
  6. Ecliptic Rift - Enabling the future
  7. Inanity and Doom - New Year's Resolutions, New Eden Style
  8. Break Vol - Blog Banter #14
  9. Guns Ablaze - What Now?
  10. Adventures in Mission Running - The Way Forward
  11. Diary of a Pod Pilot - Things I want to do
  12. Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah - The Year That Will Be
  13. Roc's Ramblings - WordPress ate my blog
  14. Vive Virtual - Frontier Living
  15. A Mule in EVE - Next on the chopping block
  16. Prano's Journey - I Peer Into My Crystal Pod...
  17. Life in Low Sec - Expanding the Franchise
  18. The Light of Stars - Testing the claims of CCP
  19. A Memoir From Space - A New Direction
  20. The Chronofile - Blog Banter 2010
  21. FlashFresh - What now for Flash?
  22. EVE Opportunist - Fyreite in 112
  23. Mike Azariah - Jiorj
  24. Yarrbear Tales - Year in Review
  25. The Independant Analyst - The Year Ahead
  26. The Travels of Black Claw - Where am I going?
  27. Warp Scrammed - What to do this year
  28. Sered's Lives - Searching for directions in 2010
  29. Finders & Keepers - New Tears, Same Great Taste
  30. More to come...

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

And now, back to the real world...

I've just had 2 weeks off work over the xmas and new year holiday period, but now I'm back to work tomorrow. Needless to say, I've enjoyed the holidays, and enjoyed the availability of playing Eve every day, during the day, whenever I felt like it. It's been goooood...

But like most good things, it has to come to an end. So back to work tomorrow, and I return to playing Eve during prime time, evenings. But in Australia, our prime time is when everyone else in the world is asleep.

Ah well, so be it.

OUCH has been doing well. I've got over 60 members now, and it's been only about 3 weeks since it opened for business. Recruitment has been good.

My prime trainer has disappeared, and it so happens he's the alliance executor as well... I don't know what's going on there, but I hope he comes back soon.

In the meantime, I'm very happy that I've now got another trainer who's joined us just today. You all know him as the blogger behind The Captain's Log, Prometheus09. Welcome Prome, it's awesome having you onboard!

I'm very excited about what he will be bringing to OUCH with his experience, and he's already started planning what he's going to be training. Exciting times!

Already, with mainly noobs, we're starting to see some confidence among them. With just a little direction and some basic advice about how to survive in nullsec, they're going out there and they're making their mark on the harshest areas of the galaxy. It's fantastic!

A couple of days ago we had our first idiot try to join. He was 1 hour old, said on his application that he'd never played the game before and was told about OUCH by his friend. And yet he suicided his character to get to the corp HQ immediately, and then his first words in corp chat were "Hey! Give me access to the corp hangar!"

I gave him access to my boot. Arsehole.

In my last post I wrote that I'd bought myself a Taranis. Since then I bought another one, as well as an Ishkur.

But then my laptop died. So now I'm using a 15" Windows laptop, instead of what I was using, which was a 17" MacBook Pro connected to a 22" monitor. The monitor won't connect to the Windows laptop, so until I get the MBP repaired, I'm sticking to a bit of corp admin instead of PVP.

Well, that's all for an update. Until next time, fly safe.