Open University of Celestial Hardship (OUCH)
How and Why - Printable Version

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How and Why - Bren Genzan - 06-23-2012

A lot of people, both in the Open University of Celestial Hardship and out, don't really understand how or why we take the time to develop pilots with little to no PvP experience into null sec survivalists. To the folks outside of the corp, it may seem like we just tell our students to put Warp Core Stabs on their T1 frigates and jump into null. I mean, all OUCH really teaches players to do is to fly cheap ships, bubble camp the same systems everyday, and ruin perfectly good fights with an overuse of ECM.

All of the above is true. Our students do travel with warp core stabs, fly inexpensive ships and we brought an ECM ship into a complex with us the other day, just to see if the rats would cry in local.

CCP likes to say that Eve is a Sandbox, where you can choose to do whatever you want to do. We in OUCH choose to teach people null sec survival techniques, basic PvP training and basic fleet operations. Then we point them toward the door and tell them to go play the Eve they want to play. Most leave. Some stay.

Sometimes they stay because they don't know what they really want to do yet and figure that they can stay in OUCH and learn a little more until they make up their mind. Some stay because they just plain like the people, cause we're pretty nice guys for a bunch of noobs and haters. Some stay because they just don't want to leave the nest; it's so comfortable and warm, and the rest of New Eden is scary.

But some stay because they become converts. They believe in the mission: Learn what you can everyday and pass along what you know to the next guy.

We don't make it easy to stay. We demand activity: Fly often, make kills and train others, or leave. We demand discipline: There are only a few rules, follow them. We demand practice: Being good at a thing takes work, so work hard. We demand proficiency: Fly what you are skilled and qualified to fly. We demand high PvP efficiencies: Kill more than you lose, and know your limitations. We demand teamwork: Two ships are better than one and four are better than two, but somebody's got to be in charge.

We've probably lost a few good pilots because OUCH is not just an adventure. Sometimes it may seem like a job: "Damn. I have to teach a class tonight. Three hours of my life spent going over Overviews again." Or " Another night camping with no traffic? WTF!!!" Or "There goes my last cruiser. Guess I'll be running missions in high sec this weekend to afford new ships."

When OUCH was new, all we did was jump into ships and jump into null. We lost a lot of ships. Supposedly we learned from our mistakes and got better with each loss.

Well, not exactly. More like every 5 or 10 losses. Maybe more.

I read a blog recently where a very young pilot is documenting his Rifter experience, jumping into fights against T2 frigates and learning from his losses. In the post I read, he jumped a veteran pilot in an Ishkur, and got his clock cleaned. In retrospect, he was jumped by Ishkur pilot, but nevertheless, he sought out that fight.

Now is there anyone reading this that honestly thinks a month old pilot in an T1 fit SAR Rifter is going to solo a 3 year old PvPer in T2 fit Ishkur? How about him taking on the same veteran who is flying a T2 fit Incursus? Anyone want to bet on the newbie? The Eve learning cliff is a hard hill to climb following the sage advice of Eve Vets on the internet who believe that the best way to learn how to fight is to jump into fights and lose ships.

You see, the idea of jumping in a ship, getting into a fight, losing that ship and learning from the experience isn't all it's cracked up to be. Most of the time, no matter how hard you try, you will just get blown away and you will have NO IDEA what you did wrong. It all happens very fast. You might think you know, but you really just don't know.

It's the experience part of the learning curve that is pretty steep. Unless the guy who just took your ship actually tells you what he did, and what you did, right or wrong, you're just guessing. What makes the curve easier to climb is feedback from someone else. Someone asks you, how did you lose that ship, and you say, "I did A and B, and they did C and D", and your buddy asks, why didn't you do E or F. When the answer is, "You know, I didn't think about that", you just got a little bit more info to work with when you're trying to figure out the whole "what went wrong" part of the equation.

Everybody needs a coach. Someone who helps them become a better pilot, a better player. Someone who has developed the analytical skill to help a person learn from their own mistake, not necessarily because they've made the same mistake, but because their point of view makes the "what went wrong" stand out clearer.

That's where this is not a job. That's where all of us benefit from the social learning experience: feedback from your seniors, your peers and your juniors as part of individual development and team building. You don't get that just reading on the internet, soloing in low sec, suicide ganking hulks, or flying in blobs. You can only get that in a small, tight group, where the veterans teach the rookies, and the rookies challenge the veterans.

From the veteran's point of view, it's purely selfish: As teachers, we learn when our students force us to study, force us to think, force us to question, and force us to adapt so that we have the answers when they ask the questions: How do you do that? Why do you do that?

It's pretty simple really: This is how you do it. This is why.