Open University of Celestial Hardship (OUCH)
The OUCH Experience - Printable Version

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The OUCH Experience - Bren Genzan - 09-11-2012

We've engaged and been engaged by Gunpoint Diplomacy's Sard Caid a few times over the last month or so. We've made it onto his Twitch TV stream a few times. Miss Teri and I we chatting with him last month and he asked us what the new player could expect from the Open University of Celestial Hardship (OUCH) experience. You'd think that was a simple question.

I gave him a five minute brief on our mission and how I feel our personalities have influenced and developed into a common culture. I admit I may have meandered a bit, riding the train through the countryside instead of taking the express straight downtown. I might have hit a few stops and pointed out some of the points of interest that a player might find on a journey with OUCH.

So what is the OUCH experience? When the new player joins, what should they expect from us besides the promise of null sec survival and basic pvp training?

First off, OUCH is a team. OUCH is an open corp, where we will take anyone and try to teach them what we know. The Operations Department, the instructors who make up the permanent membership, form a small tight knit group. I'd like to say that we play together because we believe in the mission of the University. To be honest, we play together because we like one another: we're all friends. A student that joins us should understand that potentially, they are trying out for our team. They are pledging our fraternity.

Secondly, OUCH is structured. Our training modules are formal lectures, taught on a regular schedule. Our pilots are required to be teachers as well as combat pilots. Our Camp Curse Fleet is a focal point for continuing training, where our pilots coach and mentor one another on a daily basis, developing our pilots into a cohesive team.

Third, OUCH is professional. We like to have fun, we joke and kid and poke fun at one another, but we're grown-up, mature adults, with good jobs and retirement plans. The average age of an OUCH instructor is probably 40. Many of us have grown-up children. Many of us are former or retired military, and while we don't run OUCH as a military organization, we understand a little bit about leadership and team building. We're trained to give the new guys a little grief for being new, to test their mettle and make them earn their spot on the team. But we know that in the end, you have to build the new guy into a confident, capable pilot that you can depend on. You can't do that by being a jerk, at least not all the time.

Fourth, OUCH is smart. You probably need to be smart to play Eve, it's kind of a hard game. OUCH seems to have a disproportionate number of engineers or engineering students. Maybe that's just how it is in Eve, I don't know. So if you're in OUCH and you're not an engineer, then you're in business, or you're an educator, or you're some other kind of professional where detail is important. Smart guys should get used to the idea that at least half of the guys in Teamspeak are as smart as they are. The other half are smarter.

Fifth, OUCH has standards. For every hundred pilots who have passed through our doors, only 2 or 3 will stay on to become instructors. We take everybody, but we don't keep everybody. Our pilots don't just jump into ships and learn to fly them: we qualify to get into the ship of our dreams by flying countless sorties in T1 frigates and cruisers while we develop our skills. We don't just jump into null and learn by losing ships either. We practice in the ships we want to fly in null on Sisi or in high sec. We maintain high efficiencies, analyze our wins and losses, and learn from the mistakes of others. We read blogs, study guides, discuss tactics and fits. We sift through the sand to find the the things of value and pass along that good stuff to the next generation.

For the past two years, the members of OUCH have been working toward the establishing the Open University of Celestial Hardship as an Eve Institution. It's a work still in progress, but we've come to believe that our supportive small core membership, our focused purpose, and our slow organic growth is the reason why we're still doing what we're doing: providing quality null sec survival and basic PvP training, at little to no cost to the student.

Teaching newbies that null sec isn't scary. Teaching pilots to kill more and die less. Teaching veterans that it doesn't have to be expensive to be fun. And that's what we hope to be doing for a very long time.