OUCH was started by Black Claw who handles the www.evebloggers.com portal. Although he has left the corp and is in fact, planning to leave EVE, his idea of creating an alliance dedicated to achieving excellence in small gang PvP still thrives. OUCH is the training arm of the Art Of War alliance that he helped build. Operating primarily out of the Curse NPC 0.0 region they have made a small name for themselves in one of the most competitive section of the EVE universe.
Getting into OUCH is as simple. They are willing to accept pretty much anyone. As their recruitment post says:
No pre-requisites are required to join OUCH. No minimum number of skill points, API checks, interviews, etc. We truly are an "open" training corporation. Our students have ranged from one day old trial accounts to players who were with Eve since Beta. We accept anyone with a pulse.
OUCH tries hard, they really seem to. When they started over a year ago my Agony corp-mates kind-of laughed at them figuring they would never last. Instead, they are still around and seem to graduate about 5 players a month. Characters first join up with the corp and then take classes. To get to 'Graduate' status several modules have to be completed covering a range of PvP topics. These modules are delivered in a group class format schedules around once or twice a week. Four group classes (about 9 hours of training total) are required to cover the whole curriculum. Reviewing the module names they cover the host of major topics to truly get started in EVE PvP. From fitting to tackling to using the d-scanner, core concepts are covered.
1. Overview settings
2. EVE client ESC settings
3. EVE client interface
8. Fleet Ops
My new character managed to join OUCH without many questions. I created an account on their forum, read what I could and then waited for a class. Fellow corp-mates were friendly and helpful, answering any questions I had. Since I was doing missions during this period they were able to give me some advice about what ship to use and what skills to train for.
The forums provided me with a fit of ship to use in the lessons (AB Merlin since I was Caldari) and some information, however there did not seem to be any way of preparing for the classes ahead of time other then get a ship ready in system. The content of the courses is covered during the lessons rather then in reading material.
As a new pilot I had to fly with several restrictions, basically barring me from any PvP until I had completed the courses. During this time I was not allowed to:
1. Participate in any form of PvP,
2. Join any OUCH PvP Fleet,
3. Go to 0.0/low-sec,
4. Listen in on an active PvP fleet.
Pretty much I was left alone on the lounge channel of their teamspeak server while I ran a few missions and basically was left to my own devices, longing to join a fleet channel where people looked like they were having fun. I chatted with other students and they were similarly frustrated.
During the first 10 days no class corresponded to anything near my playtime and I was kicked for inactivity. Apparently there was a requirement of creating a student folder in the student folder forum. IOW, despite spending over an hour looking for information on their website I failed to RTFM, or in this case, read the f---ing acceptance mail. Since I left they have strengthened their documentation for new members to help them know what to do. In general lessons seemed to be more convenient for EU timezones, while some 'extra' lessons are scheduled outside of that time. I think that due to the x-mass holidays I hit at a bad time where people were taking a break and less lessons then normal were available. This is quite understandable as the amount of work and time that goes into providing these lessons.
I am not really sure if OUCH is the best place for a new character on a 14-day trial. While some of their graduates started as new, I feel that it would be very hard for a new player to have a meaningful PvP experience within the 14 day trial by going through OUCH.
OTOH if a player feels that EVE is really for them and wants to get into PvP, I think joining OUCH is an excellent idea. As long as they understand that it will take a bit of patience (and what in EVE doesn't take patience), and they can control their schedule enough to fit in the classes, they will have a real step up over other players. However it would usually take more than 14 days and, since the restrictions on students are so severe, it would be a pretty uneventful time until they achieve graduation, unless the lessons align perfectly with their play time.
I do think OUCH works best for a mission runner who wants to get into PvP. They can run missions/incursions/other empire stuff while waiting to take the classes.
Response From OUCH
I contacted OUCH with a draft of this post and received the following response:
I have followed your blog a bit and I like most of what I read. I've no problems with your review of us, it's an honest opinion of your experience with the Open University of Celestial Hardship [0UCH].
In my opinion, 14 days is not enough time to really do anything with OUCH, and you probably caught us at the worst time, in December when the holidays were looming. Hopefully for someone joins us and doesn't get disallusioned with the admin of joining will want to stay in OUCH long enough to figure out if they really like Eve. I agree that OUCH is more suited to the carebear come PvP, but we have had many successful brand new players join and successfully finish our course. It requires four groups of modules to complete the course, 9 hours of training.
After the holiday, I made a post called "How to get Kicked out of OUCH" (a little tongue in cheek there) and linked it in our MoTD because we were concerened with all of the students joining and missing the big picture, or failing to actually participate. I think that if that had been in the MoTD when you joined, you might have read it and figured out you needed a Student Folder. It also explains some of the reason why we insist on new pilots showing a little patience with us as we do the same. I will mail it to you for your reference, but in a nutshell, we are not interested in being a huge corp with a bunch of people who want to hang out. We want people who want to be trained, or in the case of a permanent member, want to train others.
Because OUCH is an Open Corp, we make people wait to join us in PvP channel... there has to be some security for counter intelligence purposes... So basically if you havent gotten thru enough lessons to do PvP, you can't join us in the PvP channel. I admit that annoys me that people would rather sit in the AFK channel than hang in the lounge, but it is what it is.
Anyway, I am sorry that OUCH didn't meet your expectations. To be honest, I don't think there is any program out there that is going to fit your parameters. We try very hard to help out who we can, but we're grown up enough to know we can't please everyone. We are going to keep focused on what we do well and refine it as we can.
Bren Genzan (CEO)