Faces of EVE University: Jilokari Kurvora

 

The Faces of EVE University are colorful and intriguing. With this interview series we want to bring to light some of the personalities that make up the staff of our alma mater, who tirelessly work to the advancement of learning.

For this installment of our series we sat down to talk to our Director of Human Resources: Jilokari Kurvora. He enlightens us about how he became a director, what his work entails and how the departments he oversees work together.

 

Hideo Date: For those who don’t know you, who are you and what do you do in New Eden and in EVE University in particular?

Jilokari Kurvora: I am Jilokari Kurvora, Jilo to my friends (pronounced GeeLo).  I’ve been alive since 8th November 2014, I am a Wormhole Dweller, and love to do solo exploration especially because I never know where I’ll end up. In EVE University I am the Director of Human Resources overseeing and setting policies for the the Recruitment, Orientation, Mentor, and Titles Departments.

Hideo: How did you start off playing EVE and how did you become part of the Uni?

Jilokari: Well I did try to get into EVE earlier, but my PC wasn’t really up to the challenge. I was always really inspired by the videos for EVE Online, the whole pioneer spirit of the game and I was especially drawn to the sandbox element. All those unscripted player generated actions and impacts fascinated me. So when I finally got myself a decent gaming PC in November 2014, I downloaded EVE online and chose a Caldari character (Who doesn’t love a bit of space capitalism). Off I went into the cold hard space only to get blown up in a ball of fire 3 jumps from the starter system. After a few days in game I came across EVE Uni, thought this is the place for me and never looked back.

Hideo: Could you tell us a bit about how you managed to climb the ranks to the heights of Director of HR?

Jilokari: I’m a highly qualified assassin and I got better shoes out of it.

But seriously, since you asked nicely Hideo, I actually started off my EVE Career by becoming a Personnel Officer. I mainly did it because I was fascinated on the inner workings of Corporations in EVE, specifically how they reflected real life, just with more spreadsheets. From there I became a Senior Personnel Officer, I’m told in the fastest time ever for a promotion, so I must have done something right. A few months passed and the opportunity arose for me to move into Personnel Management. First as Assistant Manager then Personnel Manager, which I thoroughly enjoyed because my PO’s and SPO’s are awesome guys and gals. In 2018 I was honored to be asked to become Director of Personnel, a role which I only held for a few months before stepping into Director of HR when our last Director of HR, Dune Barphsaq, stepped down.

Hideo: So as you are newly inducted into the role of HR Director you must have a pretty fresh view on things. Could you give us a glimpse into your daily workload?

Jilokari: Well at the moment it’s quite busy, as Director of Personnel I had two departments under me, Personnel and Orientation. At the moment I haven’t backfilled the Managers in those departments so I’m doing the daily manager tasks, such as monitoring the queue levels, answering questions of officers and members, and keeping the departments records up to date. I also check into all the slacks to see what the conversation is across the Uni and try to keep up to date. You can also usually find me trawling through the forum, keeping up to date on developments there. In addition to that I’m getting to know my other departments, Titles and Mentors, reviewing feedback and looking for ways that we can make the service we offer better for our members.

Hideo: Your Directorate in particular seems to have a lot of varied departments under it, how does it all fit together in your mind?

Jilokari: A great question! I think the simplest way to look at it is my Directorate inducts, orientates, supports, and marks progression of Members in the University. We are the first people they interact with when joining and a constant presence as they progress.

Hideo: How is the relationship between the departments?

Jilokari: It’s all about the relationship for me! I’m a massive people person, and I think that some of our best work gets done when we all work together as a single unit. Each of my departments impacts on the other in some way, whether that be Personnel creating work for Orientation, Orientation driving titles or mentor applications, it’s all interconnected. Do I think we have it nailed just yet? No, but I do know that the folks of the HR directorate are awesome and we have begun to make small changes to improve communication between the departments, which can only serve to improve the members experience.

Hideo: How do you keep track of the different departments?

Jilokari: Well lucky for me I have a great team of Managers and Assistant Managers who keep me updated with what’s happening in their respective areas. Besides that I have the slack channels to keep up to date with the day to day information as well as the awesome portal that our Director of Web Services has been building and I have a tonne of spreadsheets. Seriously I have so many spreadsheets…

Hideo: How did you handle the change over from Manager to Director? I assume the time you need to put in now is much increased?

Jilokari: There is certainly a lot more to be aware of, and an increased sense of responsibility. I’ve definitely seen an increase in the amount of time I spend looking through the forum, discussions on slack, actions like removing inactive members, and applying in game titles etc. It can sometimes feel like a second job, but I wouldn’t change it for the world! One of the more interesting things for me is trying to become more visible to members. Gone are the days when I could just not log on for a few days because I felt like it, or stick purely to exploration. As a Director I think there is an expectation from our members that I be seen participating, which is great, but just as an advanced warning to our members and FC’s: beware my PvP foo is not strong.

Hideo: You’ve already made a few internal changes as well as introduce a significant change to the titles within EVE Uni. You also were quite busy with the recent introduction of the new EVE Uni Portal. Would you care to elaborate on what has happened so far during your tenure?

Jilokari: Oh I think you pretty much covered it there. We are still in the process of rolling out our new University Portal which is looking awesome and will make life so much easier. I stepped into the role fresh off the back of the Uni wide survey, and it was clear that there were areas that our members felt we could evolve and I agreed! I’d say the biggest changes were allowing alpha clones to apply for the Freshman progression title, and allowing members who returned to the Uni or swapped their character to transfer any progression title they held over. We have lots of good ideas on where we can take the HR Departments in the future so watch this space.

Hideo: Is there pressure from students, prospective members, or upper management to shift the bureaucratic nature of EVE Uni’s recruitment either way? If so, how do you balance your own goals and vision for the department with those outside perspectives?

Jilokari: Internally I don’t see there being any pressure really, we can get a bad rep externally sometimes though. I think EVE Uni’s recruitment process is a bit like marmite. (the food – if you can even call it that, not the alliance) Some people love it, some people hate it.  Ultimately it is there to ensure that someone is right for us and we are right for them. When I first joined the Uni it was almost a 2 week wait, now on average it takes 4 days from application to accept for an applicant with an average wait time of 4 hours in our queue. Do I think we can improve on the process? Sure and it’s something that I will be looking at closely. I’d also point out that while people are waiting to join they can still take advantage of our Wiki, and our classes which are both publicly available.

Hideo: The introduction of officers dedicated to orientation is a relatively recent addition to HR. Has the program been as successful as management hoped?

Jilokari: I wouldn’t call Orientation new really, it is the youngest of our Departments and I would say they have done an amazing job! The challenge we have as a teaching corp is that we share so much information it is too easy for our new members to get lost. Orientation helps to focus a player on some specifics that may be useful for them based on the play style and interaction they have had with our community at 7 and 28 days, making it a little bit easier to assimilate into Uni life. I think it’s also important that we balance that out though,  because EVE is a harsh game, and people need to learn how to be somewhat self sufficient. To quote my bio “Education is not the training of facts but the training of the mind to think!”

Hideo: How do you personally see the importance of mentors for the experience new players in EVE University get?

Jilokari: Oh I think mentors are really important for newer players. EVE is such a complex and varied game, I regularly come across applicants who want to learn everything.  Mentors can help hone their knowledge and help them get more out of this wonderful game. I think that Mentors contribute highly to people sticking around and not getting burnt out or frustrated. I wish we had more Mentors.

Hideo: What would you say is the biggest hurdle EVE University, and your directorate in particular, will have to overcome in the next year?

Jilokari: Honestly, the biggest hurdle for the HR Directorate is staffing. We have some amazing people who do great work but people move on, find other interests which means we are always recruiting. I am passionate about keeping our wait times for interview and titles low, as well as having mentors to spare. I also want the HR Staff to actually enjoy EVE and not have to spend all their time doing space admin, so yeah, we need to keep a good flow of new staff.

Hideo: Well that’s it for my questions so far. Do you have anything else you want to talk about or any closing statements?

Jilokari: Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the HR Directorate, I would say that my door is always open so if anyone needs or want to raise anything about the HR Directorate they can contact me wether in Slack or via forum message.

Broadcast4Reps event recap

On May 5th, we had a very special event on our public mumble. Guest speakers Marrowbone and Tovanis from Broadcast4Reps gave a short introduction to what Spam4Heals and B4R are all about. They afterwards took the time to do a very in-depth Q&A and answered questions from the live audience both from our lecture channel as well as mumble.

You will find the full, cleaned up, recording below. We also wanted to give you a short overview of what was talked about by the speakers:

What is Broadcast4Reps?

Broadcast4Reps was founded in the wake of John Bellicose – from BRAVE – committing suicide. This spurred the development of a suicide prevention group inside of BRAVE. The founder of Broadcast4Reps, Coffee Rocks, reached out to CCP to work together. They created a video that describes what B4R is about – a peer-to-peer initiative to provide mental health support, especially to people thinking about suicide – and urging players to reach out, whenever they need help.

Spam4Heals is a registered charity in the USA, which sprang from the Broadcast4Reps movement and Marrowbone is the current CEO. They are looking to expand their work into other games as well and are interested in contacts in gaming communities outside of EVE. There will be a new website up, hopefully at the end of the month, which Marrowbone is particularly excited about. Other than that, the Facebook page will be overhauled and include a calendar with all events pertaining to Broadcast4Reps. B4R are also looking to do a public outreach to all corporations within EVE, so that players from every walk of life know where to find help.

Of course without the many volunteers on Discord as well as the ingame channel, this service would not exist, and Marrowbone made sure to especially thank all those who are helping out. Broadcast4Reps is always looking for more volunteers!

If you are in need, reach out!

If you ever need help, reach out to your fellow EVE players! Use #B4R on Twitter, join the ingame channel Broadcast4Reps and the Spam4Heals Discord. In both the channel as well as on Discord you will find volunteers and fellow gamers who are there to help you, when you are in need.

We want to especially thank our Events Manager Turlough Dominian for setting up the contact with B4R and organising this wonderful event! We hope to work together with Broadcast4Reps in the future.

 

Faces of EVE University: Seamus Donohue

 

The Faces of EVE University are colorful and intriguing. With this interview series we want to bring to light some of the personalities that make up the staff of our alma mater, who tirelessly work to the advancement of learning.

For this installment of our series we sat down to talk to one of our valued teachers and EVE Uni veteran: Seamus Donohue. Famous for his educational videos, especially his signature series “How to survive EVE Online”. He recently redid the whole series and improved it for the 2018 experience! He also finished up a new series on the Sisters of EVE epic arc “The Blood Stained Stars”

As part of the EVE University faculty he is also known for his encyclopedic knowledge. Every week he hosts a game mechanics Q&A on our public mumble and answers questions about any topic pertaining to EVE. Six years ago he started his first iteration of “How to survive EVE Online” and since then he has made countless videos about a huge range of topics. Always focused on clear and concise information understandable by even the most inexperienced EVE player.

How to Survive EVE Online

Hideo Date: Thank you very much for taking the time, it is much appreciated!

Seamus Donohue: Not a problem! Glad to be here!

Hideo: For those who don’t know you, who are you and what do you do in EVE in general and in EVE University in particular?

Seamus: I am Seamus Donohue. I’m a High Security missionrunner and incursionrunner, and I’m also a member of the Education Department at EVE University. I teach a regular “Game Mechanics Q&A” session, and I produce YouTube videos on behalf of EVE University, most notably my “How to Survive EVE Online” series which introduces EVE Online gameplay to people who have never seen the game, before. (Very similar to Paul Soarez Junior’s “How to Survive Minecraft” series, which is what inspired me years ago.)

Hideo: Was that the only push you needed to start up your signature series? Did you just always want to make videos on EVE?

Seamus: That was the push, yes. Back in 2011, some fellow Unistas were starting to play Minecraft (which was new at the time), so I was starting to look into whether or not I wanted to buy the game. At the time, minecraft.net had Paul Soarez Junior’s videos linked on their page, and after watching the 23 episodes that existed at the time, I decided “Yes, I want to play Minecraft!” I’ve been playing that off and on ever since. But almost immediately afterwards, it got the idea into my head that I could make a similar series for EVE Online.

Hideo: That is wonderful! Now that you redone your original series and updated it for 2018, what are your plans moving forward?

Seamus: I’m trying to get back into making videos on a regular basis, again. As a personal effort (separate from the University), I’m also expanding into instructional videos about other games. So, my most recent videos are about how to visit the Voyager 1, Voyager 2, and new Horizons ancient probes in Elite: Dangerous (not a trivial task). But, I’m also working on a video explaining turret mathematics in EVE Online.  [Editor’s note: That video was uploaded after this interview was conducted, and can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEWJMHkK7fc ]

 

Teaching in EVE University

Hideo: You are not only known for your videos, but as you stated earlier you are also part of our faculty, how did you become a teacher in EVE University originally?

Seamus: Let me think. [pause]  I started the game early September 2009, during Apocrypha, and first joined E-UNI just before the end of that same month. I think I joined the faculty in 2010.

Around that time, I had been acting as a defensive scout/picket for E-UNI daytripping fleets in wormhole space, scanning down sites to run and being on the lookout for other players who might try to ambush us. After some small number of months doing that, I created (and started teaching) a “Scouting in Wormhole Space” class, based on my experiences.

When I started actually teaching that first session is when I was surprise-inducted into the Education Department by Deirdre Vaal, then Director of Education. I’ve been a member of the department ever since. I was actually surprised to learn, recently, that I’ve been with E-UNI for 60% of it’s history.

Hideo: It seems that you build your vast knowledge very much from personal, hands-on experience. Is that the case for all of it? Especially with regards to your Q&A session where you answer questions about any and all topics.

Seamus: Part of it is hands-on experience. Part of it is taking the time, over years, to browse the different item types in the Market (because the Market almost doubles as an encyclopedia of item types in the game) and the different skills available in the Character Sheet. [stops to think further]

The rest is stuff I’ve learned from other Unistas secondhand, for the most part. I’ve only very rarely been in player-sovereign space, and never involved in sovereignty battles, for example. I don’t usually go on PvP roams, though I’ve been on a couple of Dragonslayer operations and a wormhole POS bash. Things like that.

Hideo: Alright. What do you find interesting or appealing about doing your Q&A sessions?

Seamus: When I started the sessions, it was just a formalized form of what I had already been doing in the Mumble: answering questions that sometimes come up. So, it was a natural extension of my existing EVE Online activity.

Hideo: So I am sure you are constantly giving players much appreciated information and advice. But I am going to put you on the spot: If you could give new players one piece of advice, what would it be?

Seamus: Do I go with the standard that everyone always gets? Don’t fly what you cannot afford to lose? Always important. But new players will be likely to hear that from someone pretty quickly. So I think I’ll go with an equally important piece of advice, which might be less commonly heard:

Experiment around a little bit, see what you like doing in-game. Then find a group of like-minded players that you can get along with and (very importantly) trust.

Hideo: So to wrap up, I just have a few more questions:

Seamus: Certainly!

 

The Fanfest Experience

Hideo: Except your teaching experience and your video making, are there any other projects you are currently, or have ever been, involved in with regards to EVE?

Seamus: The only one I can think of was that I once taught an E-UNI class as a FanFest presentation. “A Study of Geometry in EVE Online” I had originally titled it “The Shape of Things That Are”, the joke being that Fanfest was about seeing the shape of things to come. Other than that, I can’t think of anything off the top of my head.

Hideo: Last question, looking at recent events: you actually attended Fanfest together with a delegation of other Unistas this year. I heard quite a few great remarks about your singing at both the karaoke night as well as the wedding ceremony for Irma and Tairon [Editor’s note: here is is a time-stamp on a video where you can actually hear Seamus sing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=823&v=XM7If2z6kQo]. I am curious: do you have any formal training or experience in singing?

Seamus: Experience in singing, yes. “Formal training” depends on how you want to define that. I’m a member of a church choir in Real Life™, and we’re very lucky to have as our choirmaster someone who /also/ works as a professional operatic voice coach. He teaches professional opera singers how to sing.  He once told me that I’m what is known as a “serious amateur”.

Hideo: Alright. Then thank you very much for your time. And continue to be the great asset, that you are to the Uni!

Seamus: You’re welcome, and thank you for your effort in organizing and conducting these interviews!

 

Fanfest Reflections

This year’s Fanfest was a special one: it was the 15th anniversary of EVE Online and full of amazing announcements! Ranging from quality of life improvements to PI, to a completely new kind of space, with a new faction, ships, as well as weapons.

In the midst of it all were a number of our Unistas. Some of them (Knicpaw and Titus Tallang) even active as official volunteers to make the whole affair smooth sailing.

We asked our attendees to write something about their best memory from Fanfest 2018. Most of them supplied us with some neat tales after our CEO poked them enough. So without further ado, we present to you the stories of our Unistas:

 

Morphoze

Sophomore, Highsec Campus member:

“The most memorable event at Fanfest 2018 for me was meeting other EVE players and especially the other EVE Uni players. Being able to nerd out about EVE with other people who know what you’re talking about is great and no-one looks at you strangely (most of the time). Have you heard about PI?”

Dunar Dolorgiet

Graduate, Director of Education, omnipresent on all campuses:

“Community once again came together to celebrate, not the game, not the publisher but what they’ve achieved over the years. Not as individual factions in the game but as the community that carries the game and each other.”

 

Mhzentul Lafarius

Sophomore, Wormhole Campus member:

“During the opening keynote address at the 2018 Eve Fanfest, a new exotic ship came into view cradling in its three-fingered claw-like hull a menacing ball of pulsating energy. Floating weapon turrets unlike any I had seen before came alight shooting a single searing beam of destruction with increasing power. I was hooked. Throughout the conference more details were revealed about the new Triglavian Collective, their ships, where to find them in dangerous unique Abyssal deadspace full of environmental threats and their treasures including mutaplasmids which transform the attributes of modules. I was determined to learn all I could, and seek them out in game as soon as they appeared.“

 

Seamus Donohue

Graduate, Professor, omnipresent on all campuses:

“I sang Latin for an Amarrian wedding officiated by the Space Pope at FanFest 2018. I met Max a few years ago at one of the FanFests.  So, this year, when I heard that he was doing a wedding as The Space Pope, I asked him if he needed someone who could sing Latin. I did a brief audition for him and some of this companions.  They immediately thought that I was incredible, and started making arrangements to include me in the wedding procession.”

 

Edward Audeles

Graduate, Project Solitude officer:

My first Fanfest was awesome from start to finish, and it seems unfair to single out one thing as the best. The various presentations and roundtables were great, but CCP Games Games was as unexpected as it was hilarious, starting out as a cheesy 70’s quizshow and ending up as a Japanese crazyshow. The Party At The Top Of The World with Permaband and Basshunter was a perfect end to it all, with crazy EVE’rs both on stage and on the dancefloor.

However, the thing that truly made Fanfest shine for me was the people. I loved meeting up and hanging out with fellow unistas, as well as having discussions about the weirdest of topics, be it with goons, pirates, industrialists or whoever. It was hard not being a bit starstruck when meeting well-know CCP’ers and major players in the game, and where else can you suddenly discover that the guy you’re chatting with over breakfast is the same guy whose blog you’ve been reading for 3 years?

So, Fanfest – come for the events, but stay for the people, that’ll have to be my biggest takeaway from it all!

 

Raven Luna

Highsec Campus member:

The most memorable event of Fanfest 2018 for me was getting to participate in the Streamfleet roundtable with CCP Guard and the streamers who literally introduced me to the EVE universe and to EVE University. It gave me a chance to say “thank you” to just a few of the people who work so hard to promote the game.

 

Knicpaw

Freshman, Nullsec Campus member:

“What is my most memorable event of FF 2018?”  It may be cliche to say, but it was VERY MUCH the people. I was also lucky this year that I got to see the event from the point of view of a Volunteer; I was able to meet almost everyone during check-in, and was available to help those who had questions.

Everyone was excited and friendly, and willing to interact with those outside their own group/circle because we have SO MUCH in common (aka Internet Spaceships).  Players were “Jove”-vial (pun), telling stories about their best (and most embarrassing) moments, and poking fun at each other while accepting all styles of gameplay.  Also, there was A LOT of attempted recruitment.

Personally, I enjoyed the roundtables and player speeches/panels; I learned SO MUCH about ESI and 3rd-Party applications that I think I will forge into that arena with my own app (eventually, as there is a bit of a learning “cliff”).

Reykjavik and Iceland are BEAUTIFUL, and the people are friendly with almost no language barrier.  It is the perfect destination for a vacation, and for those who have a spouse/partner, there is plenty for them to do while we capsuleers are nerding-out.

This was my 2nd FF; I knew after my 1st that I wanted to return. I still feel that way; and although there won’t be a 2019 FF, I am eagerly awaiting FF 2020 tickets to go on sale.

 

Laura Karpinski

CEO of EVE University:

As far as arranged events, the standout ones for me were Elise Randolph and Hedliner’s talk on ‘A History of Fleet Commanders’ – which was one of those things like the ‘This is EVE’ video that just make you go “Wow – I remember why I love this game”, and the CCP Games Games, which had me in stitches. But it was also wonderful to meet up with some of the lovely people I met at last year’s Fanfest and also meet some new people, who I hope to see again at the next one.

 

Thank you for an amazing Fanfest 2018!

We would like to express our sincerest gratitude to our attendees for holding up the flag of EVE University at Fanfest 2018 and of course to CCP and everyone who made this wonderful event possible!

Next year will have no traditional Fanfest, but you can count on our members showing up at meet-ups all over the world!

We will actually have an EVE University meet of our own in London on June 30th this year, so you can look forward to hearing more about that in the near future.