Faces of EVE University: White 0rchid

The Faces of EVE University interview series brings you insight into some of the personalities that make up our staff – a group of dedicated Unistas who tirelessly work for the advancement of learning.

Hideo Date:
White 0rchid, thank you for taking the time to sit down with me and answer some questions. I am sure you are quite busy as the newly appointed head of EVE University’s FC Team.

Q: I want to start off by asking about your journey in EVE. You’ve been a very active alumnus and supporting EVE University for some time now. But how did you start off your EVE career and ended up in the Uni in the first place?

White 0rchid:
I began EVE a long time ago now. My current main was not always White 0rchid. I actually joined up at the start of 2008, pretty much jumped straight into sov null in Fountain, with a corp that was at the time in BRUCE (Brutally Clever Empire). The fleets back then, for me and BRUCE at least, consisted of ships like Cerbs and Ravens at absolute max range. There was no logi.

Following that I retreated to high sec and stopped playing for a while. Over the course of the 5 years that followed I was mostly on and off, exploring, running high sec missions and so on. I briefly joined Enlightened Industries (a corp in goons) in 2011, but after another break from the game, joined EVE Uni in 2013. I was not in corp for long but was active in the community for a year and a half until I rejoined for good at the start of 2015. I learned a bunch in the year and 1 day I was in uni, but as is natural, I needed somewhere to spread my wings a bit and I’ve been in Sniggwaffe (WAFFLES) since February 2016, becoming a director at some point in that journey.

Hideo Date:
Q: As you are an experienced FC obviously I want to know how you ended up becoming one. Do you remember your first time FCing? How was it starting off as a brand new FC?

White 0rchid:
I recall being very nervous running a small fleet chasing some people out of Fountain in 2008, but following that, it was then mostly in my 2015-16 stint in EVE Uni that I FC’d more. I think it’s always quite daunting to FC your first fleet because there can be a lot going on. The key is mostly to start small and work your way up with what you feel comfortable with. There’s no rush and no pressure, and frigates/destroyers/cruisers can all be really fun to fly.

Hideo Date:
Q: In your mind, what makes a good FC?

White 0rchid:
There’s many factors to being a good FC I think. From knowledge of ships and their capabilities, to the different tactics employed while using them, right to being good at controlling a situation under pressure. I think people also overlook another factor, in that you must be fun to fly under. If your fleets aren’t enjoyable then you won’t get much participation. Delegation is also key. Don’t try and do everything yourself but lean on your bros to pass you intel and micro manage other parts of the fleet (recon/scouts etc).

Hideo Date:
Q: The FC team in its current form is a relatively recent addition to the Uni. How did that come about? What is the idea behind the team and how is it structured? (As far as Operational Security (OPSEC) is allowing answers)

White 0rchid:
There have been iterations of fleet command programs in the Uni beforehand, but never one quite as involved as this one. One of my biggest bugbears of EVE Uni in the past was that it could be quite insular and at points echo-chamber like. That stemmed primarily from the churn rate of members. People, once they had achieved all they could in the Uni, would move on elsewhere, expanding their boundaries and taking in what the rest of EVE has to offer. That knowledge was never really passed back into the system though, which led to a slightly less than optimal teaching environment. The aim behind the tier system is to allow some levels of progression (that runs throughout the Uni really) and also some requirements on the members. For instance as a Junior there are really no hard requirements other than try to get involved when you can. But Seniors are expected to always step up to the mark when it’s required (either a war begins or someone picks on a structure).

Hideo Date:
Q: Until you took over, Sabre A, another accomplished alumnus, headed up the team. How was it working with him and how did you end up taking over?

White 0rchid:
Sabre is a good guy, he was instrumental in orchestrating the World War Bee (1) campaign and tactics so has a lot of experience in planning out ops. Since MC split he has been a bit more involved in the Uni again to achieve the previously mentioned goal of feeding knowledge back in. He initially asked me to come in and take over the fittings department, previously responsible for maintaining fits for almost all ships in the game on the wiki. This has over the years, proved to be incredibly difficult with the levels of tiericide that CCP put in place. So the fittings team now is in place to design and tweak internal doctrines and fits for use within the Uni. As for how I ended up taking over, Sabre has some RL commitments that meant his game time was slightly reduced. He is still around working on other projects though.

Hideo Date:
Q: What do you see as your goals for the FC team, how do you intend to shape it?

White 0rchid:
I’ve said this quite a few times to both Laura (EVE Uni CEO till 5 December 2020) and Jilo (CEO since 5 Dec 2020) that my intention is always to try and create an environment that is similar to what players would experience in any other corp. For the FC team that means the planning/running of fleets, designing doctrines, recon, scouting etc. all falls on us. We’ve been given a great deal of autonomy and are almost allowed free reign of how we run the department which has been fantastic. I would say if we continue on this path we’ll end up with some good FCs who are confident enough to take out strat level fleets (editor’s note: strategic operations).

Hideo Date:
Q: So this is specifically of interest to me personally, as I recently got accepted as a junior FC. What are you expecting from FCs in the team at the various stages? 

White 0rchid:
I think I hinted on this earlier, but there are 3 tiers to the team: Junior, FC, and Senior. Juniors have no requirement to run fleets as such, but they are encouraged to participate and take in all they can, with a view to start running fleets themselves. FCs ideally should be supporting the Seniors in the strat fleets, with a view to eventually step up to that position themselves. There is also a requirement that an FC runs one fleet a month, as in many other corps/alliances if you are in the FC team but don’t participate, there is no need for you to be in the team. Seniors take it one step further than FCs and are expected to coordinate and run the strat level operations. So far those have involved destroying war HQs when the Uni is decced, defending structures at their nullsec campus and contesting a Hard Knocks anchoring Astrahus in their wormhole campus.

Hideo Date:
Q: EVE University prides itself with its neutrality, allowing pilots to choose any corporation once they feel they have learned enough and move on from the Uni. You yourself are an active member of WAFFLES. How do those two things go hand in hand?

White 0rchid:
On the topic of moving on, I am the kind of person that will always give honest and truthful advice. I was a recruiter in EVE Uni going back almost 6 years ago now, I then took on that role after joining Waffles which eventually led to becoming a director there. With that I can usually tell whether someone is or isn’t a good fit somewhere. Regardless of my position in Waffles, I will always direct people to the most appropriate place they will fit in.

Hideo Date:
Q: Any closing thoughts you want to share?

White 0rchid:
I think just one main point, really. The Uni has come a very, very long way since I first joined around 7 or 8 years ago now. There was red tape after red tape back then, and that is all slowly but systematically being torn down in favour of simpler systems to both manage and live under. It can only be positive for anyone thinking of joining up. One example I can think of that was touched on earlier, was allowing members who had left to return with alts and pass on the knowledge they had learned elsewhere. Something that was prohibited for a long time.

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