Last night I participated in Agony Unleashed's PvP University's PvP-Basic course. Eager to hone my PvP skills, I welcomed the opportunity to sit through a methodic and planned course of instruction. AU required me to do some advanced reading, purchase and fit some ships, and make other preparations for the class. As things progressed I realized their PvP training is geared for gang PvP rather than solo (which is fine, as I do plenty of my hunting in gangs).
I was impressed by AU's "Hydra principle." Their Hydra fleets of T1 frigates are capable of taking out T2 frigates, cruisers, battlecruisers, battleships, heavy assault cruisers, and more. At the end of the class, we students were taken on a hunt by our instructors, where the lessons learned during the theoretical portion of the training were proven extremely effective. We only quit when our ranks were reduced due to other time commitments and a fleet came out against us with over a dozen battleships, battlecruisers, and T2 ships.
The classroom portion involved instruction in communication via Teamspeak and Ventrilo, selecting and fitting ships, electronic warfare (EWAR), tactics, and strategy. Stunningly, this part of the course lasted for nine hours!!! Our instructor was hampered somewhat by having to use English; at times he didn't catch on right away to what was being asked by students, and at other times he took several minutes to say what a native English speaker might have said more clearly in just a few seconds.
I have to say the course was worth the ISK 7M tuition I paid for it (if not the 12 hours it took to complete). I learned several very helpful things and learned to think about frigate fleet PvP from a better perspective. One of my fellow students was overheard at one point to say, "That point alone was worth my entire tuition."
AU's shared EWAR fitting worksheet is impressive. Forming up for our hunt in 0.0 space, each pilot entered the EWAR modules (including warp disruptors/scramblers and stasis webifiers) he had fitted; we could see the entire fleet's count for each EWAR module displayed on the same page. Then the fleet commander went down the list and suggested changes to ensure a balanced set of EWAR tools and help some of the pilots with their electronic capacity.
The several hours of guided fleet operations in 0.0 at the end were great fun. I ended up getting shots in against 15 ships we killed, including several T2 ships and a battleship. The AU leaders effectively modeled how they scouted out targets, kept us out of harm's way, inflicted us on our hapless victims, and communicated clearly with one another. In some time zones, people spent whole days (e.g. from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.) taking this course; as for me, I spent a whole night, from 9:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. the next morning!
As an alumnus of AU's PvP-Basic course, I can repeat the course in the future for free (or just a portion of the course, such as the 0.0 hunting), and am also eligible to take their Wolfpacks course (hunting with destroyers) and Covert Ops course. I believe I will!