This entry has been written from an ‘out of character’ perspective.
Well I think that CCP will probably be feeling pretty darned good about how things went this past weekend in EVE-Online. Or at least I hope they do, because they should!
There were two flagship events this weekend to feel good about. Firstly, there was that record breaking big-assed fight down Fountain way that saw in excess of 4,000 pilots slugging it in a single star system. And the server stayed up! That is a huge technical accomplishment which deserves considerable credit. Tranquillity is becoming more and more durable and capable of delivering ever more spaceship carnage despite the player base continuing to expand. I remember times when CCP would struggle to just maintain performance levels in the face of an expanding player population, but now CCP seem to be persistently getting ahead of the curve and enabling us to push the limits out ever further.
Plus, epic battles make for great gaming news headlines which never hurts the games’ image. Even if they are being fought in extreme slow-motion. 😉
The other thing that was going on was, of course, the second weekend of Alliance Tournament XI, of which I watched a great deal. So far ATXI has to be in the running for the best production that CCP has put on to date. There were some sound issues early on Sunday but they were quickly sorted and I really haven’t noticed much going wrong other than that.
The commentary has been consistently good other than towards the end of the first weekend, when it was clear that the team were getting fatigued by the sheer quantity of matches ploughed through that weekend, but I think we can forgive that too as it was mostly centred around exasperation over yet-another-triple-Dominix setup. 😉
It really is a strong team that has been assembled this time out and I think we are seeing the benefits of experience in the panel. All of the CCP staff in front of camera are by now old hands at tournament presenting and even the two newbies have had plenty of practice with the player run SCL league. I’m looking forwards to the finals weekend as there is always more studio time in the proceedings with CCP devs guesting to answer questions, should be good to see how the dynamic works out.
The actual tournament itself is going really well too. The change to a double-elimination format certainly does the job in eliminating the irrelevant matches that could plague previous tournaments. The format has been throwing up some really good matches and far less time wasting “well we’re through/out already so this match doesn’t matter” situations that often made for poor viewing.
The other aspect to all this that I think CCP should be really pleased about is the sheer variety of stratagies and fleet compositions in play. Other than the early Domi bias, which largely evaporated once bans come into play, we are seeing pretty much everything being used rather than 3-4 dominant team builds being trotted out over and over.
I think that this is a strong indicator of the largely successful ship/module rebalancing initiative that has been pushed hard over the last three expansions. This diversity is surely a reflection of the fact that there are now so many more viable and competitive ships at the players disposal compared to even a year ago. Last year was dominated by XL ASB Sleipnir builds. This year we are seeing a much more even split between shield and armor based builds and pretty much every weapon system has been used successfully somewhere in the competition as well.
EVE hasn’t looked this healthy in a long time. All of this landing during what we’d typically be thinking of as the summer lull can surely only support that.
Finally, I have discovered a new means of investing myself in the tournament a bit more when not being personally involved and my alliance isn’t taking part. I put 100mill ISK into EVE-Bet.com and started betting 5mill or so on every match. It certainly made me care more about who was going to win! 😉
Although I am about 20mill down so far. Maybe I should stop betting on the long odds and think more carefully asbout who is actually going to win? 😛