This entry has been written from an ‘out of character’ perspective to discuss the final weekend of EVE’s Alliance Tournament XI.
I’m a couple of days late in writing this as I have been failing to shrug off a cold/flu thing for about a week and a half now. Damn thing is persistent! But, I did want to take a bit of time to write about the final weekend of ATXI.
In short, it was another really good weekend of EVE’s take on e-sports and from the responses I’ve seen to it we all seem to be in agreement on that. It really was hard to fault and unlike previous years was wonderfully low on technical issues, and what there was seemed to simply come down to heavy load on Twitch.tv’s servers from a busy weekend of e-sports (so I gather, I honestly don’t spend much time watching live streams other than EVE TV), but even that could often be compensated for by refreshing your browser to rotate servers.
I liked that CCP didn’t attempt to do anything overly flashy in terms of set design and green screen, they have had mixed results in the past for really not that much gain. Instead we have technical investment into things like the CREST API tools and the promising looking battle playback I-Pad app. The I-Pad tool is clearly in its infancy but i can see that becoming a very useful match analysis tool for future tournaments, hopefully as soon the New Eden Open II coming later in the year. It should help the commentators to really delve into and explore details of the matches, which will be cool.
The matches themselves continued to be excellent with none of those frustrating ‘dead’ matches of previous years or teams trolling the audience with intentionally dull and protracted performances knowing that the result is irrelevant as far as their progression or elimination goes. The double-elimination format has been hugely successful in that regard.
There was one thing that I thought was a bit lacking this year in the coverage, though I can see why it wasn’t there. Normally over the course of the tournament we see a succession of Dev’s guesting in the panel to talk about what they do at CCP and what is in the works. Not so much this time round and I kind of missed it. The only dev guest appearance was CCP Navigator who came on to talk about player meets and how CCP is trying to support them. Other than that there were two skype chats both with player organisers of EVE meets. There were no devs on to talk about upcoming features and the like at all. I think there were two reasons, the main one being a fairly tight schedule and the second being that there is no imminent expansion for CCP to plug. Odyssey is now old news and the winter expansion is too far off to reveal. Even so, I missed those bits.
The one part of the match format that I felt needed work at the time was the fact that Pandemic Legion had to fight so many matches back to back while HYDRA RELOADED (all caps for all the cool kids, ofc) had such a long break in which to sit back and watch. According to comments on the live stream, CCP were delaying matches towards the end purely to give the PL pilots a brief chance to breathe. And presumably go to the toilet. 😉 The problem is, the format does pretty much require it. The timings of the final day is very much down to if the best of 3 rounds go the full distance, as it was things turned out to be as punishing as possible for PL’s endurance. Because of that, they absolutely demonstrated that they deserved the win.
Last week I mentioned that I was lacking something of a personal connection this year as my alliance wasn’t in it. I did find a couple of things to get behind though. First of all there was CVA’s unexpectedly strong showing. Although they are the accursed Amarrians, I do like to get behind the RP’ers and watch the commentators be surprised that RP’er sometimes do actually know how to PVP. Plus, they won me a bit of ISK, which was the second thing. Last weekend I put 100 million ISK into EVE-Bet.com (about a third of Ugleb’s not so heavy wallet) and bet about 5mill on nearly every match. I did ok and thanks to backing PL when the commentators were declaring them done for I ended up cashing out 116.45mill ISK. There were a few matches that i was kicking myself for not betting more on and one or two that I did bet more on then lost. 😉
Finally, I ended up watching the repeated demise of Forlorn Wongraven and giving him good natured grief on twitter. Forlorn flew in most if not all of PL’s matches and was a casualty in most of them. I know him as a former executor of Ushra’khan, after retiring he left to join PL and seek out fame and glory or something. I was very happy to see him make it all the way, I might tease him for dying but it really is all about the result of the match far more than if your ship lives. I was repeatedly surprised to see the lack of a Logistics ship in so many of PL’s matches, which pretty much guarantees that your team will lose ships somewhere. So well done that man! Hope you are enjoying the victory.
On the final day, CCP Soundwave dropped something of a bombshell by quietly announcing that ATXI would be his final tournament as host. I was sad to hear that as he has done such a good job of the years. He is only the second person to ever host the tournament and really has owned the role. He will be a tough act to follow but I’m sure that CCP are thinking carefully about his replacement.
The good news is, they seem to have several decent candidates that could perhaps take it on. CCP Guard and CCP Sunset both have experience in presenting and interviewing for EVE TV’s Fanfest coverage (Sunset has also co-presented previous tournaments), and using either of them would not disrupt the nicely established match commentary team. On the other hand, I could easily see CCP Dolan or CCP Fozzie crossing to the other side of the desk, although Fozzie in particular I’d really prefer to see stay where he is. Another possibility might be the recently hired (and controversially so) Dust514 community team member CCP Mintchip, whom I kind of expect to see appearing on the coverage for the imminent Dust514 Prime League tournament. At least we won’t have to wait too long to find out, the NEO II will be coming to our steams with a new host and hopefully more shiny ship explosions before we know it.