This entry has been written from an ‘out of character’ perspective to discuss Alliance Tournament XII.
With my finger ever on the pulse of breaking news, let’s catch up on the AT12 prizes dev blog published earlier this week. Meant to get to it sooner, but didn’t. Also CCP Seagull is now Executive Producer for EVE-Online btw. Maybe I’ll get around to that too. 😉
So, prizes. I was a bit surprised to see this dev blog as I had thought that CCP were committed to the traditional fifty unique cruisers for winners and fifty unique frigates for the runners up. I am a fully paid up member of the ‘this prize system needs to change’ club so we have some very welcome news here.
The twelfth alliance tournament is to the best of my recollection unique among alliance tournaments as being the only one that failed to attract enough applications to fill its roster of teams on the first attempt. It has been standard practice for CCP to either operate a first-come-first-served system for selecting the teams or to use a lottery/auction. There are always team that wanted to compete who don’t get the opportunity. Only not this time. There was no lottery held this year as CCP did not manage to fill the sixty-four team roster by their deadline, forcing them to offer an extension.
I think there are three primary reasons for this. Firstly, it is now well established that in order to be even remotely success in the AT, a team needs to put in the effort to practice and test fleet compositions and tactics for months beforehand. The days of throwing a bunch of ships together and rocking up on the day and actually expecting to win a match are long past. The gap between teams can now be cavernous and it is well known which teams will dominate the tournament before it even begins. This means that you either enter the tournament committed to putting in the long hours of preparation, or you go in expecting to be beaten. Increasingly, I think, many alliances are well aware that their odds of success are slim so are choosing to opt out.
This is compounded by issue number two. The prize structure. As the AT has only awarded the top two teams, and the pool of teams with any realistic hope of reaching the finals has become ever smaller and locked down, the chances for entering with the hope of getting anything back are seen as minimal. Entering the tournament is an expensive prospect with a ten PLEX entry fee (assuming you don’t go into the auction) before you even start to consider the cost of all the ships you will be fielding and probably losing along the way. Why sink so much ISK into something that you are so unlikely to win?
And finally our third issue which I think exacerbated the whole thing. That dramatic fall in player activity we are all fretting over. If players are generally feeling demotivated, it makes sense that they won’t respond too enthusiastically to the prospect of preparing for the tournament. I say this of course with the wonderful benefit of hindsight, I was very surprised that the tournament had unfilled slots at the time.
The prizes dev blog goes a long way towards addressing the second issue, that of the tournament poorly rewarding participation and investment. Unfortunately, it has come several months too late as it would have increased interest in signing up for the tournament. We will have to chalk that one up as a missed opportunity by CCP, but I suspect that this revamp is really a reaction to the poor sign up’s.
The Alliance Tournament Cup is a nice piece of fluff, but largely irrelevant I think as only one player is going to have hold of it which makes it a largely invisible part of the game. I guess we will be able to show info it or something.
The character medals are much more welcome, although I suppose their perceived value will vary. The ‘Tournament Competitor’ and ‘top 32’ medals are going to be showing up on every character from 48 alliances, so there will be quite a lot of them around. Still, it will be a visible piece of character history so hopefully hold some sentimental value to its bearers.
Then things get meatier. The Tournament Edition Rattlesnake ship skins are a very nice idea and represent some actual ISK value for teams. There will however be a lot of these things handed out. According to CCP Fozzie a whopping 1,260 of them! In the grand scheme of EVE, that isn’t many but it is enough that they won’t be commanding anything even remotely like the 30bill plus price tags that the unique tournament prize ships command. It will be interesting to see how many make it to market and what the demand will be.
The more reliable ISK source has to be this:
Teams that place between 17th and 32nd place will receive 5 PLEX
Teams that place anywhere in the top 16 will receive 15 PLEX
So assuming that you survive the first round of eliminations, your team will be getting 5 PLEX back and a stack of limited edition ship skins. Better than a poke in the eye when consider the price of PLEX at the moment. And finally, we have the long overdue main course.
This year each of the top 4 teams will receive special edition tournament ships, and each of them will receive equal numbers of our two prize ships.
1st place: 25 Chameleon Recon Cruisers and 25 Whiptail Interceptors
2nd place: 15 Chameleon Recon Cruisers and 15 Whiptail Interceptors
3rd place: 7 Chameleon Recon Cruisers and 7 Whiptail Interceptors
4th place: 3 Chameleon Recon Cruisers and 3 Whiptail Interceptors
About damn time! The benefits of coming first or second in the tournament have at times been blurry. Sometimes the 2nd place prize have actually been the better ships and either way the value of these things is so high due to their rarity that coming 2nd is just as good. Now we have a clear distinction and benefit to victory along with better distribution of the unique hulls.
Rewarding 3rd and 4th place with a few of these valuable beauties is also excellent. There is a ‘brain drain’ effect in the tournament community that has seen the best pilots of weaker teams head hunted by the more successful. This has simply resulted in the good getting better and the rest being left even further behind them as key team members are lost. Spreading out the prize pool should give more players a reason to stick with their home teams, or at least reduce the temptation to jump ship.
Hopefully these changes will do something towards reversing the trend we are seeing of ever fewer successful teams. If not, the tournament scene will simply grow more stale with time.
But hey, I’m looking forwards to AT12 and may even end up flying in a match or two if needed. Tournament practice has certainly had me logging in more frequently lately, even if I’m not all that busy on TQ. Our goal? Don’t lose our first two matches! 😀