For those who might not have heard, Rote Kapelle won themselves an alliance tournament last weekend.
Nope, not AT10... we can't expect that to happen until May at the earliest. This time, it was an informal "Syndicate Alliance Tournament", made up of those alliances that live in Syndicate that wished to participate. It was primarily organized by Apathetic Brent from Rote, with some help from pBump and TimNeilson from Clockwork Pineapple. In the end, eight alliances initially signed up, though a few of them dropped out during the proceedings. The tourney was set up as a laddered double-elimination tournament.
Clockwork Pineapple, after losing their first match, hard-fought their way back to win the lower bracket, while Rote's initial opponent dropped out, giving us a Bye in the first round followed by two wins to win us the upper bracket. And, as I've already mentioned, Rote defeated Clockwork in the final. Agony Unleashed acted as the referee. I myself was pleased and proud to be on the Rote team throughout. Here are our three matches during this tournament from the perspective of Rote pilot Ben Booley:
Round 1: Rote Kapelle v. Flatline
Round 2: Rote Kapelle v. Flying Dangerous
(lots of breathing noises in this one)
Round 3: Rote Kapelle v. Clockwork Pineapple
I generally stay pretty quiet on Teamspeak during PvP, but you can hear me at a couple of points if you're curious to know what I sound like. I'm the guy that calls the scram on the Oracle late in the first match, and mentions a pBump message in Local before the third match starts.
For quite a while, entry into the official Alliance Tournaments has been partially through lottery. This was widely regarded as a very poor system and resulted in a lot of teams getting in that honestly had no business doing so. Last year, for AT9, CCP implemented a system where the four best finishers from AT8 would be automatically entered. The remaining 28 slots would be filled by 64 teams that would fight it out during two weekends of pre-qualifying matches involving 5v5 set-ups. The idea was that these 5v5 matches would be quick and would generate a lot of point differential. And that's more or less exactly how it worked. There were a few surprises, but for the most part, the best teams reached AT9.
At that point they were separated into eight groups of four teams each... where CCP seems to have assigned the groups randomly. How would you like to have been in the rather infamous group D with both Pandemic Legion and Hydra Reloaded? Or Group F, with We Form Voltron and P0wer of Tw0? Yeah, I thought so: in an EVE David v. Goliath match-up, David gets his ass kicked almost every time.
Groups A and G, meanwhile, comprised eight teams that collectively managed to go 11-15 and were all eliminated in short order. Hell, a lot of the alliances in these two groups don't exist any more.
Now I don't know how CCP intends to run AT10. But wouldn't it be nice to have brackets or qualifiers that made sense? Professional sports in the U.S. throw everyone into one big pile because everyone theoretically has the same chances in terms of money, players, and facilities. College sports, meanwhile, operate in brackets of teams with similar capabilities. Don't get me wrong: I still think that there should be a single final match. But the process for getting there should be completely revamped.
Perhaps use the group structure, but introduce it far later in the process, with more of a free-for-all earlier in the process? It might have been interesting, for instance, to throw 64 teams together using the pre-qualifying system from last year: two wins and you move on, then points. The top 32 teams move into a second qualifying phase that operates the same way, this time with three rounds. The top eight teams from the second qualifiers then move into a ladder tournament. I don't know... I'm just spit-balling here, but I think it would result in much more entertaining final matches and the process to get there would be more interesting.
It could hardly be less interesting: for the most part, the six quarter- and semi-final fights last year were deadly dull.
Of course, given the fiasco that the AT9 final turned out to be, CCP might be nervous about running AT10 at all... ;-)