Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

David v. Goliath

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...  ;-)


  1. Yeah I know what ya mean by the dull parts. Seems you want to use knowing the allainces more intimately to create better action and fights during it.

    I thought it was more like judo really. Judo has standing up fighting then wrestling on the ground. The officials thought people were getting bored with the wrestling and chagned the rules so if they were on the mat too long and no decisive they would be forced to stand up again and go at eash other. That was excitement was increased. (In my mind, you would try to know the judo people better and match people with someone that would be exciting)

    My thought is when the match gets boring, a Titan out of bounds randomly DDs someone until the action picks up again or so.

  2. That's an excellent setup you guys were fielding.

  3. Woo, Eve looks so pretty now I can't wait to see AT10!

  4. Could you perhaps do a bit of analysis of these fights? in particular the setups used by each team. I can't get my head round what your opponents were trying to achieve with their set-ups in most of these fights.

    1. Er, I can't really speak to the Flatline setup. I'm not sure I get what their plan was.

      The Flying Dangerous setup (heavy Drakes, Tengus, Nighthawk) is a fairly typical long-range missile spam setup. It's never effective in the later rounds of the AT -- the joke is that all this setup can do in the later rounds is die slow -- but if you're facing a weak opponent, missile spam can be effective. Usually, though, it's paired with at least SOME e-war and the FIGL team neglected to do that.

      The Clockwork setup was actually very clever. We ran the same setup every match, and the Vigilant-Abso setup could have done a great job of murdering us... had we warped to 0 (which is typical with our setup). The Vigilants, in particular, were carrying three webs each, which would have done a terrific job of negating our speed advantage. With our Sleips each double-webbed, virtually all of our DPS would have been tied to the center of the ring and murdered by close range blasters and pulse laseres. The problem is, we suspected a close-range trap and warped in at long range, which is why pBump called us names in Local before the match started...

    2. Suspected my ass, you could see us on scan. If that wasn't the case you'd have warped at 0 and things would have gone differently.

  5. Ok now for a more serious reply. I can never resist a chance to talk about alliance tournaments.

    I'm suprised to hear that you thought the quarters and semis were dull. I thought in AT9 we had some very strong quarters and semis. Matches like:
    were quite good.

    And I think everybody agrees that more qualifiers would result in a better tournament. The bottleneck is that doing all those matches requires a lot of work by the volunteer team at CCP. Having that second round of qualifiers like you suggest would be great but it would mean another 48 matches to deal with. Add to that the fact that it was obvious that 68 teams last year wasn't enough (Losing the creativity of the Dystopia team alone was painful).

    That syndicate tournament looks like it was an excellent event and I hope it inspires more groups to do the same, either on TQ or Sisi.

    I'm looking forward to seeing what Rote puts together in AT10 as well.

    1. Yeah, the Voltron/Razor fight was the only one of the six that I could really get into. The Darkside/Outbreak fight wasn't BAD, as such, but it was much more strategic than exciting. IIRC, the Darkside Guardian was the first ship to die and once it was dead, Darkside's fate was sealed. It was just Outbreak maneuvering to set up that Guardian kill that provided any suspense.

      But maybe I'm mis-remembering that fight. I'll watch it again.

      I'm definitely not blind to the difficulties of staging a more complex AT. That said, CCP paved the way to this through the much simpler 5v5s, lack of video and commentary on those early matches, etc. Almost all of the Syndicate tournament fights were broadcast live, though, so it wouldn't be hard to outsource these things to players.

    2. The issue is that good fights between good teams are rarely all that close or suspenseful. One side gets the advantage early due to piloting or setups and it's all downhill from there.

      The fights that get remembered as being epic are ones where one or both teams mess up and that keeps it close. The Voltron vs Razor fight for instance was Voltron with a good setup and huge piloting mistakes vs Razor with a bad setup but solid (if simple) piloting.

      BTW I may or may not be fairly smug about the rush setup Creyn and I made for AT8 doing so well in this tournament after dominating two alliance tournaments in a row. :)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.