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.
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Sunday, November 25, 2012

New Eden Open D3: Why you ban Broadsword?

So, I surprised myself by actually being able to watch the matches today.  That's not what I expected at all, so that was a pleasant surprise.  So I watched all the matches today.  And at first, I didn't think I was going to have a lot to write about for today.  Then I really read through my notes and realized there was actually a lot going on.

First, the good.  CCP Dolan settled back down this week, visibly reining himself in at several points.  CCP Soundwave was right there ready to pounce on him if he said something outrageous.  But Dolan resisted and didn't rise to the bait.  He was not only more careful about not launching into too many irrelevancies, he was also more careful about his facts.  All in all, much improved.  Thumbs up!  Soundwave and CCP Fozzie were also fine.

The background image on the green screen was better, as was green screening in general.  No shadows and no ghost images today, which was nice.  However, I still recommend either taking a rotary sander to the table top or painting it with some kind of matte color.  We're still seeing a lot of weird reflections off the current table surface.  I was also very pleased to see that CCP has dropped their attempts at the illusion of separate studios for in-match commentary versus between-match commentary.  The sound guy was also generally better, with fewer thumps and bumps as headphones were taken on and off.

So all in all, the technical aspects of the tournament improved all around!  I also like the new display with the pilot name, ship type, and distance from beacon.  Thumbs up for that as well.

The not so good: viewership peaked today at about 3300 people, so viewership continues to be down week by week.  Hopefully, the big portion of that was the U.S. Thanksgiving Day weekend.  We'll see next weekend.

The matches themselves were... OK.  As a matter of fact, I was kind of surprised how little drama there was surrounding most of the matches.  And this was a day where there were a variety of prior Alliance Tournament ships in matches.  From memory, there were a Cambion, two Vangels, and a Malice fielded by various teams today.  But the only one that made a big impression was the Cambion.  Dear Heaven does that thing shred frigates!  The Cambion did its job, but if memory serves the team it was on lost its match.

So that was kind of the problem today: most of the matches just weren't all that memorable.  One reason for that was there was a near total lack of rock-paper-scissors matches today.  But even without that, a lot of the matches today were lost due to pilot error of one type or another, rather than being outright won by the winners because of good flying or good strategy.  I think the most exciting match today was the Much Crying Old Experts last match which featured three Bhaalgorns and five Enyos split between the two teams.  Despite being outnumbered in both Bhaalgorns and Enyos, the MCOE pilots won the match through good tactics and good flying.  It was quite a tactical match... if you understand the game well.  If you didn't, it was probably not all that interesting.

It didn't help that there was almost no time given to wrap up or talk about the matches before flowing into the next match, particularly late in the day.  I know this is by design for the New Eden Open: CCP wants there to be a lot of exciting fights throughout the day and not as much chit-chat.  But some chit-chat is needed to put the matches into context and allow players -- particularly new players -- to understand what they're seeing.  Hell, at a couple of points today, the devs running the matches rushed slow matches along or threatened to end matches early when nothing was happening.  Quite a change from past Alliance Tournaments!  The ATs are positively leisurely by comparison.

My favorite comp today was one of the Something Else comps.  Listed with point values for each ship: 2xKronos/17, 3xKitsune/5, Oneiros/13, 2xEnyo/4.  I think that was a nice use of the definitive Kronos comps that littered the matches today.  But it was such a nice mix of fast tackle, Kronos DPS, and the ability to jam out enemy Kronoses, which is exactly what the comp was used for.  ;-)

Funniest moment today was again in the second Much Crying Old Experts match.  During a preliminary match in AT10 versus Nulli Secunda, the Failheap Challenge team got torn up pretty hard by a three Broadsword team.  So during their match against the Nulli-sponsored team today, the MCOE team (made up partially of FHC pilots) banned... the Broadsword.  It was an in joke.

But it was a funny in joke.  ;-)  On to day four!

16 comments:

  1. I think Poetic Stanziel nails it when he laments that we are seeing impromptu teams rather than representatives of alliances. Eve players, even those who never set foot in nullsec, have brand recognition of many nullsec alliances. These random collections of vets don't really inspire the same excitement.

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  2. Inside word is - Dolan got spoke to. Whether he has a long or short future at CCP remains to be seen.

    But, for NEO, looks like the damage has been done. CCP just wants to get through the tournament and put it behind them - which is why the matches seemed rushed.

    Chit-chat between matches, as you put it, isn't necessary, since the worsening viewer numbers aren't reflecting a lot of interest by new (or old) players.

    Note: even after allowing for the absence of US players due to Thanksgiving holiday, 3300 viewers is not considered to be good.

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    1. You think him raising his hands triumphantly as Test won had anything to do with it....nah...that would be impossible, since according to Verone, all players sever all relationships with their past friends and allegiances when they get hired by CCP.

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    2. @Dins - nah, Fozzie does that, too, with regards to PL.

      The difference is that Fozzie is actually competent, whereas Dolan is not.

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  3. GHSC also brought a Freki in their match against Exiled Gaming :)

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  4. I think you are a bit too harsh, Jester.
    Yes, Dolan was unwatchable last sunday, but he improved massively (as you also note). The green screen issues should have been fixed before the tournament started, but really, it makes little difference to me at least. Not in any way worse than seeing bedlinnen draped up behind the comentators in their bedrooms for the ATX prelims.

    I do get the inconvenience and drop in participants and viewers caused by Thanksgiving in the US, but give CCP some credit - they knew...

    They had a decission to make. They have a new release coming before Christmas and if there was to be a New Eden Open in 2012, it had to be finished before the release date. If not, it would have had to be postponed until late winter/early spring, giving players time to adapt to the changes, and thus bringing it too close to ATXI.

    Moving up the release date a week or more was not an option - Release Management 101; if you have a holiday coming and your system is to be used up until and during the holiday, you have to release in time to account for error correction (with time to spare to ensure stability after said corrections are implemented) going into the holiday expecting high utilization and low staffing. You are already pushing it planning only two and a half week between the release and the holiday.
    Thus, NEO ending 2 December and Retribution released 4 December was the only choice they had. Unless CCP targets January 2014 for the Christmas release next year, expect a repeat in 2013...

    I´m not quite with you when you say there is too little time between matches. I think it has been adequate and it keeps the momentum up. Next weekend will certainly be different with the best-of matches, and Soundwave elluded to that saying next weekend will bring more devs and game designers to talk about the game in general. Looking forward to that!

    For the tournament matches, I tend to agree with you, but in my perspective one of the highlights yesterday was My Little Nulli bringing out the faction cruiser setup. I really wish more teams would go similar routes. Yes, I know it´s wind from the past, but refreshing non the less (too many Vindis and Kronoses for my taste).
    For the next NEO, could they mix it up more? I mean, the AT has a format with fixed number of ships and fixed number of points - would it not be possible to give NEO more of a difference? Could for instance the number of pilots be expanded to 10 if you DO NOT bring any battleships or marauders? Could the number of both maximum points and pilots allowed be higher (doubled?) for a team bringing only T1 ships? In my mind, changes like these would give more options and both strategic and tactical possibilities, and in the end, more fun for the participants and the viewers. Probably differantiating more from the AT format and perhaps even closing in more on TQ small gang gaming.

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    1. The tournament is unpopular for the simple reason that it was deliberately limited to the uber-rich.

      For AT, this is ok, because the teams are specifically being fielded by and representing alliances, which have decent, if not spectacular, wallets.

      But, for a tournament that is supposed to be open to any group of players in the game? No.

      First off, the PLEX entry fee was a stupid decision and the auction was even a dumber one - even CCP knows this now.

      Second, the rules should have been specifically crafted to eliminate any deep wallet advantages. Say, for example, by limiting it to T1 ships and T1 modules only. This puts the emphasis on skill - not what you can afford to fly. This would also have reduced the impact of the differences in SP.

      All of the other NEO flaws - even MBIII - would have been given a passing nod, if CCP had not blundered on this one critical issue.

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    2. Dolan is still unwatchable. 100% improvement on zero is still zero. Not even his former alliance mates in TEST are watching the tournament.

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  5. Nulli had planned on Broadswords too.

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  6. I think the 3x 100mn Tengu that lost because one of them flew out of the arena (and the second got caught) was actually quite interesting.

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  7. Holy Moly!!!

    THREE Malices gone.

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  8. I would say as someone with who doesn't play Eve much the last match with MCOE and My Lttle Nulli was the most exciting and was one of the better displays of Eve Combat. Credit needs to be given to both the cameraman who finally displayed information correctly on screen and the commentators who helped build up the tension of watching this slow match play out.

    Still an honorable mention should be given to the Big P match which was the funniest fights so far. Even with little knowledge of Eve it's understandable why the slowest ship types catching faster ships makes the whole match amusing, doubly so when 2 more pilots fly out of bounds.

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  9. Dolan did ok?!?! Are you forgetting the virginity joke? That just pushed him out of the commentators today....

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    1. Actually, if memory serves me, Soundwave was the one pitching that joke himself and cudos to Dolan for following it up

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  10. Also... 3.3k viewers is nothing when some guys get 180k viewers for a random LoL game. Happened last week before NEO started!!

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  11. EVE as e-sport just fails. If you don't understand EVE, the matches are uninteresting. If you DO understand EVE, the matches could be interesting and entertaining, but many times they are not. Good commentators offer insight, but the viewer has to take their word for it because visually there are few cues other than the health bars. Cap levels on-screen would help somewhat, but there needs to be even more than that.

    EVE is so visually stunning these matches would benefit, I think, from delayed broadcast with some post-production applied. The same action shown from different angles with optimized camera focus and movement after-the-fact. Add in some slow-motion (or speeded up motion) for dramatic effect.

    The Alliance Tournaments are popular because the matches are "Us vs. Them". The NEO tournament is not because it comes down to, "Who?"

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