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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Monday, November 19, 2012

Quote of the Week: Piece of metal

Quote of the Week honors this week goes to CCP Soundwave, who pretty much hammered CCP Dolan yesterday:
Are you smarter than a piece of metal?
...he asked of Dolan.  Context will help.  By the time the day was about half over, Soundwave, Dolan, and CCP Fozzie were all having a somewhat difficult time predicting the winners of matches.  There were a lot of upsets!  Soundwave and Fozzie took this in stride, but CCP Dolan started flipping a coin before each match to predict the winner.

And he was serious.

He'd flip the coin, then write down what the coin told him to write on his prediction page.  Soundwave became somewhat less of his laconic self as the day wore on and Dolan kept doing this.  And he finally asked in exasperation if Dolan felt he was smarter than a piece of metal!  It was a classic moment.  Even funnier: Dolan responded by tossing his coin across the studio!  Kudos to Soundwave for controlling his facial expression at this moment, but you could tell he was not happy.

It wasn't the only time that Soundwave got a little exasperated with Dolan, either.  At another point, Dolan was about to launch into an irrelevant side note and did so by saying "Funny story about that..."  Soundwave snapped, "Is it actually funny?"  Dolan had to admit that maybe it wasn't and lapsed into silence.

The point here is that CCP Dolan is supposed to be a tournament match expert.(1)  And it's a bit disconcerting to have an expert commentator choosing winners based on a coin toss.  Any moron can toss a coin.  If the coin toss had been part of a gimmick that would have been one thing, but it wasn't.  It was used in earnest.  The tournament commentators in the booth are supposed to use intelligent analysis to predict a tournament match winner and then explain why they're making the choice to the viewers.  The reason doesn't have to be serious, but it does have to be non-random.

Speaking of non-random: irrelevant commentary at several points today actually prevented intelligent commentary on the match in question.

At one point in a match between Kronoses and Machariels, a Kronos managed to web down a Machariel and the match looked likely to turn on this moment.  Problem was during that time, Dolan had Fozzie involved in a conversation about... I can't even remember.  But it definitely wasn't relevant, nor was it important enough to remember.  Meanwhile, a great piece of EVE Online piloting was happening in the actual match.  The Mach pilot called on a friendly Griffin to jam out the webbing Kronos, which was apparently successful and this allowed the Mach to escape tackle and side-step a second enemy Kronos.

Both commentators missed the whole thing.

That's not to say that Dolan was bad all day.  At another point, he used a very interesting analogy to compare the many, many Kronoses we saw today to tar pits.  It wasn't all that terrible of an analogy for a new player because in essence that's what a Kronos or a Vindicator is: a tar pit that will drag you in closer and closer and eventually kill you.  But then encouraged by this small success, Dolan launched into a steady stream of irrelevant stories and analogies.  Included in this was one very uncomfortable moment where he talked about two Curses involved in sexual relations, and some months later some baby Sentinels would appear--

I swear I am not making this up.

Anyway, all in all it would not surprise me if Dolan found himself having "technical difficulties" next weekend.  At the very least, he's likely to get a bit of a talking to this morning...  If he returns, let's hope he dials this behavior back some because today, he was virtually unwatchable.


(1) Laugh later.  He is.

54 comments:

  1. will they upload this on youtube? sans editing :)

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    1. They have them all posted to Owned, you can watch them there.

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  2. I find Dolan entertaining. Granted he can get a little off-track sometimes, but he brings a certain levity and irreverence. If CCP want anyone other than super-serious elitist spaceship nerds to watch the stream, then they certainly need something more than dryly delivered and impenetrable spaceship jargon.

    I mean that as no disrespect to CCP Fozzie's encyclopedic knowledge of EVE Online, I think he's an asset to the show and he can also do the funny ("we have to be careful what we touch with our balls"). But I do think Dolan adds to the viewing experience, even if he's a little off-base at times. That's part of his charm.

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    1. As I say in the piece, he has his moments. He has good days and bad days. Yesterday was a very bad day. In rather Zen-like fashion, when he doesn't try so hard to be entertaining, he's usually much more entertaining.

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    2. i agree, its very obvious that when comparing to the AT commentaries, he is really trying very hard here to replicate the same humor.

      i guess it has to be said though that back in AT he didnt have that much to lose. regardless, i hope he wont let the negative comments get to him!

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    3. Some people say the same thing about Woody Allen. Personally, I find him creepy and avoid his movies like the plague. Mealy-mouthed little worms that annoy me.

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    4. "If CCP want anyone other than super-serious elitist spaceship nerds to watch the stream..."

      3900 viewers, peak, down more than 20% from the previous day's 5100 viewers, shows that not even a significant percentage of the "super-serious elitist spaceship nerds" are watching the stream, let alone anyone else.

      Hell, TEST has nearly 10,000 members - looks like most of them aren't even watching their old pal, MBIII (aka Dolan).

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    5. @Jester - never seen him have a "good day". Every time he spoke, in ATX, I had to hit the mute button.

      This boy has a major ADD problem. He cannot stay focused on the match for more than a second, before going off on a tangent.

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    6. MB3 hasn't been a part of TEST for at least a year an a half. Sure he was a member of Dreddit, but he never logged in, posted on forums, or so much as logged into jabber. It was somewhat surprising he gave the presentation on TEST at Fanfest this year since he logged on approximately once between last Fanfest and this one.

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    7. Wasn't MBIII still claiming to be in TEST during ATX?

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    8. That's the point. MB3 is no more a member of TEST than Ripard is a member of goons.

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  3. In defence of the experts, it's difficult to predict the outcome of the match based solely on the past tournament history of the alliances.... I mean teams. In the case of ElitePVP vs Jita Spammers they have a good possibility of getting it right however the format precludes the experts from knowing what ships are being brought to the match while in commentary mode.

    Sports experts predicting football outcomes will put some stock in team history but they will also know that the defence of one team usually beats out the offence of the other team. If the Eve experts had access to the ship rosters before the match and did the coin flip thing then I'd find it insulting but in the current format the coin flip is just as good of a predicter.

    Maybe if there was a few more minutes between warping the teams into the arena and "Here we go to the next match" then the experts could discuss the ships on the field and why one team is going to kick the other teams ass.

    In Jester's defence, Dolan is quite annoying at the best of times.

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    1. I agree, but if you're going to sell yourself as an expert commentator, have some information available to you. "Player X has a lot of experience on TQ in Vindicators," "Team X has had a lot of luck in past tournaments with the Sleipnir setup, that's why Team Y banned them", etc.

      Fozzie does an OK job at this. Dolan, whose *job* is community relations, doesn't even try.

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  4. I enjoyed and was very impressed by Kil2's commentary during ATX, very intelligent and the guy has a unusually professional attitude as well.

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    1. This. Kil2 has been consistently professional, in every AT in which he has participated. He should be the model for what CCP looks for in a tournament commentator.

      He stays on on-topic, paying attention to the match, and he doesn't show up obviously drunk or hung over. He has great knowledge about game play and mechanics, but also freely admits when he does not know something. He is not a prima donna, trying to hog air time.

      Why didn't CCP offer him the job, rather than Michael BoltonIII?

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    2. Kil2 puts me to sleep. Sure he's got a great breadth of knowledge, but that's why Fozzie is there. Just like in SC2 you need a caster and a commentator. A personality and someone that knows the game. Both of them need to know the game, but only one needs to know the minutia. The problem with Dolan is that he doesn't know when to hold back and when to liven up the cast.

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    3. +1 Kil2, -1 Dolan

      Sorry, but there is just no way you can compare the two fairly. Kil2 knows the game, and is a good commentator. Dolan just doesn't and isn't.

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  5. Personally I'd like to see more variety, like maybe even a female color analyst. Or some NFL style tele-prompter writing on screen, to show strategy and tactics. Engagement. Maybe pre-recorded statements from team leaders before the match? Anything that makes Eve seem more real and less like pixels shooting pixels.

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  6. It's the problem when non professionals try to do comedy. Don't really blame Dolan, but unless you've had years of practice of being on stage in front of a crowd with instant feedback on if you're good or suck you can't really learn the instincts or the beats. You may be a generally funny guy, but without all the scaffolding and structure after years of work holding it all together.. you're going to fall on that stage. And some of the slips are going to be spectacular.

    But CCP needs a funny guy up there to keep it interesting, and Dolan is the best they got in terms of balancing comedy with the knowledge needed to comment at all. It is what it is.

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    1. Good point and I agree. Dolan is doing the best he can without immediate feedback a live crowd would give him. I see leave him on - it's like having Howard Cosell in the both...

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    2. Dolan isn't funny - he is both stupid and annoying.

      There is a *big* difference.

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    3. Well, given that this whole NEO tournament has been a running joke from day one, I guess that it shouldn't be a surprise that CCP chose a clown for a commentator.

      I'd also agree that Dolan does balance comedy with knowledge: He isn't funny and he doesn't seem to know anything about PVP in Eve.

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    4. If Soundwave kicks Dolan in the nuts next weekend, that would be funny.

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    5. Immediate Feedback wouldn't help him either. That wasn't the point.

      The point was that he's trying to do a job, be color commentary, on a live cast which he's woefully unqualified to do.

      I don't blame him for it, he's got an impossible job. The "funny" TV show presenters don't just spring forth fully formed. They've had years to practice their craft before they ever hit that level.

      What I do blame them for, CCP in general, is lack of being prepared. You would not see a Monday Night Football commentator go on camera without having notes on the match before it even began. The silly tournament was announced months ago. People have been practising on Singularity or Buckingham or whatever ever since the announcement. The moment they got the teams list the two commentators picked for the job should have been hopping around incognito from listed team captain to listed team captain learning what sort of fleet comps they had up their sleeve and jotting something to say about it instead of just going in cold and learning of it day of. They should have had a hazy idea of pre-written jokes and fully formed ideas of ways to explain what that group's plan was a week in advance. Their job here was to present Eve to people who don't play Eve, and they utterly failed at it.

      I don't blame Dolan for how bad his comedy routine bombed. It's an impossible thankless task for him, and I was trying to be nice about that aspect of it up above. But his job is to promote Eve, and this is one of the three times of year he's absolutely most visible. He should have prepared better. It wouldn't have made his comedy any better, but it would have helped the overall commentary.

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    6. According to a friend at CCP, Dolan wasn't hired to be a stage comedian.

      He was hired to do a job, is failing miserably at it, and doing so in public, while making CCP look bad, which makes it worse.

      I expect that he'll be a bit more serious next weekend, assuming, of course, that he doesn't experience "technical difficulties", as Jester put it.

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  7. Honestly, I think what is hampering both commentators is that they are stuck speaking as CCP members instead of historied Eve enthusiasts. I have only played for a couple of years, and what I enjoyed most about the alliance tournament commentaries are the anecdotes and stories about the contestants and their Eve exploits, often told first-person from the point of view of the commentators as nullsec members. Shadoo was great at this in ATIX, but Raivi and MBIII did it as well.

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  8. Both commentators show a shocking amount of cluelessness, like they did during AT X. Fozzie is not as awkward as a person, but he too misses most important developments in matches, often mixes up the two teams, notices an important ship has exploded a minute after the fact etc.

    Yesterday in one match one side had two Vindicators and they won, but lost one of the Vindicators (and nothing else). That Vindi died when the other side had only one ship left and it only died because it did not receive a single rep cycle from its logistics for a full two minutes! Yes the logi was dampened but he had all the time in the world to close in. Why did he mess up? I don't know, but I'd expect the commentators to ask this question or at least notice what happens.

    Sorry, but those two newcomers to CCP are not proving to be 'experts' at all. Seeing him on the show, I'm actually surprised that Fozzie seems to be doing a decent job on ship rebalancing.

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    1. Raivi (CCP Fozzie) is actually a much better commentator, when he isn't paired up with a braying jackass. Watch the old AT tournaments.

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    2. Day 2, MB3 wasn't speaking that much during the later matches. Raivi was speaking so much that he understandably missed things.

      The XXXMity's logi comment, I think MB3 was trying to say that pre-repping those ships wasn't efficient but it was effective, and its effective that matters.

      I've been watching it half a day at a time and skipping much of the studio segments , easier to tank his blather?

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  9. They need TotalBiscuit to comment but I imagine that he would cost more than CCP Dolan and crew.

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  10. They should really

    A) Get commentators that know the game. Raivi is great on this, Kil2 was even better, but at several points MBIII showed he didnt know the slot layouts or bonuses of some of the ships.

    B) Have the commentators control the camera. Its really bad when the camera is orbiting a jaguar that is flying around at 50km tracking disrupting something, and missing the fact that a merlin just landed a scram on the enemy scimitar.

    C) Pre or Post match interviews with the team captains or designees. Explain what went right, what went wrong, allow time for trash talk, etc.

    D) Stop referncing those bars all the time. Its just eft-warrioring, plain and simple. If I showed up with a tengu team with 0 EM resist, I could make the defense bar appear huge, but then die in seconds to a bunch of laser ships. I could have a ton of control, but then miss all the jams (like if you bring entirely minmatar jams vs a non-minmatar team, as goonswarm did). The bars do give some info, but they are very misleading.

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  11. Yup, just love the argument that CCP must hire people from null sec alliances (Soundwave = Goons, Dolan = PL, Fozzie = Test) because all the elite PvP'ers and the only people who know the game come from null sec.

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  12. It is amazing that Soundwave managed to keep his temper. Dolan literally behaves like a petulant child, when rebuked. And, more frightening, it isn't an act.

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    1. I think Soundwave actually did lose his temper a few times.

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  13. They're employees now right? Dolan and Fozzie. I really thought The Open would up CCPs game, technically it has, but professionally, it's still in-jokes and hi-jinks, which irritates the hell out of this career outsider.

    I'm really starting to wonder if we have seen the last Alliance Tournament. I can't see CCP having the resources or the stamina to run both formats regularly. At least Tournament Cat has not made an appearance, that would send all the wrong signals.

    MB3 should have his own private youtube channel so that you can tune in if you like that kind of thing, I really don't.
    I do like that Dolan has made a real (if imperfect) effort to know and communicate the character of the teams entering.
    Bottom line; keep at it and settle in, let the matches be the entertainment and you'll do fine.

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    1. CCP Dolan and CCP Fozzie are indeed CCP employees. Fozzie (nee Raivi) is a game developer, currently on the team working ship balancing. Dolan (nee michael boltonIII) is part of the Community Relations team, currently focused on eSports initiatives.

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    2. CCP needs to punt Dolan, as well as their entire HR dept.

      Dolan is doing more damage to Community Relations than Incarna. I doubt this eSports initiative is even going to last to the end of the NEO tournament.

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    3. Tournament Cat is in front of Soundwave.

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  14. "Unwatchable" is the right word, Jester. I'm done with the Open. Yesterday was just too much to take anymore.

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  15. I actually hate watching AT matches where this guy comments. He just likes to hear himself talk and thinks he's funny. He messes up so much that you are better off watching the whole thing muted. His fanfest presentations were also horrible. I have no idea why CCP hired him. Maybe he has some hidden qualities that are absolutely invisible to me in any of his public appearances.

    Fozzie/Raivi is usually not bad, it is just that this time the bar has been lowered so much that it was impossible to watch/listen to.

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  16. What would you consider a "technical difficulty"? Laryngitis?

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    1. That, or being duct-taped to a office chair that is pushed into a broom closet deep in the furthest corner of CCP HQ.

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    2. Don't forget to duct-tape his mouth....

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    3. So I guess we should blame this on Falcon? Or would you rather see CCP Falcon team with Fozzie?

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  17. Damn you, Jester. I only watched the tournament on Day 2, 'cause of your Day 1 review.

    This was, bar none, the *worst* tournament coverage I've ever seen. I'd rather suffer through a Jar Jar Binks Thanksgiving special than watch another day of this tripe.

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  18. To be honest .. best ATX Games comment was the comment in the RvB Community Channel done by Combat Mink and some of the mates from their team watching their match in replay ...was funny as hell to hear the knowlege of an insider drunken after his victory .. or analysing their losses ... Why not delay the "live" stream ... watch the hole match like 3 times and then comment it ...Hell it should be easy to make good camera work etc if you have all the infos avaible .. and get each team captain doing an commentary and then mix both of them up in post .. I willwatch an good match on youtube .. but this live stream are worthless with their camera work .. and most fraps videos from the atx are better then the "offical" stuff ..

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  19. Dolan is being what he has been all along since before he was Dolan, commenting on the alliance tourneys as Michael Bolton III. If CCP didn't want this, they shouldn't have bought it, and instead hired someone who takes things a little more seriously like Kil2.

    Secondly, methinks the Jester doth protest too much re: Baby curses, AKA sentinels. It was a short little gag, not very graphic at all, and you pointing it out as some huge gaff points more to your prudishness than to any wrongdoing on Dolan's part.

    Finally, Dolan may be wrong a lot of the time, and irreverent the rest, but at least he doesn't come off as a self important douche-nozzle like Soundwave does. Soundwave usually has absolutely nothing of value to add to any discussion, and what he does say he spits out at such a laborious pace, the only analogy fitting is that of an old man with a cane trying to scale the down escalator at the mall. The way he struggles to progress through the simplest sentences while still trying to deliver it like a master orator is nothing but a waste of time.

    CCP should kick both Dolan and Soundwave off the set, hire Kil2, and keep Fozzie and just run the rest of the tourney with them.

    At least they aren't bringing in that awkward redhead to ask inane questions of the commentators like an uninterested girlfriend at a Yugi-oh tourney this time around.

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  20. It would help them a bunch if they had about 10 minutes once the teams are up to at least get a look at what they are bringing, that way you aren't trying to guess as to what the teams strategies are while they are actually fighting. Give them a minute, let them put across some ideas, then they wouldn't be trying to fill air time with "static" just so they are saying something.

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  21. WOW the dogpiling on this tournament is almosbecomming staggering... is there anything CCP has done right oris this just a pinnata for bitervets that can't watch this weeekend because visiting family in USA for Turkey day?

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    1. Well... I'm neither bitter, nor a vet (just started playing a few months ago). However, I'd have to agree that watching the Sunday matches (I missed Saturday) was not enjoyable.

      I'm not experienced in watching PVP, so it was very difficult for me to tell what was going on. And, the commentators did not help, since they spent most of the time joking around and not paying much attention to the matches.

      That Dolan guy was especially bad. The Soundwave guy was obviously irritated at him, too.

      So, no, I don't think I will be watching any more of this tournament.

      I do like Jester's blog, though! Very helpful for new players. :)

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  22. If you want to make the match more comprehensible from a visual standpoint, create a custom tactical overlay that exaggerates ship sizes to scale with how far away they are, exaggerates the ECM/shooting effects so they can be seen while zoomed out, and adds large labels (done like thumb pins so as to not obscure the ships) with ship types and pilot names, color-coded by team. Then the commentators can better see what's happening over the whole match and it isn't just a bunch of red and blue boxes on a starscape. The cameraman could still zoom in to focus on individual ships during crucial moments.

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  23. Was really looking forward to watching this tournament, except...
    - it's own3DTV where I have to click every single video segment.
    (seriously, how hard is to make a playlist or rebroadcast the whole ting. Seems twitch is able to do so... Also, is anyone able to find the VODs without using the link Jester posted? Just sayin')

    - have to listen to Dolan and Fozzie...( enough said on that topic already).

    Suggestion, CCP, please organize an open call for casters. Set it up like the 'I was there' clips. Just provide the raw feed, set a deadline and you are set. Certainly can't be worse than what you have now.
    IPL is currently doing the same for SC2 and turned it into a fan-based event where the finalists are invited to IPL5 at Las Vegas next week for final decision.
    just a thought
    sQuatch

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