It's CCP's fault that part four of the Implant Guide is going to be late. I did not expect things to go that long today. Once again, CCP had all sorts of technical issues throughout the day; the final match was hours late. Part of it appeared to be further problems with the stream. At one point, the stuttering and lag became so bad that a thousand people were either dropped from the stream or voluntarily disconnected and reconnected. Fortunately, it didn't happen in the midst of a match! At another point, one of the matches was delayed by the fact that the "teleportation" mechanism resulted in a disabled rig on one of the ships. This is a quirk of the process that CCP uses to get tournament pilots into system. It's certainly happened before: during an AT10 match, I hear that a link ship was not pushing proper link bonuses after the teleport.
Anyway, despite the technical issues, I felt that the day was quite successful! Though fewer than 3000 people watched the first two matches, by the end of the stream about 4350 people were watching. It escalated steadily throughout the day.
And that's a good thing, because as the day wore on, the matches got better and better. The meta of the day, believe it or not: Cruise Missile Golems! This literally made me laugh. They would just sit in the center of the arena. Damps? Don't care. Kiting? Don't care. Range? Don't care. Die.
Like I said, it made me laugh.(1) I'm amazed nobody's thought of it before. The constrained bounds of the arena are perfect for this meta. Expect to see it a lot in AT11, with variations, probably particularly some massively tanked Scorpion Navy Issues or the like. Which brings me to my second favorite comp of the day, this one from RONIN: Widow, Vulture, Basi, Cyclone, Harpy, Harpy, Sabre, Merlin. This composition used multiple cap transfers to the Basi that allowed it to permanently run an X-Large Ancillary Shield Booster. It was just a lovely mix of e-war, DPS, tank, and tackle. That one you won't see in AT11 though, because it'll be tougher to keep the ASBs capped up.
Willy Wonka: The suspense is terrible... I hope it'll last.The final match between Asine Hitama's and RONIN? Fantastic! It probably wasn't all that interesting for players new to the game, but as eSports? It was a fantastic match... very suspensful, particularly when it went into sudden death. I felt kind of bad for the RONIN Merlin pilot that finally died to end the match. He was clearly maneuvering to avoid enemy assault frigs... and forgot that he was locked up by three Vargurs. Once he stopped maintaining high transversal to the Vargurs, two volleys, done. Ouch.
MVP logistics player of the tournament: tofucake secundus. It was going to be Helen Connor of DarkSide, but he tripped at the finish line, boundary violating during a critical match. Whoops. I'm sure his team won't hold that against him. ;-)
Everyone involved confirms that there definitely will be more New Eden Open tournaments, which is great news. Technical problems, scheduling problems, and organization problems aside, CCP has fortunately realized that there is player enthusiasm for this concept. As I said, really good news!
I was a little bit disappointed with the prize questions during the last weekend, all in all. Prizes were gaming mice and keyboards provided by Razer. But the questions massively favored long-time EVE players. Two of the questions were for EVE role-players or those that know the lore from the beginning of the game. Two others were questions about Alliance Tournaments that I wasn't playing EVE during. Only one question was relatively open to all comers: it asked which previous alliance prize ships were flown during the second weekend of the New Eden Open. That said, that was a minor issue.
As I predicted, the commentators today were CCP Dolan and CCP Fozzie, backed up as always by CCP Soundwave. Dolan again did a fine job today in my opinion. He was again very careful with his facts; if he wasn't sure about something, he said he wasn't sure. He was again on point with very nice commentary, and nice touches about "what it all means." As a matter of fact, he did a pretty damn good job of showing his expertise with eSports generally. I was impressed despite myself. ;-) Fozzie was also quite good, and Soundwave was nicely relaxed all day. Matter of fact, I think this was the best day of commentary of the NEO. Nobody dressed up, though.
During the many delays, there was a lot of interesting information presented about Retribution and the future of EVE, but I think I'll split that to a separate post.
Final grade for the New Eden Open: B minus. It was a good first effort, marred by lots of problems all around... yet it was ultimately very successful in my opinion. Nice job to all concerned! I look forward to the next one!
(1) That said, it's probably going to make one member of Rote Kapelle impossible to live with. He loves using Cruise Missile Ravens in PvP.