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, February 24, 2013

SCL Day One: Think on your Sins

Granted, I'm probably a little biased, but I think the Syndicate Competitive League had a pretty fine first day.

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, the SCL is an EVE PvP tournament set up and run primarily by EVE players.  In that, the event was a rousing success.  I can tell you that everyone involved did a huge amount of work to make this happen, and then did a huge amount of work throughout the day to make it run smoothly.  Bacchanalian and Seldarine did a great job commentating throughout the day, and Apathetic Brent and Dradius Calvantia ran the back-end with help from CCP Fozzie, who was running the information panel at the bottom of the screen.  More on that in a few.  All did a really great job.

In particular, Bacch and Seldarine did a fine job commentating.  I teased Bacch that he spent the early part of the day speaking at "Rote speed" instead of normal human speed.  And both need a bit more polish in terms of putting context around ships, tactics, and fleet compositions.  They assume that their listeners know what they know.  If you're an experienced tournament watcher, this was no problem.  But if you're newer to tournaments or to PvP, then you were probably pretty confused about some of what they said.  And Seldarine's puns... oi.  ;-)  At first, they were dropped in casually and infrequently.  By the end of the day, the poor guy seemed unable to open his mouth without firing one.

Still, they're a great team and I thought they did a fine job commentating the matches.  It was quite refreshing to have two people who clearly know the game inside and out talking about the proceedings.

The matches themselves were fine, though many of them were pretty one-sided.  Still, there were enough close fights and interesting compositions to make the day a lot of fun.  Weirdest composition of the day went to one built around three Sin black ops battleships.  That's the sort of thing you'd probably only see on the test server.  ;-)  But there were more standard compositions as well.  Double Sleipnir made several appearances, as did double (and even triple Vindi), and tournament favorites Kronos and Vargur comps.  But some of the new ships were also well-represented.  The Algos was far and away the most frequently seen new ship, but there were also some T1 logistics cruisers as well as one nearly all T1 cruiser comp (it lost, and badly).

Second most amusing comp of the day was brought by The Reputation Cartel -- it was centered on three Curses.  Bacch is a well-known fan of the Curse, so it was kind of amusing to see his reaction...  There was also one Venture brought by one of the teams who clearly recognized they were over-matched and just brought fun ships to their ultimately unsuccessful run.

Viewership was 750 to 850 throughout the early part of the day, peaking at the last match before the break before sliding to about 550 or so for the remainder of the day.  Still, not bad at all for a nearly-completely player run event!

There were also a few glitches but only one major one.  The second set of matches of the day was interrupted by the same old teleporter glitch that failed the New Eden Open a couple of times.  We all know by now that this is not exactly production code, and in this case, it delayed one of the matches by about 45 minutes all told.  No big deal, all in all, but it gave Bacch and Seldarine some time to try to chat about the format, rules, and generally fill dead air time.  They did a pretty good job, though one of the challenges of this format was a lack of "all day" content.  CCP does this particularly well by having booth commentators and studio commentators.  They can keep the content going throughout a full day because they have a full crew to swap back and forth to.  The SCL had no such luxury.  Everything was being done with a handful of people and those people had to work all day.

That said, there was one cute idea used: some pre-recorded interviews with the captains of some of the teams played between a few of the matches.  This was a great idea!  Hopefully as SCL gets its legs under it, this will be done more extensively giving the team a broader base of content to present in-between matches.

There were a few other interesting glitches.  Most noticeable was the fact that the information graphic at the bottom of the screen, while identical to the one used for AT10 and the NEO, was lagged by about seven seconds relative to the on-screen action.  The commentators would announce the death of a ship, or that one had been caught, and it took seven seconds for the info graphic to confirm their commentary.  This is caused by a quirk in how the stream gets to the viewers.  The match is "directed" by Apathetic Brent, who controls what we all see from the center of the grid.  However, the info graphic is provided by CCP Fozzie.  Fozzie streams the info graphic to Brent, who then has to add it as an overlay to his stream (think of it as a big advertisement).  Then it gets restreamed to all of us.  From Fozzie to the satellite to the Brent, then back up to the satellite and down to us... that accounts for the seven second delay.  If Brent delays his stream tomorrow by seven seconds, that might correct this minor bug.  I suggested it to him.  In the meantime, it wasn't too distracting.

The commentators work similarly: they're sitting in Gallente shuttles at the center of the beacon, nearly invulnerable to weapons fire and smart bombs, using standard locks and views to commentate on the action.  It's a little kludgy, but it's clearly working just fine!  But it does result in a few minor glitches, particularly when smart-bombs went off around Brent and his PvP flag audibly and repeatedly went off during one match...

In addition, the info graphic itself still has the weird fact that the attack bar -- used to show how much of the potential DPS of a team is actually being applied -- still never goes above 50% or so.  Apparently EVE players are bad at applying DPS.

All in all though, these are minor quibbles.  SCL had a great first day and a great inaugural set of matches for what I hope will be a continuing EVE PvP tournament league!  On to day two!

8 comments:

  1. is there any place i can do 2 watch it, not in the live stream... due 2 myself been asleep at 3-4am 3 me when it kicks off?

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  2. Well, if I remember correctly, the attack bar also takes the resistances of the target into consideration.

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  3. Nice post action report. By the way, did you see that the graphics below the attack bar were out of focus? Making it almost impossible to read. I'm looking forward to todays matches:-)

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  4. I was very impressed. The familiar tournament interface plus decent commentary = fun.

    I'm not a fan of televised sports, so it took me a while to catch on to the word-play attempts. Yes, I guess that's what sportcasters do, and it is a piece of the liveliness I'd like to see more of. Let me hear some "GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL!" if you're feeling it, guys.

    I think I miss being able to see the commentators at work.

    I will watch whenever I can.

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  5. It was a great first day and had lots of nice matches and comps. I can't believe how well it went off, there must have been a lot of planning for this. Also nice work on whoever did the SCL website. I really look forward to more from SCL!

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  6. I can't seem to find any video recordings of the past matches - is the only way to watch these the live stream?

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  7. there is a twitchtv account for the replays... have to see if SCL adds a link to make it easier to find.

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  8. http://en.twitch.tv/syndicatecl/videos

    You can find all our matches here, we are in the process of finishing up the editing on the last couple though they should be up by the end of tonight.

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