As I write this, Rote Kapelle's first tournament match of AT11 is less than three weeks away.
Long-time readers are going to be used to this by now: during the run-up to the tourney, output around here is going to slow down because I spend a lot of my spare time practicing with my AT team instead of outlining blog posts. It kind of works out this year because the EVE summer slump seems a bit more pronounced this year than previous years. Unless you're off in Fountain somewhere, EVE feels pretty quiet right now. So other than the war, there's less to write about. And I don't know all that much about the war.
I'm not the only one involved in tourney practice, either. Tournament practice sever Duality is spiking to between 120 and 200 people every weekend right now, and it'll probably get even busier after the first week. And of course for me, it's even more pronounced because not only do I have tournament practice, I have CSM stuff to spend time on this year. More about that tomorrow, but this week was particularly busy.
As I get more practice in this year and as the Rote Kapelle team practices with other teams, I personally have the impression that AT11 is going to favor tourney teams that have a lot of tournament experience. In particular, I think EVE players that have remained active in the New Eden Open and the Syndicate Competitive League are going to have an advantage. There are soooo many new ships, rebalanced ships, and altered metas that it's going to take a lot of experience to react to all the changes. You -- or at the very least your team captains -- are going to have to know those changes right off. If you look across the field at the Vexor Navy Issues facing you and you have to scramble to EFT or an EVE client to be reminded what their bonuses are(1), I don't think you're going to last very long.
Similarly, I think we're going to see the same effect we saw last year with a few very tough fleet compositions that teams will have to work hard to discover and implement counters for. Teams that work well together, have a lot of practice, and are willing to jump right back on Duality after matches to test their favorite comps against the new metas they see in action will get into the finals weekend. Those that treat tourney practice casually will be watching the finals weekend.
Net result for the blog: until Rote is knocked out of the tournament or wins the tournament, I'm going to be spending as much time as I can helping my team practice. Sorry about that. ;-) And as usual, once the tourney gets going, a lot of the posts around here are likely to be tourney-focused: my thoughts on each weekend's matches, the strong comps I see, the good teams, et cetera et cetera. Those of you that are as into the tournament scene as I am will love it, the rest of you... well... I promise I'll do my best to mix some other stuff in as I can.
One final note: the Rote Kapelle tournament ad for this year is essentially done, and I personally think it's really clever! Our alliance got a lot of kudos for last year's ad and I got a kick out of the one from the year before, too. This year follows the same sort of style: off-beat, irreverent, no Skrillex, and a minimum of 1.2 second cuts. ;-) I'll post a link to it as soon as it's public.
(1) Basically, a super-charged Vexor featuring both the standard Vexor's 10% per level drone damage bonuses and the ability to launch five Sentries, as well as a nasty drone tracking bonus.