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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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

AT11 Wrap-up: Snowball

OK, let's wrap up my series of AT11 posts with one that I've been orbiting but haven't quite dared really talk about yet.  I'm going to try to make this a little bit low-key.  I'm going to try.  But it's a difficult subject.  Here goes.

How many really good alliance tournament teams are there in EVE?  Because frankly, with the current design of EVE tournament play, I don't think it's very many.  More specifically, I think it's two: HYDRA RELOADED and Pandemic Legion.  And the more alliance tournaments CCP has with its current design, the fewer really good teams I think we're going to have.  We're going to see a snowball effect where fewer and fewer players will be willing to make the sacrifices necessary to be really good at this tournament thing... to really be competitive in tournament play... and I think those players will respond to it by moving either temporarily or permanently to alliances that support that play style.(1)

In short, tourney play in EVE is in serious danger of becoming just like every other play style in EVE: dominated by a small number of groups that wipe out their competition in the meta-game rather than the actual game-game.  Like sovereignty.  Like wormholes.  Like moon-goo (yes, this is different from sov; it's just some of the same groups involved).  The differences between AT11 and the Dota2 International Championships over the weekend were really striking, particularly how many really good Dota2 teams there are.

EVE isn't there.  I'm starting to wonder if it ever will be.

After the Hydra/0utbreak embarrassment that was AT9, I had the opportunity to chat semi-publicly with one of the Hydra players.  I mentioned that AT9 seemed so much more professional and hard-core than previous tournaments and more casual teams were ROFL-stomped pretty aggressively early on.  Then I essentially said, "after dominating this tournament so forcefully this year, do you think we'll see Hydra's core of pilots break up into other alliances to try to build a number of competitive tournament teams?"  The answer I got was essentially, no, this player felt like other teams were stepping up to their level and we'd see more competition.

We saw how that worked out in AT10 when Hydra was banned from competing.  A lot of Hydra players were openly dismissive of the AT10 winners on the EVE-O and other forums after it was over.  And now with AT11 in the books, we can see that was with good reason.  Hydra crushed anyone they even came near, not even losing a single ship to their competition until we were down to the top four(!) teams in the winner's bracket.  Sure, Exodus came in third, and sure, they feel there were extenuating circumstances that might have got them past Hydra and into the finals.  Know what?  No, there weren't.  Exodus was crushed, too.  The gap between the second-best team and the third-best team in AT11 was wide and deep.

This year, a few PL pilots said that no other alliance could have gone through the marathon they did in that loser's bracket.  I'm not inclined to argue with them.  I asked my own alliance-mates if any of them could say with a straight face we could have supplied the ships for and fought 17 matches, winning 14 of them.  Nobody did.  And Rote Kapelle isn't considered a bad tournament team... I don't think.

OK, I promised I wasn't going to make a big deal of this.  I'll try to back off a bit.

But I'm gonna say it: this style of play is really really nasty and very few EVE players are stepping up to it.  Putting together 12 or 15 or 18 players all in the same alliance, all willing to do it?  Tough.  Very tough!  Oh sure, we'll continue to see competitive matches among the lower tier teams between each other.  And some of those will be great fights!  But right now, they're mostly fighting for the right to show who gets to be badly crushed by a first tier team.  Maybe they get to say they gave their first-tier opponent a hard time, but probably they don't.  And as the first tier teams continue to collect more and more tourney ships, that gap is only going to get deeper and wider.  Thank Heaven the AT11 prizes were sub-par tournament ships.

For a lot of players, their best chance to get a sniff of those tourney ships isn't going to be to motivate their alliance-mates into doing the work.  It's going to be seeing what they can do to convince a winning alliance to recruit them.(2)  And that's only going to make the snowball effect protecting those top-tier teams more pronounced.

Whew.  Glad I got that off my chest.  I might be totally off the mark here.  What do you think, Dear Reader?  And in the meantime, no more tourney stuff until NEO.  Or maybe until SCL.


(1) As a side note, as the CREST "battlespace simulator" becomes more and more advanced, I wonder if it will cause some EVE players to become more hesitant about flying in AT matches and have their every move scrutinized?  It's yet another way that pilots competing at this level have to be absolute perfectionists at their play, because any mistakes will be seen...
(2) Apathetic Brent in my own alliance caught a lot of crap from my alliance-mates (including myself, truth be told) for trying to do just that before being selected as a commentator instead.

42 comments:

  1. I agree with a lot of your points, maybe even all of them. A minor point that I wanted to clarify though, we (Exodus.) do not feel were extenuating circumstances against Hydra (at least I don't). They kicked our ass all over the grid. Period. We did come close to PL, but they also took our best shot and beat us. Congrats to them both.

    Otherwise, spot on.

    While I love the best of 3, I do think it adds to the pressure due to the tight turnarounds and banning, AND, makes it much less likely that a top team gets knocked out on a fluke. For example, last year, PL lost to HUN and was bounced early. If that was a best of 3, I think there's a fair chance PL turns that around to take 2 of 3, and on to the final. v0v

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  2. Well, all this E Sports league have dominating teams. It is just that since there is a fewer total players in Eve, we will get Fewer realy good teams. In Lol the top teams are pretty safe and much better than those struggeling to stay in top league.

    Even tho i think drone setups are boring to watch and play, you can realy say that it is realy needed with tournament ships to win. there where no tournament ships in final. VOC showed that tournament ships are no gurantee for winning. And one of the most dominating comps was T1 cruiser T2 cruisers and a T1 battlecruiser. not insanly expensive.

    But yea, the teams that practice the most will have a higher chance to find the best comp. as it should be no?

    By the way ministary of inappropriate footwork and agony but some realy nice setups on the field and took some good teams off guard.

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  3. Are you implying that the AT needs to move to a format where involvement isn't a factor?
    Or you're implying that we need to ban good teams to let the others win?

    As for the format, I woudn't have had a problem fielding 17 ships in T2 fittings. I think few veterans would (maybe not 17 bhaalgorns). Freeing 8 hours straight 3 weekends in a row, there was the problem. It's the difficulty of stepping up the time you dedicate to game in your life to the commitment needed for a tournament.

    One of the factors in the dominance of a few team is that there aren't a lot of instances where team can perform in the particular tourney format. And these top tier team are present in every tournament instance, keeping the winning for themselves and reinforcing the atmosphere that nobody else is going to win, so why bother.

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  4. Thank goodness! Someone else was thinking what i was thinking after the end of AT11. I really enjoyed the tournament, but left feeling and thinking exactly like this.

    I can understand the interest of the meta game and how it all plays out. Reading The PL post tournie article about mind games involved was interesting, but it's too niche.

    Eve is a niche to a niche to a niche. The AT11 tournament was making that niche even more...niche ;)

    Allowing a team to own a unique ship that noone else has access to is bad in the long run. The longer the tournament continues the greater the gap will be.

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  5. I do agree with the point that the top 2 teams are way before the rest of participants.

    But why is that so and how could it be changed? Those 2 teams have very good pilots, is it only this? What else has influence on that?
    Is the rule set too unforgiving that the slightest mistake will end the match pretty fast?
    Could the rules be extended to something less elitist?

    The battle simulator isn't that bad, it not only allows others to see your mistakes, you can also see your own, those of others and you can watch those in equal roles how they did it.
    For a serious after fight analysis this is a great tool, and I wouldn't be surprised if PL and Hydra have some camera guys in there training systems for exactly that reason.

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  6. I don't disagree (much). Seems like every year there are those fights dubbed "cripple fights", I'm sure you're familiar with the term. Some turn out to be mildly interested, most just dull.

    Kind of odd how the "good fights" that the commentators love also happen to be ones where both sides made a number of obvious (to at least, a semi-competent viewer).

    Part of the problem is eves rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock approach to combat: brought a couple TDs? Opponent is flying missile boats? Precious slots are wasted.

    That said, it seems AT combat isn't much different from frigate 1v1s. Some fits win more often than others, sometimes pilot skill can make up for a poor match of ships, and seemingly tiny mistakes are punished very harshly.

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  7. Excellent article with lots of food for thought.

    I felt the changes made to the tournament format this year - especially the implant limits - helped level out the playing field a LOT. The limits on implants helped reduce the ISK factor (as in, only the very richest of alliances can effectively compete), but did not necessarily eliminate the ISK factor - for example, PL fielded a flagship that cost more than the ENTIRE tournament budget for many teams.

    The use of Duality and its password protected practice systems was fantastic to help reduce (but not necessarily eliminate!) interruptions, spying and shenanigans while teams practiced.

    CCP's T1 ship rebalancing played a huge factor in making it more affordable and accessible to compete effectively. And, I also believe that CCP's support of the SCL will go a long way towards helping nurture and develop future AT pilots and teams.

    All of these are terrific developments and changes that I do believe will help improve the ability for the AT to genuinely develop into a showcase of the best piloting talents, the best theorycrafting and the best teamwork, moving the AT away from being about who is the richest.

    My biggest concern about CREST was the fact it was pushing data within 60 seconds of the action. I can see that easily being developed into tools that can be used during a match to feed intel and influence decisions made. 60 seconds just is not enough of a delay. Especially when you consider that the teams most likely to have the resources to develop such tools are also the same alliances that are already fielding the biggest advantages in the form of riches, tournament ships, number of experienced pilots, etc., etc.

    Anyways, will the changes CCP has already made be enough? Probably not, because most teams cannot spend something like three months practicing three to five days a week, every week, like Hydra and PL apparently did. Most of us just don't have that kind of time... most of us have real lives and sorting out free time to attend five to seven TOTAL practice sessions is challenging enough :)

    I don't know what the solution is - if one considers it a problem even - but I do think this year's tournament was, without doubt, the most competitive tournament to date, even if it still came down to just a couple of very big flyswatters squishing every last fly out there. I hope CCP continues to iterate on the format and rules, because the potential is still there within the Alliance Tournament to be a true showcase.

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    1. Did PL's vindi flagship blow up and is there a killmail around for it? I tried eve-kill, but I can't seem to find it. I'm just wondering how much exactly that thing was.

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  8. As in all competitive events, when u make the prize money too juicy and tasty then it becomes all about those that have it all competing for that prize. You cant win oooddddles of isk without committing lots of isk and bottomline, if you dont have lots of isk to play you wont win. Down size the prizes significantly and watch the richest competitors' interest dwindle and the game play will become more competitive.

    Sly

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  9. It's not really that weird. EVE isn't suited as a serious e-sport for the simple reason the playing field isn't level.

    There are to many limiting factors beyond actual player skill for it. Skill points, the ability to afford certain ships and setups etc. etc.

    The reason games like DotA & LoL succeed as e-sports is because they offer a level playing field and individual player skill and understanding of the game alone carries teams to top.

    Stuff like the AT prizes factor into this too, many teams simply can't afford to bring those, further widening the gap. I mean would anybody watch soccer/whateversport if last years winner was allowed to field and extra dude because they won last time around? Probably not.

    If EVE wants to be taken seriously as an e-sport CCP would need to provide an Arena format in which everybody has access to the same ships and fittings and everybody gets a maxed out clone for the ship they're flying.

    Only with the pre-condition of a level playing field can you ever hope to cultivate a truly healthy competitive scene in any game, including EVE.

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  10. Thing is, the Alliance tournament is by far the most prestigious and popular EVE tourney of the year. I would argue that one of the reasons the AT has the fans it does is because of their admiration of the top teams and that admiration in turn is based, at least partly, on the meticulous preparations these teams make. So if you are arguing, Jester, that CCP should make efforts to make the AT easier to compete in for less well prepared teams, I'm not sure that would be an entirely positive thing

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  11. Great post! I think that the comparison with Dota (or League or SC2 or most any other esport) is a really illuminating one for the reason there are few good teams in the AT. To practice Dota, you start a match and play Dota. To practice for the AT, you are doing something so far removed from normal Eve gameplay that it's pretty much a different game. Hell, you're not even playing on the same server.

    Second, look at the disparity in rewards. The International's grand prize: a cool million dollars. AT11's? Some ships worth $100,000 at the most optimistic, but selling them for real money is illegal.

    So you're never going to get the depth of competition in an AT field that you will in most any other video game. The difficulty curve in making a good team, just like that of Eve as a whole, is ludicrously stacked. I do think CCP should think about the snowball effect of the Prize Ships. Nobody's using them on Tranq, they're all saved as tourney ammo. My suggestion would be to make prize ships worth bonus points when killed, so they're a bit more of a double edge sword.

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  12. TBH, I was pretty shocked when I found out that in the alliance tournaments, you supply you're own ships, and everything comes out of your own pocket.

    To me that totally detracts from a players PvP ability, and puts control (at least partly), into who has the deepest wallets.

    That to me is a long, LONG way away from being anything even remotely close to DOTA or LoL E-Championships... The reason those championships work so well, is that it's purely about the skill of the players, and their co-ordination as a team. Not about possibly having to fight 10 times, and not being able to enter the ships you'd like each time.


    Personally, I'd like to see a point system put in place. Ships and mods are assigned points based around their strength, and a team can field a "200 point gang". I'd see this as working in much the same way that the Warhammer tabletop game does.


    When ArenaNet were attempting to get sPvP off the ground, they ensured that there was a level playing field, and that the only real decisive feature was a teams gameplay ability. Not any meta, nor any high powered character, just pure, unadulterated skill.


    EVE is never going to draw attention from any major press or media whilst it panders to bitter vets, and makes it practically impossible for anyone without a huge real life bankroll to simply subscribe to EVE, purely for the E-Sport aspect. You'll be out skilled (in terms of character SP), and have far inferior ships and mods available.

    This in contrast to a game like LoL, DOTA or GW2, that anyone can pick up and instantly be on near level footing if they entered a tournament environment.

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  13. Data 2 has lots of great matches between professional or at least semi-pro esports player, no? Until more people play eve as just practice for a esports event you are not going to have the dedication or time to see more players and teams step up to the professional level. A dota2 match is also the same game you play the rest of the year. In eve it is a limited frequency mini game with no RL gain.

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  14. Consider the number of golfers in a given country. Consider the number of golfers from that country that are the top 100 of professional golfers from around the world.

    Consider the total number of hockey teams. How many win Staley Cup? World-wide racing car drivers - how many win a single F1 race in a year? Yacht racing crews. Squash players. EVE has a small number of very top pilots because we have a small talent pool.

    The top are always a tiny fraction of the total players. In Eve, I would wager that there are only 1 or 2 hundred thousand players (humans)total, and what percentage are pilots in the tourney? How many small gangs get formed on a daily basis - how many of those stay together for months - how many 12-man groups exist in the tournament?

    If the best pilots are joining only a few teams, make registering a roster of pilots (12 man team plus a limited number of alternate pilots 3 or 4). Then instead of having a gaggle of 20 or 30 pilots to choose their setups for, they'd be forced to taking the best from a smaller pool. Pilots who didn't make the team would either sit out, or joint another team.

    The requirement to have the alliance team members belong to the alliance for a certain length of time was meant (in addition to other benefits) to try to disperse the talent to many teams. I think it has also limited player mobility. Players aren't going to abandon an alliance because they can't make the team, they'll just sit out.

    You want more teams with good pilots? 1) increase mobility for pilots to choose different teams 2)Set prize money like golf or poker tournaments, where being in the top placings (not just the very top) earns you rewards 3)limit the number of players available for a given team. If players can't show for a given match, fly fewer ships 4) never, ever, give ridiculously OP ships as tournament prizes. Rare? sure, unique abilities? Ships that are over powered considering their tournament point cost - that's just dumb.

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  15. In some ways its turning into Bowl Subdivision College Football where its the resources you have + the talent you can get that makes winning teams. It's only more profound becuase its really just two, maybe three teams/alliances that have a realistic shot to win the tourney.

    That being said having watched quite a few of the matches I think the set up of the tournament eliminates some pvp styles and thus limits the pool of teams who feel like taking on the burden of competing.

    How do you fix that? I think something that might change it is to create 'weight classes' or start handicapping matches based on a Elo System of some type. Also cost controls, more ship ban options might help. Make the arena bigger? fleets smaller?

    Ultimately its a logistics problem as much as its a resource problem. Do Alliances need to make the teams bigger and have more specialized roles to make it easier to prepare?

    Personally i don't think the Tournament ships are as big of a deal as you make it appear. You guys beat PL last year when they fielded them. :-) Besides its true to form with the EVE ethos allowing those ships given that if you put them out there, they can and will get killed. Its a big risk to play them.

    In the end, the stakes are huge, the payoff is massive as are the bragging rights. If you want the brass ring you have to be willing to work for it.

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  16. Just curious as to why there is so much coverage of this event?

    It seems to have no real importance or relevance, even the comps and tactics used do not translate into the real EvE in any meaningful way.

    The prize ships are pointless being to OP for general release and to expensive to actually be used in combat except for the occasional super rich player who dusts one off.

    Isn't it time that this pointless event was dropped and the time and resources CCP spends on it used in a more constructive fashion of some benefit to the EvE community?

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    1. The AT is just as relevant as any other aspect of Eve. Once you've gotten bored of highsec wardecs, and faction war, and lowsec piracy, and merc contracts, and NPC nullsec, and the sov 0.0 game, and supercaps, the AT is pretty much the only thing even close to interesting. As for comps and tactics not translating; it's the ability to make comps and fly them that translates, not the specific comps. Who are the top AT players? Well, they are the best PVP'ers on TQ.

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  17. Jester...this is simply an extension of what you wrote back in January about the strong Vs. the Weak. Same concept, different arena.

    What CCP needs to do is make the software for the battles available to everyone. Then these kind of tourneys could be held at an Alliance level. It would be an incredible training tool and would do what you are suggesting in terms of training up the noobs to be able to truly compete.

    I do love EVE (Even tho I haven't played in 3 months!) but I always felt that this kind of play inter-alliance would be a fantastic addition.

    I don't think there's an alliance out there that wouldn't love the opportunity to do this kind of training in-house at their convenience. Package it, call it the "Thunderdome" expansion.

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  18. What do you think would help fix this problem? More prizes spread out across 3,4,5 places to encourage more teams? Tournament formats with less games in a day (and less possible games for any given team)? I think the best of 3 / best of 5 format disadvantages every team except the very best, but like you said PL and Hy steamrolled through their initial matches anyway.

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  19. I think there are way more than 40-80 pilots with the skill to be really good pilots on teams in tournaments. I literally have no idea how many people are out there who can keep up with the meta as it develops over a tournament, and can plan out a strategy to take advantage of it from match to match. Which I think is the hardest thing to do in the tournament. I also don’t know how many good setup crafters are out there. Which I think is the second hardest thing to do. I think there are quite a few FC’s in game that with practice could be as good as either of the top two teams.

    But this all comes down to finding talent and having that talent want to play that game and have the opportunity to be there.

    I think it is likely PL and HYDRA will stay on top for a while. Unless another top tier team forms its self out of the SCL.

    Jester did you write a piece on the structure of the tournament that I missed?

    My thoughts on the structure of the tournaments. I think the Alliance Tourney should stay basically how it is as a way for in game Alliances to compete with in-game assets for fame, loot and bragging rights.

    I like how the SCL takes place on Singularity, I think that is a good idea for a more frequent tournament especially player run, with basically 0 isk cost involved, still have time and commitment costs.

    I think the NEO should take place on a test server with everyone having access to all legal ships and modules for the tourney and all of the clones having max SP. I also like the having a private system they setup for this tournament. This should be about player skill only all external factors should be removed. In-bedding spies and selling info should still be allowed of course (not for IRL cash). It should be the premier E-Sport of Eve Online overtime.

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  20. Not that I disagree with your opinion, because I think you are correct, but do you seriously think CCP cares?

    The people at CCP love the meta-game shit that kills so much joy in all the other parts of the game that you described. So why do you think they would approach the AT any differently?

    Yes, it would be great if there was some way to level the playing field, but the decision-makers at CCP demonstrate time and time again that they are thrilled to create a framework where the strong get stronger and the weak have little recourse to stop being preyed upon by the strong.

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  21. There needs to be a B-grade tournament: smaller teams to start with, more restrictions on fittings. A "Formula 2000" style where everyone buys the same hulls and modules, tweaks a little here and there (meta 5 or below) and have at it!

    Last man standing, best of three quad teams, whatever. It must be conceivable for (players like) me to enter and win, so we will enter and lose (again and again).

    When one team's flagship is worth more than the other team's entire alliance training and fielding budget for the year? Nope. Not good for the competition.

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  22. Interesting article. What would you suggest could be done to improve the situation?
    Also, a pity you held back. Would have enjoyed a more thorough article on this subject.
    In fact, its a travesty you did not let Garth handle this one. Shame on you Sir!

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  23. I think that the only real problem is how strong meta-game is in the competition, if Alliances were more interesting in fair game and good sport...then probably things would be different.

    There is however no incentive to actually do that obviously.

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  24. It's the F1 racing problem. Those teams that invested first and were able to re-invest the winnings and make the barrier to entry much higher for new teams.

    The solution was to make a new racing formula, A1, all using the same car. So maybe CCP could work on a more complex tournament circuit?

    Keep the Alliance Tournament as the F1 grand prix of spaceships, but also have CCP support smaller, more frequent tournaments, with slightly different rules, but more accessible to other players. Some with stock hulls, some in low sec, null sec, WH, with warping etc.

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  25. Rote isn't a *bad* team by any stretch of the imagination, but by the same token, you've never made it to the quarter final stage, never mind been serious contenders for a top-two finish.

    Also, describing the gap between the #2 and #3 teams as "wide and deep" is rather unfair on Exodus - after all, they came within a whisker of beating PL in the loser's bracket final series.

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  26. Well it is an Aliance torniment, the stronger the aliance, more members, more isk, more time to practice, more brains theroy crafting, more strings to pull to get info on your oponents. Its not the olympics where your all on the USA team yet compete seperatly and can still win a personal gold.So i kinda expect this to happen, but is that a good thing? Why not? Obviously the team that works the hardest should win right? And the part where people will migrate to teams who are the winners i dont know how big of a problem that will be considering it would eventualy get quite crowded and people would eventualy take what they learned and make their own teams (aliances) to feel more personal glory. In the end its all about the entertainment. Having been in The AT before and helped teams practice before that I think just the team effort and showing your metal is a fun experiance in itself.

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  27. Eve is NEVER going to have a healthy, competitive tournament atmosphere on remotely the level of Dota2, Starcraft, or LoL. And every year is just likely going to make that issue worse, not better.

    This will never be possible when there are ridiculous isk requirements to potentially get into these tournaments. It will never be possible when the isk requirements to field proper comps are even higher, and it will never be possible when they give ships that are outright, ridiculously better than other ships of their lines to winners in the tourney and let them use them in later tournaments.

    If CCP ever decided that they wanted a proper, strong competitive atmosphere to bloom, they would actively need to promote equality. As it is, too much of the equation is purely set in the isk a group can throw at it... And the perception of how much isk is all-important doubtless drives away plenty of skilled pilots and corps that could potentially make names for themselves.

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  28. Ever watched any other sport? Same thing there. There are always elite teams that are almost always on top or near it every single year, and others who perpetually struggle. They're usually teams with deep pockets and committed owners. This is true in EVE as well.

    On top of that, DOTA has a much larger playerbase to pull from.

    On top of that, unlike SCL or NEO, you potentially screw over large numbers of teams that would otherwise form up to play, but can't because of the alliance restrictions this year. I argued this point alot when it was announced but it was shot down by most everyone, including yourself.

    On top of that and unlike DOTA2, AT-EVE is only vaguely related to EVE-EVE. It'd kinda be like having regular season baseball, and then the playoffs consist of just a pitcher and a batter, where the objective is to hit the ball into a soccer net down field. Some skills transfer, but yeah, its not the same game.

    So the subset of players who are willing to give up alot of EVE-EVE time to devote enough time to AT-EVE to be really good at it is pretty small.

    On top of that, like you mentioned, tourney prize ships unbalance the field even further toward previous winners. This is short sighted in my view, and AT prize ships should be banned from tourney play. I don't care how much people like to see them blown up. They ruin the playing field.

    So yeah, I agree, it probably won't ever improve. The best hope for improvement is the SCL most likely. At least there, you aren't limited by isk restrictions, alliance restrictions, tournament ship imbalance, ect. On the other hand, the prize pools aren't nearly as attractive, so maybe it won't happen after all.

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  29. Cluestacking is always a problem, because winning is better than losing. But I should think that alliance comradery will help mitigate that.

    As for the marathon aspect, it may be unpleasant but it is at least fair. If that is the format, then alliances should try to prepare for it, with deeper benches, more ships bought ahead of time, etc.

    It seems to me that there is a real problem of fairness in AT, inasmuch as teams can use powerful but super-rare ships that are either unbelievably costly or not even on the market. This would be easily fixed: disallow all limited-run ships in AT.

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  30. As a response to 1, the other option is to just not get overly emotional over what some random on the internet thinks. Every PvP video maker has had to deal with arm chair warriors saying "you should have done X moron!" and many of them keep making videos with less than flawless execution.

    Same thing with blogging I imagine.

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  31. The Eve tourney is exactly like baseball ... as long as a couple teams can outspend and develop deeper benches without any limits you are going to get a Yankee's vs. the world kind of tourney every time.

    The ISK component of Eve is exactly why neither this tourney nor any other they care to create will be an actual esport, and DUST under it's current meta won't either.

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  32. Another thought: Eve PvP tends to be very much slippery slope gameplay, nevermind the metagame, this winners in the AT tend to be those that make the least mistakes in strategy, fitting and piloting.

    Analogy: Quake 3 1v1s between very skilled players have very low scores, ie, 3-1, 5-3, 1-0. This translates to one ship potentially being the difference between damping out reps or having enough DPS to break a tank and once that ship is down, it's game over for the losing side short of :mistakes were made:.

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  33. My first thought was, meh, it's a tournament. Who actually cares much about them at all (apart from the players that play in them)?

    Sure it brings some bragging rights to the winners but PL's reputation still relies much more heavily on it's mythical ability to drop a supercapital fleet on you any where and at any time.

    If you want to level the playing field then it can be easily done. T1 ships, T2 mods, no implants...off you go.

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  34. The solution to all this seems really simple to me.

    The fights are held in Dev space on TQ and subsequently unreachable by anyone. Why not populate the NPC station market there like Sisi with 100 isk items. Once matches are complete, you get zero loot. It stays in Dev space.

    Now everyone is on equal isk terms. Heck, give every team their own system to practice in. Shut off the gates and go to town.

    The alliance tournament needs to be less like baseball and more like chess: everyone gets access to the same pieces.

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  35. I honestly didn't watch a single AT match, or care about it's outcome. I watched AT9 and 10. But at some point an announcer says this line almost verbatim, "We're going to see some very expensive ships blown up.". And the first time they say it I buy into the spectacle of it, but somewhere around 10 or so I simply mentally translate it into what it actually means. "Oh, they are going to try to outspend each other to win.". And I stop caring.

    Limit the field to T1/T2 with no implants, levelling the playing field... and maybe I'll care enough about the AT again to talk about the issue you're bringing up here. :)

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  36. Never say never...

    1) Limit the use of special edition ships to one per alliance per tournament.
    2) Remove the flagships. They add very little to the matches. Half of the time viewers are unaware that a flagship is on the field.
    3) Increase prize pool depth to the top 10 (or quarter finalists or a number that makes sense). Spots 3, 4 & 5 get unique module BPCs. Spots 5-10 get the cost of their destroyed ships refunded plus maybe an ISK prize. Whatever it is, just add more incentive for teams to progress.
    4) Limit ammo meta level to avoid the ludicrously expensive top meta stuff like domination ammo.
    5) Expand the tournament so that more teams can enter but have additional preliminary rounds to weed out the week the teams. Instant knock-out, no losers bracket. These do not need to be "televised" live or have commentary.

    With something like this, we now have a much more level playing field with more incentive for the smaller alliances to have a go and more space for teams to enter.

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  37. I think getting the AT to the level of other Esports tournaments will be very difficult because of one simple reason:

    The game being played in the tournaments is not the same game as EVE.

    For pretty much every other game where a competitive environment exists, the game as it is played by the competitive portion of the community is simply a refinement of the game as it is played among the general populace. This is true of DOTA 2, League of Legends, SC2, Magic the Gathering, fighting games, pretty much every competitive game I can think of. The metagame for these games is a continuous thread running from one year to the next that, thanks to the internet, everyone can study and analyze and use as the basis for their play.

    EVE doesn't have that, and with the current format of the AT, will never have that.

    The only thing EVE and the AT shares are the ships. With each new AT, teams have to reinvent the metagame by themselves using only their in-game resources. And there is the matter of numbers. How many esports game have teams larger than 10? I cannot think of any. It's already difficult enough to get 5 people together regularly for games like DOTA 2 and League of Legends, but success in the AT may require up to 12 players? That's just unreasonable. Furthermore victory in the AT doesn't really impact EVE at all. You don't see shifts toward one gang comp or another because of its appearance in the AT. You don't see the rise and fall of strategies that are popularized or demolished in the AT. The AT is very much its own thing.

    It would be different if CCP organized multiple AT-style events across the year, but as it is, the AT is a game that people can play only once a year. It's no wonder that the teams are so lopsided.

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  38. I think that the tournament's biggest actual problem is that the battles aren't telegenic. We have battles being decided by people shooting drones and the viewers can't tell that that's what's happening. Or a hero bump that only comes to light twenty minutes after the match is over. Rep drones keeping up one team's logistics in a 'mirror match' whilst the other team's dies and you never know unless the camera dude accidentally switches to that ship.

    Relatedly there's a dearth of visible 'skill moves' that can wow the audience.

    Unless people can see and understand/appreciate what is going on without being steeped in eve mechanics then it's always going to struggle to become a real esport.

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  39. I dunno Jester seems like you are buying a bit too much into the propoganda.

    PL beat Exodus (which had a couple of your old Rote mates on it) by the luck of one jam on a sliepner, otherwise that tengu went down and PL didn't even make it to the finals. So much for overwhelming dominance.

    Hydra I wonder if everyone was just too phyched out about. The one thing PL had going for them in the final is that they unlike others who played Hydra always thought they had a chance to win and in the end that made them winners.

    What happened to your usual attitude - respond to competition by being better. The reality was the difference between the tournament winner PL and Exodus place three was a a very, very fortunate little Tengu - even the greatest tinker pilot in the world survived by a whisker. So saying number one and two, PL and Hydra are beyond approach isn't born out. Yes they practice more and are therefore on average better, but better is not unbeatable, unless one beats themself first in the head.

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  40. Maybe CCP could start to offer large cash prizes for places ie 1st place being about 1 million euro ish less for lesser placings. Using tornament tickets around the same price as a plex to contribute to the prize pool (ala DOTA 2 compendiums) and tournament ships rewarded as well but banded from tournaments. This could spark up the interest and bring more players to the game. Just a thought.

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