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.
You can follow along, if you want...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

SCL4, and I'm your host...

Two days of spaceship explosions!  Ten teams started Syndicate Competitive League Series 4:
  • Reputation Cartel
  • Team Mincemeat
  • TEST Tourney Team Please Ignore
  • EXEceptional Otters
  • DeepWater
  • Team USA
  • Footwork
  • Top Three Teams from ATXI
  • Verge of Collapse
  • No Boundaries
Some teams were easy to pick out by corp or alliance affiliation: TEST, Verge of Collapse, Footwork, and EXEceptional Otters (from Executive Outcomes).  Others were tougher but still had strong affiliations.  Team USA is a strongly Black Legion team, and No Boundaries was a scratch team put together by Rote Kapelle after a last-minute cancellation by two Pandemic Legion teams.  Others were trickier.  Mincemeat was apparently a consortium of German players, DeepWater a Russian Syndicate group.  That left "Top Three Teams", a group from Hydra, PL, and Exodus (an early favorite) and Reputation Cartel, a specialist tourney group that started with a mix of Failheap Challenge posters and has rapidly picked up good pilots from all over the place.

The team running the Syndicate Competitive League -- primarily Namamai, Apathetic Brent, Ben Booley, Aegon Blackfire, and Bacchanalian -- asked if I would be interested in participating as the studio host for the event after the departure of Arydanika from EVE earlier this year.  This is a role that I was extremely hesitant to take.  I was confident enough being the "color guy" and occasional expert in the studio during SCL2 back in April.  But being the lead guy?  Just as in back in April, I'm still trying to figure out why I said yes this time.  God knows I have enough other stuff to do -- CSM minutes ranking high on the list.

But being almost always out front during SCL2 had been enjoyable, I learned a lot both about tournament play, and it was a great opportunity to stretch myself.  And I'm actually running ahead of the curve on producing CSM minutes -- until yesterday, I was tied with Trebor for most summit sessions documented.  So I think I talked myself into doing this for SCL4 for the same reason.  Though the collective desperation was back, too.  ;-)  But again, it was also a fantastic opportunity to look dumb in front of a thousand EVE players.

All in all, though, I think it went really well!

The great tournament flying helped.  There were lots and lots of good matches, new metas thanks to the recent command ship buffs and Dominix nerf, and some new pilots and teams making strong showings.  Sentry comps continue to be laughably over-powered in the tournament format and there were still lots of Dominixes, only this time joined by Rattlesnakes, Gilas, Vexor Navy Issues, and Vexors.  But my favorite, "green and covered with blasters" made several appearances along with Sleipnir comps which I enjoy a lot no matter how often they result in my personal death.

Biggest disappointment?  Top Three Teams.  I'm all but convinced they joined the SCL to troll the organizers and bet against themselves on eve-bet.com rather than taking the proceedings seriously.  CCP has rules against intentionally throwing matches, but SCL does not because it shouldn't be necessary.

The biggest pleasant surprise was the Footwork team.  Ministry of Inappropriate Footwork showed a lot of great piloting, perseverance, and heart during AT11.  They showed it again in this tournament, ultimately coming in second despite having a really tough line-up of matches.  I'm really looking forward to seeing what these guys do in future tournaments.  I also thought the TEST team continues to improve tournament after tournament.  They showed some good flying, as did the Black Legion team, Team USA.

There were some really great, really close matches, including a couple of nail-biters!  And I got the opportunity to chat with and interview some fun guests including CCP Rise, CCP Logibro, CCP Dolan, CCP FoxFour, and CCP Fozzie.  I also got the chance to work with both Zao Amadues and Elendar, who came in to provide commentary and whom I think both did a great job.  We had a couple of player guests as well, TruExXx from Black LegionDOT and Ali Aras from CSM8.  Apathetic Brent was also involved in commentary for both days and did his usual great job.  Fozzie again provided invaluable technical assistance on the back end, staying up particularly late on Sunday to keep the show running, and CCP Veritas jumped in to assist with some tool issues that we had, also on Sunday.  These guys are heroes for giving up their weekend time to help us out!  Thank you so much, guys!

I myself flubbed a few things here and there, but I think you can chalk that up to inexperience.  I'm a blogger, not a pod-caster, after all!  But for the most part I was able to keep conversation going even through some long dead time periods, ask interesting questions, keep us on track and on schedule so much as the technical details allowed, and throw in a few opinions of my own.  So I'm overall quite pleased with the job I did!  The SCL team also seemed happy with my performance, which is also nice, and a number of you out there have already caught up with me on Twitter or in-game to say you thought I was doing a good job.  I'm always happy to hear that!  If you listened in, how do you think I did?  Something I should consider repeating, or should I stick with my day job?

One of the more interesting metas that came out of SCL was a smart-bombing Rattlesnake fielded by the DeepWater team in one of the later matches.  It was rather a clever concept: the ship, facing off against a Sentry drone team, motored to a collection of enemy Sentries, used multiple large smart-bombs to clear them away, then motored to the next collection.  It was a really effective tactic and resulted in DeepWater pushing Team USA out of the SCL.

Verge of Collapse ended up coming on top, driving to the finish in high style after a bit of a weak start on Saturday.  Happily, they show that their AT10 performance wasn't a fluke and they remain a strong tournament team.  They take home a pretty nice prize pool, as well as the honor of being one of the few teams to win both an AT and an SCL.  As I mentioned, Footwork came in second, and a surprisingly strong DeepWater team placed third.  Congrats to all three of these teams!

Finally, during the interviews with the CCP employees, a few fun things became public (and therefore no longer NDA'ed), so I'll probably write a bit more about those this week.

SCL5 will be in six to eight weeks, and we should be hearing about another CCP-run tournament sometime between now and the end of the year.  So I look forward to watching the EVE eSports game continue to expand! 

18 comments:

  1. I think you did just fine in your role of studio host, although having interesting guests also helps. You probably shouldn't quit your day job, but could consider starting out as a night-time dj cause I love your voice timbre ;)

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    1. LOL, thanks! I'll talk to EVE Radio about it. ;-)

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  2. You did great Ripard though a few of the guests at the end of day 2 could have used some more polish. Wish you guys would also get some more ads. The same 2 from Eve bet and somerblink got old quick. Maybe get some from various teams alliances, industrialists wanting to market to pvpers, etc

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    1. More ads would be nice, yes. Repeating them periodically is an old broadcast communications trick: you repeat the sponsors while trying to think of the next thing you want to say. ;-)

      For guests on day two, we were kind of limited to who would give up some of their Sunday for us. I was really pleased with the convo with Fozzie, though.

      Thanks for the feedback!

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  3. After a weekend out of town I came back to look for the videos on twitch.tv - which has ridiculously weak search function.

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    1. Interesting feedback, thanks!

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    2. Do you have direct links to the videos? The ones shown on the SCL home page are from a past event.

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  4. I had a lot of fun flying in SCL but it was somewhat poorly run this time around

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    1. How so? Can you provide specifics? These make it easier to improve the next one.

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  5. I'm proud to say that I was the only pilot from TEST to have flown out of the arena (our 1st match, against Team Mincemeat), while trying to run away from Warriors (IIs, for some reason) and not having the bubble on my overview :3

    Very fun tournament, except for the 1st match on Sunday (sorry about the delay guys). Who knew that 10mn executioners can turn? :O

    Apparently Bob Shaftoes' desk caught fire during the wait :P

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    1. Yeah, that long delay on Sunday wasn't fun. :-/

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  6. Ripard, I think you did a fine job. You are thoughtful and well spoken. I think the matches themselves were really entertaining. But the technical issues really damaged the whole experience for me. First, Zao failed at his only job, talk into the microphone. He was unlistenable. If you guys plan on using spastics for commentators in the future, please provide them with headsets. The next biggest issue probably wasn't your fault, but the damage window being so delayed really was annoying. And that window didn't display any points, so when the commentators would say that a team was ahead on points, the viewer had no reference to that.

    I understand that alot goes into organizing an event like this, but please in the future, do not discount the small technical issues that can really kill a broadcast.

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    1. I'll troll Zao some; I mentioned this to him myself. "Providing headsets" isn't even close to an option, though. The entire budget for the SCL wouldn't buy lunch for the group, much less headsets. ;-)

      Thanks for your feedback!

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  7. Couldn't watch the SCL live so avoided your blog for spoilers, but just finished watching the videos.

    I think you did just fine. You did better on day 2 than on 1, where you sounded much more fluid in the back and forth between everyone. More conversational, rather than more Q&A if you will. So that's a good sign.

    If you have the time, you should definitely do it again.

    Some other thoughts:

    I thought Elendar did really well, and was quite impressed with his performance both commentating and in the studio with the back and forth.

    On the downside, although maybe its a requirement(?) to plug the sponsors so much during the broadcast, I felt it was over the top. It reminded me of watching early season of the Ultimate Fighter, where every scene almost was a plug or product placement for their big sponser then, Xyience. A certain amount is fine and understandable, but every studio break was way to much for me.

    Regardless, thanks to all of you for spending your free time to put on free content for the EVE community!

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    1. Thanks so much for your great and detailed feedback! It's much appreciated. I'm particularly happy to hear you thought I did better on D2 than D1. Hopefully means I was improving over the course of the event. ;-)

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  8. "Top Three Teams. I'm all but convinced they joined the SCL to troll the organizers and bet against themselves on eve-bet.com rather than taking the proceedings seriously."

    "On TQ on some date late June I bought a character on the bazaar and then made an account to host it. When I tried to log in to that account on sisi I found out that the account did not exist on sisi because sisi had not been mirrored. Thus the character, which exists on TQ and was put on the team, does not belong to me on sisi. This applied to 6 characters on our team. Therefore bets were placed."

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    1. Huh, interesting. Thanks for the info. At the very least, it'll be something to remind the teams of next time.

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  9. I still havent watched back the matches... So i can only comment from the inside flying in the whole thing. Schedule changes on short notice were not good. Also we did 3 matches on Saturday and then 9 on Sunday. That really isnt ideal when you also factor in that delay at the start. Maybe it might be possible to spread the thing on 3 days.
    Point updates from the commentators might be nice, specially since the graphics did lag and not have those.

    I also had a hard time finding much info all around about the whole SCL tourney. There could be more advertising for the thing itself, to gain more momentum leading up to it. Posting some interviews with team captains or past winners or whatever, make the people flying a bit more then just faceless spaceships. I always thought that was missing in eve tournaments.

    Also Sisi, my pilot is missing at least 4mil sp there, we had some with 7mil missing in team. We coped but yeah, maybe ccp can do a better mirror, we are promoting eve at least.

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