Of all the player groups that attended EVE Vegas, there was one that in many ways dominated the event. They could even argue that they were synonymous both with EVE Vegas 2013 and with the spirit of the gathering itself and the city where it took place. And that player group was not Goonswarm.
It was SOMER Blink.
SOMER Blink staff were visibly all over the place at EVE Vegas this year and I think they can successfully argue that their presence is one of the major reasons EVE Vegas was successful. In my view, their presence was such that it elevated their brand for those who attended without becoming an dominating influence on the event. They were involved in three key ways:
- Throughout the event, they were giving a free PLEX to anyone who would say hello to one of their staff and accept a little business card. Once logged in to a SOMER Blink account -- even a brand new one -- activating the card resulted in a PLEX being very rapidly contracted to your character account. The leader of the SOMER Blink contingent told me that the organization's goal was to give a PLEX to every EVE Vegas attendee. I hope they succeeded.
- They were giving the primary prizes for the EVE PvP area at EVE Vegas. I'll talk about how this PvP area was operated in my next post. But everyone who participated -- and the PvP area was set up in such a way to encourage every attendee to participate -- received 200 million ISK in SOMER Blink credit. Those who won EVE PvP matches received an additional one billion ISK in credit, as well as a second PLEX.
- Finally -- and I think this was just as critical as the first two points -- they did not give a presentation in the main hall or run a round table, even though there were a number of player and player group presentations at EVE Vegas.(1)
In particular, so far as I could see, the SOMER Blink staff didn't receive any particularly special treatment during the event. They didn't do anything any other player group at the event couldn't have done. They didn't try to take over the event or over-emphasize their participation in any way. They were just there, proudly supporting their organization.
Let's look at the cost of their participation. There were 350 people total at EVE Vegas. First, it's fair to say that something like 300 of the attendees received a PLEX. The SOMER Blink staff struck me as very thorough, asking each attendee they could find if they'd received "their PLEX" yet. Second, each winner of the casual PvP matches also received a second PLEX; by the rules, you could only win once during the weekend. If attendees made a concerted effort to get involved in a winning group, they might have lost fight after fight, but probably would have won one eventually. Let's be conservative and say 200 attendees legitimately won a PvP match.
In addition, a certain number of people in attendance -- let's say 50 -- almost certainly said "no" when they were asked if they'd received their attendance card for a PLEX, then used a second SOMER Blink account to turn that card in for a second attendance PLEX. And a certain number -- again, let's say 50 -- almost certainly cheated the system used to track who had and hadn't won a PvP match and used the same second account to accept and turn in credit for a second PvP victory PLEX.
Each card could only be used once per SOMER Blink account; you would need a second account to take advantage that way. But these are EVE players we're talking about, after all. So let's say 100 additional PLEXes went out the door to people cheating the two systems. 300 door prize PLEXes, 200 PvP winner PLEXes, and 100 cheater PLEXes are 600 PLEXes in total.
600 PLEXes is worth some 366 billion ISK.
In addition, everyone who participated in the PvP event received 200 million ISK in Blink credit, and those 250 PvP winners received an additional billion ISK in Blink credit. The first group was almost certainly 300 people or more, so let's call it 300. That's 60 billion in Blink credit. The winners received another 250 billion. And all of these numbers are rather conservative. It's likely SOMER Blink pumped some 750 or 800 billion ISK in PLEXes and credit into this event. That's a very strong show of support.
The SOMER Blink representatives I talked to were perfectly willing to chat about the Ishukone Watch Scorpion giveaway issue, by the way. To a man, they said they are pretty thick-skinned on the matter but also said that they haven't caught an unusual amount of heat over the issue. That's good, in my opinion. If EVE players were going to be angry about the giveaway, they were angry at CCP, not at SOMER Blink. That's appropriate.
Finally, I do have to confess myself rather amused by the thought of SOMER Blink -- an EVE gambling site, obviously -- so strongly supporting an EVE player gathering happening in Las Vegas. That's also appropriate.
So all in all, I'm rather impressed with the showing that SOMER Blink made at EVE Vegas! But of course certain pod-casters out there might accuse me of conflict of interest. After all, I did end up receiving two PLEXes and 1.2 billion ISK in SOMER Blink credit from my own participation in EVE Vegas. So feel free to accuse me of bias if you like.
What do you think, Dear Readers? Was SOMER Blink's strong support of this player event smart, and the appropriate thing to do?
(1) And I think there should have been more player and player group presentations, but again, more on that in my next post.