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, March 16, 2014

Expanding share, shrinking market

OK, two more tournament-related posts and I'll move back to other things. First, I want to wrap up my impressions of the second New Eden Open. That won't take very long. Then I want to talk about what I think makes for a successful tournament team. That will take even less time. This is the first post.

Back in August after AT11 wrapped up, I wrote the following (condensed a bit):
How many really good tournament teams are there in EVE? Because frankly, with the current design of EVE tournament play, I don't think it's very many... And the more 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 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.

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.
It's probably no surprise that I continue to hold that opinion seven months later.

If anything, things have gotten worse in the last seven months because a lot of teams that had the potential to be high-end teams simply didn't seem to care about the NEO. Look at Exodus's performance in AT11 versus in the NEO, for instance. They did... OK. But at the first sign of real abuse, they crumbled. And this is the third place AT11 team. The gap between the top-tier teams and the lower-tier teams is only getting wider and deeper than it was last summer.

What we're seeing more and more from tournament play is that teams are only as good as their practice partners. THINGY had Hydra Reloaded, the second place AT11 team. WeHURT had Exodus, the third place team. Hydra pretty clearly made knocking Pandemic Legion out in the meta-game a priority. That came out in public this weekend. All signs point to the fact that they were successful, invading the PL practice wormhole, leaving URLs to demoralizing screen-shots of their comps, and taunting them with even more embarrassing Youtube videos. PL took it in stride, sure -- but they used to be the masters at doing this to other people. And I do notice they got knocked out of this thing remarkably early.

As I said last year, these things are being won in the meta-game before the first shots are fired. Look for Hydra and PL to watch the good pilots from WeHURT and THINGY and a few other teams and add them to their rosters. The way CCP is running tournaments right now, they'd be foolish not to. In much the same way Goons are smart to abort threats to their sovereignty in the crib, strong tournament teams are smart to poach good tournament pilots before they can lead other teams to tournament victories. Because if another team takes a tournament victory, that's a set of tourney ships that Hydra and the other top-tier teams have to buy from others instead of having in their own hangars.

Winning tournaments is in large part about dedication and execution; the latter comes from practice. The players willing to put in the work will be more than happy to do that work for teams that have a chance of winning. Why should they stay with teams that don't? And without the players that have that drive and dedication, lower tier teams aren't going to be a threat.

As a mid-grade team threatens to break into the top tier, a strategic poaching or two can firmly knock them back down into the lower-tier teams. We've seen it happen a lot. Hell, I'm getting a close up view of it in Rote Kapelle. So yeah. What we've got here from the player side is an "expanding share of a shrinking market" situation. Historically, that never ends well.

That said, this isn't just the fault of the top-tier tournament teams. CCP has to take some responsibility here as well.

I wrote a long post back in 2012 before the first NEO about what I saw as the problems with EVE tournament play. CCP hasn't taken any of those suggestions, and that's fine. It's their game. But they've also stopped doing things that they were doing right. So far as I can tell, not a single CCP employee promoted this tournament on a pod-cast or EVE Radio show. So far as I can tell, not a single CCP employee promoted this tournament in a gaming mag or a website. Last NEO, the prizes were provided by Razer, who saw an opportunity to expand their eSports market to a new game. This year, all of the prizes were provided by CCP. Matter of fact, as far as I can tell not a single outside sponsor supported the second NEO. And that I saw, CCP Bro only made one appeal to potential new players to get themselves a trial account. These are not promising signs.

So what we've got is a goose laying golden eggs, but those eggs are only available to a tiny, tiny minority of EVE players who are playing Pokemon with them. And the audience to watch the collection of these eggs is either holding flat or getting smaller. For most of the second NEO, the audience averaged around 3500 people. Last year, the average was 4500. The peaks were the same: a bit over 6000. But even that represents, at the very very most, some 3% of the EVE population. The other 97% simply doesn't care.

Tournament money is only as good as the potential it has to bring in new players, or retain the players already playing. If this stuff can't expand its audience, CCP has no particular reason to keep doing it. I personally love EVE tournament play but this time around, I have to admit to feeling bored through a lot of the proceedings. I was watching it because I felt like it was my job to watch it and report on the proceedings to you fine people.

But there's a limit to the number of times I can watch the Harlem Globetrotters beat the Washington Generals over and over again.

Oh yeah: one final question: did tournament cat go to Ireland with ex-CCP Soundwave? Last seen: AT11...


  1. Why should CCP support tournament play? It is generally alien to normal EVE gameplay and makes the bad impression of EVE being an "even-team battle in closed arena" play.

    Simply we don't need tournaments at all. Of course individuals can do whatever they want, but I don't see NEO or AT more important for EVE than "Johnnie's mining fleet"

    1. Why should CCP support tournament play?

      Promotion & exposure. Of course they could do something else instead, but it's CCP's call on where to best spend their marketing budget.

    2. Just because you don't like, it does not mean everyone else shares your opinion, if you have any valid criticism, go ahead and write it, if it's only to show your contempt for everyone that plays different from you, then do everyone a favor a keep quiet.

    3. Because "fair fights" are a rarity, but still the ideal people wish for...yes, it promotes risk-aversion ("we won't fight unless it's 'fair'") which begets blobbing out of sheer laziness and entropy.

      So, Gevlon, just out of 30 seconds of a stream of consciousness i disproved your rather shaky theory that tourney's are alien to normal EVE gameplay - because normal EVE mindset is a major factor in such gameplay before it even starts. The "metagame" so to speak.

      It actually begs the question, Why is Gevlon intent on saying that eve online is NOT fair? I'm certain that in rare cases it is fair and a good fight to be had by both sides, and if it's not a fair fight then how come some groups actually seek to be outnumbered (and still win)?

      I think perhaps you need to shift your paradigm to "happiness" instead of "OMFG EVE NOT FAIR HTFU RTFM N00B"

    4. and since you've missed the obvious point Jester was making quick repeatedly, here it is in my words: Modern military doctrine is to project a force that dominates the battlefield. It's just common sense. And the tourney teams did that in style using metagaming and player skill combined with teamwork.

      It's not like they matched up the loser bracket for the "light weight title" and never let the big boys crush them, did they?

  2. I missed tournament cat, too! I thought maybe it was reserved for Alliance Tournaments?

    I remember that last AT, I asking in a comment to one of your posts what the history of tournament cat was. You said you weren't sure, but would ask. Any news on that? ;)

    1. I asked around and nobody seemed able to tell me the definitive story. I kept getting passed around to different devs.

    2. Ah, that's too bad. Shrouded in history then, I guess. Thanks for trying to get to the bottom of it, in any case.

  3. I don't particularly care about any of them. Tournament play is pretty inaccessible to me which leaves me quite disinterested in the whole thing.

    1. Pretty much this. I can't read any sense into the arena and it basically comes down to me watching the bars at the bottom. I still tune in, wireless earbuds ftw, but it's more like tournament radio. I come back to the screen if shinies are on the field, or for dev interviews.

      I don't think there is a fix for this inaccessibilty at all. The only thing I can think of is a in-game spectator client, like DOTA has, where you as the spectator have full control over the camera. There are some tech limitations in the way, sadly.

  4. As a pvp-er, i admired alliance tournaments. I watched them for 3 years, my dream was to try it out myself at least once. Luck was on my side, and i joined one of the teams, tournaments are one of the most challenging, interesting and hardcore experiences for me, comparable only to multi-day all night-out wormhole sieges.

    Gap between tiers of teams exists only because of individuals. Talented fc, bunch of dedicated & smart theorycrafters, and all regular members which can practice at least 2-3 evenings a week is a must if you want to be top-tier team. I do not see how ccp can fix this gap, besides either removing ways to prepare for tournament, or attracting more hardcore teams.

  5. This was really hard to read. Half way through I stopped because I got so angry.

    1. Yeah, it's pretty gratuitously insulting to say successful teams are so because of meta-gaming or having the right practice partners, instead of, well, actually being better pilots than the vast majority of the playerbase.

      Why, it's almost like players who greatly prefer few vs many style pvp tend to do better on average in tournament play than your normal null-sec f1er or syndicate-turned-provi-blobbers. That's a silly thought, though.

    2. @AnonymousMarch

      Yeah. And he also does not take into account that TURN LEFT was a big part of Exodus AT team where they scored 3rd place. Now in NEO they scored 2nd place and somehow that is all because they trained with Hydra?

      I find this article a bit silly and insulting. Though at least it's an article about NEO :)

    3. I'm going to talk about these things in the post about what I think makes a good tournament team. Good flying plays a part, but it's an increasingly minor part behind meta-gaming, teamwork, dedication, and ISK.

      What would you rather have on a tournament team: the best pilot in EVE? Or the one willing to put in 20 hour weeks training?

    4. @ l0rd carlos

      Granted that victories were surely well deserved, do you disagree fundamentally with the central point of the post?

      Do you see a future for tournaments where good pilots are spread in many different/new teams?
      How come only 3 high-tier teams made it this NEO?
      How come the fights were so one-sided?

      I have no stakes at all in that debate but I'm very interested in your point of view. You sound like someone that can provide an insider look on that story.

    5. "How come the fights were so one-sided?"

      Many of the matches you call one-sided aren't really
      It's like two teams on equal grounds waiting for other doing a slightest mistake and then capitalizing on it in a clean sweep

      On the other hand matches Jester calls entertaining are kind of each team doing one retarded mistake after another and the less cripple wins

    6. @Anonymous

      "do you disagree fundamentally with the central point of the post?"

      I don't think that meta gaming, besides the bans, are that important. But yes, there was a low amount of teams that put effort into it. I am really glad about teams like WeHURT, they trained and got rewarded by doing so.

      "How come only 3 high-tier teams made it this NEO?"

      Good question, I don't know. At least two somewhat experienced teams did not make it because they cheaped out on the silent auction. Kawk from Team Liquid has a shit ton of ISK but underestimated the amount of teams that wanted to participate. Maybe finding an alternative for the silent auction would be a good start. If CCP automates all the processes some more maybe we can have some sort of rapid elimination bracket? I don't know.

      Maybe putting the 3D viewer from null-sec.com next to the stream and let them run synchronous together might help to understand the fight. If people understand what is going on it will be more interesting.

      That said eve pvp is a very hard game to stream. CCP is doing a wonderful job. I want to see more people watching the tournament, though I can understand way they choose not to.

      People watch the AT because they want "their" alliance to win, and not because of the pvp itself. If you someone can get an emotional bond between the viewers and the teams (Like WeHURT did it) it might help to get more people to watch.

    7. "How come only 3 high-tier teams made it this NEO?"

      I feel there are two types of players that are highly represented in the high-finishing groups in tourney play:

      - Those willing to practice extensively (In general represented by ATXI PL, assuming they didn't overstate their practice hours too much. The amount of man-hours of practice they spent was vastly more than any of the other high-placing teams did, I'd estimate 3x more and that's probably a low-end estimate).

      - Players experienced in anti-blob combat on 'regular' TQ

      For the latter, there are simply not a large amount of organized groups in EVE that are highly active and constantly engage in small-gang highly-outnumbered combat (5-10 gang size, at ~3:1 numerical odds against decent sp opposition - read: not BNI. I use these criteria because pilot communication / decision-making importance is especially magnified in these cases). At any given time,you could probably count them on the fingers of one hand (late 2013 - TURN LEFT / Matari Exodus / PODLA / some Darkside guys).

      There are definitely a lot of other accomplished small-gang pvpers / soloers, but without organization its certainly more difficult to well...organize things for tourney play.

      It's not surprising to me at all that the amount of high-tier teams is small.

      "the best pilot in EVE? Or the one willing to put in 20 hour weeks training?"

      having the former (lets say, top-tier pilots such as Dalikah and Garmon) is a lot rarer and in my opinion, provides a competitive edge that only is made up through a lot more practice (and in some cases, is near-impossible to make up)

  6. CCP could do great things with proper tournament support. Limiting time and effort and foremost skills needed (see in part fw plexes as a step in the right direction) could give accessibility to tournaments easier. But it would have to be support in eve as in the tournaments. I dont think ccp has plans to realize that, pushing out an expansion that would give us a sort of tournament play in eve, ladders to climb, regular events to do.

    I for one would play it, but eve is complicated, it might not be worth the effort for people.
    Corps lead the way to organize this already, be it the ganked events, RvB or the countless events in Eve Uni. But without a mold from ccp i dont see it happen in that regard.

    To support tournament play its just not enough to stream one here and there and give unattainable prices to a selected few.

    I flew myself in the SCL and felt horribly inadequate and ill prepared even tho i pvp regularly and play eve for nearly 2 years now. The barrier of entry is just damn high.
    Its a bit as if you would just on a whim enter the olympics because you did go jogging for a month...

  7. CCP has relied on the players for their marketing in the last 18 months. The only time CCP pushes the marketing is those times a large enough, noticeable nullsec battle has occurred. Between those fights, they're awfully quiet.

    I'm surprised CCP isn't encouraging these battles behind the scenes. Meeting with the main antagonists and promising ship reimbursements in exchange for big battles. It's kind of win-win for everyone (nevermind the inherent dishonesty). CCP gets media coverage and big injections to the playerbase. The players are kept busy. The alliances don't stagnate, because their membership is kept busy.

    1. Marketing...hmmm...I don't know what "Razer" is nor the politics and stuff, and why CCP soundwave left (i assume simply to better and bigger things?) but perhaps CCP decided to invest all that marketing $$$ into player rewards and let word of mouth work...it might be what actually works rather than trying to pimp something that just isn't working?

      perhaps Razer told them the same thing - invest this money into their player base instead of running the gauntlet of fickle audiences with their flavour of the month?

    2. Razer makes mice and stuff focused on gamers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Razer_USA

  8. "Look at Exodus's performance in AT11 versus in the NEO, for instance. They did... OK. But at the first sign of real abuse, they crumbled. And this is the third place AT11 team."

    Look at their performance on TQ! Since AT11, their team FC went to pandemic legion, and Turn Left (their most active and best small gang corp) left Exodus.

    1. Yes. That was kind of my point. ;-)

    2. 1 team turning into 2 entirely different teams is narrowing the field?

  9. I really enjoy watching the tournaments in EVE--I started two years ago, when verge won, and that's in large part what got me hooked on EVE. I've watched every tourny since then, including the SCL, and I think Jester is pretty well on track. The tourny play style in EVE is so unlike anything in the actual game that it takes a hardcore, dedicated team to even practice for a tournament. The amount of logistics and dedication that goes into simply practicing for a match is staggering, completely unlike another other esports tournament I'm aware of, and I think that's in large part why so much of the playerbase could care less. I do wish something would change--about the tournaments, EVE, or both--that would make this style of gameplay more accessible.

  10. It's exactly this kind of problem which led me let my account lapse recently.

    Whenever I try something new & start to enjoy making progress, a group of hyper competitive players, using their wealth of resources, experience and often time, will swing by and stomp me or my corp into oblivion.
    Losing a fair fight, Hell, losing an unfair fight is fine, it's part of the experience. But when every direction you turn eventually becomes a stonewall of aggressive & toxic dickheads the experience loses it's appeal.
    Can't beat them join them? I'd rather not play at all than with some of these people.

    1. Yeah, it happens every game one tries to play: i stopped playing LoL, halo and chess because of these stupid nolifers which dedicate major parts of their lives to the thing which is just a game.

      Let them die on their own, they will never achieve anything significant IRL.

    2. RIGHT
      I wanted to win a couple of LoL tourneys to make good money but all these koreans with incredeble APM

    3. I've never heard of a chess match where the tournament system set up an unranked amateur against a grandmaster.

    4. So you suggest that some teams shouldn't be allowed to enter tournaments as being too good for overall mediocre level of competition or what?

    5. @Ragelle

      I don't think the eve tournament community is big enough to split them up too much.
      Also you can use SCL, NEO and AT as some kind of ranking from easy to hard.

    6. To clarify, my objection is not with the competitive nature of the game or that it becomes inaccessible at certain levels, if you can't or won't make the sacrifices that a lot of these players do to get to the top.
      It's that there seems to be a culture within EVE to crush less powerful players (I don't want to say new players) for trying anything, then mock them for failing.
      I would never call them "no-lifers" dedicating time and resources to something you enjoy to become the best at it is a completely worthwhile goal to my mind.
      But this is a sandbox & there are many players who steal all the buckets and spades then laugh when everyone else' sandcastles look terrible.

    7. It may be true for other areas but I don't really see examples of what you are talking about in the tournament environment.

    8. My point in common with the poster we are all responding to is that almost all games with successful tournaments in them conduct those tournaments in accordance with a ratings system that brings lower skilled players into the tournament atmosphere and allows growth up through a series of brackets.

      If you want to expand tourney play then you have to bring in a lower difficulty bracket and make it more friendly to those that haven't competed at a high level. The current formats and costs are all about competition at the highest levels. If you want more people involved you have to open it up, otherwise you get what Jester is talking about with a few dominate teams with the ability to poach all good players.

    9. @Ragelle

      Isn't SCL relatively cheap and easy to get into?

  11. Shrug...last three of 4 tournaments I tuned in for at least the last day, usually more. This tourney, could not be bothered. This thing as you said caters to the elite of the elite and committed to the game. That is fine. No problem with that. But what angers and saddens me is guys like Ravi and Rise suddenly get ideas about ship balancing based on this utterly contrived environment, as opposed to what Eve is really like.

    I would very much like to see the last time there was a dual Claymore/4 SB setup seen in null or low facing off against an equally matched crew.

    The tourneys will NEVER be mainstream, because the casual player does not know about it, (you mentioned why), nor can not get invested emotionally seeing people they don't even know fighting in an environment that they will never touch.

    1. Do you not read?


      "In case some of you think this is a reaction to the way the Domi performed in the alliance tournament, I can tell you that we will never make balance decisions based on that environment. The tournament certainly highlighted the strengths of sentry drones and damps, which are both powerful on TQ as well, but it removed many of their drawbacks and so it is not an effective way to assess balance or power in normal EVE."

    2. @ Lil B. Yes, I read.
      I just don't believe him. His actions belie his words.

    3. @Dinsdale Pirannha

      What did they balance based on the tourney?

      with kind regards
      l0rd carlos

    4. "The tourneys will NEVER be mainstream, because the casual player does not know about it, (you mentioned why), nor can not get invested emotionally seeing people they don't even know fighting in an environment that they will never touch. "

      That also explains why players don't care about the CSM election. That's an alien environment overtaken by total strangers, who often discuss things totally unrelated to ordinary player experience and woes.

    5. okay guys, cut the tinfoil hattery. lol. Lil B called Dinsdale out his bullshit and Dins just prevaricated. Come on, Dins, be sportsmanlike.

      "A hit, a very palpable hit!" ~Osric

  12. As a side note, the player poaching from lower tier teams to higher tier teams occurs in all sports from the professional to the amateur. There isn't much that can be done to change this.

    Same with sparring partners, those with access to better coaches/facilities/practice partners always will have a leg up on those that don't. If they wanted better competition, they should set up a league with the same rules. Some place where folks could practice against one another outside the tournament and with amateur divisions where newer folks could be brought in to this type of play. Sadly, with the undeniable amount of metagaming necessary for the tournament, this is unlikely to happen.

  13. "But even that represents, at the very very most, some 3% of the EVE population. The other 97% simply doesn't care."

    You assume that the 3% are static. This is not the case. I watched a few fights between RL stuff, when - statistically - others watched instead of me. You are also not counting the youtube channel watchers.

    Together, I'd estimate that 10% of human players watched at least some of the tournament. That is a HUGE percentage of viewers for an event that only a tiny minority (no argument there) will ever participate in.

    Lastly, the elitist structure is normal in competition. I would not expect to participate in Wimbledon if I had just started playing. Participation is by no means the end-goal for all EVE players. But if you are concerned about a narrowing field of competitors, have multiple contests with different ship classes, team sizes and win-conditions. I for once would love to watch a 100 v 100 alliance frigate tournament where each alliance is allowed to bring 500 ships total.

  14. You're right, it's somewhat off-topic.
    I was referring to the tactics Jester mentioned about some of the tactics employed as part of the meta
    - Invading the PL practice wormhole, leaving URLs to demoralizing screen-shots of their comps, and taunting them with even more embarrassing Youtube videos -

    Is what I meant by "exactly this kind of problem" in the OP.
    Being as nasty as possible is used as a legit tactic in almost every facet of EVE. Including in a tourney which, I would argue, should be an example of how this part of game is played at it's best.
    If that means also being the best at trolling the competition then who could blame people for finding the tournament about as dull or exciting as what they experience in game every day?

    1. Do you know any other team (besides PL) which had 'exactly this kind of problem'?

    2. So now you call PL a weaker team being mocked? lol
      they were used to doing same things many and many times before and only get what they deserve

    3. And btw if PL weren't so arrogant and just train in known space as everyone else they wouldn't end up wasting so much time evading being watched and still failing at it

    4. I don't think I've articulated my thoughts very effectively.
      My apologies, I'll leave it alone.

  15. The big thing you miss about the Exodus team in AT11 and the Exodus team in NEOII ist that during AT11, Turn Left was still a member of Exodus.

  16. Boxing has weight classes- why not implement tourneys with hull/fittings/fleetsize/skillpoint categories?
    Brackets for T1/T2/Unlimited hulls and T1/T1 Meta/T2/Unlimited modules.
    SP categories could be based into how many SP it takes get to a particular level of certificate mastery (and would need to ignore non-combat skills).

    Yes, highly skilled players could start a new character and play in the lower brackets but would they really want to? The big rewards would be in the full unlimited bouts and anyone who can participate at that level would do so.

    This would make running tournaments a lot more complex but you wouldn't have to do all categories in every tournament. i.e. "The New Eden Noob Open" (T1 hulls, <10M SP). "The NE Slumming Open" (T1 Hulls/Unlimited skills)

    1. I really like this idea....but I feel it's likely going to be limited to small communities throwing the events together ad-hoc rather than something that gets CCP support.

    2. it's a nice idea, but i really REALLY hate watching ufc and the endless pre-matches before the title event. it's just such a flippin turn off.

      besides, you'd just get the LOL griefer fleets piling into tourneys then.

  17. One way for CCP to broaden the tournament audience would be to address all the barriers to entry. One possible solution would be to create systems that support a "tournament culture" on Tranquility, such as an open league (or two) with something like 20 scheduled matches per team that produce a nothing more than a win-loss record. Maybe the top five teams from every "season" get an automatic bid in the NEO.

    To address the wealth disparity, CCP could limit the eligible ship types to T1 hulls, T2 modules, T1 rigs, and no implants. Hell, they could even hand out "stock" ships to all participants, in pre-defined comps, to really separate skill players from those who are just in it for the fun (which should be OK, too). That would go a long way toward mitigating the meta game barrier.

    I'm guessing that there's an untapped demographic out there that would love to PvP in a semi-controlled environment (i.e. no chance of being blobbed, etc.). I know *everyone* is all in favor of "consequences" and so on, but I'm only thinking of ways to save the NEO. 3500 spectators isn't enough for CCP to keep throwing resources at it.

    1. that be kinda neat, wouldn't it? unfortunately, CCP doesn't know shit about actual gameplay and the fits would be ...well... their "predefined comps" would be a source of embarrassment for them.

      Actually, if they are competent that would probably be the best way to repair alot of credibility. Sure would give a boost to alot of people's morale knowing CCP can actually fit a ship that isn't a polaris LOL boat

  18. If there develops more of a tournament culture around eve, some of those problems would disapear imho.
    My experience with 15years of competetive FPS is that you won't avoid having a small number of absolut top teams with a big gap between them and the really good ones under them for "small" competitive communities, even if you don't have "artificial" gaps through skillpoints, ISK and manpower for spying etc.. Nevertheless the tournament environment could be much more healthy we teams more often changing into better tiers.
    I think an easy (and probably not too time-consuming on CCPs part) way to achieve that is to enable the community to organize ladders and leagues.
    A simple idea to achieve this:
    Create a tourney channel on sisi, put a bot in it, which i can query and say i want a private station system for e.g. 2hours, i get a password back, and everybody can query the bot with the pw and get teleported to the system.
    Now the players could easily organize leagues, give the teams e.g. 1 week to complete their match, before the next round, just like in every other fps league.
    I bet we would see an influx of different leagues/rulesets (e.g. frig only, cruiser only, AT style, etc.) and players. If players are able to regularly fight/train in tourney settings and can start playing in lower level divisions of leagues, i think we would start seeing more top level players/teams crop up, pretty soon.

    1. problem is, do the devs even have code for that?

    2. sorry, i meant to say:
      (1) Is it even possible to shut down the gates surrounding that system?
      (2) we know the teleport system is in place but that's only when a GM is in the transport channel so it's a manual thing only
      (3) how could you prevent pod jumping using the skill clone option in medical bay to shift the location to your system? Would be a piece of cake to locate using map stats
      (4) it would have to be a stationless system...but how do you do that?

      not so simple is it?

  19. I'll admit, I'm pretty new to the whole competitive gaming tournament scene, but I've really enjoyed these tournaments. Honestly I don't really play EVE as often but have been a fan for a very long time, so I'm not sure how accepted my views will be. It's funny, after watching the first couple weeks' I decided to log in again for the first time in almost a year. For me, they got me excited about playing this game again, and strangely I found the matches themselves to be pretty exciting.

    Jester, I'd agree with you that the head of a department shouldn't also fill the Chris Harrison role. (Actually I think it works with Gold Rush's Christo Doyle). CCP Bro does seem a little rigid, but he's what, young enough to be right out of high school? Did he start as an intern? I doubt CCP is investing heavily in an experienced entertainer and I do think Guard is probably a good fit for the on-screen stuff. I'll be honest aside from Fanfest, most of the broadcast stuff that CCP does is not quite up to American entertainment and broadcast standards, but I think they're aiming in the right direction. I'm not trying to be insulting btw, I think it's just where CCP has been learning and adapting. They'll get there, and I think these tournaments have been getting more professional. The onscreen UI is done pretty well, compared to what it was a couple years ago.

    It all comes down to money invested. I think as the popularity increases, CCP will start to throw more money at events like this. Perhaps enough to rent out or build an actual auditorium to house the live studio audience? (am I the only one who thought they all looked a little cramped?)

  20. So elite content only attracts a tiny few elite players and the vast majority of non-elite PAYING CUSTOMERS couldn't care less about it...?

    Who could had guessed it, truly.

  21. firstly tournament play rewards are disproportional to the number of players involved.
    should there be a $25k prize for the biggest scam each year?
    how about 30 PLEX prize for the most freighter kills each month?
    30 unique ship BPCs given for the most ice mined last year?

    secondly; correct me if I'm wrong but these tournament teams practice on SiSi right? so the only investment they make is time? no wonder they can afford to practice non-stop. perhaps the average joe might be more competitive if his day to day flying and fighting on tranquillity was not dwarfed in comparison by elite teams training for free. sure they might fight to the structure training on tranquillity but that would allow ganking and other content creation opportunities.

    thirdly is 8v8 (or even 12v12) relevant in todays EVE? one of your recent posts would suggest not. perhaps a 25v25 or 40v40 tournament might open it up to the average player?

    1. "how about 30 PLEX prize for the most freighter kills each month?"

      If YOU can do an interesting show out of it, why not? Try it and see if it works.

      "Is 8v8 (or even 12v12) relevant in todays EVE? "

      Is there anything not relevant in eve? I do such small scale fights all the time on TQ. Eve is about what you want to do.

      A 40v40 match will be less and less about pilot skill and more about comp and FC skill. It will be even harder to understand from the streams perspective.

  22. If CCP wants tourneys to really take off, they need to devote an expansion to implementing a tournament system on TQ. Sure, right now you can find some back end Nullsec system or wormhole and setup a tourney, but even after you do that it's a huge PITA. You need marshals to watch for out of bounds and bunch of other little things Unless you do it constantly just isn't worth the time. Not to mention someone's likely to come in and rain on your parade just because. In all the other competitive esport games, the game takes care of all those things for you simply by being what they are. In Eve, players have to setup the rules, build the venue, do the booking...

    I think Eve's mature enough as a game now it could deal with ships being blown up from a lobby que. So long as they are being blown up. Just limit it all to T1, no meta, for a first pass and slowly expand on it.

    1. This. CCP agrees that DUST was a valid concept, why not DUSTify Eve too? (this is not sarcasm)
      Also, what Jonas Jacobi said above.

      And PVE players should fully get behind the idea of an "EvE Arena" expansion - it would provide an outlet for PVP players to play like they want that doesn't involve killing non-PVPers.

    2. It'd even work for lore. Immortals killing each other in gladiator games out of boredom.

  23. It's perhaps worth noting that for the AT they added locked down practice systems for last years AT. I'm not sure why they (apparently?) didn't do that for the NEO.

    The spying meta-game of tournaments is IMHO a nuisance, while a nice little reflection of real life perhaps. In a virtual world we can simply avoid it at least in-game, which I think CCP should do.

    As for the matches being one-sided. In this years winter olympics long distance speed skating some countries didn't even bother competing. The reason? The dutch dominate it by such an extent that some countries simply focus on other categories. This ended with the dutch in some categories winning first, second, third and in fact fourth place. A ridiculous result. But the reasons are simple. The dutch have always been good at it, and therefore dedicate a lot of time, money and research on improving their performance. This has simply made the gap wider and wider with as a result this winter olympics results.

    I think HYDRA is the same. They are good at eve tournament play and they know it, and they dedicate their corp to doing the tournaments. A team like say Agony who only starts worrying about the AT around this time a year. It's simply not an even a fair match.

    Now that we have multiple tournaments it becomes more interesting for large alliances to have dedicated tournament groups within their ranks. I don't think smaller alliances can support this model, but I wouldn't be surprised if large alliances will slowly start attracting/"paying?" players to fly for their alliance in tournaments. Perhaps somewhat similar to a F1 racing like model.

    For smaller generally more small-gang oriented alliances like rote, agony, and mixed groups like repcartel, WeHurt this is simply not sustainable without going full HYDRA.

    I also wish that the advice "skirmishing on TQ is good tournament practice" wasn't so, but rather a minimal competence for any team competing.

    I think WeHurt showed this most succinctly. With a few battle hardened pilots with yeas of small-gang/solo experience and a few newer but accomplished solo/small-gang pilots. They rolled trough most of the teams like a wrecking ball. Largely I would say on that baseline competence of being able to flying ships in eve, which IMHO should be the default for all teams.

    That of course is not the case, for now we have to settle with a plethora of "cripple-fights" in tournaments where the competitive teams set the standard and a large number of teams show that they can simply not reach that standard.

    In this I agree with your point on marketing/promotion. If CCP would make the tournaments a bigger deal, then more players would be interested and actually try to get good enough. It might take a year or two, but with more tournaments and some actual promotion we might get enough teams in tournaments that "small-gang on TQ" would be a baseline competence instead of a attribute good enough to beat more then half the teams without even sweating.

    Having said that, I also think that individual piloting skill is not even half the battle, a good comp will defeat a bad comp. But this obviously still favours the small gang groups that don' t rely on n+1 tactics on TQ.

    1. "It's perhaps worth noting that for the AT they added locked down practice systems for last years AT. I'm not sure why they (apparently?) didn't do that for the NEO."

      Did that include preventing skill clone pod jumping?


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