So, day one of the New Eden Open is history and I thought I'd write some of my impressions.
First, I was pleased to see that the first day went down with only minor glitches here and there. At no point did my stream freeze up, and at only a couple of points did it lag or stutter. That's a terrific improvement over AT10, so great job to all concerned there. I think the most significant glitch I noticed was that the advertising didn't play on the stream. Each time advertising was announced, the screen would go blue, the logo would appear, and that's all that I saw. This is quite embarrassing to CCP, I'm sure, and will probably be the subject of good-natured (or maybe not-so-good-natured) jokes from their corporate tournament sponsors. Still, expect this to be fixed in a big way tomorrow.
We saw this kind of glitch from time to time on AT10, too: the people running the tournament didn't know that this sort of thing was happening until they were told about it on the forums, Twitter, or by reading blog posts about it. It's one of the quirks of the format.
I was also embarrassed for CCP that they're not promoting this thing more, but I made that point this morning and hopefully the promotion will step up as things go along. From what I saw, the stream peaked at about 5100 viewers or so, which isn't too bad. It's certainly more than the typical own3d.tv stream so hopefully they're happy with what they're buying with their $10000 so far. Expect to see advertising for the own3d.tv service as well at some point.
The set design and camera work is basic AT10 stuff, with one notable exception: the main commentary desk is obviously placed in front of a green-screen, and the green-screen work is some of the worst that I've ever seen. Local TV stations do a better job than was done today. Hopefully, that will be addressed tomorrow, too. The main problem appears to be lighting, which is far too bright and direct. That cast obvious shadows onto the green screen; early in the proceedings, I was wondering if CCP Dolan had grown a pony-tail to replace his beard and mustache. Fix, please.
Moving on to the commentators themselves, both CCP Dolan (former michael boltonIII) and CCP Fozzie (former Raivi) did fine jobs overall. CCP Soundwave was his usual laconic self. I was rather interested that Fozzie continues to think of himself as a Pandemic Legion member. I'm pretty sure I caught him several times during the proceedings today referring possessively to the Why Dash (PL) team. EVE players that become CCP developers are required to cast off former loyalties. Between this and Fozzie constantly indirectly referring to the New Eden Open as just another "alliance tournament", the CCP coat doesn't quite fit him yet. ;-)
Late in the day, I noticed that Fozzie stopped referring to the New Eden Open in that way, so someone presumably pulled him aside and reminded him that this is player-driven eSports, not the same old thing.
The new coat fits CCP Dolan much better, which isn't all that surprising. Now if he would only say something when he's sure it's true. Dolan, if you're not sure about something, say "I don't know" or ask. There's no fault in that. The fault lies in the gaffes you made over the course of the day because you stated something you weren't sure of. Still, this was again a minor thing and the commentary today was fine. I was particularly amused at the requirement for Dolan and Fozzie to change chairs and headsets/mics between matches. At one point, I caught Fozzie at the end of a match holding his headset, waiting for the instant the camera broke away so he could put it aside and quickly make his way back to the main set.
The matches today? Also fine. There was nothing revolutionary that came out of them, which kind of surprised me. There's no new over-powering meta that emerged from day one, unless it's the non-shocking information that jamming works well with small fleets. Only at a couple of points were team sponsors mentioned and those sponsors were invariably large null-sec or former null-sec alliances: Nulli, Huns, Raiden, RONIN, Perhelion, and so forth. Somer.blink was also mentioned once or twice as contributing 10 billion ISK each to all 27 teams.
As for the other teams: Why Dash is Pandemic Legion, Expendables is Hydra Reloaded, Tinkerhell and Alts is Nocturnal Romance, Tengu Terror is a smaller alliance called The Unthinkables, Goggle Wearing Internet Crime Fighters are Suddenly Spaceships, Asine Hitama are Godfathers, Oxygen Isonopes are Goons, Baaaramu is Razor, Africa's Finest is Verge of Collapse (the AT10 winners), and I'm pretty sure Something Else is TEST Alliance...
Er, maybe Fozzie is right to treat this as just another Alliance Tournament. ;-)
Failheap Challenge has two teams in the tournament: Much Crying Old Experts is USTZ posters (including three Rote Kapelle members) and The Reputation Cartel is EUTZ posters (including one Rote Kapelle member, who I believe is Captaining that team). That leaves only a small handful of teams that aren't essentially large alliance teams.
Other than jamming, today's matches were mostly dominated by extremely bad Logistics pilots. Ship banning did not appear to be a major factor, but bad repping was. I saw many cases of logistics ships failing to rep ships under fire or just flat-out repping the wrong ship while another was under fire. I also saw several cases of extremely bad target locking on the part of logis. For example, if your team is Kronos times two, Astarte, Enyo times two, Oneiros, Maulus, Griffin and you are flying the Oneiros, your job is to lock the Maulus and the Griffin first and get one rep on each of them instantly. The other five ships aren't going to be volleyed off the field, but the two thin frigates might be. And since armor reps happen at the end of the cycle, you're simply not doing your job if you don't get a cycle started on each of them right away until they can establish transversal and range.
And yet there was at least a half-dozen times today that logi pilots failed in this very basic opening responsibility. In at least two matches, this lack of opening reps was decisive. If your team loses a ship in the first five seconds of an eight-man match, it's tough to come back from that particularly if it's an e-war ship that you lose. And it's critical that as the match goes on, the logi pilot remain flexible and keep a close eye on who really needs reps and who can wait a few seconds. But even the Logistics pilot on the Incursion Shiny Network team was pretty bad.
You'd think a logi pilot used to doing incursions of all things would know what he's doing. ;-)
Big match of the day was obviously the Why Dash loss to RONIN. That changes the whole dynamic of the tournmanet, as far as I'm concerned. I think it also revealed a weakness in PL's flying. In their last three tournament losses now, we've seen that when a PL plan is allowed to carry on to its logical conclusion, they are pretty much unstoppable. However, when something unexpected happens that causes them to lose a ship they weren't expecting to lose... the PL team seems to fall completely to pieces. They have a hard time responding to adversity, which I found pretty interesting.
Maybe since they face adversity so infrequently in non-tournament settings, they don't know how to deal with it in tournament?
However, I have to admit that the funniest moment of the day for me was Elise Randolph and another Why Dash pilot boundary violating... literally three minutes after the former Raivi made fun of Rote Kapelle for boundary violating in AT10. Karma, it is a bitch...
On to day two!