Which is more purple: the back of CCP Soundwave's laptop? Or CCP Sunset's hair?
I kid, I kid... ;-)
The big story was -- of course -- the sound and video problems that started the day. As a result, the first match took place a full hour later than scheduled. It also left CCP Soundwave, CCP Dolan, and CCP Falcon with an hour to fill. You can tell a lot about a person by how they deal with these sorts of unexpected delays. Soundwave has a lot of experience at it, so he didn't have any problems asking leading questions and keeping a conversation moving. That was good, because he wasn't getting a lot of help from Falcon, who restricted himself to short answers or no talking at all during that period.
That left Soundwave talking to Dolan. And Dolan returned to the New Eden Open ready to do battle!
It was very clear that he spent this week doing his homework, doing back-end research, and learning everything he could about the teams, the matches, and the comps that would likely come up. This was a pretty black-and-white day for Dolan, all in all. If you hate mbIII, then you probably despised what you saw on screen today. But if you don't mind him, then that hour was actually quite interesting. Dolan was forceful, informed, and constant. In fact, I daresay he was nearly as good as CCP Fozzie was last Sunday, which is saying quite a bit.
The one thing Dolan really seemed to be today was in control of his facts. At one point, he said something which Soundwave jumped on as incorrect. Dolan made his case for the correctness of what he said... and made it well. Soundwave was forced to back off, which he did so very grudgingly ("We'll figure it out," he finally said, instead of some variation of "OK, you're right"). I didn't catch anything Dolan said today that was factually incorrect. He also had the best commentary in terms of "what it all means" in between matches. I was really pleased with his explanations of how the teams stack up rank-wise once it was clear who would be fighting for first place and who would be fighting for third.
Once the actual matches started, Falcon was a lot better than both before the matches started and better than last week. He's clearly spent some time this week doing some homework. He's still the third-best commentator of the New Eden Open, but the gap closed somewhat today. Still, I suspect we'll have Fozzie and Dolan for tomorrow. It'll be interesting to see if they dress up. Dressing up for finals day is an Alliance Tournament tradition. Will the New Eden Open follow the same tradition?
That leaves the team a few more hours to solve the technical problems. Had it not been for those early problems, technically, today would have been perfect. As it was, it was a return to New Eden Open Day One: stuttering feed, sound problems, problems switching sound sources, video problems, et cetera. The only thing that went perfectly was the green screen; all the problems with that have now been solved, fortunately.
Viewers slowly ramped from 1800 to 2600 during the first hour, then dipped to 2400 or so before peaking at 2900.
New for this week were two Team Pony Express devs that came into the studio and talked about some of the new features of the Retribution expansion. Their demos -- assisted by Fozzie -- were quite good, I thought! It was really helpful to me to see all the new features described, then demonstrated. If there was ever a subject that deserved to be video dev-blogged, this is it, particularly the "selected item camera" functionality. That is begging for a video guide similar to what CCP did for probe scanning. It looks like it could be very useful, but it still isn't clear to me how to engage and disengage the function. The dragging of selected targets into rows is fantastic. I'm really looking forward to playing with that. I hope that we get a video guide on these features, because not that many people saw it today.
The matches, you ask? Oh yeah, there were matches today. ;-)
Again, I kid, but the matches were a lot more one-sided today than they were last week. Dolan was right about that: there were very clear dividing lines between the four teams that advanced and the two teams that didn't.(1) The most exciting match of the day was probably between RONIN and the Pixies and the Expendables. Both teams brought teams centered around three Tengus, but The Expendables again put on an excellent display of tactical EVE piloting and won the match easily. It helped that their fleet comp was simply superior to what RONIN brought.
There was also a great moment when Goggle Internet Wearing Internet Crime Fighters again brought out their Cambion. It wasn't quite as overpowering this time around, and we later found out it was because the pilot switched to Mjolnir Rage rockets instead of Scourge rockets and in so doing cut his DPS in half. How do we know? Because not long after the Cambion was instrumental in taking out The Reputation Cartel's Oneiros, the Cambion itself was destroyed, a 20+ billion ISK loss. So, the win went to GIWCF, but the moral victory went to The Reputation Cartel. ;-)
Well, part of the moral victory, anyway. Funniest moment of the day was when Soundwave finally realized that the Goggle Internet Wearing Crime Fighters team name is rather literal: all the pilots are wearing NeX goggles. This was brought home in very amusing relief when pictures of their top most-commonly flown pilots was put on the screen... and their ten pairs of goggles. Hee!
Anyway, looking forward to finals day! Should be two sets of great matches.
(1) And I say that with total respect toward The Reputation Cartel, the team that had two Rote Kapelle pilots in it. Sorry you guys didn't advance further today.