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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Friday, August 9, 2013

AT11 personal wrap-up

Two more AT11 wrap-up posts, one of them small picture, the other big picture.  Then I'll move on to other things, I promise.  First the small picture: I want to close out my own personal experiences with AT11.

Last year, I wrote a pair of posts generally going over what being in the Alliance Tournament is like.  And while I'm not going to cover that old ground, I do want to point those posts because they are still perfectly valid.  The only thing that really changed from last year to this year in terms of what's in those posts is that the broadcast delay between when we would start fighting and when all of you would watch all of us start fighting was greatly shortened this year.  Last year, we could generally watch the back halves of our own matches.  This year, not so much.  It was a minor change.

Even before tourney training season started, I quite frankly felt like this was going to be a "rebuilding" year for Rote Kapelle.  We lost:
  • two really good tournament pilots to ExodusDOT (where one in particular did a great job with them);
  • two more pilots to being tournament commentators;
  • one more to internal alliance drama (see that first post above); and,
  • three more were affected by RL issues and could only fly with us infrequently.
Matter of fact, out of our 15 key AT10 tournament pilots, only seven flew in AT11.  That was a lot of rebuilding.  I was setting expectations fairly low but even without that, I'm really pleased with how things turned out in terms of the results we achieved.  We were a top 12 team this year after being a top 16 team last year.  Next year, top eight.  Right?  Right?

There's no question, though, that we were impacted by this year's mechanics in a myriad of ways.  Our budget this year was quite small and of that budget, if my math is accurate about 35% went into implants and another 50% went into our entry fee.  Ships were actually the smallest part of the budget and I believe there were only four ships in our tourney hangar worth more than a billion ISK each (of those, we only fielded one).  I was not a happy camper with this year's silent auction method for choosing tournament slots.  I advised Bob Shaftoes right from the get-go to low-ball our bid a little bit; didn't happen.  I'm almost completely positive we massively overpaid to enter but of course only a few people know if that's so... and they ain't telling.

That also meant that the Rote Kapelle team was run by a remarkably small number of people: there were really about five or six key participants and we worked our butts off.  That's the disadvantage of a small alliance entering the Alliance Tournament and any other small alliances that do so should go into it with your eyes open on that score.  Another disadvantage of being a small alliance is that you end up practicing with partners and while that helps you see the gaps in your own thinking, it of course also feeds right into tournament meta-gaming.

Because there were fewer available pilots this year, I was pressed into more important roles, which was nice.  That said, I was also kind of pigeon-holed this year.  Every ship I flew this year had a link fitted and most had three or more.  I trained Ripard into Marauders V this year... not necessary.  I trained an alt into Black Ops V... also not necessary.  I pumped a ton of SP into drones this past year (finally closing what's always been an embarrassing gap in Ripard's skills profile) and while drones were indeed a huge meta this year, I only flew one second-tier drone ship.

Either because of all this or because of my increasing tournament experience, I was much less nervous about matches this year.  I was able to come into them very comfortably feeling like it was just another small gang fight with very little on the line.  But as a result, I also feel like I flew a lot better this year than I did last.  Going over my own flying, I found only very minor piloting errors and nothing that could have swung any of our matches.  But it does have me hoping I'll be tapped for more challenging ships next year.  Last year -- spent primarily in frigates -- was far more challenge for my flying skills and I think I grew more as an EVE player as a result.

Community Fansite accounts (which includes CSM accounts) aren't allowed to fly in the New Eden Open and my involvement with the SCL back-end means that I'm not allowed to fly there either.  That means I likely won't be flying in another tournament until AT12, if I do.  There's lots of time between now and then, anything could happen, and who knows where I'll be a year from now.  But I'll of course continue to take a keen interest in tournament flying over the next 12 months.  It's quite likely I'll commentate for the SCL more than once in the coming year as CSM duties permit.

All in all, though, I can't help but feeling a little depressed about the whole endeavor and I'm not sure there's a good reason why.  It might be because we won our first three matches so convincingly and then unexpectedly folded.  It might be because I'm positive we couldn't have followed the path that PL did.  More on that in my next post.  And it might be because as ever, a failed tournament run has stirred up a lot of internal alliance drama.  This happens to the alliance I'm in every year whether I'm on the team or not.  But like a badly-failed love affair, I'll be happy when I can put this year's AT behind me and forget about it.

Not quite there yet.  One more post.


  1. Pretty depressing view to have about the tournament, with that last sentence.

    Easy to see why you have alliance drama though with how much isk and time the alliance has to spend to be a part of it, then it's all over after a loss or so, with no returns in site.

    1. We actually didn't lose all that much, particularly compared to what we killed, so that was nice. We should get the bulk of our non-tourney-entry-fee budget back. The tourney entry fee, not so much of course...

  2. It would be interesting to hear what you would have liked your budget to be.

    Also some commentary on bringing a logistic ship versus spending the points elsewhere would be an something I would like to see.

    1. For which fight? I wasn't really involved on the comp theory-crafting area this year.

    2. Overall was my interest. I understand if you wanted to bring a tinker setup then you'd bring one.

      It just seemed like so many just vaporized at the start making it near pointless.

      Reflecting on my original request though it does seem like each match would have a different explanation so it is probably a bigger, broader question than I had first realized.

  3. Now there's this about cynicism, Sergeant. It's the universe's most supine moral position. Real comfortable. If nothing can be done, then you're not some kind of shit for not doing it, and you can lie there and stink to yourself in perfect peace.
    - Louis McMaster Bujould, Borders of Infinity (1989)

    It is easy to snipe when you are not the one trying to make things happen. I can understand your sense of loss and disappointment.
    but to answer Maximus Decimus Meridius; yes, we were indeed entertained.

    I'll leave you with yet more Bujould wisdom:

    "I've always thought tests are a gift. And great tests are a great gift. To fail the test is a misfortune. But to refuse the test is to refuse the gift, and something worse, more irrevocable, than misfortune." - Shards of Honor (1986)

  4. I read your post from last year linked above and this paragraph caught my eye: PEOPLE WILL BE ULTRA-CRITICAL OF YOUR FLYING. Specifically the part about dismissing someone's suggestions. My father told me something many years ago (I'm older than most Eve players) he said: "Son every man on earth will be superior to you in some way! The trick is to figure out that "way" then go learn it." And that statement has proving to be correct... Thanks for the post Jester...

  5. That is truly regrettable, alliance drama shouldn't happen over these measly things. It's hard to strike reason within internet spaceship communities but I sincerely hope you guys make it through and come back next year better and readier than ever. For my part, i stopped watching the AT as soon as you guys lost your chance as I've always been a fan of the underdogs.

    Best of luck Rip!

  6. Aha now we know one of the reasons Exodus did so well as "new pilots" some of them were anything but new and were from Rote Kapelle.

    Hope you feel better about it, your team did well and probably the most stressful part is not where you placed but losing some team members to drama and drama aftermath.

    Best wishes and hope to see you commentating if not piloting. Thank you for your efforts (from a fan), the tournament was great fun to watch although understandably exhausting to participate in from those like you who participated directly.

  7. As a spectator, I wasn't expecting to feel the way I do this year, either. I am kind of experiencing post-tournament depression. I think it's because the tournament was so good I couldn't believe it, and now I miss it. I am looking forward to catching the SCL and the NEO now, hoping for good matches. I did pull for Rote while ya'll were in it. Who knew gaming tournaments would have offer the same emotional high as RL sports?


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