Tag Archives: tournament

Worth a Thousand Words

Boy, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged on my own site. Warp Drive Active’s kept me pretty busy these days, but I’m back here and hope to continue the various article series’ that I have happening here. On to better topics, though!

The EVE Online Alliance Tournament 8 has been going on throughout the month of June, to great success thus far. The video streams have been silky smooth with no major interruptions of note, the commentary has been excellent, and the matches have been exciting to watch. A lot of the latter has to do with the rules this year, which streamline the combat nicely — no more ten minute long matches containing nothing but circle-jerk logistics setups. Instead we’ve been seeing some excellent fleet commanding, very capable commentary, and expensive ships melting before our very eyes.

In the past I’ve been allowed to attend the matches in order to do some visual documentation of the matches. For Alliance Tournament 8, the pictures I’ve taken can be found at my EVE Online – Alliance Tournament 8 picture set on Flickr. Players have enjoyed this in the past since full resolution images aren’t provided by CCP from the matches. Some have even been inspired enough to create their own content with the images, either just wallpapers for their own ¬†use or, in the case of Umega, an entire music video.

This all came to a screeching halt last Sunday, and I figured I might as well explain to folks out there what transpired. First, let me give some background.

Back during Alliance Tournament 5, I sent a note off to the organizer at the time and inquired if there was a way I could get screenshots from the matches. I was invited to attend the events in person so I could do this myself. I graciously accepted, and proceeded to do my work back then. Players definitely seemed to enjoy the results.

After the recent Alliance Tournament 8 podcast I worked with CCP to produce, I asked if I could once again attend the matches to document them with screenshots. They got back to me and indicated it was possible. Let me explain how this has worked for me in the past.

Obviously I can’t show up there in a battleship and mash my screenshot button. I’m restricted to a covert ops frigate with no mounted modules save for a cloaking device. I am to remain cloaked throughout the matches. Occasionally while jockeying for position with the EVE TV camera ships I’ll get bumped by one of them and summarily decloaked, but that’s only ever happened during the setup phase and never during an actual match.

During the first tournament I did this for, it became very evident that staying outside the arena was going to be a problem for the effort, since if the players impulse to or have initial warp-ins over on the other side, I cannot do a Look At to get my camera close. I had asked the organizer if it was possible to breach the arena during the matches slightly in order to get within the 100km Look At distance, and it was agreed to be alright as long as I kept as large a distance as possible.

My UI is always on until I’m actually about to take a screenshot. My overview shows me where everyone is, and I have my Keep At button set to 150km on standby in case I notice someone coming my way. I immediately hit it, and I’m usually out of the arena in seconds. The closest anyone’s ever come to me is around 20km, but in that instance I was 10km outside of the arena. GMs would nuke them the second they breach the border anyway.

There are two arenas in the tournament system for AT8, and between matches I’m warping to the next one along with other EVE TV camera ships at 100km, then moving off to a random position to cloak. Players aren’t on the field at this point at all. Last Sunday, the match organizer noticed me decloak at this point — again, no players on the field at all — because an EVE TV camera ship bumped mine and decloaked my Helios. After a short chat, I was relocated out of the tournament system because I noted how unreasonable it is to stipulate a 135km minimum distance from the arena beacon.

Think about this. 135km diameter sphere has a circumference of approximately 425kms. Lets say the teams all warp in at their spots on the other side of the sphere. At around 300m/s, by the time I circumnavigated the entire arena to get close the match would be over. The probability of a player heading straight for my cloaked ship and getting within decloaking distance is profoundly small, and that’s assuming I’m not constantly expecting that to happen.

So, a decision was made. That’s fine of course, again as I said before I don’t have any special access or rights for this kind of access. From my perspective it was more upsetting of how quickly a distrustful opinion was formed of me, after more than seven years of building up a relationship with CCP through my interactions with the community of EVE and the developers themselves though such efforts as the podcast and comic.

As much as I do these things for you, the community of EVE, they are in a way also homage to the creators of the game we all enjoy. The result is a kind of tip of the hat to say “this is how much I like what you’ve created”.

Am I upset? A bit. I’m disappointed that after the things that I’ve done I can’t be afforded the opportunity to take time out of my own weekends to provide another perspective to the community on an event that’s supposed to be all about the players. Twenty thousand people viewed the set on the first day of the tournament alone, with many more thousands to follow in the days since, and a fair portion of those (if referrer stats are any indication) are the alliances who were competing.

This isn’t a rant, and my intent is not to bash all of CCP here. There are some fantastic individuals working for them who are smart, creative, and passionate about the game. You won’t see me slamming the door in the face of future opportunities to work with them, such as providing the current set of AT8 pictures for their own use in marketing or dev blogs, or doing future podcast work with them to highlight upcoming EVE events or expansions. It’s just so you as players can know what transpired in case you were wondering why the screenshots end a week before the finals.

All that will really come of this is a firm knowledge of the widening distance between those of us trying to do work for the community, and the creators of the game that it has built up around. Currently, that distance has grown to around 35km. Who knows where it will be in the future.

Tournament Blogging, Podcasting Madness

Tons of Missile DamageWith the EVE 5th Alliance Tournament coming up at the end of February, I figured now was a good time to speak on some plans that are being hatched.

First up there’s some goodies Urban and I want to do on the podcast. Nothing is fully set yet so I can’t give any details, but watch this blog for some updates as things progress.

One of the things which ended up being more successful than I’d ever thought it would be was my photoblogging of the last tournament’s finals. The pictures I took are still up on my Flickr site, so knock yourself out with those. This year I hope to do more of the same, photoblogging as much of the tournament matches as I can. This should be especially interesting given the new engine, and it’s my hope the shots I can take will out-do the ones from last year. Plus, I hope that the community enjoys the addition to the tournament coverage that will be available everywhere.

Again, watch this space for more news as the Tournament approaches. :)

In other EVE news, we’ve got the inaugural episode 0 of The Drone Bay, a new EVE podcast from Crovan, CrazyKinux, and the new guy whos name I can never remember. The show’s amazing, with an great chemistry between the podcasters. It’s been a blast helping these guys out the last couple of weeks to get started, and I can’t wait to listen to future episodes!

EVE Tournament, weekend followup, controversy

The 4th EVE Alliance Tournament’s first weekend is over. You’ll hear some brief comments of mine on the Warp Drive Active podcast this week (due out today/tomorrow). Overall the action was good, there were some snores in the form of fights which were simply full of turtle logistics, which while effective is pretty much the worst thing to broadcast live for people to watch. Commentary was uneven, but on average was the best of any tournament so far. The effort taken to enlist several PVP experts from the community to talk about the fights has paid off.

Fallout from the tournament continues even now after the fights have finished. A big one happened today, with the announcement that Mercenary Coalition is pulling out of the tournament. You can read the announcement on this thread, along with the replies of the community. Seleene explains things in a bit more detail on page 2, while some of the replies serve more to justify the decision than anything else.

The situation this year is kind of strange. We have a really well produced tournament, with CCP and EVE TV doing an amazing job of putting on a good show for everyone to watch. It’s free. It’s for us, the players of EVE. There are a lot of people in Iceland right now working hard, long hours, to bring the action to the masses.

So why is the EVE TV forum turned into a complete sewer, filled with sad examples of poor sportsmanship, alt trolling, and a general harassing tone towards the event organizers?

I don’t know what really to say about this. I’m not surprised the obtuse viewpoints of some will fail to realize the reasons behind the MC’s decision, even when it’s explicitly laid out for them in a forum post. I feel bad that my alliance’s team won’t continue on, but I understand and support that decision wholeheartedly.

I’ll continue to watch the tournament and see who wins in the end, and we’ll see what kind of sensible debate can be had about the subject in the WDA podcast’s half-time cast coming soon.

The Tournament, So Far

So the EVE Tournament’s been going now for two days, and is scheduled to keep going tomorrow, and Friday-Sunday next weekend. How’re things going so far?

I wasn’t able to tune in much on Friday, since the tournament was running while I was at work, but I had the streams running and overall from what I saw things were going pretty smoothly from a technical perspective. Things weren’t so smooth today though, with some annoying buffering issues happening throughout the day.

So far the action in the tournament’s been a mixed bag. Ridiculous fleet setups were fairly common on day one, which isn’t much of a surprise. A lot of teams seemed to be testing the waters of the new rules this year, and the changes proved to be interesting for some teams. As the tournament progresses I think the silly setups will fall away in favor of balanced teams.

The commentary this year has been pretty well top notch, with EVE TV handling the overall production of the tournament presentation, bringing in PVP experts from the community. While the commentators know what they’re talking about, there’s somewhat of a lack of … I don’t know, interesting banter between the commentators themselves. It’s fairly robotic, I suppose. And there’s somewhat less in the way of commentary that might be beneficial and helpful to brand new players to EVE, or players thinking of getting into the game. Just a bit more “what the hell we’re talking about” asides, maybe.

You can’t have a tournament without some controversy of course. Nebula Rasa wigged out on the forums as well, pissed off that they lost to The Mercenary Coalition. Look, the match was a borked at the start thanks to people on both sides losing connections. Folks on both sides came back online, and folks on both sides were removed by the GMs for repeated crashes. The match started, one side won. Can’t people lose gracefully?

And today, Goonfleet showed up with a fleet whos total point value was over the maximum allowed by the rules. The max is 100, Goonies showed up with 109, and they were forfeited by the GMs handling the events. Voila, a rabble thread on the forums was born. Personally I think that step was a bit too harsh by the GMs, they could have just asked them to pick a ship to be dropped from the team and moved on. Instead we were left with the studio commentary team awkwardly try to stretch out some sort of discussion to fill up the 20 minutes of match time.

Overall the tournament’s working out well this year, and as we go forward and the teams start dropping away, the action will no doubt get more and more interesting.

New WDA, and Tournament’s End

The Third Alliance Tournament is over now, and Band of Brothers has once again won. :) To commemorate this, there’s a new WDA, complete with a friendly jab of course.

The first weekend of the tournament was technically frustrating, since the streaming servers of the live EVE TV feed were acting up. But things were smooth as silk this weekend, at least for me. The people at EVE TV caught a lot of flack from the forum trolls, but every year things keep getting better and better overall. Better coverage, better commentary, better sets… and it’s all due to the people behind it like Xyliana, spiralJunkie, Xod, and the rest of the team.

Great job, folks.

2006 Tournament Ends

Well the 2006 Alliance Tournaments in EVE have finished. In honor of this, I’ve commemorated the occasion as I did last year, with a new comic.

It was an interesting tournament overall, but the semi- and quarter- finals were really a sight to behold. There were some awesome fights, and some great upsets. The finale was a bit underwhelming, shall we say, but it was still great to be able to watch the entire tournament over EVE TV, and to attend the finals in person as a rep for WDA. :)

Maybe the lackluster ending to the tournament will make CCP take notice, and either rework the organization and rules of the tournament next year. Alternately, they could simply come up with some kind of more compelling event for everyone to take part in.

EVE TV and the Alliance Tournament

There’s a rather large tournament happening in TV at the moment, and CCP have taken the interesting steps of getting EVE Radio to come and broadcast it all live via streaming video. Very cool, and it runs for about six days through July as the tournament progresses.

About a week ago I was asked by the kind folks there to work up some kind of monologue about Warp Drive Active that could be put to video, and it seems that was broadcast today during one of their segments between matches.

Check out the schedule for the tournament here, and access the live stream here.