There is no finer spectacle in the universe of EVE Online than the explosive dance of weapon-laden spaceships in combat. The yearly Alliance Tournament is the jewel in EVE Online’s eSports crown and the upcoming New Eden Open should deliver the same gladiatorial entertainment showcase.
Given the scope of the sandbox, what part should eSports play in EVE Online and what other formats could provide internet spaceship entertainment for spectators and participants alike?
I’ve thought for a while that in a truly mature tournament season, many styles would be showcased. Given that, I’m going to lay out an admittedly very long-term vision for what this could become for CCP if they mature their tournament circuit enough to do so.
For the immediate term I will suggest this: Turn the New Eden Open into a solo tournament. See below for details.
What if in the future the “New Eden Tournament Season” looked like this (note: seasons in northern hemisphere)…
SUMMER: The New Eden Open – Solo Pilots
To truly have an “open”, it is far better to have a tournament of individuals than groups. The setting would be the same or smaller than today, maybe a sphere 150Km across for the smaller ships. Some modules would be restricted, etc. much like we do today, and potentially it would feature Frigate, Cruiser and Battlecruiser classes. Matches would be 1v1s. The winners would be crowned the EVE Aces with the attendant personal glory, and give the announcers some real personality stories and discussion to talk about. It allows for there to be “star power” of the sort that comes up in other eSports – and traditional sports for that matter. What lacks in the current NEO is a sense of viewer “ownership” of the participants. They can’t yet make sense of a “dream team” because they don’t know who the players are who might make up such a group. I propose this for summer because with the traditional summer slump in activity, it could both boost activity and would not be difficult to get the “teams” together – since they are a team of one.
FALL: Dust514 Alliance Tournament – Dust Combat and Fleet Support
Starting Soon™, Dust will be a part of New Eden, and a part of EVE. As Poetic Stanziel mentions, I think that Dust will lend itself very well to traditional eSport circles and will be far more comprehensible and accessible to the uninitiated viewer. Having this happen in the fall also provides a great attention-grabbing “feeder” as college school years start. Dust can introduce them New Eden and make them drool for (presumably) a dreadnaught to rain down death on their opponents (CCP will carefully avoid comment of how long that takes). I would picture this being on a single planet, with two small fleets duking it out overhead, no more than two squads per fleet, and not allowed to leave planet grid (or a maximum nonwarpable sphere). Specific rules would have to be tested for time equality – ideally I would think you want the fleet battle to end at the point where the dust match hits “midgame” – leaving those on the ground with either an overwhelming advantage (if a dread lives) or at their own mercy with no aerial help (if one doesn’t).
WINTER: EVE Battlefront – Strategic Fleet Combat
This is the one I have wanted to see since the first Alliance Tournament. A true, few-holds-barred EVE battle tourney. Here’s how I’d like to see it go. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one – other than the logistics, which I think we can all admit will be difficult for CCP to pull off. But how awesome would it be?
- Exclusions: No supercaps or POS.
- Restrictions: Capitals and booster ships would be restricted, maybe 1-2 of each.
- Fleet size would be one fully-stocked wing or less.
- Not restricted: Bubbles, cloaks, bombs, etc.
Arena would be an isolated arena made up of interconnected ring of 8 systems set up with jump gates in a fashion similar to that around Orduin, Metropolis. Further, these systems would have 8 wormholes connected to them (and each other) in random fashion (different every round or at least every tournament) – one wormhole with each effect and two with no effect.
Duration, of course, would have to be longer than what we do today. This would be a full 1-2 hour “game” like a regular sport. The announcers would have the time to dive into the details. Highlight ships. Highlight pilots. Talk tactics. Show the system map and zoom into what’s happening from each. Show the cat and mouse that is so EVE.
Maybe it would suck. Maybe it would be too long. But I’d love to see it tried.
SPRING: EVE Online Alliance Tournament – Elite Gangs
This is the classic Alliance Tournament. Same rules, give or take, as we have today. Instead of showcasing individuals like the (new) NEO would do, this showcases the corps and alliances in-game. In effect, this is the “small gang warfare” tournament. By playing in the spring, it also takes advantage of the fact that the teams will have had the whole of the fall and winter months to prepare for the arena.
Eve Online is a complex game with many facets and many playstyles of PVP. Diversification of the events will only highlight that, and drive more players to the game. Comment below (or on your own blog and I will link) if you have thoughts especially on the 1v1, Battlefront or Dust tourney ideas.