And after seeing this year’s Alliance Tournament XI (the first week, still going through the second week) I am left with two opinions:
- This was the BEST Alliance Tournament ever
- That they actually, quite possibly, listened everything I had to say on the subject. Maybe.
The reasons that this was the best Alliance Tournament are many and by and large I simply enjoyed this years tournament just to listen and watch the play by play (which is a first). Here’s what I thought really stood out:
First off, the “sports casting” was simply the best it ever has been. It is as if they spent a week or two watching sportcasters and learning what to do and what not to do. All of the commentators knew what they were talking about, were clearly intimately familiar with the game of Eve Online, and talked quickly and efficiently. Above all, they were EXCITED about the fights and didn’t waste time talking about non-relevant subjects until after the battle was clearly over. Overall, the commentators made the fights more entertaining while not dulling it down with irrelevant information. Good Job CCP!
Second, mad props need to be given to the person who revamped the UI being shown to viewers. Since I had to view the fights on Youtube, I wasn’t able to enjoy the CREST development where individual viewers could apparently change the camera angle for their own view if they wanted. However, even on the Youtube rerun, it was very clear that they saw some of my issues (points #1 and #2) with previous Alliance Tournaments and really took it to heart.
One of the important things that they did this year seemed to be to make the interface that the commentator used much, much easier to use on the fly. Transitioning between views and locations was nearly flawless and the commentators quickly were able to switch to areas they were talking about, which adds to the interest of the fight. I’m not 100% sure, but it appears that really there were three people running commentary operations, two running commentary, and one behind the scene helping with camera visuals.
In particular, the arrangement of the viewer UI was very impressive. It’s clean, it’s clear. It has the two commentators together, interacting quickly and effectively off to the left. The center, the second largest section has all the information about each ship and its pilot, in the battlefeed, with a simple bar graph showing each teams potential capabilities. On the right, someone brilliantly uses that area to give an overall view of the battle area. As I mentioned in my Blog Banter, the Isometric view in other sporting events gives the best visual spatial representation a person can have. Since this never changes in the game, it allows people to keep their spatial perspective on the fight and thus.. keep interested. In addition, the battle simulator here, goes through each battle and you can follow up and see what they did.. or didn’t do right.
Third, finally they put tags on each of the ship, clearly showing the name, shiptype, and distance from the beacon. This was vital to add for people to keep track of what is going on in the fight. It also allows people to, develop favorites for each fight.. especially since they can see how they fight, how they react, and how they play. It is a critical decision that I had mentioned they need to do as my point #3. But hey, I’m not bragging :).
The fourth thing I’d like to mention was really not something done specifically done for ATXI. That is the improved graphic effects for things like missiles, hybrid blasters, Microjump drives, etc. Several module effects look really, really cool at 720HD and 1080HD. It gives the fight life and adds to the tension of the game.. and thus, the overall entertainment to be had.
“The Bad”, or more correctly, The “Just Not As Good as the First Good Was”
While this year’s alliance tournament was a huge improvement over past tourneys, there are still a couple things that need to be addressed:
- Blasters and Missiles looked AWESOME! You could almost FEEL the hits from those weapons. Projectile weapons, Laser weapons, and Railguns.. eh, not so much. The art department should go back and revisit the weapon effects of each.
- The Tags are a great, and as I mentioned before, critical addition. However, the text looks like they were done with an 80’s dot matrix printer. Granted, that is the way it always looked.. but for something that has the potential to draw in more customers, a little more polish and style should be on the docket for the next tournament.
Without a doubt, CCP needs to pat itself on the back for one of the best Alliance Tournaments ever played. CCP Rise, CCP Fozzie, and CCP Dolan were great commentators and effective in keeping the game exciting. It is sad that CCP Soundwave is now stepping back from the Alliance Tournament because this is clearly his best work, but I guess if you are going out, you should go out on top.
I personally enjoyed watching and listening to ATXI far, far more than any previous tournaments.. and in my opinion compares even to the major sporting events that I have watched. CCP can not just count me as a player, but it can now count me as a real FAN. It’s also pretty cool that they thought my ideas were good things to address. So, um.. when are we getting some trading cards?