And that is the problem.
How often do you think about the Olympics, either the Winter or the Summer? Only when they are on, right? Even then, you only look at the events when they are happening in your time zone, or worse yet.. on the news or Youtube after the games are over.
The same goes with the Alliance Tournaments, typically people only watch these in their off time. Sure it happens on the weekend, but I have never been on TS with my corpmates, watching the game. Just like I never go over to a friend’s house in RL to watch the Olympics.
Now, before I go on, let’s remind everyone about all the GOOD things CCP has done over the years. First off, they definitely improved the look and feel of the coverage with a better UI (which I still think could get better). Second, they developed better camera options which allowed for viewers to have more feel of the battle. Third, they staffed the event with knowledgeable and easy to listen to commentators, not just some people they’ve heard about. All these are HUGE and necessary changes that make the Alliance Tournament worth watching.
That being said, there are still some improvements that need to be made if the Alliance Tournament really needs to take off.
Get Away From the Olympics Model, and Go Towards the NBA Model
The Olympic Model is just not a good model for a competitive event in Eve Online because there is just too much time between events that is not filled with any reference to the Alliance Tournament. Everyone knows it exists, but with so little conversation about it, there isn’t any excitement or build up.
The Alliance Tournament should be switched to the NBA Model. The NBA Model breaks all the playing groups into two conferences, one for each side of the United States. They are further broken down into particular areas.
Eve Online could be broken up into four primary groups: Minmatar, Amarr, Caldari, and Gallente. One for each dominion of space. Like the NBA, they can be further broken up into regions, for example, the Amarr Conference could have the Kador, Domain, Kor-Azor, etc based on groups wanting to compete in those areas. Like the NBA, each of these regions will hold minor conflicts for standings. Ideally, events can be sponsored by third parties and the prize money will go the winners and the officials.
Now, I know CCP wants something like this to happen, but wanted it to happen “organically”, i.e. without their involvement. The problem is that CCP needs to make some mechanic changes that the players simply cannot do effectively.
Mechanical Changes Critical to Success
In order for player groups and organizations be made and effectively exist, CCP needs to make changes to necessary mechanics of the game, and here’s why:
- Operate and officiate games WITHOUT any interference. This simply cannot be done in Eve Online anywhere. For a League to develop, they need to be able to get players to a location. That chosen location will need to be safe from any and all interference during the event. Strangely enough, the idea of building jumpgates to new systems might help in this regard.. however, I don’t think it fix the problem ideally. Without that safety, those events will not gardner the participation necessary to be successful.
- There needs to be the ability to pull specific information that can be used in scoring and making stats, ideally for betting. With the new CREST Programming, there might be the option to do this, but it remains to be seen. Killboards cannot be used because you’ll need to filter out training fights and standard PVP fights away from competition battles.
- Write up a tutorial on how to use the ingame camera as well as give people the option to port those camera angles to a service like Twitch TV or Youtube.
- Advertise, Advertise, Advertise. As an Eve Online Player, I should be innundated with information about the Alliance Tournament. I should know when it is on even if I hate it!
Players Need to be Ready
CCP is only part of the solution. Those players that are REALLY, REALLY interested in developing leagues need to sit down together.. even before CCP starts handing out the tools.
- Develop reward systems and brackets
- Get sponsors together and figure out about advertising.
- Get good commentators.
- Figure out how to either a.) Record and distribute the event quickly or b.) give out live feeds.
- Setup rules and regulations beforehand so that the field is as level as one can make it. Some of this may already have been done from previous attempts.
True, this is a lot of work.. but I think this is what is necessary in the least to have watchable and exciting gameplay. Gameplay that people will WANT to watch.