Tag Archives: Alliance Tournament

CSM14 and a Sense of the Summit

1. Stop the bleeding
2. Fix the stupid
3. Excite and teach
4. Incentivize return

-CCP Burger on CCP’s focus, CSM summit minutes page 6

In my ideal world the CSM summit minutes would be skippable.  In this dream world CCP would communicate anything important via Dev blogs or news updates on the main web site or even via dev posts in the forums.  As much as I loathe companies hiding things in the forums, that would be something at least.

But, as these things go, CCP does no such thing.  If you want to stay informed you pretty much have to read through the CSM summit minutes or you might miss things that otherwise go unmentioned anywhere else.  I recall that the fansite program was declared dead in a past set of summit minutes, but we’ve yet to hear anything about that via any other official source.

So if you want to know what it up you had best dive into nearly 70 pages of minutes as you cannot even trust summaries, as much of what was said lacks some of the context in which it happened so interpretations are all over the map.  Of course, your own interpretations are suspect too, as are my own.  Welcome to the CSM minutes.

The focus of the team into winter is split into 80% early retention and 20% veteran stagnation.

-CCP Burger, first paragraph of the actual minutes, top of page 5

That is the lens through which I believe we should be looking at CCP’s statements and actions.  They put that up front, the very first point, and I suspect most everything about their near future plans flow from that.

For example, it clarifies that list I quoted at the top of the post.  “Bleeding” could be a number of things, like the fall off in online players during the blackout.  But CCP is focused on new player retention, and the bleeding to be stopped is what happens with new players in the first week.

How many new players log back in as time passes

That chart was presented at EVE North in Toronto back in June and clearly remains the central issue to be solved by CCP.

It was suggested by a former member of the CSM that CCP should put “fix the stupid” ahead of “stop the bleeding” on their list, but after reading and reflection, my sense of the minutes is that “stop the bleeding” is a just a subset of fixing the stupid.  For example, looking at that chart, whatever is keeping half of newly registered users from logging into the game probably ranks very high on the stupid list.

And, rather bluntly, CCP says in the minutes that stupid is everywhere and in all aspects of the game, and they have to start somewhere.  No sense in trying to boil the whole ocean of stupid at once.

With that top priority in mind it isn’t hard to read reality into other things that came up during the summit.

For example, when the Alliance Tournament gets mentioned, CCP Falcon offers up a set of excuses as to why CCP hasn’t kept it going.  And they are probably valid excuses.  But he fails to mention the big one, which is that new player retention… stopping the bleeding… is the top priority and the Alliance Tournament doesn’t do anything to help that.  So suggesting, for example, that paying CCP in cash rather than PLEX would change anything seems to completely miss where CCP is focused.  It is a re-arranging the deck chairs solution that doesn’t address the real issue.  Dev resources are simply not going to be applied there.

And so it goes.

I am interested to see what CCP’s plan for new player retention really is.  I said it was one of the top stories I was waiting for in 2019 a month back.  So far they have only mentioned continuing to refine the initial tutorial, which is what they have been doing off and on since the Cold War expansion nearly a decade and a half ago.  But that doesn’t take 80% of the team’s focus, so there has to be something else coming.  Or there had better be something else coming.

So that is my sense of the summit, the big picture take away.

There were some other side notes of interest in the minutes that did not necessarily relate to that though.  For example, I enjoyed the discussion of how CCP tracks players to assign where in space they live.  That ended up with several null sec people in the summit being flagged as high sec players.

In response CCP Larrikin put up this chart on Reddit which revised the long repeated “85%” statement made years ago.

Population of EVE – June 2019

  • Most Time : The player spent the majority of their non-afk time in that area of space, across all their characters and accounts.

  • Any Time : Players that spent any time at all in that area of space, across all of their characters and accounts.

Null sec almost doubled its count in that version, up to nearly 30%.  There is still a question of how well that aligns with reality, but I guess we have a new benchmark that people will use as a bludgeon on /r/eve.

A lot of other stuff got hashed out, but there were no big revelations.  CCP said they were still evaluating data from the blackout.  The Triglavian invasion will carry on for a while.  Some odd/naive questions came up about what can be botted.  We learned what huge krabs wormhole players are.  And there was a session with Hilmar (which did little to reassure me on his new found interest in New Eden) which included a couple of charts whose labels give a pretty grim view of the reality of EVE Online.

Do you prefer apathy or boredom?  Are anxiety and doubt that different?

Also, there was a pulled pork recipe that looked pretty good.

Others have more detailed views on the minutes, some of which I linked below.  But you really have to dig through it yourself to discover it all.

No Alliance Tournament for 2019

I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of the annual EVE Online Alliance Tournament for various reasons.

The Alliance Tournament

It happens outside the game, which is not good thing for a single shard sandbox game to my mind, and all the more so since the special rewards come back into the game. (Though that you have to supply ships from the game for the tournament, and if you lose them they’re gone, does redeem that some.  Especially when a tournament reward ship blows up.)

Also, as with a lot of video game tournaments, seeing it online involves watching action on camera that wavers between being too distant to tell what is going on or too close to understand the context, making the commentary pretty much vital.  And the commentary can be… uneven.  You all aren’t Elise Randolph I’m afraid.

In addition, the skill needed to participate doesn’t translate through the screen very well.  If I watch a StarCraft tournament I know enough to appreciate some fine unit handling and situational awareness. With the AT you can be left wondering if one side was really better or if somebody just picked the right/wrong fleet composition for that round.

So, on any given year I might watch two or three of the matches.  I get more excited seeing a Drake in the mix than I do over any particular team winning or losing.

Still, I get that it is important to some people.  That it isn’t my thing doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be a thing.  There are groups out there that take this annual event very seriously.  As the joke that isn’t really a joke goes, if you want to do something in null sec without Pandemic Legion dropping on you, you doing during the ramp up to the AT because a lot of their key players will be busy with practice for that.

And I do enjoy hearing those involved talk about the AT.  More than anything else, stories are the essence of EVE Online to me.  The game is objectively not that good.  You wouldn’t play it solo.  Well, somebody would, but most wouldn’t see the point.  I wouldn’t see the point.

But the stories it produces, the tales of how things ended up coming to pass or how a given strategy came about or just the behind the scenes reactions to changes or unexpected turns of events are the secret sauce that allows EVE Online to transcend its obtuse UI and unwieldy mechanics.

And the AT produces stories, which is enough for me to support it as an ongoing event.  I’ll read or listen to those stories so long as somebody wants to tell them.

So I was a bit disappointed to see that CCP has decided not to hold the Alliance Tournament in 2019.  I am not even sure I get the reason why.  How do you go from saying the AT is a huge aspect of the game’s heritage and a big part of the annual game calendar to it being a good idea to take a break?

I mean, it doesn’t impact me directly, but it will be a hit to some, a kick in the nuts to their morale, a reason to take a break or not come back from one.

Meanwhile, as I wrap this up I see that Rixx Javix is going further in asking what it really means when CCP decides to give this event a miss.  Is this really just an opportunity to reflect or concentrate on other tasks?  Is there a bigger agenda here that we ought to know about?

I’m still digesting the rather grim view for Blizzard and now this.

Friday Bullet Points from New Eden

Time for a Friday catch-up post, this time focused on EVE Online.. with a few items I won’t roll together a post for yet feel I should mention.

  • Pandemic Legion Escapes!

The bubble camp in failed to hold back an organized breakout in UALX-3.

The location of the camp

After several days of feeding TEST and the Legacy Coalition dreadnoughts and subcaps, the fleet trapped by the initial Keepstar fight in UALX-3 finally got its act together.  A subcap force cleared the area early on the 25th, allowing most of the capital force to log in and jump out, denying TEST further easy kills.  The full story, complete with video, is up over at INN.

Of course, over on Reddit, where TEST and Brave had been smugging hard in /r/eve, the tables turned as the formerly trapped returned the favor with a savage mocking of their own, made all the worse by the /r/eve moderators being on strike and only removing TOS violating posts, as opposed to their usual effort to trim back repeats and low effort bad posting.

  • More Keepstars In Peril

The war continues.  While the Legacy Coalition was sitting at their camp to try and keep the northern fleet from being a fleet in being, the Imperium moved back north and resumed its grind against the foes up there.  One Keepstar went down without a fight last night (more on that in another post) and one is set for its final timer later today tomorrow.

  • New Referral Program

This has been in place since early in the month, but I thought I would mention it here.  I stuck it in the position where you put the weakest item on your list, which is to say neither first nor last.

Earlier this month CCP announced an updated/changed/new referral/recruitment program, the details of which are here.  Structured like an event for The Agency, you can accrue better rewards by recruiting more people to the game, including special ship SKINs.

Are you recruited or have you been recruited?

All of this hit with the usual damp squib effect for which CCP can be famous.  The forum thread about it accrued a long series of “fix my thing!’ posts and other complaints about the game, not one of them new.  The video released to push recruiting also had its detractors.  It certainly didn’t feature much of the game, with the whole thing feeling more like a Farmer’s Insurance ad.

The old recruitment links have been migrated to the new system, though I am not sure that will help me.  I’ve had a recruitment link up at the bottom of the side bar over on EVE Online Pictures for more than five years, have had people click it and tell me they have subscribed, and have never received any reward or notification.  So my own reaction to the program was cool as well.

  • Alliance Tournament Starts Tomorrow

The annual Alliance Tournament kicks off tomorrow, speaking of things to which my reaction has always been a bit chilly.

Episode XVI – EVE NT Takes Over

I tend to be a purist about EVE Online.  In my world view, everything that affects the game happens within the game on the single server which we all share.  So an e-sports event, with a set of arbitrary rules, which only certain elites can join in on, that takes place outside of the game, and which rewards the winners with PLEX and special ships that come back into the game, is contrary to the spirit of the game in my view.

Also, EVE Online is difficult to watch on a stream if you want to get a good sense of what is really happening and the volunteer commentators… can vary in quality.  Not everybody can be Elise Randolph or Jin’taan’s tie.

But some of the kids seem to like it and certain groups pretty much fold up shop to concentrate on it every year.  I am surprised there is a war on currently, as I have no doubt key people are fully invested in it.

Anyway, the first rounds of the Alliance Tournament start tomorrow.  There is a detailed Dev Blog up about the event, with links out to all the information you need.  There is also a site setup where you can see all of the pending matches and make your own predictions, and INN has a post up with the prize ships and a last minute rule change.  The matches themselves will be streamed on the CCP Twitch channel throughout the weekend.

While CCP is providing the prizes as usual, this year also marks the handing over of the running of the Alliance Tournament to the staff at EVE NT, who will be streaming the event from their studio.

Addendum: Four teams are out of the event, so four other teams get a pass in the first round.

BSC Legion Alliance Tournament X Ad

As part of the Alliance Tournament, CCP is running little short promos for various corps and alliances as bumpers before the various fights.

Goonswarm has submitted one, as has TEST (though I like their ad from last year better), Ev0ke, TETIC-CVA, and many more, as they say.  Even Nulli Secunda.  See you in 319 station indeed!

Well, my corporation, the BSC Legion has thrown one out there as well.

I am not sure what it means.  I am actually not even sure who made it.  And the tag line at the end, “No One Here Gets Out Alive” confuses me a bit.

But I thought I would mention it, in the name of corp spirit.

Solidarity, Reg.