Today at 17:40 my Alliance, A Band Apart, will face off against perennial AT competitor G0dfathers for our opening round in the annual Alliance Tournament. Since 2008 I have been a loyal and attentive viewer of almost every single match in the AT, those I miss I've caught on YouTube. In fact, many of those matches I have watched multiple times. As a daily PvPer I find the AT fascinating, the format, the developing meta each year, and just how different it is from actual combat in New Eden. And how similar it can be. For years the AT was the only place to see actual, real, breathing employees of CCP.
This will be the first time I've been able to compete. Despite several close calls over the years, both as an invitee and as a member of a soon to failscade Alliance, the timing just never worked out. Which is just fine, because there is no better way to be in the AT than at the head of an Alliance you created. Among friends, many of whom you have flown with for years. Many of our team members go back a long way with me, all the way back to Syndicate and my first attempt at an Alliance years ago.
Of course we did fly in the NEO and won a very interesting match with Kids with Knives, but that is like the Minor Leagues compared to the AT. Many of our members will be flying in their first AT today and many more have Tournament experience already under their belts. I'm not going to tell you which is which. I also won't be revealing any of our potential comps, not before a match. We have nine fitted and ready to go for this weekend. We've practiced with each of them multiple times, under different circumstances, and feel good about each of them. I fitted 72 ships in Jita this week. Jita is not an easy place for me to get to, I got podded trying to get there the first time. Then I grabbed a bookmark and fitted up a tanky fast aligning Atron. But now I'm stuck in there for the duration.
Having practiced in the Arena on SiSi so much now, you really do get a sense for just how different this is than regular PvP. The arena is a confining space which goes against pretty much every thing you know about outer space. In New Eden, space is your biggest ally, the ability to simply just burn off in a direction and put distance between you and whatever needs distance. In the Arena space is your enemy, pull away too far and you will violate the boundary and lose your ship. And no one wants to be that guy!
I'm going into the Tournament with zero expectations. This is our first time and we are, deservedly, huge underdogs. And we should be. Personally I like being the underdog, no one knows what to expect from you. You are an unknown. I like that. And it only happens once, next year we will be dragging the baggage of whatever happens this year along with us, good or bad. So we should enjoy this moment for all it is worth. No one knows what will happen once you take the field, but I know I am confident in our team. There are few teams out there with more experienced PvPers in them, our guys fight every single day. According to Eve Who we are "obnoxiously active" a term I've always enjoyed.
So let the chips fall where they may. And let's see what fate has in store for us.
Onward and Upward.