How to Save the Alliance Tournament


If you are like me and recently read thru the CSM minutes you probably noticed a significant non-committal from CCP regarding the return of the Alliance Tournament. This was not the answer most of us were hoping for and I was more than a little disappointed that more pushback wasn't forthcoming from the CSM. Frankly I expected more. I, for one, believe the AT is an institution of Eve Online, a cornerstone event that needs to be saved and returned. Granted, there are roadblocks to doing so and many of those have an impact on Dev time and resources. But this is the Eve Community! So let's look at some ways in which the AT can be saved.

Like Eve itself, the AT is often a victim of the same old response loop. This is the way it has always been done, and that way doesn't work anymore, so we should stop doing that. As any intelligent business person will tell you, that kind of thinking leads to stagnation and eventual entropy. It is moments like this that call for innovative thinking and solutions that are often radical. The point of this is to bring the AT back, in some recognizable form, so that the institution itself remains a vital part of Eve Online. I personally believe this is critical.

"So Mr. Smarty Pants, how do we do that?"

Look, I'm not being paid to develop a proper business plan here (although I'd welcome the chance), but I think we can start by making some assumptions that could help us start along the right path. My first inclination would be to develop the AT as a profit center that is capable of tracking income, costs, and resource allocations. One way to get that started, and this isn't the only way, would be to move from a Plex based system to a direct cash system. Instead of plex, participants would pay CCP a fee to participate. (And yes I know Plex is Cash, but the origins of that are complicated. This would provide a direct method that introduces 'new' cash into the system.) 64 teams of 20 players each at $29.95 for example would result in nearly $50,000 in income to help pay for Dev time. Which is essentially 300-500 hours worth. This would help eliminate the "volunteer" argument.

But I wouldn't stop there. Additional sponsorships could be sold, perhaps even 'team' sponsorships like many eSports tournaments do today, could be considered. This would result in additional revenue streams, as would Twitch subscriptions potentially. There could be Merch tie-ins available at the Eve Store. Perhaps exclusive AT themed Skins available for viewers. Perhaps one lucky high-bidder gets to comment live during one of the matches? Maybe multiple bidders do?

I wouldn't necessarily support all of these efforts at commercializing the AT, but let's face it, either we move in that direction or we don't have an AT? I'll pick the commercialization route.

Perhaps yearly Alliance Tournaments are a burden on CCP? Maybe we need to move to a different schedule? Maybe the AT only happens once every two years? That kind of move would help alleviate the Dev pressure at CCP and also increase the enthusiasm for the event amongst the players. One problem with previous Alliance Tournaments was always the flexible schedule sometimes meant that the next AT happened less than a year from the previous one. Which was not only weird, but also time consuming.

One problem not addressed is the production itself. For the past few ATs production was handled by my friends at Eve-NT in England. This helped to also take a lot of pressure off of CCP having to run the production out of Iceland. Plus the additional cost associated with flying people in, since most of the Eve-NT commentators live in and around the studio location. What that situation is today is unknown to me as I write this quick post.

I formed A Band Apart primarily so that we could fly in the Alliance Tournament. I know when the last one was cancelled a lot of players left the game, or silently disappeared into the ether. I know of entire Alliances that dissolved because of it. The Alliance Tournament is important. Important enough to be saved and returned to the community.

How can we help make this happen?



3 comments:

  1. Sounds like folk should stop waiting for CCP to do this, and just organize it for themselves. If you can do Death Races, then why not this. Form a think-tank with members from another alliances that also want the Tournament. The only think you want from CCP are the special ships?


    There came now a few deserters from Arcadia to join the Persians - poor men who had nothing to live on, and were in want of employment. The Persians brought them into the king's presence, and there inquired of them, by a man who acted as their spokesman, "what the Greeks were doing?" The Arcadians answered - "They are holding the Olympic Games, seeing the athletic sports and the chariot-races." "And what," said the man, "is the prize for which they contend?" "An olive-wreath," returned the others, "which is given to the man who wins." On hearing this, Tritantaechmes, the son of Artabanus, uttered a speech which was in truth most noble, but which caused him to be taxed with cowardice by King Xerxes. Hearing the men say that the prize was not money but a wreath of olive, he could not forbear from exclaiming before them all: "Good heavens! Mardonius, what manner of men are these against whom thou hast brought us to fight? - men who contend with one another, not for money, but for honour!" - Herodotus.

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    1. Player run tournaments are not rare, indeed earlier this year we were in the Streamfleet tournament. As we quickly discovered, without CCP's help, practice is nearly impossible on SiSi. We encountered squatters who would park dozens of Carriers in our arenas, follow us from system to system, and generally make it impossible to practice. It was only by CCP stepping in and making TD available to us that saved the tournament.

      Running a tournament on TQ means real loss, which is fine for the event itself (the AT runs the event on TQ in Jove space). But not for practices, that would become insanely expensive for teams and isn't practical. And that's the rub that keeps it from being a truly player run event.

      Until we can figure that issue out, player run tournaments are going to be limited in scale to event only moments.

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  2. my suggestion would be simple but to use it as a charity write off. depending on tax laws in Iceland getting some tax back is definitely a bonus and also raises the profile of the game by free press coverage with players and ccp raise $x for charity!

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