This past weekend saw two days of intense fighting to secure the last remaining slots for the upcoming Alliance Tournament. We saw a lot of great fights, some not-so-great fights, and a few slaughters - but over all I thought the teams performed well for having so little time to prepare. Even some of the younger teams managed to do well for themselves. Overall I thought the quality of competition was very strong. And I enjoyed watching the matches live on my living room entertainment system. (The few matches I missed I caught later on on repeat.)
You can also catch all the matches on repeat over at CCP Twitch, here is a link to Sunday's action.
A lot of my friends didn't manage to get thru the weekend and into the AT, and many did. Just know I was rooting for all of you. These days I root for both sides of every match and hope the best team manages to win. In most cases you can tell how things are going to go before the match even gets started, but sometimes things can surprise you. What you don't know is the piloting skill, the random chances, the positioning choices, the target calling, and the risks taken that either win you the victory or cost you the match. And that is what makes watching these so intense. Knowing so many of the players flying, or having practiced with them, or met them in real life, also helps.
I want to make a special shout out to any team competing for the first time, or any pilots who are also flying in a tournament for the first time. It is a unique experience, as I'm sure you can appreciate now that it is finally over. Until you actually do it yourself, you just can't truly appreciate how insane it is. So for all you first timers out there, I hope we see you again next year. Our first time in the AT we lost our first two matches and dropped without a victory. We learned a lot that first year and applied that experience to our preparations the next year when we went 4-2 and ended up finishing 11th.
After 21 matches in the AT I can tell you this, sometimes fate just isn't on your side. I can still name the reasons for every loss, the mistakes, the miscalculations, the missed opportunities, the sheer futility that often creeps in to a fight when you know the odds are stacked against you. I often think that even in the victories there is a story like that on the other side of the arena. Even when you win, it means someone else has lost. And those players are on comms trying to figure out what went wrong and how they could have flown better that day. As we all know from countless practice sessions, the same comps going at it again might produce entirely different results. Ultimately that is one of the reasons why the AT is so good, because all that really counts is what happens in those precious ten minutes when everything is on the line.
God I love that. And I can't wait to drop on grid for our first fight in November.
Lots to do before then.