The Team TournamentThere's no name for this tournament yet. The logo above is something I whipped up real quick. This isn't an alliance tournament, per se (though no doubt, most teams will consist of pilots from the same alliance.) CCP is positioning this as a team tournament, so some teams may consist of the best of the best, no matter which alliance they come from. Oh, the egos on that team, should something like that form.
The Big WinnerTeams get into the tournament through an auction system. There are 32 spots available. Twenty plexes are the minimum bid. I'm not quite sure how it will be run. Every eligible team makes a blind bid, and the top 32 bids get into the tournament? How then are ties handled (most teams will try to get in at the 20 plex minimum under this method)? Or will each slot be a separate auction, 32 auctions in total (this will bleed the most plex from the game)?
At the very minimum, CCP removes 640 plex from the game, totalling nearly $10000. Of course, more than this will be removed. The likely average bid will be around 28 plex per team, so around 900 plex, an amount worth $13500. If 900 plex are being removed from the game, it won't be long before another 900 plex re-enter the game due to rising plex prices.
$13500 is no great amount, considering the annual revenue EVE Online generates for CCP, but it will be more than enough to cover employee overtime, infrastructure, and airfare/accomodations to fly in player commentators.
PrizesRather than unique ships as prizes, there'll be $10000 in prizes instead (first place will receive $6000.) Which is not all that much, considering most teams will have to split it among 10-12 people. Even though the maximum team size is 24 players, considering only 8 can fly in a match, I would be surprised if any team put forward 24 players. 10 to 15 players per team will likely be the norm.
A 10 player team would see $600 per member. A 15 player team, $400 per participant. Groceries for a month (or if you're an American living in Mission Texas, a week worth of Double Downs.) That doesn't even account for the plex it takes to enter the team. In the end, this is more about the bragging rights than the cold-hard cash. I don't think a lot of people are going to try to game their way to $500.
Player AdvertsNo player adverts this tournament. A shame. It's a nice showcase to new players what options are out there for the social aspect of the game, which is a large aspect of the game. EVE is one of the few MMOs that has very little appeal to the solo player, so not highlighting all the social options is an unfortunate miss for CCP if they're opting for zero player adverts this tournament.
No [shipname] allowed!This is the coolest feature of this year's tournament. The ability to deny your opposition the use of two ship types. Have you noticed your opposition making heavy use of Sleipnirs and Harpies? Deny the ability to field them.
Forty-five minutes before every match, each team will state two ship types that the opposition will be unable to field during their match. This is going to create a lot more headache for each team, but a lot more variety for the spectators. Teams are going to have to test far more set-ups, and assume that they're never going to be able to field their strongest set-ups during the tournament. Their opposition simply isn't going to let them.
I would expect a lot of misdirection in the first two weeks of the tournament. Teams attempting to win with less-than ideal set-ups in the beginning stages of the tourney so that their strongest mix of ships remain unknown and viable on the final weekend.
Double DownNo, not KFC's adventures in heart disease. But an actual double-elimination tournament. CCP is calling it a modified double-elimination tournament, I think because the final match will actually be a best-of-five mini-tournament.
The weakness of the Alliance Tournament's round-robin format is that specators end up watching a lot of meaningless matches. Round-robin is simply not a very good tournament format. (Olympic badminton, anyone?) There are no meaningless matches in a double-elimination tournament.
Consider this a test-run for a change in tournament format for Alliance Tournament XI.
MultiboxingPlayers may field multiple accounts per team. If a player has eight accounts they could very well field an entire team solo. Multiboxing an entire tournament team is allowed, and seemingly encouraged.
I would expect someone to try this. If for the notoriety alone. If they manage to win a couple of matches, expect to see a new EVE Online folk hero, talked about in awe and admiration for years to come.
Winter ExpansionThe tournament runs the weekends of November 17-18, November 24-25, and December 1-2 2012. I predict that that Winter Expansion will be released either December 4 or December 11 2012.
I was originally expecting the Winter Expansion to be released mid- to late-November, but this tournament gives CCP much opportunity to drum up additional excitement about the expansion, especially to a potentially new audience of non-EVE Online players.
If they don't release Winter Expansion after the tournament, what the hell is the tournament panel going to talk about between matches? All the bugs in the winter release? Stuff they promise to fix quickly? They can't very well start talking Summer Expansion 2013, when they'll have not even gone through their sprint cycles to determine a feature set.
Player CommentatorsNo word yet on player commentators being flown out to Iceland. I'd be surprised if CCP didn't fly out at least a couple. Though we'll probably see fewer than we do for the Alliance Tournament. The best commentator at AT IX and AT X was Raivi, who is now CCP Fozzie. I would hope that CCP will allow him to continue commentating, even if he is a CCP employee now. It would be a shame to invalidate his expertise on the grounds of employment.
RMT TinfoilStupidity was eventually going to rear its head in the tournament thread. It took only until the second page before someone donned the tinfoil hat of absurdity.
The premise: someone could buy all 32 teams so that they could RMT their way to $10000 (plus 25B ISK) in prizes.
CCP tried valiantly to treat the comment as nothing but a troll, ignoring it completely. But stupid comments attract stupid people. Someone sitting at dinner, suddenly bolts upright, "A stupid thing has been posted on the EVE forums. I must agree with it." And he dashes to his computer, leaving his family slightly bewildered. CCP eventually had to respond, because the number of stupid people harping about the RMT scheme was growing at an alarming rate.
There's very little to say about this other than "As if CCP would EVER allow this to happen."