Header art by Major Sniper
On July 14, 2020, the old Abyssal Proving Grounds, that were accessible through Abyssal deadspace filaments, were taken away with the introduction of the proving ground filaments. But not everyone was happy with the old arena going away. To clarify, no one that enjoyed the old arena favored the change. On July 14, 2021, the request to bring back the old proving grounds officially turns one, an anniversary which will get celebrated with a massive event.
The history of the request
After the release of the Dev Blog about the new arenas, some of the active PvP-ers that enjoyed the old arena were protesting on the discussion forum post, myself included. When the Zenith quadrant came live on July 14, 2020, the old arena was history and the request to bring it back was born. In November, 2020, a person sent EVEmails to over 100 people that used to be active in the old arena, asking them to protest on the forums. This mail linked to three forum threads about bringing back the old arena. One of them was made by me. Another one was made by the person who sent out these EVEmails; and the 3rd was a survey in which over 60% of the persons taking part agreed on bringing back the old arena.
After that, things became quiet. There was not much activity going on about bringing back the old arena, except that some streamers and YouTubers were mentioning it in their content. It felt a bit like that the request suddenly disappeared, most likely due to people quitting EVE after the old arena went away and the players that started playing after July 14, 2020, don’t know about the old arena.
In June, 2021, an upcoming proving ground event was found on hoboleaks. Its name is “proving conduit throwback proving filament” which lasts for 24 hours, starting on July 31, 2021. CCP is indeed doing an old arena remember party. The big difference is that you do not have to go through PvE first, which opens things up for a lot of cancerous fits, like quad damp Lachesis/Arazu etc.
The old arena remember party is getting used as an anchor point for a huge giveaway event. Starting on July 9, people can win prizes related to the old arena on my Twitch stream. This event is run in a format that has, so far, never been seen for events. It ramps up over time, meaning that you can win bigger prizes the longer the event goes on. The prizes at the beginning are a Kikimora and some T2/Pirate frigates. Then, later the prizes will be the ships that were often used in the old arena; and in the great final, their big brothers. You can find more about the event here.
The future of the request
While the celebration event ends on July 31 with the remember party, the request to bring back the old Abyssal Proving Grounds will not go away so fast. It will continue through the 2nd half of 2021, as well as in 2022. CCP has never said anything related to bringing back the old arena. This means that the outcome is completely open and still remarkably interesting.