Header Art by Redline XIII
Since 2005, EVE Online’s marquee PvP experience has been the Alliance Tournament (AT). In the normally cutthroat world of EVE, where ships are ganked and corporations betrayed on a regular basis, a carefully planned tournament with rules and referees is very much an aberration. Yet perhaps that is what makes the AT so appealing to such a vast audience.
In the fourteen years (and sixteen tournaments) that the AT has been hosted, there are have been only nine different winners. Being AT champion is generally accepted as the highest mark of PvP prowess. However, is there any correlation between success in the tournament and success in the broader game of EVE? Where are these past AT champions, and what are they up to now?
Band of Brothers
Years won: 2005, 2006, 2006 again
Where Are They Now: LOL
Once upon a time, BoB was the premier alliance in all of New Eden, stronger and more capable than any of their opposition. Ultimately their aggressive and expansionist tendencies were their undoing; a scandal (in which a CCP developer was caught giving BoB priceless blueprint originals) turned public opinion against them, and BoB was betrayed from within by a disgruntled director who turned the alliance’s assets over to Goonswarm and disbanded the alliance. A fuller story can be found at the above link.
Year won: 2007
Where Are They Now: AFK
Hungarian alliance HUN Reloaded had a very busy 2008; after winning the AT, they participated in the game’s first ever titan kill in November. They never enjoyed the kind of clout across New Eden that their allies in Band of Brothers did, although they were noteworthy for being the only AT winner from the first ten tournaments who were not embroiled in controversy either during the tournament or after it. As of 2019, the alliance is down to a single corporation and three members, and has not logged a kill on zKillboard since August of 2016.
Year won: 2008
Where Are They Now: On life support
Several months after their victory in AT V, German alliance Ev0ke had a number of players banned for making use of an in-game exploit that greatly increased the yield from moon mining. Three years later, Ev0ke were again caught exploiting, this time finding a way to light a cyno despite the presence of a cyno jammer. The alliance withered away after 2011, and an attempted resurrection in 2014 was unsuccessful. Today the alliance has just 21 members spread across five corporations, and as of the time of this writing has not registered a kill in more than three months.
Years won: 2009 (twice), 2010, 2013, 2015*
Where Are They Now: Very much alive and well
PL have a record five AT championships to their name, although like nearly all champions before them, these victories are tainted by asterisks. PL’s spying on opponents was perhaps defensible given how many alliances did it, but PL FC Shadoo’s bribing another alliance to withdraw from the tournament was without precedent. Ironically given their history of cheating, PL have only won the tournament four times, having a fifth title awarded to them after The Camel Empire (see below) and Warlords of the Deep were disqualified for cheating. Outside the AT, PL are still a powerhouse in New Eden a decade after their first victory. A comprehensive history of PL is far beyond the scope of this article, but PL have been involved in the largest battle in EVE Online history as well as in the Casino War that saw Goonswarm evicted from the north and settle in Delve. The past year has been rough for them, however, featuring a disastrous invasion of Providence and subsequent retreat in the face of a Legacy counterattack followed by a monstrous beating (along with their PanFam/Northern Coalition allies) at the hands of the Imperium and Legacy Coalition during the summer’s War of Reckoning.
Year won: 2011
Where Are They Now: On life support
Pandemic Legion are not the only team busted for pushing the envelope of the AT. Following their 2011 victory in AT IX, HYDRA RELOADED were banned from AT X for forming a joint corporation with the alliance Outbreak on the Singularity test server in order to train together. HYDRA’s rank and file took the news poorly, with one member estimating that 90% of the members had unsubscribed from EVE. The alliance has never made ripples in the broader community, as PvP specialist alliances often do not, though HYDRA’s 186 members are still active in PvP and still put up a team for the Alliance Tournament.
Verge of Collapse
Year won: 2012
Where Are They Now: Collapsed
Verge’s run to the title in AT X is quite the story. A tiny unknown wormhole alliance, Verge “could barely scrape people together to do 6v6 testing.” Their unexpected success led to accusations that they were supported by, or alts of, some larger alliance. They went back to minding their own business in wormholes; by 2014, Verge had collapsed, with member corporation Aquila leaving for wormhole powerhouse Hard Knocks, and corporation V0LTA creating new alliance WE FORM V0LTA, who (along with skill urself) were instrumental in bringing about the demise of the DRF. Verge of Collapse may no longer be around, but their offspring are still influencing the game.
The Camel Empire
Year won: 2014
Where Are They Now: Dead
As the Alliance Tournament became more and more prestigious, it was no longer enough for alliances to be PvP specialists. The Camel Empire literally formed just to be AT specialists, and promptly won AT XII. They happily participated in the corruption and scandal that seems to be required of AT champions, reaching the finals of 2015’s AT XIII before having the result vacated (and the crown awarded to Pandemic Legion) for colluding with Warlords of the Deep to influence the outcome of a quarterfinal match. Warlords’ captain was banned for life from the AT, and The Camel Empire’s for a year. The alliance disintegrated shortly after that; whereas most alliances on this list limp along with a handful of members, Dotlan shows The Camel Empire with literally zero. Founding corporations Turn Left and Mining Industry Exile Foundation joined past champions Hydra Reloaded, but have been unable to help Hydra regain their Tournament title.
The Tuskers Co.
Year won: 2016
Where Are They Now: Extremely active in PvP
Unusually for AT champions, The Tuskers established a fearsome reputation as primarily lowsec pirates. The Tuskers have made few waves outside the context of the AT, with the alliance’s 210 members participating in PvP wherever they can find it. As of 2017, they have backed off the piracy angle. One glance at their killboard shows that “extremely active” may actually not be strong enough to describe their activities, as of this writing, the first page alone shows combat against Goonswarm Federation, Pandemic Horde, Pan-Galactic Business Community (of the Holy Rental Empire), Evictus (Legacy Coalition), and more.
Years won: 2017-18
Where Are They Now: Judge for yourself
Unsurprisingly, VYDRA’s run to back-to-back AT championships was shrouded in controversy. VYDRA was composed mostly of Russian players from HYDRA RELOADED, but used fleet compositions so similar to HYDRA that many players saw evidence of collusion, suggesting that HYDRA and VYDRA were merely A and B teams of the same organization. (2018’s Tournament, where the two actually fought each other in the championship match, did not quiet these murmurs.) The alliance currently has only two members, although this writer suspects that their ranks will mysteriously grow when it is time for the next Alliance Tournament.
So TLDR is basically anyone playing AT puts themselves under duress and risks burnout? Or is it simply that those alts aren’t the ones they normally play with.February 20, 2019 at 7:28 PM
Guilford Australis Rammel Kas
Probably a combination of both, plus one other factor: The kind of people who are attracted to the idea of spending a massive fortune and hundreds of hours preparing a successful AT bid (which has no impact on the actual game) may not be conventional EVE players and thus may not find enough to like about the rest of the game to keep them around very long.
If ‘Elite PVP’ is the only thing you enjoy about EVE, you probably won’t find enough opportunities for that to make the long-term grind of everything else worth it.February 20, 2019 at 9:22 PM