Alliance Tournament XVI, this year’s iteration of EVE Online’s annual cluster-wide venture into the E-sports arena, officially kicks off on Saturday July 28, two weeks from today. In recent weeks, the Plus10 Gaming discord has been full of conversation regarding the AT, from flagship choice discussions to questions and clarification about the smallest minutiae. My favourite little discussion so far has been regarding the eight Mobile Micro Jump Units that make up a cube in the arena, when one sharp-eyed player realised that these beacons were too far apart on the Thunderdome practice server – obviously, no details shall be missed out when planning for such huge prizes.
Speaking of prizes, what are they this year? CCP had been keeping their cards close to their chest in recent months, and only confirmed that there would be the traditional ship prizes via an AMA with CCP Guard on Twitter in late May. All was again quiet until July’s “In Development” video with CCP Antiquarian, where it was unveiled that this year’s prize ships would be of an unknown Triglavian design. CCP Fozzie then went further, speaking on the StreamFleet and EVE-NT collaboration stream. It turns out that these new ships will be the first ships created in known space by the SOTC, using technologies derived from Triglavian designs. No further information has been announced, but I look forward to seeing both the new ship hulls and also the capabilities of these vessels. Additionally, the prize SKINs have been available to view on test server Singularity in recent weeks. The “Triglavian Victory” SKIN will apply to the Leshak, Vedmak and Damavik, as well as the as-yet unknown prize hulls, and if I do say so, they look mighty fine.
Another recent event was the first episode of a new StreamFleet and EVE-NT collaboration, “AT Explained”. It was here that Fozzie touched on the prize ships, but more generally, for anyone interested in the tournament scene but not all that knowledgeable, this stream is a really good way to get to grips with the jargon and some of the history too. The episode on Sunday July 8 featured AT commentator Rahne, EVE-NT statistics guru Aleksi Aksan, EVE tournament veterans Damassys Kadesh and Bart, and special guest CCP Fozzie, one of the developers behind the AT rules in recent years. It was an entertaining and hugely informative hour, and this semi-podcast will be held weekly until the beginning of this year’s competition, live at 1900 UTC every Sunday on CCP’s twitch stream.
The final big reveal, and indeed the most critical information to be announced, was the tournament brackets and schedule. This year, due to a slightly less than full roster of teams, the top five seeded teams have been given byes through to the second round of the winners bracket. These teams are Vydra Relolded, Northern Coalition(dot), Hydra Reloaded, skill urself, and Lazerhawks, also known as the top-five-placed alliances from Alliance Tournament XV. The first matches of this year begin at 1400 UTC on July 28, and will be broadcast live on the Plus10 Gaming Twitch stream, alongside their always-stellar match commentary. Make sure you tune in to see every hard-won battle and Edge of Glory moment!
All in all, despite an unusually slow start to this year’s tournament season, these recent information reveals have really started to kick the hype train into a higher gear. Personally, I cannot wait to see Goonswarm beat LUMPY in our first match of the year! INN shall also be bringing you any new details and the biggest twists and turns of the tournament over the four weekends, so we hope to see you there.