Header art by Elthar Nox
Thousands of EVE players flocked to CCP’s Youtube channel today, hyping themselves into a frenzy over the well-publicized “announcement” trailer. For days speculation was rife. The stage was set, the curtain closed; what could be so important that CCP decide to break with tradition and deliver a grandiose unveiling? Could it (finally) be the end of scarcity? Maybe they had listened to consistent cries from r/EVE about the mundane nature of PvE. What about the New Player Experience we know they are working on? The lights turned on and it was revealed: the Alliance Tournament returns in November.
The First Stage: Denial
The initial reaction across various Discord channels was one of stunned silence. Expecting shockwave of detail or a full announcement, players instead were given a 30-second video and . . . then the show stopped.
“Is that it?”
“Is that a joke?”
Immediately a flood of anguish fell, like a drunk football fan through the pub doors, and landed with a thud onto Reddit.
Being disappointed about a new feature is no strange feeling to EVE players, or developers. Like the England Football Team, the fans live in hope that one day, the devs will make them happy again. “After 18 years of hurt, you’ll never stop me dreaming,” they shout through a fountain of tears. Yet, it appears that this time the fans came to see a victory, but would be left still waiting for the win they so desperately wanted.
The Second Stage: Anger
“Is that f****** it?” was one of first posts created. Followed swiftly by “Are you f****** kidding me?” and “WHAT THE ACTUAL F*** IS THAT?” Once again the players’ initial reaction was one of anger and crushing disappointment. They were hyped for something enormous and the trailer did not deliver. A following wave of posts followed, citing the lowering player numbers and how the Alliance Tournament was not the way to fix it. There were calls for some answers on scarcity – when would it end? But mostly, and most poignantly, the players wanted some communication.
Many thought that CCP had missed the mark with their delivery. The community hadn’t seen a 24hr hype-announcement for sometime and it is only natural for the player base to believe that whatever requires such hype must be, well, hype-worthy. The repeated rhetoric throughout the community slowly shifted from bewilderment, to outrage, then to a sorrowful plea: “Why won’t they just tell us what is going on?”
The Third and Fourth Stages: Bargaining and Depression
As the dust started to clear, glimmers of hope and optimism emerged through the clouds. Maybe this was a good announcement? The players had been requesting the return of the Alliance Tournament since its closure in 2019. “Being thrilled about the AT being back, and upset about the state of the game don’t have to be mutually exclusive feelings,” stated one reddit poster, highlighting that this announcement was something players had wanted for a while. This was echoed throughout many Discord channels, as those who remembered the AT fondly came through, pleased with this release.
“I’m really excited about the alliance tournament coming back. It’s good news that it will also be back for multiple years to come,” Suitonia, newly elected CSM16 member, told INN. “A lot of people in the small gang communities that I’m part of are resubbing just for the alliance tournament, and they’re really excited for it.”
Others joined this sentiment, with more posts backing the return, “I’m genuinely thrilled that the Alliance Tournament is back” was accompanied by a few others, even some memes supporting the move.
It appeared that, over time, the player base was warming to the concept; but, unfortunately it was the communication that had failed. “The way this AT was announced is a perfect example of how tone deaf CCP is in their handling of the game and the community surrounding it,” TNT CEO Wibla stated, referring to the pleas of the player base for open communication about the serious issues impacting their enjoyment.
“What the player base at large needs to be hearing from CCP at this moment in time is an articulate and comprehensive vision for the direction of EVE Online, ” said Dirk Stetille, one of INN’s editors. “I can only hope that we see this level of understanding from CCP as a whole soon, because CCP and the players exist together in EVE.”
The Fifth Stage: Acceptance
As the feelings began to calm, the players generally reflected that this was a positive step. It was not the answers they were after, or a change they had imagined, but the Alliance Tournament is a change for the better. “I’ve already begun talking to old members of the Goonswarm tournament group,” continued Stetille. “I’m so glad to see that the AT has been resurrected and I have to give a ton of credit to CCP Aurora for being a massive supporter of the EVE tournament community in general.”
INN reached out to CCP Aurora, the project lead for the Alliance Tournament, who very kindly gave her thoughts on the announcement and the reaction. “I’ve been working up towards the Alliance Tournament for over a year now and I’m really excited to finally be able to announce it. With respect to today’s announcement, we definitely underestimated the level of excitement the blank premiere would generate. We wanted to underplay this announcement, but the speculation spun up much faster and heavier than we expected. A lot of players projected some very high hopes onto it and were let down when it aired. In hindsight I would have opted for a much shorter run-up for this particular announcement. There is a lot of latent desire in the community for more information on the gameplay side of things, which we recognize and are working to get more information out on soon – things like the ecosystem, ESS reserve banks, and discussions surrounding the PCU. But those discussions don’t preclude us from also hosting fun events such as the AT at the same time. The response, then, from the tournament community has been really great and the AT Discord is now full of players who are excited about the event, which is really good to see.”
Further information on the Alliance Tournament can be found here.