This year's tournament winners walked away with a first place prize of 120 billion ISK and 50 blueprint runs for a unique Amarr heavy assault cruiser called the Vangel. The second place prize of 50 billion ISK was also accompanied by 50 blueprint runs for a unique Amarr assault ship called the Malice. Both ships are significantly better than their standard counterparts, but with only 50 ever to be introduced in the game, they're sure to become priceless collector's items. The third and fourth place winners received 20 billion ISK each as a consolation prize for coming so far in EVE's number one PvP tournament.
In this week's EVE Evolved, I look at the meta-game surrounding the tournament and collect together links to videos and commentary on all the main matches in Alliance Tournament IX.
This year's tournament was definitely worth watching, with several tense matches and a few serious upsets. Three-year champion Pandemic Legion was denied a fourth victory, ending the alliance's long-standing monopoly on the tournament. As with previous years, CCP streamed the tournament live in HD to thousands of viewers and invited several expert players to commentate on the matches. The unsung heroes of the alliance tournament are definitely the IC volunteer news force, who gave up their free time to write up excellent summaries of each match that may go largely unread.
In true EVE style, the entire tournament was subject to some serious meta-gaming and spying. The final even ended in controversy with one team throwing the match deliberately. Outbreak faced off against its parent alliance Hydra Reloaded in the final match. Although the teams promised a real fight before the tournament went live, it quickly became clear that the match was being thrown to give Hydra the win. Viewers who weren't aware of the affiliation between the two alliances caused quite a stir, prompting Hydra to tell the full story of the effort that was invested in winning even before the tournament began.
The EVE meta-game
I've often said that EVE Online is not a game about space ships shooting each other but a story about what players do when left alone with each other. It's all about the social, political and economic meta-games we construct as a community rather than just the gameplay developers explicitly build. This year's tournament was a perfect example of that meta-game in action. From the start of the tournament, Hydra strategically fed intelligence to certain teams in order to manipulate the match brackets for the final. The gamble paid off, and Hydra confidently knocked three-year reigning champion Pandemic Legion out of the competition.
While the alliance tournament takes much of the "number warfare" out of PvP to leave only the essentials of strategy and execution, nobody in EVE can escape from the social meta-game. Hydra spied heavily on all the teams in the tournament as its members practiced on Singularity, the EVE test server, where items are basically free. To avoid becoming victim to the same spying tactics, the Hydra team took the outrageous step of practicing inside a hidden wormhole system on the test server. Other teams didn't think to use the same strategy or practice fake setups to throw Hydra off the scent, rendering Hydra's intelligence on the enemy teams accurate enough to manipulate the outcome of the tournament and get both itself and Outbreak into to the final match. If that's not a convincing win in the true spirit of EVE, I don't know what is!
|RAZOR Alliance vs. WILD BOARS||Circle-of-Two vs. Outbreak|
|RvB - RED Federation vs. Babylon 5||
White Noise vs. SOLAR FLEET
|WE FORM VOLTRON vs. P0WER 0F TW0||Aggravated Assault vs. The R0NIN|
|Black Legion vs. Nulli Secunda||Lack of Imagination vs. B A N E|
|Pandemic Legion vs. Unaffiliated||Ushra'Khan vs. HYDRA RELOADED|
|Against ALL Authorities vs. Raiden.||Negative Ten vs. DarkSide|
|Vanguard Imperium vs. Sev3rance||Perihelion Alliance vs. Paisti Syndicate|
|The G0dfathers vs. Get Off My Lawn||The Kadeshi vs. Wildly Inappropriate|
Brendan "Nyphur" Drain is an early veteran of EVE Online and writer of the weekly EVE Evolved column here at Massively. The column covers anything and everything relating to EVE Online, from in-depth guides to speculative opinion pieces. If you have an idea for a column or guide, or you just want to message him, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.