EVE Evolved: Organising your own PvP tournament

If you've been following the latest official Alliance Tournament in EVE Online, you've probably been glued to the match videos being posted on Youtube. Every year as I watch the matches, I find myself wishing I'd entered even though my rag-tag group of pilots would probably get knocked out in the qualifying rounds. What you might not know is that the official Alliance Tournament wasn't the first PvP tournament on the block and it's certainly not the only one running. Players have been taking advantage of EVE's open-ended sandbox design to set up their own competitions and arenas for years. They routinely organise successful lotteries, industrial ship destruction derbies, space races, full on PvP tournaments and even poker championships by themselves. Some, such as the BIG lottery, have become long-standing and respected institutions. Organisers of these types of event also have the option of taking a percentage cut for themselves, which can build up to a huge amount of ISK for all the organisation effort they put in.

Have you ever wanted to set up your own PvP tournament complete with prizes and your own unique set of rules? Whether you want to start a new popular competition tradition in EVE or just want to make some ISK off the entry fees, events organising is certainly one of EVE's most rewarding freeform professions. In this article, I dish out some handy information on how to organise and set up a trustworthy tournament without putting any of your own ISK on the line.

Rule of law:
The first thing to figure out is how your combatants will be able to engage each other. If the tournament takes place in low security space or 0.0 it will be chaos but if it takes place in high security space the pilots can't attack each other. There is thankfully a way around this, which involves holding the tournament in high security space and using the game's anti-theft system to Pv-flag the two pilots involved. Both players jettison anything from their cargo hold such as a bookmark or one unit of ammo, then steal the other player's item. The two players can then engage each other for the next 15 minutes.

As tournaments are about combat under controlled conditions, you'll need to come up with a set of rules to make the matches as fair as possible. For simple one-on-one knockout tournaments, simply ensuring each player uses the same class and tier of ship and limiting modules to tech 2 and below is usually sufficient. More complicated team-based matches could use a points system similar to the one the official Alliance Tournament uses. If the tournament organisers want the player with the most piloting skill to win, sometimes they will even provide a selection of standard pre-fit ships and disallow any refitting of them. The nice thing about setting up your own tournament is that you're free to invent the rules and the format of the matches. Should it be a frigate-only deathmatch? Maybe a cruiser doubles team knockout? What distance should fights start at and what modules are allowed? It's all up to you to make what you think will be a fun format that people will like participating in.

EVE players are generally greedy, there's no doubt about it. In the hyper-capitalistic world of New Eden where you can even buy game time with ISK, lotteries and competitions are becoming very popular. Throwing a few prizes into your tournament will dramatically increase the number of signups. Most tournaments fund their prizes by charging combatants an entry fee. Pilots have then essentially made a gamble on their own performance in the tournament, hoping that they'll win and collect the top prize. Since entry fees are collected before the tournament begins, you can use the money from that to buy the prizes without putting any of your own money up front. If using standardised prefit ships, they can also be paid for with the entry fees.

With prizes on the line, there's a lot of added incentive for pilots to cheat. A quick ship and cargo scan before the fight can ensure everyone is fitting their ships within your rules. Other cheats to look out for are people using pirate implant sets to gain large bonuses to their ship that won't show up on a scan and people having a corpmate in the system delivering gang bonuses from afar. The gang bonus issue can be solved by forcing all combatants to be in the same gang as the match referee. The implant problem can be overcome by using an application like EVEMon or a website like the EVE Character Showroom with each entrant's limited API keys, which will let you look at their installed implant and skills.

Read on to page 2, where I look at generating interest for your event, getting sponsorship for prizes and how to put people at ease that their ISK is in safe hands.
This article was originally published on Massively.