EVE Evolved: EVE's Alliance Tournament IX

With all the recent controversy in EVE Online, the annual Alliance Tournament was all too quickly forgotten. CCP did its usual fantastic job with the tournament coverage this year, with live video streams of the two qualifying weekends and a live EVE TV studio show for the finals. For those of us who missed the action, all of the match videos have now been uploaded to the CCP Games YouTube channel in HD. As we take a step back from recent events to digest CCP and the CSM's statements, now is the perfect chance to catch up on some of the year's awesome PvP tournament action.

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.

Pandemic who?

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!

The Kadeshi vs. The G0dfathers Get Off My Lawn vs. Wildly Inappropriate
Perihelion Alliance vs. Vanguard Imperium Sev3rance vs. Paisti Syndicate
Negative Ten vs. Against ALL Authorities Raiden vs. DarkSide
Ushra'Khan vs. Pandemic Legion Unaffiliated vs. HYDRA RELOADED
Lack of Imagination vs. Black Legion Nulli Secunda vs. B A N E
Aggravated Assault vs. WE FORM VOLTRON P0WER 0F TW0 vs. The R0NIN
White Noise vs. RvB - RED Federation Babylon 5 vs. SOLAR FLEET
Circle-of-Two vs. RAZOR Alliance WILD BOARS vs. Outbreak

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

The G0dfathers vs. Wildly Inappropriate The Kadeshi vs. Get Off My Lawn
Vanguard Imperium vs. Paisti Syndicate Perihelion Alliance vs. Sev3rance
Against ALL Authorities vs. DarkSide Negative Ten vs. Raiden
Pandemic Legion vs. HYDRA RELOADED Ushra'Khan vs. Unaffiliated
Black Legion vs. B A N E Lack of Imagination vs. Nulli Secunda
WE FORM VOLTRON vs. The R0NIN Aggravated Assault vs. P0WER 0F TW0
RvB - RED Federation vs. SOLAR FLEET White Noise vs. Babylon 5
RAZOR Alliance vs. Outbreak Circle-of-Two vs. WILD BOARS

The Kadeshi vs. Perihelion Alliance DarkSide vs. Pandemic Legion
Black Legion vs. P0WER 0F TW0 White Noise vs. Outbreak
Wildly Inappropriate vs. Paisti Syndicate Negative Ten vs. HYDRA RELOADED
B A N E vs. WE FORM VOLTRON SOLAR FLEET vs. RAZOR Alliance
Perihelion Alliance vs. DarkSide Black Legion vs. Outbreak
Paisti Syndicate vs. HYDRA RELOADED WE FORM VOLTRON vs. RAZOR Alliance
DarkSide vs. Outbreak HYDRA RELOADED vs. RAZOR Alliance
Outbreak vs. HYDRA RELOADED

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 brendan@massively.com.
This article was originally published on Massively.