The Web Wide World of Sports

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An incredibly speculative piece with little in the way of meat, but the bullet-points on what is needed for a game to succeed in e-sports is spot on. EVE clearly fails the two out of the three that actually have something to do with the game, and you conclude that EVE might actually work on the sheer basis of money alone. I wish you would have sunk your teeth into CCP more for creating an e-sports competition that is blatantly inferior to a CS or Starcraft match and hoping people will find it interesting.Also, can we come up with something better than "e-sports"? Sounds like something a Baby Boomer would say.
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Well I am not sure sure about failing 100% in player skill. I'd say the tim = skill equation is about 50% of the point. Being able to think of better fits, creative usage of ships. adaptive tactis etc is another point. If you pit 2 players in a fixed environment and both got similar skills the better players wins. In e-Sports you will probably not have newbie characters. Especially with money involved you will have specialized and well skilled characters so there will be no gap between them and that is where player skill can come into play. The question remains of course: How big will therole be, that "player skill" can play in EVE-Online
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World of Tanks has been doing E-Sports for a while. If an utterly unbalanced game, with rules imposed by the E-Sports body on what tanks can be taken then EVE will do OK. EVE is no where near as unbalanced as WoT because tank balance is done using average win ratios. All you need is allot of shit players in a tank and it brings down the global win ratio and WG will buff that tank or at least no nerf it. It's why ESL will not use Tier X tanks in leagues, because one of them is noticeably more unbalanced than the rest and why they restricted the Type 59 at Tier 8.EVE will do OK because its 100% player skill and game knowledge. In fact in some ways its the perfect ESL game.
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the article leaves a pretty shallow taste in my mouth tbh. you make several crucial mistakes in your analysis.firstly, reducing the 'skill' required to play EVE to the SP of your character, you neglect to mention that a) most players who compete in the tournaments already have perfect or near-perfect skill sets for the ships they fly and b) there is a lot of player experience and quick decision making involved. player skill in eve may not be determined by aiming, reflexes or APM, but it still is there in form of the ability to quickly and correctly assess the current combat situation and transfer the assessment into tactical decisions.i agree somewhat with your opinion on balance, but you fail to mention that the ship choices in tournaments are affected by assigned point values to the different ship hulls. if these values are assigned 'correctly', at least the balance of ship hulls should be a manageable task to achieve. there is still the 'rock, paper, scissors' issue, but eve is by far not the only game suffering from that problem.the one most important thing you failed to mention is the following: a successful e-sport game MUST BE FUN TO WATCH. spectators do not want to stare at a mostly black screen with some random spaceships flying around and health bars going up and down ever so slowly. they want headshots, pentakills and explosions. they also want to be able to understand what the fuck is going on and here is where eve fails the most. if even the teams themselves struggle to understand the situation, the unexperienced spectator hardly ever has a chance; you might as well watch a chinese movie without subtitles.the last point is the one that will be 100% responsible for EVE's failure as an e-sport. sure, the 10000 or so hardcore nerds will watch the tournaments but there will never be stadiums sold out to watch season finals, no 1 000 000$ prize pools and no broad fanbase that watches their favourite players' twitch streams.
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Meh, plenty of player skill involved in eve fights. All skill points do is limit what you can fly at a pvp suitable level. A pvp battleship is going to take a long while to train for, but a pvp assault frigate is something you could train up fairly quickly and is in fact one of the ship types that most rewards player skill, rather skill points.
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[quote]Unfortunately, the ultimate decision belongs to the computer, thus negating the need for any skilled player at the helm.[/quote]I completely disagree. How can you say that player skill is not needed? With this same logic in starcraft with two people engaging with 20 max upgraded marines each the control of the players has no effect on the outcome.
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I think EVE has a nice place in the e-sports world. Is smth new and fresh, it is beautiful to watch and it is dynamic enough to not be boring. What it needs imo, is a some dedicated, trained and skilled commentators that will operate the camera and commentate in same time. Leave the explanation of game mechanics, tactics etc after the game.
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Unusually poor article for this site. "Buy low, sell high" stuff, even then problems getting that much right. I can only speculate it's a space taker to make the five articles per month for payment.
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Describing Counter Strike as an example of why e-sports need to be well balanced throws doubt on the whole premise of the article, since the developers could have outright deleted every weapon except the deagle, AWP, M4 and AK-47 and every map except dust and dust2 and the majority of competitive players would have barely noticed.Global Offensive may have changed this (I should try it for myself some time and find out) but classic CS was hilariously unbalanced and flourished in esports despite this.
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they all still play 1.6 I'm told
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good point. as a retired oldschool CS veteran i can confirm that ~10% of the weapons in the game were being used ~90% of the time.
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How about you make this article again when you have passed atleast 2k kill mark at eve kill and atleast 1k of those kills are solo or small gang (1-6 people).You have classical goonswarm grunt view of pvp.
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No player skill in EVE? I guess I can sit there and just pew pew pew. I don't need to know my optimal, I don't need to know anything about transversal velocity, I suppose I also don't need to know the flight mechanics of missiles.Someone should tell all the teams for the New Eden Open and Alliance Tournament that they wasted their time practicing. Clearly it's all predetermined by the server and has absolutely nothing to do with player skill.P.S. Also, you're an idiot "character versus a veteran character in an equal scenario (e.g. same ship, same weapons, same advantage, same skills learned) the veteran character, who has more skills trained"Even if you meant that as personal skills learned and in game skills trained, you only need to look at -A- to see an example of high SP long play time pilots that don't know shit about what they are doing. People lose to people with less SP all the time.P.S.S. What the literal fuck is this doing on this site. I thought this site was for quality articles not baseless made up dribble from some idiot. Might was well go back to EN24.Edit: Just went on EN24 to see if they wrote an article about the open and they did -- spoiler: it's a shit ton better than this one.
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This article is stupid. Author obviously has never gotten into any fights in Eve.
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Look, EVE's problem as an e-sport isn't that player skill doesn't matter. That's so incorrect as to be comical to anyone who actually pvps in EVE. EVE's problem as an e-sport is that it has combat mechanics that are so fucking opaque that most of its players don't understand them (never mind an outside spectator), it has outcome-determining decisions that are so front-loaded they occur before the match begins, and it has an interface that makes interesting visuals and comprehension of what's going on a mutually exclusive choice.Seriously, I can watch a match of SCII or COD, and whilst I may not grasp the subtleties of 6-pooling vs 7-pooling or the relative merits of the M-16 and the G-3, I can see what's going on and deduce that one player seems to be wrecking the other. I can see their decision process even if I don't fully understand it, and if all else fails I can probably appreciate the spectacle of a dude getting a Gigakill.
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And I supposed I should add, since I forgot to, I can't do that when watching EVE, unless I'm already an EVE pvper.
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As a fairly new player who frequently shits on bitter vets with double, triple, and even quadruple my skillpoints, I cannot disagree more with your analysis of skillpoints being the end all determination of the outcome of a battle. Baiting, deception, and smart play can easily overcome an overconfident high SP player. More often than not, knowing when to engage and when to run in eve is the largest determining factor.I don't think eve will support a major esport following however, due to the large entry barriers to brand new players. When (if) people see this tournament and immediately subscribe, they're going to be in for a rude awakening at how long it will take for them to be competitive in this setting. In addition, eve is incredibly complicated. As someone else mentioned, it will be near impossible for the layman to watch and enjoy.
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For money you can buy a high SP char, and skills cap out at a certain level.Player skill is based on decisions made in the heat of the moment, and in the planning phase of a tactical engagement AND in the metagame. The metagame is what makes EVE different from other games and played correctly, could make EVE competitive gaming more enticing than say, counter-strike and starcraft.Of course, this benefit is only there if you know a bit of the history of EVE, the alliances and the pilots within them. So that really comes down to marketing (lol :ccp:).Anyways. I disagree with your assessments on character skills. In an EVE tournament player skills is required and measured on many different levels.
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#1. anyone that says skill in eve is all up to the computer, probably doesn't understand eve well enough to comment. trained skills absolutely do matter, but those that would compete in tourney's like these, will likely already have the skills to fly the ships they want to trained already. or spend the time to get them, just as a CS player will have to spend months to years getting good enough for competitive play. there is most definitely skill beyond trained skills that matter here, and true aficionados know it, and can appreciate it.#2. all sports, e or otherwise, require a paying audience to be successful. i don't know how that's not listed in the top 3 requirements, if not the sole requirement. eve may not become a good e-sport because it's just not that interesting to watch to the average person (frankly not that interesting to play for the vast majority of people as well).the tactics are not as self-evident as they are in game where terrain, for instance, is involved. there is no amazing 180 degree hs to ooooh at. there is no 5 kill awp ace round to ahhhh at. it's more cerebral... more about the choices and strats pursued going into a round, and ensuing decisions made during the round based on them. therefore, it requires people that like that kind of thing to be successful as an e-sport.i applaud the prompt for discussion, but i think you got it 2/3rds wrong. if eve's relatively narrow subscriber base is any indication of it's potential for mass appeal... i'd say it will not be a success.
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Frankly, this demonstrates a very poor analysis of EVE as an eSport.1) While skillpoints are a major factor in EVE, it cannot be said that skill plays no part. Anyone who's ever killed a dramiel in a rifter or beat a numerically superior and heavier-shiptype fleet would beg to differ. Tournament fights often hinge on the ability of frigate pilots to grab the enemy logistics or the ability to kite successfully. While skillpoints are something that must be considered, any intelligent analysis must consider things like how new players must "pay to play" in order to buy higher-sp characters--and not simply focus on the 2% bonus provided by higher skillpoints.2) You clearly overestimate the amount of balance in other eSports. An example is Halo in which certain guns and gun combos (such as generally not dual-wielding) are clearly superior. The amount of changes done to balance Starcraft II also indicates that certain tactics were considered overpowered. While balance issues must be addressed in EVE, they need not prove fatal.3) Actually, one could argue that monetary incentive does NOT exist in EVE. EVE is really the only sport in which real assets are lost in a tournament (if you exclude the ubiquitous entry fee/bid). In addition, many players find it is much more profitable to simply play EVE and then RMT. EVE is one of the few eSports in which money can be made in-game. Thus, you will never see EVE as an eSport career like the pros in Starcraft.
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got CS:GO a week or so ago; its fantastic. CS:S model sizes with 1.6 hitboxes - a lot of the 1.6 and source pro teams are starting to make the switch. Once they get all the bugs worked out and everything tweaked I think we might finally see a step towards a more unified competitive scene.
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Nonsense, the author is a great eve player, as evidenced by this chimera lossmail, flown with JDO 4: http://droog.rwpcomputers.com/...
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Skillpoints accrued should in no way influence performance in a proper Esport. All players should have the same skillset and be only separated by their ability, not a factor of how long they've been playing a game.Almost all competitive games are built around a rock paper scissors framework.You're deluding yourself if you think Esports attract viewers that don't have any knowledge of the game. I don't think anyone ever watched a SC2 or CS match who didn't play themselves and have some understanding of the gameplay. EVE is very similar in that aspect.I agree that the points system is ridiculous and limits the freedom that players can have for strategy, as does funding for ships. CCP needs to set up a separate server for competitive matches that either has free ships, or CCP gives players a given budget with which to buy them for each match (which would make for interesting combinations I think).
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1. getting a character with perfect skills for the given task is a matter of a few billion ISK. if you want to play tennis, buy tennis shoes; if you want to play EVE and are not able or willing to train up a char, you can always buy one.2. just because many games employ the rock paper scissors principle that does not mean that it is good. there is nothing more boring than watching a game unfold where the victory is already decided.3. i know someone who watches SC2 games without ever playing himself: me. i also watch quake live, HoN, dota2 and other game streams without even owning the respective games. i also never played soccer and i still watch it sometimes.4. you agree with something i never said. i merely pointed out that ship balance can be achieved by assigning point values in a smart way. as for the extra server part: the one unique feature of EVE is that everything is part of the same universe. the costs of ships, modules etc. are minuscule opportunity costs for the players participating in the tournaments; i see no point in sterilizing tournament play by disconnecting it from the EVE economy.
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I've been watching SC2 pro games for over a year now, i don't play the game myself. I have tried SC2, but i don't think i have played more then 10 games, and i really don't like playing the game. Most days i use between 10 min and 1 hour watching SC2 games, and i follow a couple of websites and YouTube channels.Most traditional sports have fans that don't practice the sport them self, why should e-sports be any different?
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"Make no mistake, when pitting a brand new character versus a veteran character in an equal scenario (e.g. same ship, same weapons, same advantage, same skills learned) the veteran character, who has more skills trained, will win every time. He will win every time because mathematically he should, and because of these mechanics, it is the game that decides the outcome of the fight. That extra 2% damage output, or the increase in optimal range, better tracking, or better shield and armor resistances all get compiled into the equation that delivers the winner. In this case, every little bit REALLY counts. Unfortunately, the ultimate decision belongs to the computer, thus negating the need for any skilled player at the helm."I don't get this. You mentioned same skills learned, yet go on to say the veteran would do better because of better stats. ie- 2% damage more, increaded optimal etc.
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What is severely missing from your list of e-sport games is the aspect of spectators: a good e-sport has to be interesting to watch, requiring good spectator tools to analyse the situation. EVE lacks these completely.

 

The EVE community is no stranger to competition and team battle. Since 2006, the Alliance Tournament has been greeted by much anticipation and fanfare. The tournament is a round-robin event where participants fight to the death for in-game riches and bragging rights. It is a web-televised event and has become quite the celebrated spectacle. The Tenth Alliance Tournament took place during the summer of 2012 and featured live broadcasts from CCP's headquarters in Iceland with commentary by well known in-game leaders and fleet commanders from various alliances. The commercials that were broadcast during the live event were usually made by players or corporations to promote their own agendas. The Alliance Tournament is a great representation of the community's spirit.

CCP is now heading for new horizons and is taking on competitive gaming by holding the first cash prize tournament (opened this past weekend) called the New Eden Open. Though it shares many similarities with the Alliance Tournament format, the New Eden Open is different - and not just because of the cash prize - but because of its format. Gone is the limitation of being in the same alliance; now anyone can team up regardless of affiliation. In this tournament, your reputation as a skilled pilot becomes even more important than the alliance you represent.

Competitive gaming can be a lucrative business. Some games are designed for the sole purpose of it and thrive, others try their hand at e-Sports but fail, only to die off in obscurity. Should a game become successful in e-Sports it can almost guarantee to be a good financial investment for the developers and sponsors of the game, and money is what makes the world go 'round. This article will make an attempt to analyze and predict the success of EVE as a viable platform for e-Sports success.

What's In a Game?

If we take a look at competitive gaming in recent history, we may find the keynote to what will make a game successful in e-Sports. Given that EVE is a computer game, we will focus solely on other e-Sports computer games to keep the analysis as accurate as possible. Examples that come to mind immediately are Counter-Strike and StarCraft. These two games are perhaps the best examples of successful competitive gaming. Going so far as to say that they may even be the pioneers that made competitive gaming what it is today, would not be an understatement. If we take a look at these two games and search for their core principles we can discover some common elements in their gameplay, each of which is of equal importance.

  1. The gameplay revolves around the players' inherent or practiced ability to master the game.
  2. The gameplay and elements that are at the disposal of the player are as balanced as possible.
  3. There is money involved.

These three basic principles may not be the ONLY requirements but StarCraft and Counter-Strike are completely different games and yet they share these same qualities. One may logically deduce that if a game has these qualities they could be successful in e-Sports, as StarCraft and Counter-Strike were. Now that these three elements have been defined, it is time to take a look at each one of them and determine their applicability to EVE. 

It's About The Player, Not The Equipment 

With all sports today, what matters is the athlete. Sure, fancy equipment may help push an athlete to his peak performance but it is not the deciding factor when measuring ability. In the case of video games, the want for peak performance created a market for products such as gaming mousepads, keyboards, headphones, and the like. But when push comes to shove, athletes still need to have the skills in order to perform. Gamers need to be fast, accurate, cunning, efficient and adaptable. They need to be able to plan strategies and no amount of fancy mousepads can override whether or not the gamer is 'good'. That is what makes games like StarCraft and Counter-Strike so attractive for e-Sports and competitive gaming. These games are unforgiving when a player is not good enough. StarCraft players could either build and control many units efficiently, or they had the best accuracy and twitch reflexes for a head shot in a game of Counter-Strike. The same things goes for well-known sports: Michael Jordan was not good at basketball because he wore good shoes, he was good because he was good. 

In EVE Online, however, this does not seem to apply. EVE does not ask its players to hone their accuracy, nor does it ask for any spectacular agility because of the game mechanics. These mechanics use time instead of skill. The skills are passively trained over time and deliver a fixed outcome when the skill training is complete. Time itself entitles players to a better character. Make no mistake, when pitting a brand new character versus a veteran character in an equal scenario (e.g. same ship, same weapons, same advantage, same skills learned) the veteran character, who has more skills trained, will win every time. He will win every time because mathematically he should, and because of these mechanics, it is the game that decides the outcome of the fight. That extra 2% damage output, or the increase in optimal range, better tracking, or better shield and armor resistances all get compiled into the equation that delivers the winner. In this case, every little bit REALLY counts. Unfortunately, the ultimate decision belongs to the computer, thus negating the need for any skilled player at the helm.

Gameplay Balance 

Game balance is essential as it plays directly into the abilities of the gamer and it determines the overall fairness of a game. Game balance can in other words be called the 'equal opportunity' of video games. In the case of StarCraft, each unit was designed for a specific role and the attributes of the unit were adjusted accordingly. No one race was objectively the 'best' race to use, as Terrans, Zerg, and Protoss were well-balanced. It was a 'tit-for-tat' kind of gameplay. Counter-Strike had many guns, but every gun had its strengths and weaknesses. Smaller guns had lower recoil but less power, larger guns hit harder but could be unwieldy. The player style and situation usually determined the best gun. Players were also rewarded for their skills. In StarCraft, those who were industrious and expanded quickly earned the most spoils in riches. In Counter-Strike, those who killed the most players earned the most money (and thus, more equipment to kill people). This system was fair because the game itself was based around the skill of the player, and the player was given the most equal of opportunities possible to prove that skill. Skill was rewarded appropriately. 

EVE is struggling in this category. Even though CCP is making great headway in tackling the problem of unbalanced gameplay, they have not yet mastered it. Ships, weapon systems, modules, methods of defense and offense are all still very much unbalanced. There are very clear, nearly objective choices that can be made as to what ships to use and how to fit them in combat, and the amount of choices that can be made are very, very slim with current content. The game was designed by CCP with the conception that each ship was designed to fight in a 'canon' storyline. CCP designed the Caldari to fight the Gallente, the Amarr to fight the Minmatar and thus each ship is designed around the strengths and weaknesses of the opposing faction's ships. But the game is not played this way. Rarely will one see only one racial ship type in a fleet; they are almost always mixed with at least one other racial type if not more. This is even more so on a small fleet scale. These issues are the biggest red flag in ship balancing, as the design of one ship may unintentionally be an absolutely dominating force over all other ships solely because of an oversight in how the weapons and defenses used will perform when interacting with 'unintended' or 'non-canonical' opponents. Until CCP finds a way to overcome this, some ship, defense, or weapon types will always outperform in all scenarios.

Show Me The Money 

As stated before, money makes the world go 'round. “Where there's money, they will come!” should be the adage. Gamers who 'go pro' do so because they want to make money by playing video games. Sponsors who enter the e-Sports business want to sell their products to more people. Spectators watch e-Sports because they are entertained watching their favorite teams and players. Spectators buy sponsors' products, sponsors get returns on their investment and keep providing the prize money, which in turn attracts more pro gamers to enter the scene. All of this revolves around money. Even bad games that have a lot of money thrown at them will have some level of success because people want to win that money. Games like Painkiller had a stint of success - despite being a poorly received game - due to the tournament prizes and high profile players like Fatal1ty that entered it. As long as someone is willing to throw money around there will be people thrashing about trying to grab every last dollar. 

This is clearly what EVE does have. The New Eden Open is a $10,000 tournament. That amount of money buys a lot of pizza rolls, soda, and a good computer to play games with. It attracts people to the tournament. Ultimately, It does not matter that EVE in some aspects is a broken game, because real money, and not in-game currency, not some special ship that only means something to a handful of people, is on the line. People like money. 

Will It Work? 

EVE is not the first MMO to attempt a foray into the competitive e-Sports world. World of Warcraft has also done this, and it has been met with great appreciation in the Major League Gaming circuit. The question is not whether this gaming medium can work in competitive sports, but the MMO genre of games is not usually designed with competitive gaming in mind unlike FPS or RTS games. What remains to be seen is whether CCP can keep this kind of tournament up. If they can attract new subscribers with the New Eden Open, enough subscribers to balance out the expenses that went into creating the tournament, then it might work. And that is what CCP is going for here: more publicity and subscribers. If players show up en-mass and sponsors can make a profit, that is all that matters. CCP has made a good move by entering the e-Sports world with money as its main focus and that will be the most important factor should this project prove to be successful.

 

Goon. Serial MMO player. Writer. Pro skill-queuer. Lover of Caracals. Proponent of Jump Drive Calibration V.