BB40 Empathy for the Devils

Fresh from publishing the community spotlight on the EVE blogosphere and Blog Banters, CCP Phantom has suggested a banter focus on competitive tournaments.

There is no finer spectacle in the universe of EVE Online than the explosive dance of weapon-laden spaceships in combat. The yearly Alliance Tournament is the jewel in EVE Online’s eSports crown and the upcoming New Eden Open should deliver the same gladiatorial entertainment showcase.

Given the scope of the sandbox, what part should eSports play in EVE Online and what other formats could provide internet spaceship entertainment for spectators and participants alike?

They were playing replays of the last Alliance tournament on the holo.  One sharp on the side was trying to convince a few drunks to place bets on the game.  Mike snorted and watched the match, admiring technique even if he did know what the end result would be.

The waitress set his order down in front of him and followed his gaze to the battle unfolding.  “I don’t see why you pilots watch that.  Its boring.  The only thing worth looking at is him”  She pointed at one of the commentators narrating the match.  “He’s Dreamy.”

Mike chuckled and took a sip of his drink.  “I suppose it ain’t as riveting for someone who don’t fly the birds.  A special niche form o entertainment.”

“Zactly.”  She set her tray down to take a short break.  “Most of us will never fly a ship like those so we have no investment, emotionally, with the teams.  They are not from a region so there is no territorial loyalty.  Basicly, why should we care which set o billionaires blows up which otter set?”

Mike looked at her again and smiled.  “Not the kind o sociodynamic analysis I spect from a  . . . ”

“Say Barmaid.  I dare you.”

He smiled at the rebuke and chose silence as his refuge for a moment.  “So tell me, what would make for a good sport for folks who don’t fly?”

“You are seriously asking?”  She looked in his eyes for the usual set of ulterior motives but he seemed happy to keep the intercourse . . . verbal.

“I am.  I mean look at the top two things they play here, reruns of battles on the ground and in space.  Most are either shorts of some masssive fleet action or solo work by someone like Garmon or Jonny Pew.”  I was chattin with some buddies of mine about the lack of decent entertainment, the other day.  Thrax, well he said watching is far inferior to actually getting out and doing sports yourself.”

“Some claim they watch such things to pick up pointers.”

Guffawing Mike tried to keep what he suddenly thought of to himself . . .and failed.  “Y’all could make the same claims about pornography.”

“Pig.”  She swatted him and went on with her point.  “To get a visceral response from an audience they have to be able to imagine themselves in the situation.  I cannot put myself into the pod of a pilot.  I don’t know about the planning and practice and all the behind the scenes chicanery.”

“Chicanery?  Mighty big word for one of your calling.  So what would be watchable?”

“Battles on the ground.  Most folks tune in news to see the latest embedded reporter in battles on the front lines.  We all can imagine picking up a gun or running for our lives.  We have a better handle on what is going on and what is the meaning behind the battle.  We can empathize, as a result.”

Mike nodded.  “I been on the ground and I been in space, I prefers space.”

“Because you are a pilot.  But the question was what most folks would want to watch.  Not what you would want.”

“Not all pilots are so closed minded as me, mind you.  My buddy Kwahom said he could ‘imagine the dust bunnies playing speedball’.  So he agrees with you on this one.”

“I know that pilot . . . good tipper.”  She smiled.

“Yup, he sent me some things for the GBA, but what he said is a lot like what you said.  People emphasize with other people, not with ships or little coloured icons on a screen.  But I wonder if there could be a way to combine the two.  A fleet battle over a planet where a ground battle was taking place.  Combined operations war games.  How well you did on one could directly effect the other, ground forces fighting for control of an anti-ship weapons facility.  Space forces jockeying for position to drop the pain from above.”

“You have to be careful with this sort of concept.  Just because things are not working separately does not mean that they will work better together.  Beer is nice and so is Ice Cream but not many folks like beer floats.  But I could see the tension of a close match.  What about the other half of the Alliance tournaments, though?”

“Ah, yes.  I know what you mean.  The thing they call the metagame.  I am not sure they could stop it completely so I think they would be smarter to endorse and embrace it in all its shady glory.  Betrayal, backstabbing . . . good solid family entertainment for the modern age.”

“You are very strange man.”  She scooped up her tray and returned to work, Mike watched her walk away before refocusing on the holo of the match finale.  Given a choice he always knew which end he would prefer watching.



I thought about this and was halfway through writing it when I remembered chess boxing.  You want to hilight a normally unwatchable sport you bind it to something else.  Who knows, it might work!
Our tournaments are a very specialized event that we appreciate but the average non eve pilot, no.  But damn near everybody has played a First-person-shooter.

But then I think not all hobbies are meant to combine to make ‘something better’

Other thoughts on this include . . .

Fly it like you are winning it



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5 Responses to BB40 Empathy for the Devils

  1. Norbert says:

    Very well written. I love how you pack everything you want to talk about into an ingame story.

  2. Bob Fenner says:

    Heya Mike,

    Good writing as always! You gonna be entering the writing competition? I think an off the wall story from yourself would stand a damn good chance of winning. 🙂

    • mikeazariah says:

      I have the website bookmarked and am spending some time readin stans hosting of Mark726w works on canon. I have a few ideas burbling and may enter once in each category, juuuuust in case


  3. Pingback: Blog Banter 40 – Egos for Profit in eSports « 2nd Anomaly From the Left

  4. Pingback: Making Sense of the Invisible – Blog Banter 40 – Eve and ESports | Margin Call

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