The cancellation of the this years AT got me thinking about, how a more professional e-sports approach to the competitive scene of eve would look like, how it might be possible to finance the organizers and how to not burn out the participants, so here it is:
I am wondering how many people/teams would signup and pay up to 5€/month for a continuous and functioning pro league, like in ESL, FaceIt or Esea. A league with spring & autumn seasons and finals, which would allow a more dynamic rule set, that adapts quickly to the latest patches, for a team size between 5-10 pilots.
In regards of compensation and finance, let’s say in the worst case the team size would be 5 pilots, which would lead to teams splitting up, so let’s assume only 15 teams sign up, that would result in 375€/month for the organizers, which obviously is not an additional salary, but at least it would be some form of compensation for the efforts.
Additionally you could set up a Patreon page where people can subscribe to the tournament and give like 1€ for every uploaded VoD of the summary for the latest round, so pilots who don’t participate can still support it for their entertainment.
In terms of broadcasting, there are a lot of capable commentators and people who would want to try to commentate and maybe even get players from other teams to commentate. Bio has a lot of xp and would surely be able to help setting up the necessary software for communication and streaming etc.
For the format, it probably has to be flexible and obviously depends on the signups, but i was thinking of having a 4 month league phase with a 1-2 weekend finals phase. So on a calendar it would look like this: https://imgur.com/uujOfA2 Keep in mind that per round teams would obviously only have one match, preferably Bo3. To keep time zones and availability as fair as possible, teams should figure out a date and time inside the given 2 week time-frame themselves and let the organizers know, so they can figure out streaming/casting etc. The finals then should maybe be simple single elimination with Bo5 games in the last 2 weekends of a season.
For the people thinking “■■■■ full year AT pracs and matches, rip life/relationship/job”, i think this format allows to step away from peak high intensity 5-7 pracs a week towards a more human 3-4 pracs a week, because there is no elimination. Sure you want to win every game, but a loss can be compensated by the next win against a higher ranked team and in my opinion constant practice trumps high peak practice through a shorter time frame for a short event. Also the participants wont be playing that much non league related eve. Additionally i think that the continuous theorycrafting would have great effect on the quality and skill level of the league. A lot of people participating in the AT, actually seem to be playing EVE mostly if not exclusively for AT. Reason for that being, that the rest of the game consists of unattractive content compared to the competitive side. So this seasonal league approach could represent a consistent source for the great, exciting, skill based, heart racing content that the majority of participants is looking for.
To not make the league to boring and stale though, after a certain meta for the current set of rules evolved, it could be fun to have themed rounds. For example: every 2nd round could be a racial round or a no-logi round or a battleship heavy round or a missile round … so the rules would be adjusted for a round and certain ships would have discounted/increased point values to create an additional incentive to use the ships connected to the theme. This could make matches more fun to watch and would loosen up the meta a bit. Additionally, to get the community more involved, non-participants could propose themes and people could vote for the next theme, while the organizers obviously filter the submitted themes, to keep the quality of the matches high but also to create a system where every round is fair for each team.
As mentioned, for each round, there could be a summary VOD, where commentators go through meta and tactics and mistakes made and predictions for next round etc. This would help to keep people interested in the league and up to date.
This is probably a bit to much in terms of effort and professionality, but i think, even though EVE is an insanely complex game and the learning curve is so steep, the esports approach is something that could attract more players to the game. I don’t think that stadiums would be filled like for CSGO or Dota etc, but i am sure that it would be entertaining to the general playerbase and it’s definitely something that i would love to participate in. Just my wishful thinking i guess.
Thank you for taking the time and for reading the wall of text!
PS: we need TD for that, i know.