The Alliance Tournament has a terrible deficiency as an E-Sport because people watching it have a very hard time understanding what is going on. One can watch American Football and see if the receiver catches the ball or not. It is possible to see when someone gets sacked, if one player dodged another, and so on. Likewise, in European football it is always clear what happens to the ball. E-sports are the same. Take Starcraft as a successful E-sport. It is possible to understand when marines shoot something, when a tank blows something up, or when a laser cuts something down.
EVE as portrayed in the Alliance Tournament is not accessible to viewers. This starts with the cameraman. In football (of any sort) a cameraman who does not follow the ball would be taken out back and shot. I do not want to see the back of some player’s head when a play is being made. I do not want a close in zoom of some shiny ship when pilots are actually maneuvering somewhere else.
Taking some blame with the cameraman are EVE’s graphics. When you are trying to understand a fight in EVE you zoom out and it looks like this. The purple boxes are fighting the red boxes and the white boxes over control of the spreadsheets. Notice that the purple boxes and the red boxes do not have any scale indicating depth. In order to understand the three-dimensional positioning of the various colored boxes you have to rotate the camera view. Unfortunately the cameraman like is not looking at the match that way. There is a *solution* to this in that CCP has included a small map of the battle in the bottom right with the distance overlay on. That little tiny thing gets a tenth of the screen or less but it is way more important than anything on the main screen. CCP would prefer that that we think the game looks like this. Check out the EVE_NT to see some better camera practices.
There is also no terrain as such. When you look at a football field (either type) you can tell where the players generally are. If the camera jump cuts to one part of the field, you can see what part it moved to. There are numbers and lines painted on the field and you can see the sidelines. When the AT cameraman picks a particular ship to zoom in on, there is no indication what he is doing. The AT suffers from having no reference points except for distant celestials.
The spreadsheets remain here. In this case we have two lists of ships with rating bars, HP and ECM on display. Given the utter uselessness of the camera for understanding a battle this is the most important information on display. In fact, the commenters are sometimes totally lost watching a match so it can feel like this. But the two competing spreadsheets fail terribly at being an E-Sport by themselves. They are not visceral or exciting. They do not even adequately indicate why one spreadsheet is beating the other. Bars go up and down arbitrarily at times. The nuances of a tackle situation or the internal workings of an active tank must be inferred by a knowledgeable player. A novice is simply left in confusion.
In League of Legends you can see when one Hero hits another one and when they miss. There are obvious sword swings and projectile attacks. In EVE, tracking is only visually represented by looking very closely at the ship model. But even then you cannot determine the quality of hits. The simple act of telling which ship is shooting at which other ship is sometimes impossible. If the camera man is looking at sparklies you might see a bar go down, but you do not know which ship shot the victim. The little overview in the bottom right may hint at something, but nothing there is labelled so the best you can do is, “I think that red box shot that blue box. I think that blue box might be pilot number 3, and I think that red box might be pilot number 4, 5, or 7.” Honest trailer guy complains that LOL is hard to understand. What would he say about the Alliance Tournament?
Yes, I said earlier that the commenters struggle to understand just as badly as the rest of us. It is great when they cover relevant information that is not available to a novice, such as the strength of a Sleipnir’s active tank. It is not so great when they are reduced to saying, “What is this?” By the way, in that video the PL team used a Golem that could not be jammed as a drone assign for sentry drones. The Golem would attack something and the sentry drones would attack the same thing. As a result the team was immune to e-war. The Golem was in bastion and very hard to kill. This *simple* explanation is not something the commenters provided during the match. They did not figure it out while it was happening. Are they stupid people? No, they are quite smart, experts in various fields of PVP. That is the problem. Given the information available, the complexity of the game, and the opaque events are presented, even veteran players are lost.
Tags: alliance tournament, e-sport, Mukk