As I wait in anticipation for the first matches of the New Eden Open to kick off, I'm quite intrigued by the idea of the mix of professional tournament pilots and rookie groups with little previous experience. It will probably just result in some real car crashes, but that's still entertaining, right?
Whilst I appreciate that some folk are disparaging about the lack of identifiable teams as in the Alliance Tournament, I'm someone struggles to tell the various null-sec tribes apart, so the viewing experience of the New Eden Open will be little different for me. Having read some forum posts and other useful site (see bottom of post for links), I've got a vague idea of the composition of a few of the teams which has given them some character for me to latch on to.
I think that, with a little investment of time from the viewer, team character will develop over the course of the tournament. I'm hoping for some surprises and some drama. Here's a quick overview of some of the competitors.
Something Else (so called because their original name was a little controversial and they were asked to come up with 'something else') has a mix of TEST, RAZOR, Goons and FCON pilots, so it'll be interesting if that depth of experience can be combined into something resembling a team synergy by captain SpeedY G0nZaleZ.
Much Crying Old Experts (Engrish for 'Bittervet') are representing the US segment of the anarchic Failheap Challenge forum community. Great depth of experience here, but will they be able to see through the tears?
The Exiled Gaming are from a small high-sec alliance and as the clear tournament underdogs will have my complete support for their two matches. Their first is against Something Else, so they really are up against it, but wouldn't a giant-killing shock victory be entertaining. I can dream.
Goggle Wearing Crime Fighters are mostly from the Suddenly Spaceships alliance, but they've got a few rookies in the mix too to take advantage of the open tournament format. Team captain Seldarine said “My team has a mixture of tournament veterans like myself and people who whilst being PVP enthusiasts, have never had the opportunity to fly in an EVE tournament before.” Perhaps another people's favourite?
Expendables are from the HYDRA RELOADED stable, who took the title of Alliance Tournament IX under a cloud of controversy and were disqualified from competing in this Summer's Alliance Tournament X. They've got the pedigree to be strong contenders.
Oxygen Isonopes largely comprises Goonswarm members, so they can play the slightly comical pantomime villain role, as they so often do so well.
The HUNS are from HUN Reloaded, the Alliance Tournament X runners-up who made that seemingly unstoppable charge for the title with the same fleet setup in every match. They really made the Vargur (or was it the Vindicator?) battleship the symbol of their relentless march to near victory.
Why Dash represent Pandemic Legion, the null-sec alliance who dominated tournaments for a number of years, winning three titles in succession, VI, VII & VIII. Team captain is Council of Stellar Management member, Elise Randolph.
Guiding Hand Social Club won't appear initially, as they've got a bye due to the uneven number of competitors, but they are perhaps one of the most infamous names in EVE history. If you don't know what I'm talking about, just Google them.
The Reputation Cartel are another team from the Failheap Challenge forum community, but are made up of European timezone members as opposed to their US Much Crying Old Experts stable mates.
Africa's Finest deserve a mention as they are a team made up of the current Alliance Tournament champions from Verge of Collapse, who were the unfavoured underdogs in the ATX final against the apparently unbeatable HUN Reloaded team.
Whilst this is only a small selection of the twenty-seven competing teams, I hope that as the tournament story plays out, we'll see others make a name for themselves and new heroes, fall guys and villains will be made. Logan Fyerite has made a useful complete competitor list on his Eve Opportunist blog.
Watch the feed below from 6pm-9pm GMT for the next three weekends.