How do you stop a man with SEVEN Alliance Tournaments?

...the answer is, you don't! It's nearly that time again - time to stand up and be counted by thousands of your peers in the ultimate expression of internet spaceship gladatorial combat! Seize the moment! Gain untold glory! Backstab your alliance and cause forum drama!

Today the new Alliance Tournament section of the website opens with everything that you need to know about the upcoming competition. Alliance Tournament VII hasn't undergone a huge amount of changes from Alliance Tournament VI, however it has undergone some important ones, so we thought it would be a good idea to explain the reasoning behind them.

Signup Changes

We're changing the way we do signups this time around, and moving away from the 'first come first served' method. A few people had problems signing up last time, many of which we weren't made aware of until it was too late for us to do anything about it. Also, the system was unneccessarily rigid in a few ways as well as being a little bit dependant on time zone and some other factors. So, this time, we're going to autoqualify 16 teams from the previous tournament, and then have the remaining 48 teams drawn randomly. This ensures that everyone has a fair chance of getting to play, and ensures that the people who fought hard previously get to do so again. We're also upping the signup fee to 2 billion ISK, which will be non refundable for teams that are drawn for a spot, and will become part of the prize pool. So on top of everything else we'll be giving away as prizes (more details on that soonTM) we'll have 128 billion ISK to give out, too. You can see the full signup rules (and when signups open, actually, well, sign up too) here.

Rules Changes

The rules are again very similar to last time, but there are a number of significant changes both for reasons of balance and reasons of keeping the format fresh. You can see the full rules for Alliance Tournament VII here.

Firstly, we will be making Logistics Ships legal again, with a maximum of one per team. Logistics modules will still be banned except when used on Logistics Ships. This should allow more flexibility in tactics and allow logistics pilots to do what they do best, without the undesirable effect of perma running, nigh unbreakable tanks.

Secondly, we will be limiting each ship to a maximum of two. Same-hull ships will be fine (so you could still run 2x Cyclone, 2x Sleipnir, 2x Claymore for example), rather this is a limitation on specific ships. The idea of this is to again create some variation in tactics; goal-focused setups will of course still be possible (such as some of the focused setups we saw in AT6 involving multiple, different T1 battlecruisers and cruisers) but will require a little more thought, a little more setting up, and of course more co-ordination on the battlefield.

Thirdly, the points values have again been altered. Time and again, in the microcosm of Eve combat that is the Alliance Tournament, we have seen the importance in the number of ships on the battlefield as much as the class of ship. Smaller ships such as frigates and cruisers are very economical in terms of points cost per slot, and slots are what dictate the ability to disable an enemy ship. Essentially, the 'all eggs in one basket' approach of fielding battleships was viable, but the many smaller ships approach was generally a better tactic. Thus the metagame strengths of the ship classes, as well as their statistics in-game, have to be reflected in the points values, and this has led to a general increase in points for smaller ships and a general cost reduction for the higher end ships.

Fourth, Tech 3 ships have been added to the points table. As well as haulers. Yes, really.

Finally, we've rewritten a lot of the rules to be a bit clearer and less ambiguous, and clear up some frequently asked questions.

I'm excited!

Very excited actually. I'm really looking forward to seeing battleships as even more viable. I'm really looking forward to see how Tech 3 is used (and even more interested to see the commentators trying to remember every Tech 3 hull variant so they can call what the ship does....). I'm looking forward to seeing Bombers with torpedoes after CCP Chronotis' awesome changes (he is the best dev). Most of all I'm looking forward to another fantastic alliance tournament and seeing more epic fights; I'd really like to see if anyone can out-hero the Hero Vigil, or out-tank the Tempest Hero Issue from Alliance Tournament VI.

On the subject of heroes, we are still looking for experts to come to Iceland and commentate on the final live weekend! Applications are open until Sunday, so if you havent applied and would like a free trip to Iceland and a huge amount of free e-fame (not to mention the opportunity to commentate on the best e-sports event around) then click here to go to CCP Charlie's blog and submit an application!

I hope this blog gives a little bit of an insight into the changes being made this tournament. I wish you all the best of luck; I'll see you on the battlefield in a few months! (But you won't see me. I'll be cloaked.)