Thoughts on 2v2 Proving Grounds

The current abyssal proving grounds is setting two players in tech 1 cruisers up against another duo, also in t1 cruisers. While the hulls that can be used are limited, the modules fitted and implants are not. Oh, and you can slurp up the strongest drug you can find too before you queue up as well.

Smelly

And I think that adds some problems. In fact, the exact same problems as the previous 1v1 abyssal pvp arena had:
A meta develops over time and once the dominant setup is found, some people bling-fit it, add implants, and realistically can only be contested with the same kind of investment. Previously it where Ikitursas. This time it seems to become Caracals – or Mallers – if you spent a ton of ISK on them. And that’s fine. It’s only natural that a meta is developing in a staged scenario.

I began to write this in the night from Saturday to Sunday. The 2v2 arenas went live on Thursday. So the meta might still be developing from blinged Caracals (1, 2) towards blinged Mallers with 20km abyssal webs or something crazy like it.

The advantage you get from blinged fittings is much greater in this artificial scenario where there is no way to change your fit or ship to counter your opponent, every bit of extra hitpoints and resistances can decide about victory or death.

If there is the option to throw ISK at a problem, people will do it. At some point, a selected few will do it on a regular basis and the only way to have a chance to compete with them is to do the same. Of course, you still have to know how to fly the ship your in. But chances are high that people who do this also know what they are doing.

I hate to say it, but for me, it feels a lot like pay ISK to win. It dampens my motivation to participate in the 2v2 arenas greatly. Of course, you can argue that it adds some kind of extra challenge to the whole thing. And if you can kill the blingy fitted ships, you can walk out with some nice loot too. But is it really risky anymore when you know you can kill 99 of 100 people within a single clip of your perfectly applying Rapid Light Missile Launchers? When you know you can win 99 of 100 fights with pushing F1 while flying away? I don’t know…

The “Leaderboard”

What is nagging at my motivation as well the improvised “Leaderboard”. It seems to be there just for the sake of it. A lazy solution until it hopefully soon (no, no ™ for this one!) will get replaced with an appropriate system.

To get to the top of the list you would have
A) started right on Thursday. And keep grinding day and night until the end of the event.
B) Have won a lot already and keep winning as well as
C) have the following setup at a deep-safe, to avoid gankers and enable you to jump back into the arena after a short reload.

  • DST with supplies & to store loot
  • Mobile Depot for refilling Drones
  • Logi cruiser to  top repair & refill capacitor
  • RLML Caracals with abyssal shield-extenders, DED-space hardeners, and abyssal low slots for damage.
    Tikktokk Tokkzikk's Caracal Scan
  • The icing on the cake are Nirvana-Implants to even further increase the tank.
    2v2 Caracal Implant Set

Why that? Because it’s way faster than warping back and forth from stations. And with the current so-called “Leaderboard” doing nothing but counting wins. No Elo, no rating of killmails, damage tanked or dealt before death, no time is taken into account, no nothing. Just the pure number of wins. As a result, the people who spend a lot of time on this will win rather than people who really prove to be quality pilots.

Why is this bad?
Because it means that Hank, who jumps 100 times into the Abyss and wins 90 of his fights he will get the same rating as John who jumped into the arena 1000 times. But John also only won 90 of his fights and lost 910. The pure ability of John to sink a lot more time and ISK into the activity gives him the same result.

In my opinion, this is… dumb. I sincerely hope this will remain a very temporary solution and we get something more sensible in the near future.

Summed up

  • Extremely expensive ships add the feeling of actual “pay to win” within the abyssal arena setting. Basically, the same problem as the 1v1 proving grounds had.
  • The Leaderboard is silly. I hope it gets replaced with something more worthy of the space it’s currently occupying on a screen.

I was looking forward to this event a lot. Of course, this is the first implementation that will get iterated on later. And I think it’s great that it’s only for a limited time. I am also still looking forward to the destroyer 5v5 free-for-all and hope I can achieve something there.

The Good Stuff

To make this post not purely negative I want to highlight some certainly good aspects of this:

  • It probably will introduce people who weren’t interested in pvp and prove to them that it can actually be fun.
  • Filaments can be used anywhere.
  • Rather low entry-level.
  • A lot of opportunities for theory-crafting.
  • Piloting skill matters within the restricted arena.
  • A chance for nice loot.
  • It’s still fun, at least for a while.

What would I change?

  • Only allow t1, meta, and t2 modules.
  • No implants.
  • No drugs.
    • And let us zoom in in the abyss on other people’s guns
      like in normal space, please!

That way, it comes down more to fitting-choices, skill points, piloting skills, and of course luck with your match up. There will still be a meta developing, but it won’t be as oppressive as blinged fittings currently can become.
Of course, the stakes won’t be so high as well. But if your goal is to make it an at least somewhat fair competition, you have to do it.

  • Make an actual Leaderboard like abysra.com did for the 1v1 proving grounds based on the Elo-System. Or something like it.

I was very interested in trying to get my place in the top 100 for some nice skins. But not when I have to grind it day and night and invest my whole net-worth into a single ship and fit. No thank you.

P.S.: As capsuleer Gaurav has brought to my attention CCP Fozzie mentioned they considered limiting the use of expensive items in this format during a stream of 404HD.

Your Opinion

I want to hear your thoughts. What do you think about the current iteration of the new Proving Grounds? Would you keep it like it is or rather change a thing or two?

1 thought on “Thoughts on 2v2 Proving Grounds”

  1. I’ve seen people grumbling on Twitter about the fact that the board is based on wins alone, so the laurels go to those who play the most. Doing better than that doesn’t seem like a tough assignment, but CCP is built on optimism.

    PvP always drives people to min/max, and in a game where gear is critical, people will go all out. Skill enters into it, but the way EVE Online plays it is a rare day when a t1 fit Caracal is going to be an officer fit one being driven by a pod full of high grade implants.

    I’d like to see a no implants, t1 only bracket. It would be cheap, the playing field would be somewhat level, and skill would out.

    Like

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