EDU Recap

EveDownUnder: Revi’s recap

I had arrived at Sydney on Tuesday, 18th November with a friend who did not play EVE. We had made plans to explore the state whilst we were there and as such, I missed Friday’s night-time revelry and the pub crawl since outside of the necessities (some may argue the pub crawl was a necessity) I was chilling with him. I began with that because if you were hoping for tales of drunken exploits, I wish from the bottom of my heart I could satisfy you but alas, not a drop of alcohol was imbibed that weekend.

I kind of wish I was drunk for the events I did attend, though.

Saturday

This was the main day of EveDownUnder, lasting from 9:00am to 5:45pm. I tried to arrive earlier to make up for missing Friday’s introductions. Met people from ANZAC Alliance first, as well as ISD Nyoss, both parties were friendly enough to accept me into their fold. Hell, had I approached any bunch of guys I’m sure it would’ve been the same. Friendliness was everywhere and my inner space nerd tingled. I mean, a more diverse bunch could not be seen anywhere, despite the fact everyone was from the same country. It’s amazing how a game can unite the most varied of people, and I was a little overwhelmed initially at the sheer amount of people who were there.

Anyway, before all the meeting and greeting, I had to get my swag bag, and let me tell you, the loot fairy was generous at EDU 2014. All attendees acquired:

  • A code redeemable for a Megathron Quafe Edition and ‘Nova’ headwear in-game.
  • Sweet booklet with speaker bios, schedule, corp/alliance ads, etc.
  • An EDU 2014 shirt (you pick a size)
  • EDU wristband
  • Name tag w/ lanyard.
  • tag Promotional offer for Lenovo’s Y50 gaming laptop. (15% off)
  • EDU 2014 magnet (stuck on my computer tower atm)
  • 1 billion ISK (EVE-Bet credit)

My lanyard also had a fancy Storyline tag, since I was doing a presentation for the show. 😀

We were also given 3 entry tickets, one each for prize draws, major prize draws and the PvP tournament. Of course, I dropped in my name for all three.

So the day began with us wandering into the hall proper for an introduction by Bam Stroker and nGR RDNx. They started off the day in typical EVE fashion; with good ol’ graphs. Statistics on how many people attended yesterday vs. first-timers, distribution of players across Australia (+ overseas), etc.

CCP Rise followed up then in a hurried keynote, chatting to us about features coming in Rhea (most of which everyone would’ve known had they followed the dev blogs) as well as some more statistic analysis on dominant ships and weaponry (Ishtars and drones, unsurprisingly), and hints that the status quo is likely to be shaken.

The rushed pace was revealed to be for a reason, however. Most of us will have by now seen the new “This is EVE” trailer. What you may not know, however, is that the first people in the world to see that trailer was indeed us Aussies at EveDownUnder. The schedule was run as tightly as possible to ensure that this epic trailer premiered before our eyes first.

We watched it again in quick succession, and when it ended for the second time I was ready to pack my bags, head home and lead our members only a bloody crusade across the cluster, fearless and valiant. It was not a certain perfectly executed scene or the well chosen music that held me captive, but the fact that the voices were not actors; they were the players. That sole factor sealed the deal for me; this was the best trailer for EVE I had ever seen.

Prize draws followed this video. These prize draws were scattered across both days of the weekend, and always started with the distribution of 10 PLEX to 10 people who attended. This recap won’t have a paragraph for exactly when each draw happened; the schedule is there for that. I will just mention that in addition to PLEX, prize draws included EVE: Source books, and major prize draws were the Mimir tournament prize ship, an exclusive, limited-edition EVE: Source book signed by ~30 developers,  and the Lenovo Y50 gaming laptop.

So the major talks after Rise’s keynote were Renton Brax and Dark Razer of VDD, CCP Mimic and Cagali Cagali of BNI. Before I note how those went, however, I want to mention that at lunch, I got my first close-up encounter with a developer. Was tucking in when CCP Rise sat down right in front of me.

I am utterly unashamed to say I had a fangirl moment and stared a little too long until I’m pretty sure he was uncomfortable eating his food, before I looked away. I told him I was fangirling; tension broken, we began to talk. He asked if I had any questions about the devs.

Wow. Talk about being put in the spotlight. I had asked myself what I’d want to ask a dev if I ever saw one before, I had dozens of questions, but I more or less froze up and my mind blanked out at that moment and all I could utter was some lame question that I can’t even remember because it was that insignificant. -cringe-

Anyway, back to the talks. Both player talks were awesome. Razer and Brax had a great talk on leadership in EVE, something I was immensely interested in. Cagali dived straight into a hilarious talk about BNI (accentuated by great propaganda pictures in the background) that transformed into more of a teary, heartfelt community hug as he delivered the story of a friend he had made in EVE and his departure from this world.

Mimic talked about her role as a Game Master, which was extremely enlightening in terms of the ticket system, something that was a bit of a mystery for me previously. Knowledge of how it works should mean my future support tickets will include the details GMs require for the smooth resolution of any problem that may arise in my future in New Eden.

-inhale-

Then came the short-form presentations. Me first.

Here’s how I saw it in retrospect. The other speakers all seemed to have their shit together, and comfortably handled the microphone rather than shuffle it and the cue cards every so often. Public speaking is tough for me. Words take a while to form in my head, and then the delivery from my mouth usually is not what I’m thinking at all, and I end up speaking nonsense. That’s why I basically had my speech written out in my hands. This proved difficult when the hand reserved for swapping cards was sweatily grasping a microphone. Feeling everyone’s eyes on my as I fumbled those cards was… painful.

Not to mention the others had perfectly fine PowerPoints, whereas I had somehow managed to send only half of mine in. Oops.

The feedback was okay during the speech, and afterwards many said I did well. The problem is I seem to think they’re just consoling me. Oh well. I’ll have to wait for the upload and watch myself, laugh at myself, before I can come to a solid conclusion on how well that went.

The other three speakers led interesting talks as well, by the way. All worth the watch.

To finish off the stage activities for Saturday was CCP’s Q&A. Rise did most of the talking here, and there were some interesting questions asked. (Yes, the afk cloakers question too.) Nice way to close off the day.

Sunday

Oh yeah. On Saturday, I was picked out to be a part of EDU’s 1v1 tournament.

Most people lost ISK betting on me, from what I’ve heard. The 2-minute fitting time took me by the balls and in conjunction with the pressure from the crowd and just being in the spotlight, it took me 30 seconds to get into the groove and start fitting properly.

But by then I had already selected an Omen.

What the hell was I thinking? I had never, ever, EVER flown an Omen before. I hadn’t even bought one before. I hadn’t even properly FOUGHT them before.

And to make things worse, I spent another solid 30 seconds writing out different parts of the words “nanite repair paste” trying to search for it in assets, to no avail.

I undocked in a half-fit, unrigged Omen involving a Medium Ancillary Armour Repairer with NO PASTE. Also, I put an Afterburner on it, but had no time to grab a web. A WEB WAS ALL I NEEDED. I also had no drones. I had one type of crystal: multifrequency. I didn’t know what the T1 long-range variant of crystals were. At about 30 seconds to go, the only words ringing in my head were “I have never flown an Omen before.”

We undocked…

When the fight comes out… you guys can watch it. Put it in your diaries, I probably won’t remind you. I just want to… to forget it.

Conclusion

Besides being a newbie in the art of taking to the stage and owning the show (I felt so green up there in the spotlight compared to some of the others, and was constantly rushing to the restrooms to splash my face and breathe, trying to stave off the nervous butterflies) my first venture to EveDownUnder was an experience I am unlikely to forget. Meeting fellow spacefriends, swapping stories that an outsider would not understand a word of, is something I have never done outside of the game until now. It’s glorious. Furthermore, the efforts all the organisers put into the show, the display of support from CCP by sending down three developers, and the awesome swag and prizes at the show thanks to all the sponsors made it an incredible experience of EVE’s community. Even if my talk faltered a bit due to my own inexperience, I at least satisfied my own request that everyone should grasp at any opportunity EVE may throw their way.

Next year I will hopefully return, and even more hopefully, get chosen again for the PvP tournament, and maybe miraculously get past the first round.

Now… time to catch up in-game.

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