I’ve been meaning to finish writing this post for at least two months, but a few other related projects I’m working on & not having internet for the past week has slowed me down somewhat.
It’s that time of year again, the Alliance Tournament has rolled around and I am lucky enough to have been chosen to be one of the casters, along with Elise Randolph, Sir Squeebles & Baccharin. If you have spent any time in EVE, Elise will be a name you will have heard before, pretty much one of the few people universally loved by everyone. Squeebs runs a very popular and interactive stream that has gained a lot of popularity over the past few months, and Baccharin is returning to the casting desk having done ATXI commentary,
To be honest this was not how I was expecting to spend my summer. In the grand scheme of things I am a young player, with only two years of the game under my best, despite having created my main in 2010. I saw the post on Reddit from CCP advertising for people to come commentate, and as that is something I enjoyed very much in my StartCraft 2 days & I loved experiencing the AT last year, I threw my name in the hat with a quick email to the listed address. After re-reading the post and realising I should have probably put a bit more thought into it I assumed I would not hear back from them and went about my usual weekly business.
After 2 weeks or so, I got an email from CCP saying that I had gotten through to the interview stage with 15 other potentials. It was at this point I decided I was going all-in, I started memorising every ship hull & bonus in the game I already did not know, memorised the beautiful chart from Azual’s “The Altruist” of recognising different turret and launcher types and generally started nerding out over stats and the like. Having been to FanFest recently I was fortunate enough to be in contact with older, better connected players such as Hedliner and Lazarus Telraven than myself who knew people who had done it before or knew people who had, who gave me a bunch of great advice. Elise Randolph (who did not mention he was applying) convoed me on IRC and gave me some advice, and thanks to crossing my fingers and believing really, really hard Shadoo emerged briefly from his Australian seclusion and replied to my forum mail with a ton of helpful pointers with regards to the interview.
When the interview came around, I dressed up in my suit waistcoat and a nice shirt/tie (as it was to be for a webcam) and nervously spent the 3 hours beforehand checking and rechecking my microphone and settings (thanks again to Wyddershin for something like an hour long skype call which calmed my nerves beautifully). When the call happened, it turned out there were a bunch of NDA Dev notes on the boards in the room they were using to interview us so their webcam consisted of a red blanket. Fozzie introduced the 6 or so CCP employees that were there and we got down to business as they were already running behind. They asked me a few basic questions about logistics and travel, then we got into what felt like a normal job interview. They asked me about my casting style, a few bits about experience I had listed in my email and what my favourite vegetable is (spinach). After that they got me to cast the HUN vs Godfathers match from last year with Fozzie, only something was wrong with our connection so I was casting from a one-frame-every-three-seconds screen-share over skype, which was interesting to say the least. I think it was Falcon that cut off the commentary after a few minutes (what felt like seconds) and we hastily said goodbye so they could get to their next interview. It was really fun and I thought it had gone well, but given my youth in-game and the fact that I’m a no-name in the EVE community I figured it would be a fun anecdote to tell friends how one time I got a interview to cast ATXII.
Then I got the email: “You’re coming to Iceland!”
I freaked out.
I was tutoring Physics at the time, which naturally meant I was checking emails on my tablet, and I squealed, making my tutee jump. After the session was over, I prepared to rageping IRC in excitedment when I glanced at my tablet which had the email up.
Fuck, that was close.
After a horrifically long group email session, it was decided to make a skype channel, which now houses the casters and a few CCP employees. Here’s the DL on a few of them: Rise and Fozzie: they’re massive trolls, and are hilarious fun to chat with. CCP Loxy (no longer of CCP) is a hero among men and Falcon is a handsome, saucy flirt. Elise is even smarter and more chill then you think he is.
I’ll probably write part 2 around the first weekend, but I have another post lined up before that, though that may end up on TMC instead (with whom I am engaged in multiple projects via my corpmate Hendrick Tallardar).