The result of many alliance tournament teams.
While of course you have the oddball alliances that manage to sneak in and the various corporations outside of alliances that could do very well but of course are not in alliances, it’s still a who’s who of PvP. Pandemic Legion, Hun Reloaded, Raiden, all alliances steeped in the traditions of PvP, and yet, all outdone by a bunch of guys living in a wormhole. Yet Verge of Collapse was not the only newcomer to do well in the hallowed arena of the Alliance tournament. PERCUSSIVE PIZZA TIME DIPLOMACY also made it to the final 16, much to the surprise of both commentators and players. But why? Is it because of low skill points? No, all of the players had plenty of skill points. Lack of ISK? No, they made it into the initial 64 by buying into it. I believe it was because of the fact that PIZZA is from Faction Warfare.
So many people (especially those from null sec) mock FW as being a “starting place for PvP” or “a place where those that can’t cut it in Null Sec can go”. Such presuppositions were called into question when PIZZA began beating teams that were favored to win by many of the developers and commentators such as Shadow Cartel and Romanian Legion. Yet even with such victories and the triumph of making it to the finals, I doubt that this will inspire any kind of respect for Faction Warfare. When will CCP and the rest of Eve realize that Faction Warfare isn’t just a “fight club for noobs” or in the case of Nuli Secundi, a place to recharge and rebuild? Faction Warfare is an end of itself. It’s a place where PvP is easy to find, whether it’s in the form of plex fighting, scuffling with local pirates, or simply undocking and finding a war target in local, PvP is a way of life. The enormous amounts of ISK that can be garnered, be it plexing or missioning, goes (at least in the actual PvP corps) toward buying ships for more fighting. I don’t pimp fit all my ships or have hundreds of faction ships in my hanger, my ISK goes to replacing ships to go fight more.
Now, all this PvP does not go to waste, FW can produce some great PvP pilots and corps. Because of this, and not unlike the great shock that occurred in the 2008 Olympics when Usain Bolt became the world’s fastest man, the underdog team that was PIZZA fired a shot across the bow of every Eve player and designer that believed that FW is a land of noobs, fail pirates, and alliances that can’t cut it in null sec or “real” PvP. While FW certainly has all of those, I believe there are still many that are upset at all the work has CCP has invested into FW because of these presuppositions. There are those that would cry foul over things like cyno jammers. A tool that would allow FW to have an option to operate free from a null sec superblob, not some kind of constrictive thing with which FW could prohibit null alliances from moving or redeploying to other parts of New Eden.
All this said, I believe that FW is more than just a small, unimportant niche group (as proven by a famous PL titan kill) and that we proven that FW should never be underestimated or thought undeserving of competing at the alliance tournament level. I hope that those same thoughts would be extended to FW on a PvP level having been shown that even a small FW alliance can compete with the most well known PvP alliance in Eve.