By: Stephen Crane (Photo: BBC)
Gaming, especially online gaming, seems so far removed from reality that it can be pretty sobering to realize there are people behind the names. It's especially pretty sobering to connect tragic news stories to the players we recognize.
Last night, militiamen stormed the US consulate in Benghazi, a city in eastern Libya. It resulted in the death of four American personnel. Unfortunately, that death was someone many in EVE Online recognized and respected: Sean Smith, AKA vile_rat.
Smith was on assignment in Libya to provide IT services. To pass the time he spent a lot of time on Jabber, talking about EVE Online with his friends, even if he couldn't log onto the game himself. In fact, according to former chairman of the CSM (a sort of player-ambassador organization to the EVE Online developers), Smith was online during the attacks. He was discussing what was happening on Jabber.
According to The Mittani, when vile_rat was in Baghdad in 2007 and 2008, he would type in something along the lines of "MORTAR" or "INCOMING" before disconnecting. He would eventually return, however. Last night, he typed in "GUNFIRE" before disconnecting. He did not reconnect.
One EVE Online player took the time to create a tribute video to Smith. It's worth watching.
Sean Smith was an important EVE Online diplotmat thinking about running for this year's CSM, but even more importantly he was a husband and father of two. He will be missed by many.