Today marks the fifth anniversary of the death of Sean Smith, a man who worked for the US State Department by day and, at night, roamed the galaxy as one of EVE Online's most feared and respected capsuleers. For me EVE Online has always been the greatest MMOG and, though I no longer have the time to really play it, I keep abreast of what's going on — both because the exploits of people like Smith are endlessly fascinating, and the human relationships the game creates mean something. I was especially struck to see a post on the EVE subreddit paying tribute to Smith, in which most of the comments were simply a salute to a fellow traveller.
A few years ago, Stephen Totilo wrote about Sean Smith's masterful career in EVE, where under the pseudonym Vile Rat he was a kind of cosmic Petyr Baelish.
Sean Smith was an ex-Air Force guy, born in 1978 and raised in San Diego. By the turn of the century he was stationed in Okinawa, suffering the plight of any Air Force man who loves burgers but lives on an island that's all about seafood. He didn't fly jets. He worked on radios. And he played online games, which he loved.
Sean and [his wife] Heather met in a MUD, one of the oldest of old-school multiplayer online games. It was an all-text game, but all Sean needed to make an impression was a few choice words. "The first thing he typed to me was 'You need to leave your guild or else I will kill you,' Heather recalled. "Classically diplomatic, even then."
The article is recommended, a fitting tribute to an exceptional man. It tells you everything about the EVE community too that, five years on, it commemorates Sean Smith, and remembers. RIP Vile Rat, gone but never forgotten.