Sean Smith was among the people killed in the American consulate in Libya when an extremist mob attacked. Not only was he a foreign service information management officer, he was a major part of one of EVE Online‘s biggest alliances, Goonswarm. He was not only the equivalent of a public figure within EVE Online‘s huge player universe, he was apart of a user run council called CSM, which talks directly to the developer CCP in Iceland. His death was such a blow, the entire EVE community, which is crisscrossed with political intrigue and allegiances, united to mourn his death.
Goonswarm for example, organized a fleet of the largest ships available and set them on off to destroy everything in their path. A livestream of the event was setup to have all proceeds from ads and views donated to Smith’s family.
Nulli Secunda, an organization in direct opposition to Goonswarm, also displayed their respect for Smith by purchasing a fleet of ships. They renamed them all to RIP Vile Rat, Smith’s online handle, and ejected to leave them as a memorial to him. Hundreds of player owned stations were also renamed to honor Smith’s handle, Vile Rat.
Ned Coker, CCP’s public relations representative even spoke for CCP on Smith’s passing. “I can tell you that CCP Games and its employees are overwhelmingly saddened by the news of Sean Smith’s passing, as we are when we learn of any player who is tragically lost. Many of us interacted with him professionally and personally and, honestly, it feels like our words are lost — adrift amongst such a tremendous, soul-affirming outpouring from the ‘EVE‘ community.”
The attack in Libya was a shocking display of violence but the unity of the entire EVE Online player base in face of their loss was nothing short of amazing. Seeing a community divided by hidden agendas and opposing factions unite while an extremist mob’s reaction to an anti-Muslim video was only violence can certainly makes you think how different people can be.