Eve Online's seventh player-elected Council of Stellar Management has formally responded to the death of player and US official Sean "Vile Rat" Smith, who was killed during an attack on the US consulate in Libya days ago.
Game maker CCP was "overwhelmingly saddened" by his death.
"Over the years, Vile Rat rose to become one of the most well-known and respected diplomats for one of the most powerful Alliances in EVE. He was instrumental in shaping the universe we all play in today," declared chairman Mark "Seleene" Heard on the CSM's behalf.
"There are those who would say, 'He was a Goon; Goons are the bad guys.' To these players I ask, 'How many Goons have you known personally?'
"The Goons have always enjoyed their role as a 'rogue element' in EVE, [but] all of longest living alliances have a similar mixed reputation. There are no 'good guys' or 'bad guys' in the moral landscape of New Eden, just many shades of grey."
Vile Rat was elected to the 6th Council of Stellar Management, the body that takes player concerns and puts them literally in front the people who make and control Eve Online.
"My first thought was, 'Oh hell, he's in another one of those places.' I hoped that I would soon get word back that he was okay and we were all stupid for worrying."Mark 'Seleene' Heart, chairman, Eve Online's 7th Council of Stellar Management
"He was a genuinely warm and funny guy," Mark "Seleene" Heard recalled. "In CSM meetings or discussions, Sean was passionate about his positions, and even if you disagreed with him, articulate enough to present his arguments in a way that invited further discussion."
He remembers meeting Sean "Vile Rat" Smith's wife, who was both "proud and bemused" by her husband's stature within the Eve Online community.
Smith's role as a US official was known of within his Eve Online circle of friends. He joined the State Department 10 years ago, and was a veteran of the US Air Force. Smith would be in jabber chat rooms with other Eve Online players when posted away in dangerous locations such as Baghdad. He was in a jabber chat room moments before militiamen attacked the US consulate in Benghazi in Libya.
[vile_rat 9/11/12 2:40 PM]: FUCK
[vile_rat 9/11/12 2:40 PM]: gunfire
"My first thought was, 'Oh hell, he's in another one of those places,' Mark "Seleene" Heard remembered. "I hoped that I would soon get word back that he was okay and we were all stupid for worrying.
"What worried me, though, was that Alex (The Mittani) was worried, and the more I started F5ing different news feeds the less certain I was that I'd get to speak to him again."
Just a few hours earlier, Mark "Seleene" Heard had been chatting to another Eve Online player and betting that Sean "Vile Rat" Smith would be chairman of the eighth Council of Stellar Management. "And he'll be a good one too," he wrote at the time.
"Sean made the world we all play in much more dangerous while simultaneously making the world we all live in that much safer. I already fear the real world ramifications that may come as a result of Sean's death.Mark "Seleene" Heard
"If I had to name Sean's greatest contribution to Eve I would sum it up in one word: content. Eve doesn't rely on pre-written story lines to give colour and richness to the universe. Eve's story is a narrative birthed and dragged forward kicking and screaming by the players. The player-driven saga of Eve has seen time and time again how the fortunes of tens of thousands of people can turn on the words of a few, or even just a single player. Sean was one such player and over the years he directly or indirectly touched and influenced the lives of countless people," Mark "Seleene" Heard wrote.
"Eve's community is well known for being a dark and cut throat place, but as a whole I believe everyone realises that real-life takes priority over anything in the virtual world. I have seen very few negative or disrespectful comments in the wake of Sean's passing. It's impossible for us to not relate to this tragedy. Even to those that did not know him personally, Sean was 'one of us'.
"Sean made the world we all play in much more dangerous while simultaneously making the world we all live in that much safer. I already fear the real world ramifications that may come as a result of Sean's death.
"People who play Eve all too often confuse the in-game actions and personalities of the characters played with their real life counterparts. If this senseless tragedy accomplishes anything positive in the tiny corner of the world that is the EVE community, I hope it helps people remember that even the most 'Vile Rat' can be, in reality, a warm and funny guy with friends and family that care about him.
"We will miss you, Sean," Heard concluded. "Goodbye, friend."