On Wednesday Sept 12th came some news from Eve Online that was linked to the attack on the US Embassy in Libya that killed four Americans. The GoonSwarm alliance issued a statement that among the dead was Sean Smith, an Air Force Veteran whom in the game was known as "Vile Rat." Ironically, the man who worked at a diplomatic compound was noted in the alliance for his diplomatic skills.
directorbot: My people, I have greivous news. Vile Rat has been confirmed to be KIA in Benghazi; his family has been informed and the news is likely to break out on the wire services soon. Needless to say, we are in shock, have no words, and have nothing but sympathy for his family and children. I have known Vile Rat since 2006, he was one of the oldest of old-guard goons and one of the best and most effective diplomats this game has ever seen.
Numerous players of the game posted their condolences on a thread in the Eve forums, which as of the writing of this article reached 63 pages in length. "If you play this stupid game, you may not realize it, but you play in a galaxy created in large part by Vile Rat's talent as a diplomat. No one focused as relentlessly on using diplomacy as a strategic tool as VR," Smith/Vile Rat's friend Alex Gianturco, known in Eve as "The Mittani" wrote on his website, describing a few of his more noted in-game accomplishments, concluding, "It seems kind of trivial to praise a husband, father, and overall badass for his skills in an internet spaceship game. But that's how most of us know him. So there you go."
A number of stations and systems are being renamed in honor of the late gamer. There was also an in-game memorial set up for him mentioned in Reddit when a "Blix65" posted a picture and described the scene, "It's the star at the center of the largest trade hub system in the game. A bunch of players have stopped by and jettisoned cargo containers named 'R.I.P. Vile Rat' as a memento. I didn't know him at all, but hearing of a regular dude who enjoys video games being killed so senselessly... just brings it home. "
Hamlet Au called the memorial, "a tragically ironic coda, because the riot itself was reportedly provoked by a video uploaded to YouTube. So an event with global repercussions that was sparked by one act of user-generated content, ended with another."
Sources: CNN, Massively, Wired, New World Notes, Reddit,
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