With all the hype around Fanfest and the upcoming Citadel expansion, the Eve player base is riding pretty high at the moment. But, there are a few things that have happened today that I'd like to touch on.
The first is the harassment of Eve streamer Crass Kitty. Recently, her grandfather passed away, something that she shared with her stream viewers. About two weeks ago, her stream was flooded with a string of new followers who all had various names making fun of the fact that her grandfather died, along with a few generic misogynistic phrases thrown in for good measure. It got to the point that Crass ended her stream early rather than continue to deal with the problem. As has been revealed today, the effort was orchestrated by members of Goonswarm who apparently don't like Crass because she does a lot of interviews with members of the Money Badger Coalition. Beyond littering her stream with references to her dead relative, it seems that they've also tracked down her real life social media accounts (as in, the ones not associated in any way with her gaming life) and tried to harass her there as well. With the unveiling of the Goons being responsible for this, there has been the expected dramatic outcry and gnashing of teeth, along with a fresh discussion of where the battle lines are drawn in the course of internet shit posting. By and large, its gotten pretty ugly out there.
Secondly, notable Eve personality Yolo Swagtron posted a genuinely heartfelt message to his corp's forums about why he has quit the game and all game related media immediately. This is most noteworthy because at the time of quitting, Yolo was actually in Iceland at Fanfest in the depths of all the Eve he could handle. Long story short, he came to the realization that the game had almost completely overtaken his life and he no longer felt as if he was in control of his personal life because he was dedicating too much time to his Eve life. He stopped what he was doing, got on a plane back home, and disconnected from the game as much as he could the moment he touched down. Essentially, he quit as cold turkey as possible and isn't looking back.
Both of these are examples of the game infringing on a player's real life in ways that are simply unhealthy. In the case of Crass Kitty, a group of players have taken in game events and used them as a reason to harass and terrorize a person out of game. With Yolo, the game is taking the form of an addiction that is slowly but surely squeezing out the rest of a person's life. In both cases, its very important to remember that this is just a game. Its a great game, enthralling in its scope and forever evolving environment and its easy to get completely overwhelmed by it, but it is still just a game. It is not a reason to attack someone personally, and it is not something worth sacrificing the rest of your life for.
Personally, I'm pretty closed off in real life these days. I have a small group of friends I talk to on a regular basis, I spend time with family pretty regularly, and I have a fantastic wife whom I love spending time with. Outside of that, my only real socializing is done online. Be it a forum for my favorite football team, various electronic music communities, social media, or games, the vast majority of people I talk to are avatars that represent people whom I will never physically shake hands with. This works fine for me as I'm pretty awkward and silent in person. Even when I was in bands playing multiple shows a week, I would generally find some dark corner to hide in and just keep to myself. What can I say, I'm just better with text. Hell, I barely ever log into Signal Cartel comms for this reason. Eve absolutely takes up a massive portion of my attention, and as a result most of the people I talk to now are in game. So I can definitely see how being so invested in the game could spiral out of control until the game has simply taken over your life.
On the other side of the "Too Real" coin, I do try to keep in mind that there is an actual person on the other side of that avatar. Someone slogging through a day job who is looking to spend their spare time doing something they enjoy and trying to have a good time before they die. And while I can gleefully roll around in the offensive without batting an eye, there is simply no reason to focus in and try to hurt the actual person behind the avatar, internet anonymity be damned.
So I'd like to wish Tony well in his endeavors in the land of reality and say that I can fully respect the feeling that the game has gotten "larger than life". I genuinely hope you can find some happiness out there and can spend your time the way you want, and if you ever do come back to New Eden we'll be happy to have you back. For Crass, I just want to say that even though the depths of internet depravity get explored by Eve players, I hope it doesn't cause you to shy away from the game because you are benefit to the Eve streaming community. Also, you seem to like exploration and Asteros...join Signal Cartel now!
To everyone else, I just want to say: we're all going to die one day. Till then, can we just have some fun and not be dicks about it? Cause that would be great. TIA.