In every culture, there exist people who are either known or unknown. Most of us prefer to live in relative anonymity, but every social group needs a few who stand out. We celebrate them, in fact, because celebrities do something more important than just demonstrate aspects of leadership in various fields of human endeavor - they give the masses some interesting things to talk about. The famous entertain us.
In New Eden, most capsuleers prefer to remain in the shadows. Standing out can lead to all sorts of unpleasant side effects: wardecs, ganks, bounties and ravenous blobs of ships looking for a tasty pod snack. In namelessness, there is a degree of security in EVE Online.
But there are some who have cast off their dark cloaks of blandness, and who have stepped forward out of the shadows to declare boldly, "I am here, New Eden - hear me and see me!" And there are a few who, through their own actions, have been thrust into the spotlight, despite their reluctance to draw attention to themselves.
These are the "EVE famous" people.
There are various types of EVE fame. To become "EVE famous", you need to:
- Do something noteworthy in EVE Online - good or bad. An example of this is Chribba, who I talked about in my last post, and who is known as the prototype example of EVE virtue. Another example is DBRB (dabigredboat), whose fame exploded simply because he clicked "jump" instead of "bridge", and thus kicked off one of the biggest EVE battles of all time.
- Lead a big EVE group - visibly. The archetype for this class of EVE fame is, of course, The Mittani, otherwise known as "The King of Space", and the celebrated leader of the Goons. He is the embodiment of the old adage: any publicity is good publicity. He even runs his own (rather excellent) EVE news site: TheMittani.com. In contrast, Azmodeus Valar, the CEO of EVE University, leads one of the largest groups in EVE, but most have never heard that name. Az prefers to just manage quietly in the background, and will probably never become "EVE famous". Az's predecessor, Kelduum Revaan, was far more visible, but he's since faded into the background after turning the reins of the UNI over to Az.
- Get elected to the CSM. Usually linked to the previous point, getting elected to the Council of Stellar Management guarantees some degree of EVE fame. I didn't really know who Trebor Daehdoow was until I read the CSM summit meeting notes last year, and now he's the well-known Chairman of CSM8. I used to think that just running for CSM helped, too - but that isn't true. Does anyone really remember Travis Musgrat?
- Write an EVE-related blog - very well or very controversially. Ripard Teg's blog, Jester's Trek, is one of my favorites - it's consistently engaging and useful. He's built a substantial audience with his insightful (and prolific) prose. So much, in fact, that it helped him win a seat and Vice-Chairmanship on the CSM. On the far end of the controversial scale is James315, whose blog is virtually guaranteed to provoke an emotional response in anyone who reads it.
- Become a consistently good EVE podcaster. Xander Phoena's EVE fame has been rising rapidly, due to the excellent job he does on the Crossing Zebras podcast, with his sidekick, Jeg. Xander isn't afraid to ask difficult questions - just listen to his interview with CSM8 candidate, Fon Revedhort. Alekseyev Karrde's Declarations of War podcast just celebrated its 50th episode. He was also a very active member of CSM7.
- Be consistently good at one EVE thing. Shadoo, a leader of Pandemic Legion, is known - for good reason - as the quintessential fleet commander. He's also eager to share his experience with new pilots, and often is a guest FC for UNI fleets. Azual Skoll is the master of all things PvP - his blog, The Altruist, is an excellent guide to success in combat, and he shares his experience in private lessons, too.
- Exhibit creativity in EVE-related things. Roc Weiler and Sindel Pellion are not only well-regarded EVE players, but also talented authors of EVE-related music, too. Check out their tunes here and here.
I have met, conversed, and interacted both in game and out of game with some EVE famous people. This alone makes me semi-famous, of course, which is worth practically nothing, except it allows me to say offhandedly, "Oh, I know some people...", in UNI Mumble conversations whenever I want to impress someone. (This never works, by the way, but it doesn't stop me from trying.)
The thing about EVE fame is that if you try to pursue it purposefully, it will either elude you completely or end badly. I'm certain that Chribba didn't get up one morning and say to himself, "I'm going to become EVE famous today." He just did good stuff in and for EVE, and then EVE fame came to him.
Some might say that Mittani actively cultivated his EVE fame - I would say instead that he put himself in a position to cultivate it, by doing noteworthy EVE-related things: building the Goon membership, developing the Goon culture, running and winning CSM posts, starting a news site, etc.
Is there value in being EVE famous? Not really, other than the rush that comes from being recognized - I can understand how addicting it could become. I had a minor brush with EVE fame at Fanfest last year, and I'll never forget it. I was at dinner with some other UNIs, and someone came up to our table and asked me, "You're Neville Smit, aren't you?"
"Uh, yeah," I stammered, rather ungraciously, my mouth full of pasta. "Do I know you?"
"No," said the inquirer, now all smiles. "But I recognized your voice. I've listened to all of your classes on the EVE University recorded library. They're great. I just wanted to say thanks."
We shook hands, and he went away happy. I remember thinking, "Wow, that was weird." But also feeling really, really pleased with myself.
Now, where's my entourage?
Fly safe! o7