Right now, I’m staring out of the balcony window of an apartment in central Reykjavik. I fly back to the UK at some ungodly hour in the morning, but for now I’m watching it snow sideways, and trying to collect my thoughts from the last week.
Fanfest 2017. I’ve been asked to describe “what it was like”- and I just can’t. I don’t think I’ve ever been so exhausted yet so exhilarated at the same time. So I’m going to start from 2015 and work up to now, in an attempt to get into words why this week has been so unbelievably amazing.
2015. My first big player meet, with my main character Elinari just a year and a bit old. My dear friend (and CEO) Momijisu and I fly out to Fanfest together for the first time. We explore, we find our names on the monument, we make a lot of new friends, and generally have a fantastic time. When we get home, I put my alt into a corp with some of the new friends we made, planning to have some low-sec shenanigans to go with Eli’s usual high-sec potterings.
2016. Back to Fanfest, but with some differences. In the intervening months, I had started helping out with The Neocom podcast/Nova Newscast, writing/producing my own New Eden-based audio stories, writing for EVE_NT, and had been very fortunate to have recorded for the Eve Reader stories. I am genuinely (and pleasantly) surprised when people read my name tag and say “Oh! I know that name!”, or when they look at me a bit strangely and say “I recognise your voice”. I have a list of ‘EVE famous’ people I hope to meet, and manage to do just that with a good number of them- as well as a large number of other people, all of who are great people to talk and form friendships with.
Fast forward to October, and I am lucky enough to be able to attend EVE Vegas. More of the names on my checklist are met in real life, many more new friends are made. More people seem to know of me, especially as I am now the co-host of The Neocom podcast alongside the wonderful Manic Velocity. Since Fanfest, my time spent in-game had been few and far between; partly due to a busy schedule, but mostly down to a growing disinterest as I stopped finding the motivation to log in. After a number of conversations with people at Vegas, I end up moving Eli out of Momijisu’s alliance and into the more lore/RP-oriented alliance headed by Makoto Priano.
Going to take a second out here.
I had been listening to EVE podcasts almost since I started playing, particularly ones that touched on the huge amount of lore and backstory EVE has to offer. So I was aware of the names of ‘key players’ in the lore scene, and had a huge amount of admiration and respect for them. And all of a sudden, I’m flying with them. It genuinely took a good couple of months for me to accept the fact that I was now slightly part of the same group of people that I had been listening to on podcasts for a couple of years. If I’m honest, to this day I still find it somewhat bewildering.
Right. Back on track.
2017. Fanfest includes a large-scale LARP event around a current storyline. Permaband open up for player submissions to be part of their new song/video. A number of us in the alliance have started to make The Discourse, a more capsuleer/community-focused variant of CCP’s own Scope news network. I am now a tournament analyst/writer for EVE_NT.
It takes me almost two hours, but I nervously record an audition for the Permaband song- and get accepted.
The Discourse team decide to apply to do a player presentation – and are given a slot.
ARC (my alliance) are one of several groups brought on board to help shape and prepare for the LARP event before the details are released to the rest of the playerbase.
If you have read my earlier writings, you may know that I have a slightly skewed way of seeing things thanks to previous life events. Add to that the usual tropes of very low-self esteem and self-confidence, and hopefully you’ll understand why this week has both terrified and thrilled me.
The new Permaband song is shown at the opening ceremony. It includes not just player voices, but video footage of them too. I receive so many hugs and messages afterwards that my brain can’t even compute it. I shake like a damn leaf during the whole time it’s playing on the screen at the Harpa, as the wobbly footage on my camera attests.
Our presentation goes down very well – people laugh with us, we get good questions, we have fun with the audience participation at the end. A few people approach me through the rest of Fanfest to congratulate us and ask additional questions. We manage to produce an episode of The Discourse at the end of the first day, and it is a very positively received.
We throw ourselves into the LARP event with all the energy we can muster. Which, as it turns out, is a lot (we’re lore/RP fans. It’s what we do!). We have a ton of fun, we become a fairly significant entity in the events; and, together with the rest of the attendees, we help save New Eden. Hurrah! We even end up in part of a Scope-ish video that gets shown at the closing ceremony. Two appearances on the big screen in one Fanfest? Yeah, that just blew me away.
And that’s just what happened this week. It’s paved the way for a whole lot more in the coming weeks and months.
But the thing that will stay with me the most?
The amount of times this week I’ve shared a hug or a handshake with someone, then heard them say “It’s so good to finally meet you!”- or the times I’ve been able to say that to someone. I’m a people person, but one who happens to have quite an isolated existence 75% of the time- so it will always be the people that make things so memorable and special for me.
To everyone I met, spoke to, interacted with in any way this week – I cannot thank you enough. You are all part of a community that keeps me busy, keeps me happy, keeps me aiming higher and striving to do better.
o7 for now, space friends. I’ll see at least some of you in Vegas.