‘EVE Online’ Community Mourns Death of Ambassador Killed in Libya Attacks

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A gaming community mourned the loss of one of its most prominent members, who was killed in the attack on the American Embassy in Libya that killed four Americans.

Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith, better known as “Vile Rat”, has been playing EVE Online for more than six years. He was a high-level official in the “Goonfleet” corporation, which was formed by members of the Something Awful forums. Smith was killed, along with the U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and two others, by a mob that attacked the embassy with rocket propelled grenades.

Smith was eulogized early Wednesday morning by Alex Gianturco, better known as The Mittani, another prominent player and the leader of his alliance. Gianturco had met Smith in real life and known him since 2006. He said in his blog post that it wasn’t the first time Smith had to abruptly leave a game because of his dangerous locale, but he always returned.

Gianturco shared this bit of chat from Smith earlier Tuesday evening:

(12:54:09 PM) vile_rat: assuming we don’t die tonight. We saw one of our ‘police’ that guard the compound taking pictures

Smith had a 10-year career in the U.S. Department of State, but he was also known for being a fantastic diplomat in-game. He represented his alliance at the EVE Online Fanfest, an annual Eve-centric convention held by CCP Games in Reykjavik. He was also a representative in the game’s player elected Council of Stellar Managment, who work closely with the game’s developers to discuss player issues such as game balancing and the in-depth simulation of the EVE economy.

“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,” Gianturco said in his obituary.

Already the impact of Smith’s death can be seen in game. More than 250 groups have renamed their space stations — a central hub in EVE Online — to memorialize Vile Rat, even if they were enemies in game. There is also a 26-page thread on Something Awful where other forumers and players shared their memories of him.

“I can tell you that CCP and its employees are overwhelmingly saddened by the news of Sean Smith’s passing, as we are when we learn of any player who is tragically lost. Many of us interacted with him professionally and personally and, honestly, it feels like our words are lost—adrift amongst such a tremendous, soul-affirming outpouring from the EVE community,” said Ned Coker, a spokesperson for CCP Games, which makes EVE Online.

A memo by from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Smith is survived by a wife and two children, and had previously served in Baghdad, Pretoria, Montreal and The Hague.

Thumbnail courtesy roBurky, Flickr. Image of Sean Smith courtesy of The Mittani.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/09/12/eve-online-community-mourns-death-of-ambassador-killed-in-libya-attacks/

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