During my time at Eve Fanfest in Reykjavik, Iceland, the thing that struck me the most was the incredible community of players. Eve Online fans, or Capsuleers, are some of the warmest and most welcoming people I have ever met. Their dedication and passion for CCP Games’ MMO shines through at every opportunity.
From the moment I stepped into the Laugardalshöll Arena, I was amazed by the level of effort put into making this experience unforgettable for all attendees. Eve Fanfest banners and screens adorned the walls, custom Eve-themed drinks were enjoyed by many, and there was even a make-up booth to bring Capsuleers’ cosmetic ideas to life. The main arena itself was stunning, with spotlights sweeping the room and animated environments from Eve Online displayed on three separate screens. The excitement and anticipation in the air were palpable, both from the players and the developers.
I had the pleasure of meeting several Capsuleers, whose stories I will keep anonymous as per their request. However, due to the close-knit nature of the community, there is a chance that active Eve Online players or attendees of the fanfest may recognize some of these individuals and their stories. One player I met had been playing Eve for 16 years but had never been able to attend a Fanfest before. He had followed the game since its inception in 2003 but never had the time to dedicate to it until he had an accident that left him out of work for twelve weeks. Since then, he has been playing the game without a break, and his passion for it is evident.
I also met a couple who met in the game and eventually got married. They played alongside each other for over eight years and felt that the game allowed them to get to know each other on a deeper level before ever meeting in person. Their love for the game and for each other was infectious, and it was impossible not to share in their joy.
Another player I spoke to from Kansas City was planning a trip to the UK to meet his in-game friends for the first time. He had been playing with these individuals for almost ten years, and the game had brought them together in a way that was difficult to explain to others. Seventy-eight percent of Eve Online players say they have made a true friend as a result of playing the game, and this sentiment was echoed by many of the players I encountered.
One remarkable story that touched me deeply was a group of friends who recently lost a member of their corporation. In honor of their departed friend, they funded a trip to Fanfest for his parents so they could experience the community and the game that meant so much to their son.
The developers at CCP Games also had their own stories about the community to share. One developer mentioned a player who works 400 hours a month introducing new players to the game and helping them get set up. The dedication and selflessness of these players to make Eve Online a better place for everyone was inspiring.
The love and respect that the developers have for each other was also evident. One developer expressed admiration for a woman in the industry who empowers the community and makes a significant impact. The presence of women in the industry and their ability to inspire and uplift their colleagues was remarkable.
In a world where the people working on the game show respect and love towards one another, it’s no wonder that the players I encountered had adopted this mentality as well. As someone who was relatively new to Eve Online, I couldn’t have been welcomed more warmly at my first Fanfest. It made me excited to dive deeper into the game and create my own stories to share at future events.