|I was on EveTV!!|
I did manage to Tweet and keep up with my Slack channels, email, and other forms of communication - but not blogging. The consequence of this is that I have a lot to talk about (Good!), most of which has already been talked about (Bad!). By putting the Keynote up front this year, the Keynote is now almost a week old as I write these words. So I'm planning a series of posts to discuss my thoughts about Fanfest, my experience and what I learned from going. I hope you will follow along as I try to make sense of what was, quite literally, the experience of a lifetime.
I think it is important to mention again that I had never met another Eve player before this trip. That is fact number one. Fact number two is that very few of us actually look like our in-game avatars. (I know this sounds like a serious "Duh!", but the reality of that fact is rather significant.) Third fact is that everyone from CCP looks exactly like they do in real life. I've spent over seven years watching Eve broadcasts, getting to know people on Twitter, here on this blog, in-game, and in various other capacities - but nothing prepares you for the reality of being in the midst of the madness that is Eve Fanfest.
It started before we even left on our flight. From Twitter I knew we had about 5-6 other Eve players on our flight - but who are they? No one was wearing handy lanyards around their necks with their Eve character names on them! Our flight was full and any of those people could have been an Eve player. Despite what anyone might want to say, Eve players come in all shapes, sizes, ages and whatnots. It was then that I also realized what would become "the other side of the coin" for me - I hadn't exactly promoted what I looked like in real life either. As I learned later, a lot of people thought I might be Rixx - but like me - they were worried about approaching a stranger and making a mistake.
So reverse the opening statement about travel, four hour drive to Washington, three hour wait at the Airport, five and half hour flight, an hour and a half to get baggage and ride to Reykjavik, check in at the hotel lose about four hours of life, and drag our sorry, tired, sore bodies down the street to the Laundromat for breakfast. Immediately upon opening the door someone ( I forget who ) from Brave Newbies recognizes me and gives me a Big Hug. And from that moment on my Eve Fanfest became a blur of motion, noise, chaos, and awesomeness. The Laundromat was chock full of Eve players and we just happened to take a table next to Neville Smith and Spanky Ikkala. (Both awesome!) And many, many others. The Laundromat is exactly as advertised.
We had no time to waste however. As you all know I was attending Fanfest for many reasons, one of which was to promote my new line of ship posters CCP was going to be selling exclusively at Fanfest. At this point I hadn't even seen them, they had been printed in Iceland just the previous week. So CCP Spitfire offered to meet us at CCP Headquarters, give us a tour and show us the printed posters before he had to drag them off to Harpa to set up the store. (Just a note, whenever possible I'm going to stick to speaking about CCP people with their public CCP names - I think it will make it easier to remember who they are.) So after the Laundromat my wife and I trekked up the road to CCP HQ. In other words, we walked. In the cold and wind and sleet and snow and sun and... Icelandic weather is ever-changing.
CCP HQ is further than it looks on Google Maps. But eventually we walked around a corner and saw it. And then we saw the Eve Memorial.
I have a funny story to tell you about my visit to CCP HQ. But I want to pause and say a few words about CCP Spitfire. I can't say enough good things about how great it has been working with him on this project. He is incredibly passionate about his job and extremely dedicated to making the Eve Store into something that we can all be proud of. Spitfire only recently started working on this aspect for CCP so he is hard at work trying to bring the past up to speed. He, like everyone I talked to, understands that the Eve Store needs a lot of work. And I believe that he is in a position to really make significant progress on this front. I couldn't be more optimistic about that right now. The Eve Store is in good hands and great things are in the works.
In my thirty-year professional career I have been extremely fortunate to have worked with and alongside a wide range of famous, semi-famous, geek-famous, niche-famous and other celebrity types. From Wayne Gretzky, to Jesse Jackson my encounters with famous people go way back. And I have never been one to be enamored by "fame". Always the professional. But I will be honest here and frankly admit to you that veneer of professionalism finally cracked. And for a brief moment I was a fan-boy.
Please remember that at this point my wife and I had been awake for more than a day. Seeing the Eve Memorial in person, being in my namesake City, having met so many Eve players at the Laundromat, and being at CCP HQ on a private tour - was a lot to take into our sore, tired, sleep-deprived brains. And the hits just kept coming. Of course, like everyone, I had seen a lot of CCP over the years. And it is never about the building, but always about the people. Once we started seeing actual CCP employees, things really started adding up. Oh look, there is CCP Punkturis and CCP Karkur and a whole batch of other CCP employees I "know" in that area. And here is CCP Guard talking to this group of CCP employees in that area. And here is CCP Explorer talking to this group in this area! And, I admit it, I lost it. I waved like a fanboy at CCP Explorer! A big, tired, goofy looking dude standing with a dumb look on his face waving at about eight people trying to work. And IMMEDIATELY it hit me, they have no freaking clue who I am!!
My arm went down so fast it made a small sonic boom and off we went on the rest of the tour. For a split-second I couldn't understand why no one had noticed me walking thru, then it was "duh!" of course why would they? It wasn't Rixx Javix walking thru the offices, it was just me. And no one there knows me. It was extremely funny to me. And a great lesson in how weird this world we've created really is. This was a moment that would follow me throughout Fanfest as I continued to meet hundreds of Eve players in the following days.
All of which become a lot easier once the lanyards went around our necks.
That evening my wife and I were treated to an incredible dinner with CCP Spitfire and CCP Seagull and her husband. We missed the Tweetfleet meet up at the Celtic Cross that night, but I suspect everyone there would forgive us given the reason. I have had a great deal of admiration and respect for Seagull since she took over as Executive Producer and my experiences, conversation, and sharing with her and her husband that evening have done nothing but increase by tenfold that feeling. She is an amazing person and we are extremely fortunate to have her in the position. Eve is in great hands.
And then we crashed and crashed hard. I barely remember getting back to the hotel. That was only Day One and the days, believe it or not, would only get busier. Day Two meant my player presentation, roundtable, and the opening of the Eve Store at Fanfest. Would anyone even like the posters? Who knew?
But that is a post for tomorrow.
Right now, it is good to be home.