Write about somebody who is "space famous" and why you hate/admire them, somebody who isn't space famous but you think should be or will be, or discuss space fame in general, what it means, and how people end up so famous.Kirith adds:
I'd like to add another take on the subject, is there a cost of being famous in EVE and if so, is it worth the price?An old adage that I sometimes like to quote -- maybe it's even original to me -- is that if you ask someone three questions, they'll answer the one they like and ignore the other two. It was really tempting to do that here. Instead, I'm going to twist this topic and come at it from a completely different direction.
Are famous people good for EVE Online or bad for EVE Online?
On a per capita basis, EVE has more "space famous" people than any game I've ever heard of. Oh sure, there are famous Starcraft players and famous League of Legends players and famous World of Warcraft players. But compared to EVE's player base, the percentage of "famous" people -- at least within the community -- is actually remarkably high. It's a high enough percentage that it adds yet another layer in which a novice EVE player can look foolish or ignorant. In EVE, not only do you have to know the corps, the alliances, the modules, the ships, the tactics, the fleet doctrines, and the mechanics, you can be looked at is if you are stupid if you don't recognize by name EVE's famous people too.
Hell, you can practically speak by metaphor about this game if you care to, and some people do. After all, we talk about "Awoxing" as if it were a verb. If you can't follow a reference to SirMolle or The Mittani or Haargoth Agamar, you might miss a whole layer of reference to a narrative story. You'll certainly not be able to follow a single thing in the first "True Stories of EVE" comic. If you don't know who Chribba or Darknesss or Somerset Mahm are, then references to why they're important will just fly over your head. If you don't know who the good EVE tournament pilots are, you won't be able to follow tournament commentary half the time. If you don't know who the big alliance or coalition leaders are, you won't be able to keep up with EVE's politics. It goes on and on.
But -- believe it or not! -- it even goes beyond that. CCP made a specific choice to make the players the content of their game. And in so doing, they literally built space fame and the cult of personality right into the very DNA of EVE Online. You don't have to idly know these famous people to be in on the conversation. You have to know these famous people to even understand the landscape of the game that you're playing! Sure, you can choose to play EVE solo and you can choose to ignore the landscape of the game that you're playing and some people do that. But in so doing, they're never going to understand or be able to cope with how that landscape can suddenly shift underneath them without warning.
An example will suffice: Burn Jita. A lot of solo players were taken completely and utterly by surprise by this... and then they were enraged by it. And then they blamed CCP for it. How could CCP let a mere famous person shift the fundamental landscape of the game? But that's how EVE is. Again, it's built into the DNA of the game.
But of course that brings me to the ugly bit, the bit that a lot of EVE players don't like to face: most "space famous" people in EVE aren't famous. They're infamous. They're famous for being bad people, for doing bad things, for making other EVE players like the game just a little bit less. Or maybe a lot less.
When I read the original question, I couldn't help but focus on that word "admire." What space famous people do we admire? The word and the context behind it, quite frankly, struck me as a little bit puerile and naive. Don't get me wrong! I certainly don't mean to insult Wilhelm Arcturus of TAGN, who is a really smart guy. And the question is certainly interesting. But seriously: think about it. Sit down and really think about it: how many famous EVE players do you actually admire, as such? And if it is more than a tiny handful, why do you admire them?
More to the point: do you admire them? Or do you merely wish to emulate them? A lot of players have jumped into EVE over the years not because they want to play the game itself but because they want to emulate and imitate someone else who is playing the game in such a way that they want to play the game. It's imitation, not admiration. Again, it's the players that are the content driving the narrative. Space fame and/or the desire for it has almost certainly brought in more potential EVE players than CCP's actual marketing ever has. CCP -- to their credit -- recognizes this. Every time someone or something becomes famous in this game, there's CCP right there hanging a lantern over it.
So in that way, I've answered my own question: famous people are good for EVE. Mostly. Because instead of asking whether there's a cost to being space-famous to the people who are, maybe Kirith should have asked: is there a cost to the game? I've already said my piece about that bit...
Another interesting banter topic! What do you think, Dear Readers?