For me the event actually started already friday evening, when I agreed to meet Dierdra, Gitte Lacrimae and CCP Gargant at the Excalibur pub in the Amsterdam’ Red Light District for a few beers and a relaxed chat. I had never met any of those dudes in real life and so upon entering the notorious Hell’s Angels bar it fell on me to figure out who in the crowd might be flying internet spaceships. A task that turned out easier than I had suspected it would 🙂
Now Dierdra is an awesome host and together with Gitte and Gargant made me feel welcome immediately and after a brief introduction we were engaged in a most pleasant conversation. Let’s only say that at some point along the evening the plans of “just a few beers” were dropped. It is rumoured that a couple of sweet eyed but evil minded barmaids had their hands in this turn of events, but details will forever be shrouded in the mystery of the Amsterdam fog.
Anyhow, Saturday was a slow start for me and when I finally arrived at my first EVE meet the t’Schuim was already well packed with nerds and nerdettes and a busy Dierdra was bustling around welcoming guests and making sure everybody signed up for the raffle that CCP Gargant would conduct in the evening. And so I mingled with the crowd, stumbling over my character and alliance names a few times in this utterly foreign but not at all unpleasant setting. According to the looks I got while I was stuttering around, a few people must have put me on their “spai” blacklist immediately.
In the absence of nametags the only chance to find your friends was to randomly chat people up. A few entities had appeared already in fleet formation. The Provi Block was particularly impressive, fielding 20 members on grid. TEST was already drunk and the distinguished Rancer pirates watched the spectacle from the cosy table at the sidelines. Following our recent Twitter discussion I also met the infamous Helicity Boson and was treated to some insight in the elaborate machinations of his twisted mind. Finally I found the INK duders and elite pvp talk could commence. We discussed the current deployment and were all very regretful of the lack of Razor peeps, whom we would have liked to show our appreciation. Alas, once again, Razor did not undock.
At 7h in the evening the raffle started. The cafe was packed with 150 spaceship nerds as CCP Gargant handed out the goodies. There were, among other things, keychain pendants, EVE playing cards, EVE shot glasses and beer mugs and a CCP-internal-only Dust514 T-Shirt. But the crowd was eagerly awaiting the drawing of the winners of what most people considered the best treat of the evening. The furry hats. These wonders of headwear design are best described as “a hug for your head” and should serve its owner well in the coming winter.
You can imagine I was delighted when Chirality’s name was read out by Gargant as the winner of the second, the white hat. What a nice surprise on an already great EVEning!
Later that night I had a small epiphany as I found out yet another turn in the EVE rabbit hole. Talking face to face about space ships meant you could suddenly engage in some kind of backroom diplomatics. I was admittedly take a bit by surprise and totally unprepared when I was asked how many people someone else should bring to the goodfights against INK. I was like, hold on….! This is cool. Guess I tasted from the forbidden fruit of the meta game. No idea where this will lead.
What remains to be said is a big Thank You to Valentine aka Dierdra! His organisation was flawless and I believe everybody had a really great time. I certainly did. Thanks to Gitte, CCP Gargant, Wun, Helicity, Lia, Marc, Anna and everbody I was talking to. Was great to meet you all! And who knows, maybe we might be able to follow up on the idea that was discussed at one of the large tables and organise an EVE at CERN meet. If enough people are interested…
As I am writing this I am sitting in the very same cafe that yesterday was home to the internet spaceship crowd. A faint nostalgia and loneliness sets in. Somebody had warned me of this. Nevertheless, I am always surprised what is the power of a few conversations and an evening of talking to strangers you have never met before and yet instantly feel connected to.
CU all next time! Chira.