Personally I'm amazed at how high up this submission has made it on HN. I mean, VR wasn't in the hacker or IT community AFAIK; he helped run a big clan in a cult internet spaceship game. He was the victim of extremists in a dangerous region, like quite a few others. Yet a blogpost about him has risen to the top of HN.
There must be a good number of (ex-)EVE players here, or maybe it's because people strongly feel the immediacy and tragedy of an event like this even though they aren't part of the communities involved. Maybe they've even only heard about EVE on HN itself, but somehow feel like this guy was someone worth respecting - I don't know.
I don't really have a point to make, but I'm bemused and sort of glad.
Personally, I find it interesting and relevant here for two reasons:
1. It shows how mainstream computer games have become. There's still a stereotype that gaming is not for serious people, but here we have an actual honest-to-god diplomat working overseas who was also a hardcore MMORPG player.
2. One can actually be a big deal as a diplomat in an MMORPG. I had no idea that EVE could get that deep. I don't know if his real-world diplomacy informed his EVE playing, or the reverse, or if it was just a matter of being interested in that activity, but I find the whole concept of a real-world diplomat who plays a virtual spaceship diplomat in his spare time to be fascinating.
I don't mean to deflate your fascination, but he was actually an IT contractor/support worker for the DoS. I don't think he actually handled diplomacy, even low-level work.
With EVE, it's often the case that the leaders perform much higher-level tasks than they do in their everyday lives. I guess when people are given a chance in a new environment with different rules, new leaders and people of talent emerge. Maybe Vile Rat could have been a mover and shaker in the business or tech world if he had moved in the right directions.
A sad loss to his family, friends, country, and EVE.
"I don't think he actually handled diplomacy, even low-level work."
Diplomacy isn't like steel working where 'regular' people can't do it without a lot of equipment. There are really good diplomats in all sorts of places, from the president of the PTA to the stay at home parent with more than 2 kids. The guy's ability to see the problems and a path to solutions was legendary in the Eve community, so he wasn't negotiating who really owns what island in the south China sea, he was an excellent diplomat.
I've never played EVE and don't know anything about VR. I upvoted because this kind of personal detail for a guy who died of horrible circumstances exposes the mortality of everyday life.
One minute you're sitting at your desk shooting internet spaceships, and the next a psychotic religious fanatic is literally throwing a grenade through your window because he doesn't like the building you're inside of. Kind of makes me feel a little sick.