Sean Smith, the U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer who died with Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens during the attack on the United States Embassy in Libya, is being mourned by the online gaming world. When he was not engaged in his difficult work in the war torn nation of Libya, Sean spent his free moments as a devoted player of EVE Online, the intergalactic MMO of space combat, diplomacy and political intrigue.
While President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke fondly of Sean Smith at the memorial ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base, gamers the world over paid tribute to Sean, who played EVE Online with the handle of “Vile Rat.” Smith’s EVE Online character was remembered by players as a tough diplomat and spy. Sean was a member of the Goonswarm Alliance, a major faction in the game.
Sean was actually chatting online with EVE Online players when the attack started on the Libyan embassy. As protesters surged over the walls, Sean told them he would be back later, “assuming we don’t die tonight.”
Dr. Erlendur Thorsteinsson, the game’s software director, recalled meeting Sean and his family at several EVE Online conventions. Sean and his wife Heather would attend the conventions when his work for the Foreign Service permitted. Sean was also a member of the player-elected government (The Council of Stellar Management) that held in-person meetings in Iceland.
EVE Online is played by a dedicated community of 400,000 players who engage in corporate espionage and backroom deals to seek every advantage over other players. The science fiction role playing game is quite complicated and features some of the most outstanding graphics in the online gaming world.
Ned Coker, publicist for the game’s developer, CCP Games, told the Daily News that Smith was “a true force” in the EVE Online community.
Lindsay Wise, a Washington-based reporter for McClatchy Newspapers, said, “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s tribute to Sean Smith – dad, online gamer, and Benghazi-based State Department computer expert – was nothing compared to the memorials that were offered up by many of the 400,000 paying subscribers of the space fantasy game EVE Online.”
According to Wise, “Memorials flooded social media and gaming [discussion] boards [and] many gamers renamed their space stations in his honor.”
Sean Smith is survived by his wife Heather and two young children. The gaming writers and all of us here at The Inquisitr would like to send our support and condolences to the family of Sean Smith in these difficult times. We join with the EVE Online community in remembering a true American hero.
UPDATE 3:00 am CST:
These may have been the last words Sean spoke to his friends in the EVE Online player community. I will reprint them exactly as he said them:
“[vile_rat 9/11/12 2:40 PM]: FUCK
[vile_rat 9/11/12 2:40 PM]: gunfire”
Another player added this frightening glimpse into the life of an American diplomat:
(11:48:19 PM) zastrow: when VR was in baghdad he’d always come into illum and be like
(11:48:23 PM) zastrow: FUCK MORTARS
(11:48:31 PM) zastrow: SIRENS AGAIN GOD DAMMIT
(11:48:39 PM) zastrow: and we’d laugh and he’d always come back a few minutes later
(11:48:49 PM) zastrow: :(
There were several moving tributes to Sean on the Eve Online Website. This expresses the feeling of anger, confusion and loss felt by his friends:
“I’m clearly in shock as I write this as everything is buzzing around my head funnily and I feel kind of dead inside. I’m not sure if this is how I’m supposed to react to my friend being killed by a mob in a post-revolutionary Libya, but it’s pretty awful and Sean was a great guy and he was a goddamned master at this game we all play, even though a lot of people may not realize how significant an influence he had. It seems kind of trivial to praise a husband, father, and overall badass for his skills in an internet spaceship game but that’s how most of us know him, so there you go.”
“Shoot blues -> Tell Vile Rat.”
“RIP, my friend.”