This week, Playboy Magazine published an article entitled ‘A Day in the Real Life of a Virtual Space Tyrant‘, featuring none other than EVE’s own Alexander Gianturco, a.k.a. The Mittani. Written by Steven Messner, the article is a look at Mittens, the Imperium, and EVE Online itself, providing the wide-reaching Playboy audience with an introduction to the savage sandbox in which we play.
The article covered some material that might be considered common knowledge to the typical EVE player, especially older players or member of nullsec groups. The rise of Goonswarm and the Imperium was discussed, from humble beginnings on the SomethingAwful forums, to the Great War, to the destruction and annihilation of Band of Brothers. Rather than using this triumph as a means of self-aggrandizing within the article, however, the events are raised as a means of highlighting what makes EVE special: the unfettered freedom for players to play the way they want to, without being limited to a static level grind.
Mixed into the article are insights into what it means to be an autocratic alliance leader in EVE Online, from using a hard-won reputation to protect the interests of your people, to spending almost all of your time caught up in the administrative and social duties needed to keep things running smoothly. In addition, the piece touches more than once on how the social ecosystem of EVE Online gives rise to individuals with particular skills and talents finding ways to use those talents in order to influence or support their gameplay and those of their allies. With those insights, of course, come indications of the cost of that level of engagement, touching on The Mittani’s famous tendency to never actually log in to the game.
All of this work and use of specialized talent is, of course, about more than just internet spaceships. The article recognizes that, delving into the strong bonds that form among the EVE community. The most powerful example cited is one that should come as no surprise in any piece written about The Mittani: Sean Smith, a.k.a. Vile Rat, the diplomatic counterweight to Mittens, and close friend of Alex Gianturco, who was tragically killed during the attacks in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012, and how the entirety of EVE banded together to honor him.
Ultimately, the article is as much about that community of players, about us, as it is about The Mittani or even EVE Online itself. For some, the surface interactions of missioning, mining, industry, and PVP are enough. Others, possessing greater drive and personal goals, will delve deeper, building something of worth to reflect the investment of time and labor that they make. And some few will rise to the very heights of their ambitions, until they move through the smoke-filled back rooms of galactic politics and shape the gameplay of hundreds or thousands of others. And for the foreseeable future, waiting for them there, will be The Mittani.