It’s been a good year for me. I made it to Fanfest for the first time, and just a few weeks ago, made the impulsive decision to add EVE Vegas to my schedule, despite concerns about money, time, and the relatively limited EVE-ness of Vegas, as compared to Fanfest. I thought I’d spend too much money, not have as much fun, and struggle to find stuff to do. The last bit, to clarify, is not related to Vegas itself, but rather to the diversity of Vegas – too much to do means it’s hard to get bros to agree on stuff.
I was wrong on every count, and despite Fanfest being one of the best trips, out of many I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy, EVE Vegas blew it out of the water in a number of ways. I never thought I’d recommend EVE Vegas to people – it’s fundamentally a fan event, even with CCP’s added involvement, and those are always sketchy – but I can unequivocally say that unless you’re a teetotaller who hates fun, Vegas is for you, baby.
Now, I’m not going to give you a play-by-play of all the sessions, or leaks from the roundtables, or anything like that. And there’s good reason for that – I didn’t really go to any of that shit. I went to the opening, the keynote, the closing, and spent maybe a total of an hour over the rest of the weekend doing any of the other sessions. Shoutout to Laz and Jayne, hosts of the the two sessions I did pay even a shred of attention to, for having something meaningful and interesting to say.
The thing to understand about Vegas, and the reason I recommend it not instead of, but alongside, Fanfest (#nopoors), is because it’s fundamentally different. Fanfest is about revelling in all that is EVE, and about taking over a city that’s as happy for you to be there, as you are to be there, for a week, with a bunch of nerds. Shops have giant EVE posters in their windows, there’s billboards everywhere, the whole city is covered in hundreds upon hundreds of nerds, and it’s amazing. It’s 24/7 space-bros with a healthy sampling of Cool Shit™ from CCP.
Vegas is a whole other creature. Vegas gives those of us who don’t otherwise have a reason to go to Vegas, or who want to make yet another trip there, an excuse. It uses EVE as a framework to justify partying with friends in an amazing city. It gives us an excuse to get unbelievably plastered, gamble outrageously, go to strip clubs, dance, and just generally pal around with people with whom we already choose to spend huge chunks of our leisure time. The EVE elements of Vegas are there, to be sure – Valkyrie was better than ever, there’s a PVP tournament, free stuff, CCP dudes, and all that.
It’s just a different vibe. CCP are more approachable in Vegas, I suspect if for no other reason than that they’re not swarmed by 1500 people at a time, half of whom are under the mistaken impression that this is a serious conference to discuss their highly important space pixel concerns. They’re swarmed, to be sure, but the vibe is different. Guard is around, because he’s not stuck on TV all the time. There’s far less press, so the devs are much more available to grab a drink in the afternoon and chat. Vegas is a bunch of people who’d like to chat about EVE while partying, the same way normal people talk about football of some variety while drinking in a pub. Fanfest is EVE’s professional conference – Vegas is EVE’s bachelor party. Both are great, in their own way.
Are there areas for improvement? Absolutely. I spoke with CCP Manifest (I think, at least – I was pretty hammered) for about twenty minutes on Sunday, and one of the things we talked about was the future of EVE Vegas. CCP is dedicated to Vegas, that much is clear, particularly now that they’ve sold out 500+ tickets for the event. I’d love to see more non-EVE-centric events come with next year’s Vegas. Let’s go to a show. Let’s go ziplining. Let’s go race gokarts. There’s all sorts of amazing stuff that we can do as bros, and that we as alliances/corps/groups of friends already do, but there isn’t CCP support for it, directly. PL dudes went go-karting on Wednesday or Thursday, I’m sure some goons when shooting, and I know PL and GSF partied outrageously together on Sunday night. And that’s great – those sort of player-driven shenanigans are a real-world manifestation of what makes EVE so great – but there’s a lot of people who don’t have direct exposure to that stuff, because they aren’t a part of a group of people who play like that. All those hisec folks, all the FW folks in 5-man corps, etc. All those groups could be brought into the fold somehow, I suspect, and it’d enrich the lives of everyone else.
Groups like PL and Goons are still going to spend some time doing their own things, to be sure – barely half of PL went on the Vegas pub crawl, and we’re noticeably absent from the Fanfest pub crawl nearly every year, because we have so many dudes that we like doing our own thing most of the time. That doesn’t mean that the cool stuff we get up to shouldn’t be the inspiration for things others can enjoy, however. I believe CCP is already looking in this direction, to expand and focus on the “space-friends” aspect of EVE gatherings in next year’s Vegas, and I look forward to seeing what they come up with.
I’m thrilled I went to Vegas. I drank basically for free all weekend (shoutout to the best roulette dealer ever, purps!), ate amazing food (the PL dinner was at Fogo de Chao – amazing Brazilian steakhouse), and partied til 4am with guys I stay up til 4am flying with the rest of the time. It was everything I could have wanted, and more, and I’m glad I made the impulsive decision to go. I’ll be there next year, and I hope you are, too. You won’t regret it. And I hope I’ll see you in Iceland, too, because it’s just as amazing, but for a completely different reason, and in a completely different way.
Massive thanks to all my PL bros for an amazing Vegas experience, and in particular to Hedliner and LaianLanLei for letting me crash for free in their room, PhalanxIII and Elise Randolph for partying with me, WR3N, Darees, and Kraziflip for being great guides and friends, and Aflixion Starr for going to In-N-Out twice with me. Shoutouts to Alex & that GSF girl whose ingame name I don’t know for sharing delicious shots on Sunday, Dunk Dinkle for the beer opener and the shot, all of CCP for this great time, Ron Mexxico of PL for proving which Legion contains the alpha-males, and everyone else who made Vegas an amazing, unforgettable experience. Oh, and thanks to EVE-Bet for the promo codes.
Brave’s Dunk Dinkle shares from the Briefcase of Friendship