Written by: Lukas Wulfmeier
Lukas is a Game Master (GM) at 5CA. Lukas, along with his co-GM Juan, was lucky enough to attend EVE Online’s Fanfest held in Reykjavik, Iceland. Lukas shares his experience interacting with his CCP Games counterparts and a brief visit to some beautiful parts of Iceland.
When we were told we were going to Iceland, the first thing that came to mind were Northern Lights. We were lucky enough to be greeted by them from the airplane window after a long flight. Being acclimatized to the warm Argentinian weather, we were shocked by a chilling breeze that would follow us the entire trip. After stumbling upon the beautiful rustic harbour area and passing through small alleyways of colourful buildings, we found the CCP office and were met by the local GMs who welcomed us with open arms, eager to get to know us.
As someone working for a video game and not having as much contact with other gamers who know about EVE Online, it’s always difficult to explain what it’s actually like working with EVE. The feeling of being able to share experiences and hear the player’s side of events, and discovering the players were understanding of the policies you had to enforce was freeing and relaxing. It reaffirmed to us that we’re part of such a great community.
After what seemed like too short of time, we realized that we were approaching the start of the Fanfest itself. We decided to head out to Harpa, the conference center where it would be held. Harpa is a spectacular venue with walls of glass and steel behind which you see an imposing white mountain and the ever-present grey sky that somehow perfectly conveys the beautiful yet rugged and hardened sci-fi feel of EVE Online.
And so began three days of presentations from players, developers, scientists, round tables, news and conversations with an embracing community that wants to share their love and warmth for their space friends and co-pilots. Everywhere you looked, you saw players chatting and laughing about EVE and sharing about their lives and interests. Attending a Valkyrie roundtable, anyone would have been impressed by the relatively small but immensely passionate community that shines with their knowledge and fervour for the game.
But dealing with online spaceships is not just serious business. Friday brought with it a 20-meter cake celebrating 20 years of CCP and the infamous Fanfest Pub Crawl, where all the best bars of Reykjavik see their cellars emptied. Drinks were shared among players and devs alike, with laughter and bad dancing until the wee hours of the night.
The day after, we returned to the convention center to see the goings on of the day. Every presenter mentioning their hangover from the night before with a short chuckle, proving that everyone attending was having equal amounts of fun.
The closing ceremony was tainted with a tinge of sadness that the event would soon end. With the parting words of CCP Seagull, we headed off to see a local metal band Skalmöld, head-banging our socks off before returning to Harpa to catch EVE’s very own and astonishingly good Permaband. We couldn’t help but be dragged in by their pure stage presence, concluding the festivities and event with a loud bang.
When Fanfest ended, we headed to the CCP afterparty where we and the employees, who were bustling about the venue until now, could relax, enjoy the music and dance till the sun shone bright and our feet could no longer hold us.
Then we moved into the daily office worklife. Getting to know those with whom you’ve only chatted or emailed personally and learning from the more senior people’s experience and know-how was an invaluable. The too few days of life at the Reykjavik office was eye-opening to what the company structure at CCP was like, shedding new light to the importance of the job that we did and the task at hand back in Argentina. Not only that, everyone we spoke to had words of both advice and praise to what we did as a team. Those few words from such different sources were immensely encouraging to us and really brought forth how great it feels to work side by side with such special people.
We were fortunate enough to be able to take advantage of the Easter holidays to see the scenery that the south coast of Iceland has to give with a small group of colleagues and their families, who made time to show us around. If you ever get the opportunity to go to Iceland, the Golden Circle is a must-see set of locations, showing the raw beauty of the land of fire and ice. The Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park was the first stop. As the location of the founding of Iceland’s parliament and where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet, it’s of huge importance both geologically and culturally. We then
explored magnificent waterfalls and geysers that took our breath away, and ending our day at the black sand beaches of Iceland with beautiful columnar basalt pillars and a cold wind that will chill you to your bones.
The following day we travelled to Jökulsárlón, a spectacular glacial lake which we experienced under clear blue skies. Even among the other tourists and watching the seals splashing in the water, we were engulfed by a sense of pure peace that, I’m happy and not at all ashamed to say, brought tears to my eyes.
We made a short detour on the way back to another amazing and less-visited glacier, Svínafellsjökull. The calm of the ice cracking and the sound of water running in the background makes sitting at the lookout post a timeless experience, being able to sit there for hours, forgetting the cold and all needs or responsibilities.
Luckily, we snapped out of the trance and were able to catch the Seljalandsfoss waterfall we’d seen the previous day, now in the evening light, catching the dispersion of light by the suspended water droplets, displaying the most amazing rainbows against the now snowy evening – the most amazing culmination of an already spectacular experience in Iceland.
Normally one might add a cliché that there were no words to describe the experience, but a lack of words is hard to convey over a written medium. Instead, I’d have to say that during the entire visit I just wished it never to end.