Around five years ago, an Eve Online fan posted the following request on the game's forums. There would be an eclipse in 2015, maybe that year's Fanfest could be timed to take advantage of the celestial event?
CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson showed this image during the show's keynote; he liked the idea when he read it on the forum, and immediately booked the Harpa concert hall in Reykjavik for these dates, a full year before construction was finished on the facility.
Fanfest usually takes place later in the year, but this was a rare chance for fans to fly into Iceland to discuss spaceships while watching a nearly complete eclipse of the sun. While many places of the world were able to see the eclipse, Reykjavik is near the path of totality, meaning 98 percent of the sun will be blocked by the moon, making Iceland one of the best places on the planet to view the phenomena.
You can't plan everything five years in advance however, and weather reports all indicated that the cloud cover would make the eclipse impossible to view from the Harpa. Local companies began offering jeep tours and boat rides that promised to take you miles away to view the eclipse through the cloud cover.
I'm in Iceland to cover Fanfest, and though we woke up with little hope, the local media suddenly promised a clear, beautiful day with a clear view of the sun. A few hundred festival attendees, some dressed like their Eve Online characters, gathered outside of the Harpa to wear the protective lenses passed out by CCP to view the eclipse. There was talk of alliances and space ships, but once the sun began to darken conversation slacked and almost stilled. Suddenly what was once a bright morning turned into the warm light of dusk as the moon all but blacked out the sun.
I was able to take a picture by holding the protective glasses up to my camera.
It was an amazing moment, and one that won't likely be repeated at any other gaming even in the near future. Standing with a large group of science fiction fans who spend most of their gaming time dreaming of space travel to watch this sort of event gave everything a bit of extra weight, and the enthusiasm of the crowd was infectious.
All because one fan, five years ago, noticed that an upcoming eclipse would be visible from Iceland, and posted about it.
Sometimes it pays to listen to your fans.