Repost: Community Highlight – The Best of Us

This first appeared live on TheMittani.com on 17 November 2014. It has been edited for clarity of purpose. The Best of Us continues to be a really cool effort inside EVE Online and one I’m happy to continue to support!

Recently I had the chance to talk a bit with Vestin, an EVE Online player and veteran of the US Army, who created the ‘Best of Us’ in-game channel as a means to provide support to other EVE Online players who are current or past military members.

Sadly, our conversation started off on a grim note. Vestin, who has struggled with PTSD after his medical discharge from the Army, had some dark statistics to share when I asked him what the purpose of the Best of Us channel was. In 2012, the number of US Army soldiers dying by suicide surpassed the number of soldiers killed in battle in Afghanistan; the number of suicides each year keeps on rising. PTSD and depression are serious threats to the health and well-being of our troops and both leave a legacy that extends well beyond a soldier’s tour of duty.

While therapy and medication can go a long way towards mitigating the effects of these crippling disorders, there remains one tried and true method that has worked since day one: support networks. “Veterans suffering from PTSD have a tendency to seclude themselves away,” Vestin said via email. “Having the ability to shoot the shit with some other vets who can relate and truly empathize with you can make all the difference in a situation like that.” Thus, the “Best of Us” channel for military service members and veterans was born. EVE Online has a particularly large following among the military crowd – I personally found out about EVE from a Marine I worked with after my own period of service with the military, and have since met several military members who love EVE, including US Navy Seals.

It isn’t hard to see why, either. EVE Online is, at its core, a PVP game that consists of unending stretches of boredom punctuated by moments of pure adrenaline. Whether it is lowsec roaming or nullsec sovereignty battles, there are many parallels to draw between life in the military and life in EVE Online. With such a specific demographic, it only makes sense that service members and veterans have a place to “shoot the shit” (as Vestin put it) with others of a shared background and experience. Military service changes people in ways that are incomprehensible to those on the outside looking in; this gap of understanding can often make it difficult for those suffering from PTSD to find appropriate support among their family and friends outside the military.

The “Best of Us” channel is open in-game every minute that EVE is online, populated with military members from all over the world. Whether you need help or not, it’s a good place to hang out for those who have served or are still serving now, even if it was a grunt that made the channel to begin with.