I approached my old corp CEO a few days ago and quizzed him on the in-game support channel Broadcast 4 Reps. I asked him for some background on it and how it has been going since its original inception back in 2014. His response was simple - let me go put something together, and this is what I got in return.
Since its start in 2014, Broadcast 4 Reps was something created and driven by the love for one another within our EVE Online community. It simply couldn't exist otherwise. Each of us has experienced hardship and strife in our lifetime and we recognize that sometimes we needed to have someone there to help us through. That person could be a friend, or a family member, or a complete stranger - as long as they were willing to listen, to care, and ease the burden we were carrying. The volunteers at Broadcast 4 Reps understand this from our own experiences and it is why we choose to donate our time and be there for others. I?m often quoted saying it: ?I?m here to listen because someday I may need you to do the same for me.? Funny enough, I?m going through some very difficult, very personal hardships right now in my life and I am leaning on my real-life family as well as my online friends in Broadcast 4 Reps while I transition through it. I?m admitting this so any reader wondering if it's worth it to reach out knows that it's for real - reaching out when you?re feeling trapped, or alone, or desperate helps, I promise it does.
Since 2014, the in game channel grew slowly. Shortly after the channel was started, player Andrew Laferriere also created the Reddit Wiki for the /r/EVE sub and the Slack channel was created. We grew slowly by word of mouth and the occasional Alliance email or Reddit post. But, we kept hearing of losses to suicide from within the EVE community and I realized we weren't getting the message out to enough people. Our community was not just a single alliance or the Reddit crowd - it was every player in EVE, afterall. Last fall, I started working through CSM member Cagali Cagali to get in touch with CCP Games with a plan. He put me in touch with CCP Mimic and I proposed the idea for the video with the goal of showing it at EVE Vegas. Mimic loved the idea and told me she'd round up some employees to participate. I asked for at least 4 CCP Devs - she came back with 9 submissions and plans for more. I told her ?Whoa, I can only fit in so many people!? Mimic was amazing to work with and the energy from all at CCP to do something like this for our players was very humbling. I?ll always have amazing respect for CCP Games for that experience.
I then went to the players. I expected that some would turn their nose up at the idea of helping, but what I got was unexpected. I had cast a wide net with several major, popular players and the only ones who flat out rejected the idea didn't do so because they didn't like the message. They did it because they had lost loved ones to mental illness and suicide and they simply couldn't handle the recording process. I won't name those players, but I will mention that what they said back to me was overwhelming. I haven't looked at them the same since. I stopped seeing them as their online persona they've built and instead saw them as very real, very loving people.
Once the video went live at EVE Vegas it exploded across the community. CCP asked to show it during the O7 Show; podcasters asked to talk about it; Feiryred at The Mittani hounded me for interviews; bloggers wrote about it; and Twitch streamers asked to show it to their followers. Most importantly, the different channels filled up with people overnight. They began talking about the help they needed and how they could help. I was contacted by Day 1 newbies to big name veterans asking to volunteer, including several real-life mental health specialists. The video is still shared by so many, and it helped us spread the message to more of our community that I had ever hoped it would.
A couple months back we set up a new chat and voice server on the new app called Discord. We chose it because of the ease of access from either mobile or web browser, and for the options it allowed us and the visitors to interact. I?m proud to announce that just this past week Discord agreed to bring us on their 'discord Partners? program which will now give us all the premium features of Discord at no cost. This will allow us to provide an improved experience to our visitors which continue to arrive everyday. In fact, the growth in all the channels means we are now searching for more help in our EU and AUS timezones. If any of our volunteers are interested in helping moderate the channels, they should contact our Head Admin Emma en Divalone.
Gaming communities exist online, and it's almost a trope among gamers that EVE Online has the strongest community of them all. It's a point of pride for all of us that although we revel in destruction among the stars of New Eden, when real life asks us to band together for a greater good we typically arrive in full force. Plex For Good, The Angel Project, Care For Kids, Best of Us - all these organizations and initiatives are successful because we care about one another as real people.
Josh ?Coffee Rocks? McAtee
Emma en Divalone - Head Admin for B4R
Being a part of the Broadcast 4 Reps channel in game has been an extremely gratifying and humbling experience. Having been a part of the channel since September of 2014 I have seen it go through vibrant daily conversation to quiet support when needed. But everyday there was always somebody there ready to have a chat to or simply listen to somebody's story. People will come in and say it's a great initiative and to keep up the good work, but it's truly the work of the channel members, whether they are there for a day or a year, that has made it into what it is today, a safe place for any and all in Eve.
Not only has being a part of this channel been beneficial when working through my own rough patches, but being able to help others through their hard times has been therapeutic to me. It is difficult to describe how humbling it is hearing back from somebody a few days after talking with them about how they are doing better and how appreciative they are of your help in them dealing with their real life issues.
Spanky Ikkala - Eve University
Being an active member of Broadcast4Reps, Best of us, and starting to work with Care 4 Kids in the UK has been both hard work and a complete privilege. To see people from all walks of life, across all continents, speaking different languages all come together to support each other has been an amazing pleasure to be part of. Whether it's talking to people in group or private messages, being able to support and help someone at their lowest is something that makes this initiative great and allows us to 'pay it forward' for when we need help, or to pay back the help we have had when we need it. As a professional therapist I have been continually impressed at the empathy and understanding that this channel has generated and I feel lucky that I have been able to play a small part in such a huge initiative.
ScaredPanda - Twitch Streamer
I think being a part of B4R has made a huge impact in a couple ways. I struggled through depression and I am now working on my anxiety and being around people who are going through their own things and just providing support gives me the confidence that we can all make it through. Being able to be there for someone in need shows me that we are all in this together and by helping others you also help yourself. When you have a place to talk to someone without fear of judgement it's a true comfort. I thought I was in a good place before b4r and looking back I see that this is what I really needed. Now I don't think I'm okay, I know I am and no matter what I am here to help people know that they are as well. Everyone in this channel is an inspiration.