It was enjoyable.
One of them was a famous dude, Rundle Allnighter, who you may know as a host of the Lost in EVE podcast and as a member of Pandemic Legion (against his wishes, maybe.) The other two were hardcore roleplayers from the Intaki Liberation Front: Sakaane Eionell and Devan Corvel.
The initial conversation revolved around podcasts, because I wrote a thing about them. Rundle understood where I was coming from, and what I was hoping to accomplish. He had some good tips on how not to come across as the "I'm always right" dude. I wrote that post assuming people understood that I'm speaking about myself (for the most part), that I'm looking for just one quality podcast that fits my preference in podcasts, because so many of EVE's podcasts are so much alike. I'm not looking to have every podcast follow my success formula. That would be silly. But there needs to be more variation in formats, and if just one format can align to my preference, then fucking awesome. I guess I have to start being more explicit on that front in my posts, because people don't do implicit well.
Rundle was kind enough to not get too out of sorts, considering I've been calling out 4 hour podcasts as kooky, when it turns out he's the 4 hour podcast guy. And he did a good job of explaining why the Lost in EVE podcast is so darned long. And mentioned a few people that really like the longer format. I don't discount that. I still think a 4 hour podcast is kooky, but I also know there are people out there that are going to want that and enjoy it. I'm not asking or expecting Lost in EVE to change. They have their niche, and they are unique from all other EVE podcasts. In some alternate universe, some dude just wrote a blog post wondering why there are no 4 hour podcasts, then Lost in EVE comes along and fulfills all of that person's dreams. And that is excellent. Now I just need someone to fulfill my dream in this universe. (And Crossing Zebras may have done that.)
All in all, I don't think it was ever uncomfortable, that conversation. It wasn't for me. Criticism is okay in my books. I either bury my head in the sand, or I try to learn from it. I'm not a professional writer, so there's lots to learn. I wasn't going to flip out over the merest slight, like some of the other podcast people did over my post. I'm completely cool with critiques and take them in stride. People have opinions and suggestions. They're entitled to them.
We mostly talked EVE stories. And everyone had some good ones. Rundle seems particularly conflicted by his corporation's move from Against ALL Authorities to Pandemic Legion. But he understands why the move had to be made. Dudes have capital ships and they want to fly them. No other alliance gives their pilots the opportunity to fly (super-)caps like Pandemic Legion does. Capital (and especially super-capital) losses have become such a source for embarrassment, such that many alliances are keeping them under tight lock and key, bringing them out only in situations where any potential loss is minimized.
As for the roleplayers, Sakaane and Devan, I have to say I walked away with a lot of respect for the conviction they give to their roleplay and their character backstories. I wrote a thing about why I eventually stepped away from roleplaying, how it became mostly contrivance to serve player greed. Obviously, not every roleplayer is like that, though in my experience a majority have become that. These two, definitely commit to their stories. And that's impressive, in my books.
They're having some problems with upper-management in their alliance, activity levels. The age-old story. Sakaane has taken over the temporary CEO reigns, for the time being. I suggested just dropping corp, and reforming. That though is not an option. Their character backstories are tightly wound up with this alliance, and to leave would be abandoning all of the story they've built-up for their characters. I don't get into that level of roleplay myself, not since my Everquest days, and it's not something that interests me anymore, but I do have a tonne of respect for people that put that sort of commitment into their gameplay.
On the other hand, maybe the Intaki Liberation Front can solve their problems via a lesson from Monty Python:
Aside from the respect I have for their roleplaying, I have respect for where they choose to play. Right in the heart of lowsec. The Intaki system. They don't seem to be particularly skilled PvPers, but they stick it out in the heart of the Gallente/Caldari faction warfare zone nonetheless. They understand the nature of EVE, that conflict lies at the heart of it.
I liked the both of them. Their life in EVE is not an easy one, but they have their convictions and they stick by them. I have kudos upon kudos for that sort of play.
Would I meet these guys again? In heartbeat. I enjoyed the couple hours in their company. Not sure if they enjoyed my company, but I enjoyed theirs. All three of them were quality people.
Maybe I'll see about arranging the next Calgary EVE Meet-Up.