Thanks for the Fleet

Gate Jump - Sto Lo's E-UNI Retirement Fleet, Sept. 2010

Gate Jump – Sto Lo’s E-UNI Retirement Fleet, Sept. 2010

This will be a bit of a long post. I hope you’ll read it anyway.

I suppose every veteran EVE player has a story of how they were flipped from curious newbie to hooked pilot by how much fun they had with one or a handful of FCs in one of their early corps.

BG1

I’m no different. After a bit of stumbling around I landed where I would get hooked – EVE University [E-UNI]. In E-UNI at the time, there was a great concept called the Battle Group. These were timezone-based groups of PVP pilots. While the UNI decided to disband them later, they were disbanded in some ways because they were TOO effective – in the end, they began to act more like separate corps because their shared small group core of “same people” within the greater UNI. Battle Group 1 (BG1), the Black Sheep (USTZ), was the group I flew with. Still today these pilots will occasionally chirp “Black Sheep” rather than “gf” when we meet each other across a battlefield.

There were three FCs in particular in BG1 that I flew with a great deal and who were formative in my interest in the game and growth as a pilot. The first was a guy called Kaykwok, who taught me some neat tactical tricks; he stayed with E-UNI until he left the game a few years ago. The second was James Arget, founder of Future Corps and later executor of  Sleeper Social Club, who I’ve also talked about elsewhere. But today I want to tell you about the third, but perhaps the one with whom my connection was strongest, Sto Lo.

All three were prolific pilots and led roams of eager newbies on a multiple times per week basis. Of the three, Sto Lo was the most easygoing. His main goal was to get people to learn, get excited, and stay in the game for the fun factor. He was generally out for a welp fleet, and his primary love was for roaming lowsec, back in the days when pirates ruled the spacelanes in Hurricanes and Drakes, Faction War was a backwater, Hagilur and Rancer were the scourge of Minmatar space, and the only real big “bad guy” was PL in Amamake. It was before Crimewatch, when you had to rat back all your sec status. He stayed in E-UNI for until he felt like the rules had gotten too restrictive.

Sto Lo

When he left E-UNI, Sto decided (much as James had when he started Future Corps) that his best move was to start his own corp. Sto’s was focused on lowsec, The Corporation of Noble Sentiments [TORAH]. I left E-UNI shortly thereafter. Most of us were still relatively new, and he chose Villore as our base of operations so we could safely dock and undock but had immediate access to numerous pipes. We roamed lowsec every night in small gangs (we were accused of blobbing then but these days we would be a hilariously small group in the era of Shadow Cartel, Snuff Box and large FW gangs). Sto didn’t care what people thought of us, he just wanted us to have fun, blow other people up and get blown up in the process.

If we do this of the idea of having fun playing a spaceship internet game I’ll play. If you wanna get all tied up with exact skills and fits no thanks. I wanna go balls in singing yodel at the top of my lungs, not shit, did I orbit right, am I screwing up?

It was a game, just entertainment. The only time he’d get mad is when his own mistakes caused him to lose a blingy ship, and then he’d quietly excuse himself for the night and we might not see him for a couple days.

Over time, I got to know him as a person. He was a Green Bay Packer fan (I’m a Vikings fan). He had a family he loved, with grown children. He was someone actually older than me who played EVE (I’m 45 so I often gave him grief that at least he was here to make me feel less old).

OMG you are all freakin the age of my kids… TAKE OUT THE GARBAGE ALREADY!!!!!!!!

He’d pick on the fact that I live in Minnesoooota and I’d pick on him for being Canadian. I learned that he had a number of health issues he was combating, especially insomnia, but he was making progress. We were regularly two of a handful of people who were on at the end of USTZ, and while we didn’t go into a lot of depth we enjoyed talking with each other. We talked about going to EVE meetups but I never had the time, and he said he didn’t travel much. I had always wanted to go to the part of Canada where he lived, so had some hope we’d meet in person some day if I ever got there.

As a CEO, Sto’s generosity was legendary. If someone didn’t have the right ship for a roam he wanted to do, given that it was a small corp made up mostly of people he personally recruited, he’d give away a ship. I got several this way that he never allowed me to give back. He maintained a lowsec POS (for deeper ops) and a nullsec POS (for sec status ratting) out of his own ISK for the corp. At the time, I hated armor ships but I kept an armor Hurricane in those days just because I knew he liked to do armor roams. He had a whole other side of the game focused on his PVE tasks that he shared with many others, working together to make the ISK to fund the PVP habit.

Sto’s sense of humor was also a hallmark feature of his fleets. He struggled mightily to pronounce some of the names of the systems around Gallente and Minmatar space – Hofjalgund so much so that during his UNI days he simply gave up and christened it “Beef-bork-bork.” This name stuck for months during and after he left the UNI and may still be in use by some folks there today. He had many pictures he’d link in Local – all in good taste but silly – mostly of cats – after a fight. His favorite Local taunt was this video. He always found that video hilarious because it rarely failed to get a “WTF?” response – it pretty much became Sto’s trademark and everyone who flew with Sto after E-UNI associates yodeling with him.

My favorite welp anecdote in all my time in EVE is a roam he led. Sto (on his alt Ceragor) was flying a lone Guardian (one of his favorite ships). We were running the outside pipe in Essence. We chased a ship through Aeschee, Onne, Vitrauze, Droselory, Atlulle and finally caught up with him in Allebin, howling in bloodthirsty glee as Sto called for tackle on the gate. And tackle we did. Those of you familiar with the area are at this point either laughing or shaking your heads. Allebin, you see, is a highsec island. The entire fleet was obliterated to a person by CONCORD … except for Sto, sitting in his logi boat. Our intended victim (Jestere) was understandably incredulous in Local. Funniest experience of my EVE career – enough so that I still have the log.

[ 2011.09.23 04:23:53 ] EVE System > Channel changed to Allebin Local Channel
[ 2011.09.23 04:24:52 ] Basta Kindred > best loss ever
[ 2011.09.23 04:24:55 ] Basta Kindred > omg
[ 2011.09.23 04:24:58 ] Styledatol > rofl
[ 2011.09.23 04:25:11 ] Ceragor > hahaha
[ 2011.09.23 04:25:12 ] Rhavas > LOLOLOL
[ 2011.09.23 04:25:13 ] Basta Kindred > I hope we frapsd that
[ 2011.09.23 04:25:53 ] Zerolis > w00t!!
[ 2011.09.23 04:26:21 ] Jestere > niice guys
[ 2011.09.23 04:27:34 ] Ceragor > lol
[ 2011.09.23 04:28:08 ] Jestere > what did you guys lose?
[ 2011.09.23 04:28:16 ] Styledatol > domi, I think
[ 2011.09.23 04:33:03 ] Rhavas > Our minds mostly
[ 2011.09.23 04:38:17 ] Rhavas > Don’t make me ram my pod into your Hurricane. I mounted spikes on it and everything

His take was always that we should be there for the enjoyment of hanging out together and having fun. He had little patience for endless debriefing after things – learn and move on, don’t spend all week on the minutia.

You guys are like a bunch of old hens. WE WON!!

I left the game for a while, and the sec status ratting finally got to him. He disbanded Noble Sentiments, and the corp largely split into two groups, half going to join James Arget’s Future Corps, the other half (including Sto) going to join Repercussus in null sec. When I came back, I jumped in with the wormholers, and after a while we convinced many of the null guys to come back and join us. Sto had a renaissance as an FC, leading wormhole fleets out to nullsec and especially lowsec to raid. He changed from a wormhole balker to a wormhole enthusiast. He spent time encouraging everyone he could to try their hand at FCing.

Just form your fleet and do it. THEY WILL COME.

About a year into it, however, he started showing up less often. On again off again, and he even briefly flirted with setting up another corp in lowsec. But he didn’t seem to have the time or energy any more except in spurts. We still had good late night chats, but they were more brief and fewer between. I wasn’t really sure why.

Then he sent a mail to corpmates explaining that his health was at serious risk; his liver was failing and he might be away for some time.

We corresponded a bit after that (again on his alt Ceragor), but he was on less and less.

[ 2015.05.31 04:55:01 ] Rhavas > o/ Sto
[ 2015.05.31 04:55:15 ] Ceragor > o/
[ 2015.05.31 04:55:29 ] Rhavas > How’re things going – any news?
[ 2015.05.31 04:56:12 ] Ceragor > i’m almost on the list going for final interviews tuesday and several tests
[ 2015.05.31 04:56:35 ] Rhavas > Glad to hear it – how long do they think the wait list is?
[ 2015.05.31 04:57:17 ] Ceragor > said could be july
[ 2015.05.31 04:57:38 ] Rhavas > That’s actually a lot shorter than I would have expected.
[ 2015.05.31 04:58:07 ] Ceragor > my blood type has a short list
[ 2015.05.31 04:58:28 ] Rhavas > That’s good news
[ 2015.05.31 04:58:37 ] Ceragor > and funny enough more donors
[ 2015.05.31 04:59:53 ] Rhavas > Good 🙂 Hang in there man
[ 2015.05.31 05:00:09 ] Ceragor > 🙂

He was optimistic that he would get a transplant. I never heard directly from him whether he got one. Turns out he did.

When I was in college, I did an internship in the Liver Transplant department of a prestigious medical center in the US, so I know a bit more about the process than I otherwise would. It’s a pretty brutal surgery, and a risky one. There is a lot that can go wrong but it is a true lifesaver for many people. However in many cases the hardest part is what comes afterward. All too often, the body of a transplant patient, not recognizing the lifesaving organ, rejects it. The immune system of the patient goes on the attack, and tries to kill the new organ keeping the person alive, seeing it as a threat. In those cases, significant drug therapy is required not just to keep the person alive, but to ensure that the patient does not get secondary infections from the downed immune system, much like you hear about with cancer patients.

That battle, unfortunately, he lost. Sean1121, recurring CEO of Future Corps/SSC as well as a pilot who flew with Sto in E-UNI and Noble Sentiments, was in touch with Sto’s family. Sean posted this on the SSC forums this week:

His wife informed me that he passed Monday morning. He had a liver transplant back in July, then complications related to that and his body couldn’t take it anymore.

Sto Lo was one of the most fun FCs I flew with in EVE. He was one of the most patient and understanding. He was the most generous by a large margin, and asked only that others give as well and understand as well. He had a good sense of humor. He kept people in our corps, provided content, and kept them in the game. He was a force multiplier for the game itself. His enthusiasm, support and attitude are the foundation on which dozens of players over the last five years built their EVE careers.

EVE players, the best thing you can do for this game is to reach out to others, help others succeed in the game, and help create content. Content creation is what keeps people here, along with the experience of exploding internet spaceships with friends. Remember it’s only a game, and you should have fun with it. Sometimes, the min-max is not the thing. I hope you’ll join me in sparing a thought or a prayer for Sto and his family, and in his memory take a moment to thank your favorite FC for providing you content, or lead a fleet for your buddies.

Thank you, Sto, for being a leader, a teacher, a guide and a sounding board for so many in your time in EVE. I’ve missed talking with you and flying with you. I even forgive you for being a Packer fan.

New Eden is a better place for having had you, and a sadder one for your absence.

Fly well, old friend.

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29 Responses to Thanks for the Fleet

  1. Anonymous says:

    fuck… I suppose I can say fuck here…. I can’t ever remember shedding a tear for the passing of someone I never met before in RL… Until now…

  2. TheRogueShade says:

    😦 bye Boss

  3. azurerogue says:

    Really well written post about a really sad topic. I didn’t know Sto, but saw a link to this blog on the E-Uni forums (I’m a current member). Sorry for the loss of anyone who knew him (in-game or out).

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’m sorry for your loss, I have lost close friends in Eve to cancer and I almost lost my own life to it as well. Although we have never met them in RL, they still feel just as close. RIP Sto, and all the other Capsuleers that have lost their personal battles.
    Fly Safe,
    Iroido Soner

  5. Faren Shalni says:

    o7 to one of the funniest and nicest guys I’v ever met. you will be missed

  6. Klee Nex says:

    o7 Sto Lo you will be missed. I truly appreciate the time we spent together.

  7. Elwood Nolm says:

    Rest in peace, my friend.

  8. Pingback: Sto Lo o7 | Sleeper Social Club

  9. o7 to a fallen, fellow pilot. Beautiful tribute.

  10. Fabe says:

    Didn’t know him…but still R.I.P.
    Sry for Everyones loose…
    Going to light a cyno in his name.
    Fly save 0/

  11. dinoboff says:

    I am EU TZ and only joined a few of Sto Lo’s fleets but enjoined them all.

    I am sad to hear he passed away. RIP.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like a great guy. Not someone I came across in eve but having experienced an eve buddy dying irl I can sympathise.

  13. Elkwood says:

    Stigirl here

    Damn really sorry to hear about this !! Me and sto and klee had some great times back in our
    uni days. I salute u !!!! 07 Rest in peace on friend !!!!

  14. Stabs says:

    Rest in peace, Sto. Beautifully written, Rhavas.

  15. Nyjil says:

    Black Sheep forever! Fair winds and following seas Sto Lo! Thank you.

  16. Pingback: Fallen Capsuleer Honored By Friends - MMOTorch

  17. Admiral Tomahawk/Tacitus Maximus says:

    Fly Together, Die Together. Black Sheep For Life! You will be missed Sto

    o7
    Admiral Tomahawk

  18. Dinsdale Pirannha says:

    Sad to hear about the man. I don’t think I ever flew with him, but Kaykwok would tell me about him a bit. For what it is worth, I have sent this link onto Kaykwok,

  19. Its crazy the impact a video game can have EH!
    Man I spent a lot of hours flying with Sto he was a really great man and will be missed.
    Lets all have a yodel for Sto lo

    BlackSheep For Life.

    o7
    Kaykwok

  20. Miranda Glade says:

    A worthy tribute to a good friend and a great man.

    Sto, my E-UNI buddy, my FC leader, my Noble Sentiments CEO.

    I’ll never forget you, Clive, my Captain.

  21. Sum Olgy says:

    Oh man this is sad news. Sto was one of life’s true gents. I’ll miss his superb humour and level head. And his stories, both in and out of Eve.

  22. Diaspore says:

    I am saddened by this. Sto was the guy that inspired me to get into PvP when I first joined Eve University and then onward through the Corporation of Noble Sentiments, Repercussus and at last Future Corps. Being a euro player I really find it telling that I would prefer the great community Sto made around himself over players in my own timezone. Not that he couldn’t be found in ts at all hours of the day… I left the game in spring -15 after having played for 5 years due to bittervet, but I will remember Sto for his willingness to include the clueless, awesome fleets, his calm demeanour and his ridiculous humour.

    At this precise moment I feel, for the very first unironic time, that EVE is real. o7

    Dia

  23. Basta Kindred says:

    Just saw this…

    Sad to hear that Sto is gone. We’ll miss you you yodeling bastard.

  24. Matheus Esp says:

    Damn, I have been away from the game for some time now, and almost a year has passed before this news reached me. And what a sad one it is to hear… I first met Sto in Eve UNI, and from there took a path of smoldering wreckage and glorious killmails to Noble Sentiments and the SSC. Flying with this crazy bastard was what really made me stay in EVE.

    Fly dangerous old friend, Internet-Spaceships is not the same without you o7

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