The Faces of EVE University are colorful and intriguing. With this interview series we want to bring to light some of the personalities that make up the staff of our alma mater, who tirelessly work to the advancement of learning.
For this installment of our series we sat down to talk to one of our valued teachers and EVE Uni veteran: Seamus Donohue. Famous for his educational videos, especially his signature series “How to survive EVE Online”. He recently redid the whole series and improved it for the 2018 experience! He also finished up a new series on the Sisters of EVE epic arc “The Blood Stained Stars”
As part of the EVE University faculty he is also known for his encyclopedic knowledge. Every week he hosts a game mechanics Q&A on our public mumble and answers questions about any topic pertaining to EVE. Six years ago he started his first iteration of “How to survive EVE Online” and since then he has made countless videos about a huge range of topics. Always focused on clear and concise information understandable by even the most inexperienced EVE player.
How to Survive EVE Online
Hideo Date: Thank you very much for taking the time, it is much appreciated!
Seamus Donohue: Not a problem! Glad to be here!
Hideo: For those who don’t know you, who are you and what do you do in EVE in general and in EVE University in particular?
Seamus: I am Seamus Donohue. I’m a High Security missionrunner and incursionrunner, and I’m also a member of the Education Department at EVE University. I teach a regular “Game Mechanics Q&A” session, and I produce YouTube videos on behalf of EVE University, most notably my “How to Survive EVE Online” series which introduces EVE Online gameplay to people who have never seen the game, before. (Very similar to Paul Soarez Junior’s “How to Survive Minecraft” series, which is what inspired me years ago.)
Hideo: Was that the only push you needed to start up your signature series? Did you just always want to make videos on EVE?
Seamus: That was the push, yes. Back in 2011, some fellow Unistas were starting to play Minecraft (which was new at the time), so I was starting to look into whether or not I wanted to buy the game. At the time, minecraft.net had Paul Soarez Junior’s videos linked on their page, and after watching the 23 episodes that existed at the time, I decided “Yes, I want to play Minecraft!” I’ve been playing that off and on ever since. But almost immediately afterwards, it got the idea into my head that I could make a similar series for EVE Online.
Hideo: That is wonderful! Now that you redone your original series and updated it for 2018, what are your plans moving forward?
Seamus: I’m trying to get back into making videos on a regular basis, again. As a personal effort (separate from the University), I’m also expanding into instructional videos about other games. So, my most recent videos are about how to visit the Voyager 1, Voyager 2, and new Horizons ancient probes in Elite: Dangerous (not a trivial task). But, I’m also working on a video explaining turret mathematics in EVE Online. [Editor’s note: That video was uploaded after this interview was conducted, and can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEWJMHkK7fc ]
Teaching in EVE University
Hideo: You are not only known for your videos, but as you stated earlier you are also part of our faculty, how did you become a teacher in EVE University originally?
Seamus: Let me think. [pause] I started the game early September 2009, during Apocrypha, and first joined E-UNI just before the end of that same month. I think I joined the faculty in 2010.
Around that time, I had been acting as a defensive scout/picket for E-UNI daytripping fleets in wormhole space, scanning down sites to run and being on the lookout for other players who might try to ambush us. After some small number of months doing that, I created (and started teaching) a “Scouting in Wormhole Space” class, based on my experiences.
When I started actually teaching that first session is when I was surprise-inducted into the Education Department by Deirdre Vaal, then Director of Education. I’ve been a member of the department ever since. I was actually surprised to learn, recently, that I’ve been with E-UNI for 60% of it’s history.
Hideo: It seems that you build your vast knowledge very much from personal, hands-on experience. Is that the case for all of it? Especially with regards to your Q&A session where you answer questions about any and all topics.
Seamus: Part of it is hands-on experience. Part of it is taking the time, over years, to browse the different item types in the Market (because the Market almost doubles as an encyclopedia of item types in the game) and the different skills available in the Character Sheet. [stops to think further]
The rest is stuff I’ve learned from other Unistas secondhand, for the most part. I’ve only very rarely been in player-sovereign space, and never involved in sovereignty battles, for example. I don’t usually go on PvP roams, though I’ve been on a couple of Dragonslayer operations and a wormhole POS bash. Things like that.
Hideo: Alright. What do you find interesting or appealing about doing your Q&A sessions?
Seamus: When I started the sessions, it was just a formalized form of what I had already been doing in the Mumble: answering questions that sometimes come up. So, it was a natural extension of my existing EVE Online activity.
Hideo: So I am sure you are constantly giving players much appreciated information and advice. But I am going to put you on the spot: If you could give new players one piece of advice, what would it be?
Seamus: Do I go with the standard that everyone always gets? Don’t fly what you cannot afford to lose? Always important. But new players will be likely to hear that from someone pretty quickly. So I think I’ll go with an equally important piece of advice, which might be less commonly heard:
Experiment around a little bit, see what you like doing in-game. Then find a group of like-minded players that you can get along with and (very importantly) trust.
Hideo: So to wrap up, I just have a few more questions:
The Fanfest Experience
Hideo: Except your teaching experience and your video making, are there any other projects you are currently, or have ever been, involved in with regards to EVE?
Seamus: The only one I can think of was that I once taught an E-UNI class as a FanFest presentation. “A Study of Geometry in EVE Online” I had originally titled it “The Shape of Things That Are”, the joke being that Fanfest was about seeing the shape of things to come. Other than that, I can’t think of anything off the top of my head.
Hideo: Last question, looking at recent events: you actually attended Fanfest together with a delegation of other Unistas this year. I heard quite a few great remarks about your singing at both the karaoke night as well as the wedding ceremony for Irma and Tairon [Editor’s note: here is is a time-stamp on a video where you can actually hear Seamus sing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=823&v=XM7If2z6kQo]. I am curious: do you have any formal training or experience in singing?
Seamus: Experience in singing, yes. “Formal training” depends on how you want to define that. I’m a member of a church choir in Real Life™, and we’re very lucky to have as our choirmaster someone who /also/ works as a professional operatic voice coach. He teaches professional opera singers how to sing. He once told me that I’m what is known as a “serious amateur”.
Hideo: Alright. Then thank you very much for your time. And continue to be the great asset, that you are to the Uni!
Seamus: You’re welcome, and thank you for your effort in organizing and conducting these interviews!