The Life of a MindArk Guide | Simon & Emma | from back in the day ...


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We were having a discussion in Toulan chat in game about the Project Entropia time back in the day and especially Port Atlantis where some of our avatars were born and walked off a ship platform.

This is an article my original avatar (MindStar9) wrote to showcase the MindArk Guides back then ... you may find it interesting.

The Life of an MA Guide
According to Simon & Emma

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In January of 2007, Entropia was introduced to a new concept that has since grown in leaps and bounds with more to be implemented in the future. I am talking specifically with regard to the MindArk Entropia Guides that are stationed at Port Atlantis in the New Arrivals area, but their involvement extends far beyond the borders of this entry city for new players. According to Simon, who is now one of two remaining permanent Guides, Emma being the second, “The guide service was initially meant as a pilot project with six Guides,” specifically, “Simon, Emma, Zoe, Paul, David, and Sarah.”

In questioning Simon about how the concept came about, he indicated that MindArk felt there should be a better introduction for new players into Entropia Universe, and therefore, came up with the Guides idea with clear intention of developing it over time. There were “few initial guidelines at the beginning of the project,” says Simon, and “things were deliberately kept very open, which allowed the Guides to develop according to the needs that they had encountered.”

Simon shared that, “This way of introducing new participants into the Universe has a much more personal approach than if we would have been bots,” although he did say that he and Emma are often mistaken for NPCs because of their orange text and the stars above their heads. Overall, it seems that the Guides are a welcome addition, and especially by new arrivals fresh off the ship with some having little or no experience with what to expect. However, Simon says that there are also those who don’t want, or need any assistance.

Simon and Emma complement each other quite well, not only from an Entropia knowledge-based perspective, but also with the qualities they bring from personal life experiences. Emma admits to “being less computer tech savvy and more people oriented with regard to how they interact and behave.” Simon as well has been involved in the study of human behavior from a variety of perspectives, which also gives him key qualities that support more effective interacting with regard to patience, and dealing with more difficult or challenging situations.

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Curious as to whether they were the only individuals to inhabit their Guide avatars, I asked Simon and Emma if they wouldn’t mind sharing this information, providing of course that it wasn’t MA top secret. Simon was gracious enough to state that they were the sole users of their avatars and only controlled by them. Also, that if they were to get sick, their Guide avatar wouldn’t be in EU. Emma also wanted it to be known, that she “would not let anyone else control Emma,” but said so with a loving smile. There is no mistake then that when we see Simon and Emma, they are exactly who we think they are.


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The schedule the Guides follow has evolved over time, and Emma shared that, “since they arrived from Old Earth to planet Calypso on Monday, 15th of January 2007, they are available all weekdays and weekends from 15-16:00 to 23-24:00 UTC." Simon indicated that these times depend upon other duties they might have at the time as well, but that one or the other of them is available. In addition, there are some not-so-new players who stop by now and then to help the Guides welcome those fresh off the ship by answering questions, and helping them become acclimated to the Entropia environment.

In exploring more as to what their duties or responsibilities are as Guides, Simon stated that their involvement has expanded over time, and that the initial “hardcore Guide grinding” by the arrival zone in helping new players get started has since evolved into more community interaction. It became quite clear that the process of welcoming new arrivals, teaching them how to chat and navigate their avatars, along with answering questions, has developed into a far more reaching experience than what we as Entropians were first introduced to when the Guides arrived on Calypso. I asked if he would share specifically what this more involved interaction with the community entailed.

Simon and Emma not only welcome and guide new arrivals, they are also involved in the organization of the Guide service, take care of technical user-related issues, and now plan events for new players in an effort to further introduce them to Entropia Universe. Again, they are not bound by the borders of Port Atlantis, and in addition to the new arrival zone, other regular hot spots include the Swamp Camp, and sometimes Nea’s place. If there are other places that the community feels they should visit more often, then they welcome input, especially if this will help them become more effective in their roles as Guides.

It’s been well over a year since our MA Guides have provided assistance to new arrivals, and I was wondering whether either of them had experienced anything unusual in the course of their guiding. Simon said that, “speaking with people with intriguing interests” is something he appreciates. However, was quick to state that, “A discussion never goes that deep due to their professional standings, as well as their different tasks in different locations.” He said there was a particular time when surprised by the ramp of the new arrival ship with two large pets bearing the names “Emmasaurus” and “Simonsaurus” who had been whipped by two fellow participants. Emma’s contribution to most unusual experiences is again, that “many new arrivals think that we Guides are bots or NPCs,” and this, “can create a lot of confusion.”


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With the most recent VU 9.3, Port Atlantis got a facelift of sorts, and Simon and Emma were given their own Entropia Universe Information Center (immigration building if you will), complete with an event planning room, as well as the all important information-dispensing room. The facility is decorated quite nicely, along with player content wall hangings that provide the type of information that assists new players in getting started, as well as announcing any upcoming events for new players.

Even given the demands on their time, Simon and Emma get a breather now and then to enjoy their new environment. However, this rarely lasts too long, as they are quite popular, and very much in demand.

At any given time, this facility is quite busy, and not unusual to find any number of fellow Entropians willing to dispense information to help new players should Simon and Emma not be present. What I also found interesting, and perhaps most efficient about this facility, is that new players must navigate through the Entropia Information Center in order to arrive at the more open area of Port Atlantis, as well as having access to the teleporter. If Guides or other Entropians are not available to assist new arrivals, they at least have a wealth of information available to them prior to embarking upon their experiences within the Entropia environment.

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Simon and Emma have a specific receiving location within the information room, or a table that doubles as a desk if you will, where they sit to welcome all visitors (when they aren’t out and about of course), and proudly displayed behind them are their individual pictures. Perhaps it’s a way for them to know where they sit, I don’t know, but one would have to question the presence of the rifle at the corner of the desk. Perhaps not taking any chances on possible looters?

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The Entropia Universe Info Center at Port Atlantis also hosted the CryENGINE®2 Exhibition showcasing actual screenshots from the new Entropia environments that are being created for the future of our cyber space experience. There is still no definitive date as to when we might see the implementation of the CE2 in our virtual world, but these screenshots certainly give us something to look forward to.

It is anticipated that we might experience this new dimension later this year, but I’m sure we are all hoping that it is sooner than later, and perhaps hope that more exhibitions will give us an even further glimpse into what to expect.

In the meantime, here is a screenshot as an example of what we have to look forward to.

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As touched on earlier, Simon and Emma now plan events for new players, and I asked a few questions that gave more insight into the dynamics of this recently introduced activity. The idea of event development was actually brought up by the Guides themselves who appreciated that they were not only given the green light to produce the events, but also given permission to design this new program the way they wanted to see it played out. They said that in the beginning, they limited the advertising to Entropia Forum, as well as in-game chat. It was a new adventure for them, and they wanted to start off from a smaller perspective. However, as this new venture grew, their most recent event with Emma and her girlfriend Felicia missing, was also introduced at the Entropia client loader screen.

Simon indicated that it was hard for them to know whether or not this new venture would be welcomed by the community. However, after more than a dozen events, Simon feels that they have experienced success from their efforts. He shares that, “For some people, we are a part of their daily lives (as they are in ours), and for some, we only exist in the periphery.” Their hope is to inspire participants and to arrange more events, but also “hope to get the newcomers into Entropia at an early stage in a natural way.” I am told that many Mentors advise their Disciples to join their events, and that the Mentors often attend the events to watch their Disciples, which Simon and Emma feel is “an important part of the engagement as well,” stating that, “The Mentors are doing a great job.”

The event planning is something that will continue to develop, and was told that there are some really nice things coming up, but that they couldn’t discuss it of course. Simon said that they often read the forums and take in what people like and dislike about their events, while also extending the invitation to contact them with any special opinions on anything. Emma shared that they indeed evaluate their events after the fact, and are interested in making them more interesting and exciting. All events are not advertised at the Entropia Forum, or at the Entropia client loader, but small events such as teleporter runs are broadcast through in-game chat. During this particular type of event, even the more experienced Entropians join in to help protect the new players from the “fierce creatures,” as Simon calls them.

In asking whether event planning will continue to be geared just toward new players, Simon shared that “sometimes they arrange events for both newcomers and experienced participants,” and while that might not be what the community defines as mid-level events, “at least it’s a start.” He’s quick to make mention though, that they will be trying some things out, but that they didn’t want to compete with events that are organized by other participants, so they will be watching that closely. He is hopeful, however, that they will organize more events for the mid-level participants as well.

I inquired further as to any specific agenda with regard to frequency of their events going forward, and while Simon shared that the event frequency would pretty much be as it has been recently, he also indicated that in light of the new building and having more resources available to them, “there will be more events in different shapes.” I was intrigued by this comment, so I explored it further and was told that the plan is to reach more people with a wider variety of events, along with hopefully arranging more events based on “cooperation and collective solutions,” as well as perhaps more story-based. Before I could ask for anything more specific, I was told that they do have an agenda, along with many ideas, but they are top secret.


Simon and Emma are indeed a viable presence in our Entropia Universe, and by all indications, will not only continue to be a presence, but will be a frontline introduction into our virtual environment for many new players to come. They are personally inspired and motivated toward developing their presence to an even greater degree, and engaging in activities with a more expansive involvement in other areas of our community that extend beyond just new arrivals. However, that’s all top secret right now of course, and no amount of champagne could pull it out of them.

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Many things to digest and consider, but one thing is for sure; Simon and Emma are, and will continue to be a positive force in the development of the Guides program, as well as their expanded involvement in our beloved Entropia Universe. Let me not end without saying what an absolute pleasure it was spending time with these two, and how very much I appreciate what they have shared with our community.


I thought everyone would be interested in seeing a real life pic of Simon and Emma. Sometimes people just take their jobs way too seriously.

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Be sure to stop by the PA Information Center
and not only say hello to Simon and Emma,
but thank them for their dedicated efforts

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