[IMGALIGNLEFT]http://www.entropiaplanets.com/gallery/pics/3/banner2.jpg[/IMGALIGNLEFT]Last week we met three out of the seven guides helping out as part of the awesome team in the extended guides program. The guides are online at different times to ensure they can offer the newbies the help needed, regardless of timezones and languages. This explains why you can find guides from different parts of the world and who are able to speak to people in their mother tongue. I take the tp back to Port Atlantis early in the morning. The sun still didn't rise over the horizon, but yet I meet the remaining four guides standing there, rank and proud, ready to serve the newbies. Konrad KP Peters is a 23 year old Architect who has been playing since early 2005. His main goal is to be helping newbies so they don't feel as lost as he felt when he started in EU many years ago. "Sometimes the job is stressfull but I would even do it as a fulltime job", Konrad explains while tipping up and down on his feet. "It is all worth the effort when you have the great feeling that you are helping everyone and all the thanks you receive!" Nicodorias Fox tyr Kouramnion, who goes by just Fox and is a 32 year old player born into the game in november 2005, agrees. "It is a good feeling to help a new guy around. First, it was mainly about how to use the controls, now it is more what to do and minor graphic issues" he smiles. "Some even tell me that it is a waste of time. Others like the idea of the touchable, normal player Guides. But everyone I know accepts my decision to do this job". Faye Ranpha Natsumi is 26 years old and started playing in 2006. "I almost spent every second in game guiding and helping newbies, she says and continues: "It's fun. Seriously! I got more friends this way by doing fun events, tp runs and a lot more!" Finally, meet Joshua Jot Avarius, 35 years old and an Entropian since 2005, who adds: "Yeah, Guiding is a job, because even when you are doing other activities, you still get PMs from people asking questions. Which is good! I like questions". He grins. "But I spent years on guiding. I do take breaks and get migraines sometimes, so I have been away a few months during that time, but otherwise, I try to do it 8-10 hours a day at least". "Wow", I think by myself. "What a bunch of dedicated people!" I wonder how they got interested in becoming guides. We already know it requires very special people - but you also have to think about the time and whether you are able to offer enough help to people etc. I know by myself that I lack time and probably also patience... Jot begins: "When I first started, I missed the information on the website, and managed to click away the movement-tutorial, so I had no idea how to even walk". He shakes his head while smiling and continues: "Then when I did manage, I found out the NPCs were not very helpful. Then later when I visited the naz (new arrival zone) again months later, I saw people helping - for example Simon and Emma, but having difficulties. So I just started helping them". Faye drops in: "I just got asked by Simon", and she smiles. "Yup", Konrad looks at Faye. "I believe I also got an email from Frank or Simon, but I really don't recall anymore!" Fox explains, "I was invited to be an Ambassador at the Games Convention in Leipzig in 2007 . From there on I was in contact with MindArk regarding the German forum. Then I got asked, if I would help new colonists with their firsts steps on Calypso - and of course I said yes!"[IMGALIGNRIGHT]http://www.entropiaplanets.com/gallery/pics/3/guide2-pa.jpg[/IMGALIGNRIGHT] "It is kind of fun, because sometimes you are forced to think a bit like a newcomer to anticipate the problems they might have". Fox looks around - scouting after new people. "We help the newcomers with their first steps. It is not like the mentor helps his disciples with their professions and the more specialised things- that isn't the work for us Guides. I don't believe Mentors and Guides would be rivals". "No", Faye shakes her head and look down on her feet. "We won't be rivals, but I believe the old mentor system needs a lot of improvement so that farmers can't profit on unsuspecting newbies". Jot explains, "I was a guide before any program, I will guide after too, even if it ends, and it is possible. I hope guiding won't be connected to the mentoring program, since it is limiting people. They will think they are required to get into a society or get a mentor, and no such requirements exist. People should be free to choose to make their own mistakes". [IMGALIGNLEFT]http://www.entropiaplanets.com/gallery/pics/3/guideinterview2.gif[/IMGALIGNLEFT]The other three look at him and he looks back with a very serious expression. So serious in fact that I have to ask if they remember a fun episode with the newbies. Jot seems to be in the mood to talk and continues. "Some that come to mind; a few months ago a new arrival demanding that I personally start putting money in their bank account because they managed to download and login to planet Calypso. Or when somebody runs straight ahead into the rocks (which I notice and then help with turning, but it's still funny to see). Or walking somebody to the auctioneer, after which they wanted to pay me, which of course I refused. Or the many new arrivals that do ask questions, and are generally friendly", he laughs. Faye continues "I remember a PvP show to show newbies how you can kill somebody then doing a cric hit of 160 dmg on your fellow tp run guard. Or the "Faye went mad" event, that was superb. Or the first treasure hunt was cool. When things got dark, mayhem broke out. Let's say you get a LOT of memories"! Yeah, I get it - it seems to be lots of nice fun moments inbetween the hard work. Fox also has a fun moment to tell about "The most special thing for me was a newcomer in VU 10.0. I explained him all in english, how to set the connection speed, how to set the graphics, how to use the controls and so on. Later a Dutch player came and asked for help in his language. So we got a Dutch speaking guide who told the newcomers, that we speak more languages then English. When I said that I speak German as well, my newcomer understood the hidden joke perfectly. As he was about to leave the NAZ, he said, that he was a German guy from Frankfurt, but didn't want to speak German, because he wanted to practise his English. The thing is - in German I could have told him everything in just a quarter of an hour, not in a hour and a half... *sigh*". Everyone laughs - including me! "I actually try to visit Simon and Emma" Jot suddenly says and his face lights up in a smile "When they are on the planet. I like them, they are special people". Faye drops in: "Yes, we also do some suggestion for Simon and Emma on how to improve the experience for new people. But other than that we do not work for MA or FPC - we do however coorperate with them" "Hehe", Fox grins "you can say Simon and Emma are our grey eminences! They can do more important things now while we are helping the newcomers. I would like to see them more, but alas". Konrad states he believes Simon is the one in charge and the others nod. "So Konrad" I look at him and he seems surpriced I ask him directly "Is there anything you need which could make your work easier"? "A damn flashlight", he replies promptly and the others start laughing while they agree, that a flashlight really would help out! "And more information for the newcomers", Fox continues. "The problem with the controls seem solved, but there are still things that could easily be done. Like the NPCs who explained some of the basic aspects of life on Calypso. And we really could use an arrow that shows the newcomers how to leave the NAZ! It's a shame that many newcomers are afraid to enter the Guide Building - the exit to Port Atlantis is on the other side!". He takes a short break while thinking. "Another useful thing would be the promised sign/wall with our pictures - so the newcomer see that we are really human guides and not bots or NPCs". Faye lights up "An eternal PvP gun that works everywhere. Evil, I know". Again, everyone laughs. When it died out Jot continues: "I would love to have a button that bans bad people, or that I could move them far away in an ocean somewhere. But more realistically, I would love to be able to provide more assistance. Many new arrivals run away, or seem to think I am a bot or NPC. I wonder why that is". He scratches his head. [IMGALIGNLEFT]http://www.entropiaplanets.com/gallery/pics/3/guide2.jpg[/IMGALIGNLEFT]Then he goes on: "Remember, as guides, we don't receive any payment in any way. During the years, sometimes people offered me something once or twice, but I never accepted. To me the gains are opposite of gaining in a way, for me it is being able to add something to the planet Calypso experience that is helpful, interesting, and useful, without having to deposit peds (since I'm not rich)". Fox nods in agreement. "We help, because we want to help. But we can't do all and we aren't gamemasters or something like that. Sometimes I think the people think that we can do everything like real officials. But that is not the case. We are just normal participants, who got chosen to help newcomers. Not more, but not less!" The others agree and Faye chimes in: "We are Guides and help the newbies. To me guiding is not a job - it's a hobby. Being helpful is my natural also in real life! So you see, we don't do it for the 'gifts' or for peds. We do it for the fun we have. I can remember alteast a dozen memories that keeps me going. If you see a guide try to remember he is helping the community grow and make this game better, so don't neg rep him/her".[IMGALIGNRIGHT]http://www.entropiaplanets.com/gallery/pics/3/emmainterview2.gif[/IMGALIGNRIGHT] I can't help but wonder if anyone would ever try and destroy the reputation of a guide who devoted hers or his life to help out newbies. Jot adds: "I don't supervise, I assist. And of course it affects my real life too. Without guiding, I would find other things to do in life, but because of my situation, planet Calypso is most of my real life. Since the only people I otherwise talk with in real life are in a professional capacity like cashiers in a supermarket, or repair people or the mail people, it isn't of use to me in that". Jot takes a deep breath and continues "Guiding is completely unpaid, and although we did get a fap-50 SGA and guide marber, most of the guides have been doing this for years and the only reward for us is being able to help. So if you see us, feel free to talk with us, and learn from us. If you're frustrated however, take a step back, and try to remember the promise and excitement you felt when you first learned about Entropia, and change your activities to try to recapture that. And finally, jotbot is not a bot, but a Jot! End program". With these wise words, we suddenly notice the sun has climbed high in the sky and that the newbies are running around the guides like cats around porridge! Even though I could have probably asked them a lot more questions, I decided to leave them doing what they do best: Guiding the new generation of Calypsonians. --------------------------------- Thank you to all the 7 guides in the Extended guides program of Entropia for taking the valuable time to be a part of the 2 interviews: Alice in Wonderland, Jack Ancient O'Neill, Chris Aandar Shank, Konrad KP Peters, Nicodorias Fox tyr Kouramnion, Faye Ranpha Natsumi & Joshua Jot Avarius. It is really great to see that there are people like you in the game dedicating their time to teach new people the ropes, and I'm sure for a lot of newbies out there, you will be the ones they will always remember!