Not every Entropian bounces off the screen with a larger-than-life persona, and this week’s Wednesday’s Who’s Who spotlights a more intellectual, quiet, and rather reserved individual. However, while she may seem to fly below the radar, she’s an in depth conversationalist that brings food for thought into her contributions to engaging discussion at the Entropia Forum. As a veteran player, kira "red" star-rigger has seen and experienced much since the birth of her avatar on October 15, 2003. The name kira was chosen because she liked the sound of it. She needed a surname, and said that "star-rigger sounded like it belonged in a science-fiction setting." She shares that "red as a nickname has more to do with temperament rather than hair color." She claims to be normally quiet, and reserved, but admits, "I do have a slight mean streak which manifests itself when I’m upset or angry." It all started with a magazine ad Red always liked to play computer games, and one day, her husband showed her a magazine ad for Project Entropia. She had known some people who played Everquest and World of Warcraft, "both of which I thought were silly," she says, but further explains why. "I don’t like quest-based games where you’re just part of some predefined story, or collection of scenarios," and, "most of the games I played, I would play in ‘sandbox’ mode where I could do what I wanted." She said that "PE held the promise of completely open-ended and unlimited play," so after a little coaxing, she decided to give it a try. She had nothing to start with of course, but says it didn’t deter her. Upon entering PE, she visited the newcomer booths and read the limited information that was offered. There weren’t any Guides back then. Interesting first experiences While acclimating to the new environment, red found a can of orange paint worth 1 PEC lying on the ground. She said, "Apparently, someone was amusing themselves placing them there, and watching all the new people racing around to be the first to collect them." One of the other things she noticed, was many people talking in Swedish. She said she knew it was Swedish because she used to have a Swedish pen-pal when she was 13. "I thought that, at least, I’d have an opportunity to rekindle my limited ability in that language." Much of red’s time was spent "wandering around looking at things, and trying to figure out what to do," she says, and admits to being overwhelmed, so she did some research at the Entropia Pioneers website where she learned quite a bit. Armed with a map of Eudoria (which was the only continent at the time), she was able to reach Billy’s and several other teleporters on her own, "including Fort Zeus," she proudly states. The ruins of Zychion is one of her favorite places, and also what inspired the opening profile photo. "I like Zychion," she says, "because it looks like any room I’ve made myself at home in, after a couple of hours." Society Affiliations After a couple of weeks in the game, red was recruited by the BoarHunters society, and remained a member until it fragmented and dissolved. She still remains friends with several BH members from that time, and talks to them when they’re about. Along with a few of the BH members, she then joined -DNA- and spent some time with them until she ultimately went off on her own. Eventually, she was recruited by Shaolin, and says, "I couldn’t understand why they’d want a daft and opinionated girl like myself, so I insisted on joining their academy, Shaolin Xue Yuan, until I felt I was good enough to be a Shaolin proper. Of course, they didn’t listen to me, and after a couple of months, graduated me to the main society." Overall, red believes that being in an active and caring society is a very important part of the whole game experience. "It’s often better to be alone than to be miserable in a group," she says, "The group you’re part of should feel like comfortable clothes." She had an opportunity this past Summer to go to Europe and meet several of her Shaolin society mates, as well as other EU players. "It was great fun," she says, and, "even had the opportunity to practice my Swedish – although some of the Swedes thought I was Danish." Red says that one of the interesting outcomes of the experience was, that they almost never talked about the game, which she thought was really good, because it showed that they all had other interests. "One of the best parts, she states, "is that I got to bore them all with my stories, coin and sock shopping, and my quest for the perfect almond croissant." In general, red tends to keep quiet and to herself. She has her missions and things to do, and thinks "they’re often a little too boring for most people." She likes to read the society chat though, and add comments of her own when she feels it’s important, amusing, or just wants to be a part of the conversation. "For the most part," she says, "I’m close to useless in Shaolin team hunts, as I’m outclassed in equipment and combat skills by most of my society mates." She does participate at times though, because she says it’s fun to watch them, but also doesn’t feel left out when they go off without her. Eclectic seems to be her style When asked if red gravitated toward any one profession, she says, "I’m too much of a scatterbrain to be focused on any one thing, so I’ve done some of almost everything." However, she did realize that she needed to have some combat ability to be able to survive in the wilderness. She finds the wilderness and the countryside much more interesting, and didn’t want to get trapped in the cities, towns, and outposts. She did admit though, that she really doesn’t like firearms, so she practices melee. Those aren’t your fingernails, right? Red shares that, "From the beginning, crafting interested me the most – paying for the materials though, didn’t." She still crafts, but only makes basic things like components. She says that, "Crafting forces someone to understand more of how the economy works," and "sometimes, all of the economic stuff really hurts my brain." In order to obtain materials for crafting, she took up recreational mining where she could get most of the basic resources needed. She also traveled the countryside to hunt certain mobs in order to get other things she could use. She definitely finds it more interesting than just buying the resources. She’s done some work in other areas as well, but mostly for amusement, and admits that sometimes it wasn’t fun at all. However, she says that, "Perhaps one day, I’ll be able to walk in the wilderness with my Daikiba Stalker and have him actually help out instead of just follow me around." A trip to the stable revealed a well-behaved pet who indeed followed red obediently. She says her Dak’s name is "Scrap," which comes from an "L7" song by the same title. Quite an interesting discovery since red has proclaimed herself a rather quiet and reserved person. L7 was an all female rock band who debuted their punk-influenced music in the mid-80’s, but disbanded in 2000. Speaking of music, she’s also a fan of the Swedish band Drain STH, and mentions a particular track entitled I Don’t Mind. Quiet and reserved? While visiting with red at her apartment, located at Omegaton West Habitat (Gamma 19G), which she calls the "West Slums," I noticed all of the beauty equipment. She said that she picked it up to use at some point in time, and has a decent amount of skills for the professions involved. It was something she had intended to engage in by this time, but just hasn’t seriously applied herself to it yet. She attributes the poor graphics on her computer as one of the issues, but also has other goals that she sees as more important in the short-term. When she finishes those, she’ll focus on the beauty aspect of the game, but is also quick to say, "Of course, I may change my mind, who knows.” "On some days," she says, "my biggest problem is deciding ‘what’ to do because I have many options – and sometimes that decision can take a long time." An Entropia perspective "One of the most challenging elements in EU is how you budget your PEDs," says red. She has noticed an increase in the cost to play over time, but doesn’t think this is completely unreasonable. While there are those who seem to want an "I can do everything for $20 a month game," she states that you can play on that amount, or even less, "but you have to live with the budget you’ve chosen." She’s also rather open in saying that, "Just because some insane person has mortgaged their house to slaughter spiders and daspletors all day, doesn’t mean that I have to do it." Red understands that it’s necessary for PE/EU to evolve, but had hoped the evolution would have been "more pure and true to the original project." She agrees that there have been many great advancements to improve game play and the economy as a whole, but takes issue with a few things. For instance, "the art galleries for one – I had hoped such a mechanism would showcase player-created artwork – not that of a commercial studio." She also feels that too many "pawnshops" (as she calls the banks) were added, and two or three would probably have been more than enough. "The addition of the malls kind of disturbed me," says red, "because there were other booths and shops that still had not been sold or even created." Overall, she thinks the game is much better than it was when she started, and can only hope that it will continue in the same manner. She also shares that, "I’m not a technical person, but my understanding of CE2 is, that it changes the graphics – the rest is up to MA." She further states, "I think substance is more important than fluff," and, "I’d rather play an interesting game that was a bunch of dots and text than some photorealistic tripe void of any true content." That said, she has owned a hangar for almost two years, and she had quite an interesting concept with regard to future space travel. "What I would really like to see," says red, "is a game area that is actually in space and not this glorified teleporter the ships are right now." She also mentioned ND’s Space Pirate idea, and says it’s the sort of thing she’d like to see, even though she could think of much better scenarios. She gave Land Grab as an example, and said, "Wouldn’t it be nice to call in an air strike from orbit?" However, she also states that, "The ships would fight for the appropriate orbital position of course." Her current plan is to keep the hangar, which has been used for commercial flights the last year, as well as available for Shaolin society mates when they need it, but says they mostly don’t do that much travel. While she thinks the current ships will more than likely have the ability to travel to the partner planets, she’s pretty sure they won’t be the only transportation method. "Unlike some speculators," she says, "I don’t believe space travel will be restricted to what we know today." Veteran player's advice Clearly as a veteran player, red has gained great knowledge, understanding, and a rather clear perspective when it comes to game dynamics. She says, "My first piece of advice is always to think three or four times about things people tell you." Further sharing that those giving advice should be asked why they think the way they do, because in truth, "there is no single correct path to follow." Also, that "What happens to you in the short-term, will affect what happens to you in the long-term." She believes that it’s important that people do their research and draw their own conclusions, and should also be "wary of those who lecture professing their way." Her additional advice strongly suggests that one not do things in haste, as it will always cost you. "If you play the game as a race," she states, "you’d better have a large bank account." She feels it’s better to enjoy yourself and have fun, and "If you’re knifing snablesnots and collecting their skins for sale, who is anyone to tell you that what you’re doing is wrong." It’s also important to understand a bit about the EU economy, and says that it’s not necessary to be an expert. She indicates that, "While the EU economy partially mimics real ones, in some ways it works completely backwards." As a last pointer, she says, "Like real life, there are many mean and horrible people in EU," and, "because there is no recourse for acts that game mechanics allow, people can escape punishment." These are acts that she says real life would deem criminal, and it’s unfortunate that current game mechanics bring out behavior that some would never consider exhibiting in real life, and one should be cautious. And speaking of real life It was interesting to discover just how red’s virtual avatar has been helpful to her in real life. She says she likes to develop her avatar and learn from her, and shares that red is much braver than she is in real life. She admits that she’s "afraid of the stove," and, "used to be a bit of a recluse," but learns from her virtual social situations and applies them to herself. She thinks she’s become a much more outgoing person and stronger person as a result, and is able to deal with mean people better than she was able to in the past. "One of the best parts," she says, "is being able to talk to people from all over the world." She shares that when having a conversation with someone in real life about some country, it surprises her to be able to say that she either has a friend there, or knows of someone who lives there. As in EU, red has a pet in real life as well, but says it came with the package when she married her husband of almost six years. It’s a cockatiel named "Dexter." Red’s husband adds that, "Dexter was so named because she kept falling down when she was small and flying into things she shouldn’t. Pots, plants, even once the toilet bowl." While Dexter is a male bird, red and her husband refer to him as a she, and share that "It’s because as a cinnamon pearl mutation, it was impossible to determine the sex of the bird until he was about a year old, at which time the subtle male markings became visible, and the female ones had faded slightly. By that time, the pronoun had already been established, and there was no going back." "Fortunately," they say, "Dexter doesn’t care one way or another." It is unfortunate however, that Dexter is ill right now, and while one might think that being 18 years old (as Dex is) has something to do with it, a little research told me that cockatiels have a lifespan of 15-20 years if cared for properly. Also, if the care is excellent, there’s even a chance they could live for up to 30 years. Here’s hoping that Dexter gets well soon. She sure is pretty, even when half asleep. By profession, red works in the insurance industry, but has a couple of interesting hobbies, like collecting coins, which some people are already aware of. She also has a fascination for genealogy, but it seems she has quite the artistic talent for creating jewelry as well. Red is Canadian and lives in Canada in the Eastern time zone with her husband, and Dexter of course. While it seems that she has much that keeps her busy, she admits that EU has certainly affected her life, and has become a part of her daily routine. While she claims that she’s not as active as she used to be at the Entropia Forum, she shares that she now tends to restrict her posting to "factual information with less acid reflex (I hope)." She doesn’t feel she has the freedom of speech she once had, but offers that it has nothing to do with EF, as she has never felt as though she was ever restricted. She attributes it to "growing up or something." She thinks having a forum like EF is very important to the community, and it is by far, "the best place to find things out – if you know how to research, dig, and ask the right questions." However, she also shares that, "there’s a great deal of noise there as well," but knows there’s probably no way to avoid it. When it all gets to be too much, she has a special place she visits where it’s quiet, quaint, and the trader is polite and listens to her when perhaps she just feels like letting it all out . . . "Yes, it comes complete with stuffed animal." and "No, we're not going to tell you where it is!"