Spike & Rockchick - "Mr & Mrs Disturbed" "Mr. & Mrs. Disturbed" It seemed timely in our ongoing Wednesday’s Who’s Who series to present yet another couple who enjoy the Entropia Universe together. "Mr. & Mrs. Disturbed" is how they tag themselves, but before anyone draws unfounded conclusions as to their mental stability, let’s follow the path that led them to this self-proclaimed identity. They are notables within our community who have made a positive impact on those whose lives they touch, both virtual and real. Here is their story … ENTER – ANGEL "SPIKE" SUNNY – (aka "safara" at EF) In October 2005, Spike recalls reading about Project Entropia (as it was called then) at a BBC website. With piqued interest, he found the game site when he got home from work, downloaded the software, and created his character. However, he states that there should be a warning prior to character name creation to the effect of how important the process is as it relates to your impending new virtual life. It seems that the name was the result of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" being on the TV at the time he created his character. In retrospect, he says he never imagined that this simple act would become such a huge part of his life. It was at Atlas Haven where Spike first entered the realm of Entropia, and where he says he realized the potential this new experience presented. "Just outside the gates," he recalls, "I saw a female avatar sitting on the ground under a tree with a pistol in her hands. I watched as she stood up and shot a strange animal dead in about 3 shots. I was hooked, and I had to get a gun." Spike says his first month was "REALLY" enjoyable because every day brought with it "new discoveries and new TP’s," not to mention "new mobs all the time," but also, "a learning experience of knowing what you could get close to, and what just terminally jumped on your head (Fort Troy outpost comes to mind)." ENTER – JAQUI "ROCKCHICK" JOVI RC admits that she was more of a Minesweeper/Hearts/ Patience addict, which she claims was the limit to her computer gaming. At the time, there was only one computer that was shared, but after Spike downloaded Project Entropia, she says "he kept blooming kicking me off the PC," so she was relegated to a back seat position, and found herself often yelling "FAP!!!!," or "What’s that?" over Spike’s shoulder. Eventually, she decided to give it a go, and Rockchick’s avatar was born in Port Atlantis in November 2005. The name is the result of a real life first name, having a love for rock music, and being a fan of Bon Jovi. She says that while she had a hand in creating her character, she was "too nervous to run around in the initial week or so." As such, Spike stepped in and ran her avatar around to the easier city teleporters until RC says she "bit the bullet" and began exploring Entropia herself, but regrets to this day that she didn’t acquire the earlier teleporters under her own steam. As time passed, it became increasingly difficult operating with only one computer. "Taking hourly turns in game became stressful," says RC, and eventually, "a laptop was procured for Spike." It was a "great moment," claims RC, because it was then that they were able to experience the first of many "Mr. & Mrs. Disturbed" hunts. ENTER – "THE DISTURBED ONES" (TDO) Spike’s initial attempt at setting up the TDO society during his first week on Calypso was unsuccessful, as he hadn’t realized that a certain number of members were required to make a society permanent. However, in November of 2005, a second attempt gave birth to the now existing TDO society that will be celebrating its third anniversary next month. Spike shares that, "of the first ever members," only he and RC "are still about." However, the next oldest active member is Zamarin who joined them in the beginning of 2006. Spike is also excited about the fact that two members (Vumba and Bushman) both hail from his homeland, Zimbabwe. Spike, nor RC, have been members of any other society, and while Spike is quick to say "I AM THE LEADER" (while ducking a flick on the ear from RC), RC concedes that yes, "Spike is the official boss," but they "both tend to have a very hands-on role in soc stuff." RC says that she tries to look after the flower holding aspects of the soc, while Spike tends to have a go at organizing stuff, and states that the term "Herding Cats" is a commonly uttered phrase. So where did the TDO name come from? Spike says that one of RC’s favorite bands is "Disturbed, " and that, "she rather likes the lead singer David Draiman." He discloses that "she goes a bit weak in the knees when he appears on Kerrang," and there are times she can be heard making "Phowar" noises, but that’s apparently not the end of it, because he says she even "growls" sometimes. However, back to the soc name, Spike said that he was sitting at the PC trying to think up a name when he happened to glance at a CD of the band "Disturbed" on the desk, which in turn became the inspiration for the soc name. Oh, and with regard to the "disturbedness" of the soc, Spike says he’s "in the game for the sheer fun of it, and detests the politics he sees in some other socs." He states that the soc has only one rule, and attributes the coining of such to NetStalker, which is, that "Beer is spelt with a capital ‘B,’ that’s it." Spike further clarifies that he guesses that what really makes the soc disturbed is the collection of people that comprise its membership. Additionally, he says that the concept of having fun can encompass scenarios like "What the hell is that?!?," "Dunno, never seen that before," "Well let’s shoot at it!!," which he says is usually and swiftly followed by a glorious death. When reflecting upon the soc and its members, Spike finds himself "constantly bemused, heartened, proud, gooey, drunk, honored, and amazed at the bunch of nutters that call TDO home," and shares that it is also "very humbling." He doesn’t mind saying, that in their time together, the soc has "gone through a HUGE range of emotions, but through it all, the support of everyone in the soc is absolutely awesome." He finds that they have "just as much fun having running races around the hill SE of Orthos Mound, as they do killing Aurli Chasers." They don’t take themselves too seriously, and are just a bunch of "gung ho, have a go heroes." RC chimes in and agrees, and says "there are no egos, just nutters." Also, that soc chat seems to move in strange directions at times, but over all, she too is amazed at the offering of total support given by members of TDO, and that it’s been very humbling for her as well. When asked if they were involved in any other activities besides hunting, the first answer from both of them was "drinking." On a more serious note (no, that was serious), I am told there are "members who are shopkeepers (how did they do that?), hangar owners, drinkers, miners, crafters, mentors, drinkers, statisticians, the generally-gorgeous, some Scottish ladies, and a grumpy member." RC adds that while they have a diverse bunch of people doing a lot of things on their own, fun could also include anything from "mad soc hunts, to beacons, and even seeing how many people can fit into a phonebox." Not sure what that last activity is about, but I suspect it might have something to do with real life. However, more about real life in a moment. In the meantime, RC says she started out primarily as a crafter, because she was "too nervous to hunt." She then began to mine to get Lyst and Oil for damper skilling. On one of her mining trips she TP’d north of Twin and landed in a field of drones. Spike had told her she wouldn’t survive that, but she was quick to retort with "One Day!" RC says she’s "been killing them damn things ever since." Crafting is still an activity she engages in, but makes no bones about "mainly shooting metallic stuff" as what she does the most, and you can often find her East of Emerald (I swear I should be inserting "Oz" in there somewhere). SO HOW DOES REAL LIFE FIT INTO THE EQUASION Those who know Spike and RC both in Entropia and in real life, would surely be quick to describe them as quite animated at times, as well as unpredictable and off the wall, which makes them a rather fun couple to share time with. As a real life married couple, Spike adds that they "live in North Wales in the same house, have the same 3 children, and drink Beer from the same fridge." Spike says that he spends his days sitting in front of a computer as a web developer, and then spends his evenings in front of a computer as a "dude in a computer game." RC works part-time in a bar serving Beer, and says, "Beer is good, but I prefer drinking it to serving it." RC shares the more intimate details (no, not those), with regard to their three children, aged 4, 9, and 11. They’ve been married 13 years, but have spent 16 years together. Their son is quite the avid fan of EU, and says her youngest sits on her knee and is the "official red dot spotter" when she’s in game. She says it frees up her oldest to not only engage in her own playtime interests, but is an absolute star with regard to helping around the house and making dinner during WoF, not to mention she also reads bedtime stories. Spike adds that their son is quite the avid WoF fan, and "makes up his own score sheets, and keeps score tallys for the matches that are on before his bedtime." One of their son’s proudest moments was getting a shout-out from NeverDie on the audio stream during the WoF Semi-Finals. Spike and RC have been fortunate enough to be able to attend several real life meet-ups. Five to be exact so far, that have included the 2007 London Meet, the 2007 Liverpool Meet, the 2007 TDO Camping Experience (highlights included Moonfish’s umbrella, and Stinky’s cooking), the 2008 London Meet, and the 2008 Bristol End of WoF Get Really Drunk Meet. "Far too many people showed up to mention them all," says Spike, "but there are forum threads that give all the details, complete with photos." Spike was also quick to mention one meet-up in particular though, and that was the first 2007 London meet that consisted of seven TDO members. He said they "instantly got on like a house on fire," and that one couple came all the way from Sweden to be there. The WoF meet-up produced an interesting group photo. How nice to remember Sass in spirit. GETTING ON IN GAME AS A MARRIED COUPLE As with any couple married with children, there might be times that require more effort than others to maintain harmony, but didn’t delve into any intimate details with regard to this private part of their lives. However, during the photo shoot, I saw just how competitive they could be when they were jockying for position. "Hey, I’m in front," "No, I’m in front," and as they carried on pushing and shoving to find their most flattering side, I just kept the camera clicking in hopes that I would at least catch something special. They were just playing though, as always, but I still found it rather challenging to keep the camera steady. With these two, it's often non-stop antics that keep one laughing, but we had work to do, so I asked about a bot hunt, and they said sure. I’ve known for sometime how hardcore RC is with the "metallic" stuff she said she goes after, but it was pleasant to see both of them enjoying themselves even with the occasional Ally that got in the way. There seemed to be a synchronization and a rhythm that made short order of anything breathing (I kept my distance), and found myself tempted to tap out a beat to the fluid death march that left a string of disappearing mob carcasses. It all went quite smoothly, picking off mobs in the herd one at a time, especially with Trooper and Warrior 10’s lurking about, but Spike and RC have become pros at this sort of thing, and rarely find themselves intimidated. All of a sudden, something seemed to go awry, and I found them facing each other, both with launchers locked and loaded. It was then that I realized that perhaps some type of dispute might be going on, but I didn’t want to intrude. I stood still and watched as they moved back and forth, and side to side. In an instant they stopped all movement, staring intently at one another. I could only hope that they had settled whatever the dispute had been. I had to wonder if this was the way a couple resolved misunderstandings they might have in game. Afterall, we were in a PvP zone, and perhaps this might seem a reasonable way to settle any disagreements. Last person standing would be the winner? Seemed plausible. I was about to say, "back to the hunt?" but the words never came out, because I was startled by the loud explosion of launchers being engaged. I never thought that this face-off would escalate to a real show-down, but then, I've been on the receiving end of Spike's "Dare me?" mentality, so it seemed quite possible some buttons were being pushed. I too took some damage, but with the big cloud of smoke in front of me, it blocked my view to see just who survived. When the air cleared, one of them was indeed in dire straights, and quite readily on the way to revival, BUT … just which one of them was it? THOUGHTS ABOUT ENTROPIA Spike said he realized a long time ago, that the beauty of the game was all about the community. He feels that as long as MindArk doesn’t disrupt that, and introduces some sense of progression beyond level 50, then Entropia will be around for a bit. However, if not, then Spike says there’s no question whatsoever that the people he is proud to call his buddies "would still be together and causing mayhem somewhere else." In a way, Spike feels that "EU has enabled a group of people that now transcends EU,” and says that it is "rather cool, really." When asked if there was any advice that either of them would share with new people, I was presented with a rather interesting list from Spike that goes something like this: • "HAVE FUN, tis what it is all about. Don’t take it too seriously. • Read the newcomer stuff on Entropia Forum (the official EU forum, no matter how often they deny it LOL). I never had a mentor, and EF really helped a lot with loads of links to great resources like Alice’s Guides and JaxMaps, etc., etc. • Beer is a good thing. • Watch out for the inevitable idiots and join a decent, friendly soc. It really opens up a whole new aspect to the game. • Don’t buy Pioneer armor. • Dung weighs a lot." RC was a little less structured in her response, and said that the primary goal is indeed to "have FUN – so learn to find fun within your means. Don’t try and keep up with the Jones’s. There will always be people with more PEDs than you, so do what you enjoy, and enjoy what you do. And obviously, join a good soc that will aide and help you along the way." At the end of the day, Spike and Rockchick are respected and loved by many. While they may clown around, and I took liberty to turn their real life photo into a cartoon earlier, here is the real deal, and it comes complete with matched sets of blue eyes. RC's sweetness can't be hidden behind extended bangs, and Spike is quite reminiscent of a dashing Three Muskateer-looking John Barrymore. That makes sense though, considering that he always seems to be "acting" up, but it's all good, because he's quite the entertainer. They are indeed a couple to know and appreciate. Dear Rocky and Spike, May you dance in the virtual moonlight forever!