Editor's note: This discussion originally has been started by @Acronoid but we decided that the info @MindStar9 contributed in post #5 is worth being on frontpage and restructured the thread accordingly: Mindstar9's post #5 copied to post #1 - Acronoid's original post #1 moved to post #2. ARE THERE SECRET AVATARS AND UNKNOWN MA/PPs OR ASSOCIATES PERSONNEL PLAYING QUIETLY IN OUR UNIVERSE RIGHT UNDER OR VIRTUAL NOSES? I'll weigh in on this since I can lend some truth to the topic, and perhaps set some things straight, because Kim, and perhaps other official employees or associates in some way have revealed some things that confirm that indeed MA, PPs, and their employees do play Incognito avatars other than their official ones. It has also been mentioned by Kim and perhaps others that they are given PED to play with, so it appears to me that at least employees of MA or PPs are slowly revealing the lay of the land with alternate avatars, so I'll throw some truth into the mix to perhaps lay to rest some of the speculations being put forth elsewhere, in an effort to shed some light on the topic. It doesn't seem to be such a big secret since some official employees have responded to certain discussions regarding behind-the-scenes activities. The community isn't stupid, and even in their speculation have hit upon many things that I think are key to address. The following relates to a good portion of the "Official Avatar Guidelines" (which is 5 pages long) that all MA, PP, Marketing, and other associates get, or at least that was my impression. I haven't shared every single detail, because it's not necessary. I think I have given enough information to set some records straight, and reduce the speculation, but as we all know, there are exceptions to every rule, and some in certain positions have more power and leeway to ... buck the system? However, there are variables involved that absolutely control the activities of not only official avatars, but the secret ones as well. Each non-regular avatar is tagged through code, and watched very closely. In the case of Neverdie who still continues to play his regular avatar, I cannot say with certainty that his personal avatar was altered in any way, but based on data available that I have personally witnessed, I would say not. I also think this holds true for the Monria team as well based on information shared. However, the Official Avatar Guidelines clearly state the following: Private Accounts are registered by the Employee as a private person before time of employment. In addition to Rules for Holding Entropia Universe Employee Accounts, the following rules apply to Private Accounts: * Account freeze. This account cannot be used by the Employee or anyone else while the person is employed at MindArk, the Planet Partner, Marketing Partner or similar. Therefore, the account will be frozen during time of employment. * No withdrawal. This account may be used again after termination of employment. * Must not use internal know-how. No information or know-how obtained under the employment can be used to obtain benefits when using Entropia Universe after employment. I know of several secret avatars, and some who have more than one, along with actually being a member of a real society. MS9 (regular avatar) has also enjoyed hunting excursions, and that was after this particular secret avatar revealed themselves to me as a result of what they were witnessing at an EU gathering and wanted to know more. At first, I had no clue who I was talking to, because I had never seen or known them prior to this date, but they were there undercover as a result of hearing some things through the grapevine to validate what was being told, and they did. Who it is doesn't matter, especially since I now have the Official Avatar Guidelines in print as a result of becoming an official avatar with the Cyrene Writing Team in the past. I have total respect for Ed for giving us (his team) the responsibility of adhering to the guidelines to a T, and not push the envelope, it was very important to him that we all stay within the guidelines and not give reason for MindArk to challenge us. Besides my official avatar, I had a secret avatar, and I was a newbie. Other than being immortal and unable to die, we didn't have the high-end skills or given items that others had (basically Calypso personnel), and we also at that time didn't have the golden stars above out heads as officials. That came after I had resigned a year later. However, you could tell we were official avatars by our names and the orange text in chat. We also were very limited in what we could do inside the universe as officials, and were even restricted from healing others to be helpful. This was Ed's dictate, and I respect him for that, because even though these activities were happening on Calypso, they weren't going to happen to Cyrene officials and place ourselves in positions of vulnerability, or even the appearance of impropriety - I agreed with him. We had vehicles for mobility, but could not participate in any activities such as hunting, mining or crafting, and basically became ambassadors for Cyrene, but my mission was writing, so I was not that bothered by it until there was too much of a lull in time with the official writing. Therefore, I had amazing fun with my secret avatar who was free to travel to all planets to gain experience as to how it all worked, and even found myself an amazing Mentor who taught me more about the game in that year than I ever learned on my own with my regular avatar over the years. I was never a Disciple to anyone over the years, and during this experience, I did graduate the discipleship and felt pretty good about it. This person did not know who I was, nor could I reveal myself to them. It was an amazing adventure for me, but back to the topic at hand. The Official Avatar Guidelines lay out the rules for four different types of avatars and what they can and cannot do, but other than the regular EU avatar, which is your personal avatar that you started PE/EU with, all of the others are tagged through coding and activities monitored. The four avatars in question are Incognito (secret), Official (gold star over head), Role Playing (RX Units and any storyline character that will play a key role in the evolution of a planet), and Personal avatars which are not tagged unless there's a very good reason to be so. There are also two types of Restricted Accounts ... Employee Accounts which are those who are employees of MA, PPs, Marketing Associates, etc., and Demo Accounts used for investors, journalists, and other such individuals in order to show them part, or all of EU during a limited period of time. The Incognito accounts are used for testing and experiencing the EU platform without revealing they are controlled by an employee, whether it's MA, PP, Marketing Associates, or others. Also, the avatar name chosen can in no way be connected to MA, PPs, EU organizations or associations, or real life identity. This type of account cannot be used in any public events or anything similar. The Official accounts are used to participate in game events or for official announcements. The Role Playing accounts are used to participate in events and play a role, or a character that has significance to a planet's storyline (Cyrene will eventually do this, and it's brilliant), but then there are the RX Units on Calypso that interact with the players and get involved with events. The Private accounts are personal accounts that are registered by the employee before employment. The rule is that once you become Official, or even before your Official avatar is created, you must freeze your personal account and not be able to use it until employment has ended. This is what happened to me, and MS9 was in a cryogenic state until I resigned my position with Cyrene, but then got her back with everything she had prior to being put on hold. Here are some pertinent bullet points: employees are absolutely held to and must abide by the terms of the EULA and ToS with the understanding that the accounts are EU accounts and not personal accounts the account cannot be used to make money, or withdraw money ... however, can withdraw only the amount that they have deposited themselves employees do not have any value or any right of ownership to any value accumulated during the course of operating the avatar employees are absolutely forbidden to use any type of internal information or know-how obtained during employment, including company secrets in order to increase the value of the account (e.g. collect certain virtual objects that are expected to increase in value due to planned developments in Entropia Universe) or in any way affect the internal virtual economy of Entropia Universe (as mentioned before, these avatars are monitored) Employees may not trade (meaning private trade and auctions) items or PED/PEC with other end users to make money or affect the virtual economy: o Employees are not allowed to trade with other end users to obtain unique or rare virtual items. o Employees are not allowed to trade with other end users to obtain skill chips. o Employees are not allowed to trade with other end users to transfer skill chips to the end users. o Employees are not allowed to affect market prices. o Interacting with other end users in a reasonable trade, based on market value, etc. o Interacting with other end users in event or competition, where effort and prize is in reasonable relation to each other. employees can interact with other end users in the usual course of usage of the product including participating in activities mentioned below: o Trade o Join team o Team activity like hunting etc o Mining o Chat o Join society employees must keep their in-game voice chat set at Push to Talk to prevent revealing any confidential or internal information to the public (participants), and never use real life names With regard to play money for employees: employees are allowed to deposit money to their PED Card and withdraw that same amount if they wish the Planet Partner may choose to make deposits on Employee Entropia Universe Accounts with a maximum of 1000 PED per deposit once a week, to be used by the Employee for participating in Entropia Universe only. Such a deposit is subject to the following limitations: (1) only the Planet Partner can make deposits to an EU Employee Account; (2) the total value of the PED Card on the Employee's Account, including any piles of PED and PEC can never exceed the value of 5,000 PEDs; (3) the Planet Partner is responsible for all costs covering the deposits deducted from the planet in-world revenue to an EU Employee Account I can openly reveal that I was never given any PED from Ed or anyone else on the Cyrene staff to "play" in the universe, but I never joined a society, and while I did deposit, I never withdrew anything, even at the point of giving up the secret avatar after employment to get MS9 back. I can also say that at the end of employment, Incognito Accounts, if stripped of all value and skills, can be transferred to the former Employee for continuous private access and use. Private Accounts will be unfrozen. However, I'm not clear as to whether the employee gets to not only have their regular (private) avatar unfrozen, while also getting to keep the stripped Incognito avatar. It didn't matter to me, because I only wanted MS9 back to play with as before, so I don't have the answer to this one. This is what I can give you at this time, and I hope that it serves some purpose in helping to understand a bit more about the workings of avatars controlled by MA, PPs, Marketing Partners, and others like journalists, PR individuals (Traction PR - MA's PR agency - was given a Privateer which continues to sit in space, but I'm sure used periodically for the purpose of showing media personnel our universe), and of course the investors who fall within this realm of officially-controlled avatars. I'm sharing this information as I have done in bits and pieces over time so that the community knows that despite perhaps a bit of paranoia about what MA and other officials do behind the scenes, or secretly within our game, they do mark their officially-controlled avatars throughout the universe no matter what role they play with a code in the database and monitor all activity. There was actually an official entry posted in "The Latest Buzz" by MindArk some time back that explained the role of certain MA-controlled avatars (believe by David Simmonds), but that entry is no longer at the site. It was at the time that there was so much question and controversy about ND playing his regular avatar as a PP. I hope this puts to rest some unanswered questions and speculations, but I know almost for certain that it will raise even a few more questions and speculation. That's what makes being a part of this universe so versatile, intriguing, mysterious, and downright fun. Yes, I'm the one who requested Acro to repost this thread at EP (thank you for not revealing my name), and did so not only to get the opinions of some who are critical thinkers about these sorts of things before they present any speculation, but also I can't post at PCF (my own doing when I requested a self-deactivation of my account), but I read the posts in Acro's thread there and felt compelled to share what I could that would answer some of the questions from one who has the actual data to dispel speculation and bring some truth to the discussion. Perhaps this might even be the front-page exclusive article I promised Tass a long time ago before I stopped writing for EU on October 1st last year, but that's up to him and the staff. I haven't given away any trade secrets or used information that other officials haven't spoken up about, nor anything that the community didn't suspect to begin with ... I just added truth to it. Of course there is more than what I shared, but again, I want to be careful in what I reveal. However, the community deserves a much higher level of communication, and far more respect, but I'll give credit where credit is due ... just give me a minute to think about that. PS ... thanks for the Front Page coverage.