What were the Matoran like before Velika rekt the system?

The Matoran were originally simple workers for the Mata Nui robot and it’s functions. However we learned later on that they gained their sentience from Velika ‘throwing a monkey wrench’ in the system. So what were they like beforehand? were they simple drones or did they have some degree of intelligence?

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They were sentient, but they did not have access to any kind of emotional programming. They simply did their jobs. They were not building a culture, forging friendships, etc.

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