True emps do hide and very rarely come out. But my H.spinifers tend to be VERY active even during the day. Their not as aggresive as they once were when they shared the tank with the emps.I would agree with your desert recommendation.
While the emperor scorpion (P imperator) can tolerate a lot of the beginner mistakes, I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner. Once the emperor adjusts, it becomes a living pet hole.
Bark scorpions (Centruroides ssp), minus the Arizona bark scorpion - Centruroides exilicauda, would make a better beginner scorpion than the emperor. BS can tolerate a lot of beginner mistakes, plus, they are active foragers (translation: always out in plane view).