Twelve Minute Shudder: Entropia Universe

By Quintin Smith on October 28th, 2009 at 2:13 pm.


On the unlikely chance you’re familiar with Sci-Fi MMOG Entropia Universe, it’s probably because of the record-breaking prices achieved by its virtual sales. Reading about these figures is a lot like coming under artillery fire but with numbers instead of shells.

All of the following figures are in US dollars. Entropia Universe launched in 2003, and in 2004 the developers created a huge island complete with a scenic beach, monsters, and a massive mine. At auction, a player paid $26,500 US for that island. In 2005, another player paid the developers $100,000 for a space station. In 2006, that same player purchased a unique monster egg for $10,000, though the highest figure ever paid by someone for a piece of equipment is $30,000 for a high-tech Healing Kit. In 2007, five players (or more accurately five ‘avatars’ since one represented a real-world banking organisation) paid a total of $404,000 for five two-year licenses to operate banks within the game world, with each of the five avatars expending a further $100,000 investment to start their business.

Entropia Universe developers MindArk have a daily turnover estimated at some $1.25 million, giving it 15 times the turnover per player of any other MMOG and the new acronym definition of Money Money Online Game. Did I mention Entropia Universe boasts the key selling point of being “Free to play”? Crazy-bananas.

All this has taken place on Planet Calypso, Entropia Universe’ only current functioning world. There are, however, five other ‘Planets’ currently under development by third parties who have paid to become ‘Planet Partners’. Nobody knows how much the Planet Partners paid for this, but on the games’ forums the belief is that Planet Partners need to have several million dollars available for funding the project.


Mm. Facts and figures make me sleepy. To change tack:

Jim told me to check out Entropia Universe a few weeks back. I gave it the most cursory of glances, at first seeing something which kind of looked like a Futurist Wurm Online.

Now, one of my first pieces of games journalism was a tongue-in-cheek exposé of furry virtual world Furcadia. It started with a trip through all the scarcely populated family-friendly regions of the game before I finally reached the ‘Adult’ land, a place so choked with pleasure-seeking horses, foxes, badgers and dragons that moving your avatar was a matter of slipping into adjacent spaces as they opened up. There was a touch of the abyss about it. You were rooted to the spot in a crowd of hundreds of animal avatars, trapped with the thought that maybe 70% of the players controlling these animals were there for the purposes of masturbation, and perhaps 6% were touching themselves at that very moment. And yet the scene was so quiet, because any cybering was happening via private messaging. Like the autoerotic equivalent of a silent disco.

I mention this now because no other game since then has done such an incredible job of forcing the dank reality of humans down my throat. Turns out what Furcadia did for sexual loneliness, Planet Calypso does for avarice.

First of all, the structure of Planet Calypso- Wait. No. First of all: It’s shit. This game is shit. It’s a grindfest devoid of the colour, sense of place, charm and polish that makes that palatable. You [1] can [2] do [3] better [4], don’t go near it, don’t let your friends and family near it, and if they disobey you then make a habit of sneaking up on them while they’re sat playing and farting in their ear.

And can we stop using their glossy official screenshots and start using my in-game ones, please?


Thanks.

The structure here is similar to Eve Online without the player warfare (so, arguably without the point). Players on Planet Calypso earn cash either mining or hunting for materials, other players use these materials to manufacture items and sell them in shops, and the miners and hunters buy these items, creating a basic economy. There’s also a tertiary sector with room for hairdressers, shop attendants, make-up artists, pilots, animal tamers and newbie mentors.

Where Planet Calypso skews away from the norm is that this structure, and every other facet of the game, is saturated with money. In Planet Calypso you don’t pay a subscription fee, you only ever pay for in-game currency. $1 US is 10 Project Entropia Dollars (PED). Also, any player with more than 1000 PED can voluntarily cash out, receiving the money via official channels in their real-life bank account minus a transaction fee. So when a mid-level player makes a fancy gun, they’re also technically making, say, $2.

Naturally this paves the way for high-level players to make serious money from Planet Calypso, and plenty do. That guy who paid $100,000 for a space station is known as NeverDie. He turned the station into a resort containing shops, apartments, a nightclub, and 20 biodomes full of good huntin’ and mineral veins. 10 months after his purchase he claimed to have made that $100,000 back through little more than property rent and taxing the biodomes.

Calling the game ‘Free to play’, however, is reaching. New players start with nothing but a pair of shoes and a tattered jumpsuit that reveals patches of your bare ass. There are tutorials (inadequate ones; some altruist has placed a massive sign at the new player spawn telling you how to turn around) but you don’t get starting quests, and not only do you not have a weapon but you’re not allowed to fight without one. So you’re left with two options for making money. 1: Collecting sweat from monsters. 2: Collecting their dung. At the time of writing the sweat-collecting process had been removed from the game for tweaking, leaving you with the sole path of advancement of filling your pockets with shit then tramping back to town to see if you can sell it.


Maybe you don’t like collecting shit. So maybe you slap down $5 for a gun, ammo, some basic armour, some training and some pocket change. Oh, you’ll need ammunition too. Equipped, you return to the wilderness and start battling monsters. Suddenly you’re earning loot with a tangible, real-world value! You’re not just killing space Murlocs, you’re killing space Murlocs and getting 10p every time! The idea of making money from the game becomes very plausible. And the whole time you’re fighting the global chat ticker is constantly pinging, telling you such and such player just killed a monster worth $90, or built an item with a market value of $150. You can turn off these globals, but they come back on whenever you login. ‘This is the money you could be making’, the game is saying.

In all of this you’ve failed to notice your weapon’s been degrading, plus you’re out of ammo and hurting bad. So you slap down another $10, and this time spend some of it on increasing your skills. All of a sudden you’re embroiled in this game, this weird breed of unadulterated grossness where you end up trying to decide whether to stomach that horrible grind for another couple of hours or drop another $10. Suddenly you’re looking up to those high-level, high roller players, and wondering if you should become one. But the high level players have their own problems. Pets must be fed nutrio bars, and apartments need their monthly maintenance fee. Suddenly you’re not just hooked, you have a monetary investment in your character.

As an aside, this is the first game I’ve played where you can rent a sword from a bank.


Taking a trip to the forums there are some honestly worrying descriptions of how much veteran players are spending. People talk about dropping hundreds of dollars in a day, and I read one weirdly resigned user mentioning he’d spent upwards of $14,000 in total. In the same thread other players were complaining about the hourly cost of playing Planet Calypso. I say again: Not monthly, or even weekly, but hourly. Knowing all this, those mad numbers I dropped at the beginning of this article start to make a bit more sense.

Perhaps I’m giving the impression that Planet Calypso’s entire playerbase has been sucked into a money-vortex. It’s not quite so, because there seems to be an awareness within the community of the game’s failure to be a functioning economy.

It all makes me feel a bit ill. Think about what might have happened if Blizzard had made World of Warcraft using this model. When that thought occurred to me I shuddered for twelve minutes straight.

To close, there are a couple of good points to all of this. First of all, Planet Calypso seems to be losing its momentum. A lot of big-money players have been cashing out recently due to the odds turning against them, and the game’s tech upgrade to CryEngine 2 is likely one of the measures they’ve taken to revive interest in the game. The fact that Planet Calypso hasn’t broken any more records in the last couple of years is evidence of this.

Second, there is some creature design in the game I wholeheartedly endorse.

That’s all I got though.

I guess I’m writing as a warning as much as anything else. I hate to think of any of you guys getting involved in this bullet train crash of a game. It’s the sickliest thing I’ve played in a very long time.

, , .

172 Comments »

  1. TotalBiscuit says:

    What kind of idiot plays this game for any length of time without realising they’re being conned?

    • Babs says:

      Doesn’t that apply to any sort of gambling though?

    • Lars Westergren says:

      The state lottery: An extra tax for people who don’t know maths.

    • Hendrik says:

      The kind of idiots that spend all their money in casinos.

    • Gutter says:

      My brother is a compulsive MMO player, and when he tried Entropia he got lucky and found a mineral deposit that made him $600USD (thats how he explained it to me, so bare with me if this doesn’t sound right. I saw the payments receipt though). And yes, he got the money after a while, even if he is in Canada. He didn’t invest it in the game, he was fully aware that he just got lucky.

      He isn’t playing anymore, and thats saying a lot about the game seeing as he will play anything that can connect more than 4 players in a game.

    • CyberPunk says:

      I have never depositted and have played for 2 years (nor have I accepted handouts).

      The net worth of my account is hard to determine exactly but it is at least a few thousand dollars USD.

      I started playing after getting sick of paying for other games just to get pissed off when developers made changes that destroyed all my hard work (had 2 Jedi Characters, on the same server and same account, in SWG before SOE nerfed the entire game, talk about disappointment). In other games, such as SWG, WoW, ect.; when you leave the game, all your progress is for nothing, in Entropia, if you’re smart, you can cash out your proceeds when you quit.

      Entropia makes your time playing actually worth something.

      There are some points in the review above which I can agree with; however, it is quite apparent to me that Quintin Smith is ignorant on many of the other points he’s made. Just like with any MMO, you need to have knowledge of the game to succeed, his lack of such has given him a poor experience.

      Before you invest, take the time to learn the game, spend time sweating, trading, asking questions. If you are patient and determined, you can get by without ever depositting and play with the knowledge that you will succeed.

      There’s alot of people who have negative views, many of them viewed the game as a casino, Entropia is not a casino.

  2. Antsy says:

    3% of their player base is shuddering at any given moment, this article leads me to believe :P

  3. Lars Westergren says:

    Go Sweden! mySQL, Spotify, and …. Entropia? Well, two out of three ain’t bad, I guess.

  4. The Codicier says:

    i’m not sure whats more disturbing, the naked avarice of the game or the naked alien shlong of that mutant

    • scoopsy says:

      Yuck. “Maturity Class: Mutant” indeed.

    • Stupoider says:

      I also loved the “Spawn-time not yet known. Females have been seem :-D. Luckily!!”

      LUCKILY.

  5. cqdemal says:

    It took me a minute to register that it was a dong.

  6. phil says:

    The games seems a nasty little mind trap, but on the bright side at least we now have another case study for the periodic games addiction threads.

  7. Quinns says:

    Babs has the gist of it. The developers can still turn a profit if 40% of their players are walking away with more money than they put in.

  8. Flimgoblin says:

    Can you actually do anything in the game without spending money? i.e. can you progress without spending a penny? or is it a case of keeping putting in the quarters (or in this case, tens of dollars) in the hope that you strike a jackpot and pay it all off?

    • Zaphid says:

      Theoretically you can play it for free, but you will be facing the most soulcrushing grind humanity has ever seen and you will also depend on other players paying for your shit (literally).

      So, the answer is no.

  9. Ketch says:

    I played the old version of this with a few friends years ago, some random gave me a gun and some ammo which I immediately wasted on some bouncing horror before being mauled by it… Good times. Luckily I can say I didn’t spend a single penny! Hurray for me, playing the system!

  10. panik says:

    “The structure here is similar to Eve Online without the player warfare (so, arguably without the point). ”

    Well seeing as “warfare” makes up about 1% of your “playing” time in eve, its no big loss.

    • Psychopomp says:

      Before joining the RPS corp, the last three months had been straight warfare for me…

      (We were losing a lot)

  11. Lack_26 says:

    And these players putting down the big bucks don’t go and start and actual business why? (If they have that money they may well).

  12. Aio Dakina says:

    Back in 2003, I remember the article that got me started in Entropia – from PCGamer.

    It was fun back then too, the costs weren’t so atrociously high (they were very similar to normal MMOs – able to ‘live’ on $15/m) – and you still got the saleability of your character.

    However, with any games like this, there are always people richer than you. So while it’s top-level spending for you at $50/m, there are people playing where it is quite within their budget to spend $10k/m.

    It was a fun game, but greed and increasing costs made it bad. The old community was however, one of the most fun and vibrant ones in any MMO. Then it got shit.

    Oh well.

  13. shiggz says:

    My best guess is that many of the poor people use it as a 1$-20$ “hope card” or “get of slums card”.

    Lottery winners pay very high taxes and welfare from taxes buys a lot of the lottery tickets. A sad symmetry to it IMO.

  14. Stupoider says:

    Is that sign… advertising ‘faps’?

    • Clovis says:

      Ya, I noticed that too. Quentin, please explain. Faps? Really?

    • Stupoider says:

      I imagine you’re treated to a sexy striptease by a Boorum Male.

    • chann says:

      First Aid Packs I believe. But then the whole game is a bit of a wank.

  15. Trubka says:

    I played Entropia for a while (just few days) a long time ago, I never spent any real money on the game, when I joined at first I was doing a “runner”(?) for other players :D Basically just making creatures angry and running so the other player can shoot them without getting hurt… yea that’s how I earned few bucks in the first hour or two them some guy gave me a gun, some ammo and we’ve been running in a small group for a while, killing creatures and all that stuff, exploring, etc. and I must say I’ve had a hell of a great time in that short time… I’m a “lonely wolf” type of gamer, I pretty much play mmos solo (that’s probably a reason why I don’t really play mmos anymore heh) but in Entropia I got into a group right from the start. It was awesome.

    Then I stopped. And I’m glad I did that… if I was playing the game some time later after I got my credit card I might’ve regretted it.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      Ah, so you were kiting monsters. Interesting thought to have lower level players do that for pay rather than a hunter’s pet or similar.

  16. Desmolas says:

    Seems like the videogame equivalent of the to me.

    %95 of people lose out while the top %5 cash in.

  17. Gap Gen says:

    So you’re left with two options for making money. 1: Collecting sweat from monsters. 2: Collecting their dung.

    That is incredible.

  18. bill says:

    Reminded me of this really interesting/depressing article i read about chinese mmos a long while back:
    http://www.danwei.org/electronic_games/gambling_your_life_away_in_zt.php

  19. ThePinkNinja says:

    This is a great idea for an Ironic single player or MMO game, where there is a game within a game, where the real life and real cash parts are also digital.

  20. Pace says:

    Whoa, journalism! Excellent article.

  21. mbp says:

    Check out this unbelievable post from the Entropia forums: http://www.entropiaforum.com/forums/general-discussion/165220-am-i-getting-scammed-200k-help-please.html

    It reads like a fairly standard “help my account was banned in error and the mods won’t respond to my emails” that you can find on the forums of any mmo. It is only when you read down a bit that the penny drops that this 200k is not in game pes or virtual gold it is $200k real money that this unfortunate has invested in a banned account. $200k that they borrowed from real world investors who still expect to be paid back.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      LOL that’s “unlucky”. Having read that 2 things come to mind:

      1 – whats to stop the operators of this ‘game’ banning any account citing whatever they feel like as a reason once someone puts a stupidly large amount of cash into their account like this chap appears to have done?

      2 – Am I the only one who wants to go hunting for exploits in this game & see how much you can take out of them using said exploits once found?

    • Zacariaz says:

      Don’t believe anything you read.

  22. 12kill4 says:

    A bad person will make you miserable; true evil will sell it to you…

  23. Cooper says:

    Someone recommended this to me a couple of years back. Played it for an hour. Suffice to say, I don’t listen to said persons opinions with an ounce of respect anymore.

  24. toro says:

    Excellent article.

  25. Malibu Stacey says:

    Nice expose. There should be more articles like this in games journalism rather than the usual “OMG LOOK SHINY FPS MCXVIII HAS EVEN MORE REALISTIC LOOKING WEAPONS NOW!”. Please never stop keeping us informed and entertained RPS overlords.

    It would be interesting to see if one could play as a “virtual hobo” in this game & see how much money you could take out of it without ever putting any in. Sounds like you may have to live off the generosity of others however which I wouldn’t be comfortable with.

  26. screeg says:

    If this project met with any real success, the IRS (or similar governmental body) would shut it down as a Ponzi scheme. Second Life had to restructure their in-game economy for just that reason. You can’t just set up shop and act as a bank/casino without getting licensed and letting the government in for their cut.

    I’m surprised it’s been allowed to go on this long.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      ‘Game’ is developed (I’m guessing hosted) in Sweden. Other countries don’t always have exact replicas of your US laws & governmental bodies such as your IRS & try as you may, your US laws don’t apply as even if you’re in the US playing the game, everything takes place on their servers in Sweden (or wherever). Plus you’re bound by their EULA which will (should) state which countries laws are applicable to any legal disputes.

    • Grey Cap says:

      @Malibu Stacey, screeg: Even here in Sweden we have laws against Ponzi schemes. However, I’m not sure this counts. Since the article made the economy sound like game currency changed hands mainly player to player (buying equipment from other players) they could con each other, but it wouldn’t be Entropia’s fault. The game does not guarantee a payout.

  27. Christopher Weeks says:

    I don’t know how much it’s changed, but a couple years ago, I spent $20 and played this for a couple hours with my son. The entire time, I was waiting for the fun to start. Dullsville. (And I play Wurm!)

  28. ThePinkNinja says:

    Makes you appreciate Blizzard…

  29. Peace of Eight says:

    It’s virtual Amway!

  30. Tei says:

    Projects like this one there was one billion during the DOT COM era. You have see none, or a very few, because most died under the weight of his own unfeasibility (humm.. this word don’t exist). The problem is… that this scheme is “how some people would love internet to work”, but is not “how people want internet to work” or “how internet work”.
    Most of these fictitious “Closed Worlds” where created as a way to ask people money for “hosting” inside this special world. Much like how “Malls” work…

    The web still have to conquer the 3D hill, with X3D, a plugin, or something else. But 3D is much harder than 2D, and we have still to get 3D right.

  31. Leeks! says:

    I went to a recruitment meeting for a pyramid scheme (all undercover-like) for a project in a uni rhetoric class. Reading about this game gave me a very similar sense of creeping unease.

  32. Quinns says:

    Faps is the nickname for some type of combat equipment. I think it might be something similar to healing, or buffing.

    It makes for pretty hilarious forum posts talking about combat. “Aggro the mob then fap like a maniac to survive”, “Make sure you go into combat with someone who’ll fap you when you get into trouble”, etc.

    • Quinns says:

      Goddamnit why is Reply broken for me today.

    • Delboy says:

      From what I recall is stands for “First Aid Pack” … using one one heals you a certain number of hit points depending on how good (read “expensive”) it is.

      I played this game for about a year. Put $100 dollars in in total, and “cashed out” about $200. I was one of the very lucky ones …. trust me …. this is a pryamid scheme game with the people in the top 100 places already decided!

      Dez

    • Lars Westergren says:

      Quinns: I think RPS has a concurrency bug in the forum posting code, if you reply at the same time as someone else thing can go wrong.

      I often have my “reply to” end up at the bottom of the lists. Once I got a page that said “invalid id” or something similar, and it displayed someone elses mail address.

      Faps.. hehe. Reminds me of playing Settlers of Catan. “Does anyone have Wood for Sheep?”

    • Aio Dakina says:

      FAP stands for “Fast Aid Pack” (not first, strangely).

      It’s the common name for a healing tool, taken from the first Beta Healing tools (Omegaton FAP [Model No.])… now there are plenty more, but still called FAPs. Hilarious I will admit ;D

  33. Flappybat says:

    This blows my mind. I’ve never met anyone who’s played this, let alone ever read any forum or news posts about it apart from the odd factual tidbit like the intro.

  34. Mike says:

    Cool article and rather worrying!

  35. Megamaj says:

    Great article, and very well written. Probably one of the best I ever read here, and I’m a daily reader. Thanks for making me laugh, and making me glad for the other games which only take your time and your life but at least not your money.

  36. Psychopomp says:

    My faith in humanity yesterday
    |
    |
    |<<<Here
    |
    |
    |
    |

    My faith in humanity today

    |
    |
    |
    |
    |
    |
    |<<Here

  37. Persus-9 says:

    Well I think there’s a certain diabolical beauty to the whole thing. It’s certainly more interesting and imaginative than most ways of separating fools from their money.

  38. TinyPirate says:

    What people sometimes miss about PE is that those with the big cash are also often work quite closely with the dev team. For example, Jon Jacobs, the guy who bought the space station, was also in charge of “US strategic relations as well as, business development, marketing and content acquisition”, at least back in the day. Now, to be fair, I believe Mindark uses players as unpaid spokespeople, but bringing your biggest customers into your business in this way is somewhat unusual and opens Mindark to charges of nepotism.

  39. theleif says:

    Get over it. The game just works like real life. We are just living in a big ponzi scheme. Which begs the question why someone would want to do it online as well.

    Or as a certain doped-up hippie would have put it:

    As soon as your born they make you feel small
    By giving you no time instead of it all
    Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all
    Working class hero is something to be
    Working class hero is something to be

    They hurt you at home and they hit you at school
    They hate you if you’re clever and despise a fool
    Till you’re so fucking crazy you can’t follow their rules
    Working class hero is something to be
    Working class hero is something to be

    When they’ve tortured and scared you for 20 odd years
    Then they expect you to pick a career
    When you can’t really function you’re so full of fear
    Working class Hhero is something to be
    Working class hero is something to be

    Keep you doped with religion, sex and T.V.
    And you think you’re so clever and classless and free
    But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see
    Working class hero is something to be
    Working class hero is something to be

    There’s room at the top I’m telling you still
    But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
    If you want to be like the folks on the hill
    Working class hero is something to be

    Yes, a working class hero is something to be
    If you want to be a hero well just follow me
    If you want to be a hero well just follow me

  40. narfi says:

    Interesting read.

    I have played EU for about 2 years of which I have really enjoyed.

    There is some truth to what you have posted but it is also obvious that you only scratched the surface of what is there before drawing your conclusions.

    The biggest part of the game that I like is the community. I mean the actual in-game community not those who just like to argue on forums without actually spending time ingame. The real money aspect as well as the extreme challenge of trying to succeed at making something from nothing makes this a game only for the persistent and intelligent. This pretty much insures that a majority of people who actually play are more mature than your normal gamers. I have had multiple people tell me how much more mature (and i dont mean dirty) the community in EU was compared to other games they had played.

    I successfully played for over 6months with out spending any real life money. It is possible, but its not for the lazy or weak minded.

    It is true that there is a gambling aspect to the game. That is part of what makes it addicting. But a mature person understands this and takes on the challenge of minimizing their cost while maximizing their profits. You could think of it as trying to figure out how to play the quarter slot machine for a dime a pull while everyone else is putting in quarters.

    It is true that alot of people have deposited lots of money and some have lost it all. That is where the maturity is required to control your own spending habits. Imagine giving a 13yr old $1000 and letting him loose in a toy store, how much money would he come out with? What would the purchases be worth a year later? Now give a working middle class man the same money in the same store, what does he come out with? Did he even spend it all?

    Without understanding the value of dollar you wont know what to do with it.

    There have been plenty of experiments of people playing for $15 dollars a month, a figure used because that is equivalent of a subscription game. This style of game play is quite manageable but still requires a brain.

    The point you made about collection dung is only partly true. Currently gathering is the only “free” way to earn ped directly from the game (though still indirectly as you need to sell to players) Dung is the least valuable thing you can find while searching the wildernesses of Calypso. Fruit or even better precious stones of varying types are what you go looking for as they will bring actual profits and get you started in your hunting/mining/crafting carriers.

    Im sure that my honest opinion will be flamed as a fanboy response. The truth is there are days that I get frustrated in game, but those days are rare because I play within my means and I play for the challenge.

    I have played for almost 2 years and have only deposited small amounts a couple of times. I have skilled in all 3 of the major carriers at different times while also toying with coloring & texturing customizable items.

    There are multiple radio stations run by avatars who have done alot to bring the community together and have hosted multitudes of parties and events. They are regularly giving away stuff as prizes to free events for new players.

    Did I mention community? :P thats the best part of the whole place.

    gl and have fun,

    narfi

  41. CyberPunk says:

    I have never depositted and have played for 2 years (nor have I accepted handouts).

    The net worth of my account is hard to determine exactly but it is at least a few thousand dollars USD.

    I started playing after getting sick of paying for other games just to get pissed off when developers made changes that destroyed all my hard work (had 2 Jedi Characters, on the same server and same account, in SWG before SOE nerfed the entire game, talk about disappointment). In other games, such as SWG, WoW, ect.; when you leave the game, all your progress is for nothing, in Entropia, if you’re smart, you can cash out your proceeds when you quit.

    Entropia makes your time playing actually worth something.

    There are some points in the review above which I can agree with; however, it is quite apparent to me that Quintin Smith is ignorant on many of the other points he’s made. Just like with any MMO, you need to have knowledge of the game to succeed, his lack of such has given him a poor experience.

    Before you invest, take the time to learn the game, spend time sweating, trading, asking questions. If you are patient and determined, you can get by without ever depositting and play with the knowledge that you will succeed.

  42. Kuber says:

    It is 100% true that Entropia / Planet Calypso is a game with a high degree of difficulty. The major difficulties come in when you realize the extent of the skills system and how the skills you build interact with weapons and tools used as well as determining which creatures are best to hunt, or which areas to mine, or which items to craft.

    When you’re using the right tools at the right time in the right place, the game is a hell of a lot of fun.

    When you’re using the wrong tools at the wrong time in the wrong place, you can lose thousands of dollars before you know it.

    People who are impatient, or just want to be able to point and click without thinking, or people who want to become a god within the game in a month or two should look for other games, as this one will disappoint you.

    People who have patience, enjoy a bit of digging and understanding as to how the system works, and have the self-restraint to stay where they should be in the learning/acquisition curve can do well, break even, or even profit just a bit.

    People who have unique ideas and innovative thoughts on how to make money in-game can profit even more.

    I’ve been playing for about 14 months now, and I’m not one of those players that likes grinding hour after hour collecting sweat so that I can play for free. I have a real-life career that I can make money at much faster, so I deposit instead and just get down to playing the main core of the game. I figured it out a few weeks ago and basically I have spent about $1.50-$3.00/hour I’m in the game. I have also made some choices to spend for some of the higher-priced weapons and armor, so admittedly, my costs are a little higher.

    For players who like walled gardens and provided quests and a paint-by-numbers style of game play, you might want to try some of those other games that were suggested. But if you’re capable of self-determination and creating your own internal motivations for achievements and mastery of the game, there’s plenty of goodness in Entropia to keep you entertained for years.

    As far as it being a casino, that’s a stretch. While it is true that the same faulty beliefs that people take to casinos and lose big with can also help you lose big in Entropia, such as believing in the gambler’s fallacy, the ability to change your style of playing and alter your spending in the game really evolves the game far beyond a casino. The only difference with Entropia and other MMORPGs really is that you will consistently lose 100% of your money to other games. With Entropia, you still can’t lose more than 100% of your money. But you have the chance to get a little or a lot of that back, if you’re smart enough.

  43. Salix says:

    I’m a bit confused. You say it’s shit, but the only real reason you give is that it’s like gambling…surely the fact that you can get _some_ money back (potentially more than you put in) is a good point. You could say subscription model games are gambling too (in a loose sense), but with a guaranteed 0% return!! I’m just wondering exactly why you think it’s shit. Is it because it’s too expensive? i.e. you go through your money too fast, or is it that the gameplay sucks? I dunno really what you are getting at.

    • Psychopomp says:

      “You say it’s shit, but the only real reason you give is that it’s like gambling…”

      Did you miss the part where he said it’s a soul crushing grind, unless you pump hundreds of dollars in a month?

  44. Jetsetlemming says:

    I thought this was a joke. I thought you had just taken some screenshots in Second Light and shopped in the text, and was making all this up.
    And then you linked to that Boorum_Male wiki page and I see that this is all too real :(

  45. nichevo says:

    Judging by these recent positive comments, I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that a link to this page has gone up somewhere in Entropia-land.

    It all sounds too mercenary for me. It sounds like a game a dedicated gold farmer would play after coming home from his shift. $_$

    But I would say that, given that I’m a brain-less uncreative type who likes walled gardens and paint-by-numbers.

    • Kuber says:

      Actually, it seemed like the author that was the one that liked the walled gardens and paint-by-numbers game play, by his own admission.

    • Psychopomp says:

      You do know he linked to EVE, right?

  46. Psychopomp says:

    I would enjoy one of the players telling me how this isn’t *vastly* inferior to that-other-sandbox EVE, ignoring the fact that you can make real life money from EU.

    • Salix says:

      I can’t compare it to eve, but here is what I like about it.

      The standard activities in the game are a HUGE grind. More to the point, grinding doesn’t really allow you to participate in new more fun acitivites/quests, it allows you to do more of the same thing, but gamble larger amounts of money. This isn’t universal though, with skills you can become competetive in PvP, allowing you in certain zones to loot other players (which can certainly be profitible), and participate in a type of quest thing called beacons. This is exclusive to skilling in combat related professions only though.

      As such, with respect to gameplay, at the moment (this clause is very important, as the game is going through major changes right now) it is boring, pointless and potentially expensive.

      Things to like about EU above other games though: You can choose how much you pay for the game, many people play quite fine for free, others like to pay large amounts. It’s a freedom which is quite nice I find.

      Speaking of freedom, there is a huge freedom in this game, with the lack of obligatory quests, you aren’t restricted to a particular path to achieve success (whatever that may be). This is something I enjoy immensily, I can do whatever I want.

      And indeed, people do do whatever they want. Players put on large scale events for other players, often for free. Events can almost always be found, which results in essentially a non restrictive quest system that doesn’t consist in: collect x amount of item y. These are unique, and potentially a lot more fun than the gameplay in almost all other mmos. If you can imagine an event, it’s likely someone has put it on.

      This is all due to a great great community. Just great.

      And at the end of the day, the hours you have put in, the grinding you have done, the challenges you have overcome, it isn’t all for naught. Once you want to move on from the game, you extract all your skills, sell them, sell your equipment, then withdraw all that money, with the good possibility that you will not have lost much money at all.

      So yes, there are very bad points about this game, especially for newbies, but there are good points that make the game so worth it, and it’s getting better all the time.

  47. Pepto says:

    Yup. I personally believe it is as hard as it is on newbies specifically to weed out the moany, whiney, want it all NOW noobs. OP expected what exactly? I thought he did research? How the hell did his research lead him to expect it would be peaches and cream and he would profit in his first what? month? LOL

    This is a game for a class of player that has patience to see a long term project through to the end, that understands that they are not ‘God’s favourite’ creation, that understands that having 10 maxed out WoW chars doesn’t make them a fantastic gamer, that understands that just because EvE and EU are both in space doesn’t mean you can compare apples and oranges…well hey the list goes on but knowing the typical mentality of a lot of the posters here…you read “Yup”, thought I had agreed with the your opinion, and moved on.

    This actually makes me happy…stay the hell away from the game I enjoy…you’d all ruin it for me anyway.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      OP? This isn’t a forum. It’s not even a blog. Just because someone linked this in your EU forum doesn’t stop some knowledge of who you’re trying to argue with is being a basic tenet of any arguement.

  48. Some kinda uber... says:

    Entropia is a great game. Assume you enjoy games. you go to the store.buy a xbox or ps3. 300$ or so thats 3000 peds ;) plus 5-10 games thats 250-500$ so you cost for this enjoyment would be 550-800$.

    this same 550-800$ you can actually invest… hunt… mine… resell… and make money and enjoy the great graphics that most console games offer…

    but the great thing is entropia is free to play. NO ONE makes you deposite.like most other MMORPG games charge monthly fees. boo to that… i have not deposited in many years and have made well over 60,000$ or 600k peds

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      How much of that $550-800 did you factor in spending on your PC so you can play this game since you’re not buying the games console?

  49. TotalBiscuit says:

    Haha, look at all the shills.

  50. cheeba says:

    Possibly the single most depressing thing about PC Gaming: No matter how soulless, grindy, cynical or broken any given MMO is, there’s always a scarily devoted (and often worryingly large) community willing to leap to its defense at any given moment.

    • Noone says:

      EU is never going to attract the kind of people that write, read and agree with this kind of article and its not intended to…

      One of the greatest things about the game is that it very successfully gets rid of those with little patience and/or an immature approach to life.

      It’s not for everyone but it has something for anyone.

      One of the worst things about this game is the level of investment means that some people who thought they had what it takes and play for a few years only to find out they don’t, stick around alot longer than they should.

      The majority of players fall somewhere inbetween.