Entropia Universe is a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG) of the science fiction (sci-fi) genre created by MindArk. It is unique in the fact that its virtual economy is backed by real money. Well, the game we know now as Entropia Universe started as Project Entropia all the way back in 2003 and is still around today with the same system, so this game proves that, given a clear grasp of how you have to balance the game, it is possible to make a sustainable and profitable game of this type.
Entropia Universe Client Pic
There's a LOT to say about this game, so let me begin.
First of all, as I mentioned in the introduction, this game's economy is backed by real money. The official in-game currency of Entropia Universe is called the PED (Project Entropia Dollar; now, of course, it means Entropia Universe Dollar, but they kept the classic acronym). 10 PED is equal to 1 USD, and this rate never changes. Given that you can deposit and withdraw money from the game, it thus becomes possible to profit from this game. However, don't get your hopes up as it's rather hard to do so. If you approach this game with only the intent to make money, you'll probably get disappointed quite quickly.
For starters, every item in the game except your jumpsuit and a tool for gathering Vibrant Sweat (I'll explain this in a bit) has limited durability. Some items are Limited which means they cannot be repaired at all, so you have to throw them out when they become unusable. Other items are Unlimited, which means they can be repaired, but repair costs can get quite nasty really fast. In MindArk's defense, they added a tutorial area sometime ago that allows the player to get a taste for hunting, crafting and mining with items given to them by representatives of in-game companies. This allows you to increase your skills just a bit and possibly get 1 or 2 PEDs before you start the game proper.
If you plan to be stingy and not deposit a single cent into this game, then the first few days of it are going to be...interesting, for lack of a better word. Each player starts with a tool (VSE Mk 1) for gathering a resource called Vibrant Sweat. Unlike every other tool in the game, this one has unlimited durability, so no worrying about it breaking in the middle of nowhere. The catch is that sweating is tedious and the return rates are terrible (Think about 0.20 USD an hour if you're lucky; minimum wage has never looked so lucrative as it does now. :P). Seriously, do yourself a favor and deposit 5-10 USD into the game if you like it, as that'll get you 50-100 PED, which is way more than enough for a kit of hunter's gear. If you're halfway lucky, you should make a small, if nearly negligible profit.
To obtain Vibrant Sweat, you need to aim your tool at a creature and concentrate. Taking damage and movement are only two of the things that can interrupt the sweating process. If you manage to sweat a creature, you'll get between 1 and 4 bottles of Vibrant Sweat. 996-999 bottles to go. :/
Of course, sweating isn't the only thing you can do in EU, and in fact this is where the universe will blow you away. As you enter Planet Calypso (after the tutorial missions), you will reach Port Atlantis. You'll quickly see other players running around, and you may even see some of them inside of vehicles. You can hitch a ride with other players (usually for a small tip to cover their fuel expenditures).
Speaking of players, this game has a very pronounced social component. I don't think I've ever seen such a civil population of MMO players in my life, and I've played quite a few online games!
(And of course, I've also played Runes of Magic and World of Warcraft as well, and I daresay this community is more friendly than the community in both of those games combined.)
The distasteful act of sweating for hours on end is made bearable by players who camp out near the major beginner areas, healing any injuries you may have sustained from attempting to sweat angry creatures that decided to bite your head off in retaliation. :P
Also, players of EU are generally cool. If you're a newbie, they'll give you advice on what to do. If you're REALLY lucky, you may find someone that gifts you some starter equipment to give you a nice bump along the long road to becoming a skilled player (but don't beg for this type of treatment, as that is poor manners in any MMO, including this one). ;)
Some advice I've recieved:
- As of the time of this writing, 1000 Vibrant Sweat sells for 3-5 PED.
- The Sollomate Opalo is perhaps the best weapon for a starting player. It costs 3.8 PED.
- The Sollomate Opalo runs off of Medium Weapon Cells, which cost 1 PED for each 10,000 units of the ammunition. Each shot from the Opalo uses 200 units of ammo, so you get 50 shots for 1 PED.
All of the above from a player who noticed me and chatted me up. :)
Once you have the Opalo and some ammo, you get to do some hunting, which is much more fun than sweating, but a lot of beginning players combine both tasks and do something called sweathunting. That is, they sweat a creature until it's dry (has no more sweat to collect) and then they hunt it. This gives you some sweat (8-12 per creature in the beginning usually) as well as the chance to get some loot. In the worst case that you don't profit from this hunting run, then you'll already have a leg up in your next sweating endeavor. ;)
Well, I could go on and on about all of the neat things this game has, but as I usually do for MMO reviews, I'll leave it as an exercise to you, the reader, to try it out for yourself and see if you like it.
Until the next time, take care and have fun! ;)