Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Entropia gives incentives for grinding

The news was inviting: An entrepreneur sold a piece of virtual property in the online game Entropia for $635,000, setting a new price record for such real estate. The property was Club Neverdie, which John "Neverdie" Jacobs bought in 2005 for $100,000, then built into a playing environment. Jacobs sold the majority interest ($335,000) in the property to John Foma Kalun, and the rest ($300,000) to 12 other buyers. The property is divided into domes, or separate playing environments. Kalun owns 8 domes and naming rights to Club Neverdie, while the other buyers own one dome each.

After hearing the news, I decided it was time to try Entropia. I found out I was not alone. Many other players are giving the game a try after seeing that some people can make money by playing the game. We all found out that it is not easy money by any means. Earning money of any kind means grinding some of the most insipid gaming ever invented. But don't let that stop you.

Entropia is very similar to Second Life, so if you have tried that game, you will know what to expect. Both games are supposed to encourage socializing and cooperative gaming. Entropia is set in a futuristic environment, while Second Life is current times. Entropia has a currency that is set to convert to the US dollar: 10 PED equals $1, so 1 PED equals 10 cents. Second Life currency has no set conversion rate, and players have to rely on the market value at the time, so there is more risk involved. Entropia says that a minimum of 1,000 PED can be drawn out at a time. According to its annual report, MindArk AB, developer of Entropia, reports a negative cash flow of $2.4 million, so the company has not found a way of making a profit yet. I wonder how long it can last.

Without adding money to their accounts, players are offered only a few activities. By gathering sweat from monsters, players can make a few PED, but it is extremely time-consuming. Players are issued a device on arrival at Planet Calypso and given a mission to gather sweat. Once the player finishes the opening missions, he or she is sent on a mission to go to the Sweat Camp. Gathering sweat is very difficult because the monsters either walk away or start attacking players and the gathering device only works occasionally until you build up your skill level. I have found the best response to an attacking monster is to stand my ground so I can gain skill in sweating as well as defensive combat skills. It is definitely easier to sweat with a group, but often players have differences of opinion on how to do the job. Players are not particularly welcoming to newbies, but some do help new players. I spent most of my time just sweating, not chatting, as usual. When you consider that 1,000 vibrant sweat sells to players for 2 to 4 PED and it takes more than 6 hours of grinding to get that much sweat, you are not going to get rich quick by any means. The same amount of sweat sells for .01 PED (known as 1 PEC) at the Trade Terminal, so it is worth the effort of selling to players.

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