Friday, August 15, 2014

Entropia Universe (Part Two)

The Download
Entropia Universe - Client Loader
As it has been a few years since I first started, I don't quite remember the entire downloading experience anymore. But from what vague memory that still exists, I do believe that the process was pretty okayish and rather straightforward.

The main point to note here would be to ensure that you've "ticked" and downloaded "everything". Each and every one of the planets' and sub-planets' data files. This is so that you can enjoy an uninterrupted gameplay and won't get kicked out of the game to download the new areas that you've stumbled upon. (Though its only when your moving to space, changing planets or the like...then you'll have to worry about this I guess.)

Furthermore, as each of the planets makes their own set of items (weapons, armors, clothings, etc) and these have been further distributed by the players...so much so that they're found all over the place, its certainly safer for you to have the textures of these items downloaded rather than not.

Character Creation and Customization
While it certainly isn't the one I've used to create mine, this is definitely the "latest" that I could lay my hands on...thanks to the Avatar System Update that happened during Jan 2013. Therefore, I'll be using it to talk about this section, Character Creation and Customization.
Entropia Universe - Appearance Preset 1Entropia Universe - Appearance Preset 2
Anyway, upon first loading into the game, you should be met with something rather similar to the one I've shown above. These are the "preset templates" that you can use to determine the rough appearance that you would like your character to look like.

After choosing a template, you can then go into the edit mode to fine-tune the nitty-gritty details. (These details are roughly divided into the four major sections, Face, Body, Hair and Color.)
FaceBody
Entropia Universe - Character Customization FaceEntropia Universe - Character Customization Body
HairColor
Entropia Universe - Character Customization HairEntropia Universe - Character Customization Color
And as I could recall them, the variety of options that each section offers do appear to be pretty plentiful. Thus, it should be theoretically possible to find a unique look for your character if you look hard enough. And I would suggest that you do that...as each account may only create ONE character throughout its lifetime.

Yes, you live and die with that same character as long as your using the same account. And one's not allowed to create multiple accounts according to the terms and conditions listed.

Further Customizations
Beyond Character Creation, the only other way that you'll be able to make alterations to your face, body and hair is via visiting other fellow players whom are qualified "beauticians" and "hairstylists".

But mind you, they WILL BE charging you PEDs for their services. And they rightfully should, as they've went through hell and back...just to acquire these skills and the tools to make you "pretty". Not to mention performing these alterations do require various sorts of materials and ingredients that they will need to buy from other players.

Just so that you won't end up visiting some "quack" (fake) ones...I'll be explaining to you the rough concepts. To the best of my knowledge that is. (As I'm not one and never had the PEDs nor skills to dabble in these professions.)

The Tools
To become a qualified beautician and/or hairstylist, one must have the right tools.
Entropia Universe - Beautician Hairstylist Tools
To make facial alterations, one will need a "Face Sculpting Toolkit" and a "Face Sculpting Chair". To change one's hairstyle or hair color, a "Hair Stylist Toolkit" and a "Hair Stylist Chair" will be needed. To modify your body proportions, a "Body Sculpting Toolkit" and a "Body Sculpting Unit" will be necessary.

Once with these, the underlying mechanics is for the "customer" (the one with whom the change is made) to sit in the appropriate "chair" or "furniture". The "beautician" or "hairstylist" will then proceed to performing the deed with the appropriate tool equipped in his or her hands.

However, because of the need for the "customer" to "sit down" on the chair or furniture, this means that one will have to place the said item down on the ground. But that will leave the item open for others to pick it up or steal it. (And trust me...someone would.)
Entropia Universe - Beauty Parlor Apartment VersionEntropia Universe - Beauty Parlor Shop Version
Hence, the beautician or hairstylist will also need to spend some PEDs to acquire a piece of "private estate" of his/her own...either an apartment or a shop.

With such a place, anything dropped within the boundaries of the private estate can only be picked up by the owner (of the estate) and will thus be protected from being stolen.

The Materials
Not only must one have the right tools for the job, one will also need to have the proper materials or ingredients.
Entropia Universe - Beautician Hairstylist Materials
And as far as I know, the kind of materials required depends upon the alterations that is being performed...while the quantity that is put in would determine the success rate of the operation. (The more materials, the higher the chances of success.)
  • Hair Styling Materials - Basic Hair Color Set, Hair Gel, Hair Spray
  • Face Sculpting Materials - Basic Eye Color Set
  • Body Sculpting Materials - Basic Skin Color Set, Body Fat, Metallic Bone Replacement

The Skills
Even with the right tools and materials, the path to being a popular beautician or hairstylist (that people would want to visit) is all but smooth sailing.

Just like there are good ones and bad ones in real life, the same applies in Entropia Universe.
Entropia Universe - Beautician Hairstylist Skills
I mean surely you wouldn't want someone with these sort of skills to be touching your avatar right? God knows what might happen to you. ^_^;

Anyway, from what I do know, the more times you perform these sort of operations, the more skills you will gain and the higher your level becomes (in the associated profession).
Entropia Universe - Hair Styles Unlocked
And with the accompanying accumulation of levels in that profession, you will gradually become better in performing your job as well as unlock more options for your customer to choose. But first, you'll have to find "guinea pigs" to hone your skills upon. Hahahahaha.

For more details, please visit and read the following tutorial:
Entropia Universe - A Visit To The Beauty Parlor

(* Special thanks to Dark Zunami Angel and Ido Starlit Sunrider...as I took the liberty of paying a visit to both of your shop and apartment for some screenshots.)


Friday, August 8, 2014

Entropia Universe (Part One)

Now this next game that I'll be featuring is most probably THE "hardest", "most nerve-wrecking" and "time consuming" MMO that is ever found on the face of the Earth I believe. (And I ain't kidding you when I said that...)

It is also one where reality really meets with virtual reality. A place where there is only one YOU and all sorts of people dwell...from your average friendly gamer to your villainous virtual scumbag. (I'm serious too when I say this...)

The decisions you make and the actions that you take within the game, ultimately defines your avatar but also becomes of YOU (yes, the real you). It reflects your very essence, your upbringing, your personality and your moral values / codes.

To that very extent, I'm afraid that one can no longer classify it as merely a game, but yet HAS to treat it like one.

Not only that, I have to also warn you that playing this game has a very serious consequence. Once one comes into contact with the game, long enough and has vested interest in it, it might already be too late for the person.

If I were to say...I'ld guess that "Hotel California" (its lyrics) is the closest you can get to describing this. Don't get it?

"You can check out any time you like but you can never leave"

Why would I say that? Heck...I've been playing it (on and off) for at least five years. And from what I've heard, some have been stuck with it for at least ten...that's why. ^_^;

As such...be really really really sure that your prepared for the plunge. Red pill or Blue pill? Its your choice.








Are You Sure?






Are You Really Sure?






No Regrets?







By scrolling thus far, I take it that you agree to the risks involved? Then let us continue...
Entropia Universe
This "game" that we'll be talking about is called, Entropia Universe. (As if you couldn't have guessed it from the post's title, but let's just conveniently ignore that fact, shall we?)

It is one of the rare few RCE games, that is available out there in the present games market. And by RCE, namely Real Cash Economy, its in-game currency, the PED or "Project Entropia Dollar", is actually pegged to the "United States Dollar" at a fixed rate of 10 PEDs : 1 USD.

Note that there is an accompanying "service charge", be it by the company or by your bank, that ultimately results in you getting less than what you've deposited or withdrawn...but the "core" of being able to exchange game money into real cash remains unchanged.

Entropia Universe - NPCing To Trade TerminalEntropia Universe - Transfer Center
In this game (or should I say virtual reality), almost everything you hold has an innate PED value tagged to them, called its "TT Value" (or Trade Terminal Value). And by selling them to the "Trade Terminal", NPCing stuff in regular gaming terminology, you will get that associated PED value "refunded" into your "PED card".

Naturally of course, one should not just seek to NPC the stuff you've acquired, but rather sought to sell them to OTHER PLAYERS, for additional "markup" if possible. (Will be explained in due course...)

PEDs that you hold within your PED card can then be withdrawn from the game and changed into real cash via the "Transfer Center" (right click anywhere on screen to access it from the dropdown that appears). But you will have to meet the minimum withdrawal requirements of at least 1000 PEDs (100 USD).

And by the same virtue, one can also deposit real cash and get them converted into PEDs on your PED card.

Ok...so the game deals with real money. But what's with all the "grave" talk previously?

Well...its precisely because of this, that all that I've said earlier becomes vitally true.

Since the game deals with real money, everything that you do has an associated "real cost" (as well as risk) appended to it. The things you decide to buy / sell, the activities that you decide to spend PEDs on, the stuff that you trade others with...EVERYTHING.

Money Is The Root Of All Evil.

Money? Who doesn't need money? But the question is...how desperate are you, in your quest to obtain it? If driven far enough, will you be willing to forsake your humanity?

My point? This game shockingly brings out the nature of a person...his / her very being...one's essence.

There is "black" and "white" in this game as well as a very huge patch of "grey". There are "good" people as well as "bad" people in this game but also a majority of "grey".

Certain activities within the game allows you to actually take PEDs away from another, but as it is considered part of the gameplay, it is hence deemed "grey". Other, not so dignified actions, such as "trust scams", "auction manipulations" and / or engagements that allows one to "trick" PEDs / "Items Of Value" away from another are deemed "black".

But of course, I'm not trying to scare you or anything...just merely warning you of the potential pitfalls. To be honest, the majority of the players within the game is actually quite mature and nice (as long as PEDs aren't involved). Therefore, so long as you conduct yourself properly and hold yourself responsible for the actions that you choose to do...you ought to be quite safe with enjoying the game AS A GAME.

To make matters worse...the game company plays "GOD" in Entropia Universe.

Although they are careful not to interfere too much, but nonetheless, whatever they do HAVE their consequences and affects the "markup" value of stuff within the game.

For instance, if my memory haven't failed me, apartments and shops used to be fairly "cheap" (in terms of markup) way back in the past. During those times, they weren't quite really something that was "in demand" as they had some sort of a monthly rental fee that owners have to pay before being able to access and use them.

But after a certain Version Update (VU), that removed that monthly fee, everything changed. And their prices quickly adjusted to that change. Beyond that, as planets got introduced and the universe expanded, more and more shops / apartments came to be and prices dropped slightly, stabilizing to what it is now at the moment.

Likewise, in the past...before planets were introduced (and only Calypso exists), hangars were the only means of transportation to off the "rock" (Calypso) places such as "Club Never Die" (CND, but now known as FOMA) and "Crystal Palace" (CP, some sort of a space station with hunting and mining facilities).

During then, because they were the only means, hangars were a much sought after piece of estate. And players vie for them so that they could act as "pilots" and charge "transportation fees" to their passengers (as a means of survival within the game, a "job" as one would call it).

But then came one fine day (another VU released), that an "entity" called "Space" crept in (got implemented), things took a turn for the worse. Motherships, Privateers, Quads and Sleipnirs replaced the need for hangars and they soon got reduced to their present state...nothing but a glorified piece of private estate (that functions just like an apartment).

And although hangar owners were "compensated" with a privateer of their own and an unlimited space thruster, the markup of these just didn't quite add up to the markup that they've paid for when the hangars were still "functional".

Item-wise, I've heard that there was a period of time...way back before I've joined the game, that certain items which we now deemed as "rare", had dropped in abundance then.

And to quote some of the old-timers,

"Man I wished I hadn't TTed those stuff and kept them until now. They'll be worth thousands..."

But on the other extreme, we also have cases whereby the changes made caused an item's markup value to become null and void. For example, blueprints of products which used to sell like "hotcakes" being rendered useless because one or more of its critical ingredients (to make that product) no longer drops.

However, till this date, those blueprints can still be found, once in a while, being placed on auction. But do stay clear away from them...unless you know what your doing.

Why am I telling you all this?

Its to emphasize the following
  • The TT Value is one thing, but anything paid extra (the markup) on top of that...is risk that you bear entirely on your own.
    But do note that certain items really do command that high a markup because of its inherent value, stats and / or rarity. The important thing is to do your homework.
  • Not only is this game, one involving real cash (an RCE), it is also one of knowledge, wits and information.
    However, information does not come easy. Especially if it involves PEDs and the making of it.
  • The choices you make and the PEDs that you spend within this game, must be made with full awareness of its consequences and possible outcomes.
    At no point in time should you make rash decisions and uninformed choices.
  • If something sounds too good to be true, it just might be.
    Be wary of trades which involves something that your unfamiliar with...especially if it involves PEDs.

Now that you've cleared my fundamental criteria, we can proceed with the actual game content...


Next: Entropia Universe (Part Two)