Thursday, October 30, 2014

Entropia Universe (Part Eleven)

Planets and Space
If your thinking of something like Battlestar Galactica Online or Descent FreeSpace that kind of "Space Combat" theme, then I'm sorry to disappoint you. The one in Entropia Universe isn't made that way and is nothing like that.

But if you still want me to describe Entropia Universe's in a simple way, then I guess that whatever that you've experienced while hunting and pvping down on the planet's surface...that's the kind of fight that you should expect.
Your "armor" and "hp" while fighting planetside is replaced by your vehicle's "armor" and "structural integrity" (SI). Your "weapons" are then replaced by your vehicle's equipped "weapons".
Entropia Universe - Space Map
Anyway, Entropia Universe's "Space" is actually made up of a simplistic "3D" environment that is much like the one you would find on any of the planet's surface.

And essentially, what you have is then just a distribution of "portals and respawn points" all over this "space-like" environment (like as shown above).
Points labelled in "cyan" are your "Planet Entry Points". They are the ones you should fly towards in order to "land" and "enter" a planet.

Points labelled in "green" are your "space stations". If and when you've unfortunately died in space, you will then be spawned at the "nearest" space station and will have to continue your journey from there.

Points labelled in "red" are your "training grounds" (there should be one near almost every space station). Most of the "NPC space mobs" that you encounter will only be spawned within those training grounds. The rest of space is just a huge empty map.

Getting Into Space
To even think about getting into space, one will need a couple of things first.
  • A "Spaceworthy" Vehicle
    Entropia Universe - Space Vehicle QuadEntropia Universe - Space Vehicle Mothership
    This can be cheap vehicles (about maybe 40 to 100 PEDs) that can attach a "Space Thruster (L)" like a "Sleipnir Mk1 (C,L)" and a "Quad-Wing Interceptor (L)". OR, it can be something very expensive (depending on its SI, may be upwards of 40k PEDs) like a "Privateer" or a "Mothership".
    Entropia Universe - Entering SpaceEntropia Universe - Vehicle Menu
    For these "cheap vehicles" with a "Space Thruster (L)" attached, you can then just enter space from the surface of a planet by simply flying higher and higher up into the sky until you reach its upper limit and get hit with the above scene.

    However, do note that you should not be holding/keeping anything within the vehicle's inventory (the one with which your trying to enter "Space" with). Else, you would be prevented from entering space, I believe.
    Entropia Universe - Being Summoned
    For those with a "Privateer" or a "Mothership", you can simply be summoned up into space (so long as your on its "Guest List") from anywhere on the surface of the planet of which the ship is currently docked at (the Planet's Space Station).
  • Fuel
    Well...since we're talking about vehicles, these would naturally require "fuel" in order to be powered and moved right?

    And this "fuel" that we need is actually just "Oil" that we refine from "Crude Oil" (an Enmatter that can be found from mining as well as being picked up at the oil rigs).
    Entropia Universe - Refueling QuadEntropia Universe - Refueling Mothership
    After obtaining this "Oil", all you need to do is to drag and drop it onto your spawned vehicle (for a Quad or Sleipnir) or drag and drop it onto the "Spacecraft Refueling Station" (for a Privateer or a Mothership). Its that simple.
    However, on this subject matter, you will need to ENSURE that you've put in SUFFICIENT "Oil" to power and move your vehicle for the entire journey (plus any unexpected circumstances). Else, you might risk getting stranded "without fuel" to carry on with your trip through space.
  • Vehicle Repair Tool And Welding Wires
    Entropia Universe - Vehicle Repair Tool And Welding Wires
    The last thing you'll need in order to survive your space trip is a "Vehicle Repair Tool" like a "Vehicle RK-5 (L)" or a "Vehicle RK-20 (L)"...and some welding wires.
    Both of these, the tools and welding wires, are crafted stuff. And so, you can either craft these yourself (if you have the skills and the blueprints) or you can buy them off auction and other fellow players.
    Entropia Universe - Loot Checking Pirates
    The reason for needing these is because during your trip through space, you can suffer attacks from either PKers looking to loot you or from NPC space mobs that you've unfortunately aggroed (by going too close to them).
    But the chance of that happening is pretty low in comparison to the first (being PKed).
    Entropia Universe - Destroyed QuadEntropia Universe - Repairing Quad
    Anyway, if you do get shot down and find your Quad or Sleipnir as a pile of junk, you can then simply spawn it out, equip your "Vehicle Repair Tool", use it a couple of times (to repair your vehicle's "Structural Integrity" like as shown above) and then be on your merry way again.
    Entropia Universe - Vehicle SI
    This will work for any other "spawnable" vehicles as well. However, it is only for when we're dealing with a vehicle's "Structural Integrity" (SI)...and not its "Condition" or "TT Value".

    If its the "TT Value" that results in the vehicle being "broken", then I'm afraid that the vehicle's (usually) a "gone case" and can only become just another "container" for holding extra items. Unless, of course, that its an "Unlimited" vehicle.

    If that's the case, then you can simply stick it into the "Repair Terminal" and spend some PEDs to repair its "TT Value".
    Whenever our vehicles suffer damage, both its SI and TT Value will decrease (but at different rates). And while the vehicle's SI can be fixed with a vehicle repair tool and some welding wires, a vehicle's TT value cannot (if its a limited item).
    For Privateers and Motherships, things are slightly more complicated as there's an "interior environment" for you to run about in.
    Entropia Universe - Repair Points PrivateerEntropia Universe - Repair Points Mothership
    In these, there will be either two (for Privateers) or four (for Motherships) "repair points" for you to "repair" or "maintain".

    You must keep these fixed (by repairing them with the vehicle repair tool and welding wires) and not let ANY of them drop to 0 SI. Else, the entire Privateer or Mothership will blow up into pieces.
    Other than that...everything else should pretty much function just like the "spawnable" vehicles (with regards to SI, TT Value and Condition).

Travelling Through Space
In terms of travelling through space, it is just a matter of moving yourself (via your space vehicle) from Point "A" to Point "B".
Entropia Universe - Add WaypointEntropia Universe - Flying Towards Waypoint
And to do that, all you need to do is to open up your space map (press M), right click at the point you wish to go to and "add waypoint". From then onwards, once your out in space, you will be able to see the "waypoint" to that position.
You can then just fly towards the point to reach it.
However, there are still a couple of things to note.
  • PVP Lootable Space
    Entropia Universe - PVP Lootable Space
    Space, is a "dangerous" place to go to...because of the inherent fact that you can lose all of the "lootable" stuff that you've carried in your inventory to your killer (including stuff that's in "containers" long as they are on you).
    By "lootable" stuff, its definition is pretty fuzzy. Certain stuff that we thought shouldn't be lootable were found to be looted while others which we thought might be looted...ended up being non-lootable. And sadly, the game developers aren't really that much helpful identifying to us what ends up being looted and what doesn't.

    But in general, stuff that you find in your "Materials" and "Mined Resources" tabs (of your inventory) usually ends up being looted. Just like in the "Contaminated Zones" found planetside (which you may only enter with an "Anti-Toxic Shot").
    However, if you've made sure that you don't carry such "lootable" stuff, then the threat of these killers then becomes reduced to a mere annoyance which you must accept when travelling through space.
    If you MUST carry such "lootable" stuff with you across space (from one planet to another), you must always do so ONLY in a "Privateer" or a "Mothership". And that is "REPUTABLE" (so that you won't end up being "tricked" and "looted").
  • Fuel Costs And Time Taken
    As far as these are concerned, the fuel costs and time taken for travelling through space is actually dependent upon the "Stats" of the vehicle.
    Entropia Universe - Vehicle Stats Quad Sleipnir
    For instance, the "Max Speed" determines how fast you can move in the vehicle. As such, the Quad will move about 1.81 times faster than compared to the Sleipnir (104.4 km/h vs 57.6 km/h).

    As for "fuel costs" calculations, the amount of fuel (Oil) that actually gets consumed will depend on the above two stats, "Fuel Consumption (Active)" and "Fuel Consumption (Passive)".
    The "Fuel Consumption (Active)" stat will determine how much oil that will be used for every "km" of distance the vehicle moves. While the "Fuel Consumption (Passive)" stat will decide how much oil gets used "per minute" of time the player spends in the "pilot seat" (counts so long as engine is active, regardless of whether your actually moving or not).
    However, to put things into an easier perspective, in general...the fuel costs and time taken (for moving through space) are as follows (at least for a Quad and a Sleipnir).
    Fuel Costs:
    ~ 0.06 PEDs of oil per AU (Quad)
    ~ 0.05 PEDs of oil per AU (Sleipnir)

    Time Taken:
    ~ 2 minutes per AU (Quad)
    ~ 3 minutes 28 seconds per AU (Sleipnir)
    As for Privateers and Motherships, I do believe that they move at a relatively much slower pace than compared to a Quad or a Sleipnir. However, they do have a special "warp" function available that allows them to travel from one planet to another at a much faster pace...but for a price.
    Entropia Universe - Devices On PrivateerEntropia Universe - Devices On Mothership
    They will need to have something called a "Warp Drive" installed. And every time they perform a warp, this warp drive will decay correspondingly.
    They will also need some other stuff as order to function. Like an "Energy Source", an "Armament Device" as well as a "Sub Warp Drive".

    Naturally...all these stuff are crafted by players too, of course.

Getting Back Planetside
Depending on your mode of transport and whether your carrying "lootables" or not, your methods of entering a planet will have to differ.
Entropia Universe - Planet Entry Fee
If you are not carrying any such "lootables" and were travelling in a Quad or a Sleipnir, you can simply get back onto a planet by flying yourself towards the planet until you meet with another pop-up window (such as that shown above).
Note that not only will your Space Thruster (L) be decayed (once again), you will also have to pay an additional 2 PED "Planet Entry Fee" as well...when you enter via this way. (In case your wondering, there's no "Planet Exit Fee" to pay. So you don't have to worry about that.)

Your Space Thruster (L) actually decays by 10 PECs (TT Value) on a per entry (from space to planet surface) or exit (from planet surface to space) basis.
If you were carrying "lootables" and flying via a Privateer or a Mothership, then would want to avoid entering space TOTALLY (so that you won't get into the PVP lootable zone that space is).
Entropia Universe - TPing Off MothershipEntropia Universe - TPing Down To Planet
In such a case, you will typically have to teleport yourself off the Privateer or Mothership and onto the planet's "Space Station" (once the ship is safely docked at the SS) and then teleport once again...but this time from the space station's teleporter down onto the planet's surface's teleporter.
However, this teleport jump from the space station down to the planet's surface does not come free. You will need to pay a "teleporter fee" of 7 PEDs, I believe.

Sadly though, you can't teleport from the surface of a planet up onto the planet's space station. You can only enter space via the previous two methods that I've mentioned. Fly up or get summoned up.
Anyway, that's when we're talking about entering "major" planets.

With minor ones like "Monria", "Crystal Palace" and "FOMA", there's no "planets" to as to speak. Hence with these, you can only access them via the teleporters on their respective space stations (I believe).
As for whether there's a fee for using those teleporters...that I do not know. But what I do know is that those teleporters are connected to Planet Calypso's surface TPs. And so you can directly teleport from them to the surface of Planet Calypso.

(Albeit also at the cost of 7 PEDs to do so. But at least you will avoid PVP lootable space.)

Previous: Entropia Universe (Part Ten)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Entropia Universe (Part Ten)

Skill Points And Profession Levels
Entropia Universe - Skill PointsEntropia Universe - Profession Levels
The above shows typical examples of an avatar's Skill Points and Profession Levels. You can access these by pressing "K" (on your keyboard) for the skill points and then the greenish "Star" icon for the profession levels.
Entropia Universe - Gaining Green Skill Lines
And as far as these are concerned, whenever you do something within the game like hunt, mine, craft or even sweat, you will often start to see some sort of green "skill lines" appearing. Stuff like "[System]: You have gained Alertness." or "[System]: You have gained experience in your Dodge skill."

These skill lines (whenever they do appear) indicate to you that you have gained a tiny amount of skill points in the said skills (Alertness or Dodge in this case). And whenever you've gained enough to fill up the bar of that skill, you will gain 1 skill point in it. Simple as that.

However, that's only the tiny picture.

In the overall scheme of things, these skills and skill points are only important in the fact that they somehow contribute to your profession levels. And that your profession levels are the only "true" ones that are important in determining your "skills or aptness" in using or when doing something.

For instance, let us look at "Alertness". According to Entropedia, the amount of skill points that you have in Alertness affects your "Dodger" (5% effect), "Evader" (5% effect), "Jammer" (5% effect) and "Pet Handler" (3% effect) professions.

So what this means, I believe, is that the more Alertness that you have, the higher your profession levels will be in the "Dodger", "Evader", "Jammer" and "Pet Handler" professions. However, the Alertness' effect on those professions will of course be scaled accordingly (as per indicated).

And correspondingly, the higher your profession level is, the better you will be in performing the task at hand (that is related to that profession). For example, the "Evader" profession determines how well you can avoid enemy melee attacks. Hence, the higher your "Evader" profession level, the better you can avoid those melee attacks that are coming at you.

Chipping In And Chipping Out
But effectively, the only good thing in knowing about the relationship between all these skills, skill points and profession that it becomes particularly useful when you wish to start chipping in and chipping out your skills.

For instance, let us say that you have a laser pistol which requires your "Ranged Laser (Dmg)" to be at profession level 15 to max...but your only at around level 8. So in order to try and raise it to level 15 (to use the gun), you've decided that you will chip in certain skills to make it so.
And so the question is, which skills do you chip in?
Entropia Universe - Ranged Laser Dmg Profession
Naturally, when we consult Entropedia on the "Ranged Laser (Dmg)" profession, we find the above skill relations.

And ideally, if cost is not a factor (as in you have unlimited PEDs), then you would want to chip in skills which will have the most pronounced effect on the profession.
In other words, basically skills such as "Laser Weaponry Technology" (25% effect) and "Anatomy" (20% effect) would be your primary choices for chipping in.
However, in reality, not only is PEDs a real cost of concern, but so is the amount of skill points that you presently have in the skills a huge factor to consider as well.
The more skill points that you have in a certain skill, the harder (and more costly) it becomes for you to raise it by a further point.
Hence, tools such as "Entropia Universe Chipping Optimizer" becomes very important to us.
Entropia Universe - Chipping In Case 1Entropia Universe - Chipping In Case 2
If I had just blindly chipped in ONLY "Laser Weaponry Technology" in order to force my "Ranged Laser (Dmg)" profession to level 15, I would have suffered a whooping loss of 609 PEDs at least. However, if I had followed and used the above chipping optimizer, I would have only needed about 363 PEDs instead.

Skill Implants and Empty Skill Implants
So how do we chip in and chip out our skills?
Entropia Universe - Skill Implants And Empty Skill Implants
Well, as far as I know, we will need a Payn-Inc Implant Inserter (the one used to insert Mindforce Implants) and the above...a Skill Implant (to chip in skills) or an Empty Skill Implant (to chip out skills).

To chip in, just attach the skill implant onto the Payn-Inc Implant Inserter, equip the inserter and operate it. This will increase the corresponding skill by the amount of skill points as shown on the skill implant's item info. To chip out, you will just need to do the same, but with an empty skill implant instead.
Do note that the "TT Value" of the chip (roughly) represents how much skill points it is currently storing (for skill implants) or can store (for empty skill implants).

Furthermore, when chipping out skills, if the amount of skill points that you are extracting does not require the entire empty skill implant's TT Value, then you will usually get back another empty skill implant in return.

However, that is only in the case that the resultant empty skill implant's TT Value will be above 10 PEDs still. Else, you will only be getting back the leftover TT Value in PEDs (and lose whatever potential markup that the empty skill implant would have had).

And because of this, it is often better to make sure that your making use of the entire empty skill implant (when chipping out skills)...especially if its TT Value is close to 10 PEDs.

Auction and Markup
For this part, there isn't much to talk about because most of the "difficult" markup concepts are already previously explained. As such, this part is mainly acting as a filler to talk about the fees involved with the auctioning of stuff.

Auctioning Your Wares
The following shows a classic case of when your selling an item via auction.
Entropia Universe - Selling An Item On Auction
  • Item Name
    This tells you the name of the item that your selling.
    However, do note that not all items are allowed to be placed on auction for sale. Some items are simply "blocked" by the system and can never be placed on auction. (Don't ask me just IS the way it is.)
  • Quantity
    This tells you the quantity of the item that your selling.
    Do note that the quantity that is shown here will be sold "as is" (as an entire bulk)...and at the price that you've set. You do not get to sell stuff "in singles" unless you've placed them as singles (or that they are inherently non-stackables).
  • Item Value
    This tells you the Total TT Value of the item that your selling.
  • Auction Fee
    This tells you the amount of PEDs that will be charged for placing your item on auction.
    For Regular Items And Stackables:
    Auction Fee = 0.5 + ((74.625 * Markup) / (1492.5 + Markup))

    For Estates And Deeds:
    Auction Fee = 0.5 + ((9.95 * Markup) / (199 + Markup))
    It is calculated using the eventual markup (Final Sale Price - Item Value) at which the item gets sold at. Hence, the higher your eventual markup, the more auction fee you will get charged with.
  • Markup
    This tells you the markup at which your selling the item at.
    It can be shown as a percentage or it can be shown as TT + Markup. But regardless of how it is shown as here, the auction fee will still be calculated as stated above.
  • Auction Days
    This tells you the number of days that your placing the item on auction. It can be between a minimum value of 1 real life day and up to a maximum of 7 days.
    As this does not come with any extra "charges", most people would opt to put the item up for the maximum number of days possible.
  • Opening Bid
    This tells you the "Opening" or "Starting" bid at which your selling the item at.
    As this is directly tied into the auction fee at which you will be charged with "initially" (when placing the item on auction), most people would usually put this at a value such that if the item does only get sold at the "Opening Bid", it will still at least cover back the markup value of the item itself as well as any auction fee that is involved.

    Pricing this "Opening Bid" too high is ill-advised as this "initial" auction fee will be charged...regardless of whether the item gets sold or not (and is usually borne by the seller of the item).
  • Buyout
    This offers you the option of putting a "Buyout Bid" for your item.
    If none is offered, the item will only be sold at the very end of the auction...depending on how many auction days that you've set and whether anyone has placed a bid on your auction.
  • Buyout Bid
    This tells you the "Buyout" bid that you've placed for your item.
    Any potential buyer whom wishes to immediately obtain the item that your selling can just offer to pay the "Buyout Bid" that your asking.

Buying Stuff Via Auction
There are two ways to buy stuff via auction. One is to do it manually and search through the auctioned stuff for what you want. The other is to buy it automated via "Orders".
Entropia Universe - Buying ManuallyEntropia Universe - Buying Via Orders
  • Buying Manually
    When buying manually, all you need to do is to search through the entire list of auctioned stuff for what you want, double click on it, put up your bid and wait. Or you can just pay for the buyout bid (if it has any) and get the stuff immediately, if you don't want to wait.
    Note that bids can only be placed in increments of 1 PED. It can be more than that, but never lesser than 1 PED. So sad to say, you can't bid in PECs.
    If you've managed to win the auction, the item will usually be found under the "Won" tab. You can then just visit the tab, double click on the item to claim it. Stuff that you've placed on auction that does not get sold will also be found in this "Won" tab as well. So do take note of that.
    When bidding manually, be especially careful / alert when bidding on items with no "buyouts". There is a very real risk of bidding your ENTIRE PED card (by accident) onto the item.

    And as all trades are "final", the chances of getting back the "extra PEDs" that you've bidded by very slim.

    Well, I'ld suggest that you don't ever bid on anything at all (nor sell anything) if your feeling sleepy and have trouble staying awake.
  • Buying Via Orders
    When buying via orders, all you need to do is to go to the "Orders" tab, look under "Available", select the item that you wish to acquire and click on the "Order" button that lights up.

    You can then set up the "Markup" at which your willing to buy the item at, the "Quantity" or amount of that item that your willing to buy and the number of "Valid Days" of which the order will be active.

    You will then just need to pay up the appropriate "order fee" (which basically consists of a "non-refundable" 1 PED charge for every "Valid Day" that you've chosen to set up) as well as set aside a "Reserved Funds" pool (which is deducted from your PED card in order to pay for the goods that you will be acquiring).
    The leftovers in your "Reserved Funds" pool will be automatically refunded back to your PED card upon the expiry of the order that you've created.
    Although automated and will still be actively buying for you regardless of whether your online or not, you will need to realize that this "Orders" system is actually pretty "dumb".

    First of all, it will only purchase the item that you've ordered...IF AND ONLY IF...the seller has placed a "buyout bid" on the item.
    Items with no buyout bids are totally ignored regardless of whether its current bid (and markup) is at or below that which you've set.
    Secondly, the order that you've set up will only purchase the item...IF AND ONLY have sufficient funds to acquire the "entire bulk" of the item that the seller has placed up.
    The system is too dumb to allow for partial purchases.
    Lastly, the "Orders" system is made in such a way that "HE WHO OFFERS THE MOST (MARKUP) GETS HIS ORDER FILLED FIRST".

    And by this, I mean that if both Person A and B has placed an order for a specific item, the one whom has given the better "markup" offer will have first dibs (regardless of the actual buyout price that is being paid).
    For instance, Person A has placed an order to buy 2,000 Alicenies Gel at 120% markup while Person B has placed his order to buy 1,000 Alicenies Gel at 130% markup.

    Along comes Person C who has some Alicenies Gel to sell...perhaps maybe 1,500 of them.

    If this Person C sells just 500 of them and at a buyout of 110% markup, then Person B will be the one who would have bought Person C's auction out (at the buyout price of 110% only, not 130%) he is the one "offering the better markup".

    If this Person C were to have decided to sell all 1,500 of them together (in a bulk) and still at the buyout price of 110%, then Person A would have been the one to get the auction he's the one who has enough "reserved funds" to buy the auction out (even though Person B had first claim to it).

    If instead this Person C were to have just sold 1,000 of them and at a "Starting bid" of 105%...but no buyout, then no one would have gotten it (neither Person A nor B) since no buyout was set.

    But ideally, if Person C was a veteran, he should have instead tried to maximize the amount of PEDs he could have gotten by splitting his bulk of Alicenies Gel into two. One bulk of 1,000 Alicenies Gel at a buyout of 130% markup (to fill Person B's order) and the leftover 500 Alicenies Gel at a buyout of 120% markup (to fill Person A's order...albeit partially only).

    The rest of Person A's order, the remaining 1,500 Alicenies Gel (that was unfulfilled), can just be satisfied by someone else instead of Person C.

Previous: Entropia Universe (Part Nine)Next: Entropia Universe (Part Eleven)