Surviving in entropia

May 28, 2009 at 7:54 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I’ve noticed a lot of “what am I doing wrong/why do I have to deposit so much” threads lately. I know they were always there and many more of those will appear in the future. But if my theory will make the game more enjoyable for a few people at least, all this writing will be worth it. I personally wish someone told me at least some of the things I’m going to write below when I’d just arrived on Calypso to “conquer this gorgeous planet”. It would have saved me money, time, nerves and spared me from a lot of frustration.

This is not a guide on how to make quick cash here. I’m not going to reveal any crack to the loot system (I wish I had one). It’s not a re-selling and sweat gathering tutorial and it won’t guarantee you an always positive ROI.

What this gives you is an idea of how to deal with whatever ROI you have. It will show you the way of living here on whatever amount you can deposit monthly (even if it’s zero). Maybe accepting some of the ideas I’m going to share with you will make your Entropia life less frustrating at the moments that are usually considered hard.

This is just a model of thinking and behavior so the good thing about it is that it can be applied and adjusted to your personal goals and possibilities, whatever level your are on at the moment. It doesn’t matter if you are a newbie just off the boat or an experienced player, if you face constant difficulties you may want to read on and consider. Sorry, I’ve got no time to go into details here. There are many great topics on this forum where you may find advice on how to earn money, hunt effectively, choose tools and gear properly, etc. You may want to check them out for yourself as this is not what I’m going to talk about here. I’ll just try to show you where some problems come from, which expectations have very little chance of becoming true, where are those key points at which we have to make important decisions and what we are paying for when we make deposits.

Our dreams and reality

Most of us consider ourselves mature and smart that’s why few of us are ready to openly admit the fact that our secret wishes and hopes often go beyond what’s really possible. Maybe it’s time to make a brave move and finally compare what we secretly expect(ed) and how realistic our dreams are. I personally was sure that sooner or later I’d get ATH (All Time High Loot), complete set of some uber armor and gear. That after some time and investing my skills and gear would be enough to make me profit all the time. Of course all players can’t get there but I’m not ‘all’, I’m the only one who’ll definitely get lucky and sell out to buy a real life apartment in the end.

I won’t say it is impossible, this game would loose all sense if it really was, but let’s get real. Chance of looting IMMK2 or ModMerc are like 0.000…01%. Chances to loot one bit of uber armor are high enough but a completed set lies somewhere near your freshly looted IMMK2 – in your dreams. Getting an ATH is tough but real, they started to drop quite regularly lately. Too bad one ATH won’t make all your dreams come true and to get idea on chances to get 6 ATHs in a row, check %’s for ModMerc and divide them by 10-1000.

I don’t mean to be negative here by saying all that I’ve said above, I just wanted to remind you how unrealistic the chances of becoming uber in one day are. It makes no sense to base your game strategy on such expectations, if you keep going for big things you will most likely find yourself facing a think wall of frustration and realizing how much you lost trying to catch the ghost and feebleness of not being able to turn back time. This wall may make you quit before you actually get a chance to loot anything worthy. But these chances exist. They exist til the point you leave. That’s why we need to find ways to stay. And those ways should still involve that big gambling as after all this is what we play it for.


Accepting the rules.

I myself posted a lot of criticism on the way Entropia works at the moment and my opinion hasn’t changed. I still believe the gambling % should be lower, so players don’t have to face such enormous losses at times, some items should be dropped more regularly to let us keep the thrill and loots could be distributed in a fairer way at times. This is what I wish for. But it doesn’t mean this game works this way. This is some mistake many players make – confusing rules they see in their dreams with ones that really exist and creating their strategies accordingly. Wrong move. Every strategy should have some ground under it or at least it’s important to make sure that if assumptions you made and have no proves for happen to be wrong, whole theory doesn’t crash.

Let’s take an example. I’ve met enough players believing in balancing theory. To be more exact, they believe that big losses are meant to be compensated and money you got from sudden lucky moment (like ATH) will be taken off you for the sake of this balancing. I personally don’t have any prove for that. I remember a lot of impressive losses I had that never were compensated. I also find it hard to believe that it would make sense technically to do such calculations for every player. Some multipliers may exist to make sure we all have good and bad periods but it’s not exactly the same. Using such theory as a guide may lead to some real problems. This can make people feel easy about loosing thousands of peds in hope to get compensation. If it doesn’t happen, they may feel the need to waste even more trying to reach that hidden line. In the end when player looses hope and can’t afford any more serious gambling, we get another person to leave broke and frustrated. I have no prove for it being totally untrue either. But we need some ground for our strategy, so let’s see what another extreme brings us.

It’s a pure gambling. What you lost is just that – lost. No one is going to compensate you anything in this game. Most likely it’s already won by someone else. But there’s a positive in this. If you gained something, it won’t be taken off you for the sake of balancing. It’s your to keep and waste on future gamblings. In case this theory fails and balancing exists, I’ll be pleasantly surprised to get compensations for my losses. At the same time if some of my winning will be taken off me, it won’t break me either (the reason will be mentioned below). That’s why this is assumption I stick to for now.

Money Money Money (c) ABBA

Here we come to this important and often painful for Entropia players question. Economics of this game is something that attracts many different people here and they all have their own motivations. What can I say here… If you need money, you better get yourself a job and not waste your money on Internet bills and deposits in games. I don’t say that making money here is impossible. It is possible and some stories of successful players show that sums of money can be quite impressive. But it’s not guaranteed that you will earn anything here. Gambling is gambling. And you can’t build your real life economics on something you are so unsure about. Of course there are certain ways to have guaranteed profits here (like trading) but same amount of time and effort will give you much better results in real life.

Still we can’t pretend this specific economics isn’t one of the reasons we are here. So let’s treat it as a game but special one. It won’t be something we’ll be counting on to make our RL living with but at the same time we wouldn’t mind knowing that in the end we’ll get some of our deposits back or may be even much more.

I personally tested this model without deposits at all. Reasons are simple: I wanted to make sure it works in this extreme variant plus I didn’t mind evening out some money I deposited in my first half a year here. That was around 200$ per month which is way too much as I see it now. It works with 0 deposits.

It doesn’t mean that depositing makes no sense if you can avoid it. Let’s be realistic again. This game costs money to maintain and if everyone plays for free, this won’t last too long. We are paying for our entertainment everywhere else. We pay for movies, music, tasty but useless food etc. This is a game and depositing some reasonable amount is a reasonable thing to do.

Most MMO’s cost 15-20$ now. I’d add some more for this gambling factor and the fact you can get some money back after you sell out. So 20-30$ per month would be a fair cost that will make it fair to other players and at the same time will give you more joy while playing. It’s a game. it’s not a job, remember?

If you can afford paying more for your entertainment, why not. It’s all fine as far as you don’t start to treat it as investment (investment makes sense when it’s really big, but players that can afford it won’t be reading this most likely). Come up with some ‘fee’ you find affordable according to your RL income. It’s a fee. Your are meant to loose it but it’s not a loss. You get fun instead. You play a game for what it costs, you have fun, make new friends and feel the thrill of gamble. And at the same time you are slowly accumulating some money you can get out later. Something you don’t get in other games. Isn’t it already good enough? Now we just need to make sure this ‘fee’ is enough to survive a month.

Creating a scale + balancing theory

There are only 3 variants of ROI here: positive, zero and negative. As they are not going to be balanced by the system itself (we chose this theory above if you remember), the only thing we can do is balancing our funds on our own. It’s a very simple scheme with 3 elements. One of them is zero and has no importance. So we are left with remaining two. Take negative out and you are going positive. Take positive out and you are going negative. As simple as that. Getting rid of positive is simple. One just needs to hurry spending all extra income on ‘stuff’ like furniture, skill chips, clothes, new gear. Going for uber mobs or experimenting with new professions are an option too. This way general hunting fund doesn’t ever go up and as going down is something pretty natural, soon player finds himself in position where he needs to deposit more to keep playing.

I’m not going to tell you here how great sweating and trading are and how evil updating gear and buying useless stuff are. We have our goals in this game and yes, we want to have fun buying new gear and going for bigger mobs. We need to skill and we want ModMerc, right? If we stick to opalo forever, we’ll never get a chance and whole playing becomes useless. We won’t stop doing all that. We just need to make sure these our expenses don’t get bigger than our income. We need to make things a bit more organized.

To spend money on whatever we want, we need to make it first. This is where we try to take out the negative, so our dynamics become positive. This is where compensation theory kicks in followed by the mighty scale. To make it work with 0 deposits and to get more freedom and logic in spending deposits we make, we need a scheme that will allow going up and down but never down to the point where we simply don’t have money to play with. The best option I came up with so far is simple compensating. If your gains are gains and your losses are compensated, then you will have positive dynamics whatever your ROI is.

Of course if you loose 10K peds for example, it would take lots of time and effort to get those back with trading or sweating. It’d be quite boring and turn the game into ‘job’ – something we don’t want to happen. That’s why the scale may be useful. It works like this: You break your gaming activities into several ‘levels’. I’ll use my own example to show how wide this scale may be, but it would make sense for players with less experience. Just some adjustments need to be made. My primary activity in the game is hunting. I do mining at times and it can fit it here too but I won’t count it for now to leave things as simple as possible.

My top level is: uber or semi-uber mobs (aurli, hogglo etc). Gear used: Angel, EMT ek2600, maddoxIV+Fi/Ra/CO Dante 2nd: high-average mobs (fat bulls, gokis, argos, troxes, longus, feffs etc) Gear used: Rascal or Angel depending on the mob, M2875+amp a104, ek2600 3rd: low-average mobs (argos in Twin, small molisks, corns up to Dominant, feffs up to Berseker etc). Gear used: Rascal or Kobold, Opalo + amp104/103, ek2600 (could be hunted naked but I like using no fap on such hunts) 4th: small mobs (exas, fouls up to scout, combibos etc). Gear: TT sword + ek2600 5th: no hunting, sweating or trading (I never got this low though) As you see, I don’t even bother using most effective setups possible. For example I hate the idea of standing in front of small mob and fapping with fap5. I’d rather spend 1-2peds occasionally using ek2600 to get my health 42 hps up from when it gets too risky. This model isn’t about counting every pec and doing things “right”. If it brings the result it means to bring, it’s fine no matter how wrong the way is. Now I just need to specify amount of peds needed to do decent hunt on each level. I came up with something like this: top: 800+ 2nd: 250-300+ 3rd: 100-150+ 4th: 20-30+ 5th: 0 I don’t have to stick to exact numbers and sometimes decision on what level to take comes from intuition if the amount of peds is somewhere in between but such numbers make sense for me. Loosing more than 50% on uber mobs (which is quite realistic) will still leave me enough peds to hunt on level 2. 50% or less return on those mobs (less realistic, usually such a gap allows more than 1 hunt on those) still leaves enough for level 3. This is what I call level X for me. Most of the time this is where I stay for some short time before going back up.

This is quite a stable system which makes me totally comfortable with loosing whatever amounts of peds I may loose as ‘compensations’ I make for these losses don’t come from months of sweating or RL $$ in deposits but from hunting itself. Just on smaller level. I keep skilling whatever stage I’m on. My rifle is smaller than HG, my LB is smaller than rifle, so whatever level I’m on, I do notice nice skills raise that adds to my total value. This scale is just an example. It won’t work for newbies of course. Some adjustments have to be made. May look something like: top: mid-mobs Gear: MK2, Rascal/Vigi Money: 150+ 2nd: low-mid: Gear: Opalo + amp, Rascal/Pixie Money: 80+ 3rd: small: Opalo (no amp), no armor/Pixie 10+ 4th: no hunting, sweating or trading. If you have few skills, you may find much harder to move 1 level up from hunting and you may want to upgrade your gear more regularly than I do, but at the same time your losses are much smaller (easier to compensate) and cost of updates is smaller too. Making 10 peds for level 3 isn’t a hard task and if you get lucky, you may jump 1 or even 2 levels up easily.

Now the key point here is to relax and stick to the levels you set yourself. It will get to feel quite comfortable pretty soon. You know you will most likely fail if you have too few ammo with you for some particular level and you won’t even enjoy it much as the hunt will be too short. Just take your time to get extra 2-3 peds for your smallest hunting level and enjoy it on its full. Getting compensations for such small thing is often a matter of couple of hours at max, usually just minutes.

Lowest level is 0 no matter of how skilled you are. You can’t get lower than that. And jumps between levels are quite small, so you won’t be stuck somewhere for long enough to feel tired and bored. The higher your skills are, the smaller possibility to reach lowest level is, you won’t be there often and it may actually feel nice for a change if you relax and enjoy it instead of getting stressed.

This scheme may seem like 0 system but in fact, there’s one thing that constantly goes up: our skills. It may sound surprising but ‘going down’ sometimes gives better results than living from one deposit to another to have a skilling blast. I used to do that myself and I had days and sometimes even weeks when I couldn’t skill waiting for another deposit. Now when I skill whenever I get online, it gives better results.

Another thing you may use to make sure you go up is buying and keeping things. Whenever you get HOF, you may consider spending part of it on buying new gear or putting it in your storage to form special ‘fund’ if item costs too much to buy it without going broke. I’d advise to leave enough money for hunting to stay at least on level you were at, even better to move 1 up for a change. If you loot something you don’t need yet but will need in future, you also better keep it. It’s better to make few more turns on lower levels with knowledge that your net worth became bigger. You can’t get broke, if you use the scale, you know. Selling skills is also a bad idea. it would be going down without any serious reason to.

Some words about attitude and some kind of Epilogue

We are always hurrying to get things. Some of those we don’t even need, but we keep hurrying. There’s nowhere to hurry in this game. Newer players, you’ve got a wonderful opportunity to play and upgrade quite a lot. Don’t worry, sooner or later you will get to the point where you’ll get really stuck. This is the way this game is. Is it really worth hurrying to get there paying additional hundreds of dollars to see ‘game over’ on your screen a bit sooner? As for more experienced players, I don’t see where you are hurrying at all. With big (more than reasonable) money or without, you are still damn far from your goals and skilling is an infinite proccess. This game is screwed up (I still love it but it is). It seems that spending thousands of dollars hunting uber mobs on the same spot for months doesn’t make your chances to loot something worthy any bigger than that newb who’ll come there, kill few mobs and get what you were waiting for, has. And even if one of hard depositors gets it, what’s the chance it will be you?

Loosing much money here leads to frustration. Most of the time you end up with lots of money paid for quite a painful experience (it’s not aimed at those who deposit and enjoy it but at those who deposit and complain later). I’d rather pay reasonable amount and play a game, Just a game, whatever MA thinks they are doing. I’d rather be in position of that noob pleasantly surprised by any extra prize I got than keep being pissed over something I failed to get. I used to be there, depositing lots of money just to get pissed after loosing them few hours later. I stopped enjoying the game at some point and took a break to re-think my game philosophy.

And you know what, it wasn’t as hard to adapt to this game as it seemed, I found lots of new fun things in here, learned to enjoy small and harmless things not any less than big ones and now I seriously don’t give a damn on how much money I loose as I know how to get them back without much effort. I hunt big mobs, I hunt small ones, I have chance to compare and see some patterns I’ve never noticed before. I’ve found that hunting uber mobs gets as boring as hunting smaller ones if there’s no change. Overall, frustration is totally gone and the game finally became the game. I don’t feel stressed anymore, I really enjoy whatever I’m doing and I have absolutely no plans to quit while many people around me did by now. I’m even going to deposit again when I get at least 50 peds/month balance in my Entropia life.

Btw, I forgot about deposits. Yes, being able to survive without those doesn’t mean you can’t or should not deposit anymore. For new players it’s a really nice way to speed things up skilling-wise, so they get to the point they can survive with hunting alone. They may even consider depositing double amounts for their first months to get there faster and make a depositing break a bit later. It’s a nice thing to do to upgrade gear (this way it will be direct investment, you won’t loose it). Sometimes deposits can be used to ‘cheat’ the scale a bit and get 1 or more jumps up faster. It’s worth making yourself presents like new clothes or apartment. Sometimes it can be used as funds for ultra-uneconomical fun hunts with friends or rig adventures. If you know that you can survive without deposits, if you do it because you choose to, not because you have to, it feels different. Much more easy and fun if you ask me. The reason I’ll be doing it again though is principles. I can earn money for living, I can afford contributing to the game I’m playing and paying some kind of fee is just one more thing that reminds me it’s just a game I’m playing even if I may get some money out in the end.

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