Entropia: A Distraction

For those few people that know me they know I really love my social computer games. Mostly MMO’s.

Entropia is one of those MMO’s that I mostly play when I feel the need to socialise but I don’t actually want to physically leave my office or I wish to work at the same time (I am slowly perfecting the art of working while playing games)

Normal MMO’s consist of a social group aspect to running around hunting monsters, some kind of mining or resource gathering and some crafting abilities to make the clothes armour or tools players use. Most people choose to do the first for the largest period of their playing time. A few people do the other two more often but it is often a little boring in comparison to the quest/mission system the game will have around hunting. World Of Warcraft is the best example of this kind of MMO.

I’m not really your normal MMO player, however. I don’t like World of Warcraft and even though there are elements of WoW in Entropia I don’t tend to play them at all.

Entropia is different to most MMO’s because it has what is called a real cash economy. Mostly this means there is a direct way to convert in game cash to real cash and vice versa. There is no subscription fee it just costs the in game dollers, Project entropia dollars, PED, to hunt, mine or craft. 10PED=$1 and if you have at least 1000PED in game you can transfer it out for $100. You can also transfer $10 in for 100PED if you wish. Every gun shot uses ammo which costs in game money, every mining probe you drop costs money and everything you craft uses resources that cost.

If you play sensibly and work withing your budget and in game skill it can be expected that any activity will return on a long term average about 90% of what you used in ammo, probes or resources. Everything you make, mine or loot however has two values attached to it. It has the game value that the little trade terminals will give you for the item (it’s TT value), which is what you measure the 90% by. On top of that, however, all items have another value assigned that players will pay above the TT value of the item (markup), and this can often determine whether you make money or not.

Assuming you’ve gone on a hunt with 50PED of ammo and your loot’s tt value comes to 45PED as the average dictates, if the markup on the 10PED of animal hide you looted is 160% you can sell that hide to another player for 16PED instead of back to the game for 10PED. That would give you an extra 6PED and make your total take home 51PED. Now you’ve made money. While this very very rarely happens on the lower end of the game when you hunt the things only low skilled people can hunt, there are a few very high skilled players that can hunt and loot so many items with high mark up on a regular basis that they earn enough money to live on every month. This isn’t why I play the game either though.

The game has many other ways an inventive player with a bit of sense and a good head for numbers can make money. Firstly and foremostly there is always an option in an MMO to be a trader of sorts. There is always some kind of auction or shop system in all games. In Entropia this is fairly easy as they have player owned shops and a way to buy two resources, combine them using a in game tool, and sell the resulting product for slightly more than the resources and tool use cost.

I’ve also found hunters will occasionally pay another person to run around after them as they hunt with a first aid pack, making sure they don’t die. When the hunt is over the person healing gets paid the decay of their first aid pack and a tip. Seeing as the healer gains valuable first aid skills and gets paid for doing so this can be quite a relaxing and social way to spens a few hours. Often a lot of conversation goes back and fourth between healer and hunter.

But how do you do either of these while working? Well in truth I don’t. Trading and healing are activities I reserve for when not working. While I am typing up hand written manuscripts, however, I like to do something called gathering sweat. Yeah I know it sounds gross and theoretically it is I suppose. Basically you stand in a circle with a bunch of other people aiming your sweat gun at a great huge sweaty monster and let it beat you up while your tool drags all the sweat off it and stores it in a bottle. When the monster has no sweat (takes about 5-7 minutes) you drown the thing in the nearest lake and find another. While its just dragging sweat I can go do something else then pay attention for ten seconds till I’ve got a new monster in focus and continue on with my work for 5-6 minutes, rinse and repeat.

The sweat bottles are then sold to other players for a mark up and made into something the players can use to teleport around with. Voila I’ve made a little bit of the in game cash to have fun with later and all while I was working. I do only do this on off days though when I’m havign touble focusing and I am just typing up something I wrote a while ago. I find I have to shut of all distractions if I am writing something new.

So far however my entropia net worth from the above three activities amounts to approx 2800PED which is $280 or approx £160. Not bad considering I’ve never transfered money in and I only play it for fun.

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