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A different take on SEE Virtual Worlds buying Planet Calypso

Discussion in 'Entropia News' started by NotAdmin, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. NotAdmin

    NotAdmin Administrator


    Back in December, EntropiaPlanets broke the story that First Planet Company (FPC) was sold to SEE Virtual Worlds. We had suspicions before that, partially based on information MindStar9 was given by an unidentified investor in the SEE company, but until then, conclusive proof was lacking, and we wanted to try and follow proper journalist conduct, and ensure we had our sources covered.

    So now it is official. Marco made the announcement a few days ago, and launched a renewed Q&A to celebrate the new partnership. Entropians responded en masse, but the general tendency seemed to be negative towards the idea. It seems a lot of players are afraid that resources will be diverted from working on Planet Calypso, and instead will be preparing for the launch of Planet Michael, with Calypso taking the backseat. Others seemed to focus on getting answers to questions not directly related to the takeover, but more on getting existing systems and bugs addressed. Overall, the general attitude towards the purchase seemed to be not very positive.

    In this article, I hope to try and focus on why SEE acquiring First Planet Company might be a good thing. Let's start with trying to shine a more favorable light on Planet Michael.

    To many, Michael Jackson was a controversial figure. Few, however, will argue that the man's music did not have a profound and everlasting influence on the music scene of the 80s and, to a lesser extent, the 90s. Michael's album Thriller remains the best-selling album of all times, having been sold over 110 million times. Add to that, three of his other albums are also on the list of best-selling albums worldwide - his 4 listed albums sold a total of 180 million copies, dwarfing such other musical giants present on the list, such as Madonna (96 million), Pink Floyd (75 million) and The Beatles (63 million) - and you would have to admit that the man was a major musical pioneer. Source: Wikipedia.

    As such, Planet Michael is bound to pull in literally thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people who will want to see exactly what this new planet is about. Fact: when news about Planet Michael was first released, it was picked up all over the world, generating more buzz about Entropia Universe than any other news article ever before. It made (among others) the telegraph, ABC News, the Huffington Post, and USAToday, all not typically known for reporting on gaming news. Clearly, enough interest was sparked by the news, making me believe that when Planet Michael launches, it will attract sufficient interest to make the planet sustainable. If the planet is updated regularly after initial launch, and manages to be captivating enough to keep pulling gamers back in, it might also succeed with regard to retention rate, an area that Calypso severely is lacking in.


    This also leads to another opportunity. Lots of players will undoubtedly create an account to try out Planet Michael. Scheduled for late 2011, by the time Planet Michael will open its doors, it will encompass Planet Calypso, ROCKtropia, Next Island, Planet Arkadia, and possibly Planet Cyrene. Should Planet Michael turn out not to be what newcomers are looking for, they might be enticed to explore one of the other planets. In any case, whenever advertising about Planet Michael is released, it will generate news about MindArk, Entropia Universe, and probably some of the other planets will also be mentioned. If not explicitly in a press release, there will be journalists and bloggers digging into the matter, and finding out about these other planets.

    Attention and interest from players is one thing, but undoubtedly, investors will also be captivated by the opportunity to generate money in these new virtual worlds SEE will be developing. More money backing a project will lead to faster development time, and probably longer sustainability, where the need to off-load fixed costs (housing, employees) will not directly be passed off onto the players. And with more players to distribute costs, it might mean less of a burden on individuals. In other words, it might actually ensure that the game will end up being cheaper to play.

    Speaking of employee costs, undoubtedly SEE will have an influence on the way the new company is run as well. Not only might this influence the way employees are managed, but it might also lead to faster responses, and perhaps the shedding of the "laid-back" Swedish mentality that the community has noticed a few times over the years.

    The concept of the planet might be radically different from what most of us have grown accustomed to when it comes to virtual worlds or MMORPGs, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Instead, I strongly feel that this is a major positive in SEE acquiring First Planet Company. SEE has shown themselves to be able to totally think outside the box, which might in turn reflect on Planet Calypso, hopefully leading to something truly refreshing happening there, instead of the year-old MA/FPC concept: "Let's spawn a bucket load of MOBs in a few locations for a few weeks, invent some weak story to accompany it, and call it an innovative event" that has been used so often.


    Due to its nature, there also might be another market connected to Planet Michael that has the potential to truly revolutionize the Entropia Universe experience. The WII was one of the first gaming platforms to really hit off on the "involving your own physical body in the gaming experience," and this has rubbed off on the PSP and Xbox. Perhaps, in order to fully utilize the coolest dancing moves, we will soon be seeing hardware devices that will allow you to control your avatar. While making dance moves on a USB or battery-powered "dance mat" might not quite be the same as being your avatar, it would allow for people to feel the bond to their avatars more closely.

    Due to the Hollywood experience that SEE has, I also foresee a major possibility of real-life items dropping. What about the possibility of looting a trip to Michael's theme park Neverland for instance? Record labels might be interested in handing out copies of new albums released under their labels to enthusiastic gamers. The possibilities are literally endless! The Hollywood connections SEE has might also lead to other interesting developments. I could perhaps imagine myself looting a ticket to a hunt together with Gary Oldman, or winning an interactive online guitar master class with Mark Knopfler.

    Another positive development is that inquiries to SEE have generally been answered in a very timely fashion, whereas similar inquiries to FPC remained unanswered. SEE obviously believes in communicating with interested parties, and hopefully that will end up rubbing off on FPC and Planet Calypso as well.

    As a closing note, we have managed to secure an interview with SEE Digital Studios about the transfer of First Planet Company to SEE Digital Studios for the upcoming March issue of the EntropiaTimes, so be sure to stay tuned!
  2. MindStar9

    MindStar9 Floating in Space

    Awesome article Peter, and I like that you took a more objective and critical thinking position in writing it. Despite my own personal frustrations over the years regarding how our universe was delivered to us, and the fact that it has become incredibly costly to play (including eco efforts), I really think that SEE taking over FPC has potential for being more beneficial than not, and for all the reasons you mentioned in your article.

    In spite of being vocal in the past about disappointment in how we've been treated as the most valuable asset this universe has, I'm willing to see what this new development will bring us, and whether it will end up more than just talk with no walk. Keep in mind we're looking at two different management styles here, and someone else is driving the bus, so I'm hoping some detours will lead us to the ultimate place we want to be - especially with Calypso. Even though the same development team for Calypso is still in place, my hope is, that SEE will openly and critically take a look at what our long-term frustrations have been and address them in some way.

    I'm at least willing to give them an opportunity to prove to us they have what it takes to turn this around, but ... I too also hope that Planet Michael will not bump the much needed work that still needs to be done with Calypso.

    Thank you Lykke and Peter for the consistent delivery of quality news and information EP shares with the community. You guys continue to drive your own bus in the most exceptional manner possible. I wish I could be more active with the magazine right now, but you guys know why. :) At least I'm still on staff for the brainstorming and marathon editing we do, and I'm there when I can free myself - I just can't write at this point in time.

    I'm looking forward to the interview in the March issue of the EntropiaTimes. :)
  3. Just because there is a lot of MJ fans - I dont think you can conclude there are many MJ fans who will participate in an MMORPG such as Entropia Universe (or any other mmorpg).
    If, however, we say for arguments sake that there is a huge userbase - what would they expect? And if they expect a "place" like second life or perhaps a game as "the sims" for either the ability to conduct a "social life" in the settings of a MJ themed place or "dress up" as MJ, or even to "dance around" as you suggest.. What would they then get?

    Well first off - I dont think the price tags on the various items needed for an MJ universe (makeup - HINT HINT), fancy clothes or big scenes will attract anyone.
    I cant imagine how the revenue stream from a "social universe" (which would be the incentive for MJ planet) would work? What - we can now have dance competitions a'la "So you think you can dance" and if you do good, you get a lot of loot - but you wear down your shoes?...

    Secondly I dont think that if this, in my opinion, limited userbase, would like something else - that it then would be either a sci-fi universe as Planet Calypso - or secondly a deserted planet as RT og next island. What this game lacks is "intelligent quests" and activities. That could bring in far more people than the "point and click" activities in the game now.

    Source please? So far, since I started in 2002 the inflation and "play costs pr hour" has only increased, and this is with previous cash injections from investors and the entering of MindArk into the swedish stock market. How do you justify it will be different now?

    LOL.. Swedes are lazy you say.. fair enough.. I dont necessarily think so, but you seem to - so why would the injection of new cash to the game change how fast the game is developed?

    Does the system MindArk provides give the opportunity to do anything BUT to spawn mobs on location Y?....

    LOL.. MA is a software company and not a hardware company. Besides, with the current skill of their employees in regards to bug fixes, new possibilities, utilization of the Cry-engine and so on - do you honestly think they will be able to incorporate a whole new piece of hardware designed for the game?

    Sure, and then the legal and logistical barriers starts. Do you pay tax on an album you get from Sony USA.. What about a person from rural Uganda winning a trip to a themepark in the US - who pays for his expenses in going there?

    So did MA when EU started. Marco more or less lived in the mIRC channel answering questions 24/7.. MA never had better support than when it was a garage company.

    Will do...
  4. Seriously you just saved me a lot of time saying exactly what i was thinking.

    While i'm hopefuly of things i stop trying to look to the future of what Entropia will/should be and just try to focus on what i can enjoy now if it. Because otherwise i just get pissed off.
  5. Lykke TheNun

    Lykke TheNun Lootius bless you all!

    Perhaps not, however Planet Michael - Games/Toys | Facebook - I guess 9,700 friends is something :) And everything 'something' might be good for the game ... I guess we have to wait and SEE :D

    - New mentoring system
    - New avatar creating system
    - Taming hasnt been brought back
    - Beacons are still missing
    - Make up ...
    - Tutorial competition still needs to be adressed
    - Shops got moved around (took them two years to tell ppl that some shops where not usable)
    ... etc.

    This might 'only' be MA, but my personal hope is, that the more PP companies NOT tied up with MA already coming into this Universe might 'move' some of those barriers all players (I dare to say with nearly no exceptions) have been feeling/experienced.

    Everything can be bend :) the listed features are, as I SEE it, a creative flow of thoughts of the possibilities lieing within the planet concept. Nothing less and nothing more.

    Great :D
  6. How many are people who dident know about EU before, and how many of those ppl will actually play the game.. and how many of those will deposit.. Then you have the actual number that will be interresting.

    - New mentoring system - Core system FPC, SEE, Arkadia or anyone else cant do anything about that.
    - New avatar creating system - Core system FPC, SEE, Arkadia or anyone else cant do anything about that.
    - Taming hasnt been brought back - Core system FPC, SEE, Arkadia or anyone else cant do anything about that.
    - Beacons are still missing - Core system FPC, SEE, Arkadia or anyone else cant do anything about that.
    - Make up ... - Core system FPC, SEE, Arkadia or anyone else cant do anything about that.
    - Tutorial competition still needs to be adressed - FPC, so yeah...
    - Shops got moved around (took them two years to tell ppl that some shops where not usable) - FPC, so yeah..

    MindArk or FPC has never lacked creative intents. Its the implementation of new system that has always lagged. And since it will always be MA that creates the system then if anything, it will go slower per planet partner once more planets arrive. Cars took how long? And the recent "huge battleships in space with 100 crew members manning different stations" ... How long do you honestly think will go by before we even get the hangars back?

    There is a difference between looking at the future as something bright, and just being ignorant.
    If MA had a trackrecord of 50/50 in regards to up-holding their promises in terms of development time, new features, effects of new elements to the game and MA as a corporation. Then sure, id give them the benefit of the doubt - but now I try to analyze their statements instead of taking them for granted.... Does it make sense on a basic level, with the previous track record of MindArk and their planet partners (NEVERDIE) that creating a "Planet Michael" will be something different than just shooting zombies in a "thriller setting" and does it make sense that this move should lower the average play cost for us? I dont think so - you are free to think what you want but I struggle to figure out why you think so given the trackrecord.

  7. Lykke TheNun

    Lykke TheNun Lootius bless you all!

    Well, luckily we have different approach to things, SF - and I'm not usually just plain positive either. But if we were not all different, it would be pretty difficult for any new planet partner to have their spot in our universe - and then I would be sertain EU would go dead. So thank Lootius for that ^^
  8. Seems like 1.000 ppl just left the group...

    LOL.. just read some of the "What would you like to see from Planet Michael". Read and consider how well it will play into the game mechanics.
    (And it has to - remember its all linked together)

    So they want a website dedicated to MJ.. or watch a documentary.... And they will get: "shoot zombies in a thriller video-setting"
  9. GeorgeSkywalker

    GeorgeSkywalker Explorer

    probably be more like dance with zombies :P

    Will certainly be interested what kind of missions they have on Planet Michael and other gameplay. The help children in need looks like a good suggestion that will probably be in the game but we wait and see...
  10. We cant dance now.. And how many new features were introduced when the first - and therefore arguable most important - new planet was launched. RockTropia .. a place where by NDs own words would be a place to celebrate rock and roll.. and where you could hook up with your favorite band, listen into concerts.. and so on... Which of those features were implemented on the first planet where MA by any amount of logic had to prove their concept towards other investors.
  11. MindStar9

    MindStar9 Floating in Space

    I have to agree that MA doesn't have a very good track record, and I have been quite vocal about how our universe has not only been delivered to us, but also about how we've been treated as end users.

    However, since learning that Planet Partners design their own planets and MA does all the coding, I also have taken into consideration the decisions of the planet partners in how they have approached evolving their planets. I now don't slap MA's hand so much, as they can only work with what they're given. Granted, there are systems that MA is responsible for, and for this we should absolutely hold them accountable, but I don't believe they deserve all of the blame for what we aren't given on any specific planet.

    We can speculate who does what, what is or isn't available to planet partners at any one time, as well as the choices they all make in the design and evolution of their planet, but only they and MA know that for sure. However, the one thing I do know for sure is that it is my belief that we shall see the emergence of a whole new breed of planet partner starting with Arkadia. I feel strongly that they will set the bar and the standard for at least the critical thinking that goes into developing a planet, and a whole lot more.

    We have seen their progression play out not only at their official planet website, but also at their official forum where they have engaged the community in many aspects of their development. They have given us storyline from day one of the announcement that Dave (Ozi) made about creating a planet, and have shared with us the design of some items through videos. For my PED, they have done everything right with regard to engaging the community in their project, and I am willing to bet that right out the gate, we will see the missions and the blueprints (although my understanding is that blueprints are a challenge), as well as a properly designed newbie area.

    With regard to SEE ... I feel that with new management and business style, there's a greater potential for moving in a more positive direction. This could also mean that what is done with Calypso (what's missing, what we need) will have a different focus. Obviously Martin Biallas (CEO, SEE VW) sees potential, and he never would have bought FPC and the rights to Calypso if he also didn't have a game plan. True, the original development team for Calypso is still present (and they haven't been completely off course), but with new management, maybe new leadership will take the time to evaluate where we're at and where we need to go.

    As far as Planet Michael is concerned ... granted, it's not for everyone, and we can only speculate at this point in time how the planet will be developed, but there's no denying that when it comes to Michael Jackson, there's a huge fan base from young to old, and with the right marketing and presentation of the planet, I believe there is great potential. Of course the other side of this is, that MA has to do their part to keep up with the expansion of the universe, and for all we know, perhaps that's something in the works. I have been told that there is confidence that they will do their part just fine, but again, that is yet to be seen based on our personal history with such.

    I have seen and experienced much in almost 6 years in this universe, and despite being vocal about my frustrations, I still love the concept and the potential that Entropia has, so I'm accepting this new direction as a maybe that it can get turned around. The Planet Partners have to do their jobs too, and I'm willing to give time to the unveiling of exactly where SEE is going with this new development of not only taking over Calypso, but giving us future planets as well.

    We can only speculate ... but SEE will present the facts in due time! Loss of "likes" at Facebook is not a testament to how this will turn out - it only means that some don't like the idea of a Planet Michael, and these people are also voicing their opinions in the forums as well, so not unusual. We can all twist and turn this to however we feel it suits our own personal beliefs, but it will only be opinion and speculation until the facts of where everything is going is revealed. I'm willing to wait for the facts and the unveiling with future VU's. If it wasn't new management with fresh ideas, then I might think differently, but I want to discover where SEE is going with all of this.
  12. NotAdmin

    NotAdmin Administrator

    What if SEE does implement Planet Michael as a totally different concept than you currently assume? What if they instead of coussing on the gambling system we have now, focus on Micro-Transactions, instead? Micro-Transactions and places like FarmVille etc have proven to be a viable and profitable concept. Just because Calypso works in one way, and NEVERDIE copied that trick for ROCKTropia, and essentially, Next Island, does not mean that that is all the platform is limited to.

    Intelligent quests would not save Calypso in its current form, if you ask me. Quests alone didn't save it. Then again, whoever came up with the idea of "kill 10k mobs" really did not get the idea of quests/missions to begin with. And why are you focussing on the existing userbase? The whole idea behind planet partners and their planets is that they reach out to a totally different crowd, rather than feed on - and canibalize - the existing playerbase.

    Because in my opinion, MindArk has always focussed on short-term investments. With the amount of money SEE has backing it, I can only assume they are in it for the long haul. The long haul means you ensure that the people you work hard on getting to sign up are not tossed aside easily after you plucked their 100 bucks. Again, try and step out of the box that you seem to have been conditioned into.

    I did not say that. I merely said that the community does seem to think there's a particular mentality to the way things have been handled over the last few years, with for example the entire MA staff going on holiday right when Club NEVERDIE was meant to be released, leaving ND stuck with a broken asteroid for several weeks, and missing a stadium (which, 5 years later, *still* has not been delivered). I personally get the feeling that there's a lack of "care" with how Calypso is handled. Stuff is rushed ahead, and then left unfinished. The egg, the orbs, the anti-climatic Harbinger event, and the list goes on. I'm hoping that new management will ensure that kind of stuff will stop happening.

    Maybe not. Your guess is as good as mine. If you read interviews with planet partners so far, upcoming planet partners sure seem to think they can do things differently, though. And perhaps now that Calypso is run by an entity that is not essentially an off-shoot from MindArk, it will be possible to put some more pressure on MindArk to change the existing systems. Just because it has not been possible before, does not mean it will forever be impossible. Come on, SF. If everyone thought in that way, we'd still be waiting for vehicles and missions.

    We can use keyboards, mice and mics, can we not? Just because something is "new hardware" does not neccessarrily mean a whole new input control system has to be created for it. The WII Fit pad essentially does not do much more than send "LEFT", "RIGHT", "FORWARD" and "BACK" commands.

    I can only say again that I think you ought to stop focussing on possible problems you foresee. I will immediately admit that I, too, have been dissappointed by the course Calypso has taken, not to mention the implementation of ROCKTropia and Next Island. But I simply do not see the acquiring of FPC by SEE as a bad thing at all. These guys and girls have shown that they are capable of coming up with new and fresh ways to look at the Entropia Universe, instead of just copy/pasting what has already been done. That strongly makes me believe they will employ that same mindset when it comes to existing systems. Sure, they will have to put up a fight with MindArk over it, but now that FPC no longer exists, and has no official connections with MindArk anymore (I never could shake the idea that Marco in his position as FPC CEO had little power or influence, as he essentially was running a direct daughter company of MA), they are in a much better position to do so.
  13. hulyss

    hulyss Unlimited

    I just want Calypso running as it was 6 years ago. I want some true entropia soul back again. I want to buy old game to run it :)
  14. Yes.. I completely agree. Here's my raw opinion.
    Calypso starts out as the entire game, by MindArk.
    From time to time MindArk needs additional cash - thus events which will attract major newspapers are put into motion.
    - The huge ATH by Leeloo mountain (+100.000 K PEDs) just happened to happen while MA was present at a game convention...
    - Treasure Island was sold - Guinness world record.
    - Cars appear in Hades Heim C (show cars, was this 2005 or so? - and when did cars actually arrive?).. I seem to recall MindArk wanted to show real world companies that they could advertise their products ingame.
    - CND was sold to ND for another record breaking amount.
    - The egg.. ohh the egg.
    - MA goes brankrupt and starts a new MA (or dident it go brankrupt, but just started a new MA?)
    - MA is split up into MA, who provides the system, and FPC that delivers the content.

    You see, those events does not bear the hallmarks of a company with a long term strategy but rather it looks as a result of a board meeting that in a panic tries to either pull in some publicity or generate fast income.

    And of course then we have RockTropia and NextIsland.
    Im sorry to say this - ND is a very nice person - but those two planets have absolutely nothing to offer.
    The point and original idea as explained by MindArk would be that there were planet partners who operated their own planets. This is true, they do. But consider this - MindArk has always claimed that EU is not a game but rather an immersible experience where you could "live your life in a new settlement on a far far away planet in a far far away future" - sort'a like starwars or startrek. I honestly do belive this is what they wanted. But since per Entropia Tracker annual report, they have a best estimate of like 10.000 active players (active in the sense that they contribute to the economy and not just pull server resources), it becomes clear that with the massive server costs, employee costs and so on. Each participant has to "loose a lot of money" each month. As we are already on the breaking point they had to loosen the demands for the themes of the new planets - so as to attract more planet partners. With the flamboyant nature of ND and his wallet size + investors like Motorhead (??!?!? - this wasent a clue???) he could create the rather "random" worlds of a "rock planet" and add minerals like "jazz rock" to the game economy. Needless to say the outcry of the population was noticable! And the daily turnover on those planets as, again, shown by Entropia Tracker clearly shows that those planets are not exactly turning out a big profit for ND.

    This is one analysis of the situation. Another analysis could be that MindArk simply never had any demands as to the themes of the planets - they would welcome anyone with a wallet.

    Both of those scenarios are cause for much concern in my opinion. As the first scenario clearly shows that MindArk is having a lot of money trouble - the second scenario shows that MindArk only cares about profit and not the customer experience. I fear that the worst scenario is the second scenario as this is a fundamental concept for the game - "MindArk dosent care about the feel of the universe". The first scenario shows that MindArk needs to understand the economics of the game better - this is also scary, but it can be improved.

    I lean towards scenario 1. Here's why.
    When I started in 2002 or 2003 there were no L items. MindArk could have said to them self that such a system will not work. Its basic math to understand that if you give the user an item (in loot) that will never break - as it can be repaired again and again. MindArk will never win on this item - unless the decay on the item is insane. But they had some of the least decaying items back then. Adj Hero, Adj V1, Adj M61A5 and so on.. And the rest of the items were fine as well, look at Mk2, FF4400.. Decent decay not too much.

    One could think that with the limited continued income from those item, and the introduction of new L items they would have thought "right we need to make sure we keep earning on the elements we introduce to the game". And next thing added to the game is the addition of custom global messages, Trade terminals and Teleporters on the user owned LandAreas.
    Wouldent you know - again they set a one time price on those items, and set it so high that not a lot of ppl would want to buy it.

    Instead of that - make it like the L items.
    1500 PED / month for the custom global messages. Then I bet you more than double the amount of custom global messages would appear ingame as oppose to what we have now.

    Right now there is 11 LandAreas with the custom global message, clocking in at : 275.000 PED income for MA. This is one time, and all they will ever earn on those.
    Lets assume that with the subscription there will be 15 LandAreas per month who will subscribe to the global messages. Every year MindArk will then make: 270.000 PED ... EVERY YEAR..

    So, this is why I lean towards scenario 1, that MindArk needs money - but they dont know how to make money, so they just "pee their pants" to keep warm - which results in "Jazz rock", deserted planets and now a "MJ planet" where by the looks of it from facebook people expect to see videos of MJ's life......

    Arkadia is the first planet with conforms to the original idea of Entropia Universe and I am yet to hear anyone say anything negative about Arkadia.
  15. hulyss

    hulyss Unlimited

    I completely agree with your objective post.

    Do you think it is possible to run a game like the original PE, with a little team to improve the game brio engine at his maximum potential, an RCE too and with little resources (like medium server so with a limitation of max number of player ingame) ?

    My understanding of the PE experience (cause for me its a sociological and scientific experience before a game) is that players are loyal to something who sound "familiar". They hook feelings on the game. My guess is that a game like PE can live forever with little community, making it something more "carfted ", less risky and more durable.

    The problem, from my window, is that Mindark wanted to develop. And that's very bad. Mindark, as many other enterprises, can survive without such development. For example for the implementation of CE2, like in EvE online, MA should have ran a dedicated test server where every body were able to act and improve the "feeling" transfer.

    They wanted to go too far in no time.

    EDIT: here is what I mean with family spirit : "Aging together" The dev. team and the players age together, years after year the "link" Strengthen himself.

    Its what happen ingame actually with old players (like me) but in a wrong way. Like a couple who have problems but never want to sort it.
  16. Hi,

    great article!

    What I don't get is just how a MJ planet would work in EU.

    Guess we can take as given:

    • MA will keep the control over all non-cosmetic development: The planet partners (PP) may design landscapes, weapons, mobs, missions, but the code/ the game mechanics behind will come from MA.
    • MA will keep the control over all financial transactions: Currency is the PED, depositing/ withdrawing is made via MA, loot as such (maybe not loot tables) is controlled by MA. The PP get a share (or more) of the money their planets generate for MA, according to the contracts.
    • The Entropia Universe isn't meant as a collection of completely different games, more a common game engine and a common platform that can be used by the PP in a quite small scale to create a different experience. This excludes the use of non-compatible mechanics on the different planets.
      Sure, one planet may not allow the use of specific kinds of weapons/ armor/ mechanics, the PP would be able to use a subset of the game mechanics. But anything new and ground breaking would have to be implemented by MA.
    • There will be travel among the planets. Players will be able to visit other planets. There might be "closed planets" I cannot help to fear, with no way to leave them, or to go to, but these then wouldn't have much influence for this discussion. They just would wash more money into MA's pockets, and the Gothenburg Ferrari dealers would rejoice.
    This is from what I believe to have read in the recent years, I'm quite sure I'd find the suiting "official quotes". Correct me if I'm wrong, and excuse my laziness to search for them now, plz. I assume you have read them, too.

    Now let's have a look at the people that might be interested in a Michael Jackson Planet. We already read a little about their expectations, thx, Starfinder!

    I might be wrong, but I imagine a more young audience (30- ?), most of them no dedicated game freaks, most of them without the immense patience and perseverance the MMO pro's have learned. MJ fans, interested in a MJ game.

    At least 50% of the initial curious newcomers for MJ planet will run in horror after:

    1. ... realizing they have just started a multi-GB download that will block their computer for hours
    2. ... realizing that after their multi-GB download they'll need to download more multi-GB patches or "dynamic content"
    3. ... realizing that, after having spent days/ nights to download all this, the installer still doesn't install. And not even tells them that they'd need to search, find and install/ update some ominous drivers, runtimes, libraries, whatever.
    4. ... they then just miserably fail at the immense hardware requirements of the CE2 engine, after the multi-GB download, after the multi-GB patches, after the searches in the forums, after the surgery at the open heart of their operating system.
    The common not-gamer has no idea what CE2 is, and just expects that a game runs with a reasonable effort, on a reasonable yesterdays machine. Even if it has an Intel-on-board-GFX, or a cheap, memory sharing GFX, or low RAM, or just one core - WoW, Minecraft, Farmville, SL and a lot of other games run on it, so when EU doesn't? "What a crap! Forget it!"

    Sure, some will take this barrier. Let's look further.
    (I assume, as mentioned before, that Planet MJ is connected with the other Entropia Universe. Else this discussion would be pointless, because it wouldn't have any beneficial effect.)

    One of the first tasks a newbie on a Planet MJ would face would be to acquire a distinct outfit. They all might start as Michael/ Janet clones in worn out OJ's ("Orange Jacksons", or whatever), but since connected they'd need to share the usual cloth making experience of all EU participants.

    Means: Acquiring insane amounts of materials for the basic tailoring/ texturing/ coloring BP's. Then grinding on them for weeks until realizing that some ppl already came from Calypso, with insane skills, dominating the market. No offense to these, I'd really like them to finally harvest the fruits of their insane grind!

    But the MJ Planet newcomer will be frustrated. In this universe a newcomer cannot do more but to grind skills, and collect close-to-worthless junk, in the hope some distant day it would be enough to actually get a 0.5 PED profit when selling ... And EU is the most hardcore grinder I ever experienced. Progress is counted in years. I doubt that much of the MJ fans, coming to have fun, save the children, and plant flowers, will endorse it.

    Next: in game videos/ shows/ concerts.

    Rocktropia has already shown that it's impossible, else they already would have this big-mouthed announced feature. CE2 (in acceptable resolution & acceptable game settings) already eats up this much processor time, even on dedicated gamer machines, that decoding Flash, MP4 or other modern video formats additionally, at the same time, is out of reach for anyone but the owners of most expensive top-notch machines. Try it yourself!

    And solutions like "swap game, start player" make no sense as long as there isn't most exclusive material available - and I doubt anybody having such would use it in a relative small-scaled environment like EU. There's ways more promising ways available already to earn ways more of it.

    So where would the benefit be for a small, cute, furry MJ fan? What would he/ she/ it get in EU that he/ she/ it wouldn't get easier, and cheaper, elsewhere? MJ planet, IMHO, is DOA.

    And actually continuing the development of MJ planet makes me think that SEE might have been fallen into the same hole of reality distortion as NeverDie. Knowing that they are now the owners of Calypso makes me shudder.

    My last hope is now the new, upcoming PP, and the foreseeable crashing of SEE. Maybe then the PP will realize that MA is strangling them, and will order their lawyers to the battle. The old MA staff has shown over and over that they're not able to develop this potential gold mine of a game, and they should be sent into the desert as soon as possible, IMHO.

    Maybe the game we love would have a chance then, after all of these missed chances. But to be honest, I'm pessimistic about.

    Have fun!
  17. Yes I think its very possible. I would make some changes to the game mechanics tho.
    1: introduce monthly subscriptions. Most games as WOW and EVE charge anywhere from 12 to 20 USD per month, set the subscription at like 5 USD/ month.
    This will have two effects on the game. The first effect is that all the "social 3D chatters" would go away. Right now the contribute to the server stress and the scale of the programming tasks on new releases, but they generate no income. Secondly it would generate a base income for the company each month.
    All monthly subscriptions are going straight to MA - and NOT returned to the loot pool.

    2: The loot pool is capped off at 1000 PED max for loots (or close by). No more 150.000 PED loots.
    This combined with the guaranteed income from subscriptions should increase the average return for the individual participant, while ensuring that MA makes a few USD.

    3: Remove non L items.
    All imk2's, adj V1's, Mod faps and so on must go.
    They distort the game economy too much. Introduce similar items (stats wise) but make them L.

    4: Hire a balancing manager who understands supply and demand versus economy of the items.
    Example: There might be an item thats just as good as an imk2, but if that on average performs at 105% - meaning that MA is paying out 5% to the participant who uses this item, while the average item performs at 90%. Then this item should in acquisition should make up for that.

    See it as this:
    The item in question is at optimal usage possible to generate 1050 PED, thus a normal item would have generated 900 PED. Then the good item should be (at full TT) valued 150 PED higher than the "normal item". It is then the balancing managers job - using auction data - to make sure that item spawns enough to drive the market to that price.

    Its not rocket science and I dont understand why MA hasent done stuff like this....
    • Like Like x 1
  18. NotAdmin

    NotAdmin Administrator

    Legal implications mostly, is my guess. They simply cannot disown items players paid real money for without creating a massive legal stink.

    And if they would ever convert to a subscription-based MMORPG, there's bucketloads of games out there that are more fun to play than Planet Calypso. The RCE is about the only right of existence the game has. I would definitly be in favour of a capping of the loot pool, though I expect that would at the same time also drive away the hardcore gamblers, and those who play the game professionally, relying on the game to provide them with income.
  19. They have done so in the past when the changed how crafting worked - many of the "uber crafters" got a full set of shadow as compensation or a selection of new bluebrints - so they have done this exact move in the past.

    The RCE element would not disappear. Add a monthly - minimal - subscription WHILE keeping the RCE aspect.
    Think of it this way - you buy stocks, then the bank takes a certain amount of money to do the transaction, but you can still "win" on the value of the stocks.
  20. hulyss

    hulyss Unlimited

    Im not really ok with this. I prefer so far modifying them like in real life:

    - Remove all L items from the game.
    - Continue making items and new items with the actual storyline brands (Ashley & Perrin, Omegaton ...)
    - Modifies all items in parts. That mean u keep Ur item but parts of him break. The break time of the parts is random (like today with enhancers). But the hull of Ur gun, scope, detector >> decay over the time. A little decay but a normal decay. So, at one time, u will have to repair Ur gun to continue to replace L parts who compose it.

    Thus it introduce new professions or more professions and an another vision of the game play:

    - A society can be specialized in on gun, that mean they have the blueprints and the level to craft all parts, from the hull to the trigger >> thus maintain the competition between players to get the Blueprints.

    - Actual professions will be enhanced and much more specialized. For me, ppl like Buzz should not exist. That mean that when u start the game u can choose only two professions (more would be very very very hard). For example hunting/armor coating crafting (because armor will be composed of hundred parts, not only 7). An item will be the result of a very big team work who should be studied to generate incomes. But at the end u have 7 parts of armor, composed with many parts who can break. The coating will break before the rest but the rest will break one day.

    So the guy would choose two professions, like it is possible irl, and specialize into it during years of dedication. For the guy, it will be impossible to build himself a whole armor. This will fucking break forever any monopoly out of the game. Society would need very specialized armor assemblers (who will need skills in soldering, gluing ...).

    Same for any attachments, any scope, Amp, finders ...

    The key of the economy is to make PE look like irl as much as it can. So a much much much more complex crafting. IMO PE should be more pushed than EvE in crafting.

    EDIT: Hooo yea :) The possibility to loot some hulls too :) (rare)

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