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Entropia Universe: Are all Planet Partners equal?

Discussion in 'Entropia News' started by NotAdmin, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. I agree, Calypso is the initial test-bed for existing features; it must take time for MA to know if something works or not in practice... It is also probably the test-bed for new features (as it has the biggest player-base) which must cost a lot to impliment, so maybe there is some favouritism in here.
  2. Hi,

    guess I'll write one more post ;-)

    About this test-bed thingie:
    You're serious with this? Life testing in an RCE at all, and then on the one planet where the very most people can be hurt? This looks like a very strange strategy to me, cannot help.

    Well, let's imagine a developer that has made a small program & sold it to several companies. It's a program that is very helpful in the accounting area, and bugs in this program would cost RealCash (tm) to the customers, and reputation to the dev.

    Our Developer has developed a cool new feature now, has tried it inside out himself, thinks that this is OK. What will he do:
    [ ] A.) He puts it into his update repository, all customers get it at next program start, and if they don't click OK too fast, they will even learn what it will do.

    [ ] B.) He puts it onto his test server, where all customers have access, and notifies them that a new test build is available. With a detailed description of the new function, and the kind request to have a look at it, and to give feedback.
    Maybe he'd even offer small incentives (discounts for the license fees?) for the time his customers spend in his testing sandbox, and for a feedback?

    What have you voted for? A.)? Then I only can give you one well-meant advice: Don't develop things you want to sell. You'll not sell much, and not for long.

    For sure our developer, being a smart and honorable coder, uses the B.) option.
    This way he receives feedback for very little money, if started in early states of the implementation he can check if the customers really want this new feature at all (saving hours & hours of coding in case of: no), and a lot of the unavoidable bugs will be found before the initial release. His customers will love him, and his reputation will grow.

    He has a tested, mostly bug free version now. He knows that the customers will appreciate it, what will he do:
    [ ] A.) He puts it into the update repository with a filter to only update it to "Limbo & Steel-Pan Inc.", his by far biggest customer. For sure, the sheer number of users there will find the unavoidably left-over bugs quite quickly, and since this is the most wealthy company of all of his customers, they'll not be hurt this much by the unavoidable trouble & losses.

    [ ] B.) He puts it into his update repository, all customers get it at next program start.

    [ ] C.) He offers the smaller customers an incentive to participate in a "Final Beta". They'd use the new version, but in a secured environment for limited time, with special care & attention, and quick fall-backs prepared. And with the incentive to get the update for free.
    Maybe he'd even offer accounts to his other customers (but the finally chosen) to participate. (Since this is not a video game, they'd see bogus numbers, but) They'd be able to have a look at the services that this company provides, and maybe might start a business relation.

    Your vote? Let's have a look at the consequences:

    A.) "Limbo & Steel-Pan Inc."
    Epic fail. Please don't start thinking you'll make any coin with developing. Better get another job, trust me!
    You'll get your biggest customer pissed, with the maximal possible number of users annoyed, ready to bad-mouth your product all over the internez.

    You'll hardly be able to manually correct any mistakes, just because of the sheer number of incidences, and the amount of possible compensation will be beyond your possibilities.
    Should they start to sue you, your business is gone forever, get yourself a warm sleeping bag and find yourself a nice bridge to camp below.

    And your shares in "Limbo & Steel-Pan Inc." will drop due to the losses you created, to add icing to the cake.

    B.) Read A.), this is just even more worse. Even more possible damage. Any dangers, no real benefit.

    C.) This is the way to go. The guinea pig has asked to be allowed to be it (and get's it's wage for this), you can limit your responsibilities. The comparable low number of affected makes it possible to even manually correct mistakes. And it's ways more easy to watch.

    Excuse plz for this long sermon. See it as a free IT-consulting, CC by-nc-sa. ;-)

    About space:
    Have mentioned it already, this is a can of worms, and a sword of Damocles, IMHO.

    In any civilized country it's regarded as "theft" to take away anything representing a RealCash (tm) value from another person against their will, and "robbery" in various degrees when using any kind of force doing so.

    I'm not arguing about the simple fact of theft/ robbery amongst participants now, this is disputable in games with all their EULAs - even if it's still theft, should you take my Nikon from the front passenger seat of my cabriolet parked open in the most criminal quarter of your town ...
    But player vs. player law suits wouldn't hurt us this much. It's another beast.

    MA was safe back then, IMHO, with the old "lootable PvP" zones. No need to go there, you'd not miss anything. No problem.

    But advertising the game as a universe free to whatever, consisting of many easily reachable planets, hiding deep in the EULA that you'd need to agree to get "stolen/ robbed" when planning to use this announced feature, this is dangerous IMHO.

    Abatement? Aiding? I'm no lawyer, but the few lawyers I talked to because of this got shiny eyes. Here I see a major problem, have one rich US guy get robbed by a lot of PED, get really angry, and order an attack of his small army of good lawyers.

    MA should avoid this by offering an alternative way of traveling planets from a planet TP (the old 40 PED maybe?), then going up to space by vehicle would be as good as the old requirement of "I take a shot, may Lootius be with me".

    It wouldn't change the problem of theft and robbery, but the one of abatement and aiding.

    Have a good time!
    • Like Like x 2
  3. I believe Mindark has difficulty with communication. They may be getting better, but there are still issues of communication between MA and the playerbase and planet partners. I suspect this is one of the big causes of inequality between planet partners and the Calypso team. If they'd improve communication with the PPs (for instance, give warning of future developments that affect the planet partners' operation, give the PPs a hotline to someone at MA who is responsible to make sure that even small issues get taken care of, etc) I think we'd see the planet partners on a more equal footing.

    As I see it, though, I'm not certain that "equality" of access to game systems is the most important issue here... after all, Calypso is already so far ahead in terms of variety of mobs, missions, population, that whether special Caly mobs can be spawned at will is not a big deal to me. What's more important for the success of the planet partners, I believe, is that they are given the access they need to fix critical problems quickly and smaller problems within reasonable time frames, and that they are kept better informed by Mindark of issues that could affect them.
  4. Tass

    Tass Administrator

    One of them seems to have it:
  5. Wistrel

    Wistrel Kick Ass Elf

    Not read all of that yet (will do later) but I take your point "At the time a change is released if should ALREADY be fully tested... especially if being released to the largest number of users at that time"

    Not sure I have a counter for that one to be honest... Any input Marco? ;)
  6. We can end this thread i think, because i think this is more over that some hate MA and Calypso, some don't. :wink:
  7. Hi,

    You might see it this way, for sure.

    I'd not say that I "hate" one of these.

    In case of MA, it's more a looong history of broken promises, missed opportunities and belied hope. They have lost my trust.
    And I'm very concerned about the current situation. While we have already lost a planet partner (for whatever unknown reason) others are struggling. You can imagine what it would mean to the concept of the Entropian Universe if now another planet partner would crash? What it would mean to our money that we have in the game?

    In case of Calypso, well, this was my home for years, and I loved it. But the Calypso of today isn't this my beloved Calypso anymore, it's just a new planet featuring the old names. I cannot stand this, the old reminiscences against the new reality is something I cannot bear.
    So I chose to go into exile, and found my new home. To my disgust they hold me ransom, a part of my spent money still goes into the pockets of the company holding Calypso, and, what a coincidence, it's MA again, in disguise.

    I'd not say that I "hate" them as entities.

    But it's the never-ending greed of MA that I hate. It's the shortsightedness of MA that I hate. It's the lack of professionalism of MA that I hate.

    They have created a great game, have attracted a good amount of die-hard enthusiasts, but have never developed the power to follow a long-term growing strategy. Instead they only followed the path of the quick money, and became masters of the band-aid fixes.

    Obviously they are in deep trouble at the moment, the expected money from the SEE disaster has to be raised in any way, and judging by the global auction the CLD's aren't selling as expected.

    So we see new features/ improvements for Calypso any other VU, we see event mobs spawned constantly (Atrax Queen?), we see quite some of the resources of not only the Calypso managing MA-daughter, but MA itself used to make this one, MA owned, planet as attractive as possible.

    While other planet partners are waiting for their promised features, and waiting, and waiting.
    While newbies on other planets are getting told stories of all the unique features Calypso has, all day long, and while CLD owners have a vivid interest in "stealing" newbies from the other planets - after all, they are profiting of it.

    We already have 2 quite low populated planets, NI and RT. It wouldn't make me wonder if the PP's of these would be in heavy trouble already. And Cyrene is to be released soon, and will at least temporally attract a lot of the few big spenders. Should one of these planet deals crash (additionally to SEE) EU will finally have lost any credibility among potential investors, and will face a sh*tstorm in the game media.

    This would then severely hurt my investment in EU (and your's, too, btw.), and it's the poor politics causing such risks that I really hate.

    Your mileage may vary, for sure.

    Have a good time!

  8. I have a hard time to understand how you can call MA "greedy", but at the same time know they are in money trouble and loosing money?

    I agree that i think NI and RT have a hard time and problably will have problems competing with Cyrene. But at the sametime a success for the other planets could bring more players to EU and some of them will always visit these planets to and bring in some money.

    To be honest, not many outside of EU would care much if Next Island or Rocktropia was forced to closed down. Games closed down all the time because of "lack of players".
  9. NotAdmin

    NotAdmin Administrator

    Apart from the article, where I tried remaining objective in my asnalysis, I for one do think that the game is simply far too expensive, and that the money I am supposed to be paying is not giving me sufficient entertainment value. So I have not been depositing nor playing as abundantly as I once did.In that perspective, I do think MA is simply charging too much.

    That can happen even as the company struggles, as a struggling company charging too much for their services is not necessarily a contradiction. If many people feel MindArk charges too much, less people will actively deposit, and thus, without a proper financial long-term plan, the company might end up struggling as a result of their overcharging. Heck, that's free markets for you, and it's not as if there's only one game available for playing.

    The company could also have made bad decisions in the past (like, oh, deviating from its core business and in the biggest receission in the real estate market ever have invested in a castle in Germany, or somehow ending up losing a partner whose investment apparently was already added to the books by the company, and the loss of which required drastic measures to try and still come up with the neccessary funds). It could also be that the company simply has too many assets and needs to make some cuts. Being a CEO is not just about holding a prestigeous title and shaking hands at parties. It also involves realizing that there is a large mismatch between a company's income and expences, and taking measures to ensure the two align.

    In short, I'm not sure I share your sentiment that thinking the company simply charges too much for the service they provide and the company finding itself in not the best financial position are mutually exclusive.

    You're right in your last statements, though. If RT and/or NI would end up shutting down, nobody outside the current active EU playerbase would care much. However, those IN the current active EU playerbase would, and after already seeing one partner run off, it might end up as a tipping point for others who have not cashed out yet on the premise that there might be light at the end of the tunnel. Again, not a desirable solution if a corporate entity is struggling as it is.
  10. Hi,
    "Admin" already explained it, far better then I'd be able to do:
    MA has a long record of being greedy, of always favoring the short term profit instead of investing in long term business success.
    The trouble they're in now may not least be a consequence of this. Maybe we'll learn about it in a few years, when the NDA's are running out ...

    Signing this, here I completely agree. I just see a problem in the topic of this thread here, i.e. the favoritism of MA to their self-owned planet, as it is recognized by many players.
    There's no doubt that:
    • Calypso is by far the biggest and oldest of all planets.
    • Calypso has, due to this, the biggest number of different mobs, blueprints etc. It's quite well documented, and well known to the overwhelming number of participants.
    • Calypso has inherited all players from the times before the other planets came, and thus has the by far most numerous and most wealthy player base, and additionally a part of the income generated by these wherever they are enjoying the game.
    So far we can agree? As you see, Calypso is in a gross advantage already, compared to any other planet.
    And now, during the recent months, we see new features added to Calypso exclusively/ mainly over and over. We see Officials on Caly spawning elite mobs, and change their loot on the fly, while other planet partners have to wait for weeks and weeks to get some shop booths placed, and months and months to get some drop rates adjusted, or to get implemented a few blueprints - they are not allowed to do such for themselves.
    Add the CLD's that are actively encouraging any owner of these to "kidnap" nOObs from other planets and bring them to Caly, where they'd add to the profit of these CLD's.

    NI might stand this for an additional while, but no doubt they're suffering a lot already. Now add Cyrene. It wouldn't make me wonder if NI would go haywire a few weeks after Cyrene is released. RT might follow then.

    A "success of the other planets" would "bring more players to EU", sure, alone, we're far from this, and we have to realize that MA is following a completely diametrical policy.

    Lemme give you a few examples of what could happen:
    • As "Admin" already mentioned, it could cause a withdrawal panic among the long time participants. To be honest, I'd think hard if it wouldn't be better to take out at least a part of the money I have in EU, too. "Rats" and "sinking ship", you know?
    • Upcoming planet partners might as well loose trust in the "platform" and decide to stop their engagement. This could start a forest fire.
    • EU hasn't the best name in the game media. MA always refused to play the usual game "You buy Ads regularly, we'll love you for this". Greed?
      MA instead preferred to "advertise" with megalomanic deals, forcing the media to report without payment. This way you don't make friends.
      Can you imagine the gloating head lines of many game magazines and portals when another planet deal crashed, just a few months after the first one? Can you imaging how devastating such would be for the perception of EU among potential new players?

    Disclaimer: I never even visited NI nor RT and, in case of RT, I doubt that I'd ever do. But I'm quite sure that another PP crash could very well mean the end of EU as we know it. This could have drastic consequences for our investments. And because of this I'm all but happy by the way MA is acting now.

    Have a good time!

  11. Well, i think we can agree on that EU are too expansive, i have always said that too. But, that are more of a bad choice price strategy than "greed". When you say greed if sound like they are make huge profit and are greedy and want even more profit. That is not the case.

    We disagree on how much special treatment Calypso get. 90 % of the adventage Calypso have is because it's the oldes, biggest planet that are most developet and have a much larger player base. It think all planet partners knows this when they start up their planets, and it is their mission the build up their planet. What systems do Calypso have that the others don't have? Land deeds and instances are what i can think of right now? (besides the possiblity changing spawns and similar stuff). Instances will probably be possibly for all planet partners soon, if not already.

    As for the land deeds, planets like Arkadia would never ever sell them today anyway if it worked like on Calypso, because they are so small that they maybe would only be able to sell them for 10 % of the price that of on Calypso or maybe not even that. They would not like to give up half their future revenue for that.
  12. I guess this is going sort of off topic, but any planet failures are mainly due to the planet partner's failure to market their planet, create a planet that is engaging and fun, and last but certainly not least, design a working economy.

    Take NI as an example. The problems with NI are because NI does not have a working economy, and it's not just because there are not enough players. There are worthless items in loot and not enough craftable items to make the game playable without importing nearly everything from other planets. I don't know the reasons why the developers did not make this a priority, perhaps they were not prepared with the manpower needed to create all of it, and just relied on having super scenery. It does seem that the developers have been taking a more active role of late developing the planet, so perhaps they're on track to get the economy going.

    I think we have to view new planets as "startups", and startups have a low rate of success. So the failure of one new planet shouldn't spell doom for the entire universe.

    However Mindark would not be blameless in regard to potential failure of planets. I do know that planet partners can have a lot of difficulty getting MA to implement their design and changes. Perhaps MA is understaffed in this area, I don't know. But I do know that if they don't improve this particular problem, they're going to stifle new planets, and that will make EU's platform unappealing to the future planet partners (at least the smartest of them), and will of course negatively impact the game and Mindark's revenue. So.... questions like this (OP) are important.

    I trust that Mindark is listening to this feedback and though it's taking some time for them to transition to their new job of focusing on "platform" design, that they will learn how to have excellent support of planet partners.
  13. Hi,

    May be that I have a hard time explaining my view, as a not-native English speaker I'll unavoidably pick the wrong terms from my translator quite often ...
    What I mean is that MA always, in case of deciding for the quick dollar or the long term success, has chosen the first. Always.

    What I image is a discussion like this:
    "Hey boss, this time we really messed things up, the participants are in uproar. Look, I have made a concept how to calm them down, can you assign me the $ 5k I'd need for this? It's really a mess, we might loose quite some of our middle to heavy depositors if we don't counteract! And we'd get some very nice PR following this plan!"

    "Wut? 5K? Ur crazy? Dunno we need 2 pay 4 this friggin German castle? These friggin bastards will pay forever anyways, they're addicted beyond hope, har har! Outta here, [censored], and don't ever come with such shice again, else you'll be shoveling snow until the end of ya dayz!"

    Exaggerated grossly, for sure (really?). But this is the picture that MA itself has drawn in my brain, during the years. And I'm not the only one feeling this way.
    Possible that "greed" isn't the correct term. But I hope this might explain my view, and describe my feelings, and what I meant to express with "greedy".

    Isn't this by far too much already? How would a new and even most determined and most capable PP ever compete with this? That has to wait ages and ages for every single adjustment, adjustments that are done on the fly on Caly?

    Would Calypso get this treatment if it wasn't owned by the platform provider itself?
    This is the basic question here, if I may freely interpret the OP.

    IMHO it's a very bad decision from MA to keep Calypso. Seems they have not found a buyer in time. Maybe they could have splitted Eudoria and Amenthera, and sold splitted? Wasn't there an initiative by players to buy?

    No, they smelled the money, and kept it. Why should the platform provider stay neutral to his PP customers, there might be some more money to grab, and who cares about next year ...

    But giving up half of the revenue of Calypso is a smart move? Or maybe just a last try to sell the seeds for the next year, to prevent to starve now?

    MA does, IMHO, a very good job these days to undermine the last remains of trust it has saved over the years. MA does, IMHO, atm actively compete it's biggest customers, the planet partners. And this way endangers the whole platform concept. A platform cannot work if the platform provider unfairly competes with it's platform customers. This way, the platform provider will quite soon feel quite lonely.

    It wouldn't make me wonder if there'd be work already to establish an alternate platform, clandestinely. This would be one way.

    Another way would be a concerted action by the PP's to buy out MA - this shouldn't work since MA still isn't a real stock corporation, to my knowledge.

    In any way, I'm deeply concerned about my money in EU meanwhile. Too bad that most of my precious items have lost so much during the recent years ...

    Have a good time!
  14. Hi,
    Guess it's quite hard to do all of this, when every single change you want to have done on your planet needs to get accepted in a month-long progress at MA HQ. That is already busy implementing then newest features for Calypso, not much time left to have a look at your demands ...
    And quite hard to market a planet when you're still waiting for your key features, the ones that you need to advertise, that are still sleeping ways down in the MA development chain ...

    Guess the biggest problem there was to embed ND initially, this might have caused a lot of harm. Now they'd need help from the platform to recover, but I don't see much of such.

    I'd advocate free (or low-wage) TP's to and from NI now, for a certain time. This planets needs, and has deserved, help & a push. And we cannot afford loosing it, IMHO. Helping NI now would send a beneficial signal to all current & upcoming Planet Partners, and would strengthen the platform idea.

    So instead of creating & spawning event mobs on Caly over and over, this should be done now for NI, with easy accessibility of the planet.
    And maybe later for RT, they might need it, too.

    Here I disagree, and have explained why already. Another PP crash would IMHO be deadly. Quite an assortment of possibilities that could be extremely dangerous.

    This is a most prominent argument. The platform strategy they choose needs trust from the potential & existing platform partners, and any shade of favoritism should be avoided at any price. But MA already has crossed the Rubicon, obviously. Alea iacta est.
    I assume by need, but I'd not be surprised if it would've been greed. MA history isn't rare of this ...

    Let's hope the best!

    Have fun!

  15. You can't first say "Very bad decission from MA to keep Calyso" and later say "it was a bad move the sell half the revenue of Calypso". The CLD was a way for MA to make Calypso more "neautral" and sell some of the revenue to the players and other investors when the sell of the planet didn't work.
  16. Tass

    Tass Administrator

    Looks like people registering an account on the Cyrene website are sent to Calypso automatically...

    The list is growing.
  17. Hi,

    Hehe, obviously I can ;-)

    Sry, seriously now:
    1. "Very bad decision from MA to keep Calyso"

      IMHO the platform provider should NEVER EVER be a platform customer itself, simultaneously. This doesn't do no good, this is just asking for conspiracy theories from whomever, this is plainly stupid.

      If you have a company selling wares to distributors you'll not try to compete with them for the end-users of your product, usually. As long as you're in a clear state of mind, for sure.

      As ever, there's exceptions. For instance, there's companies that sell the 1st & 2nd rate products to the distributors, and are bargaining the 3rd rate & outdated products to discounters, or sell them in their outlets.
      In these cases it's usually made sure that the distributors are not hurt, and are endorsing this strategy. Often rebates, better conditions and clear clauses are the price for this.

      Not doing so might work for a while. If you have your distributors enslaved in dependency, they might stay as long as they see no viable alternatives. Or as long as they can survive.
      But as soon as they find a better alternative, or as soon as they crash, you have a problem: Who shall buy the stuff now that previously they sold? And what a picture does it paint for your company if it's customers are fleeing or crashing?
    2. "A bad move they sell half the revenue of Calypso"

      This was meant as reply to your:
      Why would it be smart move from MA, when it would be an impossible move for the planet partners? This was my intention.

      Besides, with this move, MA even more tightened the thumbscrews for their planet partners:
      Now every CLD holding Calypsonian participant has a vivid interest in "stealing" as many players from the PP's planets as possible - after all they'd add to his/ her income from the CLD's. The flight to another planet might pay in foreseeable time if they'd be able to "kidnap" enough nOObs, that then would spend their money on Calypso.

      Imagine you have a company, and your key supplier acts this way. No fun, believe me. Been there, done that. You'd not really love it. You'd run, or you'd struggle. Good luck then.

    IMHO it was an act of sheer desperation. They had blown up the SEE contract (or whoever, for whatever reason), they money already was accounted, nobody else was interested to drop 6 Mill. $ for Caly, nobody had a better idea (besides some participants, but has MA ever recognized such scum?), so they took the quick & dirty, as always.

    MA hasn't made Caly more "neutral" with this, they even added more competition for their genuine customers (the planet partners - remember, MA has decided it'd be the platform provider now!).

    This is a direction where I see my (and your) investment in danger. This is not a direction that any company aiming for long-term survival should follow.

    Have a good time!
  18. Tass

    Tass Administrator

  19. Agree with the free IT consulting sermon part, Calypso as a test bed for new buggy features doesn't make sense.

    Couldn't help biting that one thou:
    Lootable PvP zones was a feature as much announced as Space is now.
    Besides, if you don't like the idea of enforced risk you can't avoid let's see what's the other features you can try instead?

    Maybe some hunting? You go buy a gun, 3 mil rounds of ammo and you come back with nothing, no ammo, no loot, no gun. Hmm, the risk you probably wouldn't want to take, as some welding wire to repair your quad was already too much, right?

    OK, then you can try some mining? You repair your finder, buy few hundred probes and off u go... to return with a broken finder, no probes and 3k of crude oil.
    No, that's definitely not the risk you would want to take.

    What else you can do? Oh right, lets try some crafting? [...] <-- Insert proper description here :P

    Any profession you take up can potentially "take away anything representing a RealCash (tm) value from another person against" your will (unless you are willing to give it up yourself?), and therefore, is a "robbery" (in various degrees - very fitting term imho)

    ok, j/k.... kinda ;)
  20. Hi,

    Lootable PvP zones (as PvP4) are a complete other thing - no need to enter them to experience the whole advertised game, no need to enter them except if you just wanted to loot just some of the "juicy" things not available outside. And easy ways to make sure that you'd have good chances not to get looted. Been there, done that, not this rarely.

    Sorry, the examples are irrelevant. Maybe, if even, they could remind of the need to finally get this age old scrap looting code renewed. Or of pirates having to carry loot themselves - but I don't see more relation.

    The "spin the wheel and check the outcome" is a basic feature of EU, as well as the "rise the stake and rise your chances". I strongly oppose both. Players robbing players of their loot is probably the least that will attract, and held, new players. Because they will be the victims.

    But here both of us become offtopic.

    Have fun!

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