By Narfi, OnRPG Guest Writer
This year MindArk and Planet Calypso celebrate their 10th anniversary. In the cut throat industry of MMOs where studios are going under every day, Mindark has not only survived by vastly improved their product. They have done this despite the fact (or perhaps because) they are not a mainstream game and have not catered to the typical gamer profiles.
Calypso is just one of the planets in Entropia Universe, the platform run and maintained by MindArk. Ten years ago Calypso was the only planet, and they have developed the idea and platform up from that. They now sell franchises in the Universe which are called Planet Partners.
A Planet Partner is a separate development studio which creates a Planet to be placed in the Universe. Players can travel between planets and use the same character on each one, their progression and wealth carries over with them wherever they go.
Entropia Universe is a Sci-Fi 3D MMORPG which utilizes both first and third person views. A player’s activities take place on the surface of the planets, flying above the surface, and flying between them in Space.
The main activities revolve around hunting monsters and/or robots, mining for resources in the ground and crafting components and usable items from both hunting loots and mined resources.
Other ‘Professions’ or activities include:
● Beauty Professions (Makeup/Hair stylists as well as face & body modifications)
● Tailoring (both the manufacture of clothing as well as the coloring and texturing of it),
● Pilot/Transporter (either locally with small jets and helicopters, or through space with larger ships)
● Medic (very useful when out in the field)
● Trading (the game revolves around money)
● Event Coordinators (events with large prizes are pretty popular in the game as well as smaller daily events)
● Landowners/Managers (big investors make some nice profits), etc…. Really your imagination is the only limit to what you can do
● Pet Taming (not yet re-implemented)
A couple of years ago their graphics were getting a bit dated so they switched over to using Cryengine 2 which required a lot more system resources than the previous engine (gamebryo) but also made for much smoother animations and beautiful scenery in the worlds.
What really sets this game/platform apart from most is that it uses a Real Cash Economy (RCE). The game is free to download and free to play, but if not played wisely can also be one of the more expensive experiences you have had with an MMO.
The in-game currency is called PED and can be deposited into the game or withdrawn back out to your Real Life bank account at an exchange rate of 10-1. (10PED = 1USD)
Because there are activities you can do in the game to earn PED, it is possible to play completely for free, but most players choose to deposit about what they would for a subscription. (some put in none, and some put in 1000s, but the average player only puts in $10-50 per month)
MindArk has provided ‘investment’ opportunities over the years as a way to get players more involved as well as making the Headlines more than a time or two. (and of course bringing in more funds for the developers)
● Treasure Island for $26,500 in 2004
● The Asteroid Space Resort “Club NEVERDIE” for USD $100,000 in 2005
● Crystal Palace Space Station for $330,000USD in 2009
● Club NEVERDIE for at total of $635,000USD in 2010 and
● Calypso Land Deeds for a total of $6,000,000USD in 2011/2012
Then earlier this month they sold ‘The Moon’ to a group of investors through the in-game auction for $150,000.
While all of these sales sound outlandish, the truth is that the players who made those purchases are currently drawing in incomes from them.
While the game is run from a PC client, there is also an app you can download from Google Play called Virtual Tycoon. This app allows you to go through your inventory and storage, buy and sell on the auction and even access the crafting interface.
There are no chat options in the Android app, and you cannot use it to hunt or mine either, those activities are only available on the PC client.
Some interesting facts to know about Planet Calypso that make an ideal starting point for new players:
● First Planet developed for the Entropia Universe
● Most populated planet in the Entropia Universe
● Most stable Economy in the Entropia Universe
● Longest lasting storylines in the Entropia Universe
● Most land mass of any planet in the Entropia Universe
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