Understanding and coming to grips with a very real present and a far more shocking possible future.
Many might remember Project Entropia, a real money economy based MMO (Yes, real cash that can be deposited ASWELL AS being able to withdrawal it from the game), started in Sweden in 1995 by a collective gathered by Jan Welter Timkrans, named MindArk. This in game economy’s currency is labeled PED with an exchange rate of 10/1($1.00=10ped)
Fast forward 15 years and here enters partner area Next Island, a seemingly cleaner and more user friendly addition to this game universe, with its major focus on the ability to time travel. This element of the game is speculated to have a major effect on the game world’s economy and might provide a chance for some smart as well as lucky individuals to really strike it rich in game as well as in pocket.
Walking in to this humble event was a great insight into all hands onboard with this project. Everyone generally seemed enthusiastic of this endeavor, almost making one forget about the bright pink elephant in the room that is the games real cash economy, until it was repeatedly pitched to the point of forgetting I was covering a game, and not just some pyramid scheme. Don’t get me wrong when I say this, everyone there was genuinely great, as well as very interesting to talk to, but the overall hovering idea that items in game have a huge investment value in real cash (said example was a particular weapon that was somewhat rare to find, being valued at over $13000.00 and was said to be an investment to the player for future events.) was somewhat shockingly thrown around as if it was not a sizable sum. This one gun is more than half the value of the car that I drove to see it.
This is a very real present time reality with very real and very large sums of money. This also speaks far more of the distant future of not only Entropia Universe but for the MMO space as a whole. While Entropia Universe stays unique in its nature (I don’t think anyone else in this industry has the guts to do the same system…yet…) but as Entropia Universe becomes more and more successful, it will not be long before we see this style of in game economy spring from other MMO makers.
All be it scary and shocking to me that someone with an unhealthy game addiction could potentially become destitute or extremely wealthy, I still have the duty to tell you how I feel about the overall game at this point in time. I have to say that I am no stranger to Entropia Universe (EU). Being an overall MMO fan, if I have ever heard it or seen it, I will find it again and play it, and EU was no exception. When I was writing for a site I was formally affiliated with about 3-4 years ago, I scrutinized EU, for being completely void of any user friendly interaction to new player, ghastly controls that felt unresponsive and dated without any real feeling of feedback from the game of what you’re trying to do and was met with many readers feeling the same. Now I site here in the present downloading Entropia Universe again, wondering what will happen, and genially being excited, and for only one reason, time travel.
As stated before, Next Island will be focusing on time travel for the majority of its upcoming content, giving the player access to jump in to the past to visit Ancient Greece, Ancient China, and Prehistoric Period; with more coming at a later date. Players will be able to go back in to the past to buy or hunt for goods and bring them to the present time period to sell or trade in with others. They also stated that each area has its own set of mythical monsters to hunt for players interested in finding the “phat loots”. This time travel system, which involves finding the right combination of gem stones to find each time period, is predicted to create a larger settlement base at its portal. In theory, this will cause a spike in player population in the area.
One of the more interesting things that I would love to see, that they can accomplish with the engine they are using in EU is the ability to drop in real world shops to buy clothes, shoes, and whatever else they can market, which might tiff some players, but makes way for developer funds to create more content, as well as giving a feeling of realism to a possible near sci-fi future, which I am all for, and encourage. The team over at Next Island, even stated that any company that joins, will be restrained to the constructs of the time periods and areas they would be associated.(No temple of Chees Itz. Sorry, you will not be diving in to that tasty endeavor.)
In summation I would have to say, EU is now well on its way to creating a more well-rounded niche in the MMO market that will appeal more to players then their wallets with Next Island. EU is now back on my radar and should be back on yours. I would suggest if you’re in the mood to get in to the MMO space again from dropping another more stressful MMO such as World of Warcraft. This should be right up your ally. If you would like to see more of Next Island, check out there site at http://www.nextisland.com/