Thursday, March 1, 2007

6.5 critical Entropia developments from 2006

In case you missed them, here are the top 6.5 stories coming out of Entropia Universe in 2006.

1) Bot Users Banned. A handful of well known Entropia veterans were locked in 2006, under suspicion of cheating. How? They own(ed) very efficient gear and reportedly used illegal hunting bot software to have their avatars hunt 24/7, virtually guaranteeing them profit. Using third party software that interferes with EU is expressly prohibited in the EULA. In an unprecedented move, Mindark came down on them hard, suspending their accounts and their gear. The value of these accounts and their assets, currently in limbo, suspected to be $100-$300k USD. Mindark's lips are sealed regarding this issue, and it will be interesting to see what resolution, if any, takes place in 2007.

2) The Egg. A long hunting event in which some of the biggest mobs the game has ever seen culminated in the looting of an Egg. TT value? 6 PED. That $0.60 item was sold for $10,000 in anticipation of something emerging from it of far greater value. Many speculate that Mindark wanted to see what happened with the Egg before assigning a reward. It got them some press, and recent events in game look like they might be getting close to resolving the storyline. For now it remains a $10,000 novelty, and Mindark's response to all inquiries regarding the status of the story result in a rehearsed "Ahh, the Egg."

3) Cash Cards Implemented. Detractors point out that it's just simple bolt on technology from a co-branded debit card provider. But these new cards gave all player instant access to their in game funds. Withdrawal time went from four months to four seconds overnight. A real step forward in blurring the line between real world and virtual world. Unfortunately there have been some kinks in the system, the worst of which has brought the system down temporarily. The NY Times picks up the story.

4) Mall Auctions. Three shopping malls were auctioned. Total sales surpassed $170k. Critics were quick to point out that there are already an abundance of shopping options in EU, and adding malls were superfluous. One of the malls seems to be doing quite well, but the other two have not gained much traction. It's reported that one of the buyers took out a personal bank loan to cover his $70k investment.

5) Record Loots Found. A single loot worth over $50k found in late 2006. That shattered the previous record, also set in 2006 of $19k. More details about this in a forthcoming post.

6) Event System, Video, and Ad System Introduced. These systems have been some of the most enriching additions to EU to date. The Event system has been well received and widely used for player run contests, some of which have become hugely popular. And the Ad system has allowed Entropians to unleash their creative abilities to promote their in-game products and services. Mindark has continued pushing the envelope in 2007 with the addition of user generated images and videos.

6.5) Windowed Mode. Mindark (re)introduced windowed mode for the client software. Users rejoice. This makes the list out of the sheer usefulness. It probably took developers an hour to add. That may have been their best hour of 2006.

Honorable Mentions: #2 Hunting ATH goes to exploiter, Eomon Migration, Robot War, The Entropian Magazine launched & folded after one issue, New Oxford "City of Culture" arrives

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