Friday, March 30, 2007

Kept in the Dark

Skills, equipment, weapons, armor, the stats, the meanings, the vagueness, why are we kept in the dark on such things? Should Mindark open the information vaults or would that make Entropia Universe less fun?

Ok we have all read the forums with an endless amount of theories and spent many chat sessions regarding the finer points of whether one weapon is better than another. On one side of the coin you have Mindark who knows everything and on the other you have the players who are doled out tidbits of information and stats every now and then just to keep us theorizing some more.

One of the main things that attracted me to Entropia Universe was the fact nothing was "spoon fed" to me and it was up to shrewd players to figure things out for themselves. Well its been a while since I started and much of the information we have has either never changed or if it has it just opens up new theories and confusion. While the real me has hypothesized what certain things mean in game and I have my theories on what they do, my avatar is still left in the dark. To this day skills and stats on items have very little additional meanings and pretty much have the same meaning they did when I first stepped off the ship from an avatar standpoint. With any game of progression you learn things along the way in real life and those observations are usually met with some affirmation in game that benefits your avatar and the real you, its a dual learning experience.

What we have in Entropia Universe is new types of skills that unlock at certain milestones which really don't shed any light on the profession you have choosen, it just adds another mystery to the countless other mysteries we already had. Some stats on equipment and weapons lead credence to skills in showing which ones are needed to use the items efficiently but beyond that their vague descriptions only lead to more questions.

Information is a commodity and a way of gauging progress in Entropia Universe. Just like skills, helpful information should be valued yet we have no real way of gaining additional hard facts or knowing for sure if our hypotheses are correct. Information and the skill system should go hand in hand for example: As your avatar becomes more skilled you should be privy to more factual information. That knowledge is thus only useful to someone with the skill to decipher it properly so you either play or pay to gain the valuable information. There are many ways Mindark could improve upon the skill system to incorporate information milestones which could either solidify our theories or make us rethink how things work. I am all for a mystery now and then but eventually that mystery should be solved leading to some type of resolution. Those mysteries that are never solved tend to lead to conspiracy theories or mass disinterest.

So I pose this question to those within Entropia Universe and those who might have insight from other MMOs: Would this extra information add depth to our avatars and give validity to theories or even more speculation as to what skills really mean or should this be left "as is" a mystery we never quite figure out?


Dub said...

You know it's funny, I've been thinking about this myself lately. And the thought I had was that I enjoyed the mystery of skills, items, loots, etc, when I first started playing. Back then there was no PE-Wiki site that served so much collective knowledge on a platter to new players. If you wanted to know where to obtain a certain item, you had to work your network of friends. Not to sound like a grandpa, but new players today just consult Wiki. Don't get me wrong, I think it's better having that knowledge available, but I still get nostalgic for the good old days at times. :)

Matt Barlow said...

What can I say? great post.. best yet, touched on some things that I have been thinking alot about recently.

We are kept in the dark because MindArk has something to hide. Vague stats and loose descriptions allow MindArk to tweak and change things when and where they see fit.

If they were to provide us with hard data then their changes would be immediately visible. Sure MindArk state they never change the stats on an item.. but that doesn't mean anything when they can change how effective Hit Ability or anystat actually is, and how it works in the whole serious of equations that make up the entropia universe.

Jorael said...

Great post and a deep subject Chris.

I really would enjoy some more information, especially since things in EU are EXPENSIVE. And we all know how expensive.

Thousands of dollars expensive.

The more clear MA is and acts, the more safe players will feel.

Most players already deposit so much with so little to hold on to. Imagine if things were clear and transparent...

IMO, MA can only benefit by opening the vault on some things.

In the end, real money makes any game... real.

There is one way we can figure some of the things out. Its by writing down all stats of guns and equipment with 0 skills, then chip up to 10K on each skill, and write the stats and see what's changed.

But that would mean chipping a skill for 10K, removing it, chipping another skill for 10K, and on and on...

Quite expensive just to realize most skills are really not that important.


Matt Barlow said...

Interesting method to test stats Jor, but I don't even think that would work in the long run. The stats on equipment are meaningless without seeing the calculations that make them. I treat the stats on equipment as an interface, a layer between the player and the inner workings of the EU systems.

This system keeps the player happy because they think they are progressing by gaining skills, it keeps MA happy because they can change whatever they want in the underlying systems without changing the stats of an item.