Sunday, April 6, 2008

A cost you might not see coming with MMO's of today

In today's MMO's, there's a growing tendency to grab a player for many years, instead of a few months.

This can translate into a commitment that not many will feel following.

Eve is trained in real time, therefore to become a top player you will need several years of dedication instead of a quick rise. But players are adhering, as most of these MMO's are complex enough to keep the user interested.

But the real cost isn't the money you inject into them, as a subscription or depositing.

The real cost may be your own real life "avatar".

Some players manage to control themselves, but many of the top players spend their days inside a game, with small or little breaks between game sessions. This weakens their real life connections and awareness of the world outside the game.

You build up your connections inside the MMO world, thrive on business and become known.

When i played all day long, i gradually saw my real life acquaintances becoming more and more distant as i played. This kept going for so long, once i noticed, i was dedicating my entire time to MMO's.

Years passed and nowadays, somehow i feel strange by calling people that i haven't seen in ages because i let those connections wither. I do, and we get together, but something is different. You can feel the links weakened.

Even your real life rituals get affected. Food habits, going out, making acquaitances...

I then question how many MMO gamers like this are out there? Surely many. Do they feel the same way about spending so much time inside a virtual environment?

How do you feel?

I love this kind of games, and i'll continue playing them, but not as much as before. I have dedicated so much time into a place that i really enjoy, that i totally forgot about the rest.

And this i consider a huge cost, as time is not only money, but life is also short.

If you think you are playing too much, take a break. It will help put things in perspective and you will have time to think about how to balance gaming with the rest of your rituals.

It surely helped me get my people and stuff together.

Otherwise, you might wake up one day, and the world has left you behind, while you tried to become a top player in these new years-decade MMO's of today.

And that's the real cost.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Gold Card - Learn it. Know it. Live it.

Ok lets face it Entropia Universe is a RCE (Real Cash Economy)MMORPG. Anytime you are talking about real money there are those less than honest people who are looking to steal it from you out there in the real world. They will use any means necessary to gain access to your accounts so they can pick it clean like vultures of a virtual world.

Karma has a way with dealing with these types of people but until that Karma circles about to deal them a heavy blow get yourselves a Gold Card.

It's not just a matter of security but one of responsibility as well. If you take Entropia Universe seriously and plan to invest or make lots of cash then protect it with every means necessary.

While the Gold Card is one extra layer of protection remember to keep you computer cleaned of spyware and your virus software updated. Scan your PC regularly and change your passwords frequently.

$20.00 USD is a cheap price to pay for some peace of mind.


Friday, February 8, 2008

Entropia Universe Zen

I find myself thinking about life quite a bit these days. I also find myself comparing real life to certain aspects of virtual life and what we can learn from both.

I have, in so many words, been on a journey in my real life to find some semblance of peace and balance while making sense of the maelstrom of happenings that invade my peace of mind day to day.

I must admit at times I have been highly critical of Entropia Universe and the developers behind that virtual world, MindArk. I have found in my search for less stress and balance in my real life, I at times transfer than angst to the virtual world which I choose to participate in. Lately though something clicked inside my wee brain and I came to some sort of real life balance as it pertains to Entropia Universe.

I guess Entropia Universe is a mini reminder that things are constantly in flux in real life. Some things I can change others I have to deal with as they present themselves. My past actions in my real life and virtual one have caused me a lot of stress over the years. Most of that stress was caused by things wholey out of my control or wanting things to be like they were or how I would like them to be. My actions in the real world and virtual one are entirely my own and how I react to those situations affects the balance I have struggled for all these years.

While my prior post was about dreading the hidden changes version updates could bring, it was also a wake up call. So I gave it some time and a couple VUs and really thought about the impacts of each and how it affected me as a real life person and this virtual one I have created.

This so called Zen of Entropia is about taking ones self out of the equation and by self I mean ones own needs, wants, and expectations. I try to look at Entropia Universe as a whole and not just the one cog or facet I reside in. I have really tried to not dwell so long on that "Last bad hunt" or that unforeseen change that will impact me in some way but I cannot be certain how it will.

You can take lessons you learn in life and use them in Entropia Universe and vice versa. Realizing that balance in ones life is not about constantly remaining even keel its about weighing the good with the bad and rolling along trying to make the best of the situation at hand.

This may not be Zen in a tradional sense but what I have learned in real life, when it comes to dealing with stress and the unforseen, definitely applies to the virtual one I choose to participate in.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Version Update Cynicism

Greetings fellow Entropians and newcomers alike.

Well VU 9.1 is on its way and it will show up much faster than many of us would like. I have been around to see my fair share of Version Updates. It got me to thinking in the past year or so my attitude about VUs has changed and in my eyes changed a great deal.

I used to look forward to the new content and bug fixes Mindark would implement. I always wondered what new thing would pop up to improve my experience or make me look at Entropia Universe, or Project Entropia for the old timers, in a new way. My attitude pre-Version Update was usually on top of the world and much to my wife's dismay I would chant "VU day! VU day!" in utter excitement (yes I am still a child at heart lol) I understood that every VU would have its hiccups and issues but most of that was something I know I could work through and I think most people who enjoy EU could work through also.

Something changed within this past year. Version Updates brought about big changes many of which could not be seen in any participant's interest. Yet most participants worked through it and still continue to do so to this day. Those VUs have left a community wide cynical streak which I find even myself falling into. I find that excitement building and want to chant "VU day! VU day!" again but its soon tempered by recent Version Update experiences where I find myself saying "careful what you wish for you might just get it and not in the way you think"

Version Updates have turned into a mixed bag of emotions for me. Excitement tempered by cynicism which can turn into dread at the realization what certain so called "improvements" can and will do to the loyal community Entropia Universe continues to host.

Are many of us just becoming to jaded by the Version Update experience? Am I just loosing that "child at heart" view of Entropia Universe and now all new content will come at a cost?

I don't want to have such an attitude but lately it seems like every step forward in things that enhance the Entropian experience come with a cost that makes us take two steps back.

I miss that excited anticipation Version Updates would bring and the crazy looks my wife would give me all the while wondering who the hell is this grown man running around chanting "VU day! VU day!"