Developer Notes #1

This Entropia Universe Buzz article is the first in a new series of Developer Notes where the development team at MindArk will share various tips and bits of information about Entropia Universe with our participants. Some Developer Notes will address important issues that we have noticed being discussed on community forums, while others will be prompted by feedback and questions received via support cases. Our goal with the Developer Notes series is to help participants better understand MindArk's goals for Entropia Universe, and hopefully correct several misconceptions that have arisen within the community that we feel might help participants make more informed decisions for their avatars. We hope that you find the Developer Notes articles interesting and informative.

Independent Lootpools - One concern that we see very often on community forums, especially when a big All Time High is achieved, is that one profession is unfairly "financing" a huge loot in another profession. This misconception often results in one group of participants (i.e. hunters) becoming upset or frustrated that their activity is being used to fund the rewards given to another group of participants (i.e. miners). To hopefully dispel this misconception, we would like to inform participants that the loot pools for each main profession (hunting, mining and manufacturing) are completely independent of one another, and that a large loot in one profession has absolutely no impact on potential loots in any of the other professions.

Resource Distribution - In order to promote interplanetary trade and to stimulate the growth of local planetary economies, the availability of various resources will be periodically adjusted on each of the different planets within Entropia Universe. The MindArk balancing team monitors resource availability and distribution among the planets very closely, and is constantly making adjustments to achieve the goals of local planetary economy growth and interplanetary trade. One exciting side effect of this process is that it creates unique opportunities for observant and industrious participants to profit from shifts in supply and demand in local planetary markets and creates opportunities for speculation. Another benefit is that the reallocation process creates a more dynamic and challenging universe for participants to enjoy and adapt to.

Link: Developer Notes #1

Developer Notes #2

This Entropia Universe Buzz article is part of a new series of Developer Notes where the development team at MindArk will share various tips and bits of information about Entropia Universe with our participants. Some Developer Notes will address important issues that we have noticed being discussed on community forums, while others will be prompted by feedback and questions received via support cases. Our goal with the Developer Notes series is to help participants better understand MindArk's goals for Entropia Universe, and hopefully correct several misconceptions that have arisen within the community that we feel might help participants make more informed decisions for their avatars. We hope that you find the Developer Notes article series interesting and informative.

Efficiency Matters - One issue that we have noticed being discussed quite frequently on community forums such as is the concept of efficiency (sometimes referred to as economy), especially with regard to hunting tools such as ranged and melee weapons. A growing number of participants seem to have adopted an approach based on the theory that "economy does not matter", a theory apparently based on (faulty) field tests or other experiments. We would like to state here very clearly that avatar skills and efficiency on the tools used do indeed matter a great deal, and have a very significant effect on overall returns in all Entropia Universe professions. Any playtest experiments, theorycrafting or other analysis you may be presented with which indicate or suggest that efficiency does not matter are thus flawed either in their conception, data collection, data analysis or conclusions.

Personal Lootpools - Many of the theories which suggest - inaccurately - that efficiency is unimportant will often employ the concept of a "personal lootpool", claiming that the "system" will eventually provide a sort of compensation to avatars who have been operating in an inefficient manner. Such theories are very much misguided. There is no such thing as a "personal lootpool" for individual avatars, and there is no system in place which tracks each avatar's returns over time, or which provides compensation to individual avatars. As a result, long-term results in Entropia Universe are directly related to the choices made by each participant, and those who approach their chosen profession in an efficient manner will find more success than those who do not. Overall this is a very positive thing and an important part of the Entropia virtual universe concept, as it allows those participants who spend the time and effort to approach their activities within Entropia Universe in a smart way to improve their chances of becoming successful, just like in the real world.

Link: Developer Notes #2

Developer Notes #3

This Entropia Universe Buzz article is part of a new series of Developer Notes where the development team at MindArk will share various tips and bits of information about Entropia Universe with our participants. Some Developer Notes will address important issues that we have noticed being discussed on community forums, while others will be prompted by feedback and questions received via support cases. Our goal with the Developer Notes series is to help participants better understand MindArk's goals for Entropia Universe, and hopefully correct several misconceptions that have arisen within the community that we feel might help participants make more informed decisions for their avatars. We hope that you find the Developer Notes article series interesting and informative.

Hunting Efficiency Examined - The last Developer Notes article sought to stress the importance of efficiency in Entropia Universe, but did not provide a clear definition of what is meant by the term efficiency. We would like to offer a bit more insight for the benefit of the community, and in this article will focus on ways to become more efficient in Entropia Universe's most popular profession, hunting. Efficiency tips for the mining and manufacturing professions will be covered in a future article.

Efficiency in hunting has several components, the most vital of which is Hit Ability (sometimes abbreviated as HA). Hit Ability is a measure of how accurate you avatar is with a weapon. You can view your avatar's Hit Ability on a weapon by right-clicking on the weapon and viewing the item's information panel. Based on your avatar's skills and the requirements for the particular weapon, a number between 0.0 and 10.0 will be calculated and displayed. The single most important effort a hunter can make in becoming more efficient in his or her hunting activities is to always use weapons which are "maxed" -- weapons with which your avatar has 10.0 Hit Ability. The importance of this cannot be stressed strongly enough.

A second and very important part of efficient hunting is to consider the relative cost of using a particular weapon, often referred to as weapon economy, usually measured as damage per PEC. This measures how efficiently, in terms of weapon decay and ammo consumption, a weapon produces each point of damage. An avatar will enjoy much better overall hunting results over time when using weapons with higher damage per pec. Many community websites, such as, offer detailed statistics on the economy of nearly all the various weapons available in Entropia Universe. The MindArk development team is also considering including more detailed economy statistics on the item information panel in an upcoming release to improve the availability of such information.

Another important part of hunting efficiently is making sure that your avatar has achieved the full damage capability of the weapon being used. Like Hit Ability, damage capability is calculated based on the avatar's skills and the weapon's requirements, and is shown in the format Actual_Damage / Maximum_Damage on the item information panel. For example: 10.0-20.0 / 10.0-20.0. To be the most efficient as possible, make sure to hunt with weapons on which your avatar has reached the weapon's maximum damage potential.

Finally, be sure to hunt creatures within your avatar's skill level. Creatures within Entropia Universe are designed with avatars of varying skill levels and equipment in mind, and each creature type has different attack speeds, regeneration rates, hit probabilities and damage potential. It is a good idea to avoid excessive armor decay and healing costs when trying to hunt as efficiently as possible.

One of the wonderful things about Entropia Universe is its very knowledgeable and helpful community of participants. There is a wealth of information available to newcomers and veterans alike on the various Entropia Universe community websites and forums, and participants are encouraged to seek out the accumulated wisdom and tutorials available there. There are also many helpful mentors and societies that can be found in major cities on each planet, or contacted through the Mentor Register and Society Terminals.

We hope that this article has provided some valuable tips for your future hunting expeditions.
Happy hunting!

Link: Developer Notes #3

Developer Notes #4

In this Developer Notes article, we would like to share some information to address issues raised by some of our participants regarding MindArk's recent and upcoming marketing efforts.

Much of this information was shared with the Entropia Universe community at the beginning of the year in the State of the Universe Address, but it appears that many participants either missed that announcement, or have forgotten about MindArk's marketing plans for 2012.

Online Campaign
Several months ago, MindArk began an online ad campaign to promote Entropia Universe. In parallel, AR Universe began a campaign to promote Planet Calypso. The initial stages of the campaigns were fairly limited in scope and daily budget, in order to accumulate useful ad targeting and performance data in terms of the effectiveness of these ads in generating new accounts.

In late July, MindArk and Planet Arkadia also launched a campaign for Planet Arkadia, orchestrated by MindArk. These campaigns are an ongoing effort, and budgets are gradually being increased as the targeting effectiveness and account conversion rate improves.

Marketing & New Player Experience
One major factor in MindArk's marketing budget decision-making process has been the implementation of an improved New Player Experience (NPE). It seemed prudent to limit our marketing spending during the early part of 2012 until the improved NPE was implemented and refined. Much of our marketing efforts thus far in 2012 have had the primary goal of gathering data, measuring effectiveness and refining our marketing strategy. Now that the NPE has been implemented into Entropia Universe, we have solid plans to increase our online ad campaign budget throughout the rest of 2012 and beyond.

Promotion Video
MindArk has commissioned a professionally produced promotional video that is currently in production. Work on the video is progressing well, and two versions are planned - a short version that can be used as an online video advertisement, along with a longer version that gives a more detailed overview of Entropia Universe and which can be used on official EU websites and at gaming conventions. Both versions will feature a professional actress taking up the role of Sayah King (famous from the original Project Entropia promotional video). The videos will also feature footage from the new avatar system that the MindArk development team is currently hard at work completing, and which has an ETA of early November.

Calypso Land Deed Proceeds
Some of the feedback we have received indicates a (mistaken) belief that the entirety of the proceeds from the Calypso Land Deed sales would be used exclusively for marketing. This belief is inaccurate. What MindArk stated regarding how the CLD proceeds would be used is the following, explained in an earlier Buzz article with detailed information about Calypso Land Deeds-

Q. How will the proceeds of the Land Lot deeds be used by MindArk?
A. The proceeds from the Land Lot deeds will help to finance a substantial Entropia Universe marketing campaign, along with further development of Entropia Universe and Planet Calypso.

Note that this statement also includes 'further development of Entropia Universe and Planet Calypso'. It is also important to realize that development and marketing go hand-in-hand. As we described above, improving our New Player Experience was as much an investment in our marketing strategy as anything else.

Affiliate Program
MindArk is in the early stages of designing a comprehensive affiliate program that will allow existing EU participants to get rewarded for helping to expand the Entropia Universe user base. We hope to launch that program in the first quarter of 2013. More details will be shared once the initial design of the affiliate program becomes more certain.

New Planet Calypso Website
A brand new Planet Calypso website has been in development for several months, and is expected to be launched by the end of this month. The new website will help MindArk and Planet Calypso leverage the most value from their marketing spending, and will provide a much enhanced user experience for new visitors and existing participants alike.

We hope that the efforts in progress and plans for future marketing efforts that we have shared in this Developer Notes article provide our paricipants with a more positive outlook for the future health and growth of Entropia Universe, and help to dispel some of the misunderstandings that have arisen of late.

As always, we appreciate your passion for and support of Entropia Universe.

Link: Developer Notes #4

Developer Notes #5

One area where we have received lots of feedback concerns the item upgrade system. Most of the feedback and questions received by the MindArk support department relate to the speed at which items gain new tier intervals, and the cost of raising an item to the next tier level. We hope to address those concerns in this developers note article.

Tier Speed
Within the current system, tier progress is taking much longer than intended, in some cases by a large factor. The MindArk dev team has been testing new parameters for this system which will increase the speed at which unlimited items gain tiers, especially at higher tier levels.

Due to the delicate nature of the tier upgrade system, adjustments must be made carefully and tested thoroughly. Our goal is to complete such testing and implement the adjusted tier progress rates before the end of this year.

Tier Cost
We are also analysing the cost to increase the tier level of various items, and ensure that such costs are balanced and reasonable. Adjustments to the cost of tiering are even more delicate than those related to tier speed, and thus will require a longer period of testing before changes can be implemented.

Link: Developer Notes #5

Developer Notes #6

Greetings Entropians!

We hope that all of you have had an enjoyable and relaxing summer. Despite the lovely European weather, lots of work has been going on behind the scenes here at the MindArk offices this summer.

With this EU Buzz article, we intend to provide a quick update on what the MindArk has been working on, along with a roadmap for the next couple of releases.

VU 14.3 - Platform Release
The next Version Update, also known as a platform release, is scheduled for early September and will contain many back-end infrastructure upgrades and maintenance (see below for more info). While this update will not contain any new systems or features, it will contain a large number of improvements and fixes to existing systems. Many of the more frequently reported issues have been corrected in this update, including:

  • Fixed an issue with camera shaking and restricted movement when avatars revive at a revival terminal.
  • Disciple progress is now updated correctly when the disciple kicks a mentor and gets a new mentor.
  • The Friends List now updates correctly when adding or removing friends, without requiring a relog.
  • Many issues affecting vehicles and spaceships have been corrected.
  • Lots of clothing and avatar display issues have been corrected.
  • The tiering cost formula for items with cooldown or upload timers (mainly MindForce chips) has been adjusted to bring the costs in balance with other types of items such as weapons and tools.
  • Dozens of other issues have been corrected and bugs squashed.

As usual, a complete list of fixed issues included in the VU will be posted in the Version Update Release Notes on the day of release.

Planet Partner Release
Scheduled for early October, the next Planet Partner release promises to bring lots of exciting new content to your favorite Entropia Universe planet!

Infrastructure Upgrades
Over the past several platform releases in the earlier part of this year, the first components of a major upgrade to the Entropia Universe infrastructure have been implemented. Much of that groundwork has taken place behind the scenes, without much immediately noticeable impact on the end-user experience. Over the summer, the MindArk dev team has been working hard on building and testing the next phase of the infrastructure upgrade project, both software and hardware. Those improvements will be implemented into Entropia Universe in the upcoming platform release, and the final stages will be deployed in the subsequent platform releases during autumn and early winter.

The benefits of this major infrastructure upgrade are many, including:

  • Greater server capacity (simultaneous users).
  • Improved server stability and expandability as the Entropia Universe population grows.
  • More frequent Version Updates.
  • Ability to deploy small hotfixes to clients very quickly.
  • Much shorter downtimes when new Version Updates are released.

In addition, the new infrastructure will allow our developers and partners to spend much more of their time working on new features, systems and content, and improving existing systems, rather than on packaging and delivering Version Updates.

In short, what this means for Entropians is more frequent, feature-rich, and stable updates to Entropia Universe with less downtime and faster implementation of important fixes when needed.

We appreciate your patience and dedication to Entropia Universe over the past few months during the infrastructure upgrade process, and we look forward to completing the final stages so that you can enjoy a much improved Version Update process in the future.

Link: Developer Notes #6

Developer Notes #7

Manufacturing Returns and Success Rates
Several participants have recently expressed concern over manufacturing success rates in support cases and on various community forums. Our design team has investigated these issues and has determined that the manufacturing system is functioning as intended. Please keep in mind that many aspects of the Entropia Universe system are dynamic and that drawing conclusions about "success rates" or "TT return" based on relatively small sample sizes collected over short time periods can be very misleading or unnecessarily alarming.

Once again, we would like to assure all participants that the manufacturing system is functioning properly and as designed.

Sneak Peek - New Social Interface
Since before the summer, members of MindArk's development team have been hard at work creating a completely new Social UI which is expected to be released later this year. The new Social UI will include a boatload of new and improved features, here are some of the highlights:
  • Offline Messaging
  • Custom chat channels with optional passwords, data feeds
  • Tabbed chat interface with the ability to arrange or dock/undock individual tabs
  • User-defined thresholds for global loot messages
  • Completely redesigned Contacts List with custom user status settings (Away/Do Not Disturb/Invisible/etc.), user notes, and much more.
  • Completely redesigned Society interface with new features such as message of the day (MOTD), Society alerts
  • Looking for Group (LFG) functionality to facilitate the creation of teams.
  • Custom Avatar thumbnail images that appear in other participants' Contacts Lists and chat channels
  • Integration with Entropia Universe Auction in the form of detailed alerts relating to offers and orders.
  • Calendar displaying upcoming events, EU system notifications, etc.
  • Much, much more!!

A screenshot of a current prototype of the new unified Message Center can be found here:!0/6bbirachdovbvi1r08o50yfu2nnak03

Notice the various types of information in the feed: auction alerts, private chat, personal notes. Also note the filter buttons along the top which allow quick filtering of various types of messages.

Our design and development teams are working hard to make sure that the new Social UI will provide Entropians with a vastly more effective and user-friendly platform to communicate and connect with friends, society mates and other Entropia Universe participants.

More preview screenshots will be shared as the exciting new Social UI approaches release.

Infrastructure Upgrades
The infrastructure upgrades discussed in the previous Developer Notes #6 continue moving forward, though several unforeseen issues have resulted in the 14.3 Version Update being delayed by several weeks. As our engineers and devs resolve those issues and a more firm date for VU14.3 becomes clear, we will update the community here on the Entropia Universe Buzz.

Thanks for your patience!

Link: Developer Notes #7

Developer Notes #8

Limited/Unlimited Item Balance
In order to improve the balance between limited and unlimited gear, MindArk has been refining the rate at which unlimited items gain tier levels. This effort has resulted in a decrease in the number of uses required for tier increases, especially at higher tier levels. Further reduction is planned in several steps during the next few version updates, allowing the MindArk design team to monitor and implement incremental changes while reducing the risk of disrupting delicate item market values.

To further improve balance between limited and unlimited items, the consumption rate of enhancers attached to unlimited items will be reduced by 50% in Version Update 14.7, currently scheduled for May 13.

Link: Developer Notes #8

Developer Notes #9

As announced in an earlier Buzz article, Version Update 15.0! brings Taming back to Entropia Universe. In this first phase, each planet will feature one low-level tamable creature:
  • Arkadia - Nusul Puny
  • Calypso - Bristlehog Puny
  • Cyrene - Young Arret
  • Rocktropia - Panther Puny
  • Toulan - Tabtab Puny

Existing pets work as they did in the old taming system, though those types of creatures cannot currently be tamed. Additional tamable creatures will be added in future Version Updates.

Shrapnel, a new stackable resource, will be introduced to hunting loot in VU 15.0.

All creatures on all planets will drop this new resource as a symbolic representation of salvaged battle debris, regardless of the type of weapon(s) used to defeat the creature. Shrapnel will replace a portion of the total loot value formerly dropped in the form of ammo, animal oils, tier components, paint cans, etc.

Shrapnel is not used as a crafting component; instead, Shrapnel can be can converted to Universal Ammo at a ratio of 100:101, or sold to the Trade Terminal at face value.

Looted Stackables
The first phase of an effort to improve the distribution of looted stackable resources will be implemented in VU 15.0, starting with a majority of Planet Calypso creatures. Veteran participants will recall how several years ago most types of looted stackables could only be looted from particular creatures.

The benefit of returning to that method of distribution is a reduction in the number of different items looted in a particular hunting session, as well as more a more interesting hunting experience that allows hunters to leverage wisdom gained from previous hunts.

Loots for creatures on other planets will be adjusted in the upcoming partner releases after 15.0.

Link: Developer Notes #9

Developer Notes #10

In the upcoming Entropia Universe Version Update 15.1 (currently scheduled for early December), planet-specific auction sections will be removed. This change will result in a single unified auction, something that many participants have requested and something that MindArk believes will result in a more efficient and dynamic interplanetary economy.

After VU 15.1, buyers will have three options when winning an auction that was listed from a planet that differs from that of the buyer:

Pickup at Origin - Items won from auction will be placed into the buyer's inventory on the planet of origin (the planet where the auction was created). Buyer must then travel to the planet of origin to retrieve the items from storage.
Normal Delivery - Items won from auction will be transported to the buyer's storage at the buyer's current location after a specified period of time (TBD, approximately 1-4 hours). This option will incur a small transport fee, based on the weight of the items to be transported.
Instant Delivery - Items won from auction will be transported immediately to the buyer's storage at the buyer's current location. This option will incur the same transport fee as Normal Delivery, along with an extra convenience fee.

The transport fees collected for the Normal and Instant Delivery options will be held in a special transport fee pool. In a subsequent Version Update, transport missions will be made available that can be claimed by spaceship pilots via a queue system that incorporates the available transport fee pool, pilot skills, time limitations, and ship cargo capacities.

Those missions will take the form of cargo boxes which must be delivered to a destination in return for a PED reward funded by the transport fee pool. Cargo boxes are at risk of being looted by other participants in cases where the transporting ship is defeated in space combat; the looted cargo boxes can then be delivered to the assigned destination by the looter to claim the original transport mission reward. Note that the cargo boxes will correspond to the value of the transport mission reward rather than the actual items traded via auction sales. In this way piracy of cargo boxes will not negatively impact interplanetary trade.

It will still be possible to transport goods and resources through space in the current manner, though changes will be made in upcoming Version Updates to address currently existing issues and loopholes that allow for risk-free transport of goods and materials through space.

MindArk believes that this new Galactic Transport system will result in increased activity and efficiency in the interplanetary market for goods and materials, along with more accurate and informative market history data that will benefit participants on all planets. It will also make for a much more exciting and engaging gameplay experience in space and pave the way for further development of space systems including combat, hunting, transport and resource gathering.

Link: Developer Notes #10

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