Infinite Lagrange Launches Internationally

Available in over 36 countries worldwide.

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MindArk Talks: Entropia Universe 16th Anniversary

Those of you who keep tabs on the industry will remember that Entropia Universe turns 16 this year, meaning that not only can the game now drive in most states, but it retains its discount card along with the other long-lasting MMOs. As it goes, I had to know what their secret was. Thankfully MindArk was kind enough to let me chat with their CEO Henrik Nel to answer my numerous questions.

The full interview is below, and once you are finished I highly recommend checking out Entropia Universe for free.

MMO Fallout: Entropia Universe launched in 2003, which in the gaming industry is basically three lifetimes ago. What is the secret formula that has kept the game running so long?

Henrik Nel: If we told you it wouldn’t be a secret would it? We are very proud about our real cash economy. Having the game being built around it has created something truly unique which can’t be found anywhere else in the gaming industry. We have achieved a level of trust after 16 years where players can feel confident about their investments being secure and treated with bank level security. It also helps that our community is very mature, entrepreneurial and newcomer friendly.

M: Being free to play, Entropia lacks a barrier to entry. Does Entropia still see a lot of new people peeking their heads in?

H: Yes, we do have a constant stream of players eager to check out the game. Even though some our players started over a decade ago, it is still very possible to start from nothing and
play with them on an even field with some cunning strategies quickly.

M: It seems like growing technology is the biggest threat to older MMOs; with some titles shutting down simply because they have hit their ceiling with new operating systems/hardware. Have you had any major technical hurdles to cross with Entropia now being old enough to get its learner’s permit?

H: In 2009 we made the change from Gamebryo game engine to Cryengine 2. With that change, we had to re-develop a lot of our systems to adapt with the new game engine. As many of the developers are still around from that time, we still possess the knowledge from that transition which will make another upgrade much smoother. We do actually have a graphical improvement just around the corner which utilizes Cryengine, but unfortunately I can’t go into detail about it just yet.

M: How would you most succinctly describe Entropia’s real money economy to someone who only knows it as “that real money MMO”?

H: In Entropia Universe everything has a real-life value since all items has a PED value. PED is our in-game currency which is exchangeable with USD at a 10:1 ratio, so if you loot an item
worth 1000 PED it is worth $100 in the real-world. Your avatar skills can also contain a PED value so everything from your weapon to your acquired skills is worth real USD. Just like in the real world, the actions you make inside Entropia Universe have a real economical consequence.

M: Similarly, I think that for a lot of outsiders, their major experience with Entropia is through these record-breaking land deals. Can you give a brief detail on how land ownership works and how people end up spending tens of thousands of dollars investing in virtual property?

H: Sure, a good example would be the Crystal Palace Space Station which was originally sold in 2009. The player who purchased it at the time got access to four different domes filled with unique creatures only found there. These creatures offer users in Entropia the possibility to loot rare and unique items and in exchange the land owner receives a small tax from the users. The land owner also needs to stay vigilant and listen to the users of their land too as they to possess the ability to alter the look and feel of the area. If done properly, they, just like anybody else in Entropia Universe can withdraw their profits to their real-life bank account.

M: And for a final question in that category, how would you bring in a gamer who is curious but afraid that they will need to put in a substantial investment to get started?

H: Try it out and see for yourself, speak with other players when you are on the inside. There is nothing to stop them from downloading it as it is free to play. We do have Starter Packs for new players which are intended for people that want to start out with a smaller investment, but again it is not a prerequisite to enjoy the game. The Starter Packs are made in such a way that they are extremely helpful for all newcomers. Another important thing is the great society we have inside the game, that as well as the mentor systems really help new players to get a great start and a good way to meet new friends.

M: What kind of content updates does Entropia see these days? Looking at the website there appears to be a steady flow of events for players to participate in.

H: You’re right, we do have a lot of events which is suitable for a lot of different users no matter if you’re a high level or new user. And we have some very interesting content updates coming out this year, with new systems attached. But as Entropia Universe is a Real Cash Economy I can’t go into details on this as it might affect the in-game markets.

M: Has the idea of an Entropia Universe 2.0 ever been tossed around the office?

H: It has been tossed around for sure, and while you should never say never, it is nothing that we are planning to do in the foreseeable future.

M: With many MMOs making the leap to other systems, is the plan to keep Entropia PC-bound?

H: In the future you might very well see more parts of Entropia Universe on other platforms, we already have an Android app connected to our systems, which we have had since 2012. With Virtual Tycoon users can craft and trade while on the move. But currently, we focus a 100% on our PC platform.

I want to extend a big thank you to Henrik Nel and the folks who helped make this Q&A a reality.

Star Citizen Raises Lods of Emone


I don’t think anyone could have imagined just how successful Star Citizen’s funding drive would be. In the year since Cloud Imperium Games opened their doors and invited in a mass of crowdsourced investment, the fledgling space MMO has raised nearly twenty two million dollars, and stands to blow through every single one of the developer’s stretch goals. Thanks to the community, a whole host of new content has been made possible including a variety of new ships, new missions, extra detail in ships and hangers, new star systems, mod tools, simulations, HUD options, professional motion capture, a full orchestral score, territory control, first person combat on planets, salvaging, with facial capture and yet another ship on the way as additional rewards.

Rumor has it that the $25 million stretch goal is building MMO Fallout a new website. No? It was worth a shot.

(Source: Star Citizen)

Face of Mankind Kickstarting An Overhaul


Face of Mankind is one of those games that most of you have likely tried at one point, or at the very least heard about it as a concept. The game relies almost solely on player interaction, between individuals and the factions that they represent. Alliances come and go, as do wars, and territories change hands on a regular basis. As an MMO, Face of Mankind has carried a small but dedicated base of players, which Nexeon Technologies hopes to grow with the announcement of Face of Mankind: Fall of the Dominion.

Fall of the Dominion seeks to relaunch Face of Mankind and create what its predecessor had always hoped to be, allowing players to have a real impact on the world around them. That said, Nexeon Technologies needs a cool fifty grand in order to see that dream to reality, so the team has appealed to the Kickstarter gamers to see their project through.

In Face of Mankind: Fall of the Dominion, the players may have as much freedom as they want; at the center of this lies an incredibly powerful Faction system. This system creates the foundation for every mechanic in the game, with almost all conflict potentially escalating to war if the politics aren’t played well. How it pans out is entirely up to the players to decide. Players can create their own faction, capture territories, and dominate the universe.

Can anyone say MMO Fallout Decomposed Boot Corporation?

(Source: Kickstarter)

Earthrise Closer To Alpha Launch, Accepting Registration


Earthrise: The game some of you may not have heard of, is back! Well, not at the moment anyway. If you haven’t been paying attention to this or other MMO news sites, Earthrise is a sci-fi sandbox MMO that launched in February 2011 by Bulgarian developer Masthead Studios. Earthrise was panned rather widely in the reviews, and fizzled out pretty quickly in terms of population. Over time, Masthead Studios attempted to convert the game into a free to play model, only to run out of funds partway through. In a post released in early 2012, Masthead Studios announced that Earthrise would shut down in February.

Long story short, the game was picked up by Silent Future, who are converting it into a free to play game. The first alpha testing stage has started, and players are encouraged to sign up at the link below to test it out.

(Source: Earthrise Website)

Earthrise Posts New HTML5 GUI

Let’s talk about the dead coming back to life. Some of you may recall a long time ago in a galaxy not so far away, that Earthrise shut down due to a lack of funds to fully bring the game over to a free to play platform. If you don’t remember, just re-read that last sentence until it sticks. Got it? Good. While Earthrise had a great PR department selling the game before it launched, the product that shipped barely made a dent in its pre-release hype. In fact, it barely made a dent in anything. After Earthrise released, it virtually vanished off of the face of the MMO press, showing up every now and then to let everyone know that the servers were barren and so were the coffers at Masthead Studios. Major problems from lag, disconnection issues, crashes to desktop, and the actual content of the game kept Earthrise from reaching its potential, and finally the game choked to death on a pretzel with the sound statement that one day, a generous necromancer known as SilentFuture would raise it from the dead.

In the original notice, Earthrise 2.0 was planned for a quarter four 2012 launch. It is probably safe to say that we’ll be looking at a 2013 launch, but just to keep the players satiated for the time being, the above screenshot was posted in an announcement that Earthrise will be using an HTML5 user interface, rather than Flash. Not necessarily the best update possible, but a positive sign that the folks at Silent Future haven’t fallen into the same black void of development that has devoured, say, the guys working on Earth Eternal’s reboot.

Then again, one could say that any news on Earthrise is good news at this point.

Black Prophecy Shutting Down In September

I find myself asking this question a lot: Why does everything I love die? Black Prophecy is easily one of Gamigo’s most impressive looking titles, not to mention a unique player in its own right. Launched last year, Black Prophecy is a sci-fi MMO similar to Eve Online but with a more action-oriented control scheme and a more traditional MMO quest system. It wasn’t perfect, but for many players left on their own after the cancellation of Jumpgate Evolution, it was something to call home.

Unfortunately, times have not been so great to the game or its developer. Back in February, we mentioned that Reakktor Media was insolvent and regardless of the quality of Black Prophecy, it wasn’t bringing in enough money to keep afloat. So it comes as terrible news that Black Prophecy will shut down on September 26th. Players will no longer be able to buy cash shop funds starting today.

(Source: Announcement)

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