Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Analytical playing in Entropia Universe - A newcomer guide

Since i got a very positive response when i posted this guide on PCF and this one is not very planet-specific i think it's a good idea to post it here also, escpecially when i consider the fact of Arkadia's advertising which might result in newcomers which are here, but not on PCF.

You are new to Entropia ? So this might be an interesting read for you.
First of all I'm actually not so long around in Entropia, but in my 2 years I had a good mentor who is well experienced and skilled and taught me a lot ( thx hawk ) as well as some other successful Entropians
on my friendlist who shared quite a some nice insightful discussions ( thx par,das,ivi & kos & everyone else I might have forgotten now ).

I'm not an uber skilled player, but find my way around, so now let me share some things that might help you also along the way in our universe, and maybe save you some money and frustration.

I won't give you a step by step explanation how to do what and when. This won't work in EU. Maybe for a while and once it works for too many people it doesn't work anymore. Or i describe an upgrade path and
in 6 Month better choices are available. So i leave the research open for you. EU is dynamic, so you need to learn how to adapt to changes anyway.

1. Clearing misconceptions

A - Entropia is free to play

Entropia is free to download. Entropia is free to explore. BUT not all activities are free. Every single of the 3 big ( Hunting, Mining, Crafting ) costs PED. Though the game lets you the choice to raise the funds via deposit or via ingame methods ( sweating, trading, stonewalking, dancing limbo in Twin for money :P ). However everything you get from the free methods relies on what players are willing to give you. In general it's considered a bad idea to come to the forum and complain about others are not willing to give you more to pay your play-time. Some may, some may not, but imagine what people would say when you were sitting downtown with a sign in front of you:

"Need money to play a computer-game"

Guess you get the point. Afterall don't forget the companies running this game need to make money. They make business. Where should this money come from when it's free ?

B - In Entropia I can earn money easily by playing a computer game.

One thing for sure, when it'S easy to earn money in Entropia, ask yourself why are so many poeple depositing ?
Why are so many people complaining here on forums about the cost to play. Yes there are people who make more than they pay.

There are people who even became high skilled players without depositing a single dime. ( In fact the most skilled player in the universe stated he never deposited ). But for sure it isn't earned easily. It takes a lot of time and dedication. You need to play smart, understand the market and be disciplined. You won't find any step by step tutorial which guides you over the road to success, so this will remain for future as well: Some can do it, most can't.

C - Now I get big weapons and start to get rich because i can shoot big kickass mobs

Many newcomer i've seen coming and leaving thought that way and left bitterly disappointed because that didn't work out ( as they were told beforehand ). When people give you that advice they don't want to keep you off the big mobs, to have them for themselves.

The system simply doesn't work that way. Just because you see globals running through of a lot of big mobs, so it doesn't mean those globals are pure profit for those players ( HOFs neither  ). The cost to kill a high level mob are a lot higher than hunting in swamp camp, so they lose more on some runs, and ofc get more globals to even out the loss. As a general rule of thumb it means you can lose peds faster on big mobs than on small mobs.

D - I get more loot / return when my skills get higher

This is not true. Skills mean something, yes. They give you more choices, let you easier react to market situations. But they DON'T give you more loot. Believing in this misconception can be really expensive, because people want to skill up as fast as possible, believing they recieve better lootreturn when they are skilled higher.

But after seeing so many logs on all skill levels, from zero skill newcomer, up to Uber on the top
the returns basically stay the same. We might argue about the exact percantage:

Interesting read about mining return.

or hunting.

or crafting:

but It seems the return rate is around 90% ( TT value input vs. return value output ) when you use effecient setups. I will come back later to the topic of effecient setups in the professions section. Anyway in the long run you will not get more return in TT value out as you put in. The real skill is ( and this one really matters and doesn't appear on your ingame skill list ) to fill the gap of missing loot.

2. - The professions

A - For all professions: The cushion

Well something I consider important is not to run out of peds and keep doing an activity. That means i need to plan my activity to estimate if my PED-Card allows me to do the activity. One of my basic considerations is the "PED-Cushion".

Why do we need something like that ? The above mentioned 90% return are a long-term value which a player doesn't get linear linear after each looting event. The variance between looting events is immense and be between 0 ( no-looter, No resource found, No success ) and more than 100.000 PED so far ( have a look at ATH list, where you can always see the highest loot soomeone got in EU-History. )

Think of each looting event like throwing a dice. After you have enough events you will have roughly the same distribution of the numbers. Same goes for EU. You need enough looting-events to get your average return. But we know each looting event costs ped, so to get a number on even return of let's say 90% you need enough looting events. Ergo when you run out of PEDs before getting your average return that's bad for you.

But that's not the only reason ( though the most obvious and most frustrating one ). Another good reason is to work with Markup. Not only your Loot-returns will fluctuate between good and bad runs, but also materials and items sold within EU do in their market-values. That means, the more PEDs you have to work with the easier you can work with this fact for your advantage.

Too abstract ? Let me give you an example (fictional one):

Let's say your standard hunting weapon is p5a. And usually you get it around 110%. Now it happens a "hunt whatever kickass mob you can imagine" hunting-event occurs and everyone wants to participate, but needs bigger guns. What might happen ? People rush on bigger weapons, which as a result of higher demand raise in price. But the demand on your p5a might get lower, let's say 105% now. With a big cushion you can buy a few for a lower price now and save the 5% difference on the gun for more than the moment. But let's say you want to participate
the given event and were lucky enough to still get your gun ( whichever is the best choice ) for a cheap enough price. Now you know the mob drops another gun which has a normal markup of let's say 150%. But due to the sudden saturation of market the markup drops and the gun becomes almost TT-Food. Wouldn't it be a pity not to have the PEDs to wait with selling them until the market recovers and you actually get a nice Markup for your item ?

I can imagine you are thinking: Yeah i got it, but how much do i need as a cushion ? This is a topic I discussed often and got several different opinions on.

And my personal rule of thumb is: The better, the bigger, but at LEAST 1000 * cost of looting event. This is roughly enough to feather the swings. To be on the safe side you can easily triple the amount, and to work with MU and hold back items as described above even more won't hurt.

So my advice: Whenever you plan doing an activity. Start with calculating the cost of each looting event. In hunting you might also let the numbers work for some different setups in you range, you might be surprised another setup can offer the same mob for a lower price
Is your cushion big enough ? Go for your plan, check out if the theory you worked out beforehand matches reality and your results are as expected.

Yes: stay - No: Try something else

B - Hunting

Hunting is shooting creatures until their HP is down to zero to loot them. Hunting is by far the most popular profession within Entropia. Basically not much to consider isn't it ? Grab your biggest armor, + EK2600, biggest kickass gun you can get and utilize e.g. Karma Killer without any skills and hunt Atrox, because they are globalling fairly often ? Congratz, you are on the expensive path and most likely you open the next whine thread here on forum.

There are smarter ways

Payback model in hunting:
We don't know for sure how payback in hunting works. My recorded payback rate fluctuates around 90%. The tests Mikeemoo did aren't that different in results, but differenciate more in compenasted cost and not compensated cost. Either way even when a certain part of cost is actually compensated it doesn't hurt to assume it's not.

Uncompensated cost in hunting seem to be: Markup on limited items for the hunt (MU%),Overkill, Defense ( Armor and fap bill ), Misses.

We can draw some conclusions from this for hunting:

-Reduce defensive decay as much as possible. ( In fact i don't hunt mobs with a higher defense bill than 5% of my total costs, but i steadily try to bring it as close to zero as possible )

-use maxed weapon whch get's the job done with the cheapest cost.

-UL Amps reduce the efective markup for your offensive cost!

-Reduce overkill as much as possible ( take a finisher when neccessary )

-It seems to his tests dpp is not that important, but the goal should be to get as many looting events for our money as possible a good dpp ( damage per pec ) still helps with it.

-On you find a lot of tools which help to figure out good setups for hunting ( e.g. Armor adviser, Weapon compare ... )

Meaning of skills:
As i said above skills don't influence your return. In case of hunting it is not entirely true, though they don't influence how much loot you get - they definitly influence your cost.

HP: A skilled hunter has more HP as you gain HP from skills and atttributes. More HP means you can take harder hits, die less often and need to fap less. So obvoiusly directly influence your choice of mobs and the cost to restore your hp.

Evader / Dodger: The Professional standings for Evader / Dodger determine how often you get hit from mobs. You can also find a nice Explanation how it works in detail here:

So they influence your armor decay costs & your heal costs.

And also the combat skills have influence, because they raise your HP and give you a wider variety of utilizable tools ( weapons ).

So as a final conclusions: Always ask yourself why you plan to hunt a specific mob. Then calculate yourself like described above. Aim for Markup! Hunt within you skill levels and your PED cushion!

C - Mining
In mining most important knowledge in the profession is where to find which resource. You can find resource maps here, on entropedia and a few useful pages on the web. But also explore. When you have the resource map in your mind that works for you, you know the most important thing. The average return rate is around 90% here also. Maybe it is still 95% as described in Falkao's study linked above.
Always considering TTin vs. TTout ofc.

Regarding Amps i made an example a while ago here in forum :

O.K. Lets assume you do a run with 3 OA-107. Let's assume you pay 150% for them.

so 230 PED * 1.5 * 3 = 1035 PED
ok min TT is 10 PED so 22 uses
so add bombs 22*3 = 66 PED.

So 1101 PED for 66 drops. According to my records it's hardly possible to get an even return on 66 drops.
Count of drops to even out to the 90% for me is around 1000 drops. But we ignore that and just assume every single drop gives you the average return rate.
Note: We just can count TT return!
But hey the LA is maybe taxed and we need to deduct maybe another 5%, so 85% return to expect TT wise.

So TT in = 756 PED. * 0.85 expected = 642,6 PED expected return. Ah we get 30 PED back when we TT the unusable amps.
So 672,6 PED that'S just 61% of the money we put in :O.

That's not counted Possible Extractor, refiner and auc costs and finder decay we didn't consider here also in our example for sake of simplicity.

So to break even you already need an average(!) MU of around 190% (!)
Ask yourself: Do you have any mining are which gives you an average(!) MU of 190% ?

Well. Do the same unamped, maybe avoid also the taxed area. So you just need around 110-115% to reach your goal. And you have around 1100 drops to even out the return ( even more when you combine enmat/ore ).

So you can see Amps can influence your return hard. Are they nonsense to use ? No. Even with a lower return % with the higher cycling you still can make more absolute profit when you use them wisely. Just keep in mind you need to pay the MU of the amp with your profit.

Meaning of skills:
With the mining system in it's current state skills are far less important for a miner as it is for a hunter. At level 10 you can already use pretty nice tools to dig out valuable resources, but hunting skills are not useless. You might gain access to areas closed for less skilled players just because you can defend yourself better.

Sidenote for hunting & mining:
Doing these activities on taxed areas deducts your TT return by the % of taxrate ( common belief & also stated by Mindark, that Taxes are added to the general cost of play ). That means: avoid taxed areas when the Markup doesn't justify.

D - Crafting

Well i'm not a crafter, and most people say to newcomers: Stay away from crafting, unless you are rich. Well that's not entirely true. I already saw newcomer profiting in crafting when they did it clever on the right occasion. Same rule as for all other professions also applies to crafting. Go for Markup. In crafting you also get ~90% of the TT you put in in MAterials back. You get it back in residue and materials you craft. When the MU of your materials and residue are enough to bridge the gap you can profit. This happens sometimes when the price of low level components raises due to a peak of demand. Often such opportunities come with new items etc.
keep your eyes open for such opportunities, then even a newbie crafter has a chance to do ok as long as the MU for the crafted materials is up.

However i can't really say much about the crafting part and leave it to people who do this on regular base and are more experienced in crafting than me. But it works, just do the math and keep your eyes open for the opportunities

3 - Some general points

Well as you see most of my advice is based on planning and tracking your results to have a tool to draw conclusions for your gameplay. So make yourself familiar with a spreadsheetprocessor ( Excel or OOO or something ). And create tracksheets which allow you to control your cashflow.

Value also small MU%. Those can make the difference between loss and breakeven

When you have nothing to do in game scan the auction. When you see Markups there ask yourself why a specific resource / item has the price it has. This will teach you a lot about the ingame economics.

4 - Now where to start
Assuming you are new to the game and haven't done anything yet. Start to explore. Do as much as you can on your own. This will give you valuable knowledge about the geography of your planet. Spawns, landmarks and such. This knowledge is valuable. The time between spend some time reading, building knowledge. Knowledge is most important in Entropia.

After that try the free activities for a week or two. This will teach you to value your PED-card and you will start to build some skills. And some social contacts. With the PEDs you gathered from those activities try out hunting and mining with the rookie gear.

Your first batch of free peds is gone ? You enjoyed it so far ?
No ? well maybe this game isn't for you and this is ok. Leave and look for somehting you can enjoy
Yes ? Good you can dare your deposit now you know what to expect.

BUT stay within your means. Build up your PED Card slowly from your deposit and consider carefully when to move to the next level. Set yourself small goals you can reach in short time. This keeps you motivated.

Have fun, good mood and treat other players with respect and you will make your way within Entropia.

Kind regards

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment here: