Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Musings and Perspectives of a Noob

- EU is a casino, plain and simple. Can you make money consistently in EU? Yes, you can sweat and sell, or look for stones/fruits/dung. This is the only way to guarantee a profit, and it will be excruciating. You will have slave miners in third world nations laughing at how much you make per hour. Hunting, mining, and crafting are not guaranteed profits. Trading, while closer to a profiting activity, is still volatile, and any update or change by MA can wipe out value in items you might have stocked up on. Thus, your choices in the game are slave wages, stock market type activity (trading), or straight gambling. Personally, I love to gamble.

- EU isn't made for you to profit, but you can staunch the flow of bleeding by making smart choices, or as it's referred to playing 'eco'. We'll get more into that later.

- Think of EU as a casino filled with slot machines. You can play penny slots (kill punies) and probably bleed your cash away slower, with a very slight and rare chance of some jackpot. You could go high roller, dumping $10 bucks a spin (uber players), you'll see globals more often, but it's still a loss relative to your investment level. The chance of a higher jackpot are slightly better, but you'll need deep pockets to sustain the PED cycling. As you gain skills in Entropia, you have the OPTION to move up to the higher levels, buying more expensive weapons/armor/tools to play at those higher levels. Remember it's an option, and you will burn through PED faster. Quite a few players stick to low level monsters for years, just playing more casual as their bankroll will allow. Don't blame the game developers if you play above your means.

- I find myself already falling into this weird "MUST UPGRADE NOWWWWWW@!!@!@@" thought process. When I first upgraded, I was so excited to finally be killing Cornundacauda's and Berycled outside Orthos. Knowing that the slightly higher level mobs could drop better loot was fascinating, and I was so excited to have the better chance of a bigger payout. Now, I look at Atrax longingly, thinking it could be even better if I just get a set of Shogun and some plating. In the end, the Corn's havent changed. HOF's still happen on them, and I have to remind myself that it's totally good enough for now to stick to hunting them (1500 of 5k done *sigh*).. My point is, don't get caught up in the hype. Remind yourself of what's fun and stick to it. Bigger isn't always better.

- Loot theories, ugh. Much like a casino, you'll be surrounded by losers (financially only of course ), who will tell you what system is a guaranteed profit. Why they are "due", etc, etc. Two quick things to remember. First, most people, if they had a profiting system, aren't going to share. It would become widely known by the dev's and changed mostly due to being an exploit. The house (MA) always wins. Second, most don't have a shred of evidence to back things up, or if they do it's inconsequential (ie. small sample base, no control group in testing.)

- But what about my loot pool I keep hearing about?? I lost X PED and it's DUE TO ME MRAWRRR!!! There is a loot pool I'm sure, but not individual. Quick way to disprove it. The noob who hits a Daikiba (excuse me.. Shinkiba) young for 2-3k ped, has depo'd maybe 15 bucks. If he had a personal loot pool that would be impossible.

- I'll get my 90% return though right, I heard that's a fact! It's one I believe. That seems like a relatively reasonable payback. Casinos tend to go as high as 98% payouts on slots, but there is a much higher revenue base coming in, and they have other income means, so they can afford it. Here's the thing about payback percentages, you might just be unlucky forever. It's a scary thought, but if you think of the game's payout as a bell curve, with the average players at the peak getting their 90% payback, there are those of us who fall on either ends. There are people who've run extremely well, getting more than their share of globals, HoF's, ATH. Alternately, there are those who consistently lose. You don't, and never will, know where you fall because you need an infinite timeline to accurately gauge payback. Maybe after a few years you'll see how you're running, but even then results could be very skewed.
To illustrate my point, imagine every person on earth flipping a coin over and over. Theoretically you would have an even number of results, divided amongst the populace. Realistically you'll have 1-2 freak people who'd toss heads a couple hundred times, if not thousands.

- Back to what I said earlier, don't play to profit, play to have fun. You're not due, you don't have a personal loot pool. Every shot, probe, or click of the crafting is just another pull of the slot machine.

- Eco is the best way to staunch the bleeding, as I mentioned. There is a caveat to this though, and that's determining what your time is worth. Taking 2 hours or waiting a week for an auction to go through to make an extra ped might not be worth it. A ped is a dime. Seriously, most of us piss that away a thousand times over in a week. Do they add up? Certainly, but figure out what YOUR time is worth, and play accordingly.

- How do I play eco? First, you can use weapons/tools/items that are already maxed. If you want to skill up, great, but you won't get the max use of your items (some argue that the skills gained are worth money. I don't know the costs, if someone can compare cost of skills vs. loss of eco in an unmaxed weapon I'd be curious). So, avoid using weapons just for the SIB, unless you specifically want those skills faster. Don't move up in weapons unless you can afford the decay, MU, and new ammo costs. Be sure you are using it to kill appropriate creatures. Use entropedia to calculate everything (mob vs. armor, gun damage/pec.). Sometimes it's better to get an amp, or change mobs to save money. When hunting, stick to a few of the same creature types so you can get stacks of the same items. It's easier to sell for MU.

- MU is your friend. Learn it, live it, love it. Spend a vast amount of time on the auction system. Learn what items sell, how often, and in what amounts. MU is a great guide, but results can be skewed. MU takes into account sales on other planets. I always check my MU, then check what the lowest buyout is on the object currently on auction. Sometimes you can raise/lower MU accordingly. Check the MU for the amounts your selling. For instance, lets say I have 500 thingamajigs, and I check the auction. It's a popular item for crafting, and I see that people are selling them in stacks of thousands. There are only two other people selling stacks close to mine. Hrmm, there is a good chance that some newbie crafter might just want to get a small stack, taking in a taste of crafting. For some people, a 50% higher MU on a 5PED stack is much easier to swallow (.25 cents, no biggie).. where as that same increase on a 5k stack would be $2.50.

- When selling, you'll find a lot of guys claiming to purchase stuff at Twin. I've had mixed experiences with them. First, many of them will severely underpay you. They offer 105% MU on a 112% item. Either they are trying to craft cheap, or get big stacks to sell at a higher profit. Totally legit, but hurts you in the end. Most don't advertise their rates in the chat window, which to me is a big indicator they might be embarrassed and lose customers by how low they are offering. Talk to them, ask for prices, don't be afraid to walk away or haggle if you feel it's too low. They might claim you don't pay the auction fee so it's a cheaper MU, but they ALSO don't pay the auction fee (included in the item price on an auction) so it's kind of a joke answer . Compare their prices to the orders tab in the auction. If you need to sell quick, that's a lifesaver. Look for the highest MU order that wants enough to cover the amount of items you are selling. Set the auction to buy out and be done, instant sale. I've found many orders pay higher than the dudes on the street. In the end, shop around and sell at the pace you want. You'll almost always get a higher MU selling on a full length auction vs instant TT/orders/street vendors. Caveat Emptor

- I could do a long guide on the auction alone, and even I am not even close to proficient, so again.. research and test things yourself. You'll learn in time what sells, and how to manipulate the prices. You have to research to succeed in this game. Make friends, read forums, look at Alice's guide, Entropedia, etc. Start picking up the pieces, making your own picture, testing and learning.

- Trust. Trust is hard enough on the internet. I learned a long time ago that random grouping in games was akin to stabbing myself in the eye with a spoon. Ninja looters, guys not knowing how to pull properly, you name it. It's hard, and that's in a game that doesn't include a real cash economy. In this game, trust is paramount, and reputations are important. Don't think that because someone is an older player that you can instantly trust them. Google search their name, check forums. Check their society. If you join a team, check the loot settings, ensure it's damage share (unless you have a different arrangement). If you trade, get collateral ALWAYS. If something sounds too good to be true, it is. You don't need to be a paranoid recluse, but use common sense.

- Make friends. This one is hard to me, I tend to lone it up normally. But even my recluse self have a soc and some trusted people I can chat with. Get involved, find a mentor (with the next patch hopefully!), join events (quite a few newbie ones, search forums and the in game event tracker). You'll find you can have fun, cheap days in this game, and that helps slow the flow of PED out of your wallet.

- Pay it forward. Those 1 ped Colonizer foot guards that you keep getting (stupid Corns lol) give them to a newbie, drop some around Swamp Camp. I'm not saying give every beggar cash, but sometimes the little things can make or break a newbie's experience. On a personal note I had an experience one night, where I had a high level player kill one of my creatures I was fighting. Truth be told it was kicking my ass, but I was having fun playing un-eco, Fapping myself mid battle to finish it. I honestly think he was trying to assist me, and he killed the mob quickly. Unfortunately, earlier that night I had a few guys "kill-stealing" from me and I just lost my cool. I started berating him in general chat. Looking back I'm really sorry I let it get to me without seeing he was trying to help. I was way out of line, mistook the situation, and made a complete ass out of myself. Luckily, he was a really nice guy, I don't remember his name sadly, but I think he said he had the third registered account in this game. We spoke for a few, I apologized, he was a truly good guy and it changed how I treated the game and other people.

- The last thing. Remember the Golden Rule. Treat others with respect. Don't be a douche. Don't steal kills, train mobs onto people, harass, belittle, etc. Teach others if they are unaware of protocol and procedure. We were all noobs once, try to keep it in perspective.


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