Saturday, February 28, 2015

State of the Universe Address 2015

State of the Universe Address 2015

Greetings Entropians,

First of all, everyone here at MindArk would like to extend thanks for your participation and support of Entropia Universe throughout the past year. Our plans for 2015, outlined below, have been designed to provide an increasingly exciting and rewarding real-cash economy gaming experience for you. But first I’d like to briefly review some of the improvements to Entropia Universe that were accomplished in 2014.

2014 Highlights
Social Interface Redesign
Early in the year the chat and messaging interfaces were completely redesigned to improve communication and encourage enhanced social interaction between participants. New features included offline messaging, custom chat channels, avatar profiles, and much more. Subsequent version updates refined the new interface and provided additional features.

Infrastructure & Performance
Ongoing improvements were made to the Entropia Universe platform infrastructure, including hardware and software upgrades and enhanced development tools. Starting late in 2014 and continuing early this year, our development team conducted several stress tests in order to profile performance and identify areas for improvement. Valuable data was gathered from those tests, which will help to improve client and server performance moving forward in 2015.

New Player Experience
Ongoing improvements to the New Player Experience were implemented with every Version Update and partner release during 2014. These efforts will continue to be a top priority during 2015 in order to maximize the marketing efforts of MindArk and the planet partners.

MindArk implemented a web-based shop available on where participants are able to purchase various items and consumables, including special Starter Packs ideally designed for new participants.

Creature Control System
A fun new feature allowing avatars to assume the form of various creatures was implemented in the form of Creature Control Capsules. This system is also available to planet partners to help enhance storyline events with controllable creatures and NPCs. Capsules for additional creatures will continue to be added in future Version Updates.

The long awaited return of the taming system was unveiled last fall, sporting new features along
with former functionality. Stable estates were also auctioned during 2014, and will soon provide services and enhancements for pets.

With the closing of MindArk’s office in Mexico during 2014, support operations were relocated back to the Gothenburg headquarters. This change has resulted in a better overall support experience for our customers, with faster response times and much improved support ticket satisfaction ratings.

PVP Improvements
Several improvements to PVP interaction were implemented in 2014, including the disabling of auto-arget functionality in PVP areas. Additional tweaks and improvements are planned for mid-2015.

2015 Roadmap
The second stage of the Taming system will be implemented in the upcoming Version Update.
Pets will gain passive buffs that can be unlocked at various levels of experience. Stables will gain the ability to offer several new time-limited pet buffs as well. Additional functionality will be added to the Taming system in Version Updates throughout 2015, some of which will be coordinated with the ComPet application.

ComPet Application
Work is progressing well on the design phase of ComPet, which is currently planned for release in Q4 of 2015. The ComPet website will be launched within the next two weeks and will provide ongoing updates and info on the ComPet project.

Citizenship & Housing System
Development of these systems was unfortunately delayed in 2014 due to the critical infrastructure upgrades taking quite a bit more development time than anticipated, along with several other projects receiving higher priority in the second half of 2014 and early 2015. The housing system will be implemented incrementally, starting in mid-2015.

In order to improve the quality and quantity of space content, we are working on several new features and systems. Those new features will be developed and released incrementally during 2015 and into 2016. The first stage of the Galactic Transport system will likely be included in the Version Update currently planned for June, and will offer transport missions with rewards drawn from the Galactic Transport pool that is funded by auction transfer fees.

To create the potential for more exciting and rewarding PVP activity in space, there are plans to refine the balancing of spaceships and spaceship weaponry in order. Along with that rebalancing, additional PVE space content is planned for Q3/Q4 2015.

New Player Experience
As we have done for the past couple of years, MindArk and the planet partners intend to continually improve the experience for new participants, in hopes of better engaging our customers and thereby improving conversion and retention rates and maximizing our marketing efforts.

EU Client
The effort to overhaul and modernize the various user interfaces of the Entropia Universe client will continue in 2015. This is an ongoing project with the goal of unifying and streamlining the many existing user interface elements to improve usability and aesthetics.

Affiliate System
Work is moving forward on the affiliate program mentioned in the State of the Universe Address 2014, though the expected release date has been revised to 2015 due to integration requirements with other planned projects.

MindArk plans to continue to expand and refine its marketing efforts in 2015 in order to maximize the number of new participants joining Entropia Universe. As outlined above, our marketing efforts in 2014 were very promising and we plan to become even more aggressive in 2015.

Entropia Platform Third-Party Partners
Companies and organisations around the world now have the opportunity to leverage the Entropia Platform for marketing, promotion, production assistance and training

MindArk is already working closely with several parties that plan to launch services during 2015 that will harness the power and flexibility of the Entropia Universe platform. Details of one of those projects will be announced within the next couple of months. Stay tuned!

Planet Partners
Planet Toulan
MindArk was excited to bring its newest planet online early last year. Though still in its beta release, Planet Toulan promises to bring exposure of Entropia Universe to a previously untapped sector of the online gaming audience and add a unique Arabian theme to the existing planet partner roster. Full release of Planet Toulan is expected mid-2015.

Planet Cyrene
The long-awaited full launch of Planet Cyrene is planned for 2015.

Planet Arkadia
Planet Arkadia did a wonderful job with its content development, marketing, and event management efforts during 2014, and plans to carry that momentum forward into 2015.

Rocktropia will continue its efforts of implementing popular brands into its content, building on its success with King Kong and other Universal Studios properties.

I hope that all of you are looking forward to the exciting releases coming up in 2015 and that our planned developments help you to enjoy Entropia Universe more than ever before. We at MindArk are committed to continually improving the content, quality and capacity of Entropia Universe in order to offer as enjoyable and exciting a Virtual Real Cash economy experience as possible.

Best regards,

Klas Moreau

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