At the suggestion of several online friends I recently started playing Entropia Universe. For those who don't know this is a "Free to Play" MMORPG. I use the term "Free to Play" rather loosely...as I believe the game should actually be termed "Free or Play".
The currency in the game "PED" has a direct conversion ratio to real US dollars: $1 = 10 PED. You can earn PED in game by hunting animals or mining resources. You can deposit real money to get started...or earn money in-game.
Sounds good right? Too good to be true? A game that pays you to play?
Now the catch...
The entire game is a casino with the odds stacked in the house's favor. As you're out hunting or mining...all of your equipment degrades and must be repaired. In fact the equipment degrades so quickly...and your ammo is depleted much faster then your income...that you end up losing all your in-game currency.
Sure - there's a chance you could "score big" and find an item worth hundreds of PED. But the odds of that occurring are so low...you still might not recoup your losses.
At one point I had accumulated 6 PED from gathering resources and hunting animals. But by the time I was done...I had no ammo and my medkit was completely broken. Since it was a "starter" medkit it couldn't be repaired.
So first I replaced my medkit. I found what appeared to be a "really good" medkit on the auction house for 5 PED...leaving me 1 PED to buy ammo. That should be plenty I thought!
So I buy the medkit...and I can't equip it. Apparently someone sold me a BROKEN medkit.
I take my remaining 1 PED and repair the medkit. But apparently 1 PED is only enough to repair the medkit by two percent...meaning the kit will break after just a few uses. I'm also now completely broke money-wise...and still haven't purchased any ammo.
At this point...you've got two options.
The easier method of continuing to play is to deposit real money. However this could be rather expensive...as it would take a $100 deposit to obtain only 1000 PED.
The harder method...but less expensive...is to gather sweat from creatures. You literally stand there with a "sweat collector" tool while creatures slowly kill you. Not exactly a fun process by any means.
Apparently the sweat from animals is used in creating "mind force"...the Entropia version of magic. The current going rate for sweat is two PED for one thousand sweat. In real world money...that's $0.20 US. Sound good right? $0.20 US for gathering 1000 virtual items.
I started gathering sweat. And about an hour later...I had gathered 100 sweat! Only 9 hours to go...and I'd be able to gain a full lot of 1000 sweat.
This is where basic math shows that it's not really worth the effort.
We can calculate our "pay rate" by solving the following equation:
Total pay = Rate (times) TimeSo plug in our numbers and simplify the equation:
$0.20 = Rate X 10 hours
Rate = $0.20/10 hours
Rate = $0.02/hourThe fact that you're gathering sweat is truly ironic...since you're being paid sweatshop wages.
There are people in the game who do make a lot of money... and much like any pyramid scheme the early adopters gain all the spoils. Players who have been around for a rather long time have purchased land deeds and actually collect taxes from those who hunt or gather resources on their land. And while they sit back and rake in their fortunes...new players are for the most part completely unaware that they are being exploited by the early adopters of the game.
However...I'm happy to announce that I found a way to "win" at Entropia...a method which is most likely frowned upon by the game creators and the players who exploit the newbies.
I uninstalled the game.
NOTE: The original article stated that $10 = 1 PED. This has been corrected to $1 = 10 PED and all calculations adjusted. Sadly - this changes the pay rate for "sweating" to $0.02/hour instead of the original $2/hour.