Retrospect – a year ago
Roughly one year has passed since the relaunch of Planet Calypso since the Entropia Universe upgrade to the new graphics engine. It is one year during which First Planet Company has learned a lot and accomplished even more. We have added close to 200 missions, revamped areas, and added a newcomer experience to reduce the threshold and increase the knowledge given to a new player. All this has been done with a small but very dedicated and talented team, whom I am very proud of.
In the meantime, there have been a lot of updates to the Entropia platform which, by mentioning a very distinct example, has been seen on Calypso in the forms of vehicles and other add-ons. Calypso veterans have also seen older game play systems coming back in a converted form, for instance Mindforce. Some systems are still missing compared to the pre-VU10 version – which I will address later in this statement.
The newcomer experience
One of the main areas of focus has been the newcomer experience. With the arrival of the Calypso Gateway new players got a calm area to explore the mechanics and theme of Planet Calypso. We introduced a new layer in the real cash economy with items and action on a lesser scale but still working within the same rules as the rest of the Entropia RCE. This allowed us to ease players into the unique Calypso economy environment. With the new Port Atlantis we added a stage two to the experience, adding the Gateway items and mobs to the “real” Calypso. For the time being we will stop with the newcomer focus as we wait for new features in the Entropia platform to take it to the next level – once that arrives we will revisit both the Gateway and the Port Atlantis area for touch-ups.
Storyline, mythos and lore
Often when we describe Planet Calypso we use the phrase “the colonist MMO” or “the colonist experience”. With it we imply that basic premise of the player taking the role as a colonist arriving to a new planet. In the future, we will continue to push this aspect even more and shift focus to what is generally called mythos or lore. To further tie in background, history and society to the context of Calypso’s essence – a lot more “why” will be explained. Early on, years back, the main lore distributor was the items info descriptions on items. Now we have more venues to use – missions, items, events and also – very important – the history not only created by the FPC writers, but also the history that you, the community, is part of building. This creates a vibrant and beautiful collaboration of what Calypso is and what it will become, which will become more evident in the immediate future.
I want to give more credit to the heroes of Calypso – event organizers, leaders, daredevils, helpers and the like. To reward the passionate and dedicated players who live the Calypso dream. FPC is taking steps to integrate this kind of collaboration even more and has also requested new features from MindArk to add systems to the platform that help this cause. Acknowledgment and recognition is very important.
Finally Planet Calypso has an official forum, a place of discussion, feedback and socializing on the web. Next year the PCF will be given even more focus when it comes to how Planet Calypso is presented on the web, how the community will interact and how curious players can find a haven of information. During 2011 marketing activities are planned to increase awareness of Planet Calypso, with the goal to add to the population of mankind’s first colony.
There are still a few systems from the pre-VU10 era that MindArk has yet to reintroduce. These are hangars, taming, mentor, beauty/makeup, and beacons. MindArk is reluctant to share ETA’s on the systems but claim “it will come”. Below is the latest info supplied to FPC.
Hangars will be put in the first FPC release after the new year. Initially the spaceships will not be a “space taxi” as before (as “space” will come in a later MindArk release). Instead, the space ships will work as unlimited flying vehicles. The hangars will once space is opened serve as an important part of the system.
Taming is being developed by MindArk at the moment. The system will be enhanced and given more purpose and game play compared to the old system. A MindArk rep even hinted of being able to ride flying mobs. Is there a storyline hook for Calypso here, are you going to side with tech or nature?
The mentor system is being redesigned from the ground up. The initial information is to add layers to it to allow good and proven mentors access to special areas (like the Gateway) and also to connect mentors to various programmes like recruitment on the web, on Facebook, Twitter, etc. I believe it is of high importance to allow the dedicated players the tools to do their great deed, in order to let the newcomers come in and learn about the world of Calypso.
Beauty/makeup is an important system for personal expression and creativity. I know it started development but was put on hold for the time being. I speculate that it can have something to do with the rumors of an upcoming avatar system update (maybe we will see a system where textures aren’t mirrored as they are today, allowing for more unique looks?).
Beacon missions are going to be part of the current missions system, but greatly expanded to allow for more than just robot ships – with it FPC can add a variety of instanced “dungeons” with different themes and styles.
The immediate FPC pipeline for the rest of the year consists of two releases; one that will include a dedicated event with assets and scope never before seen at FPC. It will be very interesting to see the community response to this as it will act as a guideline for future FPC created events.
We are also in the process of finalizing this year’s Christmas sale item. True to the tradition, December will feature a massive investment opportunity for the bold, much in the same vein as Treasure Island, Club Neverdie and Crystal Palace the years before it. This time it will be a newly constructed entity. More on this will emerge during November.
Next year holds a lot of surprises, more missions, new mobs and much more focus on the above mentioned storyline and lore. MindArk is also taking a look at the “Big Three” (hunting, mining, and crafting) to see what kind of updates can be done to enhance the game play, excitement and enjoyment of those systems. Overall, I believe 2010 has taken several big steps towards a better Planet Calypso experience, but 2011 is going to be a big leap, especially when all the pieces begin to fall into place.
Meet you all on Calypso.
-CEO First Planet Company AB / Planet Calypso