COVID-19 Impact on Entropia Universe: Data Analysis & Call to MindArk

MsPudding

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I've been very curious about CV-19's impact on EU, as I've noticed myself, as have others, that the game "feels" more vibrant than ever. Well, it's not just a "feeling" we have anymore, it's a fact, and I have the numbers. And numbers don't lie. The best way, in my opinion, to measure the game's success/growth has always been to look at the CLD payouts. By taking a look at the weekly player cycle on Calypso, we can see the exact impact CV-19 has had on EU, thus far.

If you look at a week, or a month of CLD payouts, you don't get a very good picture. However, when you step back and look at 90 days or 180 days you get a much clearer picture of the direction the game is headed. Nothing is as stable of a measuring stick as the CLD, well of course if I had access to MindArk's books and server data, that would certainly be more accurate, but alas I don't.

We've now got 31 weeks into 2020, and 19 weeks of CV-19's impact.

5 years of in game activity on Planet Calypso from January through July (31 week period):
Year
CLD Revenue (January - July) 31 Week Period
2016​
98.47​
2017​
94.3​
2018​
96.04​
2019​
95.39​
2020​
110.19​
Next, let's deal in averages so we can get an accurate comparison. Between 2016 and 2019, the last four years, the CLD average payout for the first 31 weeks of the year was 96.05, that's our baseline. So, we're comparing an average payout of 96.05 to 2020's first 31 weeks, which was 110.19, and we see about 15% growth for the year. Ok, so we're up 15% for the year, next let's focus in on the period where Covid really began having an effect, April - July.

5 years of in game activity on Planet Calypso from April through July (19 week period):
Year
CLD Revenue (April - July) 19 Week Period
2016​
60.66​
2017​
58.52​
2018​
59.81​
2019​
58.38​
2020​
76.07​

Again, we notice that the CLD payouts for this 19 week period hold pretty stable from 2016 - 2019, with an average of 59.34, which becomes our comparison number. So seeing that we're at 76.07 in 2020 compared to a usual 59.34, we're seeing 28% higher turnover in 2020 when compared to the past four years.

(CLD Payout) Current Annual Growth for 2020: +15%
(CLD Payout) Current Covid-19 Growth for 2020:
+28%

Take home message: It's great to see 28% growth during Covid! I love logging in and seeing my friend's list light up green. I love seeing more people in game, hunting, crafting, mining, chatting, enjoying EU. Growth is good for everyone, not just MindArk, but the community. It becomes easier to sell your loot, easier to find/upgrade your gear, easier to socialize and explore the game. It's been awesome reconnecting with old friends I haven't seen in years, it's been awesome seeing all the "new blood" in here... A thriving community is what we need. EU has been very stable the past 5 years, we haven't been shrinking, we've just been stagnant. We're just now seeing a big jump in the in game activity, something we haven't seen in years!

Call to MindArk: Your game activity just grew by 28% since April! Congratulations! Your platform is one of the few benefactors of a worldwide pandemic. Consider yourselves very lucky to not be among the millions of businesses that are failing right now. People want to escape. They want to escape their lives, their fears, their stress, their problems, so they're playing your game. Not only that, people have time again. Current players are playing more than they have before, old players are logging back in for the first time in 5+ years. New players are poking their heads in while stuck at home. DO NOT MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY! It's my hope that you're having focused meetings with your team right now on what to do to retain all this growth. Hopefully you guys have goals in place to entice and reward people for coming back, for trying out your game for the first time, for cycling & depositing more than they have in the past.

Obviously, this is your business, and I'm not telling you how to run it, but I do have some suggestions as a contributing community member & loyal player that I at least wanted to voice:
  • In Game Community Managers: Gathering groups of people at various parts of the game to spawn a few of the more rare mobs (Hussk, Hogglo Diablo, etc) Traditionally this has been done at various TP's, like Twin Peaks for instance, but it could be done at any TP​
  • WebShop Opportunities: Design a few new "Welcome Back" packs with new incentives to deposit, and a "New Player" pack totally revamped and made to encourage 1st time depositors, or even a "Quarantine Pack" w/ some cool aesthetic items (face masks, etc.) Throw in some pills, trinkets, gizmos, and other stuff you find appropriate​
  • AMA: You guys are already planning one of these, this is awesome, great idea! Looking forward to it, My ;)
  • Fine Tune the Loot: Re-balance some of the drop rates to reflect the current in game demand, including but not limited to: Empty skill implants, tier components, opals, pyrite, and other valuable resources, etc. Obviously, these changes would need to be done slowly and monitored so as not to crash the market (I'm looking at you Redulite Rush of 2020)​
  • Enhanced Loot Drops: Add some valuable loot drops into the loot pool, based on the level of the mob. This includes some armor pieces, weapons, you decide (don't go crazy, but even just one really nice drop every couple months for the next 3-6 months would be a nice carrot for a lot of people​
  • Skill Bonus Weekends: Let players grind up their skills on certain weekends with added bonus (please don't implement this without first increasing ESI's, as many players don't actually want skill, or allow people to turn the skill increase bonuses "off" if they don't want to participate... Or even better yet, re-tune your Mayhems so as to increase the rewards and incentives for skilling up. I mean, if we want to get at the heart of the problem, your Mayhems are currently partially broken, in my opinion. People are paying money to take their avatars in the opposite direction you want them to, removing their skill and halting their progress. I'd love nothing more than to get my hands on tweaking your Mayhem, but I'm gonna have to save that post for another day​
There's many more ideas that you guys can come up with, and members of our community would come up with, but that short list is a start.

I get excited when others get excited about EU. I've been playing this game for 10 years, and it offers so many things on so many different levels that no other game does. We've got one of the best communities around. There's no right way to play EU, there's no one way to play EU, the sandbox feel in here is so incredible. There's a lot to explore, people to meet, goals to achieve, and you've got more of that going on right now than you have in the past seven to eight years! Let's take advantage of this! Let's build, not tear down.

Remember,
The rising tide lifts all boats
 
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~ Cirrus ~

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To praise a disease that killed many people, only capitalism can do that... :wtg:

But hey, let's not talk about money, right ? It's just about fun. (y)

Good thing that, as you say, you are a gamer, and not in the business, like a big landowner for example, because this thread could seem very nasty... :unsure:
 

DavinFelth

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I get your point and think it's cool to highlight this. However, I feel that the work you put into your post is about 3x as much work as MA will put into anything this month.
 

Evey

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Really?

We have a positive and uplifting message backed by data and a call to action and these are the initial posts in response?
~ Cirrus ~ is allergic to positivism and sees hidden fees all over :))

I liked Puddin's message, I sometimes go silly too and am too positive on the forums, hoping to help ppl d better for themselves, but then I get slapped by the doom-mongers...
 

Baron_Martin

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To praise a disease that killed many people, only capitalism can do that... :wtg:

But hey, let's not talk about money, right ? It's just about fun. (y)

Good thing that, as you say, you are a gamer, and not in the business, like a big landowner for example, because this thread could seem very nasty... :unsure:
All of the great info and conclusions from the post have absolutely no commentary or relation to the pandemic itself. It's just: X event has happened and it has produced Y results.

Weak Take chief.
 

MsPudding

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All of the great info and conclusions from the post have absolutely no commentary or relation to the pandemic itself. It's just: X event has happened and it has produced Y results.

Weak Take chief.
Don't you know, it's always easier to attack a straw man.
 
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~ Cirrus ~ is allergic to positivism and sees hidden fees all over :))

I liked Puddin's message, I sometimes go silly too and am too positive on the forums, hoping to help ppl d better for themselves, but then I get slapped by the doom-mongers...
Hahahahaha "DOOM MONGERS" :ROFLMAO:
 

GradenFoss

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My personal take is... Corona certainly may be one factor. However, ppl realize--as Sept 1st is drawing near--that Iron missions on Caly are definitely going to end and therefore up their efforts to get them done (I certainly have). And this is mainly responsible, why the numbers are up.

:handgun:
 

MsPudding

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My personal take is... Corona certainly may be one factor. However, ppl realize--as Sept 1st is drawing near--that Iron missions on Caly are definitely going to end and therefore up their efforts to get them done (I certainly have). And this is mainly responsible, why the numbers are up.

:handgun:
I do like your point. I will agree that Iron Missions ending certainly play an important role in the "up-tick" of participation, I'm clearly on the other side 😆, where I believe the major determining factor of this spike in activity is due to CV-19. The timing of the sharp increase is too perfectly aligned with all the stay at home orders correlating to CLD revenue, perfectly.

However, I am aware that correlation does not imply causation. So, who really knows? This is just my best guess narrowing it down to the biggest driving factor. But, I could be wrong. 😀

GL wrapping up your Irons! I've got several left I'm working on as well.
 

Orion

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I can tell you what will happen:

MA takes the poor (but better than average) numbers for granted, gets over-excited and invests the money in castles in Germany again instead of buying a couple of hours developer time to fix bugs or improve their totally outdated core product.
 

BestGamerEver

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..................................

Call to MindArk: Your game activity just grew by 28% since April! Congratulations! Your platform is one of the few benefactors of a worldwide pandemic. Consider yourselves very lucky to not be among the millions of businesses that are failing right now. People want to escape. They want to escape their lives, their fears, their stress, their problems, so they're playing your game. Not only that, people have time again. Current players are playing more than they have before, old players are logging back in for the first time in 5+ years. New players are poking their heads in while stuck at home. DO NOT MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY! It's my hope that you're having focused meetings with your team right now on what to do to retain all this growth. Hopefully you guys have goals in place to entice and reward people for coming back, for trying out your game for the first time, for cycling & depositing more than they have in the past.

Obviously, this is your business, and I'm not telling you how to run it, but I do have some suggestions as a contributing community member & loyal player that I at least wanted to voice:
  • In Game Community Managers: Gathering groups of people at various parts of the game to spawn a few of the more rare mobs (Hussk, Hogglo Diablo, etc) Traditionally this has been done at various TP's, like Twin Peaks for instance, but it could be done at any TP​
  • WebShop Opportunities: Design a few new "Welcome Back" packs with new incentives to deposit, and a "New Player" pack totally revamped and made to encourage 1st time depositors, or even a "Quarantine Pack" w/ some cool aesthetic items (face masks, etc.) Throw in some pills, trinkets, gizmos, and other stuff you find appropriate​
  • AMA: You guys are already planning one of these, this is awesome, great idea! Looking forward to it, My ;)
  • Fine Tune the Loot: Re-balance some of the drop rates to reflect the current in game demand, including but not limited to: Empty skill implants, tier components, opals, pyrite, and other valuable resources, etc. Obviously, these changes would need to be done slowly and monitored so as not to crash the market (I'm looking at you Redulite Rush of 2020)​
  • Enhanced Loot Drops: Add some valuable loot drops into the loot pool, based on the level of the mob. This includes some armor pieces, weapons, you decide (don't go crazy, but even just one really nice drop every couple months for the next 3-6 months would be a nice carrot for a lot of people​
  • Skill Bonus Weekends: Let players grind up their skills on certain weekends with added bonus (please don't implement this without first increasing ESI's, as many players don't actually want skill, or allow people to turn the skill increase bonuses "off" if they don't want to participate... Or even better yet, re-tune your Mayhems so as to increase the rewards and incentives for skilling up. I mean, if we want to get at the heart of the problem, your Mayhems are currently partially broken, in my opinion. People are paying money to take their avatars in the opposite direction you want them to, removing their skill and halting their progress. I'd love nothing more than to get my hands on tweaking your Mayhem, but I'm gonna have to save that post for another day​
There's many more ideas that you guys can come up with, and members of our community would come up with, but that short list is a start.

I get excited when others get excited about EU. I've been playing this game for 10 years, and it offers so many things on so many different levels that no other game does. We've got one of the best communities around. There's no right way to play EU, there's no one way to play EU, the sandbox feel in here is so incredible. There's a lot to explore, people to meet, goals to achieve, and you've got more of that going on right now than you have in the past seven to eight years! Let's take advantage of this! Let's build, not tear down.

Remember,
The rising tide lifts all boats
...or rip every cent while you can and scratch all above :)))))))))))))))))))))))))
 

Rave

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The state of the game is going to be the problem. It's still a laggy, buggy mess as it's always been. Coating it up with some new webshop items or a "double exp weekend" isn't going to be enough to retain folks after the COVID/quarantine issue goes away.

This game needs a tremendous overhaul if they want to keep things steady like this.
 

Raffaele Meiers

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I have to agree with GrandFoss that the deadline of Sept 1st is the main driver for more activity atm and as it draws closer and closer it will be most certainly more until it drops off in September. I still have so many 60kp or 10k Kill missions not finished that I had to concentrate on the important ones which I want to finish.
 

RickEngland

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CLD income to me was always about the value MA "wanted" to pay. Regardless of how well turnover grew. I simply do not believe the turnover now is better than 1 year after CLD were introduced. Activity was much stronger then and the CLD revenue felt depressed....after the first two weeks payment.

There was bound to be this "we cant pay them that amount" debate in the board room.

Could also be a total distruction of other planet income. Are you measuring the game as whole or just the Caly PP?

MA have been pretty good at evening the flow of revenue, (hold and spread) it's all about creating calm smoothing returns, rather than shock peaks and troughs.

So that brings us to the next question. How many CLD are actively still owned by private individuals in 2020 with zero affiliation with Mindark? Is it in the PP's interest to allocate more revenue if you now own 'most' of the deeds? Speculation yes, but where is the audit trail, to either confirm or deny that.

I'd rather take the audited accounts as a measure of growth. Even then I wouldn't trust the Revenue number within the P&L account (revenue can be whatever you want it to be, cost however is real). I'd question, how much cash do you have and how much cash are you generating? Is that value growing or falling?

Good to see though greater payouts to those real players still holding CLD's. What that really means under the hood is open to debate.

Rick.
 

Rave

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CLD income to me was always about the value MA "wanted" to pay. Regardless of how well turnover grew. I simply do not believe the turnover now is better than 1 year after CLD were introduced. Activity was much stronger then and the CLD revenue felt depressed....after the first two weeks payment.
As always, Rick, I find myself agreeing with you haha. There is no way this game's turnover is stronger now than it was back then. That time period was honestly the height of the game, as far as I can tell. One reason I never bought CLDs, I did not trust MA to pay out appropriately.
 

Svarog

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As always, Rick, I find myself agreeing with you haha. There is no way this game's turnover is stronger now than it was back then. That time period was honestly the height of the game, as far as I can tell.
The peak was in 2008-09, before the Cryengine update killed off a third of population due to the harsh system requirements of non-optimized engine (I just bought a top of the line Mac Pro back then and was forced to switch from "very high" to "safe mode" settings). Only now we are slowly getting to pre-vu10 population, which is currently easily double of what there was in 2011 when CLDs were introduced. Pre-COVID payouts were on the same level as in the beginning of 2012 - and that's with the people now spread over 3 more planets added since then, contributing less to CLDs. And finally, if you look in their financial reports, it says that the amount of "unconsummed" PED in game was 67 million back in 2012, compared to 114 million in 2019.
 

Rave

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The peak was in 2008-09, before the Cryengine update killed off a third of population due to the harsh system requirements of non-optimized engine (I just bought a top of the line Mac Pro back then and was forced to switch from "very high" to "safe mode" settings). Only now we are slowly getting to pre-vu10 population, which is currently easily double of what there was in 2011 when CLDs were introduced. Pre-COVID payouts were on the same level as in the beginning of 2012 - and that's with the people now spread over 3 more planets added since then, contributing less to CLDs. And finally, if you look in their financial reports, it says that the amount of "unconsummed" PED in game was 67 million back in 2012, compared to 114 million in 2019.
Where can we see game population? Because visually it doesn't appear any different than it has over the last few years, and it seems like unique avatar globals have remained steady for the last few years (~5500-6500). Towards the end of the 2019 it was still in that range. The best I can find is 3rd-party estimates (~60,000 according to mmo-pop) but those likely include a lot of accounts that checked the game out briefly and left, never to return.

In 2010, we saw unique avatar globals peak at around 9,800, significantly higher than anything in the last 10 years. What was it before 2010? Do we have that data? But up through now, it appears to have been steady with slight fluctuation since that time.

"Unconsumed" PED is not a good indication of popularity or a growing player base. We undoubtedly still have whales depositing a lot of money, but that doesn't indicate growth - only the probability of existing players dropping in more cash. Even CLD output isn't a good indicator of anything because, again, that only reflects money spent but not unique avatars.

This game is not going to attract a lot of new players in its current state. The possible "COVID bump" is because people are stuck inside and without employment, meaning they are searching high and low for something new to do. That doesn't mean this game has staying power for most of those people. There's also the influx of old players, like myself, checking back in because we don't have much else to do.

What we need is transparency from MA... how many unique avatars are actively playing? How many new avatars from the last few months exist and how many are still active? How many are depositing? How many avatars are actively hunting, crafting, and mining (not just trading) and contributing to the game? I can't find any reliable source for this kind of information right now. We also have to assume MA is being forthright with information, not manipulating CLDs, etc. I'm not claiming they are, though.


Got the global data from jambon's post here in the forums about active population, by the way. If you do have harder data, I would be genuinely interested in seeing it. However, a lot of the information in this thread seems to be supposition at best. By best theory is that the CLD bump is simply from 1) returning players because of COVID boredom and 2) players spending more because of COVID boredom.
 

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The peak was in 2008-09, before the Cryengine update killed off a third of population due to the harsh system requirements of non-optimized engine (I just bought a top of the line Mac Pro back then and was forced to switch from "very high" to "safe mode" settings). Only now we are slowly getting to pre-vu10 population, which is currently easily double of what there was in 2011 when CLDs were introduced. Pre-COVID payouts were on the same level as in the beginning of 2012 - and that's with the people now spread over 3 more planets added since then, contributing less to CLDs. And finally, if you look in their financial reports, it says that the amount of "unconsummed" PED in game was 67 million back in 2012, compared to 114 million in 2019.
I bailed on the game for a couple years when CryEngine came along. The controls were butchered and the system requirements were out of reach for me at the time. There were probably many more small players like me who left as well but never came back. The game runs very well now on a normal system and the controls are good too.
 

Svarog

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If you do have harder data, I would be genuinely interested in seeing it.
No hard data, only observations. I used to track the weekly numbers from Entropia Tracker until realized that it should rather be called calypso tracker. You need to have 7 running trackers on a planet for globals there to count, but as I write this, there are 32 trackers on Caly, 8 on Ark, 1 on Rock and none elsewhere. Like, I play mostly away from Caly and the only times EL catches my activity is when I come to Calypso once in a few weeks to sell my loot and play a bit there. Sometimes I'm not even a part of the "unique avatars" number while having hundreds of globals.

As for transparency it's a double-edged sword. Of course we are curious to see numbers but the truth hurts, especially for newcomers. I've seen new people leaving laughing after being told that the (heavily over-)estimated active playerbase is around 50k, because in their view in 2020 it's a level of a game that is in its last throes.
 

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No hard data, only observations. I used to track the weekly numbers from Entropia Tracker until realized that it should rather be called calypso tracker. You need to have 7 running trackers on a planet for globals there to count, but as I write this, there are 32 trackers on Caly, 8 on Ark, 1 on Rock and none elsewhere. Like, I play mostly away from Caly and the only times EL catches my activity is when I come to Calypso once in a few weeks to sell my loot and play a bit there. Sometimes I'm not even a part of the "unique avatars" number while having hundreds of globals.

As for transparency it's a double-edged sword. Of course we are curious to see numbers but the truth hurts, especially for newcomers. I've seen new people leaving laughing after being told that the (heavily over-)estimated active playerbase is around 50k, because in their view in 2020 it's a level of a game that is in its last throes.
I don't think more trackers would give us a massive change in unique globals since the majority of the EU population is on Caly or Ark already (and mostly Caly).

As for the 50k number, I don't think we are anywhere near that. Since globals now capture small loots off punys and smaller mobs, we are now getting a better idea of unique avatars hunting. If you were to tell me a massive MMO only had ~7-8,000 players, I would question its sustainability as well. You and I both know this game has its own unique brand of sustainability because we've been around for longer than most. But from a new player's perspective, it definitely would appear that the game is "dead" or "dying" because they don't have the experience here that we do.

Again, I think this game is very much sustaining at historical levels from the last ~10 years. If we want to inject strong population growth, there are a lot of fundamental changes that will need to happen to the game.
 

Xavier Target

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I came back due to covid after a 7 year absence.. I did log in the website every now and then to see if my account was still there, but I hadn't been in game for that long... Finishing a few of my irons before they go away, yes, but without covid I wouldn't be here to even know they were going away..... How long will I stick around, who knows, your guess might be better than mine....
 

LuisArkadov

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Hope MA will accept deposits in foodstamps when the lockdown pandemic has been defeated by the pharma lobbyists we call governments.
 
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