State of the Universe Address 2013

Bertha Bot

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[h=3]State of the Universe Address 2013[/h] Greetings Entropians,

While 2012 was an important and eventful year for Entropia Universe, the upcoming year promises to bring even greater opportunities for development of the EU platform and participant growth.

One very exciting milestone that will be reached early in 2013 is Entropia’s ten-year anniversary! The official “gold” version of Project Entropia (the predecessor to Entropia Universe) was released on Jan. 30, 2003, and MindArk will be celebrating the anniversary throughout 2013 with numerous special events and promotions. More details can be found in the 2013 Roadmap section below.

The MindArk team has spent much of December pinpointing the highest priorities and plotting our development roadmap for 2013. Some amazing improvements are coming very soon, and I am confident in stating that the future of Entropia Universe looks brighter than ever!

Before detailing MindArk’s development plans for the new year, I’d like to quickly share the highlights and progress achieved in 2012.

2012 HIGHLIGHTS

New Participant Experience
As mentioned in the State of the Universe Address 2012, MindArk made a conscious effort in 2012 to improve the overall Entropia Universe user experience, especially for newcomers. Towards that goal, MindArk and the planet partners put a lot of focus on refining the systems and content encountered by new participants during their first few hours in Entropia Universe. These improvements included revamping the Genesis new arrivals area to improve performance and ease the learning curve for newbies. In response to feedback from the community, creature loots were also adjusted by MindArk to dramatically reduce the incidence of ‘No Looters’. On the planet partner side of things, newly designed beginner areas were introduced on Planet Arkadia and Planet Calypso, with the goal of better educating and engaging new participants and helping them gain some early momentum in their Entropia Universe careers.

Marketing
In conjunction with the the improvements to new participant areas described above, MindArk gradually ramped up its marketing efforts during 2012, resulting in a 50% increase in the number of unique visitors to the EntropiaUniverse.com and planet partner websites. In addition, the redesign and optimization of the Planet Calypso website completed in early autumn helped to significantly improve the conversion rate of website visitors. The results of these marketing efforts are very encouraging indeed. Entropia Universe now has 2.5 times more new active accounts compared to 2011, and overall activity in the universe is increasing steadily. Without doubt, MindArk plans to build on this success by refining and expanding its marketing efforts during 2013, first by increasing the current Google banner campaigns, and later branching out to additional advertising networks. Finally, an exciting new Entropia Universe promotional video is being developed in conjunction with Arkadia Studios, to be released early in the new year.

Systems Development
While there certainly was a big focus on the new player experience in 2012, there were also tons of other enhancements and improvements introduced for existing participants, many of which were given priority based on feedback received through support cases and on community forums. Some of the highlights of those improvements include:

  • New and improved crafting interface
  • Instance system - major improvements and expansion (beacons/dungeons)
  • Improved creature loot balancing
  • Mission system enhancements & rebalancing
  • Mindforce improvements and new effects
  • Dozens of critical bugfixes and user interface optimizations

Platform Development
MindArk’s development team spent a large part of the second half of 2012 building the foundations to allow other types of client software to connect to Entropia Universe. The first of those new clients, Virtual Tycoon, was released in December and allows participants to connect to Entropia Universe through their Android powered smartphone. An iOS version Virtual Tycoon compatible with iPhone and iPad will be released in the very near future. More information about Virtual Tycoon can be found in this announcement. The effort invested in this project will pay future dividends as well, as it allows for much faster development to make Entropia Universe available on other client platforms such as tablets, additional mobile devices, along with various web-based interfaces.

Avatar Development
Another project that has kept the MindArk team quite busy in the latter half of 2012 focuses on improving avatar appearance and the avatar creation interface. Originally planned for release at the end of 2012, completion of this project has required somewhat more time than expected, and is now scheduled to be implemented early in 2013. The good news is that this allows MindArk and the planet partners to put the finishing touches of the new system, so your avatars will be looking better than ever!

2013 ROADMAP

Entropia’s 10 Year Anniversary
As mentioned earlier, Entropia will turn 10 years old on January 30, 2013, and MindArk will celebrate this historic milestone with some wonderful universe-wide events beginning on the anniversary date and continuing throughout 2013. As a token of thanks for the support we have received from our amazing community over the years, special anniversary edition items will be introduced in loots and offered as event prizes. These items will have enhanced stats and can be identified by the TEN suffix in the item name (Tenth Entropia New year).

Also in celebration of ten years of Entropia, there will be a major estate announced for auction at the end of January, with a completely new management/revenue model. More details will be released as the anniversary date approaches.

Veteran Appreciation
As another show of thanks, MindArk will focus lots of development time on improving the Entropia Universe experience for current participants and Entropia veterans. Many of the most common requests and wishlist items received from our participants via support cases and community forums will be addressed in the first two version updates of the new year. Issues that will be prioritized include:

  • Fixing bugs
  • Reducing cost to play / increasing average TT returns
  • Lowering the volatility of returns for many activities
  • Increasing UL item tiering speed / lowering UL item tiering cost
  • Removing the UL armor equipping fee
  • Lowering the minimum usable condition of many items

Many other interface improvements and game system upgrades are also planned for the second quarter of 2013 and beyond, including items such as PVP combat, mission system functionality, vehicle system, removing exploits, expanding crafting, interface enhancements, bug fixing, and much more.

Infrastructure Upgrades
Major upgrades will be performed on the Entropia Universe platform infrastructure beginning in January. These upgrades will result in improved server stability and faster development and deployment times for future version updates. While these upgrades will require a few months for full completion, participants can expect better performance, fewer unexpected server outages, and much shorter VU downtimes.

In addition, refinements to the development and release procedures for MindArk and its planet partners will help improve client stability, reduce bugs and other unexpected system behavior, and generally improve the overall Entropia Universe experience.

Taming
Many of our more patient participants will be happy to hear that a completely redesigned taming system will be developed in 2013. The new taming system will include many of the features from the pre-CryEngine system, along with many new and exciting features that will expand the utility of tamed creatures. Additionally, one of the upcoming new Entropia Universe planets will make extensive use of the new taming system as a core aspect of the planet’s theme.

Space
In the State of the Universe Address 2012, we mentioned plans for expanding and improving space. Several other projects received higher priority in 2012, resulting in the plans for space development being pushed forward to mid-2013. The early focus will be on addressing several issues that currently allow for practically risk-free travel between planets. Space combat and weapons will also be adjusted to improve hunting space creatures and ship to ship PVP combat. Towards the end of the year, we hope to implement several completely new features to space, perhaps even space mining.

Financial
Several new payment provider solutions will be introduced early in 2013, including Paypal and Paypal’s mobile payment service, Zong. MindArk is also researching opportunities for supplemental credit card processing solutions, in light of the recent disuprtions and issues experienced with DIBS.

New starter packs will soon be offered on the Entropia Universe and planet partner websites. These packs are designed to provide new participants with a full range of appropriate starter gear at a reasonable cost, and help them start their Entropia Universe careers off on the right foot.

CLD Estate & Political Systems
Concept design of the Calypso Land Deed estate and political systems is already in full swing. While many of the core concepts are already in place, we believe it would be worthwhile to gain valuable feedback from the community on several proposed aspects of these new systems. Therefore, we will be contacting CLD holders with a survey early in the year to get their input. Once the design plans are finalized, actual development of the estate and political systems is scheduled to begin after the summer. We are very excited about the potential of the political system especially, and look forward to working together with the community to make it something truly amazing and unique in the computer game industry.


All in all, we leave behind a fruitful 2012 and set our sights forward to some very promising opportunities available to continue expanding and improving Entropia Universe in 2013. We sincerely hope that you join us in celebrating ten years of Entropia early next year, and in developing the future of virtual reality in 2013 and beyond.

Warmest holiday regards from all of us at MindArk,


David Simmonds
CEO MindArk PE AB




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Pauhe Gunor

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:wtg: another golden ago loot event :smash:
 

NevadaJake

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Excellent communication :yay: This appears to be a nice road map for the future.
 

Mega

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Removing the UL armor equipping fee
Lowering the minimum usable condition of many items



Like the sound of both of these, along with other things listed, although some will take place some time "in the future"
 

Nor Alien

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I like what I have read.. :yay:
 

tamlin

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The MindArk team has spent much of December pinpointing the highest priorities and plotting our development roadmap for 2013.
Is it not a bit sad you didn't use the earlier 11 months to do this.

Sorry for pointing out the obvious (actually, I'm not. The least).
 

CeePee

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Looks very promising :yup:
 
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Sounds pretty promising, i really do hope you deliver.

With the ongoing global economic crises, it really is vital for you to keep the playerbase happy and growing. There is a humongous potential in your product and we all know it.
Hope in 2013 you listen more to the feedback of players and set your sights on the longterm profits, rather than shorterm ones.
Let 2013 be a blessed virtual and real life year for all of us.
 

sbi

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All sounds great.. only miss one little word in the roadmap... 'space' :)
Bring the high level space content plz.. just one uber level mob or two will keep us happy for a good while!
 
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wow wasn't expecting that. Very nice read. Looking forward to more details emerging.
 

SpikeBlack

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So these special items celebrating 10 years of EU, will these only drop on Calypso or Universe wide?

Anyone willing to speculate on this new estate being auctioned in the new year? My guess is that it will be in space.
 

Greznik

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So these special items celebrating 10 years of EU, will these only drop on Calypso or Universe wide?

Anyone willing to speculate on this new estate being auctioned in the new year? My guess is that it will be in space.

Was going to ask the same question. As this is a Mindark roadmap and it's the 10 year anniversary of the entire platform, I would suspect that these should be lootable on all planets, but we shall see.
 

Aio

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Really good roadmap. Obviously very excited for TEN items dropping, I completely missed SGA and the original gold in 2003 was sooooo long ago :)

Don't particularly care about taming, but it might shut some people up if it's actually implemented. Interesting to see how the loot volatility will be balanced, wonder if this would indicate a reduction of globals/hofs/ubers for a better low-end return....
 

XeroX2

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[h=3]State of the Universe Address 2013[/h]

  • Fixing bugs
  • Reducing cost to play / increasing average TT returns
  • Lowering the volatility of returns for many activities
  • Increasing UL item tiering speed / lowering UL item tiering cost
  • Removing the UL armor equipping fee
  • Lowering the minimum usable condition of many items

That kinda sounds too good to be true... but maybe it will happen this time. :p I am also looking forward to the TEN event items as I should have some time hunting for them. Unlike during the SGA event where I spent most of my time learning for stupid exams. xD
 

Coelacanth

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Removing the R & R decay on armor--UL or otherwise--is a no-brainer, and I'm glad it will be turfed. It made no sense whatsoever, as it's equivalent to equipping/unequipping weapons, and THOSE don't decay just by equipping/unequipping. Clothing is just aesthetic so I am not against clothing losing a PEC or two each R & R.

I'm still wary of the "In response to feedback from the community, creature loots were also adjusted by MindArk to dramatically reduce the incidence of ‘No Looters’."; specifically, "dramatically reduce". Wonder how that will be defined, exactly? Now don't get me wrong, nobody was a fan of no-loots when MA first introduced it, but it was a software system prone to glitches just as any other new system can be, and possibly moreso with this game's programming. If it worked as intended, with no-loots followed by better-than-average loots, we wouldn't be whining. It's when things got foobed and players got strings of consecutive no-loots, on big mobs no less, that this got particularly infuriating. 16 Atroxes in a row with no loot, or 12 Tantardions in a row with no loot and the 13th Tant dropping exactly 1 PED is a clear sign that the no-loot system could glitch and glitch it often did.

I'm cautiously optimistic about this roadmap; I like what I'm reading but we'll wait and see. Looking forward to the new year, if MA does what they spelled out in this roadmap, I might actually stick around for a while instead of getting frustrated and doing another hiatus until just before Halloween. :)
 

craw

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Fixing bugs

Thanks for the update! I would like to provide input on this process. I've opened a number of support cases with no luck. MA, please open a bug fix thread or contact me directly if you want my constructive input.

craw - an almost 10 year vet
 

DoubleWolf

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Veteran Appreciation
As another show of thanks, MindArk will focus lots of development time on improving the Entropia Universe experience for current participants and Entropia veterans. Many of the most common requests and wishlist items received from our participants via support cases and community forums will be addressed in the first two version updates of the new year. Issues that will be prioritized include:

  • Fixing bugs
  • Reducing cost to play / increasing average TT returns
  • Lowering the volatility of returns for many activities
  • Increasing UL item tiering speed / lowering UL item tiering cost
  • Removing the UL armor equipping fee
  • Lowering the minimum usable condition of many items

Focus on this stuff before you do ANYTHING else. Oddly enough, these are probably the easiest things to accomplish on the list for 2013.

So we should see this in January, right? :laugh:
 

Axel Foley Head

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So we should see this in January, right? :laugh:

In your dreams :hammer:

OT:
If MA does all this and keeps it as a promise this is going to be an awesome year!
Can't wait for more info about the TEN event :yay:
 
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Sounds like the platform is maturing and in the process of expansion. They seem to be doing everything related to that e.g. the android app and more apps to come, better loot.

Finally I think we may have a major advertising campaign once everything is positioned. Could take time but to me shows they are so far doing all the right things.

So I guess this news is the best present for xmas I could have wished for and me not standing any chance of winning MM plus other bugs seem trivial in the bigger scheme of things.
 

Mad Mike Hoare

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Sounds like the platform is maturing and in the process of expansion. They seem to be doing everything related to that e.g. the android app and more apps to come, better loot.

How do these "improvements" have any impact on loot?
 

Ludvig|MindArk

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How do these "improvements" have any impact on loot?

Well, "Reducing cost to play / increasing average TT returns" and "Lowering the volatility of returns for many activities" has impact on loot... as well as "Improved creature loot balancing"... should all have impact on loot, no? :coffee:
 

goodgrief999

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I reckon it's getting near the time for a 'Greets thread', like opposite of a whining thread, aimed at MA. They do seem to have done a lot of work, aimed at keeping, us, the players happy. Beauticians and tamers are gonna be glad. You can never please ALL the people ALL the time.
Boo.
<p.s, to MA, just add my little 'fee' to my next global>
LOL
 
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The year 2012 is comming to an end in which we had space promised to be 'in focus' - then we got told by Bjorn on entropiaforum that space got shifted to 2013 - but somehow someone might have forgotten about space as i cant see it on the roadmap at all.
Would be nice to get an official statement in regards to space.
Do we have to wait like tamers did, to get told 3 years later that 'development will be started' ?
 

KlowN

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Amazing post, very happy. The whole thing just sounds great. Soooooo looking forward to the TEN items. Avatar update been waiting for, but meh, I can wait longer :). Not a tamer, but would love to see it back for a huge change in morale in the community. Bug fixes as a priority, epic of course. Time for a new Neverdie/Deathifier/Buzz/Medusa investors to start saving up for this new big land opportunity. Reduced cost to play. Server stability, hell yes with the large influx of new players. etc etc etc

:yay: My holiday break from work has started today, i'm drinking, & now this.... definately one hell of an exciting day. :yay:
 

Butch C

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Taming
Many of our more patient participants will be happy to hear that a completely redesigned taming system will be developed in 2013. The new taming system will include many of the features from the pre-CryEngine system, along with many new and exciting features that will expand the utility of tamed creatures. Additionally, one of the upcoming new Entropia Universe planets will make extensive use of the new taming system as a core aspect of the planet’s theme.

Patient :) There's an understatement, so 2013 it is now... same dribble, i will believe it when i actually see it.

Taming had features in the pre-cryo version of taming? that's new to me, changing the name and brushing a pet i wouldn't exactly call features.

So a new planet using taming as a core system aspect, how does one plan a business with a company that says "Taming will be back in a few months, then 2010 then 2011 then 2012 then 2013? just wondering.

I've seen the same road maps over and over and all mention taming yet it never comes.
 
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