Dev Note #13

http://www.entropiauniverse.com/bulletin/buzz/2017/07/14/Developer-Notes–13—Loot-2.0-Statistics.xml

 

Developer Notes #13 – Loot 2.0 Statistics

The MindArk design team has been closely monitoring the impact of Loot 2.0, recently implemented in Version Update 15.15. We have also been following the many interesting and valuable discussions on community forums and thought it would be helpful to those discussions to share some hunting return statistics.

  • Net return for all hunting activity since VU 15.15: 94.71%
  • Net return for hunters cycling at least 100,000 PED since VU 15.15: 97.29%
  • Net return for hunters cycling at least 10,000 PED since VU 15.15: 94.79%
  • Net return for accounts created in 2017, cycling at least 100 PED since VU 15.15: 94.87%
  • Net return for accounts created in 2017: 93.47%

These return rates are very close to MindArk’s targets for Loot 2.0, and indicate that the changes implemented are working as intended. Of course, we will continue to monitor, tweak and improve moving forward.

Happy hunting!

Dev Note #14

http://www.entropiauniverse.com/bulletin/buzz/2017/09/27/Developer-Notes–14—Loot-2.0-Update.xml

Developer Notes #14 – Loot 2.0 Update

One of MindArk’s primary long-term goals is to make Entropia Universe as affordable and entertaining as possible for all participants. Toward that end, MindArk is continually experimenting with various adjustments to in-game systems, with an eye toward lowering cost to play while maintaining a reasonable level of revenue that enables continued development and marketing of Entropia Universe.

Reductions in Cost to Play
On September 11th, we initiated a temporary test in which the MindArk fee for hunting was lowered significantly. In the long term, we hope that a lower MindArk fee will result in increased overall activity and new participant retention, and thereby compensate for the lower short-term revenue. We plan to continue experimenting with these revenue settings in the near future to gather more data.

Early data show positive results from those experiments:

  • Hunters with turnover of more than 50000 PED since Sept. 11 have enjoyed returns of 98.6% on average.
  • Hunters with turnover between 10000 and 50000 PED since Sept. 11 have enjoyed returns of 97.05% on average.
  • Accounts created in 2017 have enjoyed returns of 96.94% on average since the changes implemented on Sept. 11.

As noted in a previous Developer Notes, Loot 2.0 drastically lowered the costs for armor decay and healing, which we can now confirm has led to a substantial increase in the usage of those mechanics. This is an example of the type of positive changes we are hoping to identify and implement in other systems: changes that benefit participants (in terms of lower cost to play) as well as MindArk’s revenue, resulting in a better overall gameplay experience and growth of Entropia Universe.

Loot Distribution Changes
As many participants have already noticed, changes have recently been made to hunting loot distribution, specifically regarding loot volatility and loot sizes. The overall net hunting return was not affected by these changes, but rather the frequency and size of various loot outcomes as a means of promoting more interesting and exciting loot outcomes and removing some of the more frustrating outcomes that were previously possible (especially on larger creatures).

Effects of Critical Hits/Damage on Loot
Finally, we have noticed several misconceptions in recent community discussions regarding Critical Hits that we would like to clarify. Critical Hits do not have a direct impact on loot value calculations per se. Since loot is now based on the actual cost to kill a creature in Loot 2.0, dealing more damage via critical hits (or by having higher damage per pec) does result in smaller loot events for a given creature, but this effect is directly proportional to the lower cost to kill and allows more creatures to be killed (i.e. more loot events) for a given amount of PED spent. Also, the composition of loot improves in such cases and results in a lower proportion of Shrapnel in loot. In other words, the use of items or consumables that provide increased Critical Hit Chance or Critical Damage can never have a negative effect on loot returns.

Dev Note #12 Follow Up

Developer Notes #12 – Loot 2.0 Follow-Up

This installment of Developer Notes attempts to clear up some of the questions and misconceptions related to the Version Update 15.15.0 – Loot 2.0.

Economy Parameter (soon to be renamed Efficiency)

One of the most misunderstood features of Loot 2.0 was the introduction of the Economy parameter and its effect on loot calculations. Based on feedback received via support cases and our monitoring of forum discussions, it appears that one cause of confusion is the use of the term ‘Economy’ for this parameter. As such, the Economy parameter will be renamed to Efficiency in the upcoming patch, which more accurately captures the effect of this parameter. Also in the upcoming patch, the tooltip text for the Efficiency parameter will be changed to the following:

Efficiency indicates the cost-effectiveness of a weapon (or weapon attachment) in creating damage. Efficiency values range from 1-100, and higher values indicate better efficiency. Efficiency is an inherent property of an item, and thus is not affected by avatar skills. Weapons that have scopes, lasers or amplifiers attached will display a modified Efficiency value (in orange).

A few additional points about Efficiency parameter will hopefully clear up many of the questions and dispel some of the more common misconceptions that we have noticed:

  • The Efficiency parameter is not affected by avatar skills.
  • The largest components by far in loot value calculations are costs, such as weapon deterioration, ammo consumption, armor deterioration, healing costs, etc.
  • The Efficiency parameter is a relatively small component in loot calculations (no more than 7% of total loot value).
  • The displayed Efficiency parameter for a given weapon does not correspond to expected overall loot return.

Optimal Loot

Another feature of Loot 2.0 that has sparked lots of discussion and speculation is Optimal Loot.

It is important to note that Optimal Loot only affects loot composition (what you loot), not the loot value (how much you loot). There is no Optimal Loot penalty for hunting creatures that are well below your avatar’s level; in fact most such kills will meet the requirements for Optimal Loot composition.

To best achieve Optimal Loot:

  • Be sure to have the Hit Ability and Damage profession requirements maxed (10.0/10.0) on the weapon your avatar is using.
  • Avoid over-amping (using a weapon amplifier that adds more than 50% of the maximum damage of the weapon to which it is equipped).
  • Minimize healing costs and the need to interrupt damage dealing to heal.

In general, the lower the cost to kill a creature, the higher the proportion of loot composition will be Optimal Loot. There is no inherent  “kill timer” for each creature; Optimal Loot is calculated based on costs, not on time.

Crafting, Resources and Economy

MindArk is working on restructuring and streamlining the item situation in Entropia Universe. This involves many changes to the crafting system and loot distribution, with the goal of reducing the number of components, resources and similar items in the universe, to ensure that the majority of items have a place within the economy.

The balance between looted and crafted items, along with items from other sources such as events, competitions, strongboxes, etc., will be improved to strike a better balance.

New blueprints will use existing components and resources as much as possible to sustain a thriving and interdependent economy between crafting, mining and hunting.

Local Copy: Dev Note #11

Developer Notes #11 – Loot 2.0

Later this month, MindArk will be releasing a special Loot 2.0 Version Update that will overhaul the way in which hunting loot is calculated and distributed. Many of the features and systems added over the past few years have gradually led to this update, which will significantly improve overall loot returns for the vast majority (upwards of 98%) of participants.

The information in this Developer Notes article is intended to inform participants of the upcoming changes and to gather initial impressions and feedback to help ensure a smooth implementation of this exciting update. Please bear in mind that the changes described below are still being finalized and tested, so some specific details may be changed upon release, while other changes may require additional refinement or testing and therefore may not appear in the initial Loot 2.0 release, but instead in subsequent patches or Version Updates.

Loot Changes

  • Loot calculations will be optimized and improved to better factor in the various costs associated with hunting activity, including: healing, ammo consumption, buffs, tool and armor deterioration, attachments, and more.
  • A special hunting bonus pool will be implemented that will distribute funds from various sources, including skill misses, PVP, marketing and special events, which will improve overall loot returns for all participants.
  • A new Economy rating parameter will be introduced, on a scale of 1-100, that indicates the efficiency of a tool and which influences loot calculations. This change from the once dominant damage/pec model will provide the design team with more freedom to release exciting and interesting items with a wider range of damage output and special effects. For example, our team will have the ability to create powerful new items that provide access to challenging and exciting content without dramatically increasing cost to play. Existing items will be assigned Economy values that reflect their relative efficiency to one another and to the entire array of items in the universe.
  • Avatar skills will play a role in loot calculations and this role will be expanded in future Version Updates. Imagine new professions that offer hunting specialization opportunities and a way to incrementally increase net loot returns for dedicated and active hunters.
  • MindArk has been monitoring the community discussions concerning so-called ‘loot waves’ and will implement changes in the Loot 2.0 and subsequent Version Updates that will address this issue by improving the distribution of resources and items, with the goal of ensuring that loot opportunities are more interesting, dynamic and fair for all participants
  • Ammunition will be removed from hunting loot. This change has been requested by many participants over the years and will assist participants in more accurately tracking their results.
  • Loot value calculations and the composition of the items in loot will be affected by properly matching avatar skills and gear to the creature being hunted, rewarding efficient kills with more interesting loot. For optimal loot, it will be important to avoid inefficiencies such as low damage output compared to creature health, excessive time and cost to kill, overkill damage, unmaxed weapons and other factors. This system is intended to reward game knowledge, which has traditionally been an important and unique aspect of success in Entropia Universe, and to provide opportunities for participants to improve their loot returns via experimentation, optimization and specialization.

Also in the Loot 2.0 Version Update will be a range of improvements to various other systems with an eye toward lowering costs and increasing enjoyment for all Entropians. An example of such are the following planned changes to armor:

Armor Changes

  • Armor now decays significantly less per point of damage absorbed.
  • Armor no longer has a minimum decay based on total protection, it will now always decay proportionally to the amount of damage absorbed.
  • Armor can now absorb all incoming damage down to a minimum of 0.1 point of damage taken, instead of the previous 1.0 points of damage.
  • Armor and armor platings now decay independently based on the amount of damage they each actually absorb, rather than both decaying as if absorbing the full amount of received damage.
  • Armor decay is now linear per point of damage absorbed, rather than increasing in cost per damage absorbed.
  • A profession level requirement will be introduced for non-(L) armors. Meeting the required level results in the armor offering full protection at all condition values. If the profession requirement is not met, armor works as before, with protection decreasing relative to condition.

Our design and development teams have been working very hard on these important changes for many months now, and MindArk looks forward to incorporating valuable feedback from our wonderful and passionate community leading up to the release of Loot 2.0!

Local Copy: Dev Note #10

Developer Notes #10 – Galactic Transport

In the upcoming Entropia Universe Version Update 15.1 (currently scheduled for early December), planet-specific auction sections will be removed. This change will result in a single unified auction, something that many participants have requested and something that MindArk believes will result in a more efficient and dynamic interplanetary economy.

After VU 15.1, buyers will have three options when winning an auction that was listed from a planet that differs from that of the buyer:

  1. Pickup at Origin – Items won from auction will be placed into the buyer’s inventory on the planet of origin (the planet where the auction was created). Buyer must then travel to the planet of origin to retrieve the items from storage.
  2. Normal Delivery – Items won from auction will be transported to the buyer’s storage at the buyer’s current location after a specified period of time (TBD, approximately 1-4 hours). This option will incur a small transport fee, based on the weight of the items to be transported.
  3. Instant Delivery – Items won from auction will be transported immediately to the buyer’s storage at the buyer’s current location. This option will incur the same transport fee as Normal Delivery, along with an extra convenience fee.

The transport fees collected for the Normal and Instant Delivery options will be held in a special transport fee pool. In a subsequent Version Update, transport missions will be made available that can be claimed by spaceship pilots via a queue system that incorporates the available transport fee pool, pilot skills, time limitations, and ship cargo capacities.

Those missions will take the form of cargo boxes which must be delivered to a destination in return for a PED reward funded by the transport fee pool. Cargo boxes are at risk of being looted by other participants in cases where the transporting ship is defeated in space combat; the looted cargo boxes can then be delivered to the assigned destination by the looter to claim the original transport mission reward. Note that the cargo boxes will correspond to the value of the transport mission reward rather than the actual items traded via auction sales. In this way piracy of cargo boxes will not negatively impact interplanetary trade.

It will still be possible to transport goods and resources through space in the current manner, though changes will be made in upcoming Version Updates to address currently existing issues and loopholes that allow for risk-free transport of goods and materials through space.

MindArk believes that this new Galactic Transport system will result in increased activity and efficiency in the interplanetary market for goods and materials, along with more accurate and informative market history data that will benefit participants on all planets. It will also make for a much more exciting and engaging gameplay experience in space and pave the way for further development of space systems including combat, hunting, transport and resource gathering.

Local Copy: Dev Note #9

Developer Notes #9 – Version Update 15.0 Preview

Taming

As announced in an earlier Buzz article, Version Update 15.0  brings Taming back to Entropia Universe. In this first phase, each planet will feature one low-level tamable creature:

  • Arkadia – Nusul Puny
  • Calypso – Bristlehog Puny
  • Cyrene – Young Arret
  • Rocktropia – Panther Puny
  • Toulan – Tabtab Puny

Existing pets work as they did in the old taming system, though those types of creatures cannot currently be tamed. Additional tamable creatures will be added in future Version Updates.

Shrapnel

Right click menu of Shrapnel in inventory

Shrapnel, a new stackable resource, will be introduced to hunting loot in VU 15.0.

All creatures on all planets will drop this new resource as a symbolic representation of salvaged battle debris, regardless of the type of weapon(s) used to defeat the creature. Shrapnel will replace a portion of the total loot value formerly dropped in the form of ammo, animal oils, tier components, paint cans, etc.

Shrapnel is not used as a crafting component; instead, Shrapnel can be can converted to Universal Ammo at a ratio of 100:101, or sold to the Trade Terminal at face value.

Looted Stackables

The first phase of an effort to improve the distribution of looted stackable resources will be implemented in VU 15.0, starting with a majority of Planet Calypso creatures. Veteran participants will recall how several years ago most types of looted stackables could only be looted from particular creatures.

The benefit of returning to that method of distribution is a reduction in the number of different items looted in a particular hunting session, as well as more a more interesting hunting experience that allows hunters to leverage wisdom gained from previous hunts.

Loots for creatures on other planets will be adjusted in the upcoming partner releases after 15.0.

Local Copy: Dev Note #8

Developer Notes #8

Limited/Unlimited Item Balance

In order to improve the balance between limited and unlimited gear, MindArk has been refining the rate at which unlimited items gain tier levels. This effort has resulted in a decrease in the number of uses required for tier increases, especially at higher tier levels. Further reduction is planned in several steps during the next few version updates, allowing the MindArk design team to monitor and implement incremental changes while reducing the risk of disrupting delicate item market values.

 

To further improve balance between limited and unlimited items, the consumption rate of enhancers attached to unlimited items will be reduced by 50% in Version Update 14.7, currently scheduled for May 13.

Account Liquidation Auctions

A special liquidation auction of items from terminated accounts will be listed on Friday, April 25 and Monday, April 28.

The following items will be listed on the Planet Calypso section of the Entropia Universe auction by the avatar MindArk Official Liquidator for a period of 7 days, with a starting bid of 1 PED.

Group A – Friday April 25

  • Improved A-3 Justifier Mk.II
  • Shadow Harness (M)
  • Shadow Helmet (M)
  • Shadow Gloves (M)
  • Dagger Of Despair
  • Omegaton A203

Group B – Monday April 28

  • Modified Omegaton Fast Aid Pack
  • Shadow Arm Guards (M)
  • Shadow Shin Guards (M)
  • Starkhov AS-98
  • Ancient Omegaton M2870
  • Laganaus Arms Personal Cannon

Local Copy: Dev Note #7

Developer Notes #7

Manufacturing Returns and Success Rates
Several participants have recently expressed concern over manufacturing success rates in support cases and on various community forums. Our design team has investigated these issues and has determined that the manufacturing system is functioning as intended. Please keep in mind that many aspects of the Entropia Universe system are dynamic and that drawing conclusions about “success rates” or “TT return” based on relatively small sample sizes collected over short time periods can be very misleading or unnecessarily alarming.

Once again, we would like to assure all participants that the manufacturing system is functioning properly and as designed.

Sneak Peek – New Social Interface
Since before the summer, members of MindArk’s development team have been hard at work creating a completely new Social UI which is expected to be released later this year. The new Social UI will include a boatload of new and improved features, here are some of the highlights:

  • Offline Messaging
  • Custom chat channels with optional passwords, data feeds
  • Tabbed chat interface with the ability to arrange or dock/undock individual tabs
  • User-defined thresholds for global loot messages
  • Completely redesigned Contacts List with custom user status settings (Away/Do Not Disturb/Invisible/etc.), user notes, and much more.
  • Completely redesigned Society interface with new features such as message of the day (MOTD), Society alerts
  • Looking for Group (LFG) functionality to facilitate the creation of teams.
  • Custom Avatar thumbnail images that appear in other participants’ Contacts Lists and chat channels
  • Integration with Entropia Universe Auction in the form of detailed alerts relating to offers and orders.
  • Calendar displaying upcoming events, EU system notifications, etc.
  • Much, much more!!

Below is a screenshot of a current prototype of the new unified Message Center:

Notice the various types of information in the feed: auction alerts, private chat, personal notes. Also note the filter buttons along the top which allow quick filtering of various types of messages.

Our design and development teams are working hard to make sure that the new Social UI will provide Entropians with a vastly more effective and user-friendly platform to communicate and connect with friends, society mates and other Entropia Universe participants.

More preview screenshots will be shared as the exciting new Social UI approaches release.

Infrastructure Upgrades
The infrastructure upgrades discussed in the previous Developer Notes #6 continue moving forward, though several unforeseen issues have resulted in the 14.3 Version Update being delayed by several weeks. As our engineers and devs resolve those issues and a more firm date for VU14.3 becomes clear, we will update the community here on the Entropia Universe Buzz.

Thanks for your patience!

Local Copy: Dev Note #6

Developer Notes #6

Greetings Entropians!
 
We hope that all of you have had an enjoyable and relaxing summer.  Despite the lovely European weather, lots of work has been going on behind the scenes here at the MindArk offices this summer.
 
With this EU Buzz article, we intend to provide a quick update on what the MindArk team has been working on, along with a roadmap for the next couple of releases.
 
VU 14.3 – Platform Release
The next Version Update, also known as a platform release, is scheduled for early September and will contain many back-end infrastructure upgrades and maintenance (see below for more info). While this update will not contain any new systems or features, it will contain a large number of improvements and fixes to existing systems. Many of the more frequently reported issues have been corrected in this update, including:
  • Fixed an issue with camera shaking and restricted movement when avatars revive at a revival terminal.
  • Disciple progress is now updated correctly when the disciple kicks a mentor and gets a new mentor.
  • The Friends List now updates correctly when adding or removing friends, without requiring a relog.
  • Many issues affecting vehicles and spaceships have been corrected.
  • Lots of clothing and avatar display issues have been corrected.
  • The tiering cost formula for items with cooldown or upload timers (mainly MindForce chips) has been adjusted to bring the costs in balance with other types of items such as weapons and tools.
  • Dozens of other issues have been corrected and bugs squashed.
As usual, a complete list of fixed issues included in the VU will be posted in the Version Update Release Notes on the day of release.
 
Planet Partner Release
Scheduled for early October, the next Planet Partner release promises to bring lots of exciting new content to your favorite Entropia Universe planet!
 
Infrastructure Upgrades
Over the past several platform releases in the earlier part of this year, the first components of a major upgrade to the Entropia Universe infrastructure have been implemented. Much of that groundwork has taken place behind the scenes, without much immediately noticeable impact on the end-user experience. Over the summer, the MindArk dev team has been working hard on building and testing the next phase of the infrastructure upgrade project, both software and hardware. Those improvements will be implemented into Entropia Universe in the upcoming platform release, and the final stages will be deployed in the subsequent platform releases during autumn and early winter.
 
The benefits of this major infrastructure upgrade are many, including:
  • Greater server capacity (simultaneous users).
  • Improved server stability and expandability as the Entropia Universe population grows.
  • More frequent Version Updates.
  • Ability to deploy small hotfixes to clients very quickly.
  • Much shorter downtimes when new Version Updates are released.
In addition, the new infrastructure will allow our developers and partners to spend much more of their time working on new features, systems and content, and improving existing systems, rather than on packaging and delivering Version Updates.
 
In short, what this means for Entropians is more frequent, feature-rich, and stable updates to Entropia Universe with less downtime and faster implementation of important fixes when needed.
 
We appreciate your patience and dedication to Entropia Universe over the past few months during the infrastructure upgrade process, and we look forward to completing the final stages so that you can enjoy a much improved Version Update process in the future.

Local Copy: Dev Note #5

Developer Notes #5

One area where we have received lots of feedback concerns the item upgrade system. Most of the feedback and questions received by the MindArk support department relate to the speed at which items gain new tier intervals, and the cost of raising an item to the next tier level. We hope to address those concerns in this developers note article.

Tier Speed
Within the current system, tier progress is taking much longer than intended, in some cases by a large factor. The MindArk dev team has been testing new parameters for this system which will increase the speed at which unlimited items gain tiers, especially at higher tier levels.

Due to the delicate nature of the tier upgrade system, adjustments must be made carefully and tested thoroughly. Our goal is to complete such testing and implement the adjusted tier progress rates before the end of this year.

Tier Cost
We are also analysing the cost to increase the tier level of various items, and ensure that such costs are balanced and reasonable. Adjustments to the cost of tiering are even more delicate than those related to tier speed, and thus will require a longer period of testing before changes can be implemented.