Local Copy: 2007 Q&A

Original Source

Internet Archive Copy

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Q&A Answers (May 07)

Hello crew!

Here are the Balancing Manager’s responses to the Q&A. Any questions that were unrelated to balancing were omitted. Also, rather than respond “I cannot comment on the inner workings of the dynamics of Entropia Universe”, any other questions that required such a reply were also omitted in the responses.

Thanks to all who provided questions for this thread. A New Q&A will come later on, and with a faster time frame between Q:s and A:s.

Post 2
Are rare items expensive because they are rare or have they become rare drops because of inflation?
Submitted by Soundboy

It’s because of their rarity.

Post 5
What were the biggest/most surprising balancing mistakes ever made?
Submitted by Pirx Danford

When the loot during 10 seconds after a release contained 1000 times more shadow armor parts than there should have been.

Post 11
When am I going to get some decent loot or claims bigger than ample?
Submitted by dean

I actually don’t know and that’s a good thing.

Post 13
The question is would a hunter have the same profit with the same loot on different LA’s with different taxes?
Submitted by Raffaele Meiers

On a land area with higher taxes the hunter pays higher taxes.

Post 14
Why do you not “raise the bar” with SIB tools and weapons that require skills higher than the current “maxed” skills (~10k average) to give ubers something to aim for instead of destroying the chances of anyone new becoming uber (without an uber bank account)?
Submitted by Doer

We are doing that.

Post 17
There are certain items that have disappeared completely from the game, or are stuck on old avatars not active anymore. I think it’s a shame that those items will be lost in history (and in some cases, all we have is pictures to know they existed). Not only talking about equipment, but rare clothing-pieces. We all know clothing doesn’t drop anymore so getting it back seems rather hopeless unless you plan to do something about it.
Do MindArk in any way plan for these items to have their “return” on Calypso?
Submitted by Skam

We have no plans to return these items.

Post 18
Sometimes fairly common types of loot stop dropping completely, like Fine wool a few weeks ago. Is this on purpose or by mistake?
Submitted by Darkaner

There is always a natural variation cycle in drop rates on all items.

Post 22
Is the promised MindForce update coming or have you given that up?
Submitted by nisse

It hasn’t been given up on. It will be done.

Post 26
Does EVERY one in Entropia have the same programmed or instilled “luck”?
Submitted by jak

Of course everybody has the same installation there is no such thing as luck.

Post 31
Why are rifles so plentiful and seemingly encouraged, with few options in melee weapons?
Submitted by Spud Striker

We are starting to introduce more now, with many more planned for.

Post 32
Was the almost 20k ped HOF of Rugaritz a regrettable mistake?
Submitted by strakkan

No, but very rare.

Post 33
Can we expect more L weapons to fill the incremental SIB equipment void soon?
submitted by The Nightbird

Yes.

Post 42
As the balancing manager how do you determine when you can release more Land Areas/Asteroids/Space Stations/etc without severely impacting existing owners and their profit?
Submitted by Vap0r

Time, statistics, and a pre-planned release strategy.

Post 45
Will there be unlimited (!) melee amps, or improvement of melee generally?
Submitted by Alice

Yes to both.

Post 48
Will you ever actually release a list (sort of a ‘Heads Up!’) in regards to HOW and possibly WHAT drops certain new items?
Submitted by Sunab Naverith

We have no such plans today.

Post 50
What is the effect of the new auction fees on the general market transaction balance?
Submitted by helena

No unnecessary transportation sales, no display entries in the auction, an overall growth of the use of the auction and finally a growth of the use of participant owned shops.

Post 52
What role do the commercial ads play with loots, ATH and HOFs?
Submitted by Haxtor moogle

They add money to the system by being watched.

Post 55
When will you update with something not only MA is gaining on?
submitted by SODERD

We have done, and do so with every release – sometimes small things, sometimes whole systems. To take some examples: sweating, land areas, participant shops, auction system, real world and participant commercial system, Event system.

Post 56
How many people are in the balancing department, what are their responsibilities and what is the process to balance a VU (loot changes, new features, etc.)?
Submitted by fluke

I cannot go into details here, but there is a group of more than five people involved in all balancing.

Post 62
Will there be any amps for faps in the near future?
Submitted by Omega

We have no plans today to introduce them.

Post 63
Why does MA make things better for crafters and worse for miners and hunters.
Submitted by bigdeal

We don’t, there are always ways to find opportunities in all systems.

Post 64
Can we expect to see more frequent events and story lines that actually have both a head and a tail?
Submitted by JackFree

Yes.

Post 69
What makes an item balanced?
Submitted by Dunn

Many parameters determine balance, here are some of them. An item is balanced when:
It fits the user’s skill interval and current state in EU, meaning that it is fun to use and lets you interact with fun and intriguing events or mobs.
It doesn’t cost too much to use and its owner knows it.
You cannot drain the system with it.
It can be found in the way it was meant and with the right frequency.
The owner knows it’s expensive to use, but its fun to use or it has an interesting and unique advantage.

Post 78
How many in game data points are you able to balance?
Submitted by Gazza

There are millions if you mean when items and rules are created. A lot fewer when the systems, items and Entropia are running. The goal is to sit beside the universe watching the nature of Entropia take its course.

Post 79
I believe that the return rate (the “cash/ped” that the users are getting from the system as loot) should be increased. Why shall I play this game and not play on a casino where the odds are much more for me to gain some money?
Submitted by Niovara

I agree, everything we do aims for a better return rate for the users, but must still pay for the systems and us at MindArk. I think you should participate in Entropia because it’s a virtual universe and nothing else.

Market prices are at work, services are up for trade, socializing and training pays off. Opportunities are there all the time for the observant and hard working participant and not just at the same place everyday.

The universe isn’t static and predictable instead it’s built on natural laws and the goals of the users in it and that’s what makes it intriguing and full of possibilities.

Post 80
As far as I know only CEO and balance-manager know exactly about and set the parameters of the loot-system.
Since this is the most important part of the whole RCE-game: Is some 3rd person/team checking their work or do they just proof each others work?
Submitted by Agnus Dei

There is a bigger team working with these questions today.

Post 87
We’ve heard the term “Balancing Manager” ad nauseum, but there’s been no real description of what that position entails. Please describe exactly what you balance.
Submitted by AlphaGeek

Firstly, there is a whole team involved in balancing work. The team analyze every new system from when it’s only an idea to when you all are using it.

What will the system affect? What will it give and what will it take? What should the cost be to use the system and the items connected to it? Who will use the system, who are the real life users of system and who are the in world users? How will the system affect the performance of the hardware and the software platform and what will it cost to solve possible bottlenecks?

And of course the team continually analyze how a system works long after it has been released.

Post 93
Does MindArk have any plans of rekindling the past staples of our economic growth, or is their vision purely of advancing into the future?
Submitted by Stryker

We are constantly working with both new and old systems. It’s just a matter of time and the point of view of the beholder.

Post 94
Some time after VU with amp nerf has passed. Now what were impacts of it on “balance” (maybe reallocating part of loot from opalo users to high-lvl hunters etc.)?
Submitted by Denis

There is now a point in constructing, finding, selling and owning amplifiers other than just the best type. This has boosted the whole economy regarding amplifiers. 

Post 99
Why do some mobs loot a large variety of items while other mobs loot only 1 or 2 items?
Submitted by Chilly

All creatures have different benefits and drawbacks. 

Post 105
Is it balanced to make it better for low and high level players and worse for the mid-level?
Submitted by habanero

All users can find opportunities no matter what level they are at. 

Post 112
Today my hit ability is for example 3.9/10, 6.1/10 on EP-10 and the same up to EP-50, shouldn’t the hit ability be higher on low guns and get lower on high guns depending on your skills?
Submitted by Rapido

You have to use skill interval dependent tools to get what you ask for.

Post 113
Is MA’s plan to keep going the actual process: Universe drain investor through big PR that deposit a lot of cash to buy “asset” and parasite gamer with tax and fee to use the new universe feature (examples: malls, CND, Land areas)?
Submitted by Etopia

We want to have many types of user groups. Investors with possibilities to enhance the experience of Entropia are one of those groups but certainly not the only one or even the biggest. Remember that they in many cases do important work with their areas and it’s voluntary to enter their areas.

Post 121
Rare Items/Ores and especially Blueprints in inactive accounts are a huge balancing problem, because they can be reactivated.
Limited Items avoid this problem.
But what will you do to balance the existing rare Blueprints (etc) in inactive accounts?
Submitted by schnups

The inactive accounts are eventually purged and the items go back to Entropia open market. All this is taken account for in the balancing.

Post 126
Are we all dealing with the same virtual world, insofar as odds/rules/chances?
Submitted by Amanita

Of course.

Post 127
Will Houses ever have the option of selling items when a player is off line like a shop without the need of a shopkeeper?
Submitted by TotalTwist

You need to have a shop or a shopkeeper.

Post 128
Is Land Grab no longer existent?
Submitted by Mercury

It definitely is existent and will return, in a different way though.

Post 136
When will respawn rate of mobs be fixed during events?
Since kinda hilarious to try to host nice events for community if there isn’t any mobs left after 5-15min of shooting in LA. No problem with Big mobs and 10 or 20 participants, but above 20 participants LA will be wiped clean.
submitted by Zap

The mobs will re-spawn faster after the next release.

Post 148
In a previous support case I asked if there will ever be any whip better than my Cobra ME. The reply was NEVER. So if there will never be any whip with more damage – how can the taming system work with bigger mobs?
Submitted by Sneaky B’stard

Of course there will be more whips that do more damage.

Post 158
The transferring of skills as it is now seems to be very confusing for most players. Will we see a system that is easier to manage, like just entering i want to fill a chip with 10 PED worth of skill x, then it shows how many of your skills that would take away and you press ok?
Submitted by Snakecharmer

No plans for that now.

Post 176
What is the prime motivation in your balancing?

To create a sustainable intriguing world with indisputable natural laws that can host a vast number of users and activities.

Post 192
I’m wondering if MA is going to introduce more mobs that use firearms as their
combat mode? There are currently 96 mobs in Entropia, of those only 5 are firearms.
Submitted by m0000

Yes.

Post 212
Whilst this isn’t strictly speaking a balancing issue, it does have a relevant impact for crafters. The lack of knowledge of what these attachments (scopes and lasers) actually do quite possibly subdues the market for them thus having a direct impact on the cost of crafting such attachments for crafters. Can MindArk provide a little more clarity as to the function of laser sights and scopes?
submitted by Jimmy B

More information has been delivered to all items, we are just not ready with all items yet.

Post 218
Now that players will be able to upload content of their own in form of pictures, ads or videos, wouldn’t it be cool to be able to upload your own musical compositions?
Submitted by Glyphan

Yes.

Post 221
Will there be more shops available at places like Genesis, Omegaton, Sakura?
Submitted by Violet

Yes.

Post 270
Are there any plans to introduce farms in the game, or farming licenses?
Submitted by Dusk

Yes.

Post 271
Will we one day have the ability to take one melee weapon in each hand?
Submitted by ufcfl

Yes.

Post 272
Does MA has an “inferior loot list” for avatars that have been annoying?
Submitted by Micheva

No.

Post 281
Will an item appear on market by re-looting it after it was TTed (used up)? Is the rule applicable to any kind of items?
Submitted by Auktuma

I’m not going to give details, but it works something like that.

Marika Event

http://www.ejc.net/magazine/article/the_truth_about_marika_lie_or_gesamtkunstwerk/

http://www.mobilelifecentre.org/sites/default/files/SOM-DIGRA-Final.pdf

http://dspace.mah.se/bitstream/handle/2043/12240/Denward%20muep.pdf?sequence=2

http://truthaboutmarika.wordpress.com/tag/martin-ericsson/

http://www.christydena.com/online-essays/worldwideargs2/

https://www.mindark.com/company/whats-happened-since-1998/

http://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/forums/showthread.php?109604-The-truth-about-marika&p=1304549&viewfull=1#post1304549

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Truth_About_Marika

https://www.mindark.com/press/press-releases/documents/Entropia_Universe_Is_First_Virtual_World_To_Contribute_To_Emmy_Award.pdf