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May 18, 2006

Comments

101.

pw0ned. Easy 5 out of 5 score on the blog entry. Well done.

102.

I think this professor is incorrect.

He says that this is just a debit card where you put your money in and then take it out.

That is not accurate. The whole point of this is that you don't put money in. You generate money by playing the game and then can withdraw it as real currency.

This is big news because it means that people can live off of playing a video game.

If they can make an item or have a skill they can profit from it in the real world.

This is a boundary that has not been crossed before so that is why this is big news.

103.

Here's the funny thing about this thread. After it's auspicious start as a free-speech-opinion-not-journalism topic, it has evolved into a discussion about the game.

Nearly all the later posts deal with the mechanics of the debit card, how sucky the gameplay is, why people play, etc. So much so that after reading it I went to the EU site and started playing.

I will spare you folks my observations about the game. (MMO fans, relax!)

Crazy that this somehow insidiously accomplished Dilbert-CEO's goal. Lends credence to the "No PR is bad PR" adage.

What a pernicious thing this Internet.

Incidentally, this only proves a personal opinion I have about the feudal, spin-doctored, ever-creeping doom that is corporate .

Only Dilbert's boss will survive.

104.

This is big news because it means that people can live off of playing a video game.

It's been done.

105.

@robertredferd (and all who where hoping to get rich through virtual work)

Unfortunately it's not THAT easy. The ultimate goal of every online game is not giving the user/player a great experience, but to generate money for the producing company. Ok, no surprises there.

In case of PE, MindArk will actually lose money whenever a player decides to turn his PED into USD and have it paid to him. How exactly do you think MindArk will continue PE when *every* player can generate money and get more dollars out of the game than he initially put in to it? That my friends, just won't work.

In the beginning and in the end we have dollars. In between it's called a PED, but that's just a fancy-shmancy name to make it look good/cool, to make it fit into the PE world.

MindArk will make damn sure that the majority of players will lose money, so they can compensate their losses on the very very very (did i say very?) few players, that actually walk away with a profit. And that's not an exclusive evil plan MindArk has worked out, that's what todays real-world economy boils down to. (Yeah yeah, i know there's much more to it, but i hope you get the point).

The whole PE *economy" is based on a very real currency. If you take that away, then the bubble goes pop, and PE is history. Virtual money will NEVER be the source for real money.

106.

"Oh also, please let Jan know it's not slander that he's accusing Dan of. It's libel. Go ahead, Wiki it. We'll wait."

Amber, Thank you I was wondering how many posts I was going to get through before someone picked that up.

Dan, the response to Mindark’s outrage was priceless. I will be nominating Mindark for PR bonehead of the year.

107.

Yes, living off video games has been done. And yes, it would be difficult and most would not be able to do so. But would argue that this professor is missing the importance of this new announcement.
The big thing here is the ease of use for this game/business model. People live off of playing WoW and selling things on ebay and using paypal and transferring funds. It is complicated and time-consuming.
This new model is notable in that you simply buy the game, play it on your pc and if you are very smart at selling goods or very skilled at killing monsters you will be earning money in the game. Then you don't have to go to ebay or anything. You just go to an atm and the money comes straight out of the game. It is an unprecedented ease of use.
Most people will not earn any money. But most people don't earn any money at Vegas either and it is still very popular.
The thing that will draw people into this game is that it is not gambling. It is simply that if you are smarter and faster than the next guy you will get money. If you are particularly adept at business you will get money. This will be a minority of people but the draw is undeniable.
I think this professor is missing the point. He is being very negative and close-minded. I don't blame him. He is not a video game person. He is a law person. The Mindark CEO is also acting a bit dim but this is what happens when you get two knuckleheads together. You get drama. case in point.

108.

This isn't a matter of whether or not Dan is correct; it's of CEOs taking the time and effort to personally composing and submit complaints and threats regarding a post on a blog.
I'm not sure whether or not Timkrans is aware how very obscure and unknown among everyone outside Dan's little sphere of influence this blog was -but all that has changed thanks to Timkrans himself.

109.

Actually, I was thinking of Street Fighter, but whatever.

110.

@robertredferd - You don't buy the game, you download it. Granted, you *can* play the game without ever ever ever dropping any money into it, but it is extremely boring and repetitive. Sure, one could, if they wanted trade all day long, but flipping burgers is more rewarding.

And the game still _is_ gambling. You have a chance to gain big loot, and when you do, just like in casinos, bells and whistles will notify everyone that someone just got lucky, and just keep pumpin' them quarters, because the next big one might have your name on it.

As for killing the big monsters, that is done by a) people who played since very early and were able to gain skills by cheating, and who have gear that no longer drops in the quantities it once did.
b) people who dropped literally thousands of USD into the game to obtain good gear and/or skills.

The person who never deposits will never be able to do this, unless they got very lucky (read: gamble).

111.

I am a active member of the Entropia Universe. I Enjoy every aspect of it. I run a Society in world. And have Been a Active happy Citizen for Years. I dont Belive it is Gambling in any way. Loots are for the most part based on skills u earn as u progress. If u would like to Give this virtual World a try i would be Happy to Mentor u and show u how profitable this world can be.

Entropia Universe is a pioneer in Many fields. And u have to give the Company Props for Even Takeing on Such a Grand task as this.

112.

Well i play EU myself but i think the good Mr. Timkrans must have been out of his mind to send such emails.
MA definitely has a lot of issues and they should definitely adress them instead of bullying bloggers.
Latest example of MA's problems which are far more important can be seen here:
http://www.entropiaforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29741&page=42&pp=10

113.

Considering all I've read about the profit potential of players of PE, I think you consider everyone who plays an employee (in a 3rd world communist country).

Third world, perhaps.. but the fact remains that the ability to 'make money' in the Entropia Universe is IMMENSELY overstated!! Played for four years now, fun game, but *make* money? you gotta be kidding me :)) all i ever do is put more money IN to cover my decay costs on hunting.
The saddest part of al this is that somewher, someone's going to read this blog and think, 'hey, i can retire after a couple of years playing that game.' No, you can't... but you'll have a fun time exploring new bugs with each version update they release, and tryingto figure out how to fund your next hunt with vibrant sweat :))

114.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Wow never have I seen so much made by a compnay about a bad report or opinion. Perhaps MA should concern itself more with it's customer base, rather than trying to "thought police" the whole world on their opinions of their product. shhhh is that a Swedish CEO I see in the plant behind me taking pictures.
Simply priceless, :-)

VIVA FREE SPEECH

115.

Seems MindArk got its start stealing and threatening litigation, so this latest act is no surprise. See
http://www.geek.com/news/geeknews/2002Jul/bga20020705015259.htm and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropia_Universe

It all started when the Business Software Alliance got a court order for Microsoft and Adobe and then raided MindArk's offices. The company, creator of Project Entropia, had to temporarily shut down its offices while bailiffs catalogued its software, allegedly finding 600 unlicensed instations. But MindArk denies the accusations, saying the whole thing is a conspiracy ordered by Microsoft because it is worried about Project Entropia, a competitor of Asheron's Call. MindArk is now considering suing Microsoft "and other companies" for damages caused by the raid. The reason MindArk feels Microsoft has any interest at all in its game is because Entropia is the first RPG where players use real work money exclusively to buy in-game items.

That should be enough for anyone to never set mouse on the site or participate in any way in any MindArk venture. Next they will hire Tom Cruise as a spokesman, and Jan and Tom can tell us how psychiatric medication is all a big conspiracy. http://tomcruiseisnuts.com/5_psych.php

MindArk, I [email protected] in your general direction.

116.

Project Entropia is a scam. NeverDie never had any intentions to buy Treasure Island,he was just there to get MindArk the 25k they were trying to get. And when they put the asteroid up for sale on auction the first person to hit the "buy out "button they ctd. After numerous attemps to call MindArk with no answer. the servers came up and NeverDie has won The asteroid and there was a full blown press release and NeverDie had everything all set up. Too bad for MA since they pissed off probally the most wealty person in game and his objective was not to pull cash out but to reinvest it in MA and Project Entropia. Instead he sold all his assets and is currently looking for another Real Cash game to invest in. BTW I am a 5 yr. player of PE and the #s do lie. MA just announced its 500,000 player,well as ant player knows most people have 5 or more avitars so realistically theres maybe 100k and of those theres maybe 6k active, Dont believe the hype and never ever deposit money you will lose it all to the 16 hour a day players that this is there living and they are so advanced in game it impossible to ever come close to them. they have driven the prices so high you need at least 10k USD to get started. My avice is take your money and go to a casino and have fun.

117.

This is a GREAT GAME,look at the SUV I just purchased from the proceeds of the SUCKERS...I mean the Happy Depositers in PE/EU

Please play and make a rather large deposit as my SUV sucks up petrol very fast

Regards

118.

Mind Ark is a scam, and they harbor scammers. I filed a support case, and even called them to speak about my case. The women on the phone basically told me that Mind Ark isn't responsible for scammers and the $400.00 that I invested in the game was lost. No less than 3 weeks later, my account was locked and banned because my fan site used an image of Port Atlantis. Now if you look at several other fan sites then you will see they use images as well... here are some of the responses I recieved.


Support Case 99783 history
15 Jan 2007 Joe Gargano:
I can't believe that you guys harbor scammers in this real life game. You don't police this universe? I could see if this was just a game and it wasnt worth real money but I just lost $400 on a scam from a user called "Tatjana Tattis Olsen" I have a screen shot of her too... she was suppose to implant a chip with evade skill level for originally 300 PED, ESI and Inserter. Then she told me that I have to give her a better esi... I spent 1487 PEDS on one and 239 PEDS on another. She told me that i needed to give her 321 NeoPsion Ad mindforce impants to complete this. SO I bought what I could but said this wasnt good enough... I told her that I wanted my stuff back but refused. I don't want the items back.. I just want my PEDS back and the user Banned forever. I have made aware all who are in my social about this scam and of the scammer in question.

I do have screen shots!!!!!!!

I want my $400 back or I am calling my credit card company tomorrow and I will be letting everyone know how Mind Ark doesn't care about scammers. YOU are responsible for monitoring your in game "reality" more closely like other games do. I have invested thousands of dollars in this game and i think you owe it to us paying customers to do the right thing. Stop hiding behind your Illegal policy because if you get investigated by law enforcement agencies and CNN then this will be very bad for business.

I really liked the game up until now... I just want you guys to do whats right.. you can't just let someone take your money and then not return it. I could report this as fraudulent activity with my credit card to get my money back. Do the right thing!
18 Jan 2007 Joe Gargano:
I am checking on a status update of this issue... can you tell me whats going on? have you done investigation? I have more screen captures.
19 Jan 2007 Entropia Support:
Hi,

Please refer to §16b of the End User License Agreement (EULA) as well as the Support Policies section of our website. We will not – under any circumstances – reply to inquiries which are written in a threatening or offensive manner. We kindly ask you to rewrite your inquiry in a neutral manner in order for us to offer you professional support.

Regards,
Entropia Support


Support Case 100197 history
19 Jan 2007 Joe Gargano:
I just lost $400 on a scam from a user called "Tatjana Tattis Olsen" I have a screen shot of her too, she was suppose to implant a chip with evade skill level for originally 300 PED, ESI and Inserter. Then she told me that I have to give her a better esi... I spent 1487 PEDS on one and 239 PEDS on another. She told me that i needed to give her 321 NeoPsion Ad mindforce impants to complete this. SO I bought what I could but said this wasnt good enough... I told her that I wanted my stuff back but refused. I don't want the items back.. I just want my PEDS back and the user Banned forever. I have made aware all who are in my social about this scam and of the scammer in question. I'm requesting that I get my $400.00 back.. this user scammed me. I have screen shots which I have forwarded to your email.


21 Jan 2007 Entropia Support:
Hi,
We are sorry to hear that you have been exposed to this. We will investigate this avatar. However, if or when a participant loses money or items due to a scam, these items/PEDs are lost and cannot be retrieved. It is not possible for us to evaluate what has happened. Our log files do not indicate any illegal activities. The transaction is registered as a usual trade and does not show any irregularities.

You need to be aware of that if you give your items or PEDs to other avatars, you cannot be certain to get them back, even though your trade partner has made such a promise. If you accept such an agreement, you take the risk of losing your items and money. Even though the Entropia Universe is a virtual universe, there is real value involved in each trade and you must use your own judgement as if this was a real life agreement.

Since items in the Entropia Universe have a real value you should be able to file a police report about lost items due to a scam. If the local police should contact us, we will cooperate with them and submit all available logs we have.

Regards,
Entropia Support
23 Jan 2007 Joe Gargano:
I could report this to my credit card company and get my money back. Would that be fine?
24 Jan 2007 Entropia Support:
Hi,

Human nature is not homogenous and this will also affect the Entropia Universe since it has been made to resemble the real world in as many fundamental ways as possible. You will again and again come across people trying to take advantage of your misplaced trust and want to rob you of your possessions via legal in-game means. The problem with these scam issues is that we cannot prove what has actually happened. We can only trust our log files and they do not tell us anything except that there was an exchange taking place. We do not know if something was made up beforehand or not. Maybe even money has been exchanged outside the Entropia Universe.

We certainly DO NOT approve of scams and abuse, but due to the above mentioned reasons we can never for sure say what has happened. Therefore we have to follow the real life procedure. All items within the Entropia Universe have a real value and you should be able report the matter to your local police.

The best way to prevent scams and cheats is to be careful and not to take any unnecessary risks. Please note that the Entropia Universe does not support shared ownership for items or property. Should you lose items because of such an arrangement, MindArk cannot help you further.

If we get repeated reports on a scammer, we do register that person in our system and if we consider it necessary we might even permanently ban that person from the Entropia Universe. The problem is, however, that we cannot prevent a person from opening up yet another account and continue with his business but with a different name.

Regards,
Entropia Support
24 Jan 2007 Joe Gargano:
Ok... but again, can i report this as a fraudulent charge with my credit card?
25 Jan 2007 Entropia Support:
As you probably understand we cannot comment on this matter. If you would do this your account will be locked due to credit card chargeback and you will not be able to participate in the Entropia Universe again.

Regards,
Entropia Support
01 Feb 2007 Joe Gargano:
Why is my account locked now? I think this whole game is a scam... Im reporting this to my credit card and banking institution for a refund... thanks for stealing my money.
02 Feb 2007 Entropia Support:
Hi,
Your Account was locked for another reason, explained in an Email sent to you. We have received reports that you have been promoting a casino service within the Entropia Universe. The site promoted uses the graphics of the Entropia Universe and this is a copy right violation.

Regards,
Entropia Support
02 Feb 2007 Joe Gargano:
Thats not my casino!!! and secondly there are several websites which use graphics of the Entropia Universe... for example... entropiaforum.com, calypso-knights.com, hunters-unlimited.com... but i dont see you locking thier accounts... this game is one big scam. This is all "hear say", alot of users just dont like me... and are being vendictive.
02 Feb 2007 Entropia Support:
Hi,
Yes, but these sites follow the copy right laws and the site you have been promoting does not.

Regards,
Entropia Support
02 Feb 2007 Joe Gargano:
These sites are not following the copyright laws either.. Your being very one sided. I know the laws as I am a lawyer. Secondly, I have not been promoting this site, this is all hear say... Thirdly, you don't have the right to lock the account as I have invested well over $3000.00. If you don't unlock my account, I am going to file a law suit against your company.
04 Feb 2007 Entropia Support:
Hi,
We have no interest in discussing this issue further. The sites you are referring to, all have direct connections to the Entropia Universe and are not invovled in any illegal activities. By promoting a gambling site, you have violated the EULA and we certainly do have the right to lock your Account for this. Please again read through the End User Licence Agreement upon which you have agreed. Please note that by pressing 'I accept' you actually do abide to follow the rules of this agreement. Your threats are certainly not going to help you get this issue sorted in a professional way.

Regards,
Entropia Support

04 Feb 2007 Joe Gargano:
Your leaving me no choice but to file Suit for my money back.


MY SUGGESTION.... RUN AWAY AS FAST AS YOU CAN FROM MIND ARK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

119.

....and if the infos on the post above could be debatable and disputable and referred to different povs , what about this : MindArk was awared and informed about an exploit used in their game for 1 year period of time. The exploit is called " hunt-bot " .It was used 1 whole year, by a group of players connected-in private-with MindArk's staff , and extortioned $k usd from other players each day. But the greed made some of the exploiters to sell the " bot " to others, so, finally, the " biz " went public. Now guess what : the " bad guys " are still in game, MindArk allowed them to cash-out their scamed money and to keep playing . Even the programmers of the bot are still in game , doing well.
MindArk's bigger issue is not their EULA or policy; but is the way they enforce those. They make " your " items and in-game currency to simply dissapear from your avatar's inventory /storage, then tells you : "....according to EULA, we are not liable ...". MindArk's problem is that they are connected with in-real-world scamers and con-artists , with money-launderers and with shady " businessmen " located in Belize/Cayman/Russia/Latvia/Sweden/USA. No wonder MasterCard backed off . Maybe the question should be : who is protecting MindArk from being investigated and accounted ? Why nobody in the European Union /the USA seems to be concerned for the ID theft that MindArk facilitate and protect ?

120.

Anyone who is interested in MindArk as a company are free to check out the offical web page at http://www.mindark.com. MindArk is a public company and the financial statements and share holder info, etc. is available in plain view, for those interested in facts.

Regards
-Marco Behrmann
-CIO MindArk

121.

Ahaha. Wow Marco. You've really thought your demographics well out there. Gamers will *love* it! Get your ass kicked by someone with more RL cash than you. At least SL doesnt pretend to be a game (It is however imho). Investors will love putting a place where fruit, dung and "mind sweat" will form the basis of a successfull IPO.

Anshe's in the wrong town!

Way to go champ.

122.

What a Great Guy Marco is!
comes here sticking up for his Product in which hes a share holder and the public relations officer
no need to soothe the people here....go and put one of your famous posts in EF Stating everything is Great

Kenneth Lay is alive and well

123.

As Marco has stated, there is a financial statement posted on their company's website. You can find the "facts" there.

Oh wait, that's right, financial statements are useless when most people with common sense know they can be manipulated to say what the company wants the investors and players to hear. Especially when the investors are insiders that hold all the stocks and the company is privately held and not traded publicly on the Swedish stock market therefore allowing them to circumnavigate rules and regulations and interpret them as they see fit.

But yeah, go check out those financial statements that prove how trustworthy and capable MA is.

124.

Beats the dead horse some more!

125.

The latest scumbag trick by MindArk is to give the lowest level of mobs (such as Exarosaur, Daikiba, and Cornundacauda) gigantic loots ranging from 500-1,000 dollars U.S.

This means that the skills mid-level players have spent years acquiring are now meaningless.

There is no reward for depositing money, spending years skilling, and acquiring the best hunting gear.

Anyone can hit the jackpot and get a gigantic loot. It's completely turned hunting on its head and made hundreds of people second-guess their involvement in Entropia Universe.

Pissing all over veterans is probably the dumbest move an MMORPG company can make.

126.

While it's important not to be a fanboi, keep in mind that a lot of the negative comments you read here are by people who have quit playing Entropia and I think that's not fair to MindArk. These people have an axe to grind and should not be listened to.

127.

Yeah, the ones that enjoy the game, play the game, the ones that don't enjoy it, they whine on outside sites instead.

128.

Epictetus,Lagavulin good points you have
but get your heads out of your ass
where else can you write your thoughts and views?

Perhaps in Entropia forum where negative comments are quickly deleted and your account is put at risk of being locked
send Marco a LOVE Letter and tell him how Great the game was!


Kenneth Lay is alive and well

129.

Wow us chapter 31 guys in the netherlands..playing entropia as a funn thing are really surprised..at all the scamm seemingly going on as long as mindarc.. sticks by the basic concept none ..will complain however we cant all be rich but if we as players ..would have a fighting chance it be nice ..and to the former post off getting yar money back..lol join a motercycle group we do always have an international...contact group..ie recovvery team..

130.

I wouldn't bother getting into a head-to-head with world of warcraft power leveling. You are just fueling the flame of their marketing effort. In a world where wow powerleveling is about as widely known by the average person in the street as a fairly obscure indie band.

131.

Another such example of such grand claims is having half a million accounts (500,000) accounts in Project Entropia now know as Entropia Universe.

Jan and Marco,

We all know that you have 500k accounts but not all of them are unique users with unique MAC (hardware addresses of NIC cards versus IP addresses). Quite a few of them are either closed because of inactivity, abuse, or people have willfully left the game for other activities.

The way in which it is stated on your site is that it comes across as all 500k accounts are active and are being used when we both know that can't be. Many people have more than one account on there. Back in the old days before there were scammers and we had the ability to be logged in all day before we got kicked out after 3 to 5 minutes of inactivity.

People still have more than one account now, the secondary accounts are being used as pilots for example to take people up to CND and CP (even though you don't need to fly back from CP, just use teleporter for 10 PED back to Atlantis) and back again.

On another note, the more you try to fight this blog that has declared open season on your business practices only will dump high octane gasoline on already out of control fire of acusation.

Instead of attempting to go behind Mr. Hunter's back to his superiors you should have Jon "NEVERDIE" Jacobs answer in his post for the blog according to how he perceives these comments.

A note about the skills system on Entropia Universe.

If this game were truly random or had a pseudo-random seed for mining, hunting, and crafting. Why is it that I am able to use my coordinates from four years ago on the continent of Eudoria, getting the exact same deposits, sizes, and locations? It's not random, not in the least.

If the game was random, skills would make no difference, because skills make you more efficient in an ORDERED system, but since you say there is no order to the system, skills would not matter. Obviously it does matter, people with QR of 100 on the high end blue prints and have associated high end skills in engineering, blue print comprehension, and the associated manufacturing / technology skills will make more money per pass than someone that is just starting out.

Luck cannot be mathematically defined, gentlemen. Although statistical likelyhoods with a given range of variance can be defined. Such as the probability of getting a large loot vs. none at all. A truly random game would mean that the creatures would show up in random areas around the non land area sections of the continents of Calypso, also being random / dynamic, you would not be able to control if all the "tough / uber" creatures were to show up in say Atlantis to feast on noobs. Also, the loot structure too would be random as well, for all you know, you could kill a Fugabarba Young and score an ATH HoF for 75k PED, if it were random but it's not random. ;)

The file sizes of the Bayes Network Toolbox object code that was compiled wouldn't need to have all the predefined mathematical models in them as well if this game was random. Bayesian and Fuzzy Logic neural network used in A.I. learning is nothing new to the game industry and definitely is not random either.

One thing that MindArk might have a problem with that not a lot of people see right off the bat, but is an observation of mine, perhaps other people may have noticed this too. Taking two identical noobs in town, both arrived at the same time, having the same skills, no money, giving them basic filters BP with the associated BP book, the materials to get them up to QR of 100, then start making the filters. You fail at the same points in the QR number, you get the same amount of successes and the same losses, same amount of residue as well. The blueprints will drop in the loot in the same when the same QR level is reached. Then to throw in a curve ball, you get a second basic filter BP when they max out the first ones. Do the same thing until the QR is maxed out. The difficulties (or slow downs) while attempting to increase the QR of the second BP changes slightly but is the same for both noobs.

What it looks like to me from my observations and own personal experience in crafting since I keep a lot of notes about crafting is that you want people to believe that there is nothing but luck in the game and not to think of this game as a giant mathematical model. If people have the illusion that this game cannot be mastered or they are not in control of their situations in the game, you have won, but unfortunately people are starting to see what is really going on.

Fighting anyone on the blogs is not necessarily the wisest thing to do nor to send them threatening messages or trying to get them fired or by filing a lawsuit. That will just land your company in hot water with the gamers, yes, it will backfire. Well, it has already begun.

In dealing with the public around the world and attempting to silence people from voicing their observations to the rest of the prospective or current players of your game, Entropia Universe, I offer this wonderful phrase of encouragement that is often times seen in the game, "gl ;)" or good luck!

"A truly random system need not time nor coordinates because that would be invalid".
Your system has time, dates, coordinates, skills, etc., it's an ordered system. :)

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