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21 August 2004

Project Entropia
By Your Roving Reporter,
Fauxvia Ostherian

P-E is extremely weird. I just can't tell you. It wrote the book on virtual weirdness, I truly believe. When I first went to There it had many European residents, but many of them complained that There was expensive and they couldn't afford it, yadda yadda. But P-E is a Swedish world and is by far the most expensive place I've been to, at least for lower-skill-level residents. The deck is stacked against the newcomer; people who've been there a long time have figured out how to keep their heads above water. People do this by "making" or "looting" things of value and some by scamming quite busily. Some? A lot. Then there are traders and people who trade part-time: it doesn't seem like much fun to me to go in a virtual world then stand around for long periods of time shouting out what you have to sell. I can quite see how some people enjoy pages and pages of statistics -- like following sports in the newspaper. What I can't see is learning it all to avoid being scammed and to make a little money buying and selling. The "decay" concept means that anything -- your weapon, your armor, everything including your Father Christmas costume -- constantly loses value and must be "repaired" at a repair terminal. Why repair? Well, your gun won't function and your armor won't protect otherwise. This make-believe decay is a big money-maker for Mind Ark. Why do people put up with it? That's the weird thing. They submit to this set of rules formulated to help MA make money. Another strange thing I discovered by accident concerns the armor parts I received as "loot." I got two pairs of men's Pixie armor gloves in poor shape, and worth perhaps 75 P-E cents each. I was experimenting with the auction, which cost a P-E dollar to use. I put a pair on auction with a starting bid of 2 dollars and a buyout price of 6 dollars, which seemed ludicrous to me, but I was just fooling around. They sold immediately for 6. I put the other pair on. Sold immediately. I looted two more pairs. Put a third pair on auction: sold immediately. Purely as an experiment I went to Port Atlantis, to someone who was shouting that he wanted to buy Pixie armor parts. He was incredulous at my asking price. That sealed it: I figured Mind Ark must be buying things off the auction to keep people going in the game. What else could it be? I had someone working very hard to scam me, by saying she would get me into her hunting group, etc. -- "What weapon do you have? Oh, that's no good! You need a so-and-so* to build up skills. Here -- trade me -- I'll introduce you to the group leader." Me: "I don't want to." "But you should -- I recommend this gun so you can skill up quickly! I'll introduce you to my group's leader and he'll give you free armor." Me: "I don't know you." "What are you saying??? Are you saying I'm trying to scam you???" Me: "Uhh..." lol So it's a virtual training ground for immoral thinking and sociopathic behavior. There are many perfectly nice people -- but I'm not sure that, for me, there's much to hold me past the time I feel I've observed enough.

*hers was a very badly decayed weapon that wasn't even very good when it was in perfect shape

posted by - 1:32 PM


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