Entropia Universe

Open World Sandbox Sci-Fi MMORPG - Live an adventurous second life and discover huge open world planets for plunder and profit in Entropia Universe

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Game overview

Entropia Universe is a free to play, open world sandbox MMORPG that is unlike most games in the genre. Entropia Universe utilizes a simulation-driven gameplay where players are encouraged to explore their new home world planets and progress their characters through activities such as hunting, mining and crafting. There are no traditional quests and a main story, but players can instead take part in a real cash economy, and invest real money within the game to make profit over time.

From a graphic's standpoint, Entropia Universe does look decent for a game made in 2003, and has had it's engine upgraded. However, players who've played modern MMORPG's may find the graphics to be below par, and may struggle with the complicated UI system. Overall, Entropia Universe offers an alternative way to have fun in an MMORPG that doesn't rely on traditional theme park mechanics.

➔ Main points:

  • Deep and immersive open world sandbox MMORPG
  • Players can invest real money and make profit returns
  • Upgraded graphics and game engine to modernize the game
  • Skills and character progression unlike any other MMORPG

Full review

A Second Life

The character creation tool offers plenty of customization options

Entropia Universe is an open world, sandbox MMORPG developed and published by MindArk in 2003. The premise of this free to play game is that players can embark on a virtual second life in the distant future, where they can take part in adventures throughout the six currently available planets throughout the game.

The sandbox element of the game starts even before stepping into the game world, and new players must decide which colonized planet they would prefer to play on when creating a new account. The six planets offers something different - each planet is run and driven by the player community and will carry out activities and community events differently, while the planets themselves offers different themes, visuals and buffs to players. Planet Next Island for example, is more focused on tropical landscapes where the main activities will include hunting as the primary source for player income, while on Planet Arkadia, the treasure hunting theme is all about making money through mining and exploration. Needless to say, new players must understand what each planet will provide for their style of play, and in our experience, Planet Arkadia is the friendliest planet to newer players out of the six.

Once finally in-game, the first step is to create your avatar. Entropia Universe has a great character creation tool, with sliders to adjust almost every part of your face and body to create the perfect in-game character. It's important to note however that your decisions here are final, and any changes you wish to make to your avatar later in the game will be very expensive as it will cost real money. Players can only have one avatar, meaning that there is no way to create alternate characters. It is now time to begin the tutorial.

Understanding Entropia's Gameplay

The controls and UI may look foreign but players will get used to it since access to character progression skills are hidden within the menus

If the tutorial teaches you anything, it's that Entropia Universe is not your traditional MMORPG. The controls are very different to what we see in the MMORPG genre. There isn't a skill bar or skills for that matter, and while character movement is the standard WASD, other in-game actions like shooting weapons and interacting with objects and NPCs are done through clicking, dedicated keys and via menus. The game's UI itself holds countless drop-down menus and information hubs that may seem complicated for new players, but they will come in handy much later on considering the game focuses heavily on the simulation aspect rather than an actual theme park MMO. On the brightside, the controls are highly customizable and players can create multiple keymaps to create controls that they are more familiar with.

There isn't a skill bar or skills for that matter, and while character movement is the standard WASD, other in-game actions like shooting weapons and interacting with objects and NPCs are done through clicking, dedicated keys and via menus

Questing on the other hand, is absent from Entropia Universe. There isn't a traditional 'quest hub crawl' where players travel from one area to the next, following a linear story made up of main and side quests to earn experience points and loot. The tutorial is probably the only time in the game where players are following an introductory set of quests, where you'll be speaking to a series of NPCs in the starter areas of the planet through well written dialogue boxes, explaining the background of the planet. But beyond that, the game then releases you out into the wild to begin your sandbox adventure and character progression.

There are many ways to go about building your character. Throughout the course of the game, players can take part in solo or social activities that rewards you with skill points, which you can spend to boost your skills in multiple categories, such as Attributes, Combat, Mining and Science. The better your rank, the more proficient you will be in those activities, which will obviously lead to you being able to play in harder areas which will yield more profitable loot.

Item Ecosystem and PVP

There's plenty of loot in the game, ranging from guns to vehicles

And speaking of loot, Entropia Universe emphasizes its itemization system seriously. There are thousands of usable objects and items that players can craft, find, buy or trade for, and each item has real monetary value. There are vehicles to get around the large open planets or travel in space, and there are rudimentary cosmetics like stylish outfits for social events as well. Majority of usable items will require maintenance, so a vehicle will need a constant supply of fuel while guns will always need ammo to fire. These essentials are what players often sell and trade, so there is a constant supply and demand within the planets to foster the economies. Players can also own land and houses to build communities with their friends and guilds.

As for PVP, Entropia Universe allows players the freedom to do whatever they want on the planets, which means that PVP can happen anytime and anywhere between players. Being a sandbox game, you can expect to see other players appear and kill you, to steal your loot for their profit. In other words, the game is ideal for players to create a gang of bandits who's goal is to ambush other players or carry out heists in rich communities. On the other hand, other players may band together to create a police force to fight off bandits in their neighborhoods. PVP can also occur off planet in space, where players in ships can wage war with each other, similar to what EVE Online offers.

Real Cash Economy

Perhaps the largest 'X-Factor' that makes Entropia Universe unique is that the entire game is based around real cash economy. As mentioned earlier, every item in game has a real cash value, and players can sell them to other players to earn the in-game currency called PED (Project Entropia Dollar), which they can then cash out into their real bank accounts in USD. At present time, 10 PED converts to 1USD, which is a decent rate provided players know what they are doing in game, and are spending time doing activities that will earn them a constant stream of PED to cash out later. It's safe to say that the primary objective in Entropia Universe for the majority of players is to make real money, but it won't be easy as it requires a lot of investment in the form of time and real money to make returns. For example, players can purchase a plot of land on a planet for a whooping USD 30,000, but can make returns by taxing other players. Therefore, players who hunt wild creatures, mine for ore or craft on your lands will have to pay you tax in PED. Over a prolonged period of time, the investment will be profitable. This is just one example of how to make money in-game, and there many other choices that the game gives you, such as owning housing areas or commercial buildings such as shopping malls and resorts. On top of that, players can also purchase shares and stocks for in-game projects for a slow but steady stream of PED.

For new players or players who do not want to invest real money into the game, Entropia Universe is perfectly playable as a free to play title, and you can still earn a bit of PED too. Activities such as hunting creatures or 'sweating' creatures - to harvest materials that will sell well - can net you a decent profit if you have the time to do it. The game's economy never suffers because of the real cash mechanic, but popular and well sought after items will inflate from time to time, depending on the drop rate, demand and many other factors which does make the game fairly realistic.

Pretty Planets

The engine upgrade has made the graphics more presentable for modern era gamers

Since its introduction in 2003, Entropia Universe has undergone many updates and upgrades to the game, but the most important one is the upgrade to the game's engine, which now runs on CryEngine 2. This has modernized the in-game graphics, and everything from the landscape visuals to character models look great because of it. Textures of objects and terrain are also sharp, and is pleasing on the eye especially when playing on computers with the latest graphics.

While older machines can definitely run the game well, expect to be playing on medium to low graphics, and you will be missing out on the gorgeous views and vistas that appear wherever you are on the planet. For players who are used to newer MMORPG's, do expect to be let down by the visuals, but do keep in mind that Entropia Universe is a 14 year old game.

Conclusion

The bottom line is, Entropia Universe is a unique online sandbox adventure, allowing players to live incredible virtual second lives and earn a profit while they play. If you have the time to invest exploring your home planet while progressing your character, Entropia Universe will offer deep, engaging and immersive gameplay with emphasis on exploration, community and economy. For hardcore gamers who want to make money, there is that option too. While the real cash economy that requires monetary investment may turn away some gamers, it isn't required to have fun and is completely optional. If you can look past the graphics that paper over the cracks of a game made in 2003, players will surely find something to do in-game that provide hours of fun alone or with a friend.

Ready to enter the world of Entropia Universe? Click here to play now!

Graphics: full 3D
PvP: PvE PvP
Cash shop influence: average
Exp rate: slow

Originality
Entropia Universe allows players to invest real money into the game. Players can buy and own in-game land, houses and commercial buildings to tax other players, and make profit returns in real money.

What We Liked..

Huge open sandbox world

Non-linear progression

Can earn real life money

.. and what we didn't

Real money for faster advancement

Complicated for new players


Fun factor
3.0 out of 5
Community
3.0 out of 5
Graphics
3.0 out of 5
9.0
Outstanding

Review summary

  1. A Second Life
  2. Understanding Entropia's Gameplay
  3. Item Ecosystem and PVP
  4. Real Cash Economy
  5. Pretty Planets
  6. Conclusion

What we liked..

Huge open sandbox world
Non-linear progression
Can earn real life money

.. and what we didn't

Real money for faster advancement
Complicated for new players
9.0
Graphics - 60 / 100
Fun factor - 60 / 100
Longevity - 60 / 100
Originality - 60 / 100
Community - 60 / 100

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