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The Third Way

June 1, 2007

I’m probably not the only person who has been given a touch of the cold shoulder for calling Second Life an MMORPG, or comparing it to World of Warcraft. The most common response to this is that WoW is a computer game and Second Life is a social platform… whatever! There are gamers in Second Life playing games and there are players in WoW who love the social element more than the levelling. It’s likely that both these groups are in the minority, but it does prove there is overlap and therefore a similarity.

Realising there was room for some serious overlap between social platform and gaming the newest MMORPG/Virtual world on the block is MindArk’s Entropia Universe, although according to Wikipedia it’s actually been around since 2005.  Techcrunch ask the big question is this a better Second Life?’ (they don’t ask ‘is this a better WoW?’ for some reason).

If one of the problems of Second Life is that new people who go there are stuck for things to do, get bored and leave never to return, then possibly so. There is quite a bit of information about the kinds of skills and professions available to players, as there is no traditional class/levelling system, but there isn’t much information on the kinds of quests players will have the option to do. It could be that skills and professions just make it easier to make money through hunting (see, grinding) or whether there will be story-like quests to break up the monotony.

I haven’t tried downloading it yet, but according to Techcrunch it can take up to 14 hours, but I’d be interested to see if there is a clear ‘social – gamer’ divide or whether both sides participate a little in both. If there was a clear divide social – gamer divide you could end up with a bunch of civilians on the one hand and on the other a kind of unofficial armed forces, that would open up lots of opportunities for interesting encounters such as gamer types protecting social types for forays into the wilderness. It also doesn’t say if there is a PvP element, although I assume not as I could imagine  some aggressive gamers being tempted to terrorise the socials – not good when real money is involved!

For Entropia Universe to really grow it will probably need to get some of the PR Second Life has had over the past couple of years, if it does this the combination of gaming and socialising could work very well in creating a realistic lifeworld (or it could go the way of Star Wars Galaxies) and would be a great place for brands to try out the ads as quests idea that I suggested in my MRS presentation.

I’m going to keep my eye on this one and as soon as the download time is improved I’m going to check it out.

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5 comments

  1. The Techcrunch download estimate doesn’t correlate to my own experience. The download took some 45 minutes on an 8 Mbit DSL connection.


  2. Cool, I’ll give it a try over the next week then.

    What are your thoughts on the game if you don’t mind me asking?


  3. A couple of Entropia clarifications…

    1.There is no quest system (like WoW). Activities like hunting, mining and crafting are free form.

    2.Skilling occurs as you hunt, mine or craft. Also, some other skills increase as you use certain items such as scanners.

    3.Skilling a character literally takes years and the costs of equipment(armor/weapons/first aid packs), ammo and the skills needed to use them effectively can run into the 1000’s of USD.

    4.The social aspect is nice and there are many in game who choose to socialize.

    The main thing here is that it is not like other MMORPGS and it’s not for the “weak of wallet”. Items are expensive, inflation in the in-game economy is rampant and prices tend to rise rather than fall on most items.

    The newly announced deal with China may bring changes in how the economy works, but that is still a year away at least.


  4. Wow, if it’s as involving as you say then I can’t see it becoming mainstream in the same way that 2nd Life or WoW are, especially if it can end up costing so much.

    Still I’m going to take a look around, I’m interested to see if there are any compelling elements to the social side of things.


  5. so, what were the results of ur exploration nickbjorn?
    does it really have to be that expensive?
    does it cost u even if u just want to have use it for the social aspects?



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