Entropia Tips – Buy from Shops!

When you have a few peds on your avatar’s ped card in Entropia Universe, it is a good idea to price around and window shop a bit before doing any buying. The global auction system, accessed from the auctioneer npc is one of the main markets in game, and it is what is used to determine market value of item. However, in game shops in the malls and outlying areas are where you can sometimes find some spectacular deals. Actually, some “resellers” that sell things on the auction get their stuff from shops around the countryside where they can find items cheaper than they can in the auction. Sure, there are some greedy shop owners that want to price things way above where they should be, but there are also lots of shop owners that price things well below the auction values on a regular basis.

At my shop in Omegaton West Habitat, Delta Tower, I try to personally keep things below market value when possible. I can’t do it on everything since the minimum markup on items is +1 ped, so minimum total price is 1.03, which is the +1 Ped + 2 pecs for taxes that is automatically added to the pricing. Tax is approximately 2% in most shops in games currently.

The reason I, and several other shop owners, can keep our prices so low is that we deal directly with crafters, hunters, and others that get us the goods in direct deals, or bulk buying deals. That keeps things cheap, and keeps those that we buy from having a steady income instead of a sporadic income they would otherwise have if they only used the auction system to sell everything. Additionally, the auction costs them more in the long run since the auctioneer will take a fee from the seller of items regardless of whether the item sells or not.

Shop owners like myself, who set up consignment deals, usually pay Trade Terminal value to those we buy from, then we try to sell the items in question, and if we get sales, we share profits back to the original item’s owner later. If the item does not sell, we contact the original owner after a specified time period and offer the item back to them at trade terminal value. That keeps them having some peds on hand, us having something to sell, and keeps the general public happy since they have interesting items to look at in the shops that are always changing. We can afford to change the inventory out and swap things around that don’t sell since we are not paying markup for the items until a sell is made in consignment shops.
Other shops pay markup on everything, and then they get stuck with items they might not be able to sell. That’s sometimes the right way to do things, especially if markup climbs later after an item is acquired, but many times, it’s silly to pay full markup for items that you might not be able to sell, especially if you are just buying it for the purpose of reselling it.

When you double click on an item in a shop, you will see the item screen that explains more about the item. There are several tabs in the item screen, including a little popup window you can access that shows the market history of the item, which lists the price that the item was sold at in the auction for the day, week, month, year, and decade. That history screen is very important when you are checking prices on things since you’d otherwise have no reliable way of knowing exactly how much an item is worth. Before that window came along, buying things from shops was hard to do since it was difficult to know how much the stuff you were looking at was really worth. The same thing happened on the auction sometimes before the history window existed. Be glad it’s there and use it. It could save you a lot of peds over time.

Not all items in shops and booths are for sell. You can tell what’s for sell or not by seeing how much the markup is on the item in the main item screen (left most tab). Items that don’t have a markup are not for sell, and cannot be purchased. Usually items that are not for sell are there just for decorative purposes to give the shop a theme or specific look that the shop owner wants the place to have.

If you do window shop, be sure to look around at all of the malls and shops. There’s a bunch of them. Many don’t have their rent paid, so you cannot access them, but the active shop owners do keep their rent paid, and keep prices marked up, usually at descent levels because they want you to buy. Pricing around at various shops, just like window shopping in the real world, can sometimes get you some spectacular deals you would have otherwise missed.

In a future post, I will go in to details about what it is like to be a shop owner in this virtual universe.

In another post in the future, I might try to list all of the shops in game that I know about. There’s a LOT of them. Remember there’s 3 mall shops in game (Port Atlantis, Twin Peaks, and Emerald Lakes) so far, lots of various shops in the countryside and in apartment basements (Omegaton West Habitat, Genesis HQ, Sakura City, Treasure Island, Minopolis, North of Fort Argus, and a several other places too), a really big shopping area on Club Neverdie, a few booths on Crystal Palace, and several other places people can sell things since shopkeepers enable ANY estate in game to become a shop… including but not limited to any apartment, any hanger, and any Land Area. Additionally, shopkeepers can be used to add more item slots to already established shops, making them even bigger than they once were.
There’s an entire virtual universe to window shop in!

When new planets come in to play there will likely be even more shops elsewhere.

Have fun.

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Entropia Survival Strategies and tips…

As someone that has had an avatar on Calypso a few years, I have a bit of experience in surviving in Entropia Universe (EU). This is the first of many little Survival tips, hints, tutorials, etc. I’m probably going to be posting in here.

If you don’t know what Entropia Universe or Planet Calypso is yet, go take some time to read about it at http://www.entropiauniverse.com.

Also, go take a look at the entry for Entropia Universe on Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropia_universe

Take particular note of the stories on there about Neverdie, Jon Jacobs (Deathifer), Mike Everest, and a few other success stories. THESE types of stories are usually true. HOWEVER, they are not typical stories of average participants. Most people that participate in the virtual universe can and should expect monetary losses when playing. This is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) after all, just like Warcraft, Dialo 2, or Everquest. However, unlike those other games, the losses in EU should not be extremely great unless the participant in question wants them to be because EU is free to participate in on some levels. Sweating, gathering dung, fruit, stones and oil are all free (well oil is probably the hardest of those to get because the rig is in the middle of a pvp zone that’s always full of avatars)…

There are many risks in EU. Many consider the main professions of crafting, hunting, and mining in the game to be similar to gambling in a slot machine at a real world casino. However, there ARE ways to participate and make money and come out ahead. It just takes some work to figure out how to come out ahead… it also takes a bit of luck on occassion. Trading is one of the main ways to do this. HOwever, you have to be smart with the way you trade to make money in this game. You also have to have a lot of persistence, strategy, and sometimes just plain luck.

FORUMS
There’s quite a few forums run by participants (players) of this virtual universe with the real cash economy known as Entropia Universe. Forums are THE primary way participants share information with one another. In a “game” (even if the developers don’t want to call it a game – but a virtual universe instead) such as this one, KNOWLEDGE IS POWER, and getting knowledge from other participants through forums is probably the easiest way to get knowledge quickly.

The largest, and probably most popular one in English currently is probably http://www.entropiaforum.com (EF). I participate in that forum a lot, as do many other helpful individuals. EF is a huge place – take time to read, read, and then read some more before you ever think about depositing a lot of cash in to the game. There’s a huge learning curve to this virtual universe known as Entropia Universe, and places like EF can help you get over the major hurdles of that learning curve much, much, much faster than you can overcome the learning curve on your own.

Other forums exist. Http://www.entropiaplanets.com (EP) is one example of such a startup. A few years ago Entropia Pioneer’s forum was hot, but that got so stale and stagnant that it got shut down permanantly some time during the last year or so. There’s also been a few other forums here and there that have had limited success.

http://www.entropiareality.com is another forum, but it’s mainly for flame fests since it’s not moderated. Since entropiareality (i.e. ER in other forums since some other forums actually hate ER enough that they edit their forum to keep that word from showing up in their own forum) is flame bait, some discussions in other forums sometimes end up here near the end since no moderators are not around to keep all parties posting their spit spats to one another out in the open like little elementary kids that like to cuss because they have not potty trained their speech yet.

When it comes to the forums, remember to use netiquitte. Also remember that theories are just that, theories… not something that can be proven, and if it can be proven, the system might just be altered to make the theories false again later… This is important to know since there’s a LOT of various loot theories out there…. and if the Mind Ark and FPC are smart, as I believe they are, they likely change the loot system regularly, just like online casinos or google, to keep those that want to cheat the system from doing so for too long of a stretch of time.

AUCTIONS
The in game auction is nice, but it’s limited because there is an auction fee that the seller has to pay regarless of whether the item the seller is trying to sell actually sells or not. The selling forums in EF help people bypass that little administrative fee. Similarly http://www.entropiabay.com (EB) was set up specifically to help people do this sort of stuff in a more ebay type of setting. Entropiabay is sort of a new kid on the block, but it has limited popularity. Over time, it might become one of the best places to sell stuff online in game. EP also has an auction type of thing in it’s forums, but since EP itself is even newer than EB, the number of people utilizing that system is very limited.

Most folks that don’t do a lot of person to person trading in game use the in game auction system at some point in time. It is a lot more reliable than the forums sometimes because forums require that you have to meet up the people you are dealing with in game, which is not always easy. With the in game auction, you are using a system that anyone in game can access 24/7. However, since it does have fees to sellers, and high fees in addition to that, it’s not necessarily the best way to sell things.

SHOPS
In game shops are nice to have. They allow you to sell things in game 24/7 regardless of whether your avatar is actually logged in or not. Price of shops very greatly depending on location and size of the shops in question. Mall shops are the most expensive and have the highest monthly rent fees. However they also are probably the most popular shops in game. Shop owners have to deal with taxes when figuring out what prices to mark items with. They also have to deal with monthly rent sometimes. Taxes are not too difficult to work with since taxes are passed on to customers, not to shop owners themselves, and taxes also are interesting because they usually are a lot lower than the fees that have to be dealt with in the in game auction regardless of whether people bid or not. Tax money that is collected goes to Land Owners if the shop is on a land area that is owned by a participant. Some shops are in areas that are not owned by participants, and it’s never been determined if the taxes off of those shops go back to feed the loot pool or go in to the overall income of MindArk. Some estates that act as shops, such as booths in apartment basements, hangers that have shopkeepers in them, and some houses that have shop keepers in them, do not have monthly rent payments. That makes these places very interesting places to own as any income from the shop is more or less a complete income since the shop owner does not have to “break even” on a rent fee every month. However, they still may have some decay fees in the form of shopkeeper decay. Shop keepers decay approximately 10 PEC per sale… Most folks that own shop keepers are aware of this and pass that cost on to their customers. Even that small fee is typically less than the auction fee costs sellers as the auction always costs a seller something regardless of whether or not any actual sale was made.

HANGERS
Hangers are estates that have ships that can be used to fly to the astroids above Calypso, Club Neverdie (CND) and Crystal Palace (CP). It is also possible that they will be used to get to new planets when new planets are introduced in 2010. Hangers also have a number of item points on them, so they can hold furniture and other things, such as shopkeepers, just like all estates that have over 6 item points (shopkeepers require 6 item points but give you 20 back in exchange with the number of things that the shopkeeper can hold and sell for you)

ALGORITHMs…
Here’s what is believed to be the algorithm that is currently used to figure taxes.

Shop Tax = (Markup * 49.75 / (1990 + Markup))

Here’s what is believed to be the algorithm that is currently used to figure auction fees on the in game auction.

Auction Fee/Commission = (0.5 + Markup * 99.5 / (1990 + Markup))

Here’s what is believed to be the cost to pilots for using ships (although the ship system is currently offline until it’s reintroduced. This system, along with most other systems in the game have to be recreated to suit the Cry Engine 2 Game Engine that was added to EU in Version Update 10.0)

the actual flight costs, one way, to each desination are (in TT value):

10 ped to CP (4 decay, 6 ped in oil).
40 ped to cND (16 decay, 24 ped in oil).

DYNAMIC CHANGES…
As with everything in this dynamic universe, change is the ONLY costant we can accurately rely on… so the information above may be completely inaccurate by the time you read this. The systems in place in the virtual universe change every time a new version update is implemented, and sometimes even during the course of the same version of the game as Mindark can and does alter some things on the server side of the game any time they want. Getting used to changes IS a very important characteristic anyone that wants to survive in EU for long MUST have because there can, will be, and always are changes coming up… some may benefit you. Others might not… that’s why a lot of the forums are always full of people complaining about things and speculating about things. However, most long term residents of Calypso and any part of EU know that change is coming and always will happen over time…. because ENTROPIA UNIVERSE IS DYNAMIC!

I’ll add some more tips about EU and living on Calypso in future postings here. Stay tuned…