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.

Entropia Universe Tips – Scams

https://entropiascams.wordpress.com/ lists a few more scams in Entropia than below does…

There are many scams that exist in the Entropia Universe, just as there are many scams that exist in the real world. It would be impossible to list every scam since scammers in EU, just like in the real world are constantly trying new things to try to overcome their victim’s defenses. Here are just a few of the scams that are in EU that you might want keep on the watch for.

TT Scam
Don’t buy Trade Terminal (TT) or Technician items from others unless they ask for the Trade Terminal Value. The one exception to this, which is fairly new, is that some avatars believe they can sell Trade Terminal items to others if the tier on the item in question is higher than tier zero. Use caution in these sort of situations since most TT items are fairly low level, and not worth as much as the sellers might tell you they are worth. Check with the nearest TT and Technician to see what items they sell. The items available in both the TT and Technician occassionally change from Version Update (VU) to VU.

Borrow Scam
Don’t let others borrow items from you unless you are prepared to lose the item forever, and also are collecting collateral on the item in question that is at least the value in Markup that you would normally sell the item for – preferably more actually since higher collateral usually acts as a deterrent from the borrower from stealing the item outright as they want their peds or other form of collateral back from you. Mindark (MA) considers all trades to be final, so technically there is nothing in the game that allows borrowing or renting of items. Therefore, anyone involved in renting or borrowing anything is possibly participating in a scam at any point in time.

However, many trustworthy avatars do exist, and borrow things from one another, rent things from one another, and many shop owners “borrow” items from others in “consignment” deals to sell the items in question in their shops, and the shop owners do pay back the original owners of the items in question many times. Like all things, trustworthiness is the most imporatant factor here. If you don’t trust those you are trading with, don’t trade with them. That’s why the trade window has you press two confirm buttons before a person to person trade is finalized. That extra button gives you a chance to check to make sure the other avatar put in everything they said they would, and that you are 100% sure you do want this deal to go through.

The Lost Library Consignment Shop that my avatar, Maria Mastermesh Mesh, runs and the Dead Man’s Plunder Shop, which is run by one of my old friends, Nihilist, are two consignment shops that are fairly reputable, and very trustworthy. I try to never scam anyone ever, nor does Nihilist. Other consignment shops exist in game too, and each one is run by other avatars of various levels of trustworthiness. Just be careful in your trading so you don’t get scammed.

Upgrade Armor scam (*EDIT* Now, certain armor types can be colored…)
Armor cannot be upgraded, nor painted. However, newly introduced tier system does allow for armor, just like many other items, to be tiered, which is similar to an upgrade. If someone asks you to let them upgrade or paint your armor, watch out, it might be a scam. The painting of armor is a definite scam. However, clothes can be painted and textured, so some avatars asking you to let them upgrade your clothes by painting it might not be scamming you, but you should ask for collateral if you do get in to a deal like that to make sure you get your stuff back. Otherwise, you might literally lose the shirt on your back.

Skill Scam and other trade scams
Empty skill chips are needed to put skills in when trading them. Sometimes scammers claim that they need you to provide them an empty skill implant chip so that they can fill it up and give you the skills. Be very careful in this situation to ask for collateral since ESIs have a very high market value.

L Scam.
Limited (L) items cannot be repaired. They “break” at around the time that their TT value drops to about 3% of their total TT max. These items are then unusable, and pretty much useless since they can’t be used and can’t be repaired. They become fancy junk to look at or to sell to the TT. Sometimes scammers put L items like this on the auction or in a shop after they are almost broken so that others will pay top value for them since the prices will be low as TT value is low, and they expect full Market Value for them… Don’t be tricked in to paying top dollar for something that’s broken that you can’t repair, unless maybe you have some special use for it.. for instance to hang on the walls of your apartment if you have an (L) item museum or something. All other uses for this stuff is non-existent.

Investment Scam
Sometimes avatars come up with big plans that require lots of peds. When that happens, they sometimes ask for other avatars to “invest” in their plan to help them get the capital needed to start up whatever their big idea is. Be very careful with this, especially if there is an initial cost that has no return on investment.

I’ve outlined some of the Investment Scams I’ve seen in game over at http://www.entropiaforum.com/forums/general-economy-discussion/180198-investment-funds-inside-entropia-universe-2.html#post2308520

As mentioned there, some of these investment plans are legit, and others are not. Even then, they all are run differently. Just remember that MA considers all trades to be final, so if someone does get you involved in something like this, and they take all your peds and give you nothing back ever, the “trade” that was used to get your money might probably be considered a legit trade so there might not be anything you can do to get your money back. Be careful. Peds don’t grow on trees!

You might also want to read the Scamming Methods Exposed thread on Entropia Forum for more tips on how to avoid being scammed. http://www.entropiaforum.com/forums/entropia-universe-tutorials/77924-scamming-methods-exposed.html#post928260

Also, I’ve started a new blog to deal solely with the issue of conspiracies and scams in Entropia Universe. It can be found at http://entropiatrash.wordpress.com

In more recent days, I’ve outlined some of the many problems with Entropia as far as both scams and exploits go over at http://entropiarelated.wordpress.com/ and it’s sister blog (which I no longer post to as much) http://entropiatrash.­wordpress.­com

Studio Tip – Get Rechargable Batteries – And use them!… Also get organized…

If you have a digital camera, mp3 player, voice recorder, or even a cell phone, you probably already realize how important it is to have batteries that work on hand at all times. If you ever get in to creating stock photos or just using a digital camera or video recorder to give you source material to work with in whatever form of art you work with, this becomes even more important.

I can’t tell you how many times when shooting digital stock photos that I was out clicking away with a camera in a park or downtown somewhere and the camera I had on hand quit working because I ran out of battery power. That is a huge annoyance, especially if you like shooting clouds like I do, and you are in a time when the sun is either rising or setting, so each second lost that you did not get a shot of is gone forever because the clouds shift on you constantly and/or the “magic hour” changes dramatically as your big lightsource, the sun, is moving quickly under or over the horizon. “Magic Hour” really is not an hour. Twilight hours of sunset can cause dramatic changes in the light and way that things look on the horizon, and everywhere else outside in literal minutes or seconds.

My advice is that you have a lot of rechargeable batteries on hand and a couple of rechargers for them, and use the rechargers often. Some people say that rechargeable batteries have some sort of memory thing in them and remember how long each recharge took, so it’s bad to put the batteries in to the recharger before the battery is completely worn down. For some batteries, that may be true, but for most regular AA and AAA rechargable batteries, I don’t think that’s really quite the truth. I typically recharge my batteries when the camera shows that they are about down to one quarter power and have never really had a lot of problems. Of course, I am constantly recharging some batteries, so it’s hard for me to tell if that is an issue…

I have two rechargers. One of them holds a lot of batteries and I keep it at home, the other only holds four batteries, but it has a plug in that folds down. I keep that one in my camera bag, and carry it with my camera so that I can plug in at any time, anywhere. The bigger recharger is too large to do that with. However, I keep the bigger recharger full a lot of times and rotate out batteries from there often. I basically try to keep a handful of batteries charged at all times. If some of the the batteries sit unused for a few weeks, I go ahead and recharge the pile anyways so that they are ready when I need them.

Storing a bunch of batteries in a camera bag is a major pain, especially since most of the time, when you buy batteries they come in boxes that are meant to be thrown away after being open. For storage at home, I keep the clear plastic part of the boxes that the batteries came in, and might cut that down to size, and fit it inside of a Altoids box. Those little metal boxes that Altoids come in make fine battery holders since they are just big enough to hold a few AA or AAA batteries and still allow the lid to close. You would think the metal boxes would shock me since I’m putting batteries in them, but so far, I’ve never had any shocks or anything, so I guess the paint or ink they use on the box must not conduct electricity. Even if it does, I’m putting plastic liners from the boxes the batteries came in between the actual battery itself and the metal of the box, so that makes it all work well. To keep the Altoid boxes closed, I simply rubber band them shut.

I used to keep at least one of those Altoid boxes in my camera bag, but lately, I’ve gone to not keeping those in the camera bag since they are a bit of a hassle to mess with out in the field, especially as the rubber bands age, get weaker, and break, leaving the batteries to roam free in the camera bag, where all sorts of potential problems could happen if the acid ever did leak…

Now, in the camera bag, I keep the two batteries in the camera that the camera requires, and keep two batteries in each of the two voice recorders I carry in the bag, for a total of four spare batteries, or two battery swaps between the voice recorders and the camera in case the camera battery charge runs down. I find this ideal since the batteries are stored nicely away in the recorders, and if I do feel the need to use the recorder to record my own voice for notes or just feel like recording something out and about, like a bird chirping, a motorcycle whizzing by me, or whatever, I can just pop out the recorder and it’s ready to go. The reason I have two recorders is that I bought one, thought I lost it, bought a second one, and then a few months later, discovered where I had put the first one… It’s funny how that happens sometimes with little gizmos and gadgets.

If you don’t have a vocie recorder, but have some other tiny gadget that uses the same sort of battery as your camera, you might look in to getting something like that to hold your batteries so that you don’t risk having the batteries just jubmled in the camera bag or case, ready to give some nice acid burns to your camera or whatever else is in there. I’ve only seen a battery leave an acid burn on something one time – it was an old plastic mug that I used to store non-rechargeable batteries in many years ago before I started using rechargeable batteries. The marks it left as the acid dug in to the plastic of the cup were horrible looking. It’d really suck to see something like that happen to a digital camera.

Other things I keep in the camera bag other than the camera, the voice recorders, and the little battery recharger are the top part of a big tripod that actually attaches to the bottom of the camera, and a mini-tripod. I also keep a couple of thumb drives and spare digital camera chips in there to make it easy to store things. The thumb drives are attached via a little stretcy cord that the casino gives out with it’s cards for people to use to remember to not leave their casino cards in the slot machines. I like that because it keeps me from loosing the thumb drives as they are attached to the camera case.

I actually have 3 camera cases. The first one is a little one that holds my little bitty camera itself and came with the camera. It’s very flimsy, but I keep it on there to cover the lens. I put the camera and that little case in to the second case, which is a big bigger and is what I mainly use to carry the camera around my neck when out and about. The third is a Polaroid camera case that I keep the other case in. I use it because it’s big enough to hold the littler case and a few other odds and ends – the tripod top and voice recorders, mentioned above.

I have an entirely seperate bag that I use to keep color pencils and sketch books in the car. At one point in time, I tried to avoid using the Polaroid case, and just put the little camera case in that bag, but that got to be too much of a hassle. Now I just leave the color pencil and sketchbook bag in the back seat of the car, and take the Camera in and out of the car, and with me wherever I go so that it’s handy, and does not get left in the car during hot/cold temperatures that could damage the electronic equipment inside.

At home I have a few toolboxes that I use to keep other things around the house/studio organized. I love the big tool boxes with different slots in them – nice way to organize pastels, pencils, ink pens, etc.

When I was in college, I used to haul a lot of big sketch pads, drawings, and some paintings in a plastic portfolio that I carried around campus to class. That was a major hassle since the classes were in various buildings scattered around campus and my apartment was several blocks away. Carrying big portolios is a tough enough job by itself since they are big and bulky… That only gets worse as you get more and more things in there to carry. You would think paper, being as thin as it is would not be heavy in big bulks, but you would be wrong… especially on humid days when the paper absorbs a lot of moisture just to make itself heavier for you. To make that walking around campus more handy, I ended up taking a duffel bag strap and attaching it to the portfolio handles. That made it much easier to handle the bag and still carry other things like books that I needed to take to class. I have NO idea why porfolio making companies have not made it an industry standard to put shoulder straps on portfolios yet. It’s something that really is needed to help make it easier for all those art students and aspiring artists everywhere be able to carry their stuff. Some Art Directors might like the neat little polished look of the little bitty handles on portolios, but I suspect that they would like the portfolios a lot more if the artists were more comfortable actually walking around with the portfolios so that they could bring them in more often, and have a descent amount of work in the portfolio to show off. I know a lot of artists aching backs and shoulders would be thankful if big art portfolio started getting made with shoulder straps.

Getting organized, and able to transport your art making supplies, is one key to creating great art. A tool such as a camera, voice recorder, pastel, conte crayon, paintbrush, or color pencil is not very useable if it’s buried in the back of a closet in a box underneath of a lot of other things. Each individual artist has to come up with their own organizational strategy that fits their own personalities and needs. If you are not organized yet, you might look at ways that you can start getting that way in the near future. It really can help you be creative when you have tools that are handy that you can grab any time and just start using. Digging around for stuff is a major hassle.

Studio Tip – Keeping pencil shavings, and other things…

I love keeping the shavings off pencils as I sharpen them. Sometimes there is just enough color or graphite left to allow for one or two more uses of the leftovers on there that might come in handy someday. Additionally, the shavings are handy for doing interesting things such as creating brush strokes with paint that would be impossible to create with normal brushes, blending color on paintings or drawings by using the shavings as blending stumps, or they can be useful to just have around, sitting in a plastic bottle or jar to look at for inspiration since they various colors and shapes can sometimes give me compositional ideas.

Similarly, I love keeping paint covered palletes and clothing that I’ve used over the years. The splatters on the clothing of various material, whether it’s plaster, paint, tar, or something else mix to create interesting forms and shapes. I think Jim Dine used to keep his studio clothing as seperate pieces of artwork in and of themselves. This is a very good idea. The various materials I see on the various pieces of clothing that I’ve coated with artistic make me think about what was done to create each splatter, and shape, and form. Lately, for palletes, I use paper or stryofoam plates since my latest easel is made to hold those – that makes it a lot easier to keep the pallettes after the painting is done than it used to be when the palletes were expensive items that I typically ended up damaging as I tried to clean them off. It’s a memory jarring thing for us artists. My wife just calls me a pack rat, lol. I might take some digital photos or scans of some pallets and painted clothing sometimes, and create digital works from that. That’s what’s very nice about art – you can recycle ideas, shapes and forms, or elements of various artwork over and over… Infinite possibilities…

I also like keeping old paint brushes. The shapes they can create are likely unique. The same applies to any art instrument or some non-art instruments that can be converted in to art instruments. I love using various items as paint brushes sometimes… Some of the various items I’ve used in the past as a paint brush or brush to apply ink to paper or canvas are tooth picks, old tooth brushes (only use my own for that though so I don’t get a lot of other folks germs, lol), pieces of fabric, sculpey, thumbtacks, branches off of pine trees, pine cones, feathers, blades of grass, nails, screws, and broken light bulbs just to name a few.

I also like to keep a few oddball items around just to play with or to get ideas from… I don’t smoke, but keep a ciggarette lighter in my drawing toolbox sometimes – burnt edges on paper can look neat. I also keep a small handheld mirror or two as well as a full length mirror in the studio to play around with. Knives can be useful for digging layers off of paintings too… or just be neat to look at and draw…

I have one really wicked looking hunting knife in my drawing box that I used to keep in there for protection purposes, not that I ever had to use it. You never know who might come up to you and start bothering you if you are an artist out in the wilderness somewhere at a park or something and are trying to do a pein air painting… I don’t condone violence, but I hear about rapes, murders, and theft in the news way to often to just be out there in the woods by myself on the side of a hiking trail to not have some sort of protection nearby, even if it is just an old cell phone that can be used to call 911.

They say that any cell phone has to legally be allowed to call 911 regardless of whether you still have service on it or not – might not hurt to keep one in your drawing toolbox, basket, book bag, or whatever you use carry around with you to hold your brushes, pencils, or sketchbooks, especially if you are female. In the worst case scenario it could save your life. In the best case scenario it can be useful to call your spouse or significant other to come and pick you up, or to call for a pizza delivery or something. Most cell phones these days have cameras on them – so that is a useful art tool in and of itself, and makes carrying one around with you at all times something you should really think about doing if you are not already.