Project Entropia is a space age based MMORPG that boasts a real cash economy that I discovered via a /. article chronicling it’s recent sale of virtual in-game real estate. MindArk, a Swedish based company, developed the game a few years ago but it seems to have been relatively unknown (as far as I can tell) until these high-profile sales.
Anyway, here’s the rundown: the game is free to download and play, provided you don’t mind waiting the 5 hours it takes to get it at 30Kbps, but you can improve your in game situation by purchasing virtual cash (1USD = 10PED) with a credit card or some other forms of real money. So far nothing ground-breaking right?? Well, the biggest deal is that you can pull your virtual cash BACK OUT of the system at the same exchange rate!! Skeptically, I mashed the download link to see what the fuss was about and headed to bed…
So I hop on my PC the next morning anxious to see the new virtual world…crap…download error out less than 1/2 way thru so I have to wait another 3 hours to get the rest of the program.
Finally up and running I log in for the first time to being setting up my avatar. BTW, in the intervening few hours I managed to read the PE forum and even got thru a few new user guides. Overall, the initial avatar creation was pretty good – a bit clunky in how the sliders worked but not unusable. After creation, you’re dropped into the world and have a few little tutorial pop-ups to get you going with the controls. The controls are a little awkward in my opinion but I’m going to give them a chance before I go complaining too much since it may just be my UO bias.
So after wandering around and exploring for a short period I began interacting with the other folks in-game and even managed to make a few PED (that’s their virtual currency). The graphics have been better than I’d expected them to be and the game play, although a bit limited due to my hesitancy to drop real cash yet and my “new” state (read: limited skills), has been quite good. So far I think I’ve logged a few hours and hopefully will have a chance for a few more later this week.