Games like Entropia Universe always come with a kerberos in the room; it’s large, concerning to any gamer, and you should have an answer to it when it is posed to you–how much money, or time, is too much to put into the game?
The amount of money a player puts in is as individual to the player as the playstyle; we all have a budget we work with, even if that budget is zero or unlimited. Sometimes that budget is based on deed income, a fixed amount you put in every month, or in a lot of cases, what you can afford. No individual methodology is “best”, and you as the player must be willing to set your budget and your limits when it comes to spending that money.
The problem is that there is a line of “too much”, and that line is as individual as the independent strategies for putting money into the game. It’s important that you as the player reflect on your cash flow, and decide on what you can afford to put into the game before you start dropping money on Universal Ammo. The irony of a game like EU is that while the game itself is neither a casino nor a gambling game, many of the tools it uses, such as the trumpet and swirly when you global and the decaying nature of equipment, and the running tax rate, means that it triggers many of the dopamine producers that are associated with gambling, and by association, addiction. Thus it is easy for someone to keep dumping money into the game to continue hunting, mining, or crafting; this is even more poignant during events like Mayhem or Migration.
This is compounded by the amount of time the average EU player may spend in the game. While in my experience, EU players are not as obsessive as WOW players or FF14 players in their gameplay (and I say this as a player of both), it is still an MMO with its own features that encourage players to continue logging in and spending time on the platform. In EU this is compounded by its Real Cash Economy nature; there are few things you can do on the Entropia platform that doesn’t cost you money. With the exceptions of socializing, sweating mobs, and fruit walking (far less lucrative now that you can fruit run, although still worthwhile to the F2P player in my opinion), everything in EU costs money; art imitating life, although imperfectly as we’d surely be taxed on the latter two in real life.
This indirectly means that the longer you spend in EU, the more money it takes to play. Now, this is not to discount the methodology of the Entropia Platform, the building of skills that can be sold, the use of deeds as passive investment vehicles (a phrase I use with apprehension as a former Registered Investment Advisor), and the use of owned Land Areas as income producers for those that can afford the time and money that they require; all of these have their place, each has a set of benefits, drawbacks, and risks, but none reduce the fact that the majority of actions in the game require some sort of cash outlay, even if it’s less than a penny US. Free to play trades the use of money for time, and usually the amount of time is large; I have been spending a great amount of time this month in the sweating fields at Boreas and Royal Club to really look into what it would take to be a F2P player in today’s landscape, and the word patience comes to mind.
All that said, we still don’t have our answer, so I’ll come out and say it–if you are playing EU to the exclusion of any other hobbies, activities, or time spent with loved ones, your time commitment to the game has become too much. This is true of any MMO, and it is important that you as the player balance your life both in game and out. The running joke for MMO players is that we’re all no-lifers; this joke is both tired and unacceptable. We can’t be the fringe of society used as the example of what not to be anymore. I recognize the attraction to it; I’m an introvert. I get my energy from being alone and socializing with people on my own terms, which a platform like EU provides me, while simultaneously providing a certain level of anonymity, or at least it did until I became a content creator. That said, I recognize that my beloved game, and my desk chair can’t be my whole life. Thus, I have other hobbies, like the SCA (where I teach historical fencing), I keep balance by working hard to be a good father and future husband, and help keep a rather chaotic household, filled with four generations of my family, operating smoothly.
Notice how I just admitted to living in the same household as my grandmother and parents? It’s to reveal that the heretofore written paragraph was not to shame those that live at home, so long as you are making your own way. In today’s culture, the return of multi-generational living has become important to the survival of many working and middle class families, as prices and inflation outpace wage increases. We’ve been lucky in the last half-decade, but since 2000 the dollar has inflated 49%; this is no joke! Thus the dark stereotype of the gamer living in his or her parents’ basements needs to disappear, but that means we need to strive to insure that we are not perpetuating that stereotype. So balance your game play time accordingly.
Those inflation numbers also mean that you need to balance the amount of money you put into the game as best you can. Never spend what you can’t afford on the game; there is always the free-to-play option once your PED card runs dry for the month, plus you can play at a lower level and still gain skills; there is no shame in hunting low-maturity mobs if it keeps your ammo cycling for longer periods. EU has the option to play at virtually any level as long as you judiciously manage your resources. When you see your PED card depleting faster than you’re comfortable with, switch to Bukin’s Spare Rifle and hunt bots at Orthos or the Daikaba around Twin Peaks; or you could go to Cyrene and hunt Panleons and Dusters near the starter zone, and enjoy the somewhat more lucrative loot tables (if you’re willing to risk flying the loot back!). How you manage your resources is up to you, but don’t neglect to actually manage them; that just leads to more disdain thrown at you, and us as a community.
In any case, keep gaming, and good luck out there!