Earlier this morning, I had a chance to spend a few hours exploring the world of Planet Cyrene with Creative Director Ed Robles and a representative from Digital Scryers' PR firm. Before we jump into the walkthrough, however, a little background information on Planet Cyrene is called for:
The Entropia Universe is a game world that was founded nearly ten years ago in 2003. That game world now consists of multiple planets, developed by different studios. The best way to understand the system, as Ed Robles described it, is to think of Entropia as Nintendo and each planet's developer as a publisher. Entropia is the platform for which Planet Cyrene was developed by Ed and his team. All of these planets utilize the same game mechanics but are not, by any means, identical to each other. Each studio has a certain amount of freedom when it comes to developing their planet and the corresponding PvP options as well as the singleplayer questlines offered.
The latest planet to be released, Planet Cyrene, was developed by Digital Scryers and is currently 'soft launched'. From what I gathered, this is something like an open beta, where the full game is available to players and Digital Scryers is actively listening to feedback and paying attention to their userbase, making tweaks here and there as needed.
Now, let's jump into the walkthrough...
We spawned in The Hub so that Ed could show me around this exclusive PvP area. The Hub is not available in other releases, so Planet Cyrene is the only place where you'll be able to compete in these arena-style PvP matches.
In the entire Entropia Universe, the in-game economy is driven with real cash at a 10:1 ratio. What this means is that you put in as much or as little money as you want, and should you need to, you can actually withdraw that money back into real-world currency.
When you start to really think about it, the implications are pretty exciting. When battling in The Hub, you have to purchase in-game Tokens. These Tokens are then spent to buy your way into a match. Earning kills gets you a fixed portion of that currency back, which can help you boost your in-game wallet if you've got the skill. There are different pay levels, so you can buy in for as little or as much as you'd like, at fixed intervals. There are multiple arenas available, so buying into a different price point will actually have you battling in a different arena as well.
Your in-game currency can be used to purchase weapons, but Ed was very clear that Planet Cyrene isn't a pay to win game. You can absolutely spend your currency on new weapons and armor, which will offer different benefits depending on what you choose, but there is no super-weapon that you can buy that will make you all powerful.
During our arena matches, I used a shotgun and a longer-range rifle. Both weapons were accurate and lethal, requiring skill to master.
As our matches progressed, I could feel myself becoming more accustomed to the weapon mechanics.
Moving on from The Hub, me and my guides used the in-game teleportation system to travel to the heart of Planet Cyrene itself, at the A.R.C. Headquarters. This is where the game would start if you just set up a new account and got started playing on your own. Right off the bat, the first thing I noticed is that I was naked. Like, down to my underwear naked. The reason for my sudden lack of modesty is that equipment and weapons in The Hub is far too powerful for playing on the Planet of Cyrene itself, as it has been balanced and powered up for PvP gameplay. My guides were courteous enough to hook me up with two sets of armor, one for The Hub and another for questing on Planet Cyrene. Once I got myself fitted with some armor, I started taking the game environment in.
Planet Cyrene is, in a word, massive. The game world features a ton of questlines for players to complete, with more being released continually, and you're going to want to dive right into them as that is the quickest route to acquire your starter vehicle, the Spear. Moving about on Cyrene is easily best done utilizing one of the game's various vehicles. The Spear, by default, doesn't have any weapons so make sure you're packing heat before you take off exploring and questing.
We mainly ignored the monsters of the world, as we had limited time to check out a pretty massive game world. Zipping around Planet Cyrene on my Spear, something that I loved and remarked on to Ed, was how you would be exploring what felt like the middle of nowhere and all of a sudden encounter a fully developed military base or some other sort of man-made structure. These were often occupied by hostile NPCs who would keep their eyes on us, attacking if we got too close. The upside, however, is that if you manage to take down one of these high-level officers, you get rewarded pretty well in the loot drops.
As you complete quests you are able to get better gears and weapons, as well as upgrades for your vehicles and equipment.
Planet Cyrene has a hell of a lot to offer that not really any other MMOFPS is currently offering in one package, not the least of which is the real cash economy that powers the entire Entropia Universe. Ed informed me that the cash economy is something that MindArk, the founding studio, take incredibly seriously. In accordance with Swedish law, MindArk's headquarters is outfitted with the same security as a Swedish bank would, as they deal in financial matters so closely.
If you're looking to get into Planet Cyrene yourself, you can check it out at http://www.planetcyrene.com/ to get started. The Entropia Universe has a lot going for it, so be sure to check it out and let us know what you think!