Posts Tagged ‘eula’

There are some participants in Entropia Universe that have, in the past used ‘alts’ i.e. ‘alternative avatars’ or ‘multiple avatars’ or in some cases share a ‘mule’ avatar for various reasons.

This type of activity is frowned upon per both the EULA and Terms of Service (even though some claim that that has not always been the case and that there are exceptions that are permissible). On the topic of changing the name of your avatar Mindark says:

Unless the name violates the EULA or ToU or you happened to write your real name as your avatar name, we do not change the name of your avatar. The reason for not allowing a change of your avatar name is that you build reputation and trust inside the Entropia Universe by the name of your avatar. To allow this to be changed would undermine confidence in existing avatar relations.

On the topic of using multiple avatars, Mindark’s support team has this to say:

Hi,

No, you are not allowed to have more than one active avatar/account.

Kind regards,
Entropia Universe Support

I may in the future use the Alt Avatar Category in this blog to site some examples of where this type of activity appears to have previously occurred.

It is understandable why some might believe that this type of thing is ok. In many other MMORPGs (Massively Multi-player Online Role Playing Games) using multiple characters or ‘toons’ is encouraged, and is in some cases a part of the game itself! In games such as Blizzard’s Diablo game series, Perfectworld’s Neverwinter, DC Universe Online, and similar types of MMOs (Massively Multi-player Online games) the different character classes that you can use simultaneously on one account allow you a challenge. In most MMORPGs it’s fun to switch from being a ‘Tank’ to being a ‘Healer’, ‘Melee DPS’, ‘Ranged DPS’, ‘Buffer Support’, or ‘Controller’. That is because most other MMORPGs other than Entropia have Character Classes. Entropia is a bit different in that it is a ‘classless’ game… that is any avatar in game can take on any role since the skill system is what controls things and it’s open to all, not just certain character types… and what’s more, unlike in most other games, in Entropia you can ‘chip in’ or ‘chip out’ your skills by inserting a skill chip in to your avatar’s brain… allowing you to move skills off of your avatar on to the chips or move the skills off of chips on to your avatar – and then you can can trade those chips to others in game for whatever price you like (usually best to stick with market value listed on auctioneer npcs since that’s the market price, but be aware that that market value price goes up and down all the time, and market manipulators sometimes try to change the price to their liking so they make more money, etc.). In Entropia this is important since the game dollar, the PED – ‘PROJECT ENTROPIA DOLLAR’ is tied to the US DOLLAR in a 10:1 ratio… (There are 100 PECS – Project Entropia Cents in One PED) Since it’s tied to the dollar like that, it is important that each individual only have one avatar so that there’s less potential for scamming, market manipulation, and nefarious activities such as money laundering, etc.

It is my belief that Mindark should stop use of ALTS in Entropia Universe from happening for a number of different reasons. It allows scams to happen due to illusions of trust and identity. It allows certain individuals working together with a mule account to have an unfair advantage vs those who only use one avatar per participant. It allows folks to bypass travel costs between virtual planets in game. It allows for possible market manipulations in a number of different ways.

In the rare cases where Mindark does allow this type of thing legitimately within the tos and eula, it creates a situation where certain individuals are being treated with ‘kiddie gloves’, allowed to do things others or not, or as some in the community put it, ‘Mindark treats some more fairly than others’ in these types of situations, which is why this post is listed under the Unfair Treatment Category in this blog.

In a recent thread on Planetcalypsoforum the_prophet has asked Mindark to list all of it’s employee avatars.

This is something that has been asked many times before in various forums over the years, but is something that Mindark still refuses to do, or even acknowledge the question about in some cases. (Hey Kim, if you are reading this, we are still waiting for your answers from the 2011 thread that you ‘locked’ until you got a response from your superiors about this type of thing…)

There is some interesting discussion on this topic on EntropiaPlanets by MS9 who used to work for a Planet Partner… Of particular interest in MS9’s thread is the revelation that ‘secret avatars’ move freely in the universe and aren’t stuck to one planet, influence the market in various ways such as being disciples to others, thereby giving the mentor avatar somewhat unique ‘free’ items when the disciple graduates which other mentors are not getting, etc. Below is a blockquote of what MS9 claims are the ‘official avatar guidelines’.

The Official Avatar Guidelines lay out the rules for four different types of avatars and what they can and cannot do, but other than the regular EU avatar, which is your personal avatar that you started PE/EU with, all of the others are tagged through coding and activities monitored. The four avatars in question are Incognito (secret), Official (gold star over head), Role Playing (RX Units and any storyline character that will play a key role in the evolution of a planet), and Personal avatars which are not tagged unless there’s a very good reason to be so.

There are also two types of Restricted Accounts … Employee Accounts which are those who are employees of MA, PPs, Marketing Associates, etc., and Demo Accounts used for investors, journalists, and other such individuals in order to show them part, or all of EU during a limited period of time.

The Incognito accounts are used for testing and experiencing the EU platform without revealing they are controlled by an employee, whether it’s MA, PP, Marketing Associates, or others. Also, the avatar name chosen can in no way be connected to MA, PPs, EU organizations or associations, or real life identity. This type of account cannot be used in any public events or anything similar.

The Official accounts are used to participate in game events or for official announcements.

The Role Playing accounts are used to participate in events and play a role, or a character that has significance to a planet’s storyline (Cyrene will eventually do this, and it’s brilliant), but then there are the RX Units on Calypso that interact with the players and get involved with events.

The Private accounts are personal accounts that are registered by the employee before employment. The rule is that once you become Official, or even before your Official avatar is created, you must freeze your personal account and not be able to use it until employment has ended. This is what happened to me, and MS9 was in a cryogenic state until I resigned my position with Cyrene, but then got her back with everything she had prior to being put on hold.

Here are some pertinent bullet points:
employees are absolutely held to and must abide by the terms of the EULA and ToS with the understanding that the accounts are EU accounts and not personal accounts
the account cannot be used to make money, or withdraw money … however, can withdraw only the amount that they have deposited themselves
employees do not have any value or any right of ownership to any value accumulated during the course of operating the avatar
employees are absolutely forbidden to use any type of internal information or know-how obtained during employment, including company secrets in order to increase the value of the account (e.g. collect certain virtual objects that are expected to increase in value due to planned developments in Entropia Universe) or in any way affect the internal virtual economy of Entropia Universe (as mentioned before, these avatars are monitored)
Employees may not trade (meaning private trade and auctions) items or PED/PEC with other end users to make money or affect the virtual economy:
o Employees are not allowed to trade with other end users to obtain unique or rare virtual items.
o Employees are not allowed to trade with other end users to obtain skill chips.
o Employees are not allowed to trade with other end users to transfer skill chips to the end users.
o Employees are not allowed to affect market prices.
o Interacting with other end users in a reasonable trade, based on market value, etc.
o Interacting with other end users in event or competition, where effort and prize is in reasonable relation to each other.
employees can interact with other end users in the usual course of usage of the product including participating in activities mentioned below:
o Trade
o Join team
o Team activity like hunting etc
o Mining
o Chat
o Join society
employees must keep their in-game voice chat set at Push to Talk to prevent revealing any confidential or internal information to the public (participants), and never use real life names
With regard to play money for employees:
employees are allowed to deposit money to their PED Card and withdraw that same amount if they wish
the Planet Partner may choose to make deposits on Employee Entropia Universe Accounts with a maximum of 1000 PED per deposit once a week, to be used by the Employee for participating in Entropia Universe only.
Such a deposit is subject to the following limitations: (1) only the Planet Partner can make deposits to an EU Employee Account; (2) the total value of the PED Card on the Employee’s Account, including any piles of PED and PEC can never exceed the value of 5,000 PEDs; (3) the Planet Partner is responsible for all costs covering the deposits deducted from the planet in-world revenue to an EU Employee Account

There was once a small note from Mindark on the topic about Planet Partners using avatars, but it was not very detailed and gave almost no real information.

However, there’s nothing ‘official’ any ‘real’ and ‘active’ planet partners on the subject out there that has been given to the community other than a subtle hint about things from Rocktropia from a few years back on a web page that no longer really exists except in the internet caches of various search engines that went something like this:

It has been brought to my attention that the Planet Partner Agreement strictly Prohibits Planet Owners or planet Partner Employees from Playing Entropia universe with private Avatars…

IF Mindark Choose to make public the specifics of this agreement, then that is up to them.

In general though What that means as far as I understand it regarding ROCKtropia and NEVERDIE Studios is that all of our Private Avatars must cease to engage in all End User Game Play activities, excluding perhaps logging in to manage pre-exisiting assets, until such time that employment is terminated.

All Official (Non Private) NDS or ROCktropia Avatars will be subject to Severe restrictions. (Management, Demo, Guide, Test, Roleplay Avatars, etc)

Further Clarification will be provided here if appropriate or necessary.

1) It is Possible to Create an Official Avatar for NEVERDIE or other NDS Employees to be used to enter the World and Chat with the community

Since the webpage in question that listed that no longer appears to exist, it’s highly likely that no ‘further clarification will be provided here’ as here is no longer where it was previously…

One of the reasons that this type of thing is important is that it has an impact on how people view the MMORPG known as Entropia Universe, and the folks running it, as well as the community… In a recent internet search I came across the blog entry at http://blogtropia.blogspot.com/2007/04/resellers-scammers-leeches.html

While I think most of the information in comments part of that blog entry are way off from today’s reality in game, it’s interesting to see what the general public thought of Entropia way back in 2007… (and may still today as sometimes these types of perceptions continue to exist for many years? (for example see the eutalk blog from 2013))…

Finkle said…
Don’t you people realize by now that it is Mindark employees doing the reselling/scamming in this game? It is Mindark alone that profits from this game. The “uber” players in the game are the ones that work for Mindark. I have noticed from the beginning how they operate. The day you download this program and get put at Port Atlantis you are immediately approached by employees of Mindark posing as old players. They shuffle you over to the sweat camp and show you how to sweat. You do that until you can’t stand it anymore. Then they buy your sweat or you sell it to some other person for next to nothing, buy yourself a weapon and ammo from the trade terminal, go out and start hunting the animals, only to discover your ammo runs out and weapon breaks without you having made even 1/10 of what you need to repair them and buy more ammo. Then back to sweating, usually people who go through this cycle a couple of time will end up depositing money. The minute you do, scammers flock over and try to steal your money in some way or another. Make no mistake, there are mostly employees of mindark, they know EXACTLY when you deposit, and don’t show their faces until you do. I have watched the tactics they use and see the light. The avatars you meet and put on your friend list are more times than not the SAME employee. Just watch how on your friends list two or three people seem to log out at exactly the same time. Then a minute later when their computer reboots they log back in at the same time, with a slight delay in between. Look at how the same avatars can’t hold up individual conversations with you at the same time, they have a hard time trying to keep up with both conversations. I have actually seen one avatar answer a question that I asked ANOTHER avatar!! The staff of mindark sit around and create accounts all day, scam newbies, manipulate the market, get Hall of Fames to entice you to keep playing, and you are a HUGE TOOL if you play their rigged game. You are better off driving down the street tossing dollars out the window. You stand a much better chance of NOT losing your money than if you play this game. STAY AWAY FROM THIS GAME, DON’T BE A MINDARK TOOL!!!

I don’t believe Mindark employees participate on the level that Finkle indicated in that comment, but it’s interesting to see that someone thought that… and that that view is out there… especially since Kim|Calypso Welter on Planetcalypsoforum (Jan Welter’s son (Jan is former CEO at MindArk PE AB)) has admitted on the Entropiaforum in 2011 that his own Mindark funded avatar in game is given an allowance of approximately 50 – 100 USD per month.

All the while Mindark stays Mum, at least in regards to creating a ‘list’ of all of the Mindark and Planet Partner avatars… (I personally believe that they do this in part because Mindark claims to track the avatars Planet Partners run but really are not doing so at the level that they should be in order to uphold their commitment to making the community ‘feel safe in their endeavors’)

Transparency can be a good thing in situations like these. However, Mindark is Mindark and it’s business as usual, so it’s likely nothing will ever change on this matter… I wish that that was not the case. Perhaps the new CEO can do something to change history repeating itself as has happened over and over the last few years at Mindark?

This post is also being listed under both “Alt Avatar Use” and “Feel Safe in their Endeavors” categories because I think that the fact that Mindark allows this type of activity causes us to question if they are upholding their promise that “Both Planet Partners and the participants on the planets should always feel safe in their endeavors in Entropia Universe.”

A few Related Website and Forum Links
I may move some of these links to the Alt Avatar List page eventually

http://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/forums/showthread.php?203235-Why-is-this-

allowed – Thread about insider info and alts being possibly used by Neverdie Studios

http://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/forums/showthread.php?184649-Shouldn-t-2nd-Avatars-be-hunted-and-banned&p=2374520&viewfull=1#post2374520 – 2010 Thread about alt avatars

http://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/fo…=1#post2590427

http://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/fo…second+avatars

http://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/fo…=1#post2480122

http://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/fo…=1#post2455584

http://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/fo…=1#post2405744

http://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/fo…=1#post2374520

http://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/fo…=1#post2342423

http://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/fo…=1#post1954662

http://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/fo…=1#post1762951

http://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/fo…=1#post1070488

http://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/fo…l=1#post730062

http://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/fo…l=1#post512289

http://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/fo…l=1#post342307

http://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/fo…l=1#post323736

http://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/fo…l=1#post338005

http://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/fo…l=1#post281382

http://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/fo…l=1#post250076

http://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/fo…l=1#post191677

http://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/fo…l=1#post138702

http://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/fo…ll=1#post15894

http://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/forums/showthread.php?263479-Underground-deeds-MU-manipulation&p=3272485&viewfull=1#post3272485


No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
– Matthew 6:24

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