MMO Review: Rocktropia

Anybody heard of Entropia Universe? It’s a competitor to Second Life, except with a real life currency exchange rate.

A few years back, an enterprising cyber-freak named Jon Jacobs mortgaged his house and bought an asteroid in Entropia for about $100k. Crazy right? Not so much. He has since made his money back 10 times over (at about 250k per year) with a marketplace, virtual manufacturing, and trade tax.

Now, in honor of the name he gave his virtual property (Club Neverdie), he’s started Neverdie Studios in Los Angeles, and created a new world in Entropia for us all to enjoy.

The new universe is reminiscent of what Brutal Legend was trying to do–creating rock and pop music inspired zones that cater to the musically charged.  Put in the cash, and buy a guitar axe to destroy your enemies with.  Or choose from an array of guns as well.  In addition, dress like a rock star and hang with actual rock stars (explained below).

The instant you join the world, you get logged into the radio.  It’s governed by where you are, so you could go to a virtual rock concert, or dance to club music if you’re down. I’ll admit, the first time you log in, you’re hit with the likes of Souljaboy, Mandy Moore, Ludacris, and Parachute, so if you’re not into that kind of music… there is an option to turn the radio volume to mute (but not off).

The greatest, and possibly the worst part about this game is the incredible simplicity.  Download the game client for free, and create a character.  Within about 10 minutes, you’re off and running around.

Unfortunately, if you don’t spend any cash, you can expect long and tedious hours harvesting “Sweat” (on average you can expect to get about 100 per hour).  1000 Sweat = about 5 PED (Project Entropia Dollars) which in turn exchanges to about $0.50 real dollars.  And if you imagine that you’ll be spending PED on everything from weapon ammunition to clothes…etc.  Don’t expect to go anywhere fast without putting in some real dough.

The environments are vivid and huge.  The engine is using CryTek 2 technology, which is pretty stellar for an MMO.  While the styling is great, expect to run for miles without seeing anyone.  It’s a fairly quiet and lonely landscape (understandable for how new it is).  The server currently runs about 1000 people on one server at a time, but rumor has it they’ll be upgrading to 50,000 soon.

Motorhead’s Lemmy and Singer/Songwriter Kevin Rudolph partnered with Neverdie to create personal realms within Rocktropia.  Go kill Zombies in ZOMHattan or battle monsters in Lemmy’s Castle.  Apparently they like to hang around and terrorize the unsuspecting themselves, so be careful in those areas.

Well, overall, it’s definitely a game for people who want to combine love for music with gaming and virtual world building.  This definitely isn’t World of Warcraft.  It’s property management, business, and marketing while running around and killing monsters in a virtual world.  Rocktropia is largely unclaimed, property-wise, so if you’re into it, I’d get in there and start investing!

By the way, there is a jump button, but you have to figure out how to map it.  I got stuck for a half-hour before I figured out there was a way to jump out.  Don’t let it happen to you.