E2 released 'Mentars' over the weekend. Below is an overview about Mentars followed by some thoughts on whether you should spend to build Mentars right now or not.
1) What are Mentars -
Each E2 property can have its own Mentar. Mentars are required to get to Essence. Essence, in future, can be converted to Resources. Resources are needed to build stuff on E2.
Right now you have the option to buy a Mentar for $5 per property by clicking 'Buy Mentar' on a property in the Profile page (but wait - read to the end to decide if you should). The other way to get Mentars is to visit the 'Profile' page of your account on 7 different days over the course of 14 days (if u miss this 14 day window you get rolled over to the next 7 day block). After 14 days you may have free Mentars on ALL your properties.
2) How does it work -
Once built, Mentars provide for E-ther detection. E-ther once detected by Mentars can be converted to Essence. E-ther conversion to Essence is not fixed and varies a bit, but its usually has a ratio of below 0.7 as per some initial observation. That means say 100 E-ther will maybe give 50-70 Essence. For example, in below instance 101 E-ther transformed into 63 Essence. Once you have the Essence you just keep it till we have the ability to convert it to Resources in Future.
3) How do I get more Essence -
Higher E-ther generation gives more Essence. E-ther generation can be boosted by increasing its detection rate via slotting Jewels. The class of the land doesn't impact E-ther detection rate.
Once you have a Mentar you can find the corresponding land available for Jewel slotting from the 'Resources' menu. The base E-ther detection (blue box in pic above) is dependent on the size of that property. Smaller properties have higher base E-ther detection, however it seems they have lower E-ther production. Larger properties have smaller base E-ther detection rate but seems have higher E-ther generation capability. The E-ther detection rate by itself can be improved by slotting Jewels (drag and drop Jewels to the section marked yellow box in pic above). Each Jewel slots provides a +4% improvement in E-ther detection (color of Jewel notwithstanding). If you fill out the Jewel slots you get a 100% E-ther detection. You can slot more Jewels the larger the property. More Jewel slotting is supposed to give more resources.
4) What happens if I sell a property -
If you have built a Mentar on the property you sell, the Mentar goes to the new owner of that property since Mentars are attached to a property. Any Jewels slotted return back to seller's inventory.
5) Should I buy to build Mentars right now? Will it make a difference esp. if I will get it for free later?
Short answer - No one knows. Long answer - Depends (read on)
If you build Mentars - you instantly start generating Essence (via E-ther), and you will have accrued Essence for 12-14 days before other users who will wait to get free Mentars. Now this is where it becomes a gamble - If the Resources market opens anytime soon, and you have a decent amount of Essence accrued already (which can be converted to resources), you will have a surplus of Resources relative to others which you can sell - probably at higher prices till supply catches up - similar to what we saw for Jewels. This will again depend on if people decide to stock-up/hoard resources (we are not sure if we will have the use of resources anytime soon).
If that doesn't happen, Essence may also be usable to pay for Holo-buildings if they become deployable soon. Holo-buildings will be able to accrue and store resources (as per the release note that came along earlier with the Holo-buildings feature). With a stockpile of Essence you may be able to build holo-buildings across several of your properties and start storing resources for a potential head-start.
However, if either of the above doesn't happen say within a couple of weeks post this 14-day period (which is a month from now), the relative advantage of having that initial Essence may not be much. This assumes that most users will build $5 Mentars now on just a handful of their larger properties. The 14 day Essence generation from these handful properties will easily get dwarfed by hundreds of thousands properties producing Essence everyday once Mentars are free to build.
So what should you do - As I said it depends on what you believe. If you believe that having that initial stockpile of Essence could give you an early advantage, you can always hedge yourself by building Mentars on a few but the larger properties in your portfolio. We wont recommend spending for Mentars on smaller properties - say less than 150-200 tiles, given the risk/reward ratio for these may not turn out to be favorable.
But hey, its just 5 bucks - so you probably wont go broke if you decide to build some Mentars on a few properties. Gives an opportunity to use some of those Jewels too. Maybe have some fun with all this - afterall we are here to play a game too, isn't it ?