The UAE opening on Earth2.io was a total disaster and leaves a huge question mark about the fairness of the game and post-UAE launch game balance.
I will preface this by saying that I love Earth2 and I have been investing with phase 10 in mind, building my project and making tile art. I have never written any negative comment about Earth2 until now. This article is not whining - it’s trying to get the E2 team attention.
"STS-135 Launch Countdown (201107060002HQ)" by NASA HQ PHOTO is licensed with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
1. Was that a real countdown?
According to the announcement - 30 seconds before 00:00 the traffic quadrupled. That is something that could have been expected. The question is which of the first purchases went through? How did the E2 servers verify that the purchases were made after the countdown expired? Did any of the purchase requests sent before 00:00 succeed? Was it a real countdown?
2. UAE lottery
It was known that the UAE launch would be mega-hype. Though looking at the short timeframe on the first countdown - I'm puzzled why some transactions went through and others didn't. For example, I didn't get a 750 block attempted before a successful 45 tiles were purchased a few transactions later. Surely not an overlapping error as the land is still available. With such random results - this was just a pure lottery or gambling.
If it would only be a single problem - so be it - some won, some didn't. But there are more aspects ...
3. Bot prevention or bot detection?
“We have systems in place to block but also monitor the use and attempted use of auto-buy bots”. That was good news - I thought at least it’s going to be fair.
And then the first lines in the 2nd announcement is related to bots that might have been used to buy land. So what was actually implemented - a bot detection or prevention?
If any of the first purchase attempts didn’t go through because of the bots - affected people probably weren’t able to buy anything. Even if the E2 team found evidence for bot purchasing and reset the land - how does that help people who lost their chance?
4. What is the meaning of “relaunch”?
Second announcement stated : “We will relaunch Dubai with new rules and another country with new rules...” What does this mean?
Restarting Dubai from the beginning with new rules? Or continuation from shutdown with new rules? Wait, how can you even continue with new rules - would it be fair? That must have meant restarting...
Considering it was really late for many people - some went to sleep with a hope that it would be investigated and restarted from the beginning.
And then... an hour or so later, UAE is opened again... Was there any new rule introduced?
To be direct, this is serious misinformation.
5. Terrible preparation and loss of balance
There were many suggestions and ideas from the community to E2 team related to the UAE launch. Apparently all of them were ignored. The disaster we witnessed and misleading information in the announcements caused a loss of balance within the game. The UAE launch should have been stopped after the first shutdown.
I was there at 00:00 with hundreds of thousands of other people (including new players who were waiting for their chance to join the game). I did try to buy the land (some of it is still available) and yet - one lucky 750 purchase in Dubai is worth more than my entire portfolio. It's not only about net worth - it's also about resources and essence that might come later.
Today I don't feel like an investor with Ready Player One vision in mind. I feel like a gambler.
6. What's next ?
That's the most important question now. This article is bitter - but I do want to feel that something depends on me in the game. Eggs, new countries or other new exciting features will not restore the balance. Some of my E2 friends are thinking about quitting the game - which leaves a big concern about pre-UAE investments.
I would say that "restarting UAE with new rules" would be the fairest thing to do - though I'm sure it would be hard if not impossible to pull off.
I can see a flood of hate coming at me from people who actually managed to get those multi thousand dollars properties...