What could it be behind the scene?
It is safe to say that Earth2.io is in a cooldown phase where nothing exciting is happening.
Two major milestones were reached and both were not celebrated enough. Of course, because of the Dubai and Easter Egg Hunt episodes, and, mostly because people are greedy and judgmental and never grateful for what they have. (keep reading, it isn't all sweet and lovely)
Withdrawals process via Card (Debit / Credit)
Customer Support via properly trained agents working with an actual ticketing platform (ZenDesk)
Bugs getting fixed every week
While everyone was mad about the Dubai server crashes and whining about low resolution MS Paint edited screenshots with rocks, the Earth2 developers were fixing the illegally purchased land in US and Italy and other countries we didn't track.
It's ok to give feedback and constructive criticism, but we also need to acknowledge the good stuff this little startup is achieving. Every day. They are a six month old company. New employees haven't yet finished their onboarding process or probation period. They are continuously fixing website issues trying to move to a CI/CD process with new developments and "escape" the MVP phase.
Remember this, always.
Now, what could it be behind the scene?
This is my opinion / theory / assumption based on what I have witnessed since I joined Earth2.io on December 12 2020.
1. I believe their CORE product is the Terrain System for the Phase 3 they talk about. This is why their architecture is mainly built around this.
2. The website and the "buy land" model is something they came up with after advancing in the Unity/Terrain System thing. So, they decided to put this project with a 3rd party agency/web development company.
3. Without proper research or testing / validating the idea, they released the MVP and it took off because the "get rich fast" enthusiasts saw the opportunity only in the price algorithm.
4. The MVP was agreed because of (probably) funding options they had at that moment. So it was a good idea to release it like this.
5. They released it and money started pouring in. With money from users pouring in constantly over a very short period of time, they started to have the problems every MVP has: Bugs, No architecture scaling options + (extra bonus) A company that developed the product and witnessed the business opportunity which now doesn't really want to exit the deal.
6. The smelly stuff hit the fan when on top of everything crashing their Legal department advised on keeping the platform live because of the PayPal agreement and other regulatory stuff they didn't (and don't yet) comply. And started a five streams heavy work:
Fix the bugs without proper change management process in place and without an experienced 3rd party company for implementing/developing large scale projects like this;
Try to move everything internally so they can control the code and the product (but difficult due to, probably, the contract with the implementer);
Control the angry mob who had no idea of the real problems (all they see is a bad withdrawal process, and customer support, and scam and whatever);
Compliance (KYC, AML, GDPR + all the regulations depending on where the money came from);
Continue the work on the terrain system + in-game economy system + phase two (which, sincerely, they didn't have planned until the MVP took off). By the way, has Wolfgang joined any conversations on Discord lately? No, I don't think so.
7. They needed to "invent" random campaigns to keep the users engaged and don't lose the whole inertia between sprints and between phases (and we've got Egg hunts and UAE opening)
From the development perspective: all they did was to create a HUGE technical debt factory for a small team to manage
From the Client Service perspective: all they did was to create a monster that is most often "apologizing" for the scams and the bugs they have.
From the Leadership perspective: they only throw communication with arrogance and the fixed ideas of a mad leader (but an exceptional visionary).
"Milestones" by Thomas Hawk is licensed with CC BY-NC 2.0. So, they DON'T HAVE A ROADMAP because they started with a backlog rather than roadmap, and they did no proper analysis or research on their product, so we cannot see any roadmap because they don't have one. They are just refining a backlog without having the full picture. For them a fix in the Ui (like cool off on the property edit) is a BIG thing, while for us it is not.
One can argue that giving information on future developments will unbalance the game. I don't think it's information that they have to give, but milestones. And when they start achieving it, trust will be built and no one will care about bugs and some 50X errors from time to time.