is another one of those titles that has a perplexing reputation. Granted, in the past I have actually slammed the game -- and I mean slammed
it -- but for different reasons. Normally -- and I have seen this over the last week as I told people about the game -- people bring up that they have "heard" that the game is nothing but a gambler's paradise, filled with thieves, liars, and the addicted.
Back then, I had an issue with the revamping of the game. I tried it on the day after release, bugs and all, and it was so unplayable that I couldn't move. Taking my own advice of looking back on games that we might have tossed aside, I can now say not only that the game has proved to be one of the most beautiful games I have played, but that the stereotype of the Planet Calypso
player seems completely baseless. I looked, trust me, but all I found were nice people.
Of course, I did only play it over six days or so.
First of all, it's wonderful to get back into a game that is so open-ended and massive as Planet Calypso
. Sci-fi games are few and far between, so it felt awesome to be able to sling some lasers at strange-looking monsters again. Also, it is a skill-based game, boasting hundreds and hundreds of skills to learn. If you want to become better at melee, you wield a melee weapon. Want to become a better crafter? Craft
. It's so simple to start off down the path of a new career that it is almost overwhelming.
While I normally steer very clear of how-to guides, especially in a game as open as Planet Calypso
, I decided to read up on one of the stickied guides
that was posted on the main forums of the official site. I'm glad I did, and I even decided to follow the steps that the author recommended. Don't get me wrong; I have no grand schemes of making my living from mining virtual rock or by skinning pixelated animals, but I wanted a reference point.
The main point to clear up, however, is that the game is truly free-to-play. It really is. But none of the community members I met recommended trying to go at it without putting a few bucks into the system. See, this is where the "gambling" rumor comes from, I believe. For 10 US dollars you receive 100 of the the virtual PEDs. Not only will it set you up with everything you need to get started, but it will start you down the path of self-sustaining your character. You can buy some good gear, start hunting or sweat-gathering (think milking aliens instead of cows) and sell the goods you find to make more money. Most of the "big time" players I met told me that nothing grand, such as making a real-life profit from the game, could be achieved without putting a few dollars a month into the system. That's fine with me; the company isn't hiding it or trying to "scheme" anyone into paying. Truthfully, you could raise your funds yourself, just much, much more slowly.
I asked Fishface, a friendly higher-level player, about the connection. He broke it down basically like this: You spend money on ammunition, repairs, and other hunting costs in the hopes that the target (or targets) will drop something worth
the costs. In that way, it is gambling. After all, the entire economy is based on real-life funds. Let me be clear, though: I did not spend a dime but instead was given my first 125 PED by Fishface himself. In fact, every player I met and hunted with was all-too-quick to help me out. This is not a community that is filled with weasels or snakes -- this is a tight-knit bunch, and many asked me to clear the game's name a bit, if I could.