Thursday, November 24, 2022
Prosperous Universe - 7 months later
7 months ago I started posting about an indie MMO game called Prosperous Universe, and wrote a series of posts about it. As I am still playing, albeit with much lower intensity, I thought I'd give you an update.
First things first: Am I still having fun? Not so much anymore. Which does have to do with what my particular desires for this game were: I wanted some sort of space trading game. Now, Prosperous Universe does have space trading; but you only have a very limited number of ships, two from the start, and after 7 months I still am far from being able to afford a third one. Two ships, rather limited cargo capacity, and flight times of a day or more make for a very slow trading experience. All that wouldn't be so bad if the market was big enough; but unfortunately the actual number of players is rather low, with concurrent online players between 200 and 400. Which results that sometimes you produce a good that has a high price, but then find out that there is actually no demand for it at all.
I started Prosperous Universe with a base that produced mainly basic consumables, food and water. That was a very good idea, and although profitability goes up and down, the base is always doing something useful. My second base in comparison was a complete disaster, and I am in the process of winding it down. I had found a less hospitable planet with a good yield of titanium oxide. So I set up my base there, extracted the titanium oxide, and smelted it into titanium. After a few weeks it became clear that my one titanium base was producing more titanium than the demand for the stuff was in the whole universe. Price crashed 80% and never recovered. I then used the base to make more basic goods, but because the base isn't very close to a commodity exchange, and the planet is less hospitable and needs special building materials, the whole thing wasn't really profitable.
My third base was more of a success. When looking for metals with some actual demand, I found that aluminium was a better bet than titanium. Iron is needed to make the lowest level of building prefabs, while aluminium is needed for the second level. And building prefabs have a pretty constant demand. So in this case going to a less hospitable planet paid off: I am making aluminium in the Moria space, where it is less common, and turn it directly into high-value building prefabs. That means I don't need to ship that much stuff from and to the base, and what I ship sells quickly and for big bucks.
When I started Prosperous Universe, it had just released on Steam. That Steam release brought a huge influx of players, which didn't last. My fourth base is a testament to that, it is on Moria - Vallis, which is one of the starting planets. Each planet has a limited number of plots, but starting players can build "excess" bases beyond that plot limitation. So when there are a lot of players, the starting planets all not only have no available plots, but are in fact hundreds of plots over capacity. The fact that I recently was able to find an empty plot on Vallis shows how many players have left.
What I am basically doing now is moving my second base to Vallis, going back to three bases. With Vallis having iron, I can then build basic prefabs there, and the next level on my aluminium planet. All that supplied by my food and water planet. All very basic stuff. Prosperous Universe has a large tech tree, but due to the low number of players, once you move away from the basic stuff, there simply isn't enough of a market there to buy and sell. People who want to move up the tech tree vertically integrate their production with their guild, but I didn't want to play that way. And as a single-player game, Prosperous Universe, like it's bigger brother EVE Online, has serious limitations. Right now I am playing with very low intensity, like 5 minutes once per day; but I expect I will stop playing by the end of the year.
Thank you for the update. I started playing because of one of your first posts. I"m still enjoying it. I think mostly because I have a friend who I also got started on the game and we enjoy talking about what we are going to do next in game. I agree the player base size is an issue with how well the markets work.Post a Comment