Threats and lies: interacting with the community
On 11 June 2021, Earth 2 announced on its Discord that a new developer was joining the team: Tanner Rozankowicz. If you search for this name, you’ll find a Steam profile with the descriptor “Varius Benson” – clicking on the name, however, confirms that it’s developer Tanner Rozankowicz , who until recently also published the proposed game Civil Contract… His Reddit account /tannerjackjoe also points to his real name and represents a direct link between him and Civil Contract.The game has since been removed from the platform because Tanner not only left a credibly fake review and used assets in his game without asking permission. devkit of the game “Squad”, but shortly thereafter also began filing copyright infringement lawsuits against its critics.
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Under Australian law and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) Rozankowicz wanted to force his critics to remove his name from all videos and reports. Of course, this is illegal and falls far short of the actual purpose of GDPR. However, this is irrelevant to the plaintiff, as false complaints of this kind are made mainly to intimidate critics.
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But it gets even better: Benson/Rozankowicz have threatened YouTube channels that have warned of their DMCA bumping game. The so-called US Digital Millennium Copyright Act was supposed to protect copyright on the internet, but shady developers often abuse it to silence YouTube channels. After three DMCA warnings, the channel is automatically deleted by YouTube’s own bots because they cannot distinguish between copyright infringement and legitimate use. It is possible to sue against this, but such a process is lengthy and difficult to back up with evidence, and channel owners can depend on their income from YouTube. To be clear at this point: this is not only extremely borderline in terms of misuse of copyright mechanics, but also pure blackmail
Not enough? Then it gets really weird, because according to his own statement to Discord CapitalGamingRP of 14 May 2021, Tanner has committed himself to the Australian army for four years. However, at the same time, a profile appeared on Discord Earth 2 with Tanner’s own picture – in the “E2 Dev” position. His LinkedIn profile has also been updated and now correctly reflects that he works for Earth 2. Note that he is not listed on the “Team” on the official Earth2.io website. However, this was only the beginning of the Earth 2 drama, as Tanner immediately did what he does best: sue the youtubers. In an audio recording of Tanner’s own community manager, the developer announces thatThe Earth 2 team is going to sue two YouTube bloggers BigFryTV and SidAlpha for a budget of three million dollars . This led to the community manager sending an audio file to the youtuber
And now the crux of the matter: it was all a lie . Earth-2 founder Shane Isaac published a video disproving Tanner’s claims. However, instead of ending with the sentence “There has never been a lawsuit and we have parted ways with the employee in charge”, Shane himself started attacking the critics and standing up to his employee in the video. A commendable quality in itself for a CEO. However, the fact remains that Tanner Rozankowicz works for Earth 2, and to date he has not faced any repercussions from his threats.
Phase 1: virtual land for real money
Finally, let’s get to the heart of the project. earth2 promises the player the creation of a meta-universe, including a thriving real-money economy. The bottom line: there is currently no game, only the ability to buy virtual land on Eart2.io; the underlying software is to be delivered in a three-phase plan. Phase 1 launched in December 2020 and offered players the chance to buy virtual land in 10x10m tiles on a map created with Mapbox. As the entire Earth is covered in tiles, a total of 5.1 trillion individual tiles are available for purchase by customers. Note, “customers” because, as mentioned, there are no “players” in Earth 2 yet.
The first ingenious touch of Earth 2 is its designation as a game: to trade, you convert your real invested money into E$ (electronic dollars) at a 1:1 ratio. In other words, you buy in-game currency, which you use to regulate all other financial transactions in the game. This makes Earth 2 a video game, not gambling or speculation – and they are subject to minimal, if any, regulation in almost every country on Earth. Investments and liabilities in video games are not legally classified as “real” by tax authorities such as the IRS. The result of this regulation-free zone can be seen very clearly in the ” lootbox scandal” .since 2017, when Electronic Arts games such as Star Wars Battlefront II and almost all sports games were presented by players almost overnight as a huge online casino for the underage.
Assuming you wanted to buy land and were online on March 23, 2021, you could have Earth 2 launching in Dubai/UAE. The whole thing represented a tile-buying launch in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates and thus a huge event for the Earth 2 community. However, what came out of it was a disaster: server crashes and gigantic areas of 300 tiles and more, supposedly bought by bots in seconds. In some cases, the wrong prices were even advertised, which meant that some players could buy tiles for 10 cents, while other players paid anywhere from 28 cents to $9 for the same tiles. Neither the servers nor the developers were ready for the onslaught, and there was no communication with the Earth-2 team.
Understandably, buyers were furious as for every 100,000 tiles sold, the cost of all other tiles in the country goes up and Dubai is flooded with buyers. This stunt not only increases customers’ FOMO (fear of missing out) but also artificially inflates the price. Now critics are saying that this is quite normal for a major release – we all remember the launch of New World or pretty much all existing WoW add-ons. The big difference is that the latter examples are real games. Recall that Earth 2’s Dubai/UAE launch consisted of a map where players bought small pictures.
However, if you want to withdraw your money again, you will encounter a few problems: First, you need to manually email the team (we remember: 18 people) and request a bank transfer; all personal information, including address and bank account, must be provided by email. This usually takes a very long time for obvious reasons and letters are often simply lost; much of the community rightly resents this. An alternative to this is credit cards such as Revolut, which are now used by many Earth 2 players to refund their money using the refund option. Even then, a current photo (!) and bank statement of the person concerned must be obtained by Earth 2 before the money is transferred, before the team approves the referral. Each refund is also “taxed” by Earth 2 at a certain percentage and incurs a non-negotiable processing fee of $7.50. That’s right, there is a way to invest quickly – but in order to transfer your investment to your real bank account, the customer has to jump through some burning hoops .
Once Earth 2 has your money and information, read the Earth 2 Terms of Service.and you’ll probably have to breathe in a paper bag to calm down. What we are about to tell you is probably the most irresponsible TOS (Terms of Service) we have ever read. We quote: “You acknowledge that any information or material you submit to the Website will be treated by us as non-confidential and non-proprietary, and we may use such material without restriction. We remember: in order to withdraw money, you must provide your full address, a picture of your face, bank statements and/or credit card number. All of this will be considered “non-confidential” and Earth 2 can use this information “without restriction” Thus, even in the case of total identity or credit card theft, Earth 2 absolves itself of all liability from the outset. But it gets even better: “[…] We make no representations about the accuracy, adequacy or completeness of the information on this website, and we undertake no obligation to keep this website up to date. Except as expressly stated on this website. Subject to the conditions set out or as required by law without exception, we do not accept liability for any loss arising from your reliance on the accuracy or timeliness of any information contained on this website.” It makes for very interesting reading when the whole concept of the site is to trade virtual land for which you pay real money. such information as land ownership, Simply put, forgive us capital letters: EARTH 2 – NOT A REAL INVESTMENT. The value of your dearly purchased or exchanged land is totally fictitious. Your land in EARTH 2 is worthless and has no economic value. You don’t have a house that represents a real asset, you don’t even have a cryptocurrency that is on your digital exchange, and hence you have no ownership through the use of NFT. You are using the money shop of a non-existent game whose indie studio creators are the sole authority on the valuation of the land. There are no rules or guarantees. Yur plots of land are literally worthless. Again, with feeling: Shane Isaacs has no experience of game development. You buy the images on the map. A development team of less than two dozen people has so far developed half the game on the Unity engine. Be careful with your money.