Earth 2: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide — May 2021
(First published May 14, 2021 — updated regularly).
Heard about Earth 2 and thinking about investing some money? Read this ultimate guide to get up to speed.
While Earth 2 only launched in November 2020, a lot has happened since. There has been so much change that much of the information out there is already out of date. I saw many new users asking the same questions and not knowing where to find the answers, so I put together this guide. At least once a month, I’ll update it with the latest developments to make sure there’s nothing in the guide that’s incorrect or no longer applicable.
An upfront Disclaimer: The information in this article is created by me, an Earth 2 player and fan, and is not affiliated with the official Earth 2 team. It is in no way financial advice.
- What is Earth 2?
- Setting up an account
- Buying tiles
- Making money from your Earth 2 tiles
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Where can I find more information?
1. What is Earth 2?
Earth 2 is a virtual metaverse that is geographically linked to Earth, where real-world locations correspond to virtual digital locations in Earth 2. The team have created a geographically linked digital grid of Earth at 1:1 scale, divided into tiles that are roughly 10m x 10m (though this varies slightly by latitude).
Right now, these tiles can be owned, bought, and sold. In the future, they will generate resources and users will be able to build customised structures on them. Tile owners will be able to earn revenue from these tiles in a number of ways. Most of this infrastructure is not yet developed and details remain vague, but possible revenue streams include advertising, trading resources and digital assets, providing virtual products and services, renting land to other users, and increases in land value over time.
Earth 2 aims to be both a platform and a game. It is still in the early phases of development and is currently a browser-based platform where you can buy and sell these tiles. In future phases, the game will include VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) and you will move around the game in environments like the screenshots below.
Here is Earth 2’s Mission Statement:
Our future is virtual. The information age is accelerating technology at an unprecedented speed, as we see more and more science fiction realised. Already today many of us live half online, and with every passing year the fantastic sci-fi Metaverses of Ready Player One and Snow Crash seem less far fetched.
There’s a long road ahead of us, as a new virtual future slowly becomes non-fiction, but it may not be as long as many think. Earth 2 believes that carving out the foundations of this world may be one of the most important ongoing technical developments of the next decade, and beyond.
Earth 2 aims to bring people and technologies together by creating a robust location-based games and technologies platform, which supports strong virtual communities and economies. Earth 2 will be about people and the virtual representations of places which bring them together. For this reason, we believe it’s critical to be transparent about our goals, plans, and approach with our community and followers from an early stage.
What’s happened since launching in November?
The platform soft launched in November with little fanfare. At launch, the site was the minimum viable product, and the team planned to continue incrementally developing for 12–18 months with just a small user base from organically generated traffic.
But then Earth 2 went viral, and the number of tiles being purchased skyrocketed. While this meant a huge amount of incoming capital, the Earth 2 team was inundated with questions, reports of bugs, support emails, and withdrawal requests. Existing manual systems and missing security features meant that the team struggled to cope with these processes at scale, some dishonest users exploited loopholes to scam other users, and withdrawal requests — handled manually — took several weeks.
This derailed progress on developing the game itself and damaged the platform’s reputation, leading some frustrated users to call the project a scam. The team shifted focus to fixing critical issues, upgrading server capacity, improving security, and integrating with banking systems.
Where are we now?
We are in Phase 1, where users can buy and sell tiles through the web-based platform. Phase 2 — Resources was originally scheduled to begin in the first half of 2021, however this was delayed due to what Shane Isaac, Earth 2’s founder, called “a massive opportunity”, which is currently speculated to involve blockchain integration via GoChain.
According to the Earth 2 website, Phase 2 “will involve the ability for Virtual Land to begin generating different types of resources that will be vital for building and economic purposes in Earth 2. These resources will be tradable between users for other resources or credits. In the future users requiring resources to build or for other purposes will need to generate or gather resources or buy them with credits from users who have stock.”
Phase 3 will involve moving through the terrain system, including via virtual reality, and will represent the beginning of the realisation of their vision to create a full Ready Player One-style metaverse. Don’t expect this any time soon — creating a full metaverse takes time, especially doing it right.
2. Setting up an account
To sign up for an account, head to https://earth2.io/.
Once you’ve entered an email address and a password, you’ll be logged in.
Before going any further, I strongly recommend enabling two-factor authentication straight away.
Two-factor authentication is an additional step of security that involves using an authenticator app on your phone that generates a temporary code that is also required to sign in. This prevents others gaining access to your account if they have your email address and password. Set up two-factor authentication via the Manage 2FA button on the Settings page.
On the Settings page, you can also change your username, add a profile picture and a country flag, and add credit to your account using a credit card or Apple Pay.
3. Buying tiles
Tile prices are set according to country and are based on the number of tiles sold in that country. The price increases according to a consistent formula based on the number of tiles sold.
All countries started at $0.10, and right now, the USA is over $58 per tile! So the tiles bought in the USA in early November have increased dramatically, where 10 tiles, that cost $1 at $0.10 each, are now worth $570!
Right now, the five most expensive countries are USA ($58.14), South Korea ($23.11), Italy ($16.82), UK ($14.18), and Australia ($12.24). Some of the cheapest countries available to purchase right now include Equatorial Guinea ($0.51), Guinea-Bissau ($0.52), Barbados ($0.53), Belarus ($0.54), and El Salvador ($0.56). So it’s worth considering when buying new tiles off the grid that 100 tiles in Belarus costs less than 1 tile in the USA.
There are two separate values that are visible once you have purchased a property. The New Land Value indicates the new tile price — what it would cost to buy these tiles if you bought them new today.
The Current Market Value is based on the price that tiles in this country have recently sold for on the marketplace. This can appear artificially inflated for a short time if a purchase has been made recently where someone paid over new land value. Always go by the New Land Value when assessing the value of your property.
- Some countries are currently locked and users cannot buy tiles there. These include Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Iran. The team has said they plan to release them at some point in the future, though this is likely not a top priority right now and could be some time away. Some geopolitically or religiously sensitive areas such as Mecca and Jerusalem will likely never be available.
- Some small territories on the list are also locked at their individual tile prices, including Svalbard, Reunion, New Caledonia, and Puerto Rico. In some cases, land cannot be purchased in these areas at all. In others, the land is classified as “International Territory”, and priced accordingly, which is around $7.50 per tile at the time of writing. Some of these regions were open temporarily but have since closed.
Tiles are classified into class based on how many tiles have been sold in that country:
- Class 1: 0–100,000 tiles
- Class 2: 100,001–300,000 tiles
- Class 3: 300,001–600,000 tiles
- Class 4: 600,001–1,000,000 tiles
- Class 5: 1,000,001+ tiles
Tile class is important for future revenue generation, but some of these details are still unclear. Class 1 is the highest class with the most potential benefits. Right now, Class 1 tiles generate roughly 3x land income tax compared to Class 2 tiles, and roughly 10x land income tax compared to Class 3 tiles.
While the developers have confirmed that class will be relevant for future economies and income generation, such as resource trading and advertising revenue, exactly how much better higher class tiles will be is still unclear. Class 1 tiles listed for sale tend to be less discounted in the marketplace as a result, but users have adopted different strategies — some preferring more discounted Class 2 and 3 tiles and others preferring Class 1 tiles.
Class 1 tiles are also the rarest, and this scarcity is appealing for some users too. There are no more Class 1 tiles available to buy outright* (until a new country/region is unlocked), so if you want Class 1 tiles, you will have to buy them from the marketplace from other users who have listed them for sale.
*Class 1 tiles are available in Nauru right now, however due to a bug in the pricing algorithm, new tiles are priced at $2.27, when according to the algorithm, they should be closer to $0.30.
Buying new tiles
There are two ways to buy tiles: buying new tiles from the grid, or buying tiles listed for sale on the marketplace.
Clicking on Buy Land takes you to the grid view where you can scroll and search for locations. You can also paste exact coordinates into the search bar.
As you move around the map, you will see tiles that have already been purchased. These tiles will display the country flag of the profile of the user who owns the tiles.
After you select the tiles you want to purchase, scroll down for payment options.
If you have added credit to your account and there is enough to cover the cost, you can choose Pay With Account Balance. Or you can buy with your credit card from this stage. If you plan to make multiple purchases, I’d recommend adding credit to your account first from the Settings page, then using that balance. You may be subject to transaction fees each time you make a credit card transaction.
Referral Code: If you enter a referral code, you get 5% of your purchase price added back to your account as credit, and the owner of the code also gets 5% added to their account. This only applies to new tiles, not tiles bought from the marketplace. For my first few purchases in the platform, I missed out on this, as I didn’t know anybody else’s referral code, and you can’t use your own!
Early on in the platform, this led to every new player spamming their referral code everywhere trying to get some money from everyone else’s new purchases.
My recommendation: use a friend’s referral code, and ask them to use yours in return. This way you both get a slight kickback when either of you buys tiles.
If you don’t know anyone else in the game, here are a few places to find a referral code:
- Join a guild/community on Discord. Guilds often have a communal account that is dedicated to building roads and other infrastructure in their megacities. Using that referral code will contribute to the overall success of the guild and project. Join the official Earth 2 Discord and explore the community groups (#community-groups) and projects (#projects-and-cities) if you don’t know where to start.
- Follow some of the content creators in the Earth 2 community. If you find one or more of them particularly helpful, use their referral code as a way of saying thanks. I have provided a list of my favourite content creators at the end of this article.
- Pick a referral code at random from the #referral-code-share channel in the official Earth 2 Discord.
- If you start using a helpful free third-party site, use their referral code as a way of saying thanks.
- If you truly, seriously, can’t find a referral code anywhere else, you can use mine: MA4HX6AY89.
- Remember that these tiles will be able to built on in the future, and some buildings will be larger than a single tile. So strange shapes, such a long line of single tiles, might restrict what you can build down the line.
- Toggle between the satellite and map view. The satellite view shows you interesting visual features, and the map view shows place names, labels for buildings, landmarks, and streets. There may also be slight discrepancies around coastlines or small islands, for example, so double check that the tile you have selected appears as land in both views.
- Keep your tiles grouped together. If you want to buy two or more groups of separated tiles, it’s probably best to buy them as separate plots.
- The maximum number of tiles you can select is 750. If you have selected 750 tiles, you can technically add more tiles by clicking a single additional tile at a time.
Buying tiles from the Marketplace
Right now, you can almost always find cheaper tiles for sale on the marketplace than it costs to buy new tiles from the grid. There are a few reasons for this, but the main one is that earlier players who have seen their tiles increase in value are now selling them to make some profit. Earlier players who bought when prices were cheaper can still profit handsomely while selling at a discount, and new players are willing to buy these tiles because they’re cheaper than new ones: win-win.
The other appeal of buying from the marketplace is the opportunity to buy Class 1 tiles, which as I said earlier, are no longer available to purchase as new. It’s also a buyer’s market right now and there are currently more tiles for sale than there are buyers — bargain hunters, rejoice!
On the official marketplace within the Earth 2 platform, you can filter by country, tile class, and other parameters such as number of tiles, tile value (price per tile), and property value (price of the plot). But annoyingly, there is no All Countries filter, so finding the best overall deals requires searching country by country. Improvements are coming, but they are not the highest development priority, so it may be some time before they’re released.
As a result of the marketplace search and filter limitations, some third-party sites have sprung up that pull data from the Earth 2 platform using an API and provide many more options for users. While the use of these sites has been controversial in the past, the development team has confirmed that for now, they have no problem with them as long as they aren’t charging any money, and it’s critical that all transactions remain within the platform.
My favourite third-party site by far is earth2.market. It has a huge range of options for users to filter that makes it much easier to find good deals.
For example, you could search for a small subset of countries only, or add a maximum price to only see deals within your budget, or search for a specific city by adding that word in the Search in Location field.
When scrolling through properties, you can also see useful information such as purchase price, discount, property description, and even a picture of the property location in the satellite view.
And it has the added bonus that the developer is an Earth 2 player who has been in regular contact with the team to ensure he is not doing anything that is not approved by them.
My recommendation: If you’re new and don’t have somewhere particular in mind where you want to buy new tiles, you’re better off buying discounted tiles in the marketplace.
- Explore what’s available on the marketplace for a little while before jumping in on your first purchase — you might find some far better deals than what you come across initially.
- If you’re interested in a property but don’t want to pay the For Sale price, you can place a bid on it. The owner can then choose to accept the bid, decline it, or counter offer for another amount. You need to have enough credit in your account to cover your bid amount, and it can be frustrating waiting for someone to get back to you. Some people who joined very early seem to be ‘sleeper’ accounts that don’t log in regularly, so never respond to bids. If you change your mind before the owner responds, you can cancel your bid at any time. If you don’t hear back from the owner after a few days, especially if it was purchased more than a couple of months ago, I’d assume that the owner is not very active and I’d cancel the bid and invest my credit elsewhere.
- Verify that the property tile is accurate before buying it! You can check on the map grid itself to confirm that the property really is where the title says it is. Clicking on the Details button will take you to the property info page, where you can find information about the land class.
4. Making money from your Earth 2 tiles
There are several potential ways to make money from your tiles. Some of these are outlined on the Benefits page on the Earth 2 website. While many revenue streams are confirmed for the future, some of these are not yet developed and the exact details are still unclear. It’s important to note that some of these may be a long way away.
Increase in property value over time (available now)
As more people buy tiles in a country, the price rises, and your property value rises alongside it. Your net worth increases as your property value increases, or you could choose to make money by trying to sell your tiles for more than you paid for them.
But a word of caution: as I said earlier, it’s currently a buyer’s market and unless you’re offering a great deal, you might find it hard to sell your tiles for a profit. Prices are not rising as rapidly as they did in December, so if you’re looking for a quick profit from buying and flipping, it might be more challenging than you think. If you buy tiles with the express intention of selling them for profit, I encourage you to consider the value proposition for the buyer: “Why would someone want to buy these tiles?”
Land Income Tax (available now)
When you own tiles, you periodically receive a small amount of income as Land Income Tax when new tiles are bought in the same country. A fraction of the money spent daily is returned to tile owners periodically as LIT. But this amount is typically very small, unless you have a very large amount of tiles or a lot of money is spent in that country. For example today (May 14th), I received $0.01 in LIT for a 27-tile Class 1 plot in Singapore. Class 1 tiles generate roughly 3x land income tax compared to Class 2 tiles, and roughly 10x land income tax compared to Class 3 tiles.
Resource generation (coming soon)
Earth 2 will have a sophisticated resources system in future phases. Resources will be required to build on your tiles, and will be able to be bought, sold and traded in a resource marketplace in future phases. Tiles will generate resources, but there is still no confirmed information about exactly how this will work. We don’t know what rules will determine which tiles generate which resources, at what quantity. We still don’t know how scarce each resource will be, how much will be required, and what they will be needed for.
There is some information that suggests that tiles on a real-world mine will generate that resource, if the location can be verified. But there is no guarantee that the raw materials will be as valuable in Earth 2. The initial list of resources appears to be: freshwater, sand, limestone, iron ore, wood, coal, oil, gold. But again, we still don’t know exactly what these resources are needed for.
In the future, advertisements will be able to be delivered on tiles that you own and you will receive a portion of that revenue, according to tile class. Exact details are currently unclear, and will likely develop in complexity along with the platform itself. But you may see banners on the map already — this is an early prototype for testing and doesn’t represent any real-world advertising yet. As the platform grows and internal economies develop, it’s likely that real-world businesses will start bringing money in and start advertising their products and services.
Digital assets and services
If you build something on your own tiles that sells a digital asset such as an in-game item, or provides a service or business, then the sky is the limit! Users, guilds, and community groups already have a wide range of exciting and coordinated plans, ranging from mini-games, to racing circuits, to casinos, to resource gatherers, and much more. Many games have very large marketplaces selling in-game items, and it’s likely this will be a large market in Earth 2 in the future too. But these revenue streams are a while away still, so while it’s great to plan and dream, it’s important to know it might be some time before your vision can be fully realised.
‘Leasing’ land to others
In future phases, you will be able to let others build on your land. You will receive part of the value of whatever income is generated on your tiles.
A note: In-game and real-world foot traffic
You are more likely to generate revenue from some of these streams if you get lots of people visiting your tiles. This could be traffic visiting from within the game by users exploring on land that you own. Tiles near other users, such as in coordinated megacities or real-world city centres, may be valuable for this reason.
Or foot traffic could come from users visiting your tiles based on their real-world location, via Augmented Reality on a mobile app — similar to Pokemon Go. For this reason, some users have speculated that places with high foot traffic in the real world will be valuable, especially where people may be using their phone. Some examples are tourist attractions, shopping malls, airports, stadiums — basically anywhere where a large number of people may gather in the real world. Earth 2 does have confirmed plans for a mobile app, but details are still confidential. Much of this is still speculative as these phases have not yet been developed.
5. Frequently Asked Questions
Is Earth 2 on the blockchain?
Not right now (that we know of), but there is strong speculation that an integration with GoChain is coming. Details about this are unclear right now, likely due to Non-Disclosure Agreements as contracts are finalised. There has been some recent chatter hinting that talks may have broken down slightly. And even if a partnership does eventuate, we don’t know exactly what it will mean for the platform.
Does Earth 2 use a cryptocurrency?
Not right now. We know from previous updates that tiles will generate ‘Essence’ as part of Phase 2, and there is some speculation that this could be some form of crypto token. But honestly, we don’t know right now.
Are Earth 2 properties NFTs?
Technically no, but they have some similar qualities. Each property is unique because each location in the real world is unique, so in a sense, they are ‘non-fungible’. But because there is no blockchain integration in Earth 2, the asset is not stored as a record on a digital ledger. However, each property has a unique ID and a full record of all transactions.
Is Earth 2 a scam?
No. My strongly held opinion is that it’s not a take-your-money-and-run scheme, and the Earth 2 vision and mission is real. The development team have worked extremely hard for the past 6 months, and the team is growing rapidly as they work towards realising their vision. Is Earth 2 a high-risk investment? Yes. Is there a chance the team fails in realising their vision? Yes. But it is not a scam. There are, however, copycat platforms that have sprung up that appear shady and potentially leave users vulnerable. I wouldn’t recommend investing in them and would just say, be careful.
6. Where can I find more information?
There is some great content created by the community, across the written word, audio and video. Below are the best sources of information (in my opinion) that will help you learn more about Earth 2 and stay up-to-date.
My Name is Human recently released an excellent episode that is a beginner’s guide to the platform. It pairs well with this guide and goes into much more detail in places, with additional discussion and advice. I strongly recommend listening if you like consuming audio and video content.
This area will be updated regularly:
Online News and Resources
- My Name is Human: Formerly earthtwonews.com, this site includes regular news articles, interviews, and other community information, including resources for beginners and strategy. The team also hosts an excellent podcast which is available on YouTube (video) and most podcast apps (audio).
- E2 Reviews: An Earth 2 professional services freelance marketplace, like Fiverr, offering in-game services. It’s early days for the platform, but many new
- e2.news: Posts regular news, opinion articles, and other community information.