While many were expecting video games to be the vehicle for democratizing the use of Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs), the strong buzz around avatars in recent weeks has surprised many. However, the potential of “Play to Earn” video games is not to be neglected and there are more or less recent projects that use NFTs for different game mechanics.
Play to earn is a gameplay concept that rewards players for their past efforts in the game. Rewards are usually in the form of tokens or NFTs and can take the form of in-game currency or equipment obtained by completing quests. In the world of video games, Axie Infinity has taken a prominent place in the media, but there are many other projects that are worth a look. From RPGs to adventure games to trading card games, let’s take a look at blockchain gaming!
The trading card game: Gods Unchained
A pioneer in the blockchain trading card game, Gods Unchained has been around since 2018 in the NFT ecosystem. Backed by Coinbase and various VCs, its first pack pre-sale was a success and it was after a few months that the community could start playing it.
The game is based on the game mechanics of Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering and you will have to create a deck of 40 cards to fight against other players in order to climb the rankings.
It is possible to play for free with a pre-built deck and to improve your game, you simply have to play and gain experience to get packs for each level you gain. However, there are other methods to earn rarer rewards:
- The weekly tournament which rewards overall ranking
- The weekend tournament which rewards the number of wins in a row
An important aspect of the game is the quality of the cards. There are 5 types, ranging from common to mythic. When in 2019 Gods Unchained added the “Forge” to the game, it allowed common cards to be upgraded to the highest quality. The point? To make the card exist on the blockchain, particularly so that it could be traded afterwards.
Unfortunately, the transaction fees have taken their toll on the Forge, which is now at a standstill. That said, thanks to the Immutable X sidechain that removes transaction fees, all cards will soon have a new heyday.
The open source MMORPG : Nine Chronicles
Appearing in 2019, Nine Chronicles is a bit special: the game is open source and aims to become 100% decentralized! Whether it’s graphics rendering, asset ownership, or in-game interactions, the Planetarium team wants the game to belong entirely to its community.
To achieve this, it is possible for any player to dedicate part of their processor to help verify and secure the network. The identifier to connect to the game is a private key to be kept carefully and never shared!
Today accessible only by invitation, the game is already well advanced! There are now two worlds, each with 100 levels, a forge to create or improve various equipment items, an arena for PvP and an integrated marketplace.
To achieve this, the Planetarium teams have been able to count on the support of Ubisoft and have created their own blockchain. Although until now it was not possible to withdraw in-game currency from the game, recent announcements hint at upcoming developments on this topic.
The DeFi Tamagotchi: Aavegotchi
Don’t be fooled by Aavegotchi, despite the very cute appearances, this game is only accessible to the wealthy for the moment. But the mechanics of the game are worth a look both because of their complexity and because of the thinking behind them.
The game aims to make all the mechanics of Decentralized Finance as simple as possible with little pixelated ghosts. It all started with the pre-sale of GHST, the fungible tokens of this universe. Available at first on a Bonding Curve only via KYC, each GHST purchased this way is the only way to create new ones.
Summoning Gotchis goes like this:
- Obtain a portal during “Haunts.”
- Once opened, the portals give the choice between 10 Gotchis of different rarity. This rarity is defined by Chainlink’s VRF, so it’s a surprise when the portal opens.
- Each Gotchi has a collateral associated with it. This can be Bitcoin, Ethers, DAI… and it is necessary to have some beforehand to invoke its Gotchi.
Once the Gotchi is invoked, it will automatically generate the collateral associated with it as if it were staked.
Every 12 hours, you can feed your Gotchi so that it gains sympathy (Kinship). If he forgets, his sympathy decreases but he won’t die. The Kinship is used in particular at the time of event of “rarity farming” and will be rewarded in GHST according to the place in the ranking that the Gotchi occupy!
Clothes are used to increase the Gotchi’s rarity level and to modify his characteristics. The latter are now used in mini-games (Space Invader, Snake, PacMan…) developed by the community and have an impact on the speed or power of Gotchis in the game.
There will soon be a whole multiverse in which Gotchis can evolve, in the meantime it is important not to forget them!
The RPG: Neon District
Present since 2018 in the NFT ecosystem, the game developed by Blockade Games is aimed at players who enjoy RPGs as much as puzzles. Indeed, all of this studio’s games revolve around cryptographic puzzles and their difficulty is matched only by their rewards.
The game is still in development and has undergone many evolutions over time and for the moment, the heart of the gameplay is essentially in its PvP aspect.
The goal is to build a team in order to collect Neon, the in-game currency of the game. There are two modes, the first one is a quiet river where after a few hours of waiting it is possible to get your reward.
The second mode offers more rewards but other teams of players can come and disrupt the quest by setting up ambushes. Of course, it is possible to take revenge by attacking directly back but if the opposing gang is too strong, it is also possible to put a bounty on their head.
The Neon is used to buy other characters but also to make them evolve or buy different boxes containing equipment to make the different characters stronger. Each evolution allows to replace a skill but be careful, this action is irreversible.
Other games to come…
There are obviously a lot of other games to come and not only on Ethereum or one of its sidechains. The various games mentioned above are already in beta and can be tried, but mostly have strong teams behind the scenes.
Play-to-earn is a promising game mechanism for players but because of the financial aspect behind it, faces many difficulties especially in the balance of reward distribution.
Managing to reward the first players who encouraged the development without making newcomers feel cheated is a balancing act and that’s why the developments take longer than announced on the official roadmap.
That said, this system is still very new and would never have reached this level of development without the commitment of the various player communities.
It is therefore necessary to be patient before committing yourself and not to expect quick rewards from the first hours of play. Building a decentralized video game involves first and foremost true community participation in the decisions that affect the direction of the games.
Patience and active participation and the efforts will be rewarded. Such is the promise of blockchain gaming, the least we can say is that it will be worth the effort!
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