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DeFying Gravity: Axie Infinity — Pioneer in The Future of Gaming
Our DeFying Gravity series where we talk about the most exciting and innovative projects in the crypto world continues with a very unusual gaming project involving NFts and Pokemons. It allows users to earn while playing and comes to the surface to completely change the game industry with a new approach. We tried to understand the concept and see how it will affect the community and the gaming industry.
What is Axie Infinity?
Axie Infinity is a blockchain-based online game introduced by the Vietnamese firm Sky Mavis in 2020. It attracted significant interest from the venture capitals, getting $7.5 million in Round A funding and raising $152 million more in Round B. But it’s not the reason the project got so famous as many other fresh crypto projects got significant investments this year. Axie Infinity has shaken the world with a completely different concept of a video game, powered by blockchain where playing can make a living. The project is supported by the community staking in the metaverse and the project is run through one of the native tokens.
Moreover, Axie Infinity is a social media with a marketplace for trading game items, non-fungible tokens and permissions. Axie Infinity represents a new game model that will transform the way we play forever. Participating in the game players supply the network and receive rewards, so basically, everyone's gaming experience can be monetized. Anyone can benefit as the rewards depend more on the skills and gaming time than defeats and victories, though winning gives extra points and thus income.
Making an analogy, Axie Infinity is like pokemon on the blockchain. Players can choose between desktop or Android device versions (no iOs versions available yet). Then you got to make a team out of three Axies and join the battles.
First of all, not all monsters are the same. You will find birds, pugs, plants and animals. Second, each of them can be modified by using different body parts. And that's how you create a unique Axie with specific power made of different elements.
The Metaverse rapidly grew, attracting more gamers and the “platform’s population” reached 1.8 million by the end of summer 2021. Even though the game attracts players from all over the world (even those who didn’t know much about blockchain), Phillipinians appear to be the most active, making 40% of the players of the game. The reason so many residents of Southeastern country turned to the new metaverse is simple — a possibility to get extra money. Low salaries and ubiquitous COVID-19 restrictions pushed people to look for a better way to earn. And Axie Infinity gave them a good one — some players were claiming to afford the rent only from the game income.
The game also helps to make financial products accessible for anyone. Sky Mavis gives statistics, saying that at least 25% of players have never had any kind of bank account or wallet. And that boosted the trading volume that overreached $2.4 billion and continues to grow. Alexander Larsen, co-founder of Sky Mavis believes the success is understandable — people not gonna ignore real financial motivation.
But other than that we can also see thought-through technical decisions, such as letting all the platform’s transactions happen on the dedicated sidechain to unload the network, thus users perform the transactions on the basic layer of Ethereum avoiding overload and extremely high fees.
Even with the early access the project became №1 game on Ethereum by the number of active participants and has made over 13000 ETH in revenue. And the popularity of Axie Infinity keeps growing.
How Does it Work?
The project runs blockchain technology, but rather than creating new blocks on the chain, which means solving complex mathematical tasks and generating a hash, Axie Infinity follows the Play-To-Earn concept. Users compete with each other in battles, upbringing cute creatures to make a stronger team or to sell them as NFT. Not only the creatures but all the objects in the Metaverse are tokenized. That means you can trade anything that becomes your game possession and get your profit.
Axies can be bred using Smooth Love Potion (SLP) - ERC-20 token implemented specifically for upbringing funny monsters. One can buy it or earn it.
Now the question left is how to make money in the game. In Axie Infinity you can choose between:
- fighting other users, climbing the leaderboard and getting rewards;
- breeding Axies and selling them to newcomers or collectors;
- gathering rare items and speculating on them;
- brewing Smooth Love Potion for sale;
- holding or trading AXS coin;
To start the journey in the game the user needs to download it and install it on PC or Android device, and then also install the wallets, for example, Metamask wallet needs some ETH for purchase and after it, using the Ronin bridge is necessary to buy your first monsters. One team needs three creatures to fight. Even though the easiest Axies cost somewhere around $200-$300, buying them will not benefit the user, as they are too weak to conquer the enemies.
Users that have already experienced Metaverse, say the investment of at least $2000 is necessary to make the Axies crew capable of competing and bringing decent income.
Axie Infinity Tokens
Every player will experience using 2 types of tokens:
- Axie Infinity Shards - an ERC-20 governance token allowing players to affect the project's futures and decide what should happen with the Community Treasury. Users need AXS to vote on the platform, as well as to play games within the Axie Infinity universe and stake the coins to be awarded. Total AXS supply is 270 million with almost 60 million currently available for buying. 21% of Axie Infinity belongs to Sky Mavis company, 20% goes to pay-to-earn concept to reward players, 29% is redistributed for staking rewards, 8% is the ecosystem funds, 7% is meant for advisers and 4% is redistributed for a private sale;
- Smooth Love Potion (SLP) - an ERC-20 token utility token used on Axie Infinity ecosystem for raising the monsters and can be received in the game.
The coins, not to be confused, have different token prices, supply and market cap. AXS coin at the moment of publishing is worth $137.53 with a market cap over $8.4 billion and SLP worth just $0.07073 with a market cap of $150 million.
What is The Goal of Axie Infinity?
The creators of Axie infinity pursue the goal of introducing blockchain technology to the players, thus improving crypto adoption.
If we talk about the game itself through the player’s goal is to collect the most valuable collection of Axies — game characters. According to the white paper, many of the development team members have met playing Crypto Kitties — one of the first crypto projects allowing to not just speculate but also to have fun. That inspired them to work on Axie Infinity metaverse to introduce Blockchain technology to a wider audience.
The team also aims to provide the players with the economic opportunities not available ever before. The project creators believe that attracting a lot of users is only possible by providing a mesmerizing gaming experience.
Description of the Axie Infinity Gameplay
Axie Infinity is built as an open-ended digital pet universe (Tamagotchi on the blockchain). It consists of a few main aspects:
The Axie Infinity idle battle system was inspired by games like “Final Fantasy tactics” and “Idle Heroes”. Some bloggers say it looks like Pokemon meets Hearthstone. The monsters resemble cute Pokemons while the third base game is based on the Hearthstone idea.
Players use cards to choose what action should the Axie take in the specific turn. Each creature has 4 cards, they define the role of each character but are also randomized for every battle. For usage of every card, the energy must be consumed and the player can only use the energy card according to the energy capacity. Interestingly, the Axie battling system attacks random targets, often choosing the closest enemies to the chosen monster.
When the user loses the battle he or she loses a matchmaking rating, while the win gets you more rate and also provides the player with the love potions for breeding the new characters. Though loss doesn’t reduce the amount of SLPs. The amount of SLP received depends on the MMR and the phase the player is in. There are PVP matches and daily quests on the platform allowing players to receive more tokens and experience for the Axies.
The team also plans to allow users to compete in the Esports tournaments as it will boost the players with the chance to win a really big amount of prizes.
Just like real pets, Axies can be bred and new springs can be created. Though, to avoid hyper population of the metaverse, each Axie can be only bred 7 times before it becomes sterile. This limitation exists to prevent overpopulation and inflation. Also to reproduce a new creature both SLP and AXS tokens are needed. With each propagation the quantity of required resources increases. Note, that SLP can’t be bought directly from the platform and Axie Infinity game provides no liquidity for this token.
Breeding price starts from 100 SLP, but grows with each breed and reaches 2100 SLP for the 7th (and last) time.
Each creature has 6 body parts and a specific body shape. For each of them, there are 3 types of genes: Dominant, recessive and minor recessive. The dominant defines the physical representation of the body part, but other genes can be passed through breeding thus affecting the propagation and being able to be expressed over generations. You need to mix the pair of adult Axies to breed a new one. In 5 days a new monster grows up completely and can join the battles.
In the game ecosystem, the population of the small cute monsters is the main factor. To let the system grow a certain inflation rate is implemented. It allows the system to expand to its maximum potential. To avoid too high inflation and too high prices at the same time long-term Axies population management was implemented. It is based on a few main principles:
- constant adding of the new utility to the Axies (including land and mini-games);
- offering both horizontal and vertical progressions (progressing in the game through expanding the collection but also through upgrading the owned ones by using crafting materials);
- soulbond (non-transferable) Axies that are more easily available for any users to have fun, but don’t bring much income, so the demand for the real battle characters will remain strong and will support the growth of the economy.
In the first stages, the project's growth depends on the number of new players. The price for the monsters and breeding profitability depends on the demand for the Axies.
The Axie homeland is called Lunacia and divided into over 90 000 tokenized plots occupied by Axies. Each plot is an NFT, so it can be sold on the market. But it’s also a playground that users can upgrade using crafting resources and materials found and won while exploring the playground. The player owning land can send his Axies to explore it and thus gets a chance to obtain extra resources and additional AXS coins.
The development of the Land interface is still on and releases of new phases come one after another in time. Now we all are excited to see the second phase, which will signify Lunacia becoming a fully virtual world with a lot of content created by the participants.
The team also works on preparing lunacia SDK — a decentralized map editor where players can make games and other experiences that will become tradable NFTs.
The game developers are steadily following the roadmap and successfully moved through all the previous stages right in time, creating Land, the video game elements, and moving them to Ronin, letting users stake AXS. The development process began in 2017 when the concept was created. A few months later In February 2018, a presale was organized and Axie Infinity received 900 ETH. After that, NFT marketplace was developed and it gave the project another turn with the new games appearing on the platform, encountering battles between Axies.
The release of NFT marketplace was the next step and the project continued to grow, releasing more and more options, such as battles and idle games releases.
At the moment the team works on developing community Alpha Land Gameplay and also on making the concept of play-to-earn work properly allowing users to financially benefit from the project.
The team is also preparing to release Android and iPhone apps. The end goal is to make all the parts and features of the universe accessible with a single application, including
- social network;
- creatures progression (levels and achievements);
- upbringing mode;
- PvP with ladder and tournaments;
- PvE (Adventure mode);
- Land Gameplay (players can expand their kingdom, gather the resources, attack chimeras and other players).
The only issue the game can face on its road to success is that entering it isn’t that easy and affordable. Users have to have 2 wallets, deposit Ethereum there and buy 3 creatures that will cost a minimum of around $1000. That can also create a space for speculation benefiting all the sides. As Axies are quite expensive, some companies will offer to rent them in exchange for the income percentage.
The creators dream to make Axie Infinity accessible for everyone through mobile apps, even without earning much money. Though it will help the project to reach the goal and introduce crypto to a wide audience.