Previously, I wrote about how we can determine a good NFT game, and how Thetan Arena and Galaxy Fight Club are examples of good NFT games. I realised in the process of finding out more NFT projects, I had concerns over some of the factors I had not known was important to me. Today, I would like to add on a few more elements we can look out for when we’re spotting upcoming NFT games.
1. Genesis Characters
Genesis characters commonly refer to the first pioneer batch of characters being released by the game developers. Different games have different terminology for the 1st generation of characters. An example is Axie Infinity. The first batch of Axies being released was called Mystic Axies. What makes the mystic axies special is that they have unique body parts, which cannot be replicated anymore unless you try to breed two mystic axies together. Even then, the 2nd generation newly-bred axie may not inherit the unique body part, which makes it less desirable. Currently, the unique body part has no added stat bonus in the game, other than it being aesthetically pleasing.
For Galaxy Fight Club, there are a couple of perks when you hold a Genesis Galaxy Fighter. Depending on its rarity, a Genesis Galaxy Fighter gives out 5–15 $GCOIN per day. Furthermore, only players who have at least 1 Genesis Galaxy Fighter can participate in its exclusive weekly 3v3 tournament, which has more prize rewards as compared to its other tournaments. The point that I am making is that if we choose to invest in a NFT game early, specifically buying a genesis character, the character needs to have some form of tangible perk. It makes very little financial sense that we’re investing in a game that early, possibly without a fully developed gameplay, and the character that we own has insignificant difference to its 2nd or 3rd generation characters.
A genesis character needs to have tangible traits that differentiate itself from its future breeds, and not simply rely on its numerically unique scarcity to maintain its value.
In order to earn from a NFT game, you need to own an in-game character. Depending on the supply and demand of the game, an in-game character may not be cheap. It can vary between $25 to over $300 USD per character. This means that the barrier to entry is high, especially for people in countries such as Philippines and Vietnam. Currently, the NFT gaming scene is huge in these two countries, and it is due to the fact that people over there can earn more from playing NFT games than taking up full-time jobs. It doesn’t help that the pandemic seems like it is not going away anytime soon. In response, I believe all NFT games would eventually roll out a free in-game character that allows people to try the game. This act solves two problem. Firstly, the player gets to try the game and see if he likes it. Secondly, depending on the game, the player may start to earn in-game tokens with the game’s most basic character. From thereon, the player can choose to use the in-game token to purchase a stronger character as his first NFT and start to earn more incentives.
The issue is that it is difficult to find a balance between allowing people to try the game, and allowing the players to earn enough with the most basic character. Chances are, the most basic character suck so bad that very little people would bother grinding it for two months in the attempt to buy the next character. Once again, it makes little financial sense. This is where lending comes into play. I believe all NFT games in the future would have a lending feature which allows NFT owners to lend their in-game characters/equipment to players who do not have the capital to purchase an optimal character to begin playing the game. Following which, the NFT owner would get a cut (possibly around the range of 50–70%) of the daily reward earned by the borrower. The borrower gets to use a stronger character which allows him to better understand the game mechanics, play competitively and earn more as compared to using the introductory most basic in-game character.
If a NFT game does not have a lending system, it loses out a lot on bringing new players to try the game competitively.
I don’t think the rule of being dynamic only applies to NFT games, I believe it applies to all games in general. If a game is based on an auto-play system with limited ways to display a player’s individual skill or strategy, the game restricts the possibility of what could happen. Soon, the game becomes boring, and we’ll start to question its existence. I believe a successful game is anchored in simple formats of winning and losing, but the gameplay itself is highly dependent on the player’s movement, not on a Random Number Generator (RNG).
For Counter-Strike, the constants are easy to understand. The goal is to shoot down the opposing team. The maps are relatively small. The weapons are more or less similar (please don’t knife me for saying this). It is fair to say that the game is easily understood. What makes the game fun is the seemingly limitless possibility of events that can happen while you’re playing it. Even if you’re up against the same opponents, every round is unique and you have a fair equal chance of winning every single round. The same concept applies to DotA as well. The goal is to destroy the enemy’s throne. The map has been the same three dividing lanes for the last decade. You have over 120 heroes to choose from and over 200 unique items to equip your heroes with.
Every round of gameplay is different, and the possibility is endless. In that sense, every round is refreshing and that is what keeps you coming back for more.
Let’s talk about an even simpler game: Clash Royale. The goal is to destroy the enemy’s king tower. You have a bunch of cards you can choose from. The opponent may very well use the same exact bunch of cards that you use, but how both parties use it would vary. The same goes for Fortnite, and we can run through the list all night long. The reason I’m stating why a game should be dynamic (which I feel should be something blatantly obvious), is because I see a lot of NFT games forgetting how it should be a game first, and a blockchain tech second. A game should be fun, and for it to be fun, it needs to be dynamic. There is no room for negotiation about this. A lot of NFT games out there are created, because they want to make money, not because they want to make you happy. But the irony is that if they choose to make you happy, they will make a lot more money.