A DAO based RPG. Ethermore — An emerging fantasy world built on community and blockchain.
With the great content to come out of HackerNoon’s gaming metaverse writing contest, and the company’s partnership with the Blockchain Game Alliance, it seems there is no better time than now to talk about what we think are the best blockchain games to follow in 2022.
From text adventures like Ethermore to NFT-based trading card games like Gods Unchained, blockchain game development is branching out into various genres. We can expect even more movement in the industry in 2022. Below, we’ll share our top picks for the games and companies to follow this year.
With terms like blockchain gaming, NFT games, and gaming metaverse being thrown around the Internet these days, let’s first explain what we mean exactly by “blockchain game”.
For the purposes of this article, we will define a blockchain game as:
Any game that is built on a blockchain, uses utility NFTs in its gameplay, or has play-to-earn mechanics in which players earn crypto tokens or NFTs for playing the game or participating in the community.
We’ve done our research on these games and even reached out to a couple of the teams behind the projects.
Created by Immutable, Gods Unchained is a PVP trading card game with play-to-earn mechanics. While it is PVP, there is also the option to play against the computer. The game is playable only via the immutable launcher which you must download and install on your system.
Having tested the game ourselves for over an hour, we can confidently say that Gods Unchained has solid strategy card game mechanics, great background music, and beautiful graphics. On top of that, the gameplay interface is incredibly polished and runs smooth like butter; we didn’t notice any bugs at all throughout our playthrough.
Play to Earn Mechanics
But what people really want to know is: how can you earn by playing this blockchain game? Every PVP battle you win will grant you rewards. For example, after winning my last battle I earned 3 card packs and 1 Supernova Vial that granted me 500 flux points.
The random lootcrate addiction psychology definitely comes into play here, as the endorphin rush from opening card packs hits hard.
However, since the game gives all new players a starter deck, obviously not all cards are sellable. Here is how the Gods Unchained website explains their P2E system:
The Play to Earn journey is as follows
1. By playing games you unlock packs that give you digital cards. These are Common Core cards and are not minted to the Ethereum network.
2. By winning games in Ranked, you earn Flux. Flux is a crafting tool that allows you to make Common Core cards more valuable. (See ‘What is the Gauntlet of the Gods?’ for more).
3. Once you have enough Flux, you can head to the Forge in the game launcher and fuse duplicate Core cards together to create higher quality cards. These become minted to the Ethereum network and now have real world value.
4. The final step is to trade these cards in the Marketplace for real world cash. From there, you can buy new cards with your current earnings or convert it to your own currency to spend however you want.
Gods Unchained is 100% a blockchain game you need to keep an eye on in 2022, especially if you like strategy card games.
Now this game has been talked about quite a lot in the blockchain gaming scene and for good reason. The game trailer on YouTube shows the quality of triple-A sci-fi RPG games akin to Mass Effect, Star Citizen, and more. It’s less than 2 minutes, so take a look for yourself before reading on:
Shortly after the publishing of that trailer, lots of influencers were quick to give their opinions.
Some were even blunt enough to call it a scam.
This video by BigfryTV was released just a few weeks after the trailer and quickly accumulated over 120,000 views:
Here is exactly what is written in the Star Atlas economics paper:
“Star Atlas is a space race that will challenge its players to team up, organize, build, and fight their way into unknown territories. What will start as a group of space ships and a collection of small mining colonies will develop into full-blown civilizations, rapidly iterating on alien technologies and intergalactic diplomacy to explore the ever-expanding universe.”
And as written in the “gameplay pillars” section of their whitepaper, the gameplay will include: Faction Security Zones, Deep Space Exploration, Station Modular Construction, Crew & Ship Component Outfitting, Professions, Decentralized Autonomous Corporations (DACs), and Economics.
Needless to say, this might be the most ambitious blockchain game project we’ve seen to date.
But what actually exists in Star Atlas today? That’s what we set out to discover.
Instead of giving our own speculations on what the game might be, we decided to reach out to the Star Atlas team on our own and see what infrastructure already exists.
So after reaching out and emailing people from the Star Atlas team, we eventually hopped on a video call with people from a PR company that represents the Star Atlas team. Fair enough. Devs wanna focus on development, so it’s totally valid, in my opinion, to have people who can talk to press and potential partners for you.
So, after speaking to the team, here is what we learned you can currently access on Star Atlas, after connecting your wallet.
There is a live marketplace where you can buy and sell Star Atlas NFTs using either ATLAS or USDC tokens.
In terms of barrier to entry, the prices of the most common ship appears to be under 20 USDC, which is quite low compared to other NFTs.
You are able to choose 1 of 3 factions. Once you do, it asks you to approve that decision in your Phantom wallet.
Unfortunately, even though my wallet was connected, I got this message after trying to join a faction:
I tried a couple more times, but ran out of patience and gave up.
At the moment, there is a leaderboards section. But since there is no gameplay available right now, the only metric these leaderboards are based on is who owns the most assets.
…in a nutshell, that’s pretty much all that exists right now. The rest of the website shows their events calendar and projects that are “coming soon”.
While we know ourselves how long it takes to build a game, it’s just a bit disheartening when the website says “play now”, but after clicking the button there is nothing to play.
There is no gameplay available as of the writing of this article, but we felt like we had to include it in this list as a game to keep your eye on for a few reasons. The first reason is all the hype around it; it’ll be interesting to see what becomes of this game after all the speculation that’s been done based on the trailer.
Secondly, we included it based purely on the promise Star Atlas holds; if the development team is able to deliver on even 50% of what the trailer and their whitepaper says this game will be, this will be one of the biggest blockchain games on the market.
For Pokemon lovers, Axie Infinity is a dream come true: a monster battling and collecting blockchain game that has play-to-earn mechanics.
Axie Infinity is owned by Sky Mavis, and the company made headlines last year when they managed to raise $152 million at a nearly $3 billion valuation!
This is arguably the biggest and most popular blockchain game in the world right now and for good reason. The game targets a huge niche of gamers, while offering play-to-earn game mechanics that give people a monetary incentive to play. There is a huge community behind this game, especially in countries like The Philippines where these monetary rewards can make huge differences in someone’s livelihood.
Axie Infinity Gameplay
Videos say a million words, so before we get into it, check out some Axie Infinity gameplay by one of our Ethermore community members, Putra:
The game is a mix of turn-based battle mechanics along with card based attacks. This adds both a strategy element and a luck element to the game. The strategy comes in when choosing axies, how you position them on the battlefield, and in what order you choose to attack. The luck element comes in every turn when your fate is in what cards you're able to draw.
We have to admit, we reviewed the game for the purposes of this article and meant to just play a couple rounds, but we got hooked into the gameplay loop and played the game for around 1.5 hours!
The polish in this game is among the highest we’ve ever seen in a blockchain game.
Is it Pokemon? No, of course not. But Axie Infinity is unique and entertaining in its own right. The gameplay loop is addicting and rewarding.
Axie Infinity Pricing
In crypto, prices can skyrocket in a short period of time, so please take this section with a grain of salt. As of the writing of this article, the lowest-priced axies were priced around $35 - $45 USD.
And, in order to play the game, you need at least 3 axies to form a team. That would put the entry price to start playing Axie Infinity at around $115 USD, give or take. That’s more than the cost of a new Triple-A game, but considering the prices of NFTs these days, and the fact that you can resell your axies if you aren’t feeling it, this is a pretty good cost of entry.
Where does play-to-earn come in?
So everytime you win a battle, be it in the adventure mode (player vs. computer) or PVP arena mode, you earn SLP (smooth love potions) which are needed to breed new axies.
SLP is also a tradable token on various exchanges.
However, as explained in this article, there are also two other ways to earn: breeding and selling new axies, staking AXS (the in-game currency).
Having raised the most money out of any blockchain gaming project to date, Axie Infinity is a game to keep your eye on for 2 reasons. Firstly, the game is fun, plain and simple. It’s an entertaining game in its own right, even if the play-to-earn aspects didn’t exist in it.
Secondly, it has received lots of support in the form of its growing community and the large investments they gathered. We should expect a great year from Axie Infinity in 2022.
While Guild of Guardians (GoG) has not yet been “released”, there are multiple reasons why we think this is definitely a blockchain game to follow this year.
In a nutshell, Guild of Guardians is an upcoming multiplayer mobile action RPG where players can, in the developer’s words, “...build their dream team of ‘Guardians’ and compete in a guild to earn epic rewards.”
Based on the pre-alpha gameplay footage released last year, Guild of Guardians is shaping up to be a great action RPG mobile game in its own right, before we even factor in the economics and play-to-earn mechanics at work within the concept.
Pre-Alpha Gameplay Preview
Based on the whitepaper, the core gameplay mechanics behind GoG are:
"1. Players venture into instanced dungeons to complete challenges.
2. Each dungeon is unique and filled with monsters, bosses and traps which the players must overcome.
3. Players earn rewards such as resources, currency, and equipment.
4. Players spend these rewards on recruiting and upgrading heroes and crafting equipment.
5. Players use newly acquired heroes and equipment to complete progressively harder dungeons."
And the additional gameplay includes:
1. Guild Raids;
2. Guild PVP;
3. Land gameplay;
4. User-generated dungeons;
5. Global eSports tournaments;
6. Social hang-out and trading zones.
Furthermore, one of the most attractive things about GoG is that the game will be entirely free-to-play. Players can start playing and earning without having to purchase an NFT to enter the platform.
Developer and Publisher Info
Aside from the gameplay itself, one of the reasons we’re quite excited about this is because the game dev team behind it, Stepico Games, is an established mobile game developer, with an impressive portfolio to boast. They’ve worked on games like MMA Manager, which has over 1 million downloads on the Google Play Store, and the survival horror game BIGFOOT which has over 9000 positive reviews on Steam.
With a strong developer behind the game, Guild of Guardians has an even more well-known publisher: Immutable. If that name sounds familiar, Immutable is also the developer behind the first game on this list, Gods Unchained.
The website states that the team is aiming to release the game in early 2022.
Last but not least, we’d be remiss not to talk about the game we’re building. Ethermore is a community-driven fantasy RPG, built on the Ethereum blockchain. As of the writing of this article, just 15,000 unique Ethermore hero NFTs have been minted and are available on marketplaces like Opensea.
Inspired by old-school Dungeons & Dragons TTRPGs, Ethermore is a narrative-driven text adventure game in which players use hero NFTs as their characters in the story. Players start by choosing one of their tokens as their “main” before hopping into a quest.
Once you have your character selected, it is now time to choose a quest from our quest library.
We release new quests biweekly, and hope to ramp that up as more of our community ventures into quest writing and contributing user generated content.
If you’ve played text adventures, visual novels, or even interactive film style visual novels (like the Telltale games), you’ll feel right at home with our gameplay interface.
Your main character will be displayed in the top right. At the moment, there is one main OST (original soundtrack) that plays in the background of all our quests. In the future, this will be customizable so the quest writer can upload custom music or voiceover files throughout the quest.
The players read through and roleplay the story, choosing options throughout key points in the game. Some options are exclusive to certain NFTs. For example, in a battle, fighting from afar with a bow or crossbow could be exclusive to people playing with a Ranger class NFT.
A Custom Quest Building Engine
We want Ethermore, and its lore, to be written by and voted on by our community. At the moment, all quests are written by the community, core team members, and Discord mods. To facilitate quest writing and publishing at scale, we’ve built a custom quest writing engine, slightly similar to an engine like Twine.
At the moment, the quest engine supports:
Further Game Development in 2022 and Beyond
One of our conscious decisions in the Ethermore team is to talk about what we’ve done and what players can do today, rather than talk about our wild ambitions (like many projects do). However, that doesn’t mean we’re not doing anything LOL. We just tend to keep quiet (perhaps too often) about what’s to come, so that we don’t become one of those projects that overhypes and under delivers.
With that said, we have just added the ability to add status effects in our quests. These effects will change the art of your character NFT once the effect takes place. Check out this tweet from our Town Crier for a sneak peek:
Furthermore, we do have a partnership in the works with an Australian game studio to build even more interactive adventures within the Ethermore universe. While we won’t talk about it too much, we hope what we already have and what we’ve teased a bit here is enough for you to follow us in 2022!
While superlatives like “best” are subjective based on personal gaming tastes (and biases of course), we hope that our list may have introduced you to a project you weren’t yet aware of.
Things in crypto can change in an instant, so again, take the prices quoted in this article with a grain of salt and always do your own research before buying any NFTs or diving into a project.
It goes without saying, but we’d also like to add a small disclaimer. We’re building our own fantasy RPG blockchain game, and have been inspired by some games on the market. Therefore, while we have a unique perspective, we’re also aware of our own biases.
As always, please don’t consider anything in this article as professional investment advice. Always be sure to do your own thorough research before making any investment decisions.