Axie Infinity: The Gold Nugget That Started The Blockchain Gaming Goldrush
Axie Infinity: The Gold Nugget That Started The Blockchain Gaming Goldrush
With Axie, the Golden Age of play2earn has finally begun! Although still a rather young member among the blockchain games community, Axie Infinity has done what none other had achieved before:
It pulled in massive money and massive users, creating an ecosystem of entire families playing for a living, especially in the Philippines. The blockchain gaming market was in a slumber before but suddenly wide awake. Any downtime of the Axie servers created flood streams of users turning to other games like Splinterlands and starting a real goldrush there as well. Let's finally take the time to give the game the attention it deserves.
Use Your Pets to Conquer the World!
Axie Infinity is a pet-centric universe built on the Ethereum blockchain with aspirations of immense grandeur. Players collect pet creatures known as Axies, which they raise and breed and use to battle their way towards building player-driven kingdoms in Lunacia, the game world all of this takes place in.
These future kingdoms will start off as plots of land that players are tasked with cultivating and consolidating into territories that groups of players will eventually have dominion over. Though development still has a ways to go, Axie Infinity is a game with lofty goals built upon the belief that players should own the economy.
In the meantime, players can enjoy skill-based card/pet battles involving complex strategies, roaming PvE bosses, and periodic tournaments. From top to bottom, Axie Infinity is a dense game with a rewarding play2earn philosophy; one that has earned it the top spot among Ethereum-based games.
More than any other crypto game out there, Axie Infinity has strived to build relationships with other companies and projects such as:
- An AAVE area season sponsorship.
- Bullionix coins for multiple arena Golden Seasons.
- Klaytn token integration (KLAY)
- The Loom Network Alliance
- MakerDAO exclusive NFTs
This list is only a small sampling, as other projects continue to work with Sky Mavis, the team behind Axie Infinity, to find creative ways to distribute their tokens as rewards through the Axie economy.
Similar to Crypto Raiders, Sky Mavis has ensured that all art assets and Axie data can be easily accessed by 3rd parties. This has allowed community developers to build a wide range of tools and add-ons that players can use to enhance their gaming experience. As you read on, we'll be highlighting several of these resources.
The Story So Far
Launching with an idle battle demo in 2018, Axie Infinity has come a long way from it's initial card battler days. The game entered alpha in 2019 when the card battling system was transformed into a complex pseudo-deckbuilder based on the genetics and parts of each Axie you possess. This battling system has been supported by multiple tournaments, the first of which took place in early 2020.
Lands were introduced in the spring of 2019 with the first land sale. The development of lands has steadily grown to include activities such as PvE (Chimera) battles, item decoration, resource harvesting, structures and social interactions.
Knowing that Axie Infinity was quickly outgrowing traditional wallets, Sky Mavis developed its own Ronin wallet as a layer-2 Ethereum sidechain intended to better support the burgeoning scale of Axie Infinity. This wallet was followed by an accompanying DEX known as Katana and mobile wallet support.
All of this has contributed to Axie Infinity being ranked the #1 Ethereum game by daily, weekly, and monthly active users. It also boasts the largest NFT sale of all time with players having spent over 1M ETH to make Axie Infinity the first Ethereum game to hit $1 billion in sales.
AXS (Axie Infinity Shards) are the primary currency through which all in-game activities are conducted and rewarded. Players can earn AXS by competing in PvP modes, tending their lands, breeding Axies, selling items through the Axie Infinity marketplace, and participating in future unannounced game modes.
As an ERC-20 governance token, players can stake their AXS to claim periodic rewards from the Community Treasury. This treasury will be comprised of AXS breeding fees and 4.25% of all marketplace transactions. The total AXS supply will cap out at 270,000,000 after a 65-month unlocking period starting from November 4th, 2020.
SLP (Smooth Love Potions) are earned through both PvE/PvP game modes and are used to facilitate the Axie breeding process. Axies have a limited number of times they can breed, and the cost for doing so increases with each subsequent breeding:
|Breed Count||SLP Cost per Parent|
Axies serve as the pets players use to interact with most aspects of Lunacia. Each Axie has 6 body parts and a body shape with each part having 3 genes that determine how they look and what can be passed on when breeding. Four of these parts (Horns, Mouth, Back and Tail) unlock abilities that vary across game modes, often with different values, benefits and skills for each. This allows for the possibility of entirely unique Axies that can have extreme value in a particular niche.
Land represents the 90,601 tokenized plots Lunacia has been divided into for players to use as homey bases of operation. These plots can be upgraded with crafting resources found during gameplay, and offer periodic rewards such as AXS, resource nodes, and PvE chimera battles. Their development is actively ongoing.
Items constitute the various decorative pieces players can acquire for personalizing their lands. They come in four rarities (Common/Rare/Epic/Mystic) and provide bonuses such as increased drop rates or PvE combat bonuses that encourage players to collect them for more than just cosmetic reasons. Players can acquire them through land sale packs, crafting and various in-game rewards.
Sky Mavis recently announced plans to bring SLP inflation into line with their original goals for the token, as unexpected player interactions have contributed to unanticipated supply growth. Top ideas include decreasing supply through reduced in-game rewards and increasing demand through breeding cost adjustments. This is less a play2earn nerf than it is an attempt at stabilizing the value of SLP going forward.
Project K, the name given to the steady development and eventual implement of land plots, revealed work on 3D models with a preview of several mystic items and totems. This highlights a steady shift away from the original isometric artstyle to a more immersive 3D landscape.
Focused on the Community
Axie Esports continue to support the competitive community by opening up applications for the second batch of grants that will disburse a total of 7500 AXS over a six-month period of time. The goal is to support at least 75 tournaments.
In a similar vein, community developers can now apply to the Builders Program for a chance to receive grants for their projects, starting at a minimum of $5000 in AXS. This program has a pool of 5000 AXS available for supporting projects Sky Mavis deems beneficial to the Axie ecosystem.
Lastly, as part of the Lunar New Year celebration, releasing Axies is now possible. Players that choose to release an Axie will receive random Lunar New Year themed land items, and an additional raffle has been created to reward 111 lucky winners with various items and/or AOC Tokens.
In the short-term, Project K (lands) and Axie Infinity: Origin (battles V2) are both loosely slated for release sometime in 2022. In addition to these concrete goals, Sky Mavis have discussed multiple goals they're working towards in the background such as:
- Mini-games separate from land management and Axie battles.
- Crafted Axie/land upgrades using components received by releasing Axies.
- Starter Axies that allow for a smoother introduction and lower cost of entry.
- Merchandise in both digital (NFT art) and physical (T-shirts/plushies) form.
Another exciting project is the Lunacia SDK, a map editor and eventual custom games creator. Players will be able to turn their game creations into NFTs that can be traded and placed on land. Interacting with them will allow players to enter the custom game and enjoy new methods of gaming in Lunacia
How Do I Get Started?
In order to access Axie Infinity, you'll first need a Ronin wallet. This wallet will allow you to purchase your first Axie before creating an account at https://welcome.skymavis.com/download/
https://welcome.skymavis.com/. If you're not quite ready to purchase an Axie but still want an opportunity to play the game, scholarships allow for the renting of Axies from other players. Head on over to your region's Discord server to learn more.
Once you're in the game, you'll have two game modes available to you: Adventure (PvE), and Arena (PvP). Both feature a 3v3 battling system using teams you can assemble ahead of time. This means that an early goal would be to acquire three Axies for your first team.
In either mode, there is a lot to think about in a single battle. You start with 3 energy and draw 6 cards at random. From these cards, you select abilities to use based on turn order at the top of the screen and their energy costs (top-left of each card). Once both sides have chosen their cards, a single round of combat will play out.
Axies will always attack the closest available target unless the ability states otherwise. If two or more Axies use cards from the same class, they'll trigger a "Chain" causing each to receive a bonus Shield. If one Axie uses three or more cards in the same round, they'll trigger a "Combo" to add bonus damage.
In PvP, each player can see the other player's available cards which makes battling complicated. There's a lot of information to take in at once, and you'll have to eventually learn what all the abilities can do.
Managing Your Resources
So, how can you start to think about the strategy of an Axie match without getting overwhelmed? The answer is to gain a clear understanding of the different resources that you and your opponent are using during the battle. Each resource is a source of power that can help you to win against your opponent.
The three main resources in an Axie arena battle are cards, energy, and HP. Most players are so focused on HP that they don't think enough about their cards and energy. Players that fixate too much on RNG, like critical hits, often missing key strategic elements happening with cards and energy.
Many of the strongest and most consistent teams in Axie Infinity focus on managing one resource. For example, in Season 19 of Axie Infinity, the "Discard Bug" team archetype became very popular. This build used two Bug Axies with double discard parts each, giving the player eight discard attacks that each remove one random card from the opponent's hand.
By playing so many discard attacks in the deck, players were able to keep their opponents down to 3-4 cards in hand a lot of the time. In Axie Infinity, unlike other card games, 3-4 cards is NOT a lot. As a result, this "card denial" strategy gave Bug teams a huge advantage in the resource of cards and dominated much of the Season 19 meta. Here's an example of the discard Bug playstyle in action.
It would be impossible to adequately cover everything you need to know for understanding Axie battles in this introductory article, so we'll focus on what tools are available to help you get there. First, take a moment to decide: What kind of player do you want to be? Your goals when acquiring Axies will change dramatically according to what you need each Axie to do.
For battling, Axie World provides numerous resources, but you'll want to check out the Card Explorer, specifically. This tool lets you filter the various combat cards to get an understanding of what options are available. Once a strategy begins to form in your mind, the Axie Finder allows you to figure out which Axies have the abilities and parts you're looking for.
For example, here are the Axies that come up when I randomly choose the Peace Maker, Arco, Balloon and Granma's Fan Axie parts. If I wanted to buy one, clicking it would take me to the Axie marketplace.
As you're perusing Axies, you'll see that they each have four stats:
- Health: How much damage they can take before being knocked out.
- Speed: Used to determine turn order.
- Skill: A bonus damage modifier for playing multiple cards at once.
- Morale: The chance of landing critical strikes and entering "last stand".
They also have a class, like Aquatic, that determines how much damage (+/-15%) they receive from cards of each class type:
Similarly, using a card that matches an Axie's class provides bonus damage (+10%), as the classes also extend to body parts. You can even determine an Axie's stats by adding up the bonuses each class and part provide.
If you're still struggling with what to choose, a recommended starter team has one defensive Axie and two offensive Axies. Defensive "Tank" Axies have abilities that increase their survivability through various means:
This Axie, for example, uses cards that increase their Shield and Heal. October Treat and Vegan Diet are purely defensive, but Bamboo Clan and Tiny Swing provide damage bonuses that help offset the loss in damage by prioritizing Shield.
Offensive "Attacker" Axies have abilities that sacrifice Shield for damage output:
This Axie uses damage-heavy cards with an emphasis on disabling the opponent's Axies. Blackmail and Risky Feather both undermine the other team while Crimson Water and Prickly Trap ensure its attacks land where they need to.
Every team in Axie uses all three resources, but each time will emphasize them differently.
Bug teams will mostly gain an advantage through card denial, and sometimes can let the enemy build up energy without it being a disadvantage. Their opponent might have 10 energy, but it won't matter if they only have 3 cards. That doesn't stop them from counting energy, though, as you don't always draw your discard attacks.
The same thing is true in reverse for an energy denial team. They usually focus on energy, but, if your opponent plays five cards on turn one, you know they're low on cards for the next turn.
This makes counting energy and cards so important, as knowing what's possible with these resources provides important information as the game unfolds. This results in stronger, more consistent plays, especially in the end-game.
As you start to earn rewards for your victories, you can first claim SLP to your wallet after two weeks. After this initial lockout period, you can regularly sync SLP rewards to your wallet. To begin the breeding price, navigate to one of your Axies in your marketplace inventory. From there, click "Breed" (next to "Sell") to open the breeding interface:
Select any two Axies to breed an Axie Egg, and wait five days for it to mature. Once matured, you can transform your Axie Egg into an adult and view its genes. You can repeat this process whenever you have enough SLP until you've reached the breeding limit for your individual Axies.
An Axie's genes are determined by the Dominant, Recessive and Minor Recessive genes each parent Axie has. The newly bred Axie's Dominant genes will determine which body parts are visibly formed for stats and card abilities. The likelihood for each gene to be received breaks down to:
|Gene||Parent A||Parent B|
To gauge your chances of receiving certain genes when breeding, you can use Freak's Axie Extension to see what genes you're working with and Freak's Breeding Calculator to see your odds of receiving each body part.
Once your overall plan starts to come together head over to the Axie Marketplace to find the Axie(s), land, and/or items you wish to buy. The marketplace has considerable information on each product along with filters to narrow down your hunt for the perfect companion(s).
You're also encouraged to engage with one or more of Axie Infinity's social media platforms:
- Medium: https://axieinfinity.medium.com/
- Substack: https://axie.substack.com/
- Discord: https://welcome.skymavis.com/regional-servers
- Telegram: https://t.me/axieinfinity
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AxieInfinity
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/AxieInfinity
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6AG8_DOvAfKvWsTTLOISfg
What's The Gameplan?
In the future, @quixoticflux will explain how you can improve your energy counting and eventually learn to count both cards and energy every game. Just understanding the basic concepts will immediately give you a better framework for analyzing Axie matches.
Who had the advantage in each resource on each turn, and when did one player get into a "won" position? Was a different line of play possible?
This topic of resource management is very important and will come up again and again in future guides. All team piloting comes down to the core concept of managing resources and putting yourself in an endgame position where you can guarantee the win.
We'll be back next week for another lesson on sharpening up your Axie skills.
In the meantime: Game On!