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Axie Infinity

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Axie Infinity Review

The Pokemon-inspired NFT Game Axie Infinity has become the number one non-fungible token (NFT) with over 7,000 active monthly users on the Ethereum blockchain.

To get started, you’ll need at least three Axies. These are the creatures that you will collect and use in PvE (player vs. environment) and PvP (player vs. player) battles as you play.

The cheapest single Axies currently available in the marketplace cost the equivalent of just over $20 in Ethereum (ETH). This means that you currently have to spend as much to play Axie Infinity as you would to buy a next-gen console game.Remember that the attributes of your Axies will also make the difference between winning and losing battles, so you certainly won’t want to simply buy the cheapest ones you find.

Now you may be thinking, “Who in their right mind would spend $70+ on another brand’s Pokemon game?” However, this is not an entirely fair comparison. After all, you don’t have the opportunity to play Pokemon for a living, let alone esports tournaments.

Invest-2-Win

Instead, Axie Infinity belongs to a new breed of games that are only made possible by blockchain technology. These combine elements of pay-to-win and play-to-earn, and which I hereby officially call pay-to-win-to-earn, or P2W2E. In many ways, these games have more in common with investing in cryptocurrencies than, say, the latest Call of Duty blockbuster.

Your initial investment buys you a ticket into a world where your own time, skill and effort can affect value, rather than the vagaries of traditional cryptocurrency markets. This is a compelling proposition for many players. Those who are only interested in playing the game may prefer to wait for the full release, which will also include a free-to-play mode. Funds raised during the token sale will be used to develop the game from its current alpha status, for a mainstream release in 2021.

Developer Sky Mavis kindly provided me with three Axies so I could test the game. These covered each of the three main roles: a tank to soak up hits, a fighter to deal serious damage, and a nimble axie for quick strikes.

 

Instead, Axie Infinity belongs to a new breed of games that are only made possible by blockchain technology. These combine elements of pay-to-win and play-to-earn, and which I hereby officially call pay-to-win-to-earn, or P2W2E. In many ways, these games have more in common with investing in cryptocurrencies than, say, the latest Call of Duty blockbuster.

Your initial investment buys you a ticket into a world where your own time, skill, and effort can affect value, rather than the vagaries of traditional cryptocurrency markets. This is a compelling proposition for many players. Those who are only interested in playing the game may prefer to wait for the full release, which will also include a free-to-play mode. Funds raised during the token sale will be used to develop the game from its current alpha status, for a mainstream release in 2021.

Developer Sky Mavis kindly provided me with three Axies so I could test the game. These covered each of the three main roles: a tank to soak up hits, a fighter to deal serious damage, and a nimble axie for quick strikes.

PvP – Lets play

This section will mainly focus on the PvP element of the game, since that’s where most of the abilities and action are found. The PvE adventure follows the same combat format, although it basically boils down to grinding your way through levels to defeat increasingly difficult AI enemies.

At the start of a battle, your gallant team of three Axies, armed with only three energy points and six playing cards, will face off against the opponent’s similarly equipped team.

In each round, you can spend energy points by playing cards. Most of these cards require one energy point to play, but a few require more, and some are completely free. You only get two new energy points and three new cards each round, so spend them wisely.

Cards have defensive and offensive value, as well as additional effects like healing, boosting, and energy. These can come into play when certain other parameters are met, such as combos, buffs, and last stands. The order of play is determined by the speed values of the Axies, and the target of each card is generally the Axie closest to the attacker. However, both can change with the application of certain card effects. Like many of the best games, the mechanics are easy to understand but difficult to master.

Conclusion

Axie Infinity is the most curious of all things, since it feels like the beginning of a truly new paradigm. The gameplay won’t blow you away, but there’s certainly enough there to be fun. And the deeper you get into the strategies and tactics, the more you can get hooked. The game is still in alpha and there are new elements that are still in development, such as land ownership.

My experience was admittedly a bit frustrating at times, but I wasn’t really playing in the sense that it was intended. Also, the maps are still being balanced in the alpha phase, so it should be easier for newcomers (at least those willing to invest a bit of money) to get a good start.

A message in the game’s Discord channel claimed that you need $200 to really enjoy the game. I would argue that the initial investment could be about half of that if you’re willing to invest a bit of grind. The fact that even my few hours of grinding through a bunch of fights yielded a pretty decent return is amazing.

With more investment, research, and skill, you could make a decent profit. The most expensive Axie sold so far went for 200 ETH ($75,000), but there are some listed on the marketplace for over $1 million. Blockchain gaming is coming of age, and Axie Infinity gives us a tantalizing glimpse of what it could become. It may not be the game that brings hardcore gamers to blockchain, but it certainly does a great job of making crypto and NFT investing fun.

Specification: Axie Infinity

Release Date

2018

Devices AndroidiOSWeb

Videos: Axie Infinity

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