Guide to Axie Infinity — Blockchain Gaming Vanguard

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Axie Infinity, a pokemon-style sensation that has become a passive source of income for thousands of players all across the world. In this guide, you will learn how that is possible, what blockchain gaming is, and what makes Axie Infinity so special.

What Exactly Is Blockchain Gaming?

The best way to make sense of blockchain gaming is to understand how your regular games are monetized. From Runescape’s gold and Fortnite’s V-Bucks to Roblox’s Robux, each has its own in-game currencies and virtual asset marketplaces. You pay a certain amount of real money (USD, EUR) in exchange for a set amount of in-game tokens.

With the tokens in hand, you can then buy various virtual assets developers decide to launch — usually character and weapon customization skins. However, these “economies” are extremely rudimentary and isolated. You can’t go outside the game to exchange the tokens for real money, nor can you even sell them inside the game to other players.

And if you can, it is on third-party websites that are frowned upon by developers, often a cause for a permanent ban. Nonetheless, some non-blockchain games are more advanced, very close to the real economy offered by blockchain games. Let’s take a quick look at one such game — free-to-play (F2P) Crossout.

As with most monetized games, it has its own coins to purchase virtual assets. In the case of Crossout, these are vehicle customizations, equipment, and weapons. So, what happens when developers drop a new item for players to buy? As you can see, the price remains flat until the free market takes over. 

The total supply of Destructor laser drills depends on the initial batch the devs put into circulation and on the players who bought them later on with in-game coins. Image credit: Crossout

And the free market, just like in the world of stocks or cryptocurrencies, is governed by sell and buy orders. If there is greater demand — more buy orders than sell orders — that means the price of the item goes up. Likewise, if there is lesser demand — more sell orders than buy orders — that means the price of the item goes down. In other words, sellers vs. buyers market.

Pretty simple, right? You may have even overheard your parents talking about this when discussing the housing market. Now, there is another factor that determines the asset’s price — scarcity — the key concept to blockchain gaming. As you can see from the above image, there are only a few dozen laser drills available. This keeps the price very high.

After all, we gamers know all too well what happens when there is a global computer chip shortage or when crypto miners buy up the GPUs. Their prices go through the roof!

Alongside scarcity, there is another economic driver at play here. What if developers make certain items craftable and others not? Then, those non-craftable items are in a boosted, permanent state of scarcity. For craftable items, there is then a secondary currency in play — resources needed to craft them.

Altogether, we have these key concepts to keep in mind:

  • Market created by sell and buy orders, which creates a scarcity dynamic.
  • Issuance of items, which can either be issued by developers or players when they craft items and put them on the market.
  • Crafting requires a resource, which is effectively a secondary currency.

You may wonder, what does this have to do with blockchain gaming? Everything!

While Crossout is not a blockchain game, developers could make it so by tokenizing the in-game resources. Then, they would plug the game into the Ethereum blockchain, which is just a decentralized network of computers. As a result, those in-game resources would no longer be isolated.

This is what blockchain gaming is about — creating dynamic economies powered by virtual assets and on-ramping those assets outside the game, so they are tradeable on cryptocurrency exchanges for real money.

Axie Infinity (AXS) currently trades for $115 on the world’s largest crypto exchange — Binance.com — serving 13.5 million monthly active users.

You will see shortly how this ties Axie Infinity to a T, or any other blockchain game for that matter. But before that, let’s see what makes Axie tick.

The Success of Axie Infinity in Numbers

Axie Infinity first took the mainstream spotlight when it sold a non-fungible token (NFT) in February for $1.5 million. Although this was a record, many other NFTs broke it since they were unrelated to blockchain gaming.  

Since then, the Vietnam-based Sky Mavis company developing Axie Infinity has achieved stellar results. Employing only 60 employees, its revenue went up astronomically, from just $1.8 million in January to October’s over $874 million — a 48,455% profit increase in less than one year!

Image credit: axieworld.com

The initial draw seems to be the same one that made Pokémon globally popular, since both games revolve around evolving fantasy creatures and pitting them in battle against other players’. If we go by Pokémon Go’s psychological drivers, the big one is receiving rare rewards.

“The system centers around expectations. We can expect high levels of dopamine when we encounter unexpected rewards—three or four times as excited, as measured by the strength of the dopaminergic firing. In other words, the reward is more pleasurable the more surprising it is.”

Given that blockchain gaming is still a minor niche compared to regular games like Pokémon Go, Axie’s player base is still impressive. According to ActivePlayer tracker, as of last month, Axie Infinity has 23.2 million average monthly players and 1.9 million active daily players. Indeed, the game is becoming so popular that it even managed to go on the top NFT list by the world’s second-largest bank — Bank of America.

Now that you are properly impressed by Axie Infinity’s explosive success, it’s time to dive deeper and see if you can get a cut out of the game’s profits.

Axie Infinity Play-to-Earn (P2E) Deep Dive

In essence, Axie Infinity is a virtual pet metaverse. As a player, you are in charge of managing a virtual ecosystem consisting of two main elements:

  • Pets — the fantasy creatures called Axies — which you can breed and collect.
  • Kingdom — made out of land plots as upgradeable resource hubs.

Axie Attributes

Every Axie is generated based on a couple of principles. The first one is the blobby body shape which can be: plant, beast, bird, aquatic, bug, reptile, mech, dawn, and dusk. Next, each Axie has six body parts: eyes, ears, horn, mouth, back, and tail. These body parts can be bred with three genes:

  • Dominant (D): 37.5% chance to pass it on to Axie offspring.
  • Recessive (R1): 9.375% chance to pass it on to Axie offspring.
  • Minor recessive (R2): 3.125% chance to pass it on to Axie offspring.

To avoid the overpowered purebreds, Sky Mavis eventually introduced mutations to randomize genes further. Axie Infinity has evolved so that there are plenty of breeding calculators now available to guesstimate how much it would cost to breed an Axie.

Along six body parts, each Axie also has four abilities and four core stats:

  • Health — the classic HP (hit points) count, measuring the tankiness of your Axie.
  • Speed — turn order in battles, the faster your Axie is, it will be able to attack before the enemy.
  • Skill — If you play multiple cards at once (more than two in one round), you land a combo. Skill adds extra damage to the combo.
  • Morale — Increases critical strike chance in addition to increasing likelihood of last stand — your Axie is engulfed in flames and remains standing despite having no health left. 

Image credit: marketplace.axieinfinity.com/axie

Do you remember when we mentioned scarcity at the beginning? To prevent the abundance of Axies, they can be bred only seven times, which you will see as “breed count” at the marketplace.  You will also notice that for each breeding attempt between two Axies you need a certain amount of Smooth Love Potion (SLP). The higher the breed count, the more SLP you will need — from breed count 1 at 150 SLP to breed count 7 at 3150 SLP.

Land Plots

The kingdom of Axie Infinity is called Lunacia, a 301×301 grid. Each square of the grid is a land plot, totaling to 90,601 land plots, all of which are managed and tradeable as NFTs by players. Land plots can often surprise players. They can use Axies to explore the land’s resources (herb, stone, wood, crystal, ore, and goo), or there may be AXS tokens just lying around.

As the game’s infrastructure, land plots can be highly customized to generate resources, host shops and NPCs, Chimera spawning points, and serve as juncture points for dungeons and world events.

With the basics out of the way, let’s move on to how to make Axie Infinity your passive income source.

Axie Battles

If you have heard of Raid: Shadow Legends, you already know how an idle battle system works. Your team is pitted against the enemy while you occasionally click on your creatures’ abilities. Axie Infinity employs the same system with some help from cards.

The game has two gameplay modes — PvE Adventure and PvP Arena. At the start of every battle, your three Axies will fight against the opponent’s trio. The battle runs real-time, but it is turn-based. Meaning, you don’t get to click the “next turn” as in the XCOM series. Depending on your Axie’s body parts, the start of each round will yield cards to choose from as abilities. 

Typical Axie Infinity battle in Adventure Mode.

The trick is to pick those abilities that will best counteract the enemy’s own set of abilities, ranging from offensive to defensive. There is a huge list of cards/abilities available, categorized across tiers from A to F. The order of attack is prioritized in the following way, led by the speed stat first: 

  • High speed over low HP
  • Low HP over high skill
  • High skill over high morale
  • High morale over low fighter ID

Furthermore, if an Axie uses the card from the same class (as you may have noticed, they are color-coded), it gets a bonus as +10% attack/shield. On top of that, they stack! Outside of combos that add extra damage, you can also receive shield chain buffs. They can happen only when multiple Axies use a card of the same class.

Commonly, Axies that are the most tanky are plant-based, while beast and bird Axies tend to have good damage.

Earning Tokens

Both in PvE Adventure and PvP Arena, and by completing daily quests, you can earn Smooth Love Potion (SLP) tokens. The game’s main token, the governance AXS token, can also be earned by playing the game, in addition to staking it in liquidity pools. This just means that you lock your tokens, so other players can exchange them quickly for the price they quoted.

For this service as a virtual bank, you receive an interest rate, currently at 141% APR (annual percentage rate). When you earn AXS and SLP tokens, you can either use them to breed better Axies, selling them as NFTs on the Axie Infinity marketplace, or you can simply sell them on Binance for the (crypto)currency of your choice.

At press time, Small Love Potion (SLP) can be exchanged for $0.07232, while Axie Infinity (AXS) can be exchanged for $123.86. The question then is, how much can you earn per day?

Predictably, devs imposed a limit on the number of times you can enter PvP/PvE battles, each one draining one Energy from your Energy pool. However, the more Axies you have, the deeper your Energy pool will be, and it regenerates in shorter time intervals:

  • 3–9 Axies: 20 Energy, 5 per 6 hours.
  • 10–19 Axies: 40 Energy, 5 per 3 hours.
  • Over 20 Axies: 60 Energy, 5 per 2 hours.

Completing daily quests usually nets you 75 SLP, which is the minimum you can earn. If you are just getting started, it would be best to use up 20 Energy on Adventure mode to level up and access higher levels that can yield you 10–25 SLP per win. Then, after Ruin lvl 20, you will be able to earn 50 SLP in less than half an hour.

Moving on to Arena Mode will yield more than double the Adventure SLP rewards, at around 105 SLP. Of course, only if you have mastered countering enemy cards and taking advantage of your Axies’ class synergies. Overall, daily SLP reward should be nearly 200 within the first month of playing.

In fiat currency, this translates to about $14 per day, or $433 per month. Furthermore, you can exchange SLP for AXS to stake them for 141% APR. This is quite viable given that the national average interest rate in banks is around 0.06% for savings accounts.

Coupled with breeding Axies to sell them for high prices, you should also take advantage of land (Terra) ownership, with the fully realized land gameplay coming next year. Lunacia has four types of land, priced from lowest to highest: Savannah, Forest, Arctic, and Mystic. Genesis land (at the center of the map) is extremely rare, reserved only for the richest or gained from specific world events and boss raids.

In general, the land closer to Resources/Chimera is more valuable. 

Image credit: land.axieinfinity.com

The reason for this is that after the battle is complete, and you are loaded with resources, your Axies will have to travel, risking losing rare Luna resources along the way. More importantly, it may take days for them to travel back. Therefore, land closer to Luna’s Landing and Resources/Chimera is highly prized for a faster income turnaround.

Likewise, some structures (guild halls) require more than one land plot to be built, so connected ones are the way to go. On such lands, Axies will also travel faster. Speaking of traveling speed, roads will add a 300% bonus traveling speed.

While land gameplay is still in the gray zone, it is safe to assume that currently available land will be more valuable than the next big sale batch. The reason for this is that the present Quadrant One Land holds limited events and functions, as well as limited mini-games. Nonetheless, as with other NFTs, it is a gamble to count on land plot appreciation.

However, the value of land plots in the current iteration is more than likely to go up.

How to Start Playing Axie Infinity

Thus far, Axie Infinity has proven itself as the juggernaut of blockchain gaming, without a competition in sight in terms of revenue and popularity. Third-party developers, along with the core Sky Mavis team, continue to add complexity and richness to the world.

If you are willing to spend some time learning all the dynamic ins and outs of this new blockchain frontier, here are the basic steps to follow:

  1. Download and install MetaMask crypto wallet for your browser.
  2. Axie Infinity runs on the Ethereum blockchain, so you will need to fill the MetaMask wallet with some ETH cryptocurrency.
  3. Install Ronin Wallet, the official Axie Infinity wallet. Alternatively, you can directly deposit ETH into the Ronin Wallet with the help of this guide. This will eliminate ETH transfer fees from MetaMask to Ronin Wallet. 
  4. When you go to Axie Infinity marketplace to get your first three Axies (need three for battles), connect the Ronin Wallet to the site. 
  5. Download the Axie Infinity game client

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