Skyweaver, A perfect balance of Free-to-Play and Play-to-Own

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The following is by Zachary Roth, professional writer and Product Manager at Solrise Finance. Subscribe to Zachary’s newsletter, DAOJones, here.  

Skyweaver is an up and coming, in-browser, free-to-play competitive trading card game that blends components of previous trading card games like Magic: The Gathering and play-to-earn metaverses like Axie Infinity. Skyweaver players will be able to battle each other and earn new cards that can be traded or played with. The structure of the game is simple enough for new players to catch on quickly while also providing many layers of depth for advanced players to explore. 

Free-to-Play & Play-to-Own

Skyweaver is community focused and transparent. This transparency is brought about by the underlying blockchain technology that Skyweaver is built on. 

Blockchains and NFTs are revolutionizing the gaming industry by enabling players to monetize their activity in the game by owning and selling the in-game assets they use. This is a stark contrast to the previous business model where in-game assets were ultimately owned by the game. When you bought a weapon skin on Call of Duty for example, this skin only exists on the Call of Duty Servers. If these servers went down, you would no longer own that skin. 

Each card in Skyweaver is a perpetual digital asset on the Ethereum blockchain and is verifiably owned by the player. When you win new cards in battles or by raising the ranks on the leaderboard, these new cards are your new property. You’re free to trade them between wallets or on NFT exchanges like OpenSea

Gameplay

Skyweaver takes place in Sky, a digital dimension with everything you need to play the game. 

Each player is a Skyweaver looking to battle other Skyweavers and unlock in-game resources that can be used to augment their position in this world. Every player has a Hero, or an in-game avatar, which controls a deck of cards to battle opponents with. These decks can be customized in the Deck-Builder and each card can be one of two types: a Unit or a Spell

Units are cards that fight and defend against other units while Spells are cards that provide single-use effects that alter the gameplay by healing or damaging heros, destroying units, summoning new units, and more. 

Every card is unique and has specific rarity attributes which can increase their utility and value. Units can be composed of 6 features: a Mana cost, an attached spell, abilities, power, health, and prism symbols. Prisms are foundational playstyles which grant Heroes access to different deck types full of different creatures and spells. 

Some cards have no attached Prism and must be played together with other cards. Units are deployed until battles are over while Spells are discarded after a single use. Spells can be composed of three features: Mana cost, abilities / effects, and prism symbols. 

The opening sequence for every match begins with each player drawing seven cards from their respective decks. 4 of these cards can be used immediately while the other 3 must be deposited back into the deck and can be used later. In order to onboard newcomers, a purple glow will appear around cards that the game suggests as the best options. 

A vital aspect of Skyweaver’s gameplay to consider is the amount of Mana a Hero has. Each Hero can hold up to 99 Mana although they only start with 1. Heroes earn 1 Mana each turn and spend Mana to deploy units and spells. The graveyard deck mentioned above can also be searched through and certain cards can revive other cards in the graveyard. It’s important to keep an eye on what is discarded as they can come back later in the game and turn the tide on any match. 

Units are particularly influential in the results of a battle. They are the primary forces behind Skyweaver combat and have various utilities. Most enter battles sleeping and are unable to be used until the turn after they were deployed although some are able to be used immediately. This all affects the flow of the game and any strategies enacted throughout a battle. 

There are many other aspects of gameplay to consider when battling and devising strategies such as different game modes, Combat Keywords, Enchants, Elements, and more nuances regarding Prisms

Soft Launch & Open Beta

Skyweaver’s Soft Launch began taking place on November 25th, 2021 and is the last step before the game launches in an Open Beta phase. The soft launch is gated by a Beta code which will enable the developers to smoothly scale and onboard new users who are taking part in one of the first fully decentralized, play-to-own digital economies of all time. Over 250,000 people signed up for the Open Beta and will gain access to the game in the order they signed up. The Soft Launch signifies the moment that Skyweaver hits the mainnet which means that all transactions are real. Each card is valuable and can be sold for real money. If you haven’t yet signed up for the Soft Launch, you can still do so here

Although the foundation of Skyweaver is built on Ethereum, the open launch will be deployed on Polygon – one of Ethereum’s primary layer 2 scaling solutions. This will drastically lower the gas fees associated with playing the game and ultimately make the game more accessible to more people. Below is Skyweaver’s roadmap of each release phase. 

Every player begins the Soft Launch with a score of zero so there is equal footing for everyone to work their way up the leaderboard. In order to partake in certain aspects of the game such as Conquests, USDC is required to purchase tickets. USDC is the primary currency used in Skyweaver and will be accessible via cryptocurrency deposits and credit card purchases. 

The Skyweaver market is freely accessible via mobile and desktop browsers and utilizes automated liquidity pools which determine asset prices. This is a decentralized alternative to players having to purchase assets directly from Horizon Blockchain Games, Skyweaver’s parent company. 

State of the Game

At the time of writing, the Soft Launch has been in effect for over a week now. The team has promptly updated the community of the success of the launch and the imminent plans on releasing the Open Beta. 

Below is a table outlining the two most popular gameplay modes which have been gaining traction. 

Some metrics that the Skyweaver team has announced are very promising. Before November 25th, there were over 1 million matches played. Since then, over 200,000 more have been played and these are for real money. Matches are averaging less than 15 minutes and players have been routinely reporting bugs and bad actors to the Skyweaver team. With any game utilizing real money, these bad actors are to be expected and will be whittled out before and during the Open Beta launch. 

Path Forward

With the massive success of Skyweaver’s Soft Launch, players can expect an even more impressive Open Beta phase of the game. Blockchains and NFTs are not only enabling in-game transfers of real value, but they are creating new levels of interaction and community engagement not seen in traditional gameplay. 

Skyweaver involves many structural aspects which can be layered to create complex mosaics of strategies and gameplay. This, along with its rapidly growing community makes Skyweaver a project to keep an eye on.

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