AXIE Infinity: Deconstructed: Is Play-to-Earn the Future?

What is it?

NFT-based collection battler Axie Infinity was created by Vietnamese firm Sky Mavis, a product of Ubisoft’s Enterprise Labs. The creator is also responsible for a number of DApps (decentralized Apps). It includes a marketplace, a cryptocurrency game launcher similar to Steam, and a cryptocurrency wallet software.

Why is it significant?

Axie Infinity has gained a lot of attention in recent months as a result of its rapid expansion. It reach 1 million DAU and $1 billion in lifetime trades. The option for players to cash out their in-game gains to support a real-world lifestyle. “Play-to-Earn” (P2E herein), is the foundation for this growth. In the Philippines, this has been marketed as an alternative to careers affected by COVID.

Many have cautioned that the economy of Axie Infinity depends on the steady influx of new users eager to make money. Without these additional players, the demand for new Axies. The crucial characters needed to play—falls, and their price—and thus P2E earnings—fall as well. Because of this, some have compared the situation to a Ponzi scam.

This essay will answer a number of important questions regarding Axie Infinity as a completely novel sort of agreement between developers and players.

How does it function?

Economy structured – How does Sky Mavis make money, for instance?

Which is good?

What might be superior?

How does it play?

Core Gameplay

The main gameplay in Axie Infinity receives very little attention despite all the talk about it. The game is essentially a cross between a team battler and a trading card game, clearly influenced by Hearthstone and, as mentioned in the white paper by Sky Mavis, the Final Fantasy Tactics games.

A team of three floating creatures called Axies is assembled by the player. The places them carefully in a grid. The default target as well as how the axes interact are both impacted by this location.

Four stats—Health, Morale, Skill, and Speed—that affect combat performance define each axie. Additionally, each Axie contains four cards that might be compared to abilities. Six bodily components define both stats and cards related to the Axie (eyes, ears, horn, mouth, back and tail). The final set of classes is rock, paper, scissors, which pits strong and weak students against one another.

Players are handed a hand of cards across their axes during combat, and each card costs mana to play. These cards specify the targeting, boosting, and debuffing, as well as other aspects of how each axis will attack, defend, and support. The RPG and TCG mechanics coexist in perfect harmony, allowing ideas like card advantage and tempo to coexist amicably with team composition and placement techniques. As a result, the game develops a subtle depth of strategy without being unduly difficult to learn.

In fact, the game is incredibly intriguing to play because to its depth of mechanics, ease of play, and extremely precise balancing. Some supposedly straightforward mechanics require practice to completely comprehend and tactically master.

There are two ways to play once you have your squad:

Adventure: A collection of straightforward PvE campaigns with levels connected in saga map fashion. Players battle non-Axis adversaries that are controlled by AI.

Arena: A match-made, Elo-ranked PvP mode where players compete against other teams.

The economy of the game is built around these two modes. Depending on how many axes the player has, energy is utilised to power the prize gate, and it refuels over time. Winning itself grants SLP (Smooth Love Potion), a breeding token (more on these resources below). Axis are also rewarded with EXP in Adventure mode, which raises their level and ultimately improves their stats.

The fact that the game’s fundamental gameplay is the least inventive or intriguing aspect explains why, despite being good, it is overshadowed by the other elements. Instead, what finally makes Axie Infinity one of the most thrilling video games in a decade is the economy of breeding and the market that promotes profit-seeking behaviour.

How is the economy structured?

Along with the Axies themselves, three resources make up the foundation of Axie Infinity. As follows:

Energy (off chain): One unit of Energy is expended for each PvP and PvE match. While they may still participate in both PvE and PvP if they run out of energy, they will not get SLP or EXP (EXperience Points, which are needed to determine an Axie’s level). This indicates that Energy uses reward gating. The number of axes a player owns determines how much energy they can have and how quickly it regenerates. This is a somewhat arbitrary technique to persuade gamers to buy more axes than gameplay actually calls for.

Smooth Love Potion, sometimes known as SLP, is a grindable resource that is awarded for victories in PvP or PvE battles. Along with AXS, it is one of the two resources Utilised to breed new axes.

AXS, often known as $AXS (on chain), is an ERC-20 game governance coin. The most important application for this smart contract-backed token is its use in conjunction with SLP in breeding. Other applications include voting on development decisions and staking.

SLP Grinding and P2E

The primary resource at the heart of Axie Infinity and the catalyst for P2E is Smooth Love Potion.

There are two ways for players to gain SLP:

Arena (PvP): The amount awarded to the player almost immediately following a victory depends on their current rating, with better rankings awarding more SLP per victory. No prize is given for lower rankings.

Adventure (PvE): Upon level completion, participants receive rewards based on their star rating (directly related to the number of axies still alive).

Energy is ultimately the determining factor in the development of SLP because SLP can only be acquired by the player if they have Energy. Even though the rate of energy production increases with more axie ownership.

Players can retrieve their SLP from the game and deposit it in their Ronin wallets at predetermined times (currently every two weeks) (i.e. putting it on chain). From this point, SLP can either be used to breed axes or exchanged on an exchange like Binance.

A gig economy of players that grind the game, earn SLP, and sell it for fiat has emerged as a result of this selling of SLP. With three hours of play each day, it is reasonable for players to make around 500 SLP every week. That works out to $32 per week and $1,664 per year at the current SLP price of $0.064 USD. Although a lot of gamers will be using scholarships to play (an Axie lending group) and withdrawing about 70% of their gains ($1,164).

Running three Axie Infinity accounts might currently provide a comfortable lifestyle with a mean wage in the Philippines of about $3,200 USD. However, it appears that SLP prices have been on a sharp downward trend lately, which suggests that P2E may soon no longer be viable. In P2E is Unsustainable, which follows, the causes of this are examined in length.

AXS, Community Treasury and DAO

An ERC-20 governance token is called AXS (Axie Infinity Shard). In other words, an Ethereum smart contract token designed to function like stock in a firm, with owners receiving “dividends” and using their tokens to cast votes on crucial matters pertaining to the game and its economy. AXS is a token that runs on the Ronin blockchain, a Sidechain of the Ethereum Network, and it is traded on a number of exchanges, including Binance.

There is ultimately a limited quantity that can be issued, same like with all ERC-20 tokens. In this case, 270 million will be distributed in various phases and in varying sums to different parties and for different purposes. The Whitepaper clearly outlines the allocations, with slightly over 22% of them now in use.

Staking, which entails storing coins in exchange for a portion of the Community Treasury, is where the “dividend” component comes from (AXS and wETH). The 4.25 percent fee (also known as tax) that applies to the Axie Infinity Marketplace means that every deal transfers 4.25 percent of the total wETH value (lost on the seller’s side) to the Community Treasury. All AXS that were lost during breeding are also transferred here. AXS shouldn’t go below the wETH owned by the treasury, hence staking and treasury incentives are said to operate as a means of maintaining AXS value:

Breeding and the Market

On the Ronin blockchain, there is an NFT for each axis. Therefore, breeding is the process of creating a brand-new Axie NFT. The amount of SLP needed depends on the breed counts of the parent Axies. Both SLP and AXS must be used to start the breed. Each Axie can have a maximum of seven breeds, with each breed costing more SLP than the one before it. Currently, in an order to preserve economic balance, breeding two virgin Axies costs 300 SLP and 1 AXS. Sky Mavis constantly alters prices.

Similar to CryptoKitties, the newly bred Axie is created via a genetic algorithm, and the young Axie will inherit the characteristics of its parents. The parents choose the type and physical characteristics.

Axes can be sold for wETH on the axe infinity marketplace (Etherum token).

Axie Infinity is a pretty capable fighter with an intriguing economics that, despite not actually supporting crypto equality, claims to. Players’ and Sky Mavis’ trust will determine whether the technology and game live up to expectations. Possibly even computationally.

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