Blockchain-based games can be fun, but they often come with a price tag. Want to adopt an adorable kitten through CryptoKitties or collect a planet in the galaxy of 0xUniverse? Be prepared to shell out some cash. The buy-in of popular blockchain games may deter individuals from joining a gaming platform that could otherwise be enjoyable.
Enter Sydney-based Fuel Games, which recently announced its free-to-play blockchain eSports game, Gods Unchained. The multiplayer strategy card game will allow players to compete against each other in quick matches. The game will apparently run on Apollo, a scalable infrastructure that Fuel says it is in the process of developing for the Ethereum blockchain.
The studio's COO, Robbie Ferguson, discussed the competitive eSports flavor of the game with ETHNews. "You're matchmade with another play[er] based on an Elo ranking system in a fast-paced game, generally between 7-12 minutes long," he said. "The gameplay is roughly similar to Hearthstone/Magic the Gathering, (and) Elder Scrolls Online, but we have some big twists in the game design. At the start of each match, for instance, you have the option to choose between multiple God Powers after you know your opponent's choice of God."
Within matches, players decide which cards to build their decks from while using a limited mana source (like in Magic the Gathering) to perform certain actions, such as casting a spell or summoning a creature. As Ferguson mentioned, there are also gods for players to choose from, each possessing a unique "god power." Although the game features multiple moving parts, he said the studio has "put a lot of effort into making it intuitive to play at first use."
Players can join the Gods Unchained gaming community for free. Ferguson stated:
"A game wouldn't be successful without the ability to have many people playing and building the community. We have a set of core cards which are completely free to earn simply by playing in-game; however, they aren't tradable (as we want the ability for everyone to access these easily, without inflating the market with free items). Moreover, we have a free rotation of cards every week, so you can try out your favorite flavor of Gods or cards before you buy."
While joining the game is free, users can also purchase card packs and collect limited-edition cards. The option to purchase additional in-game assets (card packs) makes the game like popular mobile "freemiums," such as Candy Crush Saga and Pokémon GO. The game's current presale (or "genesis sale"), for example, enables players to build their decks before the official launch later this year, but individuals are not required to buy these items to play.
Where Gods Unchained differs from most freemium games is that players can sell their cards when they leave. A short time after new cards are added, they become irreversibly locked and cannot be edited or generated ever again. "Each card is an ERC721 unique (or non-fungible) token, which points to a central contract which contains the stats for all the cards – their mana, attack, health, tribe, God, status, etc.," explained Ferguson. Once the cards are locked, "you have the same degree of ownership as you would a regular, physical card – you can trade it for Ether, other cards, or even burn it."
Fuel Games intends to include other features with the game, including a Battle Royale mode that will allow players to compete in frequent tournaments, as well as an annual world tournament with a large prize pool. Ferguson also mentioned that players can learn about the history of their cards, and that people can digitally "sign" them. Ferguson elaborated, "[A] famous Twitch streamer could sign a card they previously owned and auction it off – in the same way you could sign cards if they were tangible."
The game's beta will launch later this year, with a full game anticipated by the end of 2018. The game will be released as a desktop application, but the genesis sale is being conducted through MetaMask-enabled browsers.
The crypto gaming space has been heating up recently. On June 29, game development studio 0xGames released its flagship project, 0xUniverse, a blockchain-based game in which players colonize planets, build spacecraft, and communicate with aliens.
ETHNews does not endorse investment into Fuel Games or any other blockchain-related project.