What Is Axie Infinity? - A Brief on the NFT Collection

Axie Infinity serves as a case study in the way video games may look in the future. To understand Axie is to understand NFT Gaming, and how games will look to shape their own ecosystem in the future.

What is Axie Infinity?

What Is Axie Infinity?

Axie Infinity is an NFT-based blockchain video game that is known for its innovative in-game economy that utilizes cryptocurrency and pioneers a new gaming model known as 'play-to-earn.' Players in the game collect and mint NFTs, which are represented as digital pets known as Axies.

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According to the game’s site, the battle system used is inspired by the likes of Final Fantasy Tactics and a few other famous games. Through these battles, along with buying, selling, and trading resources, users grow their Axie NFT collection.

As of March 2022, the game has 2.5 Million Axie holders and over 1.5 Million daily active players, many of whom are based in the Philippines. Because of the play-to-earn model Axie Infinity uses, some Filipinos have even turned the game into their full-time job.

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Axie Infinity may serve as a landmark game in the rapidly growing play-to-earn model enabled through NFTs and blockchain gaming. Its popularity can be attributed to allowing for the very first time players to truly be rewarded for the time and effort they put into playing games. This model will surely become even more mainstream as blockchain technology and NFTs become increasingly infused with our day-to-day lives.

Axie Infinity and Play-To-Earn

Professional gamers have existed for a while, but not like this. This isn’t collecting a check via a revenue share from a platform like Twitch or from tournament earnings. Earning money by simply participating in gameplay is an easy concept to grasp, but is nonetheless revolutionary. Games are only successful if there are people playing it. Axie benefits from every additional user, and now with a monetary incentive for continued gameplay, every user benefits from Axie.

The basic foundation of play-to-earn games has been laid. But how does it work exactly?

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How does Axie Infinity work?

Prior to initial gameplay, you’ll want to get a few things in order. First, make sure you have a Metamask account and add $ETH into your Metamask wallet. You can obtain $ETH through nearly all crypto-exchange platforms, with some of the most popular examples being: Coinbase, Binance, and Coins.ph. After setting up your Metamask wallet and purchasing $ETH, transfer your ETH coins from Metamask into your Ronin Wallet. Since Ronin is the official sidechain wallet for Axie Infinity, it will work as a bridge between your Metamask Wallet and Axie Infinity. Now, in order to start playing you will have to purchase at least three Axies using your Ronin Wallet. As of February 2022, the least expensive Axie costs around $29 USD and a decent ranking Axie costs roughly $100 USD.

Now, you’re ready to take your team (3 Axies) into battle and choose your desired mode. You can compete against Computer AI in Player Vs Environment (PVE) or against other humans in Player Vs. Player (PVP). Within Axie Infinity, the game modes are called Adventure and Arena. Both game modes allow you to earn the game’s currency, Smooth Love Potion (SLP). SLP can be converted into other cryptocurrencies and/or fiat money.

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In the game, players participate in “monster raising” where the users can breed and take care of their Axie, in addition to engaging in battles. If this sounds similar to Pokémon and Tamagotchi, that’s because it is. But, what’s the difference between Axies and these games? Pokémon and Tamagotchi lived solely on your Game Boy or other device. Axie are NFTs providing real-world value. Axies can be nurtured, and in turn, increase in value. You can also breed these Axies together, and create new NFTs to keep, or to sell/trade on the marketplace.

What is an Axie?

A Pokémon is a character with special powers or features you use when you are playing the game. Although Axies have some similarities with Pokémon--they can also be an investment, a digital pet, and an NFT that you completely own.

From an investment standpoint, owning Axies has proven to be worthwhile financially for the earliest users. Costs of Axies vary depending on a myriad of factors such as breed count, rarity, and utility. As of early March, the average Axie was going for about $36 USD. Axie that are rare, unique, or have tremendous stats will naturally be harder to find and cost more money.

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Users have the option to purchase rare and skillful NFTs with their own money. What makes the game so appealing, however, is the chance to breed the Axie. Each Axie is able to breed a maximum of seven times, which is shown in their breed count out of 7. This can be done with multiple different Axie partners. For example, Axies with a breed count of 0/7 are known as Virgin Axies and are viewed as more valuable in the marketplace. While it’s not free to breed and there are certain limitations that exist, you have the ability to create seven new Axie (7 new NFTs) from your initial investment. Since Axies are NFTs and you own them, you can sell or trade the offspring as you wish.

As stated above, breeding Axies isn’t a free endeavor. There are game fees associated as well as tools needed to complete the process. The tools needed include the in-game currency SLP and Axie Infinity Shard (AXS), which will be explained later in this piece. Breeding costs increase each successive time. The AXS cost remains constant at 0.5, while the SLP increases by a factor of roughly 1.65 each time. These currencies can be earned through gameplay or can be purchased.

All Axies have a base design that serves as the graphics for the creature. Additionally, on top of this design each Axie will have different features or properties that make them appear unique. This is a common facet of NFTs and can be seen in other projects like Bored Ape Yacht Club, Lazy Lions, and CryptoPunks.

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Each Axie also has a unique genetic code that comes into play when breeding. Mimicking human biology, Axies carry different dominant, recessive, and minor recessive traits. These traits combine with their partners' to create new Axie offspring. These traits combined impact the new Axie’s looks and skill sets which comes in handy during battle.

Battling in Axie Infinity

Battles won result in earning SLP, granting the users to do a multitude of things. So how do these battles work?

Each Axie has its own skill set. There are 4 stats used for battles:

  • Health - The health of your Axie and its ability to remain in battle
  • Speed - Determines order of attack; the faster Axie attacks first
  • Skill - Determines bonus damage
  • Morale - Increases chances of Last Stands and Critical Hits

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When going into battle there are typically three positions you should fill.

  • Tanker - Like a Tank, the ability to withstand damage is key. This position is used mainly for protecting team members. A high health rating is key.
  • Damager - The Axie filling this position should have strong abilities geared toward attacking, which causes damage to the other team.
  • Support - Usually a healer or an Axie that possesses skills to give other players a boost or ‘buff’.

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Each Axie comes equipped with 4 unique cards that serve as modifiers, or adjustments to existing attributes. Each of those cards will have a duplicate in the deck. So, a player will have 3 Axies with 2 copies of their 4 unique cards, making it a deck of 24 cards. Each player will choose a playing card from each Axie to battle with.

These ability cards have 4 components:

  • Energy - How much energy does this play take? The number will be in the top left corner, inside of a yellow circle. Each player starts with 3 energy and gains 2 energy each turn.
  • Attack - How much damage does this card do to the opponent? The number is located on the left side of the card, and rests over a red sword graphic.
  • Shield - How much damage does this card prevent against an attack?
  • Effect - Is there anything distinguishing this card from other abilities? An example might be that a particular card always strikes first when attacking in Last Stand.

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These components interact with each other to determine a winner. There are nuances to get into, including the ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ format that provides bonuses/penalties depending on battling classes. Users also get the benefit of competing against other users of similar aptitude. This is done by pairing players with closely-ranked MMRs (Match Making Ratings). You’ll want to play often, as the higher your MMR is, the more SLP you earn per win. Players with the highest MMR can earn up to 14 SLP per Arena mode win.

The Axie Infinity Homeland

Adventure and Arena battles alike are located in the Axie homeland, Lunacia. This homeland is another element of Axie that gives users power, input, and some control over the game. The land ownership is part of what makes Axie so popular and a community.

Lunacia are tokenized plots of land that serve as homes and bases of operations. Plots of land can be repurposed and upgraded, using elements found, obtained, and purchased in the game. Land can be purchased on the marketplace and used at the owner's discretion. This includes renting out your space to other players, in exchange for collateral of your choice.

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Another benefit land holders possess is first access to resources that spawn on their land. Throughout the game resources like herbs, stones, crystals, and much more will spawn in various areas. These resources can be used to upgrade your land, or Axies. The type of terrain your plot of land sits on helps to determine what resources you’ll typically have access to.

Axie Infinity Game Tokens

Axie Infinity provides tons of opportunities to customize your experience. Whether you are in it for the gameplay, or as an investment, you’ll need game tokens to fuel and fund your experience. There are two main types of tokens you need to be familiar with: Axie Infinity Shards (AXS) and Smooth Love Potion (SLP).

Axie Infinity Shards (AXS)

AXS is required for the breeding of your Axie, as well as some other in-game functions. However, AXS is also a governance token. AXS holders have the ability to vote on future development of the gaming experience and have obtained a slice of the Axie universe. That’s right, Axie players who own AXS are co-owners of the game, helping to determine its next steps in the gaming experience and the Axie ecosystem. AXS ownership has other perks as well. AXS can be used to purchase exclusive in-house NFTs.

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You can obtain AXS through purchase or gameplay, i.e. battles/challenges in various game modes. In addition to simply acquiring AXS, you can also stake the currency. When a user ‘stakes’ their share, they are essentially saying they will not withdraw their currency for a designated amount of time, in exchange for fractional returns. Staking allows for computer systems to ‘bid’ on the right to mine more of a currency, in this case, AXS. This is because AXS uses a proof-of-stake method of mining. Another theorized benefit is that staking provides some stability to the coin. Additionally, in Axie Infinity staking your AXS is what allows you to vote on game elements.

The AXS ecosystem relies on four main components:

  • Players - Earn and Spend AXS: Contributing to the Axie Universe
  • Game Universe - Provides Revenue and AXS to the Community Treasury
  • Community Treasury - Governs the Game Universe and holds staked AXS from AXS Holders
  • AXS Holders - Earn rewards through play and staking, provides votes and guidance to Community Treasury

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Axie Infinity Smooth Love Potion (SLP)

The Smooth Love Potion (SLP) is an in-game digital currency of the Axie Infinity Universe that is a necessary component needed to breed your Axies. SLP is earned through both Arena and Adventure mode along with Daily Quests. Daily Quests are typically some combination of successful battles in each mode, collecting resources, breeding, and much more.

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Axie Infinity Statistics

There’s a lot to unpack, but by now the potential is glaringly obvious. The game is fun, and once you dive in, it's easy to understand. The potential for earning real world money for playing a game has enticed millions and the game continues to grow. Due to Axie Infinity being partially owned by its own community of gamers, it's reasonable to expect gameplay to improve with user-friendly initiatives and add-ons. Axie’s genius in these regards have led to some stammering statistics:

  • The Mystic Axie sold for 300 $ETH, which at the time of sale was valued over $1.1 Million Dollars
  • Axie Infinity NFT has eclipsed $4 Billion in all-time sales, according to cryptoslam, as reported by yahoo finance
  • Sky Mavis, developer of Axie Infinity, reached a valuation of $4.5 Billion as of April 2022

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Is Axie Infinity the Future of Gaming?

The creative use of NFTs and earning real money was nothing short of genius. The success Axie Infinity has reached is sure to produce replicas and imitations. Even popular, well-established games are sure to capitalize on the model Axie Infinity invented and popularized. Axie Infinity can be used as a fun game to pass the time or as an investment for serious and experienced crypto enthusiasts. Not many games allow you to participate from so many different aspects. There is plenty more nuance and excitement to be discovered within the game. The play-to-earn model is here to stay, so get familiar and get started today.


FAQ

Q: Is Axie Infinity Free to Play?
A: No, in order to start playing Axie Infinity you will need at least three Axies. They are NFTs, therefore you will have to purchase them. They can be bought and sold on the Axie Infinity marketplace.

Q: Is Axie Infinity worth it?
A: The game is exactly what you make of it. Since the starting price can be fairly expensive (around $300 for decent starting axis), the game will only be worth it if you're committed to playing the game for at least a few months. While the initial investment may require a relatively long-term commitment, you shouldn’t worry about playability and fun. Since the game is governed by its own community of users, it’s unlikely that any changes that could comprise gameplay for profit would occur.

Q: Is an Axie an NFT?
A: It is. Axie, comparably to a digital pet, is something you have ownership of. Due to this, you can sell or trade your Axie at any time via the marketplace.

Q: Is Axie Infinity safe?
A: Axie is a community of users looking out for one another. While nothing can be guaranteed as 100% safe, the sheer design and the use of ultra-safe ETH blockchain make this game tightly secured.