How can Algorand fix card games?
For some time now crypto games have attracted a lot of attention. Big companies, like Ubisoft, are trying to utilize the technology in existing games. Is game-fi useful in game development and more importantly, can players benefit from it? This article will take a deep dive into the upsides and downsides of putting blockchain technologies into games.
Collectibles and gaming marketplaces, like Steam, have been live for a long time now, but they do not allow players to really own their assets. A CS:GO knife can be exchanged safely for other goods only in the Steam’s ecosystem. It also cannot be easily sold. This basically means you need to use shady third-party websites with a lot of additional fees and hidden costs to have a chance of getting something back. This situation is even worse in mainstream card games. Most of them don’t even have a working market to sell unused cards and don’t allow such practices in the first place. These games totally defeat the purpose of the TCG (Trading Card Game) genre, by not letting players trade them.
Games like Pokémon or Yu-Gi-Oh started off with an idea of trading as a crucial part of the experience. Over the years and progression of digitalization people allowed companies to exploit this genre by unsustainable game models. These models often incentivize pay-to-win mechanics. It is unsurprisingly frustrating for the players, that even the Pokémon TCG Live won’t support trading (especially because trading was a feature in previous versions of the game).
Check out this interesting article about ownership, reselling, and subscription-based gaming models brought up by a French court in 2019: https://wccftech.com/steam-resell-games-french-court/amp/
Upsides of Blockchain Games
Important factors, that convinced Aegir Tactics, as a studio founded with a vision of empowering players, to implement blockchain mechanics into the game are:
- letting players control their assets
- truly influence the future of the game ecosystem through governance
- giving the community more control over running tournaments and delivering prizes
A fairly large amount of blockchain games rely on constant microtransactions affecting gameplay connected to the game’s efficiency. It’s a business model, that works well in case of closed and really involved communities like MMORPGs. The model rewards people that sink more and more money into the game. Unfortunately, it may be really off-putting to any new player, because the entry barrier is too high to join. This strategy works as long as hardcore players keep enjoying the game and is often connected with constant price growth of content over time.
Unfortunately (or fortunately), it looks like it is not sustainable in the long term. You can observe this in many mainstream MMOs and card games with their popularity decreasing over time. You can read more about it and other CCGs’ flaws here! https://aegir-tactics.medium.com/what-is-wrong-with-the-current-state-of-online-collectible-card-games-47e86c113009
Aegir Tactics believe letting every player manage their assets is crucial to maintain a healthy relationship between developers and gamers. Additionally having an involved trading community really helps the game ecosystem thrive.
Another important upside is blockchain’s e-sport potential. Currently, pro players in the leading card games are not in the best shape, to say the least. Many pros have a hard time making a living out of tournaments, streaming, and donations. Creating small online ladders is almost impossible without a third-party software in many online videogames right now and just not worth for many potential organizations.
Playing for tokenized rewards incentivizes competition and allows players that build the community to organize smaller events. We can have a potential scenario, where an influencer creates a simple to organize tournament for its viewers. Afterwards players can confirm prizes were fairly sent on the blockchain without fraud. This transparency call allow everyone to see which organizers are trustworthy and which ones are not.
If you are interested in the reasons Aegir Tactics chose blockchain for our game read: https://medium.com/algorand/why-digital-card-game-aegir-tactics-chose-algorand-740359219d95
Downsides of Crypto Games
The biggest advantage of crypto games is also its most dangerous downside. Allowing people outside of the game ecosystem to trade assets on secondary markets can bring a lot of bad actors. Speculation can disrupt established economies. Bad Actors can manipulate markets which effect game adoption and gameplay.
Hacks and exploits are also dangerous to even the biggest game-fi projects. We encourage you to read this article written by Sean Murray about an Axie Infinity hack which effected many players: https://www.thegamer.com/nft-axie-infinity-security-breach
Another problem which crypto games need to overcome is their main focus on crypto and not games. You can see this approach in game-fi marketing and gameplay. Crypto gaming ads often play around the idea of promising great earnings as a main driver to join the community for potential players. (Players or investors? Playing investors?) We are not sure, but we see that it is not the right path for us. Often shallow and rushed out gameplay, presales of NFTs with no specified utility, and overall weak repeat value of a gameplay are mostly overlooked by people joining the game’s ecosystem. That usually leaves them trapped with an expensive jpg and a game that is almost unplayable.
It turns out, that players want to have fun while playing, after their exhausting day in school, work, or any other hardship. Worrying about your investment, or playing just to earn money is not so appealing outside of “crypto world”.
How Aegir Tactics wants to overcome
First of all, we are striving to make our game accessible and fun! Graphics, music, lore, and gameplay have to bring people joy. We want to make a game which people want to play. Everyone on our team are gamers with good portion of us being card game players. We want to create a game that we will enjoy playing. In order to accomplish this we have done extensive research on successes and failures of similar ventures. Aegir Tactics is continually interviewing current players for on going feedback to see what players actually want from card games. Having a pro Hearthstone player and a World Champion Coach on our team is definitely crucial to our success. Nias and Pony have great knowledge about CCGs and design/scaling/balancing issues.
Additionally, Aegir Tactics is aiming to make the game as far from pay-to-win as possible by restricting monetary usage only for changes that won’t affect Aegir’s gameplay in an unfair way. This approach makes it difficult for bad actors to manipulate the economy and allows players who have skill rather than money to win. It also allows you to flex our beautiful Mythic Legends in exchange of supporting the game. Our dream is to create a CCG that is highly competitive, and highly accessible.
About the Author
Fafi is a community manager at Aegir Tactics. He loves music and blockchain. You can follow him on twitter https://twitter.com/Fafloxominator
Aegir Tactics links: aegir.algo.xyz