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Axie Infinity's Parts Evolution: Where it All Began

Exploring the steps and leaps leading to of Axie Infinity's Parts Evolution, a system that sets to revolutionize the utility of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).

As gamers, we all get excited about upgrading weapons, acquiring rare gear, and evolving our characters. It's part of what keeps us hooked and immersed in universally loved games such as Pokémon. Well, one project taking this idea of evolution to the next level is Axie Infinity. Recently, Axie Infinity launched its new Parts Evolution system for its NFT assets called axies. This innovative blockchain-powered mechanic is revolutionizing the capabilities and utility of Non-Fungible Tokens in blockchain games, while keeping true to every gamer's inner desire for progression.

In Axie Infinity, the axies you collect, breed, and battle with are more than just static images or 3D models. They have complex genes encoded on the blockchain which dictate their physical traits and abilities. Players have been mixing and matching Axie genes since the beginning to produce offspring with better stats and unlockable special abilities for use in battles. Collectors do the same to obtain rare, limited-only parts. But this new Parts Evolution system takes customization to staggering new heights that could reshape player-owned economies in gaming as well as NFT utility among collector communities.

The implications of this new evolution mechanic are as thrilling as they come for blockchain games. Our NFT assets are breaking free from their static forms and becoming dynamic digital lifeforms in their own right! So let's dive in and explore the evolution design that has hundreds of thousands of gamers and collectors on the edge of their seats. This next big leap for NFT utility in gaming is important not just for Axie, but for all our virtual adventures yet to come!

Axie Infinity Overview

Sky Mavis, the company behind Axie Infinity, has cemented itself as a pioneer in the NFT gaming space thanks to its incredible traction and influence since launching. As one of the earliest and most successful blockchain video games/IP, Axie has become a leader that other projects follow closely for inspiration.

In terms of adoption, Axie Infinity has topped 2.5 million daily active users at its peak---the only blockchain-based game to do so so far! To this day, the project still holds the highest NFT trading volume of any collection of all time, highlighting its unmatched popularity.

All time sales volume ranking as per

Axie Infinity has also revolutionized the play-to-earn model and shown how players can truly own in-game assets. From its origins in allowing players to earn tokens through skilled gameplay all the way to enabling true ownership of digital creatures as NFTs, Axie Infinity set the standard for how blockchain games can empower users.

With so much adoption and headlines garnered already, Axie Infinity sits comfortably as the most influential NFT game so far. But don't be fooled, Axie's best chapters still remain unwritten.

Now the team is breaking new ground yet again with the launch of their long-awaited Parts Evolution system. This innovative new feature marks Axie's next leap in empowering NFT utility and ownership. For both existing player-collectors and newcomers, Parts Evolution opens up an exciting new frontier of customization and progression possibilities with our virtual pet companions.

In the Beginning...

While Parts Evolution may seem like a new mechanic, its conceptual seeds have existed in Axie Infinity since the very beginning. Embedded in the origins of every Axie are genes coded on the blockchain itself. These complex genes, intricately coded by genius, dictate all aspects of these virtual creatures. In fact, the very first axies minted were made of codes while the art was still in development! However, one thing is for sure, this genomic backbone always held latent potential for advancement.

The first-ever axies minted were made of codes. This is commemorated in the >code:axie_ merch collection.

When the game first launched, some special "Origin" Axies were born possessing unique Mystic parts. At the time, these parts served little purpose beyond visual prestige. But it was hinted that Mystic axies possess untapped potential deeply rooted in the Axie genome, waiting to be unlocked.

A screen-clipping of an Axie Infinity medium article from years ago.

Furthermore, the idea of Parts Evolution existed even earlier than some may realize. Only a month after its launch, the Axie Infinity team announced plans for a "Branching Evolution" mechanic. This would have allowed Axie parts to evolve down divergent paths into one of two new forms. While branching evolution did not actually make it into the game, its proposal showed that parts upgrading was envisioned as a core feature right from the start. The developers had always planned to let Axies grow in new ways beyond breeding genetics alone.

Image used to announce an evolution mechanic on April 2018.

The Ladders that Led Us Here

If Parts Evolution was hinted and even announced in the beginning, what took it so long? That my friends is an important question! Even more so is the important answer: the ladders were just not in place yet!

While parts evolution was envisioned early on, certain milestones and advancement to the technology first had to be achieved for it to become viable in execution. The Axie Infinity team did not want to rush into adding evolution until the time was right.

Ladder #1: Lowering Gas Fees

One major limitation was gas fees on Ethereum. Transactions like evolving NFTs would have been far too expensive on Layer 1. To solve this, the Ronin Network sidechain was launched by Sky Mavis specifically for Axie Infinity to scale. By migrating the game and assets to Ronin, evolution mechanics could be supported without prohibitively high gas costs. The Ronin sidechain is Axie Infinity's "long term solution that makes participating in the Axie game and economy, fast, cheap, and seamless."

Screen clipping of the Ronin announcement from Axie Infinity's Medium article.

True to its mission, the Ronin Network was instrumental in helping Axie Infinity scale to its first million players. This meteoric rise in popularity brought both blessings and challenges, as Axie's population exploded overnight into the millions. While exciting, this sudden influx of new users and demand put strains on existing systems. Breeders and players were hungry for more tools in their arsenal to advance for rewards. This pressure highlighted the need for thoughtful vertical progression that aligned with Axie Infinity's ethos.

Ladder #2: Leveling System

Balancing player-collector progression required careful thought, considerations and engineering. Parts Evolution had to reinforce an emotional bond between player-collectors and their axies through active gameplay. It took time designing vertical advancement that reward active, meaningful participation rather than just speculative breeding or extractive token farming. This led to the development of Axie Core.

To encourage meaningful vertical progression, the team developed a long-term vision called Axie Core. This represents the universal and timeless Axie experience that goes beyond any single game mode. Axie Core aims to strengthen the emotional bond between player-collectors and their Axies through deep customization.

Axie Core is an experience that is now tied to one particular game.

Core features like equipping accessories, leveling, breeding, and pet interactions all establish powerful personal connections. These deepen the sense of virtual pet ownership and identity investment. Just as real life pet and owner bonds are primal, the team believes digital bonds between a player-collector and Axies will become integral to one's online persona.

Increasing player affection for their Axies builds a more loyal community and resilient economy. This emotional foundation motivated the development of parts evolution, so players could permanently enhance their Axies through active participation.

But how can we measure active participation in a meaningful way? Enter AXP!

The introduction of Axie Experience Points (AXP) and leveling was a critical milestone. This feature enabled the first steps towards meaningful vertical progression. Taking a page from the Pokémon experience, AXP would let players upgrade their Axies through active participation across game modes.

Earning AXP and increasing an Axie's level serves dual purposes. First, it allows the ability to actually unlock parts for evolution by meeting level requirements on-chain. Second, the leveling journey itself deepens the emotional investment and care for one's Axies over time.

By aligning progression with activities that strengthen player-Axie bonds, AXP helped lay the groundwork for parts evolution's seamless integration. Leveling our Axies forms connections on the journey to see them evolve.

Axie Core's emphasis on nurturing player-Axie bonds accelerated the realization of Parts Evolution. By aligning progression with this vision for an intimate and fulfilling metaverse relationship, the stage was set for evolution's launch.

But not so fast! What is Parts Evolution if it doesn't makes sense within the Axie Infinity world called Lunacia? Just a fad, doomed to fade. But that isn't the case!

Ladder #3: Lore Integration

Let's talk about my favorite subject: THE LORE!

Certainly, the team also wanted to introduce Parts Evolution in a way that made sense narratively. Only through developing the later chapters of Axie lore could the inclusion of evolution materials like Mementos, Radiant Spirit Shells, et cetera, be properly explained and integrated into the lore of Lunacia.

On December 2022, Axie Infinity dropped the very thing that brought essence and binds all things about Axies: their story.

If you watch and listen carefully, you'd notice that the Axies in its current form as we see them now are actually devolved ones! Far from the majesty that they once possessed at the height of their existence! The Supreme Axies, as they're called in their fullest potential, is the goal of Parts Evolution. To once again reach the full power that Atia gifted them is every Axie's dream!

So while players could always breed Axies to isolate helpful traits, the lore suggested there were even deeper layers of evolutionary possibility within parts themselves. We just had to wait for the genes to be activated and expressed.

I believe Axie Infinity's lore played a huge part in the development of Parts Evolution. Incorporating parts evolution into Axie Infinity's rich lore was essential. As I mentioned in my other article, compelling narratives and worldbuilding foster immersion and community bonding. The storylines give context for new mechanics, deepening the experience.

By taking time to explain parts evolution through lore reveals, it could feel like a natural part of the story rather than a random new feature. Tying everything together narratively leads to a more cohesive and meaningful player journey. Just as shared lore bonds fans in other games, Axie's community can now rally around the lore possibilities unlocked by parts upgrading.

Lore integration breathed life into the new evolution system by grounding it in a larger fiction. This turned a standalone game mechanic into a fulfilling next chapter that Axie lovers could collectively take part in.

The Here and Now

With the key ingredients in place - lower gas fees, leveling mechanics, and lore integration - Axie Infinity could finally realize the long-held dream of bringing evolution to the Axies we know and love. The ladders were erected, and Parts Evolution could begin its climb.

So we've learned, that in many ways, Parts Evolution has been seeded in Axie Infinity all along. The roots of advancement and transformation have existed since its inception in both lore and game mechanics. Parts Evolution is thus the natural next step on the developmental arc traced back to the Mystic and Origin Axies themselves. It is the fulfillment of the Axie genome's destiny.

For Further Reading

Axie Infinity's Parts Evolution: How it Works - coming soon
Introducing: Axie Core - Official article explaining the concept of Axie Core
Axie Experience Points (AXP) are Here! - Official article explaining AXP
The Evolution Revolution: Axie Part Evolution is LIVE! - Official article explaining parts evolution
Dear Lunacia - A letter by Masamune, Axie's Art Lead, giving artist's context on parts evolution

Disclaimer: The articles on this blog about NFTs and blockchain technologies are for informational and entertainment purposes only. They do not constitute financial, legal, or expert advice of any kind. Investing in cryptocurrencies and NFTs involves substantial risk and the possibility of loss. Always do your own research before purchasing any digital assets. The author provides opinions based on personal experience but is not an expert or professional in finance, law, or technology. Readers should seek professional advice from certified experts before making any investment decisions. The author is not liable or responsible for any losses readers may incur from utilizing information on this blog.

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