Two slashes: a new start, a comment, an operator, a separation, a type of circuit; the character combination can mean different things depending on your background and training. One thing we absolutely know about two slash symbols typed together — they’re parallel. This is truly a layered meme to introduce and reference the community of what is currently one of the fastest-growing projects in the game-fi, play-to-earn, and NFT spaces.
The Parallel universe begins as many do, with humans attempting to release and harness massive amounts of energy, and f#$%ing up horribly. Fleeing the disaster that renders Earth uninhabitable, survivors are split into five parallel streams of evolution as they are forced off the planet. Each of the five parallels, Earthen, Marcolian, Augencore, Shroud, and Kathari, developed in different ways — with some leaning into technology and others into cloning. With each group having been gone for thousands of years, they are all called back by the development of the Earth into a major power source, resulting from the spark of catastrophe that originally sent them fleeing. Now each Parallel returns to their former home to claim the valuable energy source, each believing it to be rightfully theirs. This brings about conflict, and so the story begins.
I have been an early collector with the Parallel project and have my own bags, so feel free to take all of this excitement with a grain of salt — but who better to dig into the details with?
The Trading Card Game
The trading card game (TCG) is the first project that was developed and is currently in its beta phase. It can be loosely compared to a combination of Magic the Gathering (MTG), Gods Unchained, and Star Wars. Each player starts with 30 Health, and a deck of 40 cards from their Parallel faction (with an exception made for Universal cards). Players take turns banking cards for Energy and playing Units, Effects, Relics, Upgrades, and more to try to take the advantage and reduce their enemy’s Health to zero.
What is far from zero is the excitement around the franchise — it seems to be seeping out all over the place, with the NFT cards often placing in the top 10 daily traded collections, and more influencers and Twitch streamers joining the beta and mentioning how much fun they’re having playing the game. Oh, did I mention it’s fun? One of the recurring critiques from thought leaders and influencers is that many play-to-earn and web3 games have been missing this key factor. The Parallel team has been building for a while now and has been very responsive to the community. The result is a strong and passionate community full of content creators and the emergence of competitive ranked league complete with tournaments.
Each Parallel has a different play style, not unlike the five colors in MTG. The Earthen tend to have buffs, healing, and pacifism. The Marcolians are more aggressive, dealing quick damage and buffing from assault. The Kathari rely on cloning and entry (muster) effects to overwhelm enemies with numbers. The Augencore use technology and upgrades to augment their attacks and defenses. Then there is the Shroud, who can mysteriously banish almost anything… and it might end up on their side of the field if you aren’t careful.
How Is This Play-To-Earn? Do I Need To Pay?
Balancing access and play-to-earn models is where the Parallel team shows their deep web3 roots and really starts to shine. You are able to pick up and play the Parallel TCG for free, and earn in-game cards called Apparition versions. These are fully playable but extras can also be ‘Scrapped’ to craft a specific desired card. Just like MTG Arena, Fortnite, or similar free-to-play games, you can play and build a full card collection for use in the game without spending any money. That being said, there are many options to earn from winning games if you own NFT versions of the cards that you are using in your deck.
Alongside the studio building the game, the Echelon Prime Foundation was created to steward gameplay incentives and other token-related aspects of the game. There are elected positions to serve, so if you want to get involved, you can. It is DAO-like, with the organization polling members using Snapshot, and it has designed a system of gameplay rewards and token sinks for utility, all built around the PRIME token. You are able to earn an increasing amount of the overall PRIME reward cap based on the number of cards in your played deck that are NFTs rather than apparitions. There are some additional NFT items that can increase your in-game winnings, but you’ll have to DYOR on them (keyframe system and the Avatar collection).
The Echo concept has also just been released, which allows players to produce ‘Echos’ from NFT cards that are played in the TCG and leveled up. The Echos are NFTs which can be bought and sold, and like other NFT cards, unlock higher PRIME earnings when used in your deck. You can dig deeper into the logic behind Echos in this X thread from Kalos.
Deeper Into the Parallel Universe
The introduction to Parallel is the trading card game, but the lore is deep and there are already additional formats being explored within the universe. They have started a comic series with two releases and a third to be released very soon. You’ll soon also be able to add an AI game to that list as well, as the studio has been developing a game called Colony where you are guiding AI avatars in the game world. So far there has only been one semi-public test of Colony, though there has been talk of more closed playtests for the game coming up soon.
Dig a little into the founders and what they are sharing in public and you’ll see a host of multi-chain infrastructure thinking and innovative tool creation. The team has delivered a pack drop system that avoids gas-wars (with an intention to share), a wallet-to-wallet messaging protocol, and a PRIME bridge from Ethereum Mainnet to Base. They are looking into more experimental chain and oracle deployments to specifically deal with data availability while practically eliminating transaction costs and the regular friction points that web3 has. The list of innovations this team is working on, or has quietly shipped, grows all the time.
There were fairly accessibly priced (0.05 ETH) starter decks offered during the Base Onchain Summer event that also included access to the TCG beta. The Avatar Challenge wrapped up recently, which offered current players an invite code after 25 wins in the ranked arena. If your referral completed their rookie queue (5 wins with each Parallel starter deck), the referrer was able to reserve one of the Avatars held for promotions by the Parallel team for 11 PRIME.
The game is continuing to roll out to more players, so there are likely to be more ways to get into the beta. Keep watching for new ways to join, or the switch from closed beta to public beta or full public release!
Kris has been around the crypto space for nearly a decade, researching and writing about the social aspects of the space. He has produced some of the early academic social research on blockchain communities, and has been working in the web3 space as a communicator, narrative and community builder, utopianist, and all around web3 enthusiast.
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trewkat is a writer, editor, and designer at BanklessDAO. She’s interested in learning about web3, with a particular focus on how best to communicate this knowledge to others.
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