Axie Infinity is a NFT-based gaming ecosystem developed by Sky Mavis since 2018. Over the years, Sky Mavis developed multiple gaming experiences for Axie Infinity that went through multiple iterations.
In this review, I will be focussing on the gaming experiences currently available (Sept 2023) in the Axie Infinity gaming ecosystem from a gamer's perspective. Hopefully this will help you answer the question: Is Axie Infinity worth playing?
Before I get into it, here is a bit about myself to give you some context. I started playing Axie V2 (Classic) in early 2021 as a casual gamer, partnered with a friend to run a scholarship during the bull run, took a break from Axie when the bear hit, came back to Axie mid 2022 when Axie V3 (Origins) released, started making content for Origins since then, and started data analysis and writing Meta Reports for Origins in 2023. I also own a Land in Lunacia (the Axie Universe) and will be sharing my experiences with Land gameplay below.
[As I am shifting my blogging platform, I am happy to start on this platform with this post to hopefully grow the Axie community. If you enjoy what you read and would like to give me a little support, you can consider the following: Collect this post, Subscribe to this blog, Check out my YouTube channel, and Use my Lunacian code: maurice if you are a fellow Lunacian.]
Types of Gaming Experiences in Axie Infinity
Axie Infinity: Origins - A Digital Card Game
The gaming experiences in Axie Infinity has evolved and expanded over the years. The main game that most players associate Axie with is a Digital Card game. There are different iterations of the main game and here I will be focussing on the current iteration which is Axie Infinity: Origins (V3).
One way I like to look at Axie Origins is to imagine a combination of Pokémon and Hearthstone. You have a team of 3 Axies with each Axie having 6 different parts, corresponding to 6 different cards. You use your 3 Axies to fight against another player's Axie in PvP (or against mobs and bosses in PvE). Currently, the PvP Arena is the main mode in the game where most of the rewards are from and where players spend most of their time.
In PvP Arena, you use the cards from your Axies to defeat your opponent's Axies. Whoever defeats all of their opponent's Axies first wins the game, similar to Pokémon battles. The Digital Card Game part comes during the battle where you start with a deck of cards corresponding to the parts of your 3 Axies. It is a turn-based game, similar to Hearthstone, where after your opponent's turn, you start your turn by drawing a certain number of cards, play your cards during your turn, and end your turn followed by the start of your opponent's next turn.
A large part of Axie Origins is about building your team around particular synergies. Similar to other Digital Card Games, there are different strategies and archetypes. If you enjoy team building and theorycrafting, I think Axie Origins can be a fun game to get into. There are balance changes every Season (6-week long), which keep the game fresh every Season. Within each Season, there are 3 Eras (2-week each) where different sets of items (Runes and Charms) are available to be equipped on your Axies. You can think of it as the ruleset changes every 2 weeks during the Season.
As in Pokémon and Heartstone (and many other games), there is an in-game "Ladder" and ranking system. In Axie Origins, there are tokens and other in-game rewards based on where you are on the Leaderboard at the end of each Era.
Currently, the gameplay in Origins is relatively engaging compared to earlier Seasons. There are decisions to be made every turn that could make a difference in the results of the game. While there are certain mechanics that could still be improved and certain bugs that are yet to be fixed, I would say overall the game is in a state that can be fun for casual players to build their own teams with their favourite strategies to fight with other players in the Arena. The meta is relatively healthy with many archetypes being capable of reaching Challenger (the highest rank on the Ladder similar to Master Ball in Pokémon and Legend in Hearthstone).
[If you want to stay in touch with the meta in Axie Origins, keep an eye out on my future posts on Origins Meta Reports and check out my previous Meta Reports in my old Axie blog.]
Axie Infinity: Homeland - A Land Management Game
Besides Origins, another core Axie game developed by Sky Mavis is Axie Infinity: Homeland, which is a Land Management Game where players can send Axies to do various activities with a plot of Land such as farming crops, gathering and processing materials, crafting items etc. Players need to have a Land Plot (either own one or delegated one) to play Homeland. Similar to other Land Management Games, you start with a relatively empty plot, gather materials to build more buildings in your plot and to level up your buildings, allowing to craft, farm, process, and cook more things. There is a sense of progression over time as you do activities in your plot to level it up.
There is also a combat system in Homeland, but at the moment it is a passive system where you can equip adventurers with items you crafted and produced from your plot, and then send the adventurers to fight. While you can send adventurers in groups of 3, and there could be some strategies involved in grouping and equipping adventurers, it is not the most engaging and accessible part of the game given that the combat is passive (i.e. you have no control during the combat).
My feeling of Homeland has changed over time as it continues to evolve. The reward system for Homeland has changed over time. Ealier today, the Pre-Beta phase for Homeland has just started, which "will run for an indefinite period of time". Given the new update with the reward system (see below for more discussions), I personally am enjoying Homeland more as I get the sense of progress as I do activities in my Land plot in Homeland.
If you like incremental games where you do the same activites everyday and see progress over time, Homeland can be a fun game especially with the new reward system where you can earn tokens by doing in-game activites.
Other exisiting and upcoming Axie Games
There are many other Axie games that are released or are being developed, many of which are by third-party developers partnering with Sky Mavis. These games can be found on the Mavis Hub. Here I will not go through every single available and upcoming games but I will give a brief overview to get an idea of the potential of the future of the Axie Infinity gaming ecosystem.
The 2 Axie games currently available by third-party developers are Axie Infinity: Raylight and Defenders of Lunacian Land (DOLL). Raylight is a casual game based around trying different combinations of minerals to grow different plants, and planting the plants to decorate your land plot. DOLL is a survival action game where you choose your Axie, each with a set of skills, and control the "automatically attacking Axie while fighting waves of enemies".
From Sky Mavis, we have Axie Classic (V2) which is seeing some resurgence recently as well as a new social game called Project T with its prototype released in Aug 2023. It is not clear if there will be any further development for Axie Classic but Project T is looking promising as a social platform for Lunacians to hang out. In Project T, players can walk with one of their own Axies to the Town area of the game to meet and chat with other Lunacians. While the hype has died down after its initial release, there could be a big potential in Project T if more features are added in future releases.
Finally we have upcoming games still in their early stages of development but are available to test in Mavis Hub Greenlight. There are many difficult types of games including Cooking, Sports, Fighting, Physical and Digital Card Game, Dungeon Crawl, Team-based Battling etc.
We are currently still in an early stage in the Axie Infinity gaming ecosystem which many games still under development, but there are already a few playable games, in particular Axie Origins which has over 60000 players last Season. In my opinion, what sets Axie Infinity apart from other games is the connections between these different gaming experience through blockchain technology in the use of NFTs.
Connecting Gaming Experiences - Axie Experience Points (AXP)
Axie Experience Points (AXP) was introduced in July 2023 as a way to connect the different gaming experiences in the Axie Infinity gaming ecosystem. While it is still at a very early stage of its development, the idea is that players can level up their Axies by playing different Axie games, and by leveling up their Axies, it can have different effects in each game.
At the time of writing, AXP is only implemented in Axie Origins where playing can earn AXP to ascend their Axie by using their Axies in Origins Arena battles. There is currently no in-game effect with leveling up Axies, so there is no immediate incentives in earning AXP other than to feel good having your Axies at high levels. Having said that, if you see a future in the Axie Infinity gaming ecosystem, start leveling up your Axies may not be a bad idea as there could be potential future benefits in games.
Earning Potential in playing Axie Infinity
During the last bull run, many players were attracted to Axie Infinity because of its earning potential. The economy of Axie has gone up and down just like the rest of the market. Here I will focus on the current state of the game economy from a gamer's perspective to help you answer the question of whether Axie Infinity is worth playing.
[Note that everything here is only based on my personal experience and nothing here is financial advice. Different people are willing to invest different amount for games, so always do your own research when you decide to invest in any games (and anything in general). Also, I delibrately do not mention any numbers for prices and rewards as they can flucatuate significantly over time.]
Game Economy in Axie Infinity: Origins
For beginners, you can start playing Axie Origins without paying anything. All you need is a device (phone or computer), and you can download the game and start playing using the free Starter Axies provided to you when you start the game. As you progress through the game, you can unlock more free Starter Axies. You can climb up the Leaderboard and earn Leaderboard rewards in AXS tokens with your Starter Axies, so it is possible to so-called "Free-to-Play-to-earn".
In Season 5, Fortune Chests rewards with AXS rewards were introduced where lucky players can get Fortune Chests after winning a game in Origins Arena during the events. You can also earn a small amount of AXS rewards every week during the Season from Weekly mission since Season 5. However, one limitation with using only Starter Axies is that you cannot earn any SLP tokens when you win (or draw) games in the Arena. the bigger limitation is that it is very difficult to climb far up the Ladder with only Starter Axies as they often lack synergies compared to players who play with NFT Axies.
For causal players who would like to own and play with their own Axies, the main economy loop when playing Origins involves buying Axies from the Marketplace, crafting and/or buying items to equip your Axies, (selling unwanted items and Axies), (earning small amount of SLP tokens from games), and earning Leaderboard rewards in AXS tokens. While some players pay to enjoy the game by buying new Axies and items from the Marketplace, some players can make a small profit from playing Origins if they are smart and/or lucky (e.g. from Fortune Chests).
The crafting of NFT items (Runes and Charms) requires SLP tokens. Many players spend SLP to craft items in game to power up their Axies. Currently the crafting system is a gatcha system with different chances of obtaining different items. There are certain items that are more desirable, hence can sell for better price than others. Lucky crafters can make a profit if they manage to craft items that can sell for profit.
If you are a good Origins player, you can make a profit by getting to a high rank on the Ladder to earn the Leaderboard AXS rewards. One has to balance the amount spent on buying Axies and items with the potential rewards from the Leaderboard. Some players can make a profit, especially if they can sell the Axies they used to climb the Ladder near the end of each Era, though there is always risks involved if you do not perform as well as you expect on the Ladder and/or you cannot sell off your Axies at certain price etc.
As for any marketplaces, there are always players who can make a profit from flipping Axies and items, though one needs to keep in mind the market fee, and that it is relatively high risk if you cannot sell your Axies or items at the desired prices.
In Axie Infinity, breeding Axies can be profitable if you are good at predicting the meta to breed Axies that are desirable and sell for a profit. AXS and SLP tokens are required for breeding Axies, so again there are risks in not being able to sell your Axies at desired prices. In additional, there are RNG involved in Axie breeding, and so you do not always get the Axies with the parts that you want.
Finally, if you are very serious about Axie Origins (or Classic), there are tournaments with prizes that you can enter. Do note that in order to be competitive, a significant investment is required to obtained the Axies that are competitive for tournaments.
Game Economy in Axie Infinity: Homeland
With the new updates in the Pre-Beta phase of Homeland, players can now earn AXS rewards from activities in-game such as gathering, crafting etc. There is a limit on how much one can earn from each land plot depending on the type of plot. From a gamer's perspective, it can add to the fun of playing if you enjoy the feeling of being able to earn a very small amount while playing the game. Having said that, even though some of the staking reward was moved to rewards from gameplay, most of the rewards from Land is still from staking at the time of writing. The main exception is the new Moonfall system where "players have the chance to discover a Moonfall once per account, per plot, per day". Given that there is a limit on the total number of discoverable Moonfalls across all players per day, you will have to be lucky in order to earn significantly from Homeland at the moment.
Land is an expensive asset in Axie Infinity. Currently most of the reward from Land is still from staking. The reward during the Pre-Beta phase is relatively small compared to the staking reward (unless you get lucky with Moonfall), so there is still a long way to go before we can comment much about the potential to earn through gameplay in Axie Homeland.
While Axie Infinity has been around since 2018, it is still in a relatively early stage of its development as a gaming ecosystem with many upcoming games under development. As a gamer, I enjoy playing both Axie Origins and Axie Homeland. If you are looking for a fun Digital Card Game to play, especially in the theorycrafting and team building aspects, I would recommend you give Axie Origins a go. For the other Axie games, including Axie Homeland, there is still some way to go in terms of development.
Ultimately, while there is potential to earn if you are smart and/or lucky, do not expect to make big earnings from Axie unless you are willing to take considerable risks and put in the effort and time to learn about the game. Having said that, Axie Origins is a fun game to play if you see it as a game with an additional upside of having a potential to make some small profits. Finally, I should mention that Axie has a strong and active community, which is one of the biggest strengths of the Axie Infinity ecosystem.
Thank you so much for your support! If you have any comments and/or suggestions, please feel free comment or reach out to me on X (Twitter) or Discord @mauriceccy.
If you find the post informative and would like to see more, consider the following: Collect this post, Subscribe to this blog, Check out my YouTube channel, and Use my Lunacian code: maurice.
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