Defining Axie infinity
Axie infinity is a decentralized game that borrows gameplay elements from Pokemon and Tomagotchi. The game uses cute NFT characters as game pieces on the Ethereum blockchain, while much of the in-game transactions of AXS and SLP, the game’s tokens, take place over the game’s own Ronin sidechain.
Launched in 2018 by Sky Mavis, Axie Infinity has quickly become one of the most popular NFT games in the world. Its cute characters, play-to-earn gameplay, and highly active global community are all conducive to collectors’ and gamers’ sentiments alike. Gamers, especially in Southeast Asia, have latched onto the fact that they can market-buy and breed game pieces, and sell them for a profit after just a short time.
The main part of the gameplay involves breeding, training, and then battling your team of Axies in tournaments against players across the globe. The higher the level of your Axies, the better chance of winning in tournaments. Then, players talk about their wins and strategies in the game’s over-subscribed Discord channel.
In some ways, Axie Infinity is partially responsible for the NFT boom that began in 2020. The growth of the NFT market has been noted by nearly every investor in speculative markets as sales volume went from just $13.7 million in the first half of 2020 to $2.5 billion through the first half of 2021, according to Reuters.
Let’s take a deeper look at the game, the hype, the massive community, and cryptos that make up the Axie Infinity ecosystem.
The Axie Infinity game is the cornerstone of the entire project. It is the dApp users play to the tune of over 460k transactions in September 2021, with a volume of over $460 million. So what is it all about?
The main game piece in the game is known as an Axie. These are unique NFT creatures with special abilities and weaknesses to train, increase in power, and exploit in battle, similar to Pokemon. There are also 9 classes of Axies, split into 3 groups, which have inherent characteristics that cannot be amended: (group 1) beast, mech, and bug, (group 2) reptile, plant, dusk, (group 3) aquatic, bird, and dawn.
While an Axie’s class cannot be changed, its abilities can be. Abilities are affected by a number of factors that players must be aware of when assembling a team of 3 Axies for battle, or looking to breed new Axies. The four properties of health, morale, skill, and speed have a direct impact on the in-battle performance of an Axie. There are also 6 body parts which affect the types of abilities an Axie has: eyes, ears, horns, mouth, back, and tail. Each individual body part and the combination of them in an Axie makes each Axie unique.
Many players train their Axies to accentuate the strengths of an Axie’s class, then round out their 3-Axie team with variegated character types. For example, bird Axies have an advantage over bug Axies, which have an advantage over reptiles. A trainer will keep that in mind when training their Axies and building teams for battle.
As of September 2021, there are about 6 million Axies in existence, according to moderator for the highly-active Axie subreddit. Each one of the can be bred to make new Axies and traded between players either 1-for-1 or sold for Ethereum in the Axie marketplace.
Breeding Axies costs AXS and SLP tokens in varying amounts depending on how often an Axie has been used in breeding. This means that professional breeders must hold a high amount of the tokens to do their work. Imagine the surprise, disbelief, and joy that overcame many players when SLP and AXS tokens gained hundreds of percents in price over the course of just a few months! Not only can they make money breeding and selling Axies, but their stockpiles of tokens turned into a small fortune as well.
Breeding has become a popular way for people in Southeast Asia - especially the Philippines - to pass their time and earn a wage. In fact, many players there make more money on Axie Infinity than they could at a standard salaried position, as has been covered by countless media outlets.
The game does not start and end with the Axie game piece. Sky Mavis has a long-term plan to build out an immersive world for Axie Infinity players. This includes allowing players to own a plot of Lunacia, the Axie homeworld.
Land owners enjoy a number of benefits, such as being able to harvest resources that can be used to upgrade their Axies and land. Sometimes, AXS tokens appear on land as well. The items found on land have varying degrees of rarity and application. Land owners can apply aesthetic and resource-related upgrades to their land.
Like with Axies, land can be traded in the marketplace.
After you’ve bought and/or bred Axies you can assemble teams consisting of 3 characters to send into battle either against AI or against other players. This is where you get a chance to test your skills as a trainer and, more importantly, you begin to learn about the many nuances of the game.
The battle system is fairly straightforward: you simply log in and pick a team, then send them into battle. Before the Ronin sidechain was launched, players had to spend a small amount of ETH to go into battle. Ronin has no transaction fees, so that is no longer a barrier to entry.
The game automatically matches opponents based on the level of their Axies. The more battles an engages in, the more experience points they earn to help them become more powerful. Battling also affects the match-making ratings (MMR) of Axies. Winning a battle increases MMR and awards SLP, while losing decreases MMR.
Watch this video to learn about how to get started battling your Axies.
The dApp and all its parts are currently only available on the Ethereum network. Therefore, to get started from scratch, users will need to amass a small amount of ERC-20 ETH, AXS, and SLP - all of which can be found on Ethereum-based platforms.
In April 2021, though, Ronin V2 launched with greatly expanded functionality to help players pay less fees. Ronin also embeds players deeper into the Axie ecosystem since it is a sidechain made specifically for the game and its components. Users can breed, buy, and sell Axies on Ronin, and it is where the marketplace, breeding, and morphing contracts have been migrated to. Also, users can claim AXS and SLP rewards there which greatly reduces fees that could easily be in the hundreds of dollars if everything took place on Ethereum.
As of now, Axie Infinity can be played on desktop pc’s and their mobile app.
Axie Infinity was once playable only with considerations for ETH, as the amount of functions on the game were limited. Since then, however, the launch of Ronin and the expansion of the entire ecosystem have necessitated two more tokens for the game: AXS and SLP.
AXS is the governance token for Axie Infinity. Holders have the privilege of proposing and voting on changes to the direction of the ecosystem, including rewards payouts, budgetary concerns, and game features.
Holders can also stake their AXS for more AXS. It has become one of the premier cryptos on the market since the game platform itself has exploded in popularity over the past year and a half. It has a total supply of 270 million.
While there are dozens of metrics one can use to illustrate just how popular Axie Infinity has become, the growth of AXS might be the most jarring. In November 2020, one AXS was worth about 13 cents. Nearly a year later, in September 2021, it is worth about $66. Over the same period, market cap grew from about $25 million to nearly $4 billion. There are nearly 40 thousand AXS holders, and the coin itself ranks in the top 50 among traded cryptocurrencies.
Smooth Love Potion, or SLP, is used to breed Axies in the game. It is also a reward paid out to battle winners. The launch of Ronin V2 increased the demand for SLP since it was then that use of SLP was mandated on the sidechain.
It has a market cap of about $150 million, and the supply varies based on demand and emissions from the game. If more players play, that means more players win, which increases the circulating supply of SLP.