Play to Earn Vs Play to Burn
We created a web3 game and asked our players if it was OK to burn their character tokens if they died. On-chain permadeath. Complete loss of main game assets, the polar opposite of play to earn. Play to Burn. They overwhelmingly agreed, signing up for it in the ‘choose your difficulty setting’ DAO vote.
This article was originally published by @ethermore at Play to Earn Vs Play to Burn
We created a web3 game and asked our players if it was OK to burn their character tokens if they died.
Complete loss of main game assets, the polar opposite of play to earn. Play to Burn.
They overwhelmingly agreed, signing up for it in the ‘choose your difficulty setting’ DAO vote.
Web3 games are in their infancy but are at the cutting edge of how game experiences of the future will play out. Most of the value proposition and roadmap for successfully web3 games is the ability to earn from in-game assets (see Axie Infinity and any graph associated with them being up and to the right).
It is more than ownership over game assets that is exciting; we explore how the combination of emerging web3 tools can be the future of gaming. The ownership, social and organizational components of web3 can re-shape how we think about games and game experiences.
#Ownership and raising the stakes
Let’s look at ownership from a different angle. Through a lens of behavioral economics (I used to work in a nudge unit).
The Endowment Effect, the Nobel prize-winning work of Richard Thaler, demonstrates people place extra value on things already in their possession by up to 200%. In other words, people have a bias for things they already own. Losing $10 hurts more than finding a $10 note brings happiness. In fact, losing just $5 hurts as much as gaining $10. (brains are weird). Evolutionarily, this makes sense in a hunter-gather sense.
This can be leveraged in web3 games to enhance the stakes of the game experience. Yes, playing and incrementally earning along the way creates income and brings amazing experience to gaming, but if there was the chance to lose what you already have, this would raise the emotional stakes of the experience and create levels of immersion games have not achieved yet.
Having a permanent character death and losing that NFT you bought and loved, really hurts. And it is that play-to-feel experience that could be one of your most memorable game experiences. It would make one hell of an interesting twitch live stream. Sending that beautiful Elf to the big Null address in the sky.
#Choices and the world around you
Everyone loves a good RPG. Playing as a character with a backstory and core values and a meaningful narrative arc. Adventuring around in a complex world, making choices that have consequences and are reflected in the game. RPGs can provide the most meaningful and immersive gaming experiences. For tabletop RPGs, this feeling is the same- but you tell the story and make the decisions collaboratively with friends and play out those epic scenes in the theatre of the mind. The same place where the scenes in your favorite book took place.
Early web3 tools bring the architecture of choice-making to a new level. The governance model of DAOs allows many people to coordinate and make decisions to guide the direction of an organization. There are rules of engagement, voting, and consensus.
This choice architecture could be applied to gaming. Choices inside the games are presented as similar to DAO voting, where it is the wider community of players that decide world-changing events or how the story unfolds. A more community-driven, interactive narrative piece.
#Layer Zero: The most important layer of any blockchain or Dapp
As web3 emerges from the murky swamp of web2, a lot of people new to the scene ask: “where is web3?”
The answer is some ethereal place between on-chain data, Twitter, discord, metaverses, and chat rooms. A more viable answer is a combination of all of the above: the community, the layer zero, between the people and imaginations, and spaces where ideas can flow in the same theatre of the mind where tabletop RPGs happen. That is where web3 exists. That is where web3 projects light on fire or smolder out. Stoking the embers of those early communities and having multiple builders and participants on a variety of mediums and spaces is what web3 games are going to have to accommodate.
#What we built
We are a small indie team but decided to take the plunge and see if we could build that experience using web3 tools in making Ethermore, with the security of on-chain characters that players can own, but with the focus on web3 social and decision-making tools to drive the engagement, narrative, and player interaction.
Our primary aim is to bring an immersive experience to players, let them have a say in the decisions that shape the world, and hopefully reward them with an appreciation of their character tokens. To experiment:
Ownership: NFT based characters.
Raise the stakes: with on-chain permadeath token burning.
Choices with consequences: DAO-like structure-based decision-making narratives.
Play out in web3 spaces with web 3 ideals: Anon twitter NPCs. Discord side-quests. Metaverse puzzles. Asynchronous but consensus-driven narrative arcs. Permissionless: Ability to port out your character to other tabletop RPGs like DnD if you want to or create derivative art/work on your characters.
We intentionally developed a game to play out mostly in the theatre of the mind, because we wanted to stay agile. Be able to twist and turn and develop a narrative game that was web3 native, leveraging all of these tools as a skeleton of what games on web3 could do. So the ‘game’ will unfold more like a chose your own adventure or tabletop RPG than a high budget graphics AAA.
At the time of writing, we have seen some traction building for the project, but have not seen the pump FOMO mentality come to us yet. This is partly intentionally our choice to grow organically and low-key so we can slowly temperature-check our community as we build.
We are about to launch a ‘moral compass’ Dapp on our website where you can log in with your character and face choice-based scenarios that will feedback on your characters ‘morality’ metadata.
ACT I of our main narrative arc is about to kick off in the coming weeks. So if you are interested in joining from the start, mint a character, choose your difficulty setting, and hopefully have a totally new game experience.
We really hope you come and play.
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