Axie Infinity is a play-to-earn game released in 2020, but it became extremely popular with the boom in digital currencies throughout 2021. The game has a cryptocurrency reward system and strategy gameplay that mixes Pokémon with card games. For that, you need to have a little monster, the Axies, who are also NFTs. Complex? Don’t worry, I’ll go into more detail about how Axie Infinity works.
First of all, it is important to highlight that Axie Infinity is a game that truly rewards its players, generating income through cryptocurrencies that can then be converted to dollars, reais and etc. However, an initial investment is required to be able to play.
What is needed to play?
To start explaining how Axie Infinity works, I need to say that, as much as the game is free, it is only possible to play it with at least three “Axies”, the little NFT monsters used in the game to form teams and battle opponents. Traditionally, it is necessary to buy them with WETH, a form of ether (ETH), the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network.
Naturally, when dealing with cryptocurrencies the player also deals with digital wallets, such as the one integrated into Axie Infinity, the Ronin Wallet. This is where the digital currencies created within the game will be sent, and it is also where the player will need a WETH balance to buy their Axies.
The player will also need the means to buy cryptocurrencies. From my own experience, opening an account with a cryptocurrency exchange like Binance is the easy way out. Thus, it is possible to buy the assets and send them to your Ronin wallet linked to Axie Infinity. Plus, it’s the simplest way to capitalize on your in-game earnings by selling the digital currencies you’ve purchased.
In total, you need to create a Ronin digital wallet, which will also function as one of the ways to log in to Axie Infinity, open an account with a cryptocurrency exchange and buy the necessary amount of WETH to acquire at least three little monsters.
The NFT Monsters and the Marketplace
Each Axie is an NFT and is traded through the Axie Infinity marketplace. They are sold by other players through the WETH cryptocurrency, which is practically matched in value with ether. You will see the price of each monster in dollars and WETH, being able to filter by status, types (plant, aquatic…), rarity and much more.
With the Ronin wallet logged in, linked to the marketplace and with a balance in WETH, the player can buy an Axie through auctions or direct sales. Then, the little monster will be your NFT and will be usable within the game.
The prices of each Axie vary widely, as does the in-game economy. At their peak in July 2021, the little monsters cost no less than $200. However, the values of these NFTs plummeted to around $25 in February 2022.
There are other ways to get Axies once you’re in the game. For example, each little monster can breed a limited number of times, two of which are needed to make an egg.
However, this process costs SLP (Smooth Love Potion), one of the cryptocurrencies earned in-game. The values vary from Axie to Axie, depending on the number of times they have bred and as the game updates. After all, this is the main means of burning native digital currencies, something necessary to try to contain price drops.
How Cryptocurrency Rewards Work
With at least three Axies in hand to form their first team, the player can now enter the game and be rewarded in cryptocurrencies. Axie Infinity has two payment systems, one that rewards SLP to the player, and another that gives AXS (Axie Infinity Shards).
The first cryptocurrency can be acquired by all players through competitive mode. Until February 2022, SLP could also be acquired, in limited quantity, through daily missions in Adventure mode, Axie Infinity’s PvE. However, this feature was disabled at the time to curb the rampant generation of digital currency.
So, only PvP mode can grant the prize in SLP. Each player has 20 energy points, replenished daily at 21:00 GMT. The “stamina” will be consumed every time the player enters a match in “Arena” mode, the game’s competitive. Playing without energy will not reward the player with cryptocurrency.
Strategy and card gameplay in Axie Infinity
In addition to cryptocurrencies, digital wallets and NFTs, Axie Infinity is still a game and has apparently simple gameplay, but it can become quite complex in competitive mode. The ways to play vary a little between PvE and PvP, so I will focus on what happens when facing other players, as it is the source of SLP and AXS.
First of all, it is important to know that each Axie is a combination of “pieces”, class and status. In total, there are nine types of monsters: Beast, Bug, Mech, Aqua, Bird, Dawn, Plant, Reptile and Dusk.
As with Pokémon, each class has natural advantages and disadvantages against others. To better understand this, I separated them into three sets, something like “rock, paper and scissors”, in which each type fits.
- “ Paper ”: Best, Bug and Mech
- “ Stone ”: Plant, Reptile and Dusk
- “ Scissors ”: Aquatic, Bird and Dawn
In this allusion, paper beats rock but loses to scissors. In-game, this means that each of these sets receives an extra 15% damage bonus over another while taking 15% less damage. Really, something like the advantages and disadvantages that types of Pokémon have.
As stated earlier, each Axie is made up of “pieces”. They all have a starting class, but their horns, eyes, ears, mouths, backs, tails, and body shapes create the monsters’ skill sets and cards. In addition, each of these parts grants stat points on top of the class’s base numbers. In this way, there are an infinite number of combinations for the Axies.
The matches are between teams of three little monsters. It is possible (and important) to define the positions of each of the Axies. For example, tougher classes tend to stay in the front, because damage taken typically follows this order: “frontline, midline and backline”.
When starting the game, the player receives three energy points and six cards are randomly dealt, belonging to their Axies and defined by their pieces. In each turn, the player will gain two more energy points and will be able to draw three new cards.
In practice, the cards represent the actions of one of your Axies. Each little monster can perform up to three actions in a single turn. To play a card, it is necessary to spend an energy point, although there are some exceptions of cards that consume zero or two.
It is worth noting that when a little monster dies in the game, its cards are no longer drawn. So if you only have a single Axie standing, all cards you receive will be his. Also, the Axies’ order of action is based on their speed attribute. Thus, the fastest will be the first to act.
In short, Axie Infinity’s gameplay consists of strategically sequencing the monsters’ actions with the available cards. Of course, there are still many variants to think about carefully when facing an opponent, such as class perks, Axies placement order, and more. As I’ve already said, it’s a seemingly simple game, but it can be surprisingly complex.
Is it possible to play for fun?
Axie Infinity is more than a game, it’s a play-to-earn system that has involved many companies and investors, turning over millions and millions of dollars. For many people, the game has become a source of income. Also, an initial investment is required to play. At the end of the day, the game is much more focused on generating cryptocurrencies than entertainment, although the model tries to reconcile the two.
From my own experience, it’s not worth playing casually. In fact, if you’re looking to make a few bucks with Axie Infinity, your experience is very likely to be stressful rather than fun.
As a final warning, I point out that your opponent’s profile is much closer to a cryptocurrency investor than a casual Pokémon or HearthStone player. As such, there is little room for really carefree fun in Axie.