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This week, Nami’s Nexus explores the different ways fungible, semi-fungible and non-fungible tokens can be applied across multiplayer games
Web3 games are still very much in an experimental phase, striving to distinguish themselves from traditional gaming experiences. Similar to the intense exploration phase during the dawn of mobile gaming, developers are experimenting with various genres, control schemes, and monetization models to find out which genres and mechanics best suit the decentralized nature of web3 games.
This piece will focus on role-playing games, and action RPGs, and massively multiplayer online RPGs specifically are genres that can benefit from web3 technology, as they often feature extensive in-game economies, character progression systems, and various items and resources. For each genre, we will look at the potential applications of the three primary types of tokens: Fungible Tokens (FTs), Semi-Fungible Tokens (SFTs), and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).
Tokens as in-game currency
Incorporating FTs as in-game currency can enable player-driven economies and facilitate trading between players. The issue here lies primarily with inflation as has been illustrated through gold farming in MMOs. Distribution has to be tightly controlled and the sinks need to be strongly desired to keep them interesting. We would consider isolating tokens to a specific sub-system of the game instead of making them a universal part of it.
SFTs for managing resources and crafting
By implementing SFTs, developers can create unique resource combinations and crafting recipes. It’s helpful to think of these as different resource types that should be sunk often which makes crafting materials an ideal application. By allowing players to trade these it lets some players specialize in either the acquisition of materials or the crafting with them. However, inflation is still something that needs to be controlled here, and it’s possible to use burning through crafting to mitigate inflation.
NFTs for rare items and collectibles
NFTs can be used to represent rare items, collectibles, and other unique assets. These exclusive in-game assets can become highly sought-after, creating a liquid market for trading and collecting. NFTs can also serve as a means of recognizing player achievements, offering a tangible and tradeable representation of their in-game accomplishments as is often the case with equipment gained from high-end Raid bosses in many MMOs. Sinks for NFTs should be seriously considered for anything easily obtainable. Gear can have durability and repair costs that escalate to eventually make a player consider “salvaging” the item for SFT craft materials once it’s become too expensive. Designers could also consider the potential for players to lose the items on death in more hardcore settings as a way to sink items, similar to what Shrapnel is doing in the Extraction Shooter genre.
Battle Royale and Extraction games, with their competitive nature and time-limited matches, offer a unique opportunity for web3 implementation. These fast-paced games can leverage blockchain-based tokens to enhance player progression, reward systems, and customization options.
FTs for battle pass progression and rewards
FTs can be used to support battle pass progression and rewards, offering players a more transparent and decentralized way to earn in-game currency and items. By integrating FTs, developers can create dynamic reward systems that encourage players to participate in events and challenges, fostering a sense of achievement and progression. Tying this to a Premium Battle Pass can limit the distribution to more engaged and spending players. Some Premium Battle Passes already provide a premium currency to allow players to recoup part of the costs, the difference here is the non-tradability of regular game currency. In contrast, FTs are highly tradable, which is why there should be some depth to the token sinks to encourage heavy spending - Gacha systems for cosmetics could be a good fit here.
SFTs for consumable items and limited-use power-ups
SFTs can be implemented to manage consumable items and limited-use power-ups in Battle Royale and Extraction games. These tokens can be used to create a wide range of in-game items with varying levels of rarity and utility, providing players with strategic choices and customization options during matches. SFTs are generally seen as more consumable than NFTs so it makes sense to treat them that way here. Limiting the quantity of SFTs a player can bring into the match is important for game balance purposes though. The total quantity of SFTs could even potentially be capped by power level if, for instance, a player could bring 3 low power, 2 medium power or just 1 high power items.
NFTs for rare skins and exclusive content
NFTs can represent rare skins, exclusive content, and other unique in-game assets in Battle Royale and Extraction games. Shrapnel is betting on this aspect combined with UGC to increase the excitement - interestingly enough, players do not lose the cosmetic elements when dropping gear as it remains separated. Both Battle Royale and Extraction games can consider airdropping rare NFTs into matches to really drive up the tension around a match as players fight over it. Warzone 2 DMZ is an interesting example around its weapon case players can try and extract with. Deadrop is an example of a web3-powered extraction game we will be looking out for.
Roguelike and Roguelite games, known for their procedurally generated levels and permadeath mechanics, are another interesting opportunity for web3 integration. By incorporating blockchain-based tokens, these games can offer players a sense of persistent progression, reward systems, and novel ways to customize their gaming experience, even in the face of constant challenges and resets. Currently, not many multiplayer roguelikes games exist, as they often get lumped into ARPGs, as seen with Diablo where its hardcore mode is made optional. Superior is an example of a multiplayer roguelike web3 game that is currently in development.
FTs for persistent progression systems
FTs can be used to implement persistent progression systems in Roguelike and Roguelite games, allowing players to earn and accumulate in-game currency or resources across multiple playthroughs. This can create a sense of continuity and achievement, motivating players to continually improve their skills and strategies. The important part however is making sure the token does not contribute to other forms of progress inflation. Ideally, the token should be used to purchase boosts for individual runs and there should be higher priced consumables with some extremely high priced items like revives to allow for faster sinking of the tokens to slow down or limit the accumulation of tokens.
SFTs for managing consumables and power-ups
SFTs can be utilized to manage consumables and power-ups in Roguelike and Roguelite games, providing players with a range of strategic choices and a deeper level of customization. By incorporating SFTs, developers can create unique combinations of items and abilities that offer different tactical advantages during gameplay, encouraging players to experiment and adapt their strategies. One possibility is to have consumable equipment or items that accentuate certain playstyles and players can always trade equipment for playstyles they simply do not care for.
NFTs for exclusive items and character unlocks
NFTs can represent exclusive items, rare collectibles, and character unlocks in Roguelike and Roguelite games, offering players a sense of accomplishment and a tangible representation of their progress. One way to implement these would be to have a rare chance of drop on defeating a boss to encourage multiple attempts at a level, similar to how Diablo encourages repeat runs, but with much higher variability of levels in this genre (Diablo was originally much more of a roguelike!). Again, combatting inflation is critical here, which can be done with things like very small drop rate chances, large loot tables, and procedurally generated NFT drops with lots of different attributes. These could even be very rare but permanent (kept on death) versions of the SFT items with special cosmetics or effects to represent their status.
Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games, characterized by their intense, team-based gameplay and intricate hero roster, are another exciting platform for web3 integration. By incorporating blockchain-based tokens, MOBAs can offer players new ways to engage with in-game economies, customize their heroes, and develop unique strategies, all while fostering a sense of community and competition. The difficult part with MOBAs lies with maintaining a sense of competitive integrity with an open economy.
FTs for in-game currency and hero progression
FTs can be used as in-game currency, enabling players to unlock new heroes, purchase cosmetic items, or progress their heroes in MOBA games. By utilizing FTs, developers can create a player-driven economy that rewards active participation and allows players to trade assets with one another. Careful consideration has to be made around being or competing with a premium currency system however - the Battle Pass example from the Battle Royale/Extraction genre section is one potential use case here.
SFTs for hero abilities and item management
SFTs can be implemented to manage hero abilities, item upgrades, and other strategic elements in MOBA games. By incorporating SFTs, developers can create a deep and engaging system that allows players to customize their heroes and adapt their strategies based on the unique combination of abilities and items they choose. These could be one-time use consumable items that are relatively easily earned and sufficiently inflationary to make prices low enough that it does not translate into a competitive issue. They could be given out frequently as match rewards even upon a loss to help players feel more motivated towards a future match while allowing for trade if it is not an item the player will use.
NFTs for rare skins and exclusive content
NFTs can be utilized to represent rare skins, exclusive content, and other unique in-game assets in MOBA games. With players only being able to really equip one skin on a character at a time, having the ability to trade skins provides opportunity for more usage of excess skins. This can be combined with a Gacha system that uses skins as an input for a chance at higher rarity skins.
Simulation and Survival games, known for their immersive environments and focus on resource management. By incorporating blockchain-based tokens, these games can offer players an enhanced sense of ownership, more intricate economies, and innovative ways to engage with the game world, creating a more immersive experience.
FTs for in-game currency and resource trading
FTs can be used as in-game currency in Simulation and Survival games, allowing players to trade resources, purchase items, or expand their virtual territories. By implementing FTs, developers can create a player-driven economy that rewards active participation and encourages players to collaborate or compete with one another, further enhancing the gaming experience. With death and destruction being frequent in many of these games, there is the possibility of incorporating these as sinks. In EVE Online for example, large ships can be destroyed, thereby sinking high amounts of the economy. This could mean a loss of the tokens directly or a loss of what the tokens are used for. Ideally, the tokens should provide huge gameplay advantages and instead focus on expression and socialization.
SFTs for managing resources and crafting materials
SFTs can be utilized to manage resources, crafting materials, and other strategic elements in Simulation and Survival games. By incorporating SFTs, developers can create complex systems that allow players to discover, gather, and utilize resources in unique ways, fostering a deeper level of engagement and interaction with the game world. This is similar to the crafting materials situation with RPGs and allows for interesting geographic resource trade that happens outside the game and thereby does not risk death when trading.
NFTs for rare items and exclusive content
NFTs can be used to represent rare items, exclusive content, and other unique in-game assets in Simulation and Survival games. Beyond the socialization aspect, many players of these types of games are often left with a feeling of “pointless building” without the existence of endgame style content. Allowing for things like super rare crafting materials being used to craft high-level, but not severely gameplay-affecting items/buildings/etc. can create situations where players come together to trade and build. Depending on the difficulty and costs these may be able to somewhat counter inflation.
Web3 games offer a unique opportunity for developers to innovate across various genres and even create new ones. Multiplayer games, in particular, can benefit from the potential of Fungible Tokens (FTs), Semi-Fungible Tokens (SFTs), and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) to create more engaging and immersive experiences.
From RPGs and MOBAs to Roguelikes and Survival games, web3 technology can enhance player-driven economies, facilitate the trading and collecting of rare in-game assets, and provide more intricate systems for managing resources and crafting materials. As a result, players can enjoy a deeper level of engagement and personalization, fostering a stronger sense of community and achievement within these games. These genres are just the tip of the iceberg and are meant to stimulate further thinking around other, novel use cases.
As the gaming industry continues to embrace blockchain technology, we can expect even more innovative ways to incorporate tokens and decentralized systems into game design. By experimenting with these possibilities, developers can shape the future of gaming and provide players with unique experiences that push the boundaries of what games can be.
Thank you for reading this piece of our weekly series “Nami’s Nexus”, where we look to decode web3 gaming and dive into the various intricacies of the industry and beyond. Don't forget to subscribe to our blog and follow us on Twitter to receive more web3 gaming content.