The 4 Main Elements All the Best Crypto Games Capitalize On

11 Feb 2023

Blockchain games, or NFT games, come with interesting social mechanics to gaming. When designed adequately, economies within them may lead to interestingly complex gameplay. Still, it is safe to say the industry for blockchain games hasn’t yet reached its full creative potential. We’re still waiting for the best crypto games to emerge.

Let us review the type of gameplay components that matter for good gameplay in blockchain games and see which of the most hyped crypto games of 2023 have gameplay that highlights each of them. In other words, I’ll try to mix two lists together. Let’s start!

1. The Surprise in the Outcome

People love to watch how surprising outcomes unfold. I’m not talking about those laugh-cracking short videos where a beautiful absurdity happens out of the blue.

I’m talking about gamblers watching sports games, investors watching candles, or my uncle praying to football gods every night before his team plays. If people have a stake in the outcome, they are more interested in the game. Human beings love to watch anything with complex surprises that rely on further mechanisms underneath, like how their bet will make or lose them a certain amount of money, how macro market trends affected their wins on the market, or how my uncle’s friends (who are supporters of the arch enemy) might make fun of him if his team miserably loses.

Each of these examples harbors a complex surprise because they’re volatile; they’re affected by so much more than a single, linear function. The volatility might stem from the fact that we can’t predict how a talented team of sportsmen will perform together on that particular day or from global crises that suddenly crashed purchasing power everywhere.

This component can alternatively be described through how well volatility is incorporated into the game. The blockchain game should, like any other social game, build upon layers of volatility interconnected with each other, enriching the gameplay with partly directly explainable and partly only sensible parameters changing the outcome.

Some of the best crypto games highly capitalize on this unique architecture.

The Nemesis: An open world with thousands of unique NFT items, this Ethereum-based game is an interesting experiment where players have a multitude of opportunities to play-to-earn: Through trading cards, in-game land ownership, or by completing quests.

The Nemesis promo material.

Guild of Guardians is expected to launch within 2023. Designed as a mobile RPG supported by NFT-driven economies, this game has the potential to create addictive gameplay experiences utilizing the emotional attachments great role-play games bring into our lives.

Townstar, although being around for a while, is still included in my list for this year. Developed by ex-Farmville creators, players can manage their own productively and earn rewards by trading their produce with other towns.

2. Interesting Assets

This one is self-explanatory. Because we sense the game with our eyes and ears and interact with our brain and fingers most of the time, it matters a lot when our senses enjoy themselves. One way to make sure of that is to work on making interesting assets that exist well together within a common mutual game that ideally builds upon the same thematic universe with its mechanics and story.

It makes an even stronger of an impact when the player can emotionally attach to the thematic universe, for example, through childhood nostalgia, fandom or  another sense of belonging. For example…

War of Crypta is a player-versus-player fantasy game where each game character is tradable as NFTs in the game marketplace. Like in Axie Infinity, each player’s journey comes  with a basic hero. I’m curious to see whether War of Crypta will enjoy as large a community throughout this year.

Forest Knight: A turn-based game taking place in an astonishing fantasy world with many different types of assets, a wide variety of activities, and places to discover. As players advance in the game, they can run battles against other players or focus on managing the economy of the city they built. The variety in the gameplay makes it an interesting experience.

Forest Knight activity map.

Forest Knight gameplay.

3. Appreciation of Skill

People like to get better at doing things they have fun with. When playing a game, they want to at least fathom how their path forward will look like in terms of skill and ability development. . Everybody, from noobs to pros, should be able to see a path to improve their gameplay by utilizing enhanced skills. And their increased abilities should grant them bigger wins. In other words, skilled players should win more.

If I’m learning a game, and pros win all the time, what’s in it for me? This question points to another critical factor that feeds into a shared gameplay experience where new players are motivated to continue playing so that they might one day become the biggest winners: How can we cut lower-level players some slack? Especially with blockchain games where skilled players may feed into their skill through the play-to-earn mechanics, e.g., by investing parts of what they earned strategically to yield even better scores for them, things may get especially disadvantaged for newbies.

To mitigate that, some games offer events like auctions with useful items wherein only lower-level players can bid. With measures like that, newbie players are less likely to give up playing. Games such as…

Doge Dash gameplay.

Doge Dash (iOs, Android) has been around for a while now. Around the game’s first launch in September 2021, a lot of people from the crypto community were really bullish on it being the best crypto game of the year. The game comes with a variety of strategies to maximize earnings, and its reviews have lots of mentions of the game giving its first rewards once the player has reached a certain level of playtime and skill set within the game.

Skyweaver TCG (iOS, Android): With beautiful assets and fun gameplay enriched by trader cards, the game makes heavy use of enriched rewards once a player climbs up the leaderboard.

Skyweaver TCG gameplay.

Crazy Kings is an Android game that was originally launched as a free-to-play game and later had features added (like the TOWER token) to turn it into play-to-earn. Players are generally fond of the game’s challenges.

4. A Pool of Internet Friends

Last but not least, a true sense of community matters a lot for games and at least as much for blockchain games. Because every technology company operating in this realm is very young, they are still reliant on signals of market sentiment that approve of what they are building. Otherwise, they might see their treasury drained out of nowhere, possibly even as a result of a chain reaction. Some great examples of this are…

Axie Infinity: Origins is a revamp of the original crypto game published in 2018, often called the first play-to-earn game ever. As a result of being one of the first NFT games in the market with solid mechanics and interesting gameplay, the Axie community is a close-knit one with 2,800,000 daily active players. This makes me bullish to step into the game.

Axie Infinity gameplay.

The Sandbox is another pioneer in the play-to-earn gaming space, and its hype hasn’t died down since its first release in 2012. Building upon user-generated assets and a multitude of game economy mechanisms, the game also continues to boost one of the most vibrant gameplayer communities in crypto gaming.

The Sandbox gameplay.

Wrapping up the list, here are a few takeaways:

  1. While we’re still waiting for the best crypto game of all times to emerge, there are some strong candidates.

  2. There is a variety of game components blockchain games can utilize to enhance their gameplay, including:

    1. Designing the gameplay in a way that accommodates interesting, market- or talent-driven surprises to emerge over time
    2. Including interesting assets to play the game with and potentially to utilize in external environments
    3. Appreciating skill acquisition without creating too many disadvantages for noobs
    4. Maintaining a healthy community of Internet friends that have fun together
  3. The most hyped blockchain games of 2023 may become household names as the year progresses.

Let’s see what this new year will bring. Game on!

Lead image by Pandhuya Niking on Unsplash