A long awaited update was released today after a few vocal stakeholders made it known that they were looking for more frequent status reports from the AI team. While this is a common complaint in the crypto space, where early adopters and high risk investor’s tend to converge, its increasing frequency pushed the team to address it head on.
This article is supposed to be an overview of the land update released today – and you can skip right to the official release here: Axie Infinity: Land Development Update, or just scroll down a bit for my overview – but I think its important to provide some insight into the teams motives for this release.
Axie IS its community. Its a symbiotic relationship. If the project fails the community dies, and if the community dies the project fails. I think this update is a good faith effort by the team to show us what they’ve been working on and unless I’m reading too far into things, a promise to keep the updates coming.
Today’s update touches on a few aspects – The Overall Art Direction, Current Development Focus, and Benchmarks required to Launch.
In order to garner mass adoption, Axies art direction has to be appealing to many types of players while also keeping in mind the overall user experience and ease of use. We’ve seen the teams work on the Arena/Adventure Alpha, but this is the first time we’ve seen a fleshed out concept for land gameplay. See below for some of the art assets released:
Note that the overall UI elements match those of the current Alpha, but the flat 2d battle system has been exchanged for that of an isometric view.
Axies were redesigned from scratch to fit this isometric view, each with 6 of the familiar body parts we know and love. Do I spy an evolved body ? Trung commented on (and hesitantly verified) this in the discord.
It’s been rumored that Axies may be able to carry backpacks full of loot back from their adventures. Here we see another possibility – a team of 3 Axies escorting their winnings home on the back of a Toboggan!
This looks like a Forest area shop; again showing great style which honestly just leads to more questions. What does this shop sell? Are shops upgrade-able? How many pieces of land will this require to build?
A game of Axies magnitude has a few challenges it needs to overcome. This is an AMBITIOUS project. It has to scale well to potentially hundreds of thousands of players. It needs to utilize new technologies to build the economy which is the promise many of its early adopters were drawn by. Core game loops need to be perfected. Bugs need to be squashed. Promises to the community need to be kept. See below for some of the current focuses:
Rendering a zoomable map is important to give players a sense of Lunacias magnitude and allow easier exploration. In this video we see two cross style resource nodes – Savannah and Mystic. (I’m a big fan of the arrow showing the location of your off map team. What happens when your managing hundreds of teams?)
The Map editor is our first look into the Developer SDK. A core promise from the AI team, where developers and players alike can create their own experiences in Lunacia.
Another view of the Terrarium, where a player is placing one of his Mystic Items. Again, this gives us some insight into the UI as well as a sense of scale for each individual land plot. While these were initially rumored to be smaller, it looks like this Artic plot is actually larger than expected – although its definitely not 14×14…
We knew Resources were coming; in game harvestable tokens that you can use to build structures and craft items. Apparently there are many more varieties than we had first imagined and the team is working to solidify the economy surrounding each resource and how it interacts with the rest of the game.
Solidifying general gameplay is also core to the development process right now. How do Axies interact with Chimera’s, which shops will be released first, how does Traveling and item/team/land plot management work? Again, the team feels its incredibly important to nail down all of these factors prior to releasing the alpha to the community.
This brings us to our last area:
Benchmarks Required for Land to Launch
Land gameplay has been delayed several times since its initial roadmap and the Axie Fans want to know when they can start playing! While the team wants their first release to be perfect, they also understand the need to keep the community engaged, so they are laying out a few key features they will need built and tested before pushing out an Alpha release. The ability to travel the map, collect resources, build a few simple structures, and battle chimera are on the top of the list, and I have to agree that that seems like the bare minimum to keep a player engaged.
The team is planning to provide more transparency moving forward with the intention of releasing updates at regular intervals and notifying the community when roadblocks arise.
We will shoot for another update near the end of June. We’ll also be making an announcement regarding our plans for scalability next month.Axie Infinity Team