Ethernal is a concept that uniquely blends ideas of procedural generation, blockchain smart-contract interactions and classic MMO dungeon diver aesthetics. I’m really excited to discover the game can run functionally via mobile device and chrome browser. As somebody who’s barely understanding of basic blockchain/cryptocurrency, I’m a little anxious about the onboarding process. One common hurdle for mainstream crypto / blockchain awareness is the medium-to-high basic technological aptitude required to get programs and applications off the ground.
I'm personally ecstatic to test out this game idea because it falls very close to my ideations for how an amazing MMO powered by blockchain would function: procedurally generated, incentivizing with dynamic gameplay and blending the world-state of the game directly with blockchain functionality. As I delve into the dungeon, I'll try to return value to you as you consider a dive of your own.
First Time Login
Since the game is still in private Alpha, I'll be launching my version of the game from a "key" (fancy hyperlink) sent to my registered email. Before that, however; I need to create a Portis wallet for all of the game's assets to be stored, and for in-game transactions to be paid.
To my pleasant surprise, the onboarding process for loading the game was incredibly easy, and before I knew it, I was a denizen of the depths
The Plunge Begins
Literally the game has already begun, and I seem well enough equipped. So far monsters level 0 can't damage me, and I haven't wandered far enough away from start to encounter anything stronger. As I get my bearings by simply wandering around from room to room, I begin to grasp the importance of certain facets of the game's interface and design.
The first jarring experience I had was related to the unique communicative and loading properties of this partucular type of game (aand once I realized this it wasn’t jarring at all). I noticed right away that there were time-delayed reactions in places you wouldn’t expect of a traditional game (mid combat as an example). While to the untrained eye, a lot of the delays may SEEM tedious; what’s actively happening behind the scenes is boggling in complexity. Combining two features notorious for high processing power; blockchain and procedural generation tech, allows for an incredibly smooth synergy between in-game actions and personal asset management. A good example of this was when my phone powered down in the middle of a dungeon fight.. most clients would handle this by, at the very least, scrapping the fight instance and deciding on repercussions/ consequences post resume. I was shocked to not only find I was still in combat, but that both mine and the enemy’s HP were represented accurately from before the disconnect (was momentarily horrified that the monster might have restored HP).
I was admittedly at first intimidated by the game’s HUD, and what each of the different icons and their corresponding counters refer to. Discovering and exploring the item and currencies menu while simultaneously exploring the overworld around me was a smooth and gratifying experience. When I first started, there were no monsters around strong enough to do damage even if they hit, so it wasn’t until I was almost level 5 that I realized moving around in the dungeon is the only way to restore your HP (with the exception of adequately cost prohibitive healing tiles spread around the map like teleports). This created some very interesting dynamics while deciding upon which path to proceed would be more benefitial (looking for unexplored regions or returning to the lower level areas to restore health). At the time of this writing I’m currently retreated to the lower level 0 area because I almost died uncovering areas 🤣
The common mechanics associated with RPGs (stats, health, exp, equipment) being established on the blockchain makes for very interesting dynamics not common in normal games. Since the map itself is an immutable product of the blockchain, so too are the items that spawn there, or are dropped there by other players/enemies. This makes for awesome interplay with other players. In an example: when I ran into a small equipment bug that got fixed by the fastest devs imaginable, another player came thru to kill the monster I couldn’t with no equippable weapon AND dropped for me a weapon I could equip and continue on with (30 minutes after the fact). Another cool thing about immutable transactions through the game’s interface is how it combines acquireable currency to burn in exchange for leveling up and exploring further reaches efficiently. The consistent blockchain interactions instills a feeling of reliability and solidity (no pun intended).
Food is another currency that is directly tied to the movement capabilities of your character within the dungeon, and is purchaseable via $MATIC via in game transactions (although theres plenty to enough start, and is replenished by the devs via discord)
Partially Conclusive Thoughts (for now)
I’m reminded by this demo how amazing pockets of community alpha testers/developers can be. Like the story earlier about me being rescued from a bug simultaneously by devs and another active player 🤗 While I’m curious about the inner mechanics as they relate to buried algorithms and drop rates for items, I’m much more interested and excited to see what sort of further innovations will come of building a living, breathing game world on an immutable substrate like blockchain tech 😁
Special Thanks 🤎:
(Ah P.S, This is the first time I’ve ever done something like this, so if you’ve read thus far I appreciate you.. thanks!)