Are you a Neon District Trophy or a Founder’s Key Holder? The Season One Loadout just opened for Founders for the week of October 19th through October 26th. This is the only week when you can get the Founder’s gear — which we’re going to reveal in a new article shortly!
Before the Season Zero sale, we produced a lengthy document exploring how Season Zero assets would work, but we left some open-ended questions. We can now answer these questions and tell you precisely what Season Zero assets are, how they play into the Season One sale, and how they’ll work in Neon District.
There are three types of game assets in Neon District that are backed by non-fungible tokens: Characters, Gear, and Shells. For the Season Zero sale, we specifically sold shells, and for the Season One sale, we’re only selling characters and gear.
At a high level, you’ll take teams of characters into battle, and in order to prepare them to win, you’ll need to equip them with gear appropriate for each battle. You can equip each character with one weapon and four pieces of armor on the character’s head, body, arms, and legs.
In Neon District, characters and gear have a wide range of affinities and weaknesses, which play strongly into your ability to succeed in a battle. And as we’ve revealed with Season One, characters and gear are more than just stacks of stats — they also have special, situational abilities that come into play during each battle through the use of C.A.R.D.s. Power alone won’t help you win a battle. You’ll need to build dozens of effective teams so that you are well-prepared to make optimal real-time strategic decisions, and these teams will change and evolve with new Seasonal releases and new content.
In traditional role-playing games, the power structure is linear: when you collect a better sword for your character, it tends to be objectively better: more attack power, greater durability, and maybe additional magical effects. This game design works well for single-player, story-driven games, but throw in multiplayer and an open world economy, and it becomes a race to the top of the pyramid of power, which drives out all but the wealthiest players. Once power is consolidated and controlled by only a few, the economy and interest in the game collapses because there’s no incentive for new or current players to participate. They can’t win. Pay-for-power is one of the reasons why the Diablo III Auction House shut down, in which the game balance tipped too far towards pay-to-win and made it effortless for players to dominate the game based on powerful gear alone.
This is why trading card games are modeled frequently in blockchain games: TCGs are proven to successfully adapt to massive multiplayer environments and are complementary to open world economies. Therein lies the key difference between TCGs and RPGs: TCGs exist in a wide design space, versus the tall design space in RPGs. In a wide design space, this means that players collect many assets, each that are situationally effective, which compound on each other through combos and common archetypal strategies, which allows you to adapt to a multitude of play styles and metagames. The wider the exploratory space, the more possible strategies that can be discovered and created, and the more variation and replayability the game has. Ultimately, well-engineered and wide game design spaces create wildly fun games with large captive audiences, and as a result, they tend to have a long lifespan.
Neon District is a new game design, built on the new concept of an open world digital economy. It takes the linear progression from role-playing games and integrates the strategy and wide exploratory space of a trading card game to create a rich and detailed game design. Each character and weapon contributes a pool of 10 C.A.R.D.s to the player’s “deck”. On that player’s turn, they’ll draw a few random C.A.R.D.s from that deck, and then take action: either a default action for their character and weapon, or using one of the cards that they drew. And like in TCGs, some cards can dramatically reverse the momentum of a battle. The range of possible outcomes in a single battle rapidly expands: there’s never a clear-cut winning item based on power alone. Strategy and tactics become crucial.
C.A.R.D.s are like special attacks you can use on opponents, and special effects you can apply to change the dynamic of the battle. The simplest examples include giving your character a shield and / or taunting your enemy (forcing them to only attack one character), or doing a big 200% damage field-wide attack, like the mortar weapon featured in Neon District Season Zero.
As you level up your characters and their gear, instead of proceeding through a linear succession of power, your characters and gear branch out substantially following each level. They become more powerful in traditional ways (greater stats) as they level up, but they also grow apart: when leveling your characters and gear, you’re given three choices for how you want your asset to progress. These choices can be in the form of C.A.R.D.s that you can put into that character or gear’s deck, or an extra boost in stats. With three choices at each level, progressing an asset from level 1 to level 15 means that there are millions of possible outcomes for the same starting character or gear. This leveling system is live on the Season One Loadout site right now, and you can level up your gear and characters from Level 1 up to Level 5.
Your assets become uniquely and situationally powerful, and as you stack up a better deck, your assets become more and more rare: your choices determine how effective your assets become.
This is where shells are incredibly powerful. Shells are skins with the most distinctive utility in the game: when permanently applied to a character or a piece of gear, they automatically give the character or gear a second roll at their current level, with boosted probabilities to get the highest ranked draws to choose from. If you want the best chance for the most effective and rarest assets among the millions of unique variations of weapons, armor, and characters in the game, you’ll need to apply a shell. A shell applied to a character or gear at the maximum level gives you the chance to create an asset that has a stronger deck or stats than anything else in its class.
Once you apply the shell, that gear or character is permanently buffed, and that shell is burned. Each player needs to collect hundreds of game assets and build multiple teams to succeed in many of the situations they’ll find themselves within Neon District. And there are only 45,000 shells right now, and these 45,000 shells are the only “OG” Founders shells in existence — among them, there are fewer than 800 legendary shells. As these are bonded to weapons, armor, and gear, the remaining supply of the Founders shells approaches zero.
These shells are the ticket to producing the most powerful teams of characters in the game. And because the game space is so wide, these shells need to be strategically applied — there will be many different strategies required to win in highly varied situations, especially as the game evolves, new archetypes and strategies are produced, and we release the much-anticipated Season Three, which introduces player-vs-player, competitions, and tournaments.
The assets from Season One and Season Zero are complementary. Season Zero shells aren’t replaced or rendered ineffective: they are the only way to maximize the potential for the gear and characters that are bought and earned during Neon District Season One. And Season Zero shells don’t need to be applied to Season One assets: these shells are applicable to assets in Season Two, Season Three, and beyond.
As new audiences discover and play Neon District, any Season Zero shell will be increasingly hard to find, and any asset that has one applied will be one of the rarest items in the game. With combinations of Legendary shells applied to Legendary gear, the few rarest combinations of assets and cards will be attainable, and our players’ choices will ultimately decide the most effective combinations and teams in Neon District.