A major milestone was achieved in CryptoRome this week. Within the game, players can purchase or win Centurions — characters that provide players with a competitive advantage in battle. These Centurions are non-fungible, completely unique and implemented on top of the Ethereum blockchain as ERC-721 tokens (more on this in a minute). The milestone I’m referencing is that one of our players upgraded their Centurion through game play, advancing from level 1 to 2. Why is this important? CryptoRome has demonstrated the power of NFTs that not only gain value through increased public demand, but also through increased game play and interactions by the player.
A quick word on NFTs
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are a form of a digital asset (or item) created using blockchain technology that are unique to the owner. When these items are purchased or earned, they become property of the owner (not the game or another 3rd party) and are written to the blockchain. To date, NFTs have gained the most traction in the gaming and collectibles space, most notably with CryptoKitties. Much has been written about NFTs, so I won’t spend too much time explaining them here. The key point is that the value of that token, whether earned or purchased, is not held or owned by a 3rd party. Or, in our situation, the gaming company, which is the case of a typical video game such as Red Dead Redemption 2 (fan boy shout out).
Until recently, NFTs in various blockchain based games represented static items. There was utility with some of these items (say, pimping out your digital kitty to make sweet, sweet love to another digital kitty thereby breeding a new, unique digital kitty…just as an example). Yet any increase in value of your NFT was driven by public demand (“I need that kitty!”), not due to an ability you have as the owner to make additions to or enhance your NFT. Take this to the real world for a minute. You purchase a home. It’s unique. It has value. You can add value by finishing the basement, adding a screened in porch or replacing the carpet. You can do something to increase its value.
NFTs in CryptoRome
In the case of CryptoRome, land, wonders, and characters in the game are all NFTs. Since launching CryptoRome just a few short months ago, we have demonstrated how the power of an NFT can extend much further beyond a static asset. We recently released a new character that players can use in battle, the Centurion. These Centurions are NFTs that have the ability to add strength to a player’s daily attack counts. Level 1 Centurions add 5% additional troops in a battle, Level 2 add 10%, and so on. Essentially, the higher the level of the Centurion, the more it’s worth.
We developed opportunities within the game for players to level up their Centurions — not through any actions we the gaming company take, but through the player taking actions within the gameplay. This is where the token starts to show off the value of NFTs in the gaming industry.
The experience and levels of the Centurion NFT tokens, along with other NFTs in CryptoRome, are written directly to the digital asset itself. Therefore, increasing the value of the token is not driven solely by public demand or the whims of the gaming company, but rather becomes a capability offered to the gamer. The character (NFT) is held by the player, and once that character levels up, the player will then have a permanently upgraded character even outside of the game.
It was critical for us to build this protocol into our game in the most gamer-friendly way possible. We knew this would be a compelling and addictive aspect of the game, so we sought to reduce as much friction at every step. Anyone familiar with dealing with the early stages of gaming on blockchain know all too well the issues associated with high gas costs for blockchain writes. We took a different, and we think better, approach. The player that upgraded their Centurion did so using in game currency that is earned playing the game. The player did not need to have Metamask installed or use ETH to upgrade their Centurion.
What does this all mean?
The player can build up the character, use an NFT based weapon, modify their land, and they retain ownership of their asset and the work put into it. They then have a number of options: sell the NFT to another player, trade it for something they need, or even leave it to their children some day. Extending beyond just CryptoRome, NFTs can enable players to take their character to other gaming devices and networks or build their own digital items and games around the characters they own. NFTs allow characters, weapons, or any other game asset to move through time from game to game with relative ease. I, for one, would love to take my Centurion and destroy something or someone in Red Dead Redemption 2 this Fall.
The GigLabs and CryptoRome team are at the forefront of the development of NFTs for gaming and other real world uses. Seeing the first Centurion upgraded directly on the Ethereum blockchain was an expected, yet welcomed milestone. While there are many applications for NFTs, we believe the gaming industry should take notice of where we are heading with this nascent technology and should reach out to see what can be accomplished.
Congratulations to the first player to upgrade a Centurion! These limited edition characters are still available in small quantities at www.cryptorome.io/marketplace.
CryptoRome Website: https://cryptorome.io
GigLabs Website: https://giglabs.io