Case Study: How YGG’s GAP Helped Grow Pixels’ Playerbase

Yield Guild Games
Yield Guild Games
Published in
5 min readJan 22, 2024

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When Sky Mavis co-founder Jeffrey “Jihoz” Zirlin delivered his keynote at YGG Web3 Games Summit (W3GS), he revealed that the farming MMO, Pixels, had reached upwards of 130,000 daily active users (DAU). This made Pixels the first web3 game on Ronin to hit 100,000 DAU since Axie Infinity.

Even before the game’s migration to Ronin, the YGG community had embraced Pixels, farming Scarrots and concocting Butterbrew with other guilds such as Trappers in the Field (TiF) and CropCraft Club (C³). In response to the community’s demand, YGG and Pixels partnered to create quests and support the onboarding of more new players through YGG’s Guild Advancement Program (GAP).

GAP Season 3, which ran from February 13 to May 6, 2023, featured a mix of six quests in Pixels ranging from basic to advanced. As Season 3 progressed, the GAP began funneling new players into the game while rewarding them for their time and engagement. Meanwhile, TiF became like a sister guild to YGG in Pixels, bringing in players from Europe and North America, and C³ were frequent allies on the farms as the three guilds leveled up their skills together.

By Season 4 (August 3 to November 8, 2023), Elephantium of C³, who has served as the Mayor of Terra Villa, was actively engaged in quest vetting. Legion, a Pixels content creator and founding member of TiF, also contributed to designing quests.

Through the YGG community’s deep engagement with the game, the guild was able to create quests that sparked the interest of newcomers and motivated existing players to further immerse themselves in Pixels. With a vibrant, supportive community to play, connect and earn achievements with, YGG GAP players are empowered to become a positive influence within the ecosystems they participate in.

“We loved working with YGG,” said Luke Barwikowski, founder of Pixels. “One thing that they are really good at is creating good incentive structures. They basically hand it off. Everything was made super easy for us. They had people that really understood our game in ways that just someone who looked on the outside wouldn’t, and with that, they’re able to create pretty good incentive structures to filter for good users who are actually valuable to our ecosystem as well.”

Guild Advancement Program (GAP): Planting Seeds for Growth in Pixels

To complete the Pixels Seedling Dawn achievement, guild members had to accomplish the 10 in-game starter quests that taught beginners core mechanics like how to plant crops, craft items and cook meals. Once they reached specific levels in farming, cooking, forestry and woodworking, they were eligible to receive the Pixels Agriculturist GAP achievement badge.

  • In GAP Season 3, Pixels achieved a 1.8x higher participation rate than other games in the program.
  • Pixels quests were among the most popular quests to be completed in GAP Season 3.
  • A total of 212 Pixels quests were completed across 87 unique wallets.
  • A total of 13,120 YGG tokens were distributed among GAP questers completing Pixels quests in GAP Season 3.

The Pixels team joined the GAP once again in Season 4, and with the team doubling down on the program, Pixels harvested even greater results.

  • GAP Season 4 featured nine Pixels quests, including a special quest centered on user-generated content (UGC).
  • The nine quests garnered 5,000 total quest sign-ups, making it one of the most popular GAP games, second only to Axie.
  • Over 50% of this activity is from the Philippines, the epicenter of web3 gaming.

These successful GAP seasons for Pixels are a reflection of how GAP quests bring meaningful engagement to games. Through questing systems such as the GAP that ensure quality in-game contributions, great games like Pixels can gain a steadfast playerbase that is equally passionate about the project.

“It was great because it was very little work on our end,” said Luke. “They have very clear knowledge of the game. YGG knows what good activity in our game looks like, so for us, it was just as easy as saying, ‘Yes, please! Let’s go ahead with it.’ I’ve worked with other people, and it’s been a lot more effort to fine-tune.”

Through its participation in the GAP, Pixels has seen many new players onboarded as well as increased engagement amid the Crypto Winter, with a larger community excited for what will happen next in the Pixels city of Terra Villa.

Authentic Engagement Through User-Generated Content (UGC)

GAP Season 3 also featured Pixels Seedling Instructor, a creator-centric quest for the Pixels community where questers created guides for players wanting to get into the game. The combination of quests focused on gameplay and content creation enabled the Pixels team to engage more gamers and grow their ecosystem.

In GAP Season 4, the quest Pixels Pusher enabled guild members to unleash their full creative potential and contribute their handiwork to the world of Pixels. The objective was to craft YGG-inspired decorative UGC that players could display on their land once the submitted design was approved by Pixels.

YGG-themed UGC on @Abubakarjamalee’s land in Pixels

“As Pixels leans more into user-generated content, GAP plays a pivotal role in crafting a more immersive and rewarding experience for us,” said Legion, highlighting how GAP quests can lead to more authentic engagement in the game. “I look forward to more scavenger hunts and in-game meetups with the community while continuing to create content and share strategies to support our players’ journey in Pixels,” he added.

Taking Over Web3, One Pixel at a Time

YGG’s GAP has shown the power of designing achievements that go beyond the overt “Download now” or “Like this page” type of quests players are familiar with. In designing these quests, YGG has collaborated closely with its community and game partners to realize the potential of the GAP to contribute to long-term gaming growth, rather than focusing on short-term vanity metrics.

As such, the program has proven to be an effective bridge between game developers and their audiences, especially for web3 projects in the early stages of their go-to-market planning. The program’s reach extends beyond the YGG community as well, engaging other gaming communities like TiF and C³.

“From my understanding, I think YGG are trying to become like a guild of guilds rather than one guild, and that’s what we want inside our system that we’ve created,” said Luke. “I want to work with them to facilitate building subguilds inside Pixels.”

YGG and TiF reconvened in Pixels for a Christmas Event on December 19. The gathering featured an energy party at The Drunken Goose, a corn maze adventure, YGG prizes, and teasers for GAP Season 5. Image courtesy of @sirmaniegs.

With GAP Season 4 being a resounding success, YGG wants to take GAP Season 5 to the next stage. We invite everyone to join us and experience the GAP impact together with Pixels and the rest of our featured games.

If you are interested in creating GAP quests, hosting Community Cups, or having your project featured in the GAP, please reach out to Mark Tan, YGG Head of Community Products.

Join the YGG Discord or follow us on X to stay up to date on new quests in web3.

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Yield Guild Games
Yield Guild Games

Yield Guild Games (YGG) is a web3 gaming guild where players can enrich themselves as they find their community, discover games and level up together.