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What is Axie Infinity? Intro to Axie Infinity NFTs

Ian Lee -

Axie Infinity is a popular Web 3 cryptocurrency game developed by Vietnamese studio Sky Mavis, which can be best described as a more complex version of Pokémon built on the blockchain. As a game that's built on the blockchain, players have ownership of their in-game assets, called Axies. 

This introductory guide will look at the basic mechanics of this sophisticated game, its core appeal, and where it’s headed.

But first, why do people compare Axie Infinity against Pokémon? Pokémon allows players to collect, breed and battle with digital in-game assets. However the challenge with Pokémon is that players do not own these assets, and are not able to trade these assets with players around the world. By building Axie Inifinity on the blockchain, the developers of the game addresses this problem by allowing players to own, train, and trade their assets with one another.

Axie Infinity NFTs

Axie Infinity NFTs are called "Axies", each Axie is a non-fungible token (“NFT”) which exists on the Ethereum blockchain using the ERC721 standard. Axies can be collected, trained, and traded within the Axie Infinity game and ecosystem. They are also immutable, are are only accessible through a player's private key.

Axie NFTs

Some of the Axies you will find in Axie Infinity

Game Mechanics of Axie Infinity 

What can you do with Axie Infinity NFTs?

There are four main things that you can do with your Axies:

  1. Level up and train them
  2. Breed them
  3. Battle with them
  4. Trade them

How to Level Up and Train Axies?

A major part of the addictive power of video games is levelling up. Even when the process it’s tedious, we still do it. A game that doesn’t have any progression system won’t go very far. In Pokemon, you could level up your creatures, which earned them new abilities and even forms through evolution.

Axie Infinity sticks to this basic model, but with a twist: instead of evolving the whole Axie, you can evolve specific body parts instead, which adds new moves to its arsenal and increases its overall stats. Taking a page out of the Tamagotchi playbook (remember those?), you also have to care for your Axies. Each Axie lives in its own Terrarium from where you can clean and feed your Axies and put them to bed.

Axie NFT Types

The different types and rarity of body parts

How to Breed Axies?

When Pokemon introduced its breeding feature with its Gold and Silver versions in 1999, it was a huge hit. Axie Infinity has incorporated this feature with its Axies, but unlike Pokémon, you can breed any two Axies with each other (just no siblings or parents) no matter which species they are. The Axie offspring take their base stats from their parents, but there’s always a chance the process may unlock an entirely new class in the offspring.

You don't need to only breed your own Axies; you can also breed with other players’ Axies through a feature called the Axie Mating Club.

How to read Axie stats

An Axie and its stats

How to Battle Other Axies?

What fun would it be to have badass creatures that can level up and learn new moves if you can’t battle with them? Axie Infinity uses a 3v3 turn-based team battle style, and one big point here is that each Axie will use its moves in a certain preset sequence. Axies also have six different classes, and just like Pokémon, classes have their own strengths and weaknesses against each other.

Once you have your team ready, head to the Battle Lobby to find some opponents!

Axie Leaderboard

The current leaderboard in the Axie Battle Lobby

How to Trade Axie Infinity NFTs?

Buying and selling Axies can be done through the Axie Marketplace. As Axie Infinity runs on the Ethereum blockchain, all prices are quoted in ETH. As of this writing, there are over 1,700 Axies available for sale on the marketplace with prices ranging from less than 0.02 ETH to over 100 ETH.

If you were wondering what could possibly justify a price tag of over 100 ETH for an Axie, these are all ‘Origin’ Axies; Axies that were created in the original presale back in February 2018 (the presale raised 900 ETH) that have body parts which may never be seen again.

Trading Axies

Some of the Axies available for sale on the Marketplace

Axie Infinity’s Business Model

Now that we’ve looked at the main appeal of the game itself, let’s look at its business model. How do the developers make money? Currently, the developers take a 4.75% cut out of all sales in the Marketplace and breeding fees in the Mating Club. From time to time, they may also auction off special unique Axies, called Agamogenesis Axies with special colouring and body parts.

As the game matures, the developers also hope that they will be able to earn additional revenue through esports and brand licensing.

Getting Started with Axie Infinity

Like many dApps built on the Ethereum network, you’ll need to use MetaMask to play Axie Infinity from your desktop. If you’re on mobile, you can use Coinbase, Trustwallet, or Enjin instead. Once you’ve logged in with your wallet, head over to the Marketplace and get your budding Axie team started!

For those who don’t like to use MetaMask for whatever reason, the developer team has said that they are working on providing alternatives for easier onboarding.

In Summary

Axie Infinity is a New Twist on a Proven Gaming Model. The basic framework that Axie Infinity is following is nothing new, but it is proven. By adding a few twists to the Pokémon model and integrating it with blockchain, Axie Infinity has created a fun and captivating game that is the first of its kind on the blockchain. Still in its early stages, its future developments could propel this game into a full social experience that has the potential to go viral.

In particular, the launch of Axie Infinity’s mobile app is something to look forward to, considering that the mobile gaming market was worth USD70 billion in 2018; just over half of the entire gaming market. From a broader perspective, it will be interesting to see how this and other blockchain games fare as cryptocurrencies continue to mature.

Watch our video guide

 

Further Resources

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Ian Lee
Ian Lee
Ian Lee is a freelance writer specializing in the areas of finance and all things crypto. He also has over five years of experience in investment banking. Follow him at Ian Lee.

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