Grab your towels and sunblock, and don’t forget those sunnies, because this Summer is officially the Summer of Snorf! Sir Snorfkin will be hitting the ground running this summer, bringing you new reviews and articles, new NFTs, a new website, and some more goodies 😉. Stick around and read a bit more about what you can expect from the Summer of Snorf. Let’s dive in!
Sir Snorfkin has been busy, but working on new article formats alongside the classic “Sir Snorfkin Reviews” content which you’ve come to know. The Summer of Snorf will still give you the most transparent reviews on blockchain gaming in the space, but there is more in store for fans of Sir Snorfkin! There will be new exclusive interviews, upcoming project spotlights, tutorials, and some food for thought pieces on the state of the blockchain space and current events. To stay up to date on the latest, make sure to follow Sir Snorfkin on publish0x and also on twitter!
In addition, I’d love to see what you would like to hear about! Leave a comment below and tell me about an interesting project or games which you would like Sir Snorfkin to look at. If you want others to hear about it as well, give Sir Snorfkin a shout out on twitter!
New Website and NFTs
Are you excited about what’s in store for the Summer of Snorf? I know that I sure am! Sir Snorfkin is hard at work putting together a new website for all fans and citizens of the Snorfkingdom, so stay tuned for some exciting updates in the coming weeks with regards to this. In addition, Sir Snorfkin has been investing lots of time at the forge, crafting and designing new NFT collections and limited pieces for a broad audience, from free NFTs for those new to the blockchian space, to more difficult to obtain collectible and functional NFTs. Alongside this, the Snorfkingdom aims to obtain stakability in Rplanet, as well as a listing on Tokenhead and other relevant NFT platforms, for broader recognition of the collection.
Those of you who attended the recent DYGYCON 3 and stopped by Sir Snorfkin’s booth will have already found an very scintillating, limited edition Snorfkoin, which will grant you special privileges and other bonuses at the launch of the snorfkingdom website! If you missed out on the event and still want to try and grab one, there are still some available for trading via the secondary market!
To get you excited about the Summer of Snorf and upcoming website, check out the teaser image below from Sir Snorfkin’s recent work building up the Snorfkingdom. I wonder what you think it could be, or what it could mean?
The Summer of Snorf is also a summer of community building, and with that means that there will be additional channels to meet up with other blockchain enthusiasts and Snorfkingdom citizens in the near future, in order to share with, as well as grow and learn from each other. Sir Snorfkin is hard at work building the community, but is also looking for individuals who are interested in helping develop a stronger community on discord. Are you interested in helping build the foundation for a stronger Snorfkingdom? If so, reach out to Sir Snorfkin at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details!
As previously mentioned, The Summer of Snorf will bring many new things with it, and will also reward both those who are here to learn as well as those who are here to earn. There will be future giveaways, contests, and even a few mysterious challenges and scavenger hunts for the bravest and most dedicated blockchain adventurers, so make sure to keep up to date on the developments in the Snorfkingdom during the Summer of Snorf.
This foray into content creation in the blockchain space began mere months ago, and has been truly amazing in showing what communities can do when coming together to create positive change, learn about new things, and enjoy great NFTs, games, and news together. Thank you to all readers and collaborators who have supported Sir Snorfkin by reading and following on publish0x and twitter, and also for those who have already participated in previous NFT giveaways and events. Your support makes this adventurer much more enjoyable, so lets continue this journey together!
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the Summer of Snorf!
Just one week ago, the Federation Flags Inaugural Launch and the giveaway ended, and with that the Alien Worlds metaverse got a new addition to planetary identities. As the metaverse continues to grow (last count was over 2 million miners!), the Federation planets are developing their own unique communities. From the monkey miners on Neri, to Cabal lands taking a swathe of Kavian land, to Infidel mining group setting up shop on Naron, the planetary competition and related NFTs are sure to be picking up in the coming months.
In order to further encourage planetary competition, Sir Snorfkin is shining the Snorf-light on the Federation Flags collection, so that Alien Worlds enthusiasts can show their passion for their planets and incorporate the colors and flags in their own creations! To learn the details of each Flag, let’s dive in!
Eyeke is by far the most minimalistic flag in terms of color scheme and design. The design focuses on creating a second earth, or “terra alterna” as the planet Eyeke is known. To provide accuracy to the federation, a simple, neutral blue was used, as well as pure white and black. Fun fact, the blue used in the Eyeke flag is the same blue used by the United Nations!
Blue (HEX): #5B92E5
Black (HEX): #000000
White (HEX): #FFFFFF
The Flag of Kavian, much like Eyeke, uses a minimalistic style to tell the story of the planet. The corners reference the ice caps, and the maroon interior higlights the TLM-rich inner lands of the planet. In addition, this flag puts particular emphasis on the reptilioid villages which dotted the planet and existed long before the arrival of the Federation miners.
White (HEX): #FFFFFF
Ice Cap Blue (HEX): #90FFFF
Ore Red (HEX): #8B1811
Reptiliod Green (HEX): #348944
The Flag of Magor is arguably the most imposing of the Federation Flags, but this impressive flag also represents the inherently harsh environment which exists on the planet. In addition, the rising sun in the flag is a reference to the ancient anomaly which exists deep in the desert of Magor, and supposedly holds many secrets.
Magor Red (HEX): #C82A00
Magor Grey (HEX): #3B3B3B
Ancient Desert Yellow (HEX): #F1D127
The Naronian Flag is a flag of great pride to the Naronians, not only for the numerous environments which stripe the planet, but also for the 2 large lakes which are symbolic of the planet’s wealth and diversity. The most prominent feature of the Naronian Flag is the center golden circle, which symbolizes the sacred island located on the planet.
Naron Ice (HEX): #D0F9FA
Naron Green (HEX): #0A7418
Doublelake Blue (HEX): #5271FF
Golden Yellow (HEX): #FFE500
Black (HEX): #000000
White (HEX): #FFFFFF
The Neri flag is arguably the most popular of the entire Federation collection. The striped green layers and the reddish purple stripe reference the methane forests of the planet. More importantly, the symbol of Neri, the core tree, highlights the history of the planet’s forests and its status as a new home for many monkey miners of the banano world.
Neri Green (HEX): #038400
Fuchsia (HEX): #BF0075
Tree Trunk (HEX): #662113
Black (HEX): #000000
White (HEX): #FFFFFF
Veles, the ocean planet, is home to immense wealth in the Alien Worlds metaverse. The golden ferns and circle highlight the wealth of veletians, as well as the diverse flora and fauna which inhabit the planet’s many islands. The deep blue of the flag emphasizes the unknown of the deep oceans on Veles, perhaps there are even secrets still to be discovered there?
Veles Deep Blue (HEX): #1152AB
Veles Gold (HEX): #FFCC00
White (HEX): #FFFFFF
Sir Snorfkin hopes that these design details will inspire more planetary art, competition amongst planets, and potentially even staking as the future of the Alien Worlds metaverse continues to rapidly grow. In the near future Sir Snorfkin may also do a giveaway related to the Federation Flags collection, so stay tuned!
The blockchain universe is rapidly expanding, and with this comes a wide range of unique gaming projects which bring in new and exciting ideas. In its current form as an open alpha game, CryptoBrewMaster allows users to hop into the world of craft brewing, without the need for all the painful bureaucracy of actually trying to own your own brewery! This relatively new game takes a different approach to the world of NFTs and gaming, allowing users to design their brewing or manufacturing strategies around numerous approaches. Want to hear more about Sir Snorfkin’s review of the game? Let’s dive in!
*Transparency note: The views expressed in this review are solely based on observations and research conducted by the author. The author has not received any sponsorship or payment from CryptoBrewMaster for writing this article, and therefore the opinions formed are independent of any external influence.
As mentioned in the introduction, CryptoBrewMaster puts users in the role of “Brewing Master” within its metaverse, and the visuals of the game, while simple, are reminiscent of many point and click adventure games. Users generally stick to the town square, where one can view all the available buildings for brewing, producing ingredients, and doing quests. The visuals look very great and consistent throughout the game, and the in-game ingredients also match the same consistent art style. It is obvious when playing the game that the developers worked hard to create this unique art style which works very well throughout the game! As the game continues to grow over time, the development team is sure to add more interesting visuals to the game.
The Main Town Square in CryptoBrewMaster
At first glance, CryptoBrewMaster does not seem like a complex game, as the main goal is to brew various beers and sell them at an optimal profit margin. In reality, there is a lot more underneath the surface. Players can rent various production buildings and create a strategy based solely around the production of goods, rather than ever brewing beers, and frequent competitions reward players for various activities, thus encouraging players to adjust their approach to the game in order to get rewards. Alongside this, Users can partake in daily quests which reward them with different ingredients and quality levels. The last complexity-adding element of CryptoBrewMaster is the ingredient quality tiers, which allow players to produce ingredients and beers at higher rarity levels, thus gaining higher profits. The game’s developer continues to add additional features, and future additions are likely to further contribute to the complexity of this blockchain game.
Unlike some blockchain games, CryptoBrewMaster does not require a significant amount of time for active engagement, as a lot of actions have a time or energy requirement which users can’t avoid. Additionally, newcomers to the game are likely to be dependent on the amount of “energy” which they receive, as they are quite dependent on daily quests and make some money before being able to make use of many of the manufacturing facilities. These factors, combined with the point-and-click style of the game, are likely to leave gamers disappointed with the engagement of gameplay. Where CryptoBrewMaster does well in it’s fun-factor is the variety of strategies which players can employ, such as becoming an ingredient wholesaler, craft brewer, or a mix of both depending on the competitions and rewards. Thus, users should consider whether or not they would like to play patiently to overcome some initial hurdles before truly getting into the core of the game.
Ease of Use
Generally speaking, CryptoBrewMaster is an easy to use and easy to understand game, but here are a few aspects of the game which could be improved. The point-and click nature of the game allows players to explore the different facilities and easily find their way around the game, but simultaneously the game lacks a built-in tutorial which explains the various functions of the buildings, as well as the “building decay” mechanic. Another aspect which stands out is the game’s English. It is evident that the game’s development team’s first language is not English, and this is actually not a criticism of the game. It is impressive that the team has managed to localize the game for English as well as they have! While there is definitely room for improvement, the overall ease of use of CryptoBrewMaster leaves it a decent choice for those new to blockchain gaming.
Cost Benefit Ratio
CryptoBrewMaster is free to play in its current form, however prospective players should take a few key things into consideration before playing. Firstly, the game requires a payment of 1 Hive Dollar (HBD), or approximately $2 USD in order to be able to transfer its in-game token in and out of the game. Secondly, a new planned update will require users to purchase a “citizen passport” which costs 1000 ASH (approximately $11.5 USD as of publishing time) before even being able to exchange items on the in-game markethall. While the game seems free to play, new blockchain gamers should be weary of this promise as well as the promise of “play to earn”, as you will likely have to spend a few dollars in order to be able to reap any rewards of your hard work later on down the road. On the other hand, if you are solely playing this game for a new unique experience on the blockchain, the game is still enjoyable as a free to play game or even with a few dollars spent. In addition, the development team even notes that users who create engaging content about CryptoBrewMaster on the Hive platform may be likely to see a vote from the team themselves, thus potentially rewarding you to the tune of 1 HBD or more! (In addition, check out the Ingredient Bonus Tip at the bottom of this article to learn how to gain additional materials when playing this game)
In its current form, there are a few key considerations to make about the blockchain technology behind CryptoBrewMaster, which are as follows:
CBM, the in-game currency which is used for most in-game transactions,
Aeneas (ASH), another important cryptocurrency surrounding the game.
Hive Engine, a decentralized exchange where CBM can be traded
The team is also working to fully implement in-game items as NFTs, and this is a development users are likely patiently awaiting. In the meantime, one should consider CBM, the primary in-game currency of CryptoBrewMaster. It is not 100% clear, but it appears that the token and the future plan for in-game NFTs is to have them based on the Hive Blockchain, which as reviewed in previous articles, is a solid base for a blockchain game. CBM itself is not a highly traded token, but this appears to be a likely outcome of the small but growing volume of players. What is also somewhat unclear, is the relationship between ASH and CryptoBrewMaster, other than that these are two projects developed in Ukraine which potentially have ties to each other. In it’s current form, ASH does not appear to be a widely adopted currency. Simultaneously it is not necessarily detrimental to the game’s development, but the team should likely do more to explain the project’s relationships with all affiliated blockchains and currencies. Overall, while somewhat unclear, the blockchain technology behind the game seems solid, albeit slightly obscure.
As the game is in open alpha stages, the user community is relatively small. That being said, the community is active on many platforms, such as discord and telegram, and the developers are highly active in responding to the community. It always says a lot about the potential of a project or blockchain game when the development team is actively engaging its community, and as such this sends positive signals for the CryptoBrewMaster game. Alongside an active development team, the community appears to be quite active on Hive as well, often publishing blogs, tutorials and much more. It is great to see this positive “brew crew” developing around the game.
Conclusion & Final Score
It is difficult to review a game solely on its merits when it is still in an open alpha, therefore one should also be considerate of this when reading Sir Snorfkin’s review. The game’s visuals and complexity are a great foundation for future developments, whereas the fun-factor and ease of use still see significant room for improvement. In general, the gameplay, whilst engaging, might leave gamers looking elsewhere until CryptoBrewMaster has developed quite a bit further. Regarding it’s all-around features, the game may end up struggling to grow its user base with the proposed “citizen passport” tool, which seems to prioritize a relatively obscure cryptocurrency over the overall user adoption of a free to play blockchain game. The development team might benefit from a growth in the user base before implementing such changes, however the game still remains free to play for users in its basic form. The last point, which provides a positive boost to the game is its seemingly positive, active and small (but growing) user community. As the game continues to develop and enters a Beta stage at a certain point, time will tell whether or not CryptoBrewMaster emerges as a prominent blcokchain game amongst the growing sea of others.
I, Sir Snorfkin, hereby decree that CryptoBrewMaster receives a final score of Three point One crowns out of five. While I would recommend this game, I would also like gamers to consider that this game is still in open alpha.
Final Score: 3.1/5 (👑👑👑)
Gameplay Visuals: 4/5 Complexity: 3/5 Fun Factor: 2/5 Ease of Use: 3/5
All-Around Features Cost Benefit Ratio: 3/5 Underlying Technology: 3/5 User Community: 4/5
Did you enjoy this review? Let me know by giving a thumbs up or leaving a tip on this article! Would you like to give feedback on this content, or do you have suggestions for which Dapp, project, or blockchain game you would like me to review next? If so, then share your thoughts in the comments below. Would you like me to review your Dapp, project, or Blockchain game, then message me on twitter or comment below! To see more content like this, follow Sir Snorfkin on Publish0x and twitter!
Acknowledgements: A big shout out to rollie from the CryptoBrewMaster team for providing additional resources and information when writing this article.
Ingredient Bonus Tip: Want to try out CryptoBrewMaster and receive additional brewing ingredients on signup? Tell them Sir Snorfkin sent you by registering through this link
Welcome to the first article in my new series “In the Snorf-light.” With these articles I will be putting a spotlight (better known as the “Snorf-light”) on a wider range of projects, dapps, and individuals in the blockchain space. I hope you enjoy this article and stay tuned for more articles like this in the near future!
Introducing Presearch: The First Decentralized Search Engine*
In the modern data-driven era, billions of search queries are being conducted daily in order to access information on the internet. When a query is made on a search engine, a highly valuable byproduct is created: user data. Traditionally, the information generated through using a search engine has been put into the hands of the search provider itself, with little to no oversight on what data is utilized, how it is used, and where or with whom it is shared. With this context in mind, I took a deeper look at Presearch, a rapidly growing blockchain project (founded in 2017) which defines itself as a “community-powered, decentralized search engine that provides better results while protecting your privacy and rewarding you when you search.” You may be asking yourself what does it mean to be a “decentralized” search engine, and you may also be wondering whether or not this search engine is inherently any different than the numerous alternative search engines which have appeared up in recent years to challenge the big search engines. These are all valid questions, and will be explored in this spotlight, so let’s give in!
*Transparency Note: The information described in this project spotlight are solely based on observations and research conducted by the author. The author has not received any sponsorship or payment from Presearch for writing this article, and the formulated descriptions and opinions are independent of any external influence.
What Makes Presearch Unique?
Before putting Presearch in the Snorf-light, it is important to look at what the organization says about its own project. According to the Presearch vision paper, there are a few key elements which make the product unique, as well as a few key problems with existing search engines which the project is designed to tackle. There are three core aspects which the team describes as inherently unique to the Presearch project:
It gives users control of their data (and the privacy thereof)
It rewards users for contribution to the Presearch ecosystem
It decentralizes the search ecosystem
Alongside these core elements, the project also has another unique characteristics which could benefit the blockchain space as a whole. For example, the team notes that the platform is an easy gateway for non tech-savvy individuals to gain exposure to blockchain technology and its capabilities, which could make it one of the first major projects to gain rapid and widespread adoption outside of the niche of the blockchain and crypto community. Furthermore, the project also introduces an innovative model for advertising through the introduction of “keyword staking.” Lastly, the project makes use of its own ERC20 token, PRE, which is used to stimulate the ecosystem and create value for users and advertisers whilst simultaneously maintaining quality of search results and privacy for users.
I’ve taken a deep dive researching this project (so that you don’t have to!), testing the engine, and evaluating the claims of the project in order to put Presearch in the Snorf-light and give you all an objective perspective on this blockchain project and its potential. Without further ado, let’s take a look!
Putting Presearch in the Snorf-light
As a first step, it was essential to dig deeper on how Presearch actually delivers the three core aspects which make the project unique. As many blockchain projects sound great on paper but don’t pan out in reality, I also looked at how these aspects work when actually making practical use of the search engine.
Control of your Data (and data privacy)
If, like me, you were wondering exactly how the project protects your right to data privacy, then the following section is for you. Firstly, Presearch does not log of user search histories so as to ensure that your data remains private. Secondly, the search engine and the organization do not store your personal information anywhere in the ecosystem. Thirdly, all search queries are handled by a decentralized network of nodes which make use of an open source software. In the future, users will have greater control of their data within the Presearch ecosystem through having the option to share additional search data and by doing so, they will receive higher rewards. However, the default will remain set on not sharing any personal data. As an additional note on privacy and integrity, the Presearch project intends to become established as a non-profit foundation once it has fully implemented a sustainable business model. By ensuring that the project is not driven by a for-profit organization, the team aims to safeguard users’ privacy and control of data, regardless of how large the search engine becomes. All in all, this focused approach to privacy is a very welcome addition when looking at the general landscape of dialogue over the future of data privacy and individuals’ rights to own their own data.
The Presearch engine’s reward model is easily comparable to that of the Brave web browser, which rewards users for their activity. For those who are not familiar with Brave, the way that Presearch works is through rewarding users with a set amount of Presearch token (PRE) for each search they make (As of the March 27th, PRE trades at an approximate value of $0.09 USD). Users can earn up to 8 PRE per 24 hours when searching with the engine, and the PRE token can be bought directly from Presearch, and can also be traded on a few exchanges. Alongside search rewards, Node operators also receive compensation in the form of PRE when adding value to the ecosystem through their contributions. If you aren’t already registered to use presearch, it is also possible to earn an initial 25 PRE tokens upon signup using a referral link (see the tip at the bottom of this article to learn how to get 25 PRE upon signup!). Alongside gaining 25 PRE with a signup link, users can refer their network to signup on the platform and will earn 25 PRE for each user who makes a valuable contribution to the ecosystem after signup.
There are a few important things which users should note about the rewards system and the PRE tokens. While users can earn, node operators can gain rewards, and marketers can stake to keywords, Presearch has implemented a “PRE Level” system, on a scale of 1-10 which is designed to mitigate fraudulent behavior such as farming via search bots. Any user from level 5-10 is able to withdraw their PRE from their account, but there is some additional complexity to this. The minimum withdraw amount currently stands at 1000 PRE (approximately $90-100 USD), and the amount which is allowed to be withdrawn is proportional to your PRE level (level 5 can withdraw 50%, 10 can withdraw 100%, each level increases the increment by 10%). So while new users would be able to withdraw PRE to an exchange, they they are unlikely to rack up substantial PRE in a short amount of time at the current maximum rate of 8 PRE per day (it would take 125 days minimum at the current rate to get to 1000 PRE. Assuming that you max your search rewards daily, this is approximately 4 months).
Decentralizing the Search Ecosystem
The term “decentralized” is thrown around very frequently in the blockchain space, but what does this actually mean in the context of a search engine? As previously mentioned, the Presearch ecosystem makes use of nodes, which are run by node operators. These nodes are run by members of the Presearch community itself. When making a search, your request is sent to a node gateway and all identifying information is eliminated or anonymized. After this, the request is sent to one of the nodes in the decentralized network of node operators. After returning your search result from various search indices, the node operator is rewarded for running the query, and you receive a search result gathered through this decentralized network (as well as your PRE payout!). In order to highlight this decentralization process further, I’ve included two resources below which do a great job at visualizing how this decentralized Presearch network operates.
Search Nodes and Decentralizing Queries
The Presearch Node Query Process Map
So, rather than using a centralized engine or database which stores your information and your query history, the use of this community-driven node model is the core of what the Presearch team actually means when they say that the project is a “decentralized” search engine designed to empower you as a user.
Presearch in Practice
So, with a better understanding of what’s under the hood of this project, it becomes time to analyze the Presearch experience from the perspective of a practical user. Although theory and tech are always great to evaluate, the user experience is arguably the most important factor to take into account when deciding whether or not you’d like to make the switch to the Presearch search engine. I tested the engine out, and here is my perspective on the project as a whole:
Pros and Cons
When compared with other search engines, Presearch still clearly needs some fine tuning with regards to the optimization of its search engine. This would also likely be improved through the addition of more community package add-ons in order to strengthen the engine’s functionalities. Overall, however, the only clear drawback of using Presearch is the 1000 PRE limit for certain activities and withdrawal. On the other hand, there are numerous benefits to making use of Presearch. Firstly, it goes one step further than the privacy oriented DuckDuckGo through its recently established node network, which decentralizes search query processing and anonymizes your data as a user. Moreover, the platform is just as user-friendly as any other search engine, and even contains a plugin which can be used to search directly from the search bar on numerous web browsers. Alongside these, another core pro of this engine is the ability to be rewarded for the data you generate as a user, which trumps the user experience of any comparable search engine and provides a new way forward in pushing for greater user control of their own data. On top of these benefits for users, the project also has introduced an innovative, potentially groundbreaking new approach to marketing and affiliate strategies, by allowing advertisers to make use of keyword staking to drive traffic to specific websites.
Users are limited to withdrawing PRE with a balance of 1000+ PRE, which could take more than 4 months to accumulate
Node operation requires at least 1000 PRE to receive rewards
Keyword staking requires at least 1000 PRE
The organization is not yet registered as a non-profit foundation
Limited selection of “community package” add-ons
User-friendly and customizable search options
Anonymity as a user (your data, your privacy)
The ability to earn rewards for searching, or operating a node
The node model as a means to decentralize the search engine
An innovative model for advertising with the keyword staking concept
In summary, Presearch is an innovative blockchain project which offers a unique business model which could easily accelerate mainstream adoption of blockchain projects and increase awareness of the potential use cases of blockchain technology. The Presearch search engine still has room to grow and become optimized, but considering its young age and widespread adoption, it seems as though it is here to stay, and this is good news for everyone. Whether you are a tech-savvy person who wants to run a node, an individual who just values data privacy, or and advertiser looking for innovative new approaches to marketing, Presearch offers something for you! The team most certainly delivers on the three core elements which it proclaims the project unique value, and this is even clearer when learning about how the engine operates. The pros of this project most certainly outweigh the cons, and the sooner you begin making use of the Presearch engine, the more rapidly you can begin accumulating rewards and engaging in this decentralized search ecosystem.
Therefore, after shining the Snorf-light on Presearch, Sir Snorfkin highly recommends that you make the switch and integrate this as your default search engine.
Conclusion: Highly Recommended
Thanks for Reading!
Did you enjoy this first project spotlight? Let me know by giving a thumbs up or leaving a tip on this article! Would you like to give feedback on this content, or do you have suggestions for which Dapp, project, or blockchain game you would like me to put in the Snorf-light? If so, then share your thoughts in the comments below. Would you like me to do a spotlight on your Dapp, project, or Blockchain game, then message me on twitter or comment below! To see more content like this, follow Sir Snufkin on Publish0x and twitter!
As many of you may have recently seen, Sir Snorfkin attended the most recent instance of the DYGYCON blockchain conference with ears open regarding upcoming developments, new projects, interesting games, new connections, and more! Regardless of whether or not you attended the conference, Sir Snorfkin has compiled the highlights from this event. This review will take up a slightly different style, as we will be looking at the Good, the (not so) Bad, and the … FISHY?!? Curious to read on? Let’s dive in!
*Transparency note: The views expressed in this review are solely based on observations and research conducted by the author. The author has not received any sponsorship or payment from DYGYCON for writing this article, and the opinions formed are independent of any external influence.
Firstly, although the DYGYCON event was organized by the team behind Splinterlands, the up-and-coming blockchain game, the event truly surprised with the variety and diversity of projects. Among the various booths were content creators, NFT collectibles and utility projects, blockchain games, search engines, marketplaces, Dapps, and much more. The broad spectrum of organizations there is sure to make this event stand out amongst other niche blockchain conferences, and are likely to attract attendees to future editions to come.
Gamification and Fun
Everybody loves a bit of gamification, but how often can you say you’ve been rewarded for it at conference? The event was hosted in a virtual conference hall designed by Gamerjibe, and as such allowed users to truly explore the conference center. There were collectibles to obtain, and a plethora of activities which could be conducted to obtain NFT awards for participation, networking, and even taking part in shenanigans! However, DYGYCON went above and beyond with its mysterious Convention Quest, which offers the promise of lucrative items and treasures, and the quest expands beyond the event itself, thus adding to the allure. Those who took part in this pseudo-scavenger hunt are sure to profit from what lies at the end of the journey. Lastly, attendees could also challenge Splinterlands’ pros to a match and win countless prizes!
DJ Snorfkin in the Party Room: Is this my new calling?
As mentioned, the DYGYCON event rewarded users who completed achievements, but all attendees could sign up for free items, which are currently being distributed as NFTs on the wax and Ethereum blockchains! There were tshirts, unique artworks, and much more, so even if you just want to come to future editions for free swag, this event will be sure to deliver. Did you attend and want to receive even more swag when signing up for Splinterlands? Then check out the Extra Card Tip at the bottom of this article.
DYGYCON hosted a multitude of unique speakers and insights on developing projects, and all of these presentations were truly intriguing. As a brief overview, here were some of the highlights:
Ultrarare.uk: Ultrarare announced a collaboration with Splinterlands, and even auctioned off a 1 of a kind card!
Marketsquare: a soon to be launched project of ARK, making it easier to discover blockchain projects, connect, and more!
Gala Games: Co-founder Jason “bitbender” Brink presented many major developments coming to Gala Games, and even hinted that there are many games soon to come to the gala games universe.
Superworld: CEO Hrish Lotlikar presented plans for how super “citizens” can interact with the Superworld universe, even in Augmented Reality.
Womplay/Spielworks: An exciting new project showcasing the potential to make blockchain gaming the new norm for users globally.
Many other projects stood out, almost too many to count!
The Organizers and Support
DYGYCON was a blast, but it wouldn’t have been a success without a strong organizing team. Regardless of what room, there was always someone from the team guiding attendees on where to go, how to interact with the virtual conference area, and also providing support in case of bugs on the platform. Without this, the event would’ve surely been a disaster, and the team also managed to organize a highly successful live NFT auction (perhaps even the first ever held?). A big round of applause to all the staff who spent time putting this event together and making it fun for attendees.
The (not so) Bad
As a reviewer who evaluates things with a critical mindset, it comes as a pleasure to say that in all seriousness, there was truly nothing bad about the DYGYCON event! While nothing was bad, per se, Sir Snorfkin definitely has suggestions for how the event can be strengthened in editions to come.
As a first-time attendee, it would have been nice to have a “map” of the conference hall, as it was hard to remember what booths were in which rooms. In addition, it would have been beneficial to have an overview of speakers, rather than relying on the live stream to see what speakers and organizations were in the lineup. For future editions, it would be great for attendees to receive some sort of welcome packet with general information so that they can know what and who to expect, as well as when and where.
Conversation and Networking
This event made use of numerous private tables, bean bag areas, and more areas to chat with other attendees, network, and just have fun. What I noticed, however, is that many private chat areas were often not teeming with people, and the most conversation and networking only happened around the booths where presentations were going on. Regardless, conversations were definitely had and connections were surely made. At future DYGYCON events, it would be great if the staff stimulated more attendee-attendee conversation, perhaps through having specific discussion topics per table, or even a dedicated “get to know each other” area for those who are more interested in connecting with others in the space.
This aspect of DYGYCON was very hit or miss. Some booths had multiple staff providing information to attendees and telling them more about who they were and why they were supporting DYGYCON, whereas other booths seemed to be completely empty for almost the entirety of the event. In addition, some booths didn’t offer more than a picture or two or a link to a website, thus making it hard to engage and learn about each particular organization. This is listed in “the bad” not because this was truly a bad aspect, but because experiencing the booth operators who were active and engaging made it clear what the potential is for each booth, and left disappointment when stopping by booths which felt like ghost towns. It would be great to see each booth manned by at least one representative of the sponsoring organization, and in the case of booths where that is not possible (for example individual content creators), it would be great if there was a way to obtain more information (a brochure, nft, signup, anything).
The Time Pressure
In reality, I have nothing but praise for the effective time management of the DYGYCON organizers, as they managed to not only effectively stay on schedule, but they also fit an enormous amount of content within a three hour time period. So don’t get me wrong when I say that the time pressure could be alleviated in the future, as this is solely meant from the perspective of an attendee who would’ve been happy to explore the conference for even more time. As there was hardly a break in the presentations, it felt as though one had to simultaneously focus on the live stream whilst trying to fully absorb the gamerjibe experience. As such, the time pressure could become a bit stressful for attendees who wanted to make the fullest of the gamification as well as the informative aspects of the conference. Thus, in future instances, it would be great to either have keynote speakers spread out by blocks of free time, have all the presentations in the beginning and leave time after, or even record presentations which attendees could watch afterward if they happened to miss the live version. Despite this, it was extremely impressive how the DYGYCON team managed to organize the event, incorporate meaningful content at every minute, and keep things running on a punctual schedule, so kudos to them!
As mentioned before, DYGYCON was organized in collaboration with the Gamerjibe platform, which is a virtual platform where users can engage with each other just as they would at a real life conference! The platform was very easy to use and intuitive, making it easy to dive in and interact with the conference from the first minute. However, it was clear that the platform is growing and still could be improved. For example, being limited to 35 characters per “instance” of a room, left many out from being able to hear the presentations in person. Additionally, some bugs required users to re-connect, only to have to recollect items, or to just be able to see other avatars again. It should be stated that none of these aspects were detrimental to the conference, and it is also important to note that the gamerjibe support team was very proactive in helping users address their issues. In the future, it would be great to have more avatars per “instance,” customize avatar’s gear before an event, and hopefully some of the aforementioned bugs will be mitigated as well. Overall, however, the platform did deliver. If you don’t believe me, try rereading the section “gamification and fun!”
If you didn’t attend DYGYCON, you are probably wondering what in the world was fishy about this event. But it really is that simple, there were a LOT of fish, and even more fishermen! The conference area had a patio where users could roast marshmallows or fish, and as such could partake in the “biggest fish” NFT contest, a one-of-a-kind unique badge for the user who caught the largest fish. Interested in competing, then be sure to show up for the next edition of DYGYCON! (As an additional side note, please comment below this article as support for my petition for the addition of a “littlest chonk” badge for fisherman such as myself who can only seem to catch guppies!)
Sir Snorfkin Reviews: The littlest chonk. 5/5 would fish again!
In summary, 2021’s first edition of the DYGYCON virtual conference was even more engaging and fun than anticipated. Beyond that, the organizing team curated a wide range of presenters, informative subjects, and truly blew the audience away with the amount of content, excitement, and swag. Whether you are new to the blockchain space or are a seasoned veteran, this is an event which I would highly recommend. It will be interesting to see what comes out of the DYGYCON series, and I look forward to seeing and meeting you all at future editions, so be sure to attend and meet up! Wondering how to sign the petition for littlest chonk? Just comment on this article letting me know what you thought and by asking the DYGYCON team to please add this badge!!
Extra Card Tip: Are you new to Splinterlands and want to make the most out of the initial $10 investment? Would you like to obtain an additional card from the Untamed card set? To do so, let them know that Sir Snorkin sent you by signing up through this link.
Many blockchain games today are making use of cards as a way of visualizing usable NFTs in game, but Splinterlands takes this one step further, offering crypto-enthusiasts an entirely new universe and trading card game on the blockchain! This game is a great introduction to the play to earn model, as users can grow their NFT collection, whilst simultaneously utilizing them for gaming and more. Want to find out more about Sir Snorfkin’s review of the game? Let’s dive in!
*Transparency note: The views expressed in this review are solely based on observations and research conducted by the author. The author has not received any sponsorship or payment from Splinterlands for writing this article, and the opinions formed are independent of any external influence.
Many trading card games are well known for their distinct visuals and art, and Splinterlands is sure to become another welcome addition to this list. Splinterlands clearly employs its own distinct card design artwork, which is consistent throughout the game and aligned with the overall visuals of gameplay. The card design in this game is highly distinct, meaning that its cartoon-like art style draws users into a universe which is simultaneously fun and enjoyable. This is unique from both its blockchain and non-blockchain counterparts, which often feature highly serious art styles which can come across as intimidating for more casual gamers. As the game evolves and develops moving forward, users can be sure to expect more great visuals and well-designed cards (amongst other NFTs) from the team.
Drake of Arnak: one of the many Splinterlands “Summoners”
The game splits cards into six themed “splinters,” each of which offers differing approaches to a “rumble”, or battle. It doesn’t stop there, as each splinter features multiple summoners, offering unique bonuses to the cards on the field. Moreover, cards are broken up into melee, ranged, and magic attack types, which all affect a rumble in differing ways. One of the most notable complexity-adding factors is the game’s built in random mana distribution every match, forcing players to continuously adapt their strategies not just to their opponents, but to their own cards as well. At first glance, it might seem like just another trading card game, but upon deeper inspection, one will see that Splinterlands’ complexity and depth gives players an experience they won’t soon forget!
Card battles merely scratch the surface of this game’s depth. Players can also take part in frequent tournament events, thoroughly strategize their deck builds, collect unique cards and level them up, and much more. In future updates, the team plans to introduce land in the game, allowing users to generate resources and create utility items which will add further value to the game. Lastly, the game’s complexity is further fortified by guilds, which allow users to group up into small teams which compete for higher ranks, share expertise, and more. The overall complexity is not only rock-solid, but sure to grow as the game expands and adds new features.
If you like trading card games, then Splinterlands is definitely a great choice for you! The game is sure to entertain a wide range of players, as the gameplay makes it fun to learn, continuously test new builds and strategies, and master the Splinterlands universe. On the other hand, some elements of gameplay could serve as a potential deterrent to both beginning players and those who are not as fond of trading card games. For example, matchmaking seems to be influenced heavily by “rank,” rather than the overall power of one’s deck, leading to difficulty in consistently obtaining the daily quest rewards need to grow one’s deck as one often gets pitted against very experienced players. Despite this, a big part of the appeal of Splinterlands is the rewards one receives when overcoming these obstacles, and thus patient gamers are sure to enjoy this game a great deal and truly feel that they have earned their cards.
Ease of Use
Splinterlands is a welcome sight in the growing sea of often-wonky, non user-friendly blockchain games. The game is not only easy to use, but also prepares players to hit the ground running with a well-designed tutorial for beginners! Alongside that, the game offers a practice mode and a clear in-game menu which makes it easy to gain an overview of all owned cards, buy and sell cards on the market, register for competitions, and more. Splinterlands’ well-designed user interface is extremely beneficial for those who are new to blockchain gaming. As a further plus, the game sets users up with a unique Hive blockchain wallet address (tied to their username) upon purchase of a “summoners spellbook.” One of the only frustrating aspects lies in the game’s marketplace, where it is difficult to see a cards DEC purchasing price until attempting to make a transaction, as the market lists all cards based on their approximate USD value rather than their value in in-game currency.
Cost Benefit Ratio
From a cost perspective, the most important thing to consider about Splinterlands is the “Summoner’s Spellbook.” This item costs approximately $10 (an is purchasable with both fiat and cryptocurrency), and is essentially one’s entry ticket to begin playing the game and earning cards and Dark Energy Crystals (see underlying technology). What is great for those with a limited budget to keep in mind is that they are welcome to sign up for the game for free and play practice rounds in order to learn the game and assess whether or not they would like to spend the money to get a spellbook (for new players see the extra card tip below to learn how to obtain an extra card upon sign-up)
Despite the catchiness of the “play to earn” model, users should be aware that this game will require patience for those looking to truly generate significant value just from playing. In the end, however, $10 is a small price to pay for those who enjoy trading card games and blockchain gaming in general. Thus, as Splinterlands likely requires a significant time investment and long-term commitment in order to gather enough cards and items to truly recoup the initial $10 investment, the cost benefit ratio is somewhat dependent on how many hours users spend actively enjoying this game.
Splinterlands’ descriptions of its underlying technology is somewhat dispersed on various channels, but overall the game is built on a solid foundation from a technical standpoint. The interesting aspect of the technology behind Splinterlands is likely to be somewhat as a result of the development team making a conscious decision to emphasize making this a game first, supported by the blockchain in the background, in order to ensure that the underlying tech is more digestible and less of the emphasis for the non-experts. Regardless, when assessing the underlying tech one should take into account:
Dark Energy Crystals (DEC): A fungible, in-game currency within the Splinterlands metaverse. 1000DEC = $1
In-Game Assets: These are Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in the game. Examples are the cards, land plots, and more.
Hive: The blockchain foundation upon which Splinterlands runs.
Dark Energy Crystals exist as tokenized assets on the Hive blockchain, and users are able to trade these on the Hive Engine Marketplace. Alongside DEC being tradable, other in-game assets can be tokenized out and transferred through Hive Engine Marketplace, as well as via WAX or Ethereum.
An screenshot of the Hive Engine Marketplace, where users can trade DEC
While the technical foundation of the game is solid, the team would likely benefit from including this information in a more centralized location on their website or wiki, and could also consider incorporating a whitepaper for those interested in the deeper technical details. Although this is the case, the game and its assets exist transparently on the blockchain for all users to evaluate. A showcase of this can be seen on the marketplace, where each card is identifiable by a unique serial number, and transparency of the game is further visible when opening card packs, as users can check and verify the results on the blockchain.
An example of technical transparency: Users are able to verify the results of opening card packs via the blockchain
Splinterlands’ user community contains a well-balanced mix of friendliness, helpfulness, and competitiveness. This mixed community is one-of-a-kind, and is clearly attributable to the active and engaging Splinterlands team! The game’s community is also very alive in discord and other blogging channels, with numerous users publishing tutorials, deck builds, and more! The aforementioned guild factor adds additional depth and complexity to the user community, by stimulating competition and simultaneously more group activity. What is most notable about the game’s community is its highly involved development team, who actively participate in and create exciting events (such as the upcoming DYGYCON conference) not only for their own community, but for the blockchain space as a whole. Their hard work is clearly mirrored in the strong, growing community which is evolving around Splinterlands.
The Splinterlands guild page, where users can create or join a guild
Conclusion & Final Score
Splinterlands is stunning, and provides gamers with a deeply complex game with an array of ways to engage with its universe, thus showcasing the possibilities of how blockchain technology can amplify gameplay of any type of game. The game is easy to use and easy to learn, making it playable for gamers of any skill level. Where Splinterlands’ gameplay leaves room for improvement is in the large amount of time and patience it requires for new players to complete daily quests, rank up, gain new cards, and try to compete with the existing player-base’s already well-stocked decks.
While the buy in cost is a meagre $10, the catchy promise of “play to earn” does come with medium to large time investment in order to learn the game and amass cards, assuming one doesn’t want to spend more money on cards, as the DEC earn rate for new players isn’t likely to earn them too much in the beginning. However, the cost benefit ratio is made up for by the game’s engaging features. The lack of emphasis on the underlying technology could potentially serve as a groundbreaking strategy for introducing blockchain games to the masses, but the team would benefit from making this information more easily available in a centralized location for those who would like to have a better understanding of the technology behind the game. Although this is a currently identified drawback with the, one must look at the user community when making a final assessment of Splinterlands’ all-around features.
As previously mentioned, the Splinterlands community is the heart and soul of the game. Whether in a guild, in discord, or one of the many team-organized events, one can be sure that the community will always provide the proper mix of supportiveness, creativeness, competition, and more. This outstanding community is one of the true engines behind the game’s success, and shows how blockchain games can and should be games first, just as the development team intended it to be with Splinterlands. So, despite its flaws, Splinterlands is most certainly a game worth playing, especially for those who are new to the play to earn model of gaming, with a limited budget, and who are looking for an amazing community.
I, Sir Snorfkin, hereby decree that Splinterlands receives a final score of Four point Two crowns out of five.
Gameplay Visuals: 4/5 Complexity: 5/5 Fun Factor: 4/5 Ease of Use: 4/5
All-Around Features Cost Benefit Ratio: 3/5 Underlying Technology: 4/5 User Community: 5/5
Acknowledgements: A big shout out to Carrie Allen of the Splinterlands team, for her time telling more about Splinterlands’ events, and a major applause to Content Director Chris Roberts, for his support in providing crucial information useful for writing this article. An additional shout out to all of the members of the Splinterlands discord community for their useful tutorials, guides, and more, which were highly valuable for learning more about the game.
Extra Card Tip: Are you new to Splinterlands and want to make the most out of the initial $10 investment? Would you like to obtain an additional card from the Untamed card set? To do so, let them know that Sir Snorkin sent you by signing up through this link.
Alien Worlds is a rapidly evolving blockchain game set in the distant future somewhere in space, where we find six planets owned by “The Federation,” and advanced Bitcoin mining community which has discovered a new and valuable resource known as Trilium (TLM). This game makes use of multiple tokenized assets, allowing users to truly own the tools, weapons, and items they utilize in their adventure on the six planets. Want to learn more about how to become a universally feared space magnate in this free to play blockchain game? Let’s dive in!
*Transparency note: The views expressed in this review are solely based on observations and research conducted by the author. The author has not received any sponsorship or payment from Alien Worlds for writing this article, and therefore the opinions formed are independent of any external influence.
Within Alien Worlds, users receive NFTs in the form of various cards. There are cards for weapons, land, tools, minions, and more. While the art style is consistent throughout the game, it does feel at times as though the visuals were designed by someone who hasn’t seen a new game since the early 2000’s. What one does have to give credit to the team for are the appealing planets and “spacescapes” in the game. The planets, although clearly defined by their patchy land areas, have a distinct look which truly immerse players in the feeling of being in a new, unexplored part of space. Currently, users are limited to a few potential avatars, but it seems likely that the team will add more options in the future, allowing users to differentiate themselves further within the Alien Worlds metaverse. While not detracting from its gameplay, the Alien World’s team would benefit from revamping its in-game visuals as the games evolves.
One “spacescape” featuring three of the federation planets: Naron, Neri, and Veles
In its current state, Alien Worlds is limited in its complexity, as not all of the features of the game have been implemented. Users are limited to one main activity, which is mining for Trilium, the valuable in-game resource. In future updates, the team plans to introduce something called the “Thunder Dome,” which will allow users to send their minions off to battle with various weapons they have discovered through mining. In its most intriguing planned addition, The Alien Worlds team is establishing a planetary governance system, in which users can stake Trilium on a planet, effectively becoming part of a planet’s DAO committee (see section on underlying technology) and having the opportunity to influence planetary decision-making. Despite its current simplicity, the mining in Alien worlds in itself offers users the ability to create strategic mining approaches, by choosing the type of land where they mine, as well as the tools they use to do so. This has resulted in users taking up a multitude of approaches to the game, from heavy handed Trilium Magnates, to Equipment Barons who mine primarily for in-game NFTs, to those who apply a balanced approach based on their situation. The existing complexity, combined with the proposed future developments, are sure to leave gamers with a strategically engaging game which keeps them coming back for more.
This game is limited in its playability due to the fact that many planned features have not yet been fully implemented. As mentioned above, users are primarily limited to mining for Trilium, which consists of clicking a “mine” button, waiting to collect a reward, and then waiting for one’s equipment to cool down before the next mining use. For users who are new to the game, this will feel a lot like “click, wait, repeat simulator 2021,” but over time as they improve their equipment, users can begin to mine in larger quantities with larger cooldown times, effectively becoming a much less tedious activity and something which one looks forward to. In the future, if developments such as the “Thunder Dome” lives up to its hype-inspiring name, Alien Worlds is sure to be well-known for its fun and multi-dimensional features.
Ease of Use
At first glance, Alien Worlds’ user interface is easy to use and easy to learn. However, the game clearly has room for improvement on user-friendliness. The introductory tutorial is wonky in its current state, often requiring a reconnect in order to move on to the next step. Furthermore, the need to click multiple times to mine and collect a reward would benefit from an automated process, or something which can be done all in one simple click. Another seemingly unintended aspect which stands out while playing, is the current inability to easily equip multiple tools of the same type, thus requiring user-made guides to be made as work arounds to these issues. The Alien Worlds team has work to do on the overall ease of use in this game, but at the moment the game is still enjoyable and relatively bug-free despite the small issues mentioned.
Cost Benefit Ratio
Alien Worlds has arguably one of the best cost to benefit ratios in blockchain gaming in 2021. Why, you ask? The game is free to play, and users are gifted an avatar and shovel to start mining from the beginning! The one thing which new users should keep in mind, is that the game requires CPU, NET and RAM in order conduct specific activities on the WAX Blockchain. It is always possible to stake WAX Tokens to increase these resources, but users could potentially get into a scenario where they do not have the CPU or RAM to conduct activities. This is easily mitigated by the miniscule amount of WAX necessary to increase one’s CPU, NET, and RAM on the blockchain. The outstanding part of Alien Worlds is the fact that its free to play model genuinely immerses players into the game universe by allowing anyone to work their way up the Federation food chain and become an influential miner. As with many blockchain games, there will always be those who pay in for a jump-start in wealth, but this game is a great pick for gamers on a limited budget.
Alien Worlds describes itself as the only “cross-denominated” Ethereum/WAX project in the blockhain gaming universe. To explain what that means, one has to separate the elements of the game into two key segments:
The Trilium Token (TLM), a fungible token which exists on the Ethereum blockchain (and can also exist on the WAX blockchain)
All other in-game assets, which are Non-Fungible tokens (NFTs) which exist on the WAX blockchain
For those who are new to the tech behind blockchain games, think of Trilium as an interchangeable “currency” which exists in the Alien Worlds universe. The main difference from other non-blockchain games is that you can exchange TLM for WAX, which has an actual real world value, and can also be used to buy items on numerous NFT marketplaces, such as Atomic Hub. This is where you can convert your mined TLM to buy better equipment and in game assets. Furthermore, according to the Alien Worlds technical blueprint, the in-game assets “exist as a row in the database of the Atomic Assets smart contract” on the WAX blockchain, using the Atomic Assets protocol.
The Atomic Assets Marketplace, where users can buy, sell, and trade NFTs
All-in all the game is built on top of a unique combination of the WAX and Ethereum blockchain, which are both sound foundations on which to continuously improve the game.
As with many blockchain games, the Alien Worlds community is heavily alive on Discord! In fascinating fashion, a unique community aspect has formed organically within the Alien Worlds universe: Mining Syndicates. These syndicates are groups of land-owning individuals who have formed communities where they entice players to their properties with low mining commissions, giveaways, contests, and more. It is highly likely that these unofficial syndicates will likely come to have an even more influential role in the game when it comes to planetary governance, so it is highly advised to check the different groups out in discord before deciding which one you like the most! Alongside the excitement of syndicates, the Alien Worlds community is very friendly and supportive. For example, users have even been known to stake their WAX for new players in order to assist them with the CPU issues mentioned above, and community members always shared user-created tutorials and answers all around. While the development team is not extremely active in the community, they are always present and regularly give updates. In a nutshell, the user community is one of Alien Worlds’ core strengths.
Conclusion and Final Score
In summation, Alien Worlds is yet another unique addition to the blockchain gaming universe, both with its immersive storyline and growing complexity and engagement. The visuals of the game would greatly benefit from a revamp for a more modern sci-fi look and feel, but the unique designs do not detract from the gameplay. The complexity and fun factor of Alien Worlds is currently hindered by the limited activity offering, however the proposed developments will likely contribute to a rapidly evolving complexity in dynamics, strategy, and fun with the additions of planetary governance and the “Thunder Dome” minion fights. The game is relatively easy to use, but not perfect, as a few quality of life updates would improve the gameplay for new and less blockchain-savvy users.
Alien Worlds’ redeeming characteristics can be found in its All-Around Features. The free to play model immerses players in the metaverse, and provides a fair opportunity to grow and participate in the game, meaning the game is highly accessible to gamers of all budgets. Moreover, the underlying technology provides a strong foundation for future developments, and is built on sound, future-proof networks. The true star of the show is the game’s user community, which is helpful and supportive, and which also adds organically evolving complexity to the game through the growth of community mining syndicates and user tutorials, thus stimulating growth and engagement on the Federation planets.
For those who are new to blockchain games or with a low budget, this game is an excellent choice. I, Sir Snorfkin, hereby decree that Alien Worlds receives a final score of THREE point SEVEN crowns out of five.
Final Score: 3.7/5 (👑👑👑)
Gameplay Visuals: 2/5 Complexity: 3/5 Fun Factor: 3/5 Ease of Use: 4/5
All-Around Features Cost Benefit Ratio: 5/5 Underlying Technology: 4/5 User Community: 5/5
Acknowledgements: A big shout out to Vulpes from the Alien World community for his help learning about the game, and thanks to Morty from the Alien Worlds team for his support in providing Alien World’s logos for their use in this article.
Upland is an up and coming blockchain game based on trading properties which coincide with real properties in the real world. The game brings a unique approach to blockchain gaming by allowing people to truly own virtual properties on the blockchain. The game also shows a lot of promise, with a strong development team and clear roadmap for future updates which will bring more life to the game. In this article I will be reviewing the gameplay and all-around features of Upland, so let’s dive in!
*Transparency note: The views expressed in this review are solely based on observations and research conducted by the author. The author has not received any sponsorship or payment from Upland for writing this article, and therefore the opinions formed are independent of any external influence.
Upland is smoothly designed, and aesthetically pleasing. Plus, who doesn’t love llamas?!? Upland’s llama mascot is inviting for users, and the artistic style of the game is mostly aligned with its fun-but down to earth look. Alongside its looks, Upland features a very attractive in-game map, which is easily navigable and can even show you where you are on google street view. With this clear map and nice visuals, you are likely to hear your friends and fellow uplanders beating the proverbial dead horse of “hey, I can see my house from here!” as the game’s user base grows. Despite these visuals, there is one aspect which does stand out: the user’s “Explorer,” which is effectively your character in the game. Upland is currently limited to 6 different explorers with 5 varying background colors. Not only do the explorers’ designs not vibe with the overall art style of the game, some also seem unrelated to the game theme (looking at you, Mr. flashlight). The only way for users to obtain unique explorers at the moment is through Upland contests and auctions, which for the time being seems limited to a very small grouping of wealthy users or pay-to-players, or people with a lot of time on their hands.
Mr. Flashlight: One of the 6 basic Upland Explorers
Currently, Upland is a fairly simple game in terms of complexity. Users are able to buy and sell properties located in multiple geographic locations (currently San Francisco, Fresno, and New York, but more cities are on the way). While simple, there are many elements which contribute to the complexity of the market. Upland makes use of collections, where users can group their owned properties to gain UPX (in-game currency) as well as earning multipliers. This makes certain locations a hot market to get a hold of specific properties, and also results in some interesting marketing dynamics which require users to do some homework before making their purchases. While the game currently remains relatively basic in its offerings, the team’s future developments suggest a promising, robust game which will continue to add features and complexity over time. In an future update, users will be able to develop buildings and businesses on their owned properties, thus adding complexity to the gameplay and earning strategies users can employ.
What Upland lacks in story is made up for by the game’s engaging events. The Upland team continuously organizes regular events, and activities which stimulate community growth and fun for everyone. There are also often contests and giveaways, so keep your eyes open! These activities range from auctions on NFTs, to weekly challenges, and much much more! However, there is a slight catch: players must reach “uplander” status before being able to participate in many of these challenges and activities. The early stages of the game therefore require some patience or investment up front (or some shilling in discord channels) before overcoming the so-called “uplander status” hurdle.
Ease of Use
Upland is very well designed, and easy to use! The game is easily playable through its mobile app, and can also be played via a web-browser. Buying and selling properties is straight-forward, and the game’s user-friendliness makes it easy to get into from the start. Additionally, Upland features a short but sweet in-game tutorial which is very good for helping new users understand how to play the game. One of Upland’s most shining aspects is arguably its user-friendliness, so don’t be afraid to jump in and learn the ropes.
Cost Benefit Ratio
Upland offers a decent cost-benefit ratio, with the current going rate being a flat $1=1,000UPX. This means that when combined with the starting UPX bonuses which can be obtained through frequent contests, users can easily reach the aforementioned 10,000 UPX “uplander status” threshold with a few dollars spent. For those who are not able to spend money, Upland requires some more patience, but is still playable and enjoyable. For the highly proactive, Upland offers numerous benefits for “broadcasters,” who are content-creators driving consistent engagement with users and referring users to sign up to the game. Upland’s team plans to make UPX exchangeable for other cryptocurrencies in the future, but the current one way street of fiat in and nothing out means that all expenses made in game will remain in-game. Keep this in mind before jumping in!
Upland primarily makes use of two tokens: 1. UPX, a fungible token (FT) which can be bought with fiat currency (and soon cryptocurrency). 2. Virtual Properties, these are non-fungible tokens (NFTs), each having unique value on the blockchain.
Both of the tokens exist on the EOS mainnet. In short, EOS allows individuals or organizations to create Dapps for real world use cases. Games are just one of these uses, and there is much more which can be done. With EOS being backed by block.one and sitting at a current market cap (as of 20 Feb, 2021) ranking of 18th, Upland’s team seems to have chosen a credible, transparent, and hopefully future-proof network on which to base their game.
As with many blockchain games, the Upland community is thriving on discord! The market is very hot, with users actively promoting their properties, as well as the justifications and numbers behind their offers. Moreover, the user-base has a very helpful mentality, often visiting new users’ properties in order to bump them above the 10,000 UPX threshold needed to gain uplander status. It is very evident that the Upland team has fostered a strong and active community through events and their own presence in community channels. This has resulted in a wealth of useful tutorials, blogs, and other community-created content which is valuable for all users, all the way from the beginners to the real estate moguls in the Upland universe.
Conclusion & Final Score
In summary, Upland uses a simple formula, but executes it in an engaging way which adds complexity to the gameplay. The proposed future updates will only further strengthen this, allowing users to get involved from day one of their Upland journey. While there is room for improvement on the visual explorers, it does not take away from the overall gaming experience. Where Upland truly shines, however, is in its ability to bring new users to the blockchain gaming space in a easy to use, easy to learn setting.
Upland has a good cost-benefit ratio and is playable without any initial investment, but the 10,000 UPX threshold means that free to play users will have to be patient whilst many users will be drawn into paying to kickstart the true Upland experience. This, combined with the current inability to exchange UPX for cryptocurrency, leaves room for improvement in the cost benefit ratio. Regardless, the tokens used by Upland are built on a legitimate, credible network, and hopefully will continue to remain future-proof. The all-around aspects of the game do not stop there. Of all Upland’s features, its true strength lies not in the game itself, but in its active and friendly user community.
I highly recommend that you try this blockchain game! I, Sir Snorfkin, hereby decree that Upland receives a final score of FOUR crowns out of five.
Final Score: 4/5 (👑👑👑👑)
Gameplay Visuals: 3/5 Complexity: 4/5 Fun Factor: 4/5 Ease of Use: 5/5
All-Around Features Cost Benefit Ratio: 3/5 Underlying Technology: 4/5 User Community: 5/5