Arguably the most popular Play-to-Earn (P2E) game ever created, Axie Infinity , is back with a brand new offering that hopes to appeal to an even wider audience of gamers in the Web2 space! But how exactly does this latest version of Axie differ from its predecessor? And with all the hate being lumped on NFTs, as well as the troubles Axie Infinity has faced in recent months, will the bid to get more traditional gamers involved pay off? Let’s take the time to dig a little deeper and find out if Axie Infinity: Origins can surpass the original game and bring Web3 gaming to the masses!
A Brief History of Axie Infinity
Axie Infinity was released back in early 2018 by developers Sky Mavis before the whole bull market fueled by the hype surrounding NFTs and blockchain gaming kicked off in 2021. By June of the same year, Axie had risen to prominence in several countries with many players in the Philippines declaring it as their main source of income. However, by September, earnings from Axie reportedly fell below the country’s national minimum wage.
To cut a long story short, despite its initial popularity, the value of Axie’s in-game currency, Smooth Love Potion (SLP), ended up crashing in February 2022 amid a wider crash in the price of crypto and NFTs, causing a huge portion of the game’s player base to abandon Axie. To make matters worse, on March 23 2022, hackers managed to steal $620 million in Ether and USDC from the Ronin Network . As a direct consequence, the value of SLP plummeted even further.
But believe it or not, this isn’t the end of Axie Infinity. Not at all. If you know anything about the Web3 space, it’s filled with rampant speculation, experimentation and risks. There’s little doubt that Axie Infinity had a profound effect on many people, and with all the euphoria that surrounded the game in the middle of 2021, a fall back to Earth was pretty much inevitable. This isn’t a unique phenomenon, and since crypto as a whole took a knock, so too did countless projects, Axie Infinity included.
More of the Same?
I think everyone can agree, especially in hindsight, that Axie Infinity isn’t a perfect game by any means. For one, the original game isn’t particularly “exciting,” seeing most players spending hours grinding to make a decent profit. But beyond this, the initial barrier to entry to get started with Axie simply became too high for many people, preventing them from ever being able to participate—at one point, the cheapest Axie cost around $300, which is well out of reach for many people. In addition to these factors, the rampant inflation of SLP tokens and the gaping holes in the game’s security all conspired to bring the project tumbling down from its all-time highs.
This begs the question if Axie Infinity: Origins is more of the same or something that actually has the potential to bring Web3 gaming to a wider audience. The answer lies in how Sky Mavis has changed their approach and whether this will resonate with their current playerbase and new players. While I’m sure many feel happy to see Axie Infinity returning in a new form, others probably don’t feel as confident, and rightly so. Obviously if Sky Mavis finds solutions to their issues and players really do start joining in, then Axie could once again rise up to take the crown in the world of Web3 gaming.
So What Makes Axie Infinity: Origins Different?
It would be a stretch to say that Axie Infinity: Origins is a totally different or new game when compared with Axie Infinity, but while there are undeniably overlaps, there are some key differences to take note of. The first thing you’ll notice about the game is that the aesthetics are updated and that the animations are a lot smoother and polished than the original. But while this is all good and well, what else does Origins offer that sets it apart from its predecessor?
- Sequential Turns - In Origins, Axies will immediately attack without any delay, making gameplay faster and more exciting
- Changes to Cards - In Axie Infinity, cards had both attack and defense features, but in Origins, cards will have either one of these, so players will need to adapt their strategies accordingly
- New Cards - In Origins, there are new cards that relate to an Axie’s eyes and ears, so instead of four different card types as seen in the original game, Origins features six cards for players to work with
- New Powerups - Origins includes Runes, which provide passive powers, and Charms, which enhance an Axie’s existing abilities
- Changes to Stats - Since Origins is meant to be a fast turn-based card game, stats like speed no longer apply, and in Origins, Hit Points (HP) will play an important role
- Removal of Random Critical Hits - Players complained about random critical hits in Axie Infinity, so “Rage,” which builds up during the course of a game, will replace this, and it’ll be up to players to decide when it’s best to use their Rage
- Energy and Card Reset - Players will now have no incentives to skip turns and conserve their energy as unused cards and energy will not accumulate by default
So those are just a couple of the changes and additions to the game, but perhaps the most significant change is that if you want to play Axie Infinity: Origins, you don’t have to pay a cent. Yup, in what I believe is a very sensible move on Sky Mavis’ part, players can now download and play Origins free of charge. And if you have absolutely no prior knowledge of Web3 tech or how blockchain works, it’s no matter. As I mentioned earlier, Sky Mavis is definitely looking to win over more traditional gamers and even seems to have shifted away from the whole P2E and Web3 approach, even if only to a small degree.
So There’s Still Hope?
Well, in spite of all the downsides, there is still hope. Like it or not, Axie Infinity is still arguably the most successful NFT project ever, and while many players may have disappeared, they’re casting the net wider and hoping to enjoy even more uptake with traditional gamers. Whether this approach will actually work or not remains to be seen, but from what it appears, at least Sky Mavis is trying to find ways to improve their offering and make things more inclusive and community-based. Heck, a lot of Web3 projects could learn from this, and if Axie Infinity: Origins is successful, I have little doubt that many others will attempt to replicate their approach.
Axie Infinity: Origins Season 1 is already underway, so since it costs nothing to play, I implore you to check it out and see for yourself. I don’t think Axie is going anywhere anytime soon, but either way, we’ll make sure we keep our finger on the pulse and bring you all the latest as and when it happens!
So what do you think of Axie Infinity: Origins? Is it a big step forward for Sky Mavis? Or do you think there still needs to be some major changes before Axie can reach its full potential? Let us know your thoughts!