Dungeon Crawler-style Role-Playing Games (RPGs) burst onto the scene in the ’90s. Inspired by Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), using randomly generated environments, character skill sets, and at the center of it all…Loot. Non-Fungible Token (NFT) based games built on Blockchain have created new possibilities for the future of gaming. One game recently caught my attention, and it combines one of my favorite styles of games, Dungeon Crawlers, with the digital ownership aspects of Blockchain! You know I needed to check this out for myself. So, use a town portal, and ‘Stay awhile and listen.’ This…is Lost Relics .
Dungeon Crawlers were first introduced to me when I was 9 years old with the release of Diablo by Blizzard Entertainment in January 1997. Even at that young age, I was already a hardcore fanboy of Blizzard games, after hundreds of hours spent playing Warcraft: Orcs & Humans and its sequel Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness .
I remember anxiously waiting for my mom to finish her morning routine so she could take me to buy a new game with the unlimited money I got from the recent Christmas holiday. Well…I had like, $75 dollars. So, like I said: unlimited funds! After what seemed like an eternity, mom was ready, and we left to purchase what would soon become my favorite game franchise (and genre) of all time: Diablo.
I honestly had no idea what it even was and hadn’t gone for it specifically, but the dark cover art, and just the fact it was made by Blizzard…I had to have it!
Just look at it: the simple, clean, menacing imagery still looks amazing!
Looking back, she probably shouldn’t have bought it for me considering The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) gave it an M for mature, but that was a relatively new thing at the time. Yeah, I know, I’m old. Nevertheless, she did, and I had managed to lay my hands on a game that would soon become a lifelong passion, and one I still play to this day.
The Loot Greed is Real!
Some of you might be wondering what a Dungeon Crawler even is, just as I did when Diablo came into my life. Dungeon Crawlers, originally called ‘Hack and Slash,’ are RPGs that traditionally feature a medieval setting with a top-down view similar to Real-Time Strategy (RTS) games. They center around the rewards (or loot) you gain by killing monsters, creatures, demons, and whatever else you can possibly think of.
The Balrogs from Diablo 2 are firebreathing demons that can quickly end your quest before you even notice, especially if you get surrounded
What really makes Diablo special is its replay value. At the time, single player games were generally built around telling an intriguing and immersive story, and playing them again and again wasn’t actually part of the mechanic. Having said this, some games did offer small incentive bonuses for second or third playthroughs, but nothing like this.
The experience of the game is the replay— it’s the thrill of the hunt for loot combined with endlessly needing to stop Diablo, the Lord of Terror, from unleashing the demons of Hell into our world. I don’t know about you, but this was more than enough for me. Each game you start off with always feel new and exciting since dungeon sequences or maps are randomly generated using a coding algorithm called ‘Procedurally Generated Environments.’ So no matter how many times you visit the ‘Catacombs Level 2’ fast travel waypoint, it always feels new, because it is!
Diablo weaved a careful balance of story and replay value. While not as detailed as some other games of the time, the basic narrative is more than enough when paired with the built-in mechanic of needing new randomly determined loot drops. Oh, did I mention the added bonus of increased difficulties only playable with better loot? Well, that’s also a feature, and this allows you to find even better…you guessed it— loot! Pure replay genius!
That’s…a lot of legendary loot. Diablo 3 made missing good loot nearly impossible. In the first game, you would have no idea whether a legendary or unique item had dropped
It was also the first instance of a game I personally played using a system that would eventually be known as the ‘The Grind,’ a word used to describe how much time a progression system of an RPG’s mechanics will take. Today this system is utilized in a variety of ways by most types of games. Even First Person Shooter (FPS) games have adopted progression systems, but for me, it was Diablo that first introduced ‘The Grind.’
A Blockchain Dungeon Crawler!?
With the recent introduction of MSQ Gaming (which you should definitely check out and subscribe to), I find myself with probably the greatest job in the world for a passionate gamer involved with Blockchain— I get to research, play, and report on Blockchain games while getting to participate in a weekly scheduled stream every Wednesday and Friday from 9-11 AM EST.
This has led me to embrace a new world of digital ownership-based games that I might never have found on my own. While looking for potential games to stream, I stumbled upon one I simply couldn’t resist trying out. This is a Dungeon Crawling, NFT-based, Play-to-Earn game developed by Codebit Labs on the Enjin network which operates as a layer-2 solution on the Ethereum Blockchain called, Lost Relics.
The hours spent in this game and community weren’t just for fun! It was research, OK? I love this game! It isn’t work at all…
After seeing a handful of images and reading about the concept, I couldn’t wait to try Lost Relics out. Normally, I wait to do a breakdown of games that have potential after streaming them, saving the new experience in an attempt to showcase the confusion that can arise when trying to play Blockchain games. This time, however, I just couldn’t wait. I can play and get randomly generated items from enemies that can be minted almost entirely in-game? SOLD!
I did what I had to do. I installed the game and spent hours playing and learning. I quickly came to the conclusion that, in my opinion, Lost Relics is one of best transitions from a mainstream game format to a Blockchain game. An NFT-based version of a Dungeon Crawler that is almost perfect, and it’s still in Alpha…its Alpha!
Accessing the World of Lost Relics
Eager to start my dungeon crawling, I headed to the Lost Relics website and clicked the ‘Download’ link. An account is required to initiate the download process, so I quickly set one up. However, I was informed that, in order to download a copy of the Alpha release, I’d have to purchase a ‘Power Pendant,’ or wait until the Beta released, which I was…definitely not going to do.
The website explains that ‘Power Pendants’ act as a limited-time subscription of sorts, unlocking special perks for your account until they run out. The times range from 1 to 90 days, with prices increasing with every level. Without hesitation, I opted for the 30 day pass.
Yeah, I should have bought the 90 day— I. LOVE. This game.
There was a time when new users weren’t required to purchase anything to access the game, but this is no longer the case. Nevertheless, I was late to this RPG party, so I had to pay. But before I could make any kind of purchase, I had to link my Enjin wallet to my newly created Lost Relics account, which was thankfully a simple process.
Once linked, my account was activated, thereby confirming my purchase and allowing me access to Lost Relics. Note that I already had an Enjin wallet set up from my previous adventure , exploring The Six Dragons .
Check out the Preview on MSQ
The Lost Relics was easy to install— most of the games I have tested so far (still in their Beta) have been complicated or confusing to install, but thankfully, this time was different.
So with a double click of the newly installed shortcut, into the world I went. Developer videos soon filled the screen followed by an explosion of the Lost Relics logo. Awesome! It transitioned to the login section that automatically logged me in, presenting the character screen. Wow!
Seriously though, as dumb as it sounds, that’s actually a big deal with some of the games I have tested lately: no extra hoops, no confirming email notification three times, nothing to do…just play the game— and that’s exactly what I did.
I entered my new domain of Talmuth. The familiar overhead view employed by countless Dungeon Crawlers before it greeted me. It didn’t have the standard bubble or orb style health and mana indicators, but these were easily identified with the standard item bar and skill slots visible.
To the north-east of me lay a cave entrance, but before I ventured forth into the unknown, I first decided to see what the key mapping was in relation to previous games. To my satisfaction, almost all of them were familiar to me. A notable exception is the [Q] key which allows you to swap from ranged to melee weapons.
I then hit [M] to bring up my map, revealing words paired with matching icons that simply explained themselves— a blacksmith with an anvil, a stove with meat, alchemy with a vial, and so on.
A common sight for weary adventurers. Even without the simple descriptions, they’re pretty obvious. Good job!
Ignorant of the dangers that lay ahead and filled with enthusiasm to start, I headed towards the cave. This brought up a screen to select what Dungeon Level I wanted to experience. Each level increases in difficulty, showcasing different varieties of enemies as well as different resources to be gathered.
The list of dungeons available. This was very recently updated from the six I originally had to choose from
After choosing the first one, a warning screen informed me that if I died while in a dungeon, I would lose all my items not saved to the Blockchain, as well as any experience (EXP) or gold I had acquired. Pfft! I won’t die, I’m a veteran of these games! And so I entered the Level One dungeon…
Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire
I warped into what looked like a castle cellar, similar to early levels in Diablo 1. Confidently, I pressed through the opening door. A pair of noises told me I had alerted two enemies that were now on their way to attack. A big-headed skeleton and a hulking mummy-like enemy soon appeared. I held the shift key to get into the appropriate stance and fired a volley of arrows at them. Each only required three to four arrows before dying and rewarded me with a meager 3-5 EXP.
As I progressed through the dungeon, encountering skeletons, boars, ghosts, and weird little guys that reminded me of Pinkies from DOOM , they slowly started to chip away at my 3,000 fixed Hit Points (HP). I sluggishly tried to swap weapons while maintaining my primary as ranged attacks, but before I knew it, I was dead. Hmm…Maybe I should learn more.
Take too much damage, and you’re done. 3,000 Health is all you get, regardless of level
I respawned in town, defeated, and low. I didn’t actually lose any items upon dying because I…hadn’t collected any. To lift my spirits, I decided to head to town and do some exploring. I found a marketplace called the ‘Royale Emporium’ where items ranging from ‘Common’ to ‘Transcendent’ can be purchased and sold between players.
Something that sets Lost Relics apart is that the game provides you with the option to change the item marketplace from ‘Virtual’ to ‘Blockchain.’ ‘Virtual’ items can be purchased with in-game gold, and while these items are generally cheaper, they can be lost if you end up dying. Items from the ‘Blockchain’ section are minted NFTs created by paying a small fee to move any ‘Uncommmon’ or above item to the ‘Blockchain’ market (this is all explained through an easy to access link on the website).
‘Blockchain’ items can only be bought using ‘Shadowstones,’ a resource acquired through converting Enjin tokens or by selling your ‘Blockchain’ items. ‘Blockchain’ items are NFTs paired to your account, meaning that if you die while using them, unlike ‘Virtual’ items, they won’t be deleted. Simply put, you keep them stored in your Enjin wallet forever until you want to sell or trade them.
The ‘Virtual’ and ‘Blockchain’ marketplace. Both accept two different currencies, Gold and Shadowstones…I must have both!
A Quest Awaits!
I next visited the ‘Tavern’, quickly realizing it was the spot to be. It was full of players standing idle or running around. As I walked in, an NPC spoke telling me about the weekly raffle for a high quality item. I walked to the left and attempted to buy a ticket for the raffle but obviously lacked the funds to do so. I moved on and explored the area, finding a few places to equip hats, and eventually discovered a stairwell that led me to my private room and stash.
A recent purchase of a raffle ticket. Easy, and hopefully mine in a week…
Personal stash that you must visit to deposit and collect anything you buy or find
Here’s a quick tip: make sure that, before leaving your private stash area, you enter the room next to yours that has a book on the bed for a nice surprise. I then left the tavern and was greeted by a new NPC that had…a Quest! Naturally, I skipped everything he said (I know, calm down, I got this). As I suspected, the quest requirements appeared on the lower right-hand side of the game screen: ‘Complete any dungeon.’ Get some!
I started to head out, but then a player with a dragon following him ran by me. I stopped in my tracks and followed him, admiring this fun pet that was all-too familiar from past games. Where did this impressive beast come from? And, more importantly, how do I get one?
I decided to enter the chat, unsure if anyone would even acknowledge me. I quickly realized this community was welcoming, encouraging, and constantly giving each other tips. My question was answered right away, and followed-up with a barrage of tips and tricks other players had learned.
Having my answer and then some, I stopped by the marketplace, purchased a pet dragon, hit the stash, equipped my new companion and headed to the dungeons. I was officially ready for my rematch!
The Only Way Back is Forward
I reached the dungeon selection cave and started Level One again. Here we go. The same settings were in play, but an entirely new dungeon layout appeared thanks to the randomly generated environments built into the game. Cautiously, I moved deeper into the dungeon. Keeping my distance, I cleared room after room, sustaining only minor damage.
It was then that I noticed something amazing— my dragon was actively seeking out destructibles that sometimes contained gold or loot drops, and collecting them for me! Corners containing vases or boxes that I couldn’t see were revealed as my pet charged, broke and sometimes collected from each one. This was something I had been completely unaware of until now. If you’re going to play this game, get yourself a pet! Some types are very limited in supply, so act now to avoid disappointment!
Anyway, I reached the final room and found a large chest along with a few boxes. While I opened the chest, my pet did its thing, and I proceeded through the exit and back to town. I had completed the quest and was awarded a green bow that deals twice the damage of the one I had been using. I quickly equipped it and re-entered the cave. I know my stuff now…I am the Destroyer!
I tried to enter a Level One dungeon and was denied since my item rating was too high. Obviously that would be the case, and without thinking, I started dungeon Level Two. I opened the door and was greeted by entirely new (as well as larger and more menacing) enemies. I managed to kill them quickly with my bow, but they had seriously whittled down my Health. Oh no!
Not the same scenario, but a similar Health situation, this time with more at stake: my bow…
I had barely cleared 3 rooms, and was under 1,000 HP. Desperately, I turned back to the entrance. With no way out, I remembered, ‘you need to find an exit, or you lose your items’ (or item, in my case). Nevertheless, my situation was dire— I was going to die. So I accepted my fate and, like the ‘Light Brigade,’ blundering and proud, marched into the next room and was immediately consumed by my enemies…
My Last Lost Relic
I respawned in the usual place in town. Quickly scanning my equipment bar, I realized— I had lost my first item of value, just moments after acquiring it. This deepened my understanding of just how seriously prepared you need to be before entering a dungeon. Even at low levels I can now easily complete, I bring more than enough food in anticipation of worst-case scenarios. If you die, you won’t technically lose your starting Uncommon weapons, but you will lose your equipment item used to harvest specific resources in each dungeon. That is, if you have one.
A cool trick I learned for practically unlimited free food is to head to the general store and buy four pots, each costing 1 gold. Then head to the well adjacent to it and fill each pot with water. Next, head to the alchemy station at the windmill and move south to the flour sacks, grabbing 4 of them. Finally, go to the cooking station and attempt to create 4 loaves of bread. You can refill the pots and grab more free flour to repeat this process. Boom. Food stocks means surviving dungeons…usually.
My journey with Lost Relics has only just begun. I played enough to unlock player rewards and have hours of dungeons completed at this point. This is by far my favorite Blockchain game I have played to-date and the one I’ve spent the most time with.
I’ve learned tons of things from the community and game. If you want to see more in-depth information on Lost Relics, check out our video on MSQ Gaming where I dive deeper into explaining the basics as well as specific strategies, future plans, and community chatter.
So if you’re a dungeon crawler like me, sign up now or wait for the Beta. Either way, make sure you join the adventure that is NFT hunting in Lost Relics. I hope to see you out there soon. You know the name, and I will always try to help. Happy hunting adventurers!