Introducing: Axie Core
What is Axie Core?
Five years ago we set forth on a journey to change the future of gaming and collectibles. We were fascinated by an early NFT project called CryptoKitties and how it had made Web3 tangible, social, and fun. As community members, we dreamt that NFTs could be elevated far beyond collectible cat pictures— we knew we could do better.
We envisioned a future where IPs could leverage digital collectibles that functioned as status symbols, access portals to various experiences, and crucially, indicators of progress and achievement in a way that elevated gaming forever. These pillars were a valid and sensible integration of Web3 with gaming. It made sense. We imagined ourselves building an IP to rival Pokemon, Tamagotchi, and Hello Kitty by delivering more benefits to our community. We’d deliver on their roadmap for 2080 by 2030. By doing this we’d act as Trojan horse for delivering property rights to a new generation, with gamers at the vanguard.
We predicted that the next re-imagining of NFTs and digital collectibles would occur by harmonizing active use and engagement with the collectible element. For example, we wanted to tie the privilege to expand supply (breeding) to concrete actions in game. If blockchains have their token supplies expanded through proof of work or proof of stake, we saw NFT supplies being expanded through “proof of play”, “proof of skill”, and “proof of contribution”. This is why we made battling an initial core requirement for breeding. It made sense to “earn” the right to breed as this was something that could get out of hand if left unchecked.
Along the way, we learned from you. We built up a ragtag band of missionaries that shared our fervor and vision. After conducting research into ERC 20 tokens we also realized that part of Web 3’s promise existed in the ability to align the incentives between all participants in an ecosystem. We learned that the true ownership players experienced of digital collectibles and game items could also be applied to the game itself. This unlock and invention led us to a wave of adoption. We shed light on a future where gamers could turn their time and effort in-game into tangible value by sharing upwards of 95% of in-game spend with those that are so crucial to the success of a game: its players. As upstarts, this was also a competitive strategy. While our game was still simple and early in development, we attracted players by cutting our profit margins. If Blizzard and Riot were going to take 100% of the revenue, we’d take a small slice of an infinite pie.
Now, looking back upon the work of the last 4 years we see an opportunity. An opportunity to fulfill our destiny and revisit our roots: the linkage between collectability and play.
We will achieve this by delivering on an expanded vision for Axie that goes far beyond any one single gaming experience. Henceforth, we will refer to it as Axie Core.
This article will put forth our vision for Axie Core so that you all understand what we’re building toward.
What is Axie Core?
Axie Core is the Axie experience that is eternal and not tied to one particular game; it’s the universal Axie experience and aesthetic. The goal of Axie core is to strengthen the emotional bond between you and your axies.
This is buttressed by the way axies have on-chain genetic code that can be permanently altered through on-chain actions.
Here are aspects of Axie that can be defined as Axie Core:
Breeding (with a more immersive breeding interface)
Downloading an avatar or profile picture (PFP)
Axie raising (feeding, petting)
These are all aspects of axie that are key to establishing a powerful emotional connection between you and your axies. We know that the relationship between a pet and its owner is a primal feeling. As we enter a new digital age, we believe that your relationship with your axies will become core to your digital identity. Indeed, this has always been part of our vision but it’s been sidelined while we built out game experiences and infrastructure.
Key Point: Axie Core is the foundational glue for all axie gaming experiences and will create a flywheel between the gaming and collectible areas of our ecosystem. This will in turn increase the emotional bond between our players and their axies, helping to drive a stronger, more resilient community & economy.
Axie Core Features
What if your axie could own a pet or get a fresh tattoo?
The first step towards adding more attachment to your axies will be through accessories. These are cosmetic pieces that you’ll soon be able to add on to your axies to further customize their appearance. Cosmetic enhancements are key to modern gaming ecosystems as titles like Fortnite have demonstrated.
Through Axie Core, you’ll be able to do that. Customize your Axies’ appearance and even trade/sell your accessories as NFTs. We’re excited to unlock this incredible opportunity alongside our community.
But there’s more.
In 2021, Epic Games revealed it made $50M by selling one set of skins to Fortnite players. Yep:
$50M for one set. It’s clear that leaning into cosmetics and skins will be a big boost in our efforts to strengthen Lunacia’s economy and bolster the Community Treasury.
One of the points of feedback that we’ve seen recently is that economic balance is too dependent on Runes and Charms from Axie: Origins. Accessories will give us a new, cosmetic lever to use to strengthen the economy, reducing our reliance on in-game power boosts.
We plan to introduce you all to accessories this Holiday Season.
Part upgrades have been a crucial element of our vision since our genesis and we want to deliver on this dream in 2023.
We see upgraded parts as a primitive that’s additive to every single gaming experience in our ecosystem but not dependent on a single product. For example, while Origins should add to the benefits of upgraded parts, players should also want to upgrade/breed/release their axies even if Origins and other axie games didn’t exist. In this way, we see the roadmap and progress on AxieCore pushing the entire ecosystem of experiences forward, rather than being held back “waiting” for the other experiences to be ready for upgraded part integration. This is a subtle but important change in our development philosophy.
Over time then, the Axie experiences in our ecosystem will not be merely fun games or experiences where you can gather tokens, but experiences that allow you to upgrade the collectability and personality of your axies, making you fall in love with them even more. This will be key to unlocking truly satisfying progression and bonding with your axies.
Imagine a world where you engage with many different experiences, gathering different upgrade materials through each game. These materials could correspond to different upgraded parts of the same body slot. For example, perhaps Origins could produce the material for one cosmetic variation of level 2 gecko eyes while Land or even a builder’s program project could produce the material needed for a different cosmetic variation.
A sample formula for part upgrading a reptile part might look something like:
(AXS) + (Material Obtained From Releasing reptiles) + (Material found in-game)= Level 2 part.
While much of the current speculation and debate around level 2 parts will focus on its impact on Origins, it’s almost important to understand that layer 2 parts are a base primitive for every single axie experience to reference and build on top of.
We plan to have part upgrades live in 2023 and have aggressively prioritized it within our product planning for next year.
We will strive to keep you informed and updated on the progress of this initiative as we hit various milestones around app.axie, Origins, and the broader economy.
Breeding & Raising
Breeding has always been a central aspect of the Axie experience. In addition, it’s also been by far, the largest contributor to treasury inflows.
We’ve seen how events like Axie Summer can energize the community with exciting new content while also helping to balance the economy.
In the future, we want to double down on how the breeding system interacts with the rest of the ecosystem. This will likely manifest though the part upgrading systems as well as potentially how we introduce new body parts and genes into the ecosystem. Feeding and raising axies as true digital pets will open up more design space for breeding as well. Axie breeding has become a profession similar to dog breeding but a big party of why puppies have monetary value is also due to the effort that goes into the diet and training of the pets. Recent advancements in AI also bode well for a future where axies are imbued with personalities based on their genes (nature) and experiences (nurture).
This renewed focus on Axie core will also deliver more benefits for Origin and Mystic Axies within our ecosystem.
For example, Mystic parts will have unique art for their upgraded paths to further distinguish them aesthetically. The in-game benefits will be up to the game designers of various experiences to devise. However, as Origin and Mystic owners are among the most engaged and dedicated community members in our ecosystem, we expect that game developers will compete for their valuable attention by offering various in-game benefits to these collectors.
We know that this has been something you’ve been looking forward to for years.
Here are some aspects that we think are vital to establishing Mystic and Origin Axies as iconic digital collectibles:
A distinct website for Mystic/Origin axies
Distinct branding and identity
Enhanced and clarified commercial rights
Separate Collections on the Marketplace
In-game utility & reward boosts
Feedback council(s) to provide a steady stream of structured feedback around the aesthetic, utility, and rarity of these assets
Collecting, breeding, upgrading, and raising are an entirely new meta-game that deserves its own achievement system. For example, the first Axies with a certain part, the first axies of a certain part combination, Axies that were bred on Ethereum vs. Ronin. All of these vectors and more deserve to be highlighted within app.axie. While we’ve put significant effort into recognizing the efforts of battlers in our ecosystem— we also need to recognize the achievements of those that are progressing through the Axie Core loops of collecting, breeding, decorating, and upgrading.
As laid out above, we believe that the key to entering axie’s next act will be through the angle of collectability. This will enhance and add to a sense of progression and purpose across our full ecosystem of games.
Web3 gaming will never reach its true potential if we simply make good games that allow you to trade the items within them. Only by harnessing unique game loops and mechanisms, that merge collectibility, ownership, and economics with amazing and immersive gameplay can we once again define the path forward for this nascent industry.
We look forward to working together on this and look forward to your feedback.
Disclaimer: Nothing in this article is meant to be financial advice. The purpose of this article is to help the community understand the potential of the axie ecosystem when gaming and collectibility are united through never-before-seen loops.