How non-fungible tokens could improve fantasy RPG games3rd September 2019
In the world of blockchain gaming, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are quickly becoming a staple of the genre.
Blockchain gaming is an ambiguous term and encompasses a wide array of subgenres such as first-person shooters (FPS), strategy games and role-playing games (RPG).
One upcoming blockchain gaming title is ‘The Six Dragons,’ a fantasy role-playing game which is part of the Enjin Multiverse.
The Multiverse, at heart, is an easy concept to understand and while the technicalities may be beyond the knowledge of your average gamer – the end result is not.
The Multiverse is a collaborative effort of many game developers with a singular goal in mind: to provide a genuine gaming multiverse where in-game items (assets) can be used across many games.
With ‘The Six Dragons’ scheduled for release later this year, here we take a look at how blockchain technology and non-fungible tokens could enhance the fantasy RPG experience.
What are non-fungible tokens?
A non-fungible token is a special kind of asset that is not interchangeable with another asset.
For example, Bitcoin can be exchanged into Litecoin and vice versa, but one NFT – traditionally – cannot be exchanged into a different NFT.
This helps generate digital scarcity which in turn enables players to monetise them.
While traditional cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, for example) are financial assets or a store of value, an NFT, in the scope of gaming, is simply an in-game asset that can represent both or just an asset the player wishes to hold forever.
This could be a sword, shield, magic staff or even a spell.
NFTs also have unique characteristics and meta data attached to them, which aid in identifying them.
An NFT is stored on the blockchain, which is an immutable ledger, and this is where the NFT can be proven to belong to someone.
So long as the player has the relevant ‘wallet address’ which the NFT is associated with, they will own it indefinitely. This concept is called proven ownership.
Fundamentally, non-fungible tokens offer players two innovative ways to improve upon traditional gaming infrastructures. They allow for digital scarcity and monetisation, as well as proven ownership.
This is just a brief overview of the true power the non-fungible token asset class possesses.
Applying blockchain and implementing NFTs will not happen retroactively, but to help visualise how they could improve traditional gaming we will take the example of the Dark Souls series.
The ‘Souls’ series is renowned for its difficulty, but its fans are hardcore followers of the series and replay them time and time again.
With so many different weapons and builds, it offers genuine replay ability. Though across the series certain weapons crop up again either out of fan service or lore continuity.
One such weapon is the ‘Moonlight Greatsword’ which appears in other titles made by the same developer. The weapon is obtainable by every player, so it is not necessarily rare.
However, what could happen if the Moonlight Greatsword was turned into an NFT is that the player could obtain in Dark Souls 1, before taking it into Dark Souls 2 and then Dark Souls 3.
This in turn would give the player some satisfaction in the sense that with each new game, they create new a character equipped with the experience of their previous character in a previous game. In a way, it is similar to reincarnation – which aptly fits in Dark Souls lore.
Though due to the nature of every weapon and item being obtainable by each player on each playthrough, this does generate digital scarcity. But it does add a new level of interactivity for the player.
Importing previous game data into a new game is nothing new in itself, the Mass Effect trilogy allows player to do something similar with their main character.
But, the original Dark Souls 1 was released on the PlayStation 3. Players who had the original might have had countless amounts of hours that they could not retrieve when Dark Souls Remastered was released on the PlayStation 4.
If weapons and armour had been non-fungible tokens however, and the NFTs had the function to be transferred into the Remastered edition, these hours would no longer be lost.
While not allowing for scarcity and by default monetisation, it would allow players to reclaim what is rightfully theirs through proven ownership.
The Witcher series
The Witcher 3 is arguably the greatest fantasy role-playing game and one of the best games of all time.
Like the Mass Effect trilogy, game data can be imported from the Witcher 2 to create a world state which has been affected by the player’s choices in the previous instalment.
One of the more interesting elements of the Witcher 3 is the ability to collect different schematics to continually upgrade Witcher armour until the player has ‘Grandmaster armour.’
Once again this is possible to obtain for each and every player on every playthrough of the game.
However, earlier this year The Six Dragons showcased a feature in which players who know the schematic for rare armour, or a rare enchantment can rent out their services as a crafter or enchanter.
The Witcher 3 is the last game in trilogy, however if it were in the future and with blockchain in mind it could have been possible for people with the Grandmaster schematics to have rented out their services as a crafter.
This adds a totally different dynamic to the entire concept of role-playing; you could earn money for your services inside of game.
The above points represent just some of the many avenues blockchain and non-fungible tokens could reinvent traditional gaming experiences.
Ultimately, only time will tell just how far these new technologies and asset classes could impact gaming as we know it.
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