What is Axie Infinity and the AXS Token?

Written by Ivan on Tech

Feb 19, 2021

Axie Infinity is a “Pokémon-inspired” digital universe and blockchain gaming platform for creating digital environments and raising pets known as “Axies”. Skilled gamers can earn Axie Infinity Shards (AXS) by contributing to the platform and participating in battles and tournaments with their pets. Axie Infinity allows users to trade NFTs and exchange in-game items, with more than 25,000 ETH traded within the Axie Infinity Marketplace. Also, Axie Infinity is ranked as the #1 Ethereum game with over 19,000 monthly active users, and more than 6,400 ETH generated in revenue! Furthermore, Axie Infinity, along with the Axie Infinity token (AXS) allows players to monetize digital property ownership and brings a great deal of utility to the platform.

Moreover, the social networking aspects of Axie Infinity have developed a dedicated community of passionate gamers and crypto enthusiasts. Crypto games such as Axie Infinity are among the most obvious gateways for crypto adoption. 

In this article, we’re going to dive deep into the world of Axie Infinity and the AXS token. Also, we’ll discuss how the game allows players to tokenize assets on the blockchain and provide digitally verifiably scarce in-game items and incentives presented in a way that is familiar to many gamers, even if they’ve never heard of crypto!

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What is Axie Infinity?

Axie Infinity is an Ethereum-based game whereby players collect, breed, trade, and battle cute creatures known as “Axies”. Axie Infinity is self-described as “a digital pet universe on the blockchain”. Furthermore, players can buy land and harvest resources that can be used in the game and generate revenue. Axies, land, and in-game assets are all available through Axie’s designated built-in marketplace.

Since the introduction of CryptoKitties in 2017, the development of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and crypto gaming has increased substantially. Tokenizing assets on the blockchain presents a tremendous value proposition for ownership rights. Although many other industries can no-doubt benefit from NFTs, currently, the industry where NFTs have been embraced the most and appears to be thriving is in crypto gaming.

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)

Non-fungible tokens or NFTs are tokens that represent a unique data set. Bitcoin or dollars are fungible – as one five-dollar bill is equivalent to another five-dollar bill. Whereas non-fungible tokens could represent an educational certificate, an art piece, a piece of digital land, or a verifiably scarce shield or sword. The possibilities are endless. The key distinction between NFTs and fungible assets such as BTC or ETH is that they are not interchangeable, they can not be duplicated, and all NFT information and previous owners are transparent and visible on the blockchain. Axie Infinity is built upon the Ethereum blockchain. The Axie Infinity developers use the ERC-721 token standard for NFTs within the game.  

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) can be used within games to give players exclusive rights or opportunities. For example, holding an Axie NFT gives the user commercial rights to create fan art of that particular Axie. If other users want to use your Axie NFT for design, they must first receive your permission (and potentially pay a fee). Axie NFTs offer users the chance to commercially profit from their fanart and merchandise. NFTs have become one of the hottest trends in crypto in the last year. Furthermore, NFTs are opening up the possibility of tokenizing real-world assets on the blockchains and entering a new digital universe. 

Axie Infinity Gameplay

The Axie Infinity game is designed as “an open-ended digital pet universe”, with fun being the main priority. The Axie core team believes that making the universe an experience as fun as possible will attract new users. In theory, this should bring more value to the Axie network by growing community interaction and attracting new users.

The framework of the Axie battle is a combination of much-loved games such as “Final Fantasy Tactics”, “Pokemon”, and “Idle Heroes”. The structure of the game is a real-time turn-based card game, playing cards to defeat all enemies your Axies are facing. The cards are chosen from a pool of four potential cards, each assigned its own body part; mouth, horn, tail, or back (explained further on).

Whether you’re into card-game battles, building your own digital land, or owning scarce digital assets and pets, Axie Infinity has created the ultimate economy and battle gaming experience. To get started with Axie Infinity, you will first need a MetaMask wallet, plus some ETH too. If you’re unsure about how to use MetaMask, be sure to save our ‘What is MetaMask?’ article for later!

Axie Marketplace 

Once you have your MetaMask wallet set up, before you can enter the game you must first purchase three Axies from the Axie Marketplace. The Axie Marketplace is a decentralized marketplace where players can view all of the items available within the game. You can view and filter through thousands of different Axies available. Also, the tab at the top allows you to switch the marketplace between Axies, land, items, and bundles. In-game items currently must be paid for in ETH, with prices for assets ranging between 0.04ETH to 100+ ETH. The most expensive Axie NFT transaction of all time occurred this month when a user purchased nine plots of land for 888.25 ETH – just over $1.5 million at the time of purchase. 

Also, new players have the option to purchase eggs as opposed to ‘Petite’ or ‘Adult’ Axies. Once the user has three Axies in their wallet, they’re ready to download the application! Links to downloads are available through the Axie website for Android, Windows, and macOS. However, for iOS, there is a link to request an application for an invite to download the app. 

Breeding Axies

Similar to real-life cats and dogs, and the infamous 2017-craze CryptoKitties, Axies breed to produce offspring with unknown genes and characteristics. Part of the breeding game is gambling on the probability of producing known dominant, recessive, and minor recessive genes when creating offspring. However, to prevent the hyperinflation of Axie breeding, there have been some cryptographic resource requirements put in place. 

Axies can only breed for a maximum of seven times. Axie siblings can not breed with each other, nor can Axie parents or grand-parents breed with their Axie offspring. Furthermore, breeding is not free. It costs 0.05 ETH for every new offspring produced. Plus, a set amount of love potions (mentioned later), in addition to the Ethereum gas fee which fluctuates depending upon network usage. The amount of love potions required is dependent upon how many times both parents have bred previously. 

Breeding Axies is super simple, achieved in just three short steps! First, find the chosen Axie to breed from the inventory. Then, click ‘breed’, and choose your Axie to pair it with! Axies take five days to mature from egg to adult. After the first three days, it’s possible to morph the Axie into the ‘Petite’ stage to confirm what genes it holds. Two days later it can be morphed into an adult! Axies must be at the adult stage of development before they can breed and battle.

How to Know Which Axies are Good or Not

When it comes to breeding Axies, the possible outcomes are endless. Moreover, Axies can be bred for different reasons. Some hard-core OG Axie Infinity players will selectively breed creatures for the best performance in battle. Other users may be looking for two Axies that stand a good chance of breeding a good-looking Axie, based purely on appearance. 

Each Axie has four ‘Stats’; health, morale, skill, and speed. Health determines the amount of damage an Axie can take before being knocked out in battle. Higher morale increases the likelihood of entering the ‘last stand’ (more explained later), in addition to increasing the chances of a critical strike. When an Axie uses multiple cards at once, the skill stat will add extra damage (calculated as (card attack * skill )/ 500 ). The speed determines the turn order – with a higher speed creating a higher chance of the Axie attacking first. Also, a higher speed decreases the chance of a critical strike. If two Axies have the same speed when entering battle, the turn is determined by “High speed > Low HP > High Skill > High Morale > Low Fighter ID”. 

Each set of stats is individual to each Axie. The stats are determined by the Axie’s class and body parts. 

Body Parts 

There are six parts to each Axie; eyes, ears, horns, mouth, back, and tail, in addition to the body shape, distinguished by its class. For each body part, there are three genes. Each gene is different and is categorized into dominant, recessive, and minor recessive genes. 

Dominant (D): The chance of passing this gene to offspring is 37.5%.

Recessive (R1): The chance of passing this gene to offspring is 9.375%.

Minor Recessive (R2): The chance of passing this gene to offspring is 3.125%.

Axie Infinity has provided a gene calculator to calculate the probabilities of gene transfer when breeding two Axies. Axies that hold more recessive (R1) genes will be more valuable than those with more dominant (D) genes. Minor recessive (R2) genes are of even more value than R1 genes due to their scarcity. 

Class

Similar to the different ‘types’ of Pokemons available, Axies are divided into classes. There are nine different classes of Axies, each with its own individual attributes. The classes are; Beast, Plant, Bug, Mech, Duck, Aquatic, Bird, Reptile, and Dawn. There is no recessive class gene, so each Axie holds a 50/50 chance of inheriting its parents’ class. However, when both parents are from the same class, the offspring Axie will always be of the same parent class. 

When battling other Axies, the class of the Axie card being played plus the class of the competitor Axie is taken into consideration. Moreover, when an Axie plays a card the same class as the Axie, it can receive bonus rewards. For example, if a Plant Axie plays a Plant card, it will receive a bonus 10% shield/attack.

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Battle System Mechanics

The game mechanics require users to create a team of three Axies. Most new players consist of one ‘defender’ Axie and two ‘attacker’ Axies. ‘Defender’ Axies are defined as Axies having high health stat (50+) and are good at absorbing damage. Also, ‘defender’ Axies should ideally hold at least two shield cards. On the other hand, ‘attacker’ Axies are expected to hold at least two cards with 100+ damage, plus be able to sacrifice health and shield for damage output. 

Some top tips for battle from Axie Infinity Alpha Guide: Reptile, aquatic, and nearly every plant class card are good tank cards. Bird and beast cards are mostly good damage dealing cards.

Axie Infinity and the Axie battle system can be used as ‘Player vs Player’ (PvP – competing with other players online) or as a ‘Player vs Environment’ (PvE – users competing against the gaming algorithm). Players draw cards to battle their Axies until the ‘last stand’ with one remaining Axie before the winning Axie is confirmed. The application has seen huge success with over 15,000 downloads as of October 2020. Also, Axie has held several tournaments both by its core team and enthusiastic third-party sponsors. 

Land

The Axie homeland is known as ‘Lunacia’ and is a way of unlocking further utility and opportunities to expand the Axie network. There are only 90,601 plots of land available in Lunacia and, much like the real world, they consist of different land types. These are ‘Savanna’, ‘Arctic’, ‘Forrest’, ‘Mystic’, ‘Genesis’, and soon the ‘Lunas Landing Center’.  

Each piece of land is represented as a non-fungible token (NFT) on the Ethereum blockchain. This means you can digitally verify that you own a piece of Lunacia land. Also, users can upgrade their plots of land over time with resources and potential crafting ingredients and materials that appear when interacting with the game.

The Lunacia land gameplay is a work in progress and is being released to users in phases. As development continues to progress, the Axie team envisages a Lunacia landscape for users to build their own in-land games using the Lunacia SDK (Software Development Kit). Moreover, players will be able to add their games to the Lunacia land that they own.

Axie Economy

Axie Infinity is creating a novel virtual economy within its game. Virtual economies exist predominantly within virtual gaming platforms. However, implementing a trustless and decentralized economic infrastructure is something that can only be achieved using blockchain technology

Axie Infinity appears to be leading the way for a fully decentralized, player-owned gaming economy. In addition to the assets mentioned so far, below we have included some additional features within the Axie Economy.

Origin Axies

During an Axie Infinity pre-sale in 2018, Origin Axies were introduced through a bonding curve. This is where each Origin purchase automatically increases the price of the next Origin Axie. There was a hard cap of 4,088 Origin Axies set for the pre-sale. After the event closed, the Axie Origin Coins (AOC) were created based on the remaining number of Origin Axies needed to reach the target of 4,088.  

Mystic Axies

During the birth of the 4,088 Origin Axies, just under 30% of them were born ‘special’. These ‘Mystic Axies’ are incredibly rare. When the Origin Axie breeding dice were rolled, the odds of an Origin being born with ‘mystic’ features were: 

  • Single mystic chances = 25.04%
  • Double mystic chances = 3.68%
  • Triple mystic chances = 0.28%
  • Quad mystic chances = 0.0127%
  • Penta mystic chances = 0.000299% OR 1 chance in 333,453
  • Hexa mystic chances = 1 chance in 34,012,224

Mystic Axies bear dazzling art and unique physical attributes compared to their counterparts. Rumour has it that Mystic Axies could also be developing special powers over time as the Axie Infinity ecosystem grows. 

Small Love Potions (SLP)

As previously mentioned, Small Love Potions are needed for Axies to breed. Small Love Potions (SLP) can be rewarded to users for completing goals and achieving tasks in the game. Also, Small Love Potions can occasionally be found whilst discovering the depths of the Axie Infinity world. These potions hold fundamental differences from other in-game token assets. 

Small Love Potions (SLP) are ERC-20 based currency tokens as opposed to the non-fungible ERC-721 token standard used for other in-game items. SLP tokens can be bought and sold on decentralized exchanges, such as Uniswap. If users have accrued SLP tokens in their Axie account and don’t want to use them to breed, there is an opportunity for users to profit and sell them on an exchange. Moreover, if players require extra love potions to breed their Axies and don’t want to wait until they’ve collected enough through the game, they can purchase extra SLP tokens through Uniswap

Axie Infinity Shards (AXS) Token

The Axie Infinity Shards token (AXS) is also an ERC-20 token. However, AXS is also the governance token for the Axie Infinity Universe. In the future, by staking the AXS token users will receive rewards, but only if they play the game and participate in governance activities also. The Axie Infinity Shards token is rewarded to players when they play particular games within the ecosystem. Also, a percentage of AXS tokens has been allocated to user-generated content initiatives, offering Axie Infinity token rewards. 

The Axie Infinity Shards token holds two main functions. Firstly, tokens are there to reward users for interacting with the Axie Infinity platform, whilst at the same time incentivizing users to hold on to the AXS tokens to claim further rewards. Additionally, the use of the Axie Infinity token is to maintain the decentralized governance of the entire Axie Universe. Axie Infinity hopes to become the first truly decentralized game owned by the players. This can be made possible through the use of the Axie Infinity Shards token.

Since its initial listing on CoinGecko in November 2020, the Axie Infinity Shards (AXS) token has risen in price from $0.14 to $2.01 at the time of writing. The AXS token has seen consistent upward price movement recently, reaching a new all-time high of $2.33 in February 2021.  

Axie Infinity & Axie Infinity Shards Token Summary 

Axie Infinity has created a decentralized, fun, and engaging gaming ecosystem. It is intricate, complex, dynamic, and exciting all at the same time! It’s no wonder the application has seen so much success, growing from 7,000 monthly active users in October 2020 to over 19,000 monthly active users just three months later in January 2021. 

As the Axie Infinity community continues to expand, so too does the development and partnerships being formed behind the scenes. Axie Infinity has partnered with some of the key DeFi projects in the space, including Chainlink and Aave, to continuously improve the user experience. 

Axie Infinity is still in the relatively early stages of its development, with plenty of room to grow. To get closer to the mass adoption of cryptocurrency, blockchain-based gaming economies are a great on-ramp for new crypto-users. 

Blockchain gaming is one of the most exciting use cases for blockchain technology and could be a huge catalyst for the mass adoption of cryptocurrency. There has never been a better time to learn a new skill in an emerging industry. To learn how to build your own blockchain-powered games, check out the Unity Blockchain Game Development 101 and Enjin Blockchain Development 101 courses at Ivan on Tech Academy. Here, you’ll find all the tools required to become a blockchain game developer!

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