Having read the recently released ICP Squad Gameplay Guide, I must say ICP Squad's plans for its soon-to-be-released NFT game seems to be even more ambitious than what I have previously understood (see my recent summary of their community conversation with Liz Yang here).
This includes the rather complex reward system that will need to be codified into the game to ensure 'fairness' and prevent anyone from 'gaming the system.'
When I first read ICP Squad's initial announcement regarding its game launch, I was excited, while at the same time wondering how they were going to develop the game. It appeared to be a massive undertaking, especially when gameplay will presumably be hosted entirely on the Internet Computer.
If you think that this could not work, think again. You do not need to look further than Metascore ~ a DApp, which aggregates scores for each user across the various games launched for the recent Hackathon. ICPSquad's NFT game takes this concept to the next level, hence why I am bullish on ICP Squad NFT.
My reasons are summarized below:
Bullish Case 1: Collaboration
The sky is the limit for collaboration with the Internet Computer built on the 'open internet services' concept where users will eventually own the dApps they use. The standard features of these dApps will be that they will all be easily integrated / inter-connected (through inter-canister calls) with no one entity controlling access to each others' dApp.
This ethos is also reflected in DSCVR's Games Hackathon Season 2 tagline being 'The Integrated Game.'
In this regard, there is a vast potential for ICP Squad to collaborate with all sorts of Internet Computer dApps, which can only result in a WIN-WIN-WIN situation for all parties as follows:
WIN ~ for Internet Computer dApp developers
There will be more users and more 'quality' activity from users who are genuinely interested in using a dApp regularly, increasing the implicit value of the dApp.
WIN - for Internet Computer dApp users
Users will benefit from continued engagement on a dApp by being rewarded for participation in the form of accessories and/or avatars etc. In addition, there is potential for users to score extra rewards from the dApp directly (for example, a developer may decide to airdrop active users with a Starverse NFT or similar).
WIN - for ICP Squad
Users are incentivized to monitor and upgrade their avatars with accessories (which get burned over time), potentially resulting in strong user retention.
ICP Squad will gain significant publicity as the game will be a robust marketing tool for ICP Squad's community efforts. As users will need to purchase avatars and/or accessories, more users will mean more funds over time for ICP Squad to continue developing the game.
With the concept of collaboration in mind, ICP Squad is planning to introduce a dashboard to keep track of rewards and 'where the player will connect their accounts to the wallets they use and the characters they own.' In the absence of an MVP dashboard (for now), I have conceptualized how such a dashboard will look in the image below. Feel free to let your imagination run wild!
Collaboration will result in synergies that would not otherwise be possible if users were cocooned into separate dApp ecosystems that were not integrated.
Bullish Case 2: Customization (and Inclusivity)
Everyone has different likes, dislikes, qualities, talents, interests, strengths, weaknesses, etc. This game caters to everyone's needs and can be customized very specifically to each person visually and in terms of Properties.
For example, Mr. Social in the image below may be more interested in writing posts on DSCVR and Distrikt with a small amount of time spent playing First Person Shooters on the Internet Computer. This person will tailor their Avatar and accessories to take advantage of this.
Alternatively, Sara Stake may be a 'hodlr' and dollar-cost averages into ICP weekly and stakes ICP in the NNS with the daily merging of rewards. This user will also earn rewards simply for being a staker and having an '8 Year Gang' accessory, which reduces the cool-down time before Sara can earn another reward. Even better, imagine being able to mint such an NFT reward directly from the NNS.
The ability to customize Avatars visually and by trait will ensure ICP Squad NFT reaches a broad audience of players.
Bullish Case 3: Fairness (and dis-incentives to Gaming the System)
There appears to be substantial disincentives for users to game the system, including the use of:
1️⃣ a diminishing return system whereby the more times you engage in any particular activity, the fewer chances you have to get rewards.
2️⃣ a limit placed on the number of accessories each Avatar can purchase to ensure that' whales' and/or 'bots' cannot all 'hog' all the best rewards for themselves.
No Bots / No Plagiarism / No Whales.
Also, imagine no more 'fast fingers' clicking aimlessly to get into a whitelist (which is over and done within 2 minutes or less) or in trying to mint an NFT lemming or in having to purchase an NFT that was just launched and listed for sale at ten times its price only 5 minutes later.*
Fairness is key to the success of ICP Squad NFTs and will guarantee the long-term success of ICP Squad NFT if this stays true for the entire duration of the game.
Bullish Case 4: Perishability of Accessories
This will ensure that users are constantly engaged in the ICP Squad NFT and its connected Internet Computer ecosystem to generate sufficient rewards to purchase and/or be airdropped new accessories that eventually get burned.
Further, these accessories can also help boost each user's properties, which will help boost rewards for the user. The gameplay guide has some practical examples. Once again, a picture (in this case 'gif') is worth a thousand words, and I have visualized how accessories will look on @catpirate's Avatar (I hope you don't mind me doing this @Catpirate).
Perishability of Accessories will incentivize 'repeat play.'
Bullish Case 5: Seasonality of Artwork
ICPSquad has commissioned Arun Nair, Channel 9 Australia's On-air Graphics Designer, as one of their artists for the first season.
The Avatars Arun has created look incredibly detailed and stunning and are certainly attention-grabbers. With each new season comes new designs, ensuring that ICP Squad Avatars and Accessories will always look fresh.
Seasonality will create anticipation amongst users resulting in the retention of users but also attracting new users to ICP Squad NFT Game.
ICP Squad has a colossal task ahead based on what it is trying to deliver to the community. As it stands, ICP Squad is already on the front foot for the above reason.
In addition to the above, I strongly believe in the bullish case for the ICP Squad NFT game based on the following reasons:
- ICP Squad already has a substantial following on all social media platforms, thereby guaranteeing a large user base from the start.
- The sample Avatars (which look stunning) have already been created, with more to come in due course.
-The basic game design and reward system have already been mapped out and made available to the public. The challenge ahead would be converting these ideas into code.
- The IC dApp ecosystem is snowballing, meaning that ICP Squad has a wide variety of dApps to choose from to collaborate with.
- ICP Squad can look towards Metascore for inspiration and improvements to its dashboard design and scoring/rewards system.
Ultimately, ICP Squad NFT needs to produce a Minimum Viable Product that is attractive and easy for the average user to understand and use while proving that it pays to engage on the Internet Computer platform.
If such an MVP can be created, rest assured that ICP Squad NFT could be in the running for a developer grant from DFINITY Foundation, ensuring that ICP Squad NFT is brought to the next level justifying my bullish case for this game.
Disclosure: Author (Alixthe) gave us permission to publish this on our blog. The article was originally shared on DSVCR .
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Disclaimer: The community itself is not affiliated with the DFINITY Foundation but aims to become an indispensable ally to further the next generation of the internet, working cooperatively to ensure the success of the project.