My take on the 11/19 Axie Infinity Release Notes
In a new update Trung, the founder and CEO of Axie Infinity, announced a “staking” model for Axie Infinity players. What does this mean for the players? Let’s find out…
As you can see above, this staking model is dependent upon the number of Axies that you hold in the wallet. In order to understand why they did this, we have to go over what led to it.
Axie Infinity is well known in the community for being a Play To Earn game that many people take part in all over the world. Recently, many scholarships started popping up, where players with large quantities of Axies can “rent” them out to players with an email and password so that they can play to earn Small Love Potions. To many of these users, this can be a potential source of income.
On these scholarship accounts, there are usually 3 Axies that people can play and earn SLP with. This led to a bunch of accounts being generated where only 3 Axies were on them. As we know there are many facets to Axie Infinity as a whole, facets such as breeding, PvP strategy, collecting, etc. When many new accounts only hold 3 Axies, I think it can be deduced that these facets of the game are not being played. They are mainly being used for farming and selling SLP.
In my opinion, the purpose of the update was to incentivize people to take part in more facets of the game. This gets us back to the update. In Axie Infinity, you need 1 energy in order to play in 1 PvP or 1 PvE match. Basically, the update limits the total amount of energy that accounts have and the rate at which they can generate more energy. Accounts with 3–9 Axies have a max energy total of 20 and a recharge time of 5 energy in 6 hours. Accounts with 10–19 Axies have a max energy total of 40 and a recharge time of 5 energy in 3 hours. The last bracket consists of accounts with more than 20 Axies, which have a max energy total of 60 energy and a recharge rate of 5 energy every 2 hours. Obviously, the more Axies that an account has the more matches that user will be able to play and thus, the more potential SLP they can earn. As you can see, this update impacts these new scholarship accounts as they are the accounts that fall in the 3–9 Axie range.
There have been several player posts in the feedback channel about this new update. In order to save time, the summary of these arguments are: limiting $SLP hurts newer players more than older players, discourages players from playing, makes players focus on win rate more than total games, and makes it harder to pay off Axie purchases. If you want to read the actual posts, they can be read further in the posts at the end of this article by Georgeh and by Arteriosclerosis.
Let’s break these arguments down and analyze them further.
Limiting $SLP hurts newer players more than older players:
The basic function of $SLP is to breed Axies. The market around $SLP was created when the $SLP Uniswap pool was created. But on the fundamental level, $SLP is an in-game token with the function of controlling the Axie population.
This isn’t the first time Axie Infinity has made the decision to change the breeding mechanics. We have seen this happen with EXP when the amount of EXP earned in a match dropped in half from 36 to 18. The same arguments made now were made then: new players won’t be able to breed like older players could. Granted this change was made probably over a year now at this point and Axie has grown immensely since then. The newer players then are OGs now, and the new players now will be OGs come a year from now. If you continue to play the game and invest time in the ecosystem, you will benefit from being around for a long time. There is a time investment required.
Discourages Players from Playing:
In my opinion, you play the game because you enjoy playing the game and as a byproduct of playing the game you can earn some kind of monetary reward. In order to encourage long-term playing and avoid botting, there have to be proper checks and balances that are in place.
Also, these battles are not the full picture of Axie gameplay. Land gameplay is going to incorporate ALL aspects of the game, with farming, battling, crafting, etc. To think that PvP battles and PvE are the full game itself is short-sighted. This is especially true when players can be rewarded with $AXS drops in game. There are many reasons that players will be encouraged to play.
And we have PvP battles V2 coming soon.
Makes players focus on win-rate:
Any good game has to be mentally engaging. There needs to be strategy, mind games, game theory. If a game is so simple where you can spam games and win then that game is not mentally engaging enough. This is why it is important to focus on how good you are at the game. Players should be trying to win more than they lose in every game.
Makes it harder to enter the game/pay off Axies:
While this argument is valid. I think it is, again, focusing on the short-term. The team has addressed several times that they want to make onboarding easier and cheaper than it is now. The solution to this, is that they are going to implement soulbound Axies. Soulbound Axies are Axies that are given to every player to start the game free, however, they are not tradable, breed-able, or on the blockchain. This allows for players to be able to play the game for free before they decide if they want to buy Axies or not. And this is not far away. These changes are coming. Which is why it is important to stay patient.
It is hard at times to think big picture, but in times like this it is essential. The team is obviously privy to more data and information than we are as users, and I am sure they probably have a valid, data-driven rationale for making this decision. Also, every time the team has come up with a new update, there has generally been some type of pushback, including from myself, as you will always see when new change happens. But after people adapt to these changes we have always seen that the team’s rationale for making these changes was justified. I think we will see the same with this update. The team operates with the long term vision in mind, always thinking about how things that are going on now will impact their game down the road. I have learned to trust that the team knows their economy and game enough to make these types of decisions. I believe that we will look back on and see why this was the right decision.
Also, the team is great at listening to the community and taking in their input as we see Jihoz has done. After these updates are implemented, they will analyze the metrics and then make a decision to change or keep if need be. Again, we have to think long term when decisions are made.
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