Multiplayer Online RPG Running On Blockchain
There’s a lot of obstacles for a game developer to pay something back, even if they wished to. Indeed, you have to cope with all those local regulations, set up local payment systems, then rises the question of who pays taxes.
“IT’S ONE OF THE BEAUTIES OF MMO RPGS, THE GAME ISN’T STATIC, IT GROWS AND EVERY NOW AND THEN OFFERS NEW LANDS TO DISCOVER, NEW QUESTS, NEW UNITS, NEW REWARDS.”
Coinist was recently fortunate enough to chat with the folks at Lordmancer II, a mobile free-to-play massively multiplayer online RPG that allows players to mine cryptocurrency and spend it both inside and outside of the game. So let’s dive into the interview to see how the game works.
Hi and thanks for joining us today guys. Begin by introducing your project to us. For our readers who might not be familiar with what a massively multiplayer RPG is can you break down the details of how it all works?
Well, there are shooters, there are races, and then there are MMO RPGs. The acronym looks scary but it actually stands for “massively multiplayer online roleplaying games”. Massively multiplayer means that there’s hundreds and thousands of players in the game at the same time, and every player can communicate, trade or fight with someone else. You don’t always play against computer, it’s other people, real people, which makes the experience breathtakingly unique. “Online” means that the game constantly talks to its servers and needs internet to run. “Roleplaying” means that you, as a player, have a character, a persona. It may be an ork, or an elf, or a human. Our game currently has 3 races, but there will be 5 when it’s fully launched. Your character can’t die. You cultivate it, you see it gain level after level and become stronger and mightier. You decide what skills to improve, what weapons to use, what fighters to recruit. It’s all very very diverse and interesting! People keep playing such games for years.
Let’s talk about the monetization of the game because you propose to allow players to not only buy into the game, but to also “cash out”. As you mention in your white paper, the trading of “in-game currencies” for “out of game currencies” gives game developers some tricky rules to work within. Can you briefly describe what some of these rules are then tell us how you plan to overcome them?
Normally, it’s a one-way street. A player can only move money in one direction, into the game. There’s a lot of obstacles for a game developer to pay something back, even if they wished to. Indeed, you have to cope with all those local regulations, set up local payment systems, then rises the question of who pays taxes. So, even if they wanted to, developers are hesitant to let players actually take something out of the game. In response to that, we see the emergence of black markets for game goods. And sometimes, with really popular games, one can see huge amounts of money moving in these markets. People buy and sell game goods, weapons, artifacts, even ready-to-play characters. But as with every black market, there’s lot of fraud, players are completely unprotected. There’s no police.
We decided to introduce two features. First, with Lordmancer II, players will be able to draw money out of the game in the form of cryptocurrency. We don’t care what citizenship they have, we don’t know where they physically reside, we just send cryptocurrency to their wallets, that’s all. Second, the market for in-game goods is built into the game, it’s not something external. This eliminates fraud. You can’t put your sword for sale, receive money and then refuse to deliver. Everybody is safe and happy, and there’s a kind of “police” in the form of game admins. You know where to send complaints just in case.
Speaking of in-game currencies you have your own currency called Lord Coin (LC). Can you explain what the functions and utility of Lord Coins are?
Lord Coin is intended precisely for player-to-player trade. In order to purchase something from another player, you need to have Lord Coins. You pay with them. And other users can receive them. It’s in-game money. At the same time it’s a cryptocurrency token which allows players to immediately sell Lord Coins at a crypto exchange and receive Bitcoin, Ethereum, dollars, or whatever the exchange has to offer. In order to obtain some Lord Coins for purchases in the first place, players will have three choices. The first is for the most crypto-savvy. They can purchase Lord Coins at a crypto exchange. The second is to purchase Lord Coins on our web site, for “normal” currency, with a credit card. We will purchase Lord Coins at a crypto exchange for them, relieving them from the hassle. The third choice is the “laziest”, Lord Coins will be available for purchase right in the game, as a normal in-app purchase you can see in most games.
In your white paper you bring up some fascinating statistics about big in-game purchases. For example you mention that ” Entropia Universe entered the Guinness World Records Book in both 2004 and 2008 for the most expensive virtual world objects ever sold. In 2009, a virtual space station, a popular destination, sold for $330,000. This was then eclipsed in November 2010 when Jon Jacobs sold a club named “Club Neverdie” for $635,000…” What big ticket items do you foresee within the Lordmancer II universe?
Oh, it still remains to be seen. But we expect biggest price tags to be on the most developed characters and on in-game real estate. You see, Lordmancer II has huge and expandable game world which is comprised of “lands” interconnected with “portals”. One can think of a “land” as an island with a few doors to other islands on it. We intend to sell some of those “lands” to individual players. This world will constantly grow, as the developer is capable of adding new lands when the game is up and running. Actually, it’s one of the beauties of MMO RPGs, the game isn’t static, it grows and every now and then offers new lands to discover, new quests, new units, new rewards.
As for developed characters, there are always new players who want to skip tedious character development and start as a very powerful player from get go. Maybe even become a clan leader on their day one. They don’t hesitate to pay hefty sums for that. So we expect that many players will cultivate characters and put them on sale. Trade their time for money, but isn’t that what we are all doing at our jobs? Playing a game is not the worst job, in our view.
You made the decision to create Lordmancer II tokens (Lord Coins) on the Ethereum platform. Tell us, in as much detail as you can, what the technological relationship between Ethereum and Lordmancer II looks like. How do the different technologies “talk to each other”?
The Ethereum platform is used to maintain and keep all the transactions made with Lord Coins in and out of the game. Ethereum has its own blockchain, it stores all of the purchases and movements of money. The game, Lordmancer II, has its own Ethereum wallet. When a player wishes to transfer Lord Coins into the game, they actually send it to the game’s wallet. The game then awards corresponding amount of Lord Coins to the player’s account (Ethereum knows nothing about it). If a player wishes to withdraw money from the game, the Lordmancer engine makes an Ethereum transaction from its wallet to the player’s wallet, simultaneously decreasing amount of Lord Coins on that player’s in-game account. With each trade, the game takes commission in Lord Coins, half of which is immediately destroyed, “burned”. A very strange move you would say, but actually it’s for the benefit of our ICO investors. This way, we create artificial deflation. With each trade, there’s less and less Lord Coins available, hence the price of each Lord Coin will constantly grow. We expect our ICO investors to become pretty rich people in a matter of 3 to 5 years.
Then there’s smart contract, a concept Ethereum is famous for. It’s a kind of small program, it governs the way Lord Coins behave when they are moved in and out of Lordmancer game wallet. For example, this “burning” feature is governed by the smart contract, we can’t change or modify it, can’t back down on our promise.
Why did you make the decision to launch on Ethereum vs. Other blockchain platforms?
We decided to use Ethereum platform due to two reasons. First, we can see the growth of the platform and its immense popularity among investors. Nowadays ETH seems to be cryptocurrency number two in the crypto world. The second reason is the simple fact that we had programmers knowing how to work with Ethereum already in the team.
What has your experience been like so far using Ethereum? Are their any major downsides from a game developer standpoint when it comes to integrating Ethereum technology into your game?
There were no difficulties with integrating Ethereum blockchain into the game. Everything is made simple and transparent. But there is one big disadvantage which is the speed of transactions. It can take significant time to actually make a money transaction in Ethereum or Bitcoin, for that matter. Gamers don’t like that. For this reason, all of in-game trade is actually done within the single Lordmancer wallet and is instantaneous. It’s only when you actually move Ethereum in and out of the game, you will need to wait. And in case of moving it into the game, we’ll provide a small buffer, a cache of Ethereum, so that a player could quickly buy Lord Coins and grab that super rare orkish sword while it’s still on sale.
You’re already doing very well during your Pre-ICO. At the time of this interview you’re at 260 ETH. What are some tips and takeaways you can give other blockchain projects in terms of marketing and ICO execution?
Thank you, actually we were hoping to close our pre-ICO in just one day like those cool shiny projects out there. But still we believe we’re doing good and indeed there’s only 53 Ethereum left to purchase at 60% discount reserved for pre-ICO.
We did only the most inexpensive marketing, digital door-to-door sales if you wish. We decided to let our product, the game, speak for itself. Most of the folks who joined our Telegram chat devoted to ICO immediately downloaded the game, tried it out, said they liked it, and then contributed. Sadly, we completely failed to reach Chinese investors who are famous for their scale and number. We only have translated our web site into Spanish today, way too late. So perhaps we’re not yet in a position to give any advice, we’re amateurs ourselves. But if you asked for one, we’d say try to have something of a product to show to your investors. Our game is pretty solid, and that’s by far the most successful marketing tool we have.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today. To our readers, if you want to lean more about Lordmancer II please visit their homepage here: http://lordmancer2.io/
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