How to make money in crypto gaming
I turned a crypto game called Axie Infinity into my job and you can too!
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Dear Crypto Natives,
How much would you pay for something that looked like this?
What if I were to tell you over $1m worth of these things have already been sold. Average price? Almost $6 each.
3xhuman breeds and sells these digital creatures as his job. In today’s tactic he shares how he makes money doing it.
Why’s this so cool?
Blockchain gaming is revolutionizing the gaming industry with play-to-earn (P2E) mechanics.
Crypto gaming is an eSport that allows players to unlock open economies. It’s DeFi + gaming. You can grind Small Love Potions by playing Axie, then sell them on Uniswap. You can breed Axies together, then sell them for profit on OpeaSea.
This stuff is early, but the potential is massive. Through 2021-2022, blockchain gaming is moving up to 750K in weekly sales of gaming NFTs.
It’s no surprise that people are already making a living off blockchain gaming.
You’re indoors now, the real world’s a bit chaotic at the moment—this is the perfect time to take a break and level up on crypto gaming.
Tactic #28: How to make money in crypto gaming
Guest post: @3xhuman, Blockchain eSports player & DeFi Wizard
Learn how you can start making money in a friendly ecosystem while playing blockchain games (in this article I will use Axie Infinity as an example). We are going to learn how to evaluate Axies, how to fight with them, and how to create new, higher-quality Axies to sell for profit!
Goal: Learn how to breed, trade, and fight Axie Infinity internet monsters
Effort: 8-16 hours (be persistent!)
ROI: 10-50% (my personal is above 33%)
Requirements: Metamask and ETH in your account for this tactic.
How it started for me
I loved playing MMORPGs as a young boy. I earned glory and recognition from other players by being the best. But glory isn’t everything. I also played games to earn loot.
It was Kal Online that taught me in-game items are worth real money. Every week, guilds fought against each other to conquer the castle. Rulers had access to larger resources. These were economic wars.
I found myself earning as much as my parents from games like Kal Online at the age of fifteen. Earning entailed selling the loot I earned from killing monsters.
This primed me for crypto markets. I spent time trading and learning everything I could in crypto. But after years of doing this as a burnt BitMEX, I started looking for something where I could use knowledge about crypto markets but combine it with a passion to play games.
I knew there was opportunity in the intersection of NFT games and crypto markets. I wanted to combine those two worlds.
I found the right cryptocurrency game
Finding the right game wasn’t easy. Games of chance like CryptoKitties were never interesting for me. I was looking for a game that allowed players to be competitive.
I learned that Axie has a fully, player-owned economy that allows players to seamlessly sell and trade their game assets for digital currency. That's how I got into Axie in January 2019. That month I bought a PC streaming setup. I invested around 15 ETH and made Axie portfolio management my daily work. I loved it.
You should know that Axie was a completely different game at that time, with some bad mechanisms. I like to say that an Axie portfolio is like a start-up. You have to be vigilant. You need to know the market, your customers, and adjust the product to the change in the market conditions and customer expectations.
(Above) Some personal stats, over 12 ETH in profit via in-game market, not including OTC
How to get started with Axie
Here’s everything you need to know about getting started with Axie to make money.
1) Buy your Axie team & create an account
Axie Infinity is one of the first blockchain games that introduced a mobile application, but it’s also available to download on PC, Mac, Android or iOS.
You need to have at least 3 Axies in your MetaMask wallet to start. Axies can be purchased on the official marketplace here.
To start I’d recommend buying the most basic team first, any cheap Axies are fine. This is risk mitigation, you want to see if you like the game before making bigger investments.
Once you have your first 3 Axies, you can create an account:
Log in with Metamask
Create your account with email and password
In the mobile app provide the same email and password that you just set
(that’s how your Metamask account is connected with the mobile application, so you don’t need to have a web3 wallet all the time with you)
2) Understand the game mechanics
Like any game, to make money you have to understand the game mechanics. So let’s look deeper into these the mechanics behind Axie.
What Are Axies?
Axies are (mostly) cute internet monsters that players can battle, collect, and raise. Each Axie has different traits that determine their role in the battle and the whole game ecosystem (e.g. mystic traits).
Each Axie has 4 stats: Health, Morale, Skill, and Speed.
Health: The amount of damage your Axie can take before being defeated
Morale: Morale increases the critical strike chance. It also makes entering last stand more likely and adds more last stand “ticks”
Skill: Skill adds damage when an Axie plays multiple cards at once (combo).
Speed: Speed determines turn order. Faster Axies attack first. Speed also decreases Axie’s chance of being the victim of a critical strike.
Each Axie has 6 body parts: eyes, ears, horn, mouth, back, and tail.
Horns, Mouths, Backs, and Tails determine which cards an Axie can use in battle.
Each body part also adds stats, depending on the class of the part:
Plant: 3 HP + 1 Morale
Aqua: 3 Speed + 1 HP
Reptile: 3 HP + 1 Speed
Beast: 3 Morale +1 Speed
Bug: 3 Morale + 1 HP
Bird: 3 Speed + 1 Morale
Each Axie has a class (similar to “types” from Pokemon). Each class is weaker and stronger against other classes.
When calculating damage, the card class of the attacking move is compared to the Axie class of the defender. This means that a Bird card used to attack a Beast Axie will deal 20% additional damage. A Beast card used to attack an Aquatic Axie will deal 20% less damage.
Now that you’ve learned the basics you’re ready to fight with them.
Battle System Mechanics
The Axie battle system is a turn-based card game where the goal is to eliminate all of your enemy’s team (3 Axies). Each turn, a player must strategically play cards that maximize their chance of winning.
More on battle mechanics:
Getting your first strong Axie team
Now you’re ready to create your first strong Axie team. Due to the mechanics of the game, most new players field teams consisting of 1 “defender” and 2 “attacker” Axies. The defender (the tank) should be placed in the front of your team, so it draws incoming attacks.
(Above) My tank Axie high HP tank Axie is placed in front to aborb attacks. Each Axie can draw from a pool of 4 potential cards in battle. Each card comes from a body part—Mouth, Back, Tail, and Horn.
You need a “defender” (often referred to as a “Tank”) Axie which can be defined as: the most adept at absorbing damage—High HP stat (50+), as well as having at least 2 high shield cards (Def 70+). More is better, but that can also be a lot more expensive (this is your chance to gain ETH if you choose to be a breeder).
(Above) Example of a defender Axie—my tank
⚠️Tip—Almost all plant class cards are good tank cards (Pumpkin, Zigzag, Yam). Reptile and aquatic cards can also be tank cards (Tiny Dino, Hermit). Self-healing cards such as Shiitake and Rosebud can make a tank more resilient. You can find a full list of cards here.
You’ll need an “attacker” Axies, commonly referred to as “DPS”. In general attacker Axies have the following traits: 2 cards with 100+ damage, sacrifice survivability (HP & shield) for damage output.
(Above) Example of good damage-dealing Axie.
⚠️Tip—Speed can be useful on damage dealing Axies, allowing them to incapacitate an Axie before it can attack. The skill stat adds damage to combos. Bird & Beast cards are almost always good damage-dealing cards. Morale increases the chance of a critical strike, dealing 100% more damage on an attack. This makes high morale Axies (generally beast and bug Axies) good fits for the damage dealer role.
Ok, now that you know how to put together a strong team let’s go through the basics of Axie price evaluation (better move combination = higher demand and price) so you can determine what to buy for your first team.
3) What can you do with Axies and how can you earn?
Like real-world pets, Axies can be bred to create new offspring. The offspring can be used in battle, breed new offspring, or can be sold on marketplace (in-game or OpenSea). In order to manage the Axie population, breeding has certain resource requirements.
Each Axie can be bred 7 times (maximum). Breeding costs about .002 ETH, as well as Small Love Potions ($SLP). Small Love potions can be earned by playing the game in PvE Adventure mode, with bots as well as the PvP Arena with real people. Once you earn them, you can sync them to your wallet on this page.
In the graphic above, 1 potion = 100 Small Love Potions ($SLP). The cost to breed two Axies will be based on the breed count of both parents. For example, two Axies that have 5 breeds each will require 1,600 Small Love Potions to breed. Note: tagged Axies (Origin & MEO) do not require Love Potions to breed, but still limited to 7 breeds each.
If you want to engage in breeding, you should ensure permanent access to high-tier, virgin Axies, so that production costs are lower for you (SLP-wise).
On February 11th, the cheapest Virgin Axie (0 breeds) costed around .0189 ETH, which is over 9 times the breeding cost. This means that there is a clear path to earning in Axie Infinity, one way or another.
Here’s where it gets interesting in the intersection of gaming and DeFi—Small Love Potions are ERC-20 tokens which can be bought and sold on Uniswap. So, if you don’t want to use your potions to breed, you can instantly sell them and take profit.
Let’s walk through the three main ways to earn with Axie:
A) Collector Approach
If you’d like to create a collection, and you don’t care much about battle consider an investor approach. If you believe that Axie Infinity is a game you can grow 10x or more, buy rare and unique Axie and hold them. With the popularity of the game, your rare Origin or Mystic Axies should also gain in value. Some have already sold for more than 50 ETH.
(Above) You can see more price data on the Axie market from NonFungible.com site
What Axies are considered ‘collectible’?
- Tagged Axies (Origins, Meo, Meo II, Axies with Mystic parts)
- Low ID Axies
- Mint Condition (Virgins, Low Breed Count)
- Special Number ID (e.g. #420, #50000, #11111)
- Agamogenesis (more about them)
⚠️Tip—Rare class Axies like reptiles, birds will be more valuable as Origins and Mystic from regular class Axies like plant, aquatic or beast. Low ID = 1-100. Decent low < 10 000. Mystic Axies that are also good battlers will be more valuable than ‘any mystic’ e.g. plant Axies with DPS move set.
B) Breeder Approach
Each Axie has 6 body parts, as well as body shape. For each part, an Axie possesses 3 genes—a dominant (D), recessive (R1), and minor recessive gene (R2). The dominant gene is what determines the body part that is physically present on the Axie.
When breeding, each gene has a chance to be passed down to offspring:
Dominant (D): 37.5% chance to pass this gene to offspring.
Recessive (R1): 9.375% chance to pass this gene to offspring.
Minor Recessive (R2): 3.125% chance to pass this gene to offspring.
You don’t need to count all of this in your head! You can use this calculator to look up the probabilities when breeding 2 Axies. While you can’t see the R1 and R2 (recessive genes) on the main website yet, you can view them using this extension built by one of our community members, Freak.
⚠️Tip—There are some parts like Holiday skins and Mystic that cannot be passed down through breeding. As of January 2020, these are Mystic parts and body parts from our special Holiday breeding events.
How is the Axie Class Calculated?
There are no recessive genes for the class. Each baby has a 50% chance of inheriting each of their parents’ class when born. So, a Beast/Aquatic pair would have a 50% chance of producing a Beast and a 50% chance of producing an Aquatic. If both parents have the same class, the baby is guaranteed to be of that same class.
Many players aim to create strong Axies for battle when breeding, which means aiming for good Defenders, Attackers, or Support Axies. I showed you some Axie archetypes (Tank, Damage dealer) above. Let’s walk through an example.
How Long Does It Take For An Axie To Become An Adult?
Axies take 5 days to reach maturity. After 3 days, you can morph your Axie to the petite form and see what genes it has. After 2 more days, you’ll be able to morph it into an adult and use it in battle!
How To Know What To Breed And How To Sell Your Axies
Be active on discord and social media—earn a good reputation.
Learn from others (what people have, what they breed, and what will be easy to sell)
Breed Axies that will be good in battle, demand is high for them, more people can afford them as they are cheaper than Origins and Mystic Axies (in general)
Example—I wanted to breed a strong damage dealer. As a first step, I scanned my collection for Axies that when bred together, would have a good chance of producing an Axie capable of dealing a lot of damage. In particular, I was looking for high morale Axies. This means cards that had either a high attack or a good combo of moves, that can make even more damage than the amount display on cards. This would allow them to get more damage done by dealing critical strike or get me more energy points.
⚠️Tip—Always read the card descriptions because many cards affect each other for better results. You want to know this and take it into consideration when breeding.
I settled upon the two Axies above. Both Axies have a high morale stat. I generally consider above 50 as high and with 52-61 being very high. They both have my favorite move set, with Imp and Ronin, so I will be able to deal a large amount of damage and at the same time, gain more energy points for future moves.
One of them was a 3 and the other was bred 2, so the breed cost is 700 SLP + .002 ETH. I was very confident that the baby would have a higher value, so I went ahead and did the breed! Keep in mind that some players just want to create the most beautiful babies (purely aesthetic)! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder (sometimes).
⚠️Tip—There are some parts that cannot be passed down through breeding. As of January 2020, these are Mystic parts and body parts from special Holiday breeding events.
C) PVE & Tournament Approach
If you want to minimize risk (any new Axie is a risk of failure and the possibility that the offspring will be a weak Axie despite valuable parents) then you can still earn by winning tournaments and fighting PvP and PvE. Here the entry threshold is higher. A Team able to pass the PVE game and grind SLP is worth about 0.3 ETH, a Team able to win fights with other players is worth around 0.6-1.5 ETH, a tournament team can be worth 2 ETH or more. In addition, to win tournaments you need to have your own unique strategy that can only be developed by devoting hours to playing.
The best strategy is to combine all the above approaches in a way that suits you. Remember that blockchain games like Axie are in alpha and beta. Playing them in a profitable way means adapting to changing conditions and constantly looking for market advantages. Being a professional blockchain game player is not an easy task, you have to devote a lot of time to it. However, if you are looking for challenges and you have the soul of a player—try, maybe it will be your dream job as it is for me.
Build a game portfolio and start earning money
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Not financial or tax advice. This newsletter is strictly educational and is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any assets or to make any financial decisions. This newsletter is not tax advice. Talk to your accountant. Do your own research.
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