Readers collect books; each book represents the time invested in reading it and the journey of experiencing a different reality. Likewise, games represent the same for gaming professionals or even enthusiasts. To passionate gamers, each gaming object — whether a collectible card or just a CD — represents memories of a time they enjoyed the gameplay.
Therefore, web3 games are trying to bring back the excitement of owning pieces of a game. Players not only earn through NFT sales in the secondary market but can also choose to hold on to them for nostalgic reasons.
Hit Factor’s chief business officer Matt Reed and director of player services, Dylan Servantes, spoke to CryptoSlate about how their new game War Park is progressing further in enabling game ownership.
Do we need Web3 games?
War Park is an upcoming game built by a team of veteran game developers who founded Hit Factor in 2020. Reed compares the growing popularity of Web3 in gaming to the trend of free-to-play games that gained prominence around 2010 — it is the “next evolution” in the gaming space, Reed believes.
NFT gaming critics have claimed that the market does not need Web3 games because even if a player owns the assets, the NFTs lose value when the game shuts down. However, Reed has a different argument in favor of Web3 games.
When Reed switched lanes and entered the free-to-play games space from the console games market over a decade ago, the market was flush with bad actors. Reed said many games at the time focused on the click-to-earn model that aimed at exploiting gullible players.
However, as the space matured, free-to-play emerged as a viable gaming business model, and the bad actors in the area were minimized, Reed said. He believes that the same thing will happen with Web3 games.
“I’m very confident [what] will play out is that the space will sort itself out building ownership, building communities around games.
The more you can build, cater experiences to players that are truly invested in your products, and actually give them ownership opportunities and opportunities to determine the direction of the game…that seems like a really meaningful experience versus what you can find in kind of web2 and traditional gaming.”
And this unique experience offered by Web3 games gives them value and creates a need for them.
Web3 can help balance games.
Game balance refers to the concept of game design that helps keep the game exciting and rewarding for all players. Unfortunately, traditional and Web2 games struggle to retain players over time due to a lack of game balance.
But Web3 games allow players to sell their assets, either for a profit or to recoup their invested time and money. Servantes said:
“I played so many games over time that I don’t play anymore, and I look back and go, God, if I could just sell those rare heroes or champions to recoup some of the money I spent, I’d feel much better about that experience and I might [have] even played more to try to get even more rare ones [collectibles].”
It essentially helps keep players hooked to the game since there are opportunities for monetary gain through rare asset sales, explained Servantes. In addition, even if the game shuts down, NFTs allow game lovers to hold on to pieces of their gaming journey.
Echoing Reed, Servantes added that some bad-quality games rushed to market at the beginning of the NFT craze. But with “bigger, better” studios now entering the market, good games are likely to pick up traction, he said.
“Once you implement the web3 part of it [to games] I think it’s the future, and it’s just a matter of time before it explodes the way the free-to-play [model] caught on.”
A look at War Park
War Park is a PC-first fast-paced multi-player tank battler game — kind of like World of Tanks on steroids. The game, which will be available for early access next year, includes three fundamental aspects: the base, the world map, and the combat.
At the base, players can research, develop buildings, build tanks, augment tank attributes and produce upgrades. On the world map, players can form alliances called factions by combining bases, and these factions can participate in world events with the entire War Park player base.
The combat aspect includes various game modes, including capture the flag, king of the hill, domination, and deathmatch, to name a few.
Players start by building their base, tanks, and gear and can then battle other players alone or in groups to gain control of world resources. Players can not only choose from different classes of tanks but can also customize them to their gameplay style, Reed said.
Each tank holds a crew of five, which can be recruited or unlocked — the gunner, the loader, the radio operator, the driver, and the commander.
The gameplay is realistic with destroyable environmental elements — buildings can blow up, and trees can be destroyed. At the same time, however, the Dota-like gameplay is also exaggerated.
The game uses the Unity and Photon Quantum engines, which makes its Esports compatible — it can support instant replays, spectator modes, and more, Reed said.
According to Reed, every crew member and tank has a clear progression path to keep players engaged. In addition, these characters and assets also have special abilities that can be unlocked and upgraded.
How War Park is balanced
In free-to-play models, it is often challenging to maintain game balance. Reed explained:
“A lot of us come from the free-to-play mobile space. And that’s a huge design consideration of free-to-play because if you create a competitive experience, and then you make it so that someone can pay to win, you’re going to ruin the experience.”
Therefore, War Park players cannot just invest money and become the top champions. Instead, war Park players can only purchase and own things that assist with their economic and player progression, Reed said.
Players earn activity points paid out at the end of each day — the higher the activity points, the higher the payout. In addition, certain tanks that are rarer and have higher abilities help players earn more points.
War Park also has a battle rating system that ensures that all players are matched with players of the same experience level, ensuring the game remains balanced. Even the world maps are balanced, containing only 20 bases belonging to players of the same level.
Blockchain and game ownership
War Park has partnered with Openloot, a Web3 game launching platform with an NFT marketplace on Ethereum. Openloot reduces the barrier to entry by cutting down the tedious process of loading crypto into a wallet, buying NFTs from an external marketplace, and porting them into a game. Openloot users can start playing and trading NFTs from the same platform.
War Park has three types of NFTs: base or land NFTs, building NFTs, and blueprint NFTs. First, users can purchase the base NFTs to own land and expand their base. Then, players place the building NFTs inside the base, each of which serves different purposes like research or tank building.
Since tanks and gears can degrade or get blown up over time, they have a foundational blueprint for NFT. These blueprints can be used to recreate the tanks and equipment they represent at any time.
It is important to note that players can start enjoying War Park for free since the resources and assets to start are freely available. Players can also earn enough in-game points to purchase NFTs, Reed said, allowing users to own a piece of the game without investing money. He added that this could also help players get acquainted and curious about cryptocurrencies and NFTs.
“One of our big philosophies when we designed this game is building the game for everyone. And we think that having a free-to-play experience on Web3 should be for everyone.
So creating an on-ramp into the experience that doesn’t require any asset ownership or currencies or anything like that but at the same time creating opportunities to have deep and meaningful ownership in the game [is important].”
For crypto critics, “who might be a little reserved around web3 or crypto gaming in general,” War Park can demonstrate that there are smaller opportunities to own assets and participate in the game,” Reed added.
By making it easier to participate in NFT games, War Park could also open an avenue for Web3 adoption.