Overview of the Axie Infinity ecosystem
As I alluded to in my previous post, Axie Infinity is a blockchain trading card game. You earn an ERC-20 token called ‘Small Love Potion’ (SLP) when you win in PVE (player versus environment) or PVP (player versus player) mode. SLP is tradable on Uniswap so you earn an (very small by first-world standards) income through playing the game. SLP is needed to breed Axies, so this creates demand for the token - there are some serious breeders who prefer to just buy the token for breeding rather than play to earn the token. I will go into more detail on breeding in an upcoming post in this series.
Assembling a ‘team’
Important - the amount to learn for a newbie can be overwhelming. Don’t think you need to know everything to get started. You will learn as you go (I still have a lot to learn!).
Before you can download the app and start playing, you need to assemble a team of three Axies. Axies exist on the ethereum blockchain as NFTs (non-fungible tokens). They can be purchased via the Axie Infinity marketplace or third-party marketplaces such as OpenSea. Thus you will need a Web3 wallet such as MetaMask.
As a newbie you might be thinking there’s a a risk that you may not enjoy playing Axie Infinity and then you’ve wasted your money by buying (investing in) Axies. Don’t forget there is a marketplace for these little guys. You can just as easily sell them as you can buy them so you can (more or less - might make a bit of profit, might make a slight loss, depends on the market) make your money back.
There are lots of really useful blog posts and articles about selecting an Axie team but I think the best place to start would be to talk to some of the OGs on the Axie discord server (try the new-player-help channel first). Their advice is usually to start with ‘floor-price’ Axies (the cheapest - you can view by lowest price in the marketplace).
When selecting your team some things to think about include:
- Stats - Axies have ‘stats’ for speed, skill, morale and health. Axies play their turn in order of speed so a high speed score is a big advantage. Health scores affect the amount of ‘hit points’ (HP) that Axies start off with. Skill and morale affect hitting power and accuracy.
- Class types - each Axie has a ‘class‘ type (beast, bug, reptile, bird, plant, aquatic). Most folks say that plant, beast and bird are the best combination for a starter team. Birds are generally the fastest types. Plants generally have the highest ‘Health’ score, which means they can take more hits. Beasts are generally good all-rounders. You can filter by class type in the marketplace to help you find what you’re looking for.
- Each Axie has a unique combination of ‘body parts’. These body parts determine the four cards that an Axie has available for use in game-play. Cards have a damage (offence) score and a shield (defence) score. When a card is played, the Axie attacks its opponent with a blow (approximately) equal to the damage amount. The shield score comes in to play when your Axie is attacked - if the shield score runs down to 0, the HP score for the Axie will also start going down. When shopping around for Axies have a look at their associated cards. Some cards in particular are really useful - some that come to mind are cards that use 0 energy (this means you can play the card without it taking up one of your turns); self-healing cards (this means that playing this card will restore some of the Axie’s HP); cards that can surprise opponents by attacking - for example - the fastest enemy (by default Axies attack the closest enemy, hence why such a card could catch an opponent off-guard).
- Breed count - I think it’s worth paying slightly more for ‘virgin’ Axies (breed count = 0). The higher the breed count, the higher the cost in SLP to breed. Even if you’re a beginner and not thinking about breeding yet, I would still suggest you think ahead a bit and pay up for virgin Axies. Again, you can filter by breed count within the marketplace so it’s super-easy to find them.
Installing Axie Infinity
After you have selected your team, you will need to install the app for desktop and/or mobile. These can be downloaded from the Community Alpha site. Note that for iOS, the app is currently in TestFlight mode and you’re only able to install it on one device. You will need to create an account and link your Web3 wallet where your Axies are stored to your account.
The next thing to do is choose your team formation. It’s generally advised to have your highest health Axie at the front (known as ‘The tank’). This Axie can take more blows while the fast and skilful Axies at the back do most of the attacking. If your tank stays alive for more than two rounds it can be frustrating for your opponent and set you up for a win!
Now you’re ready to play. I don’t have much to say other than enjoy! I had no idea how to play when I first got started but it’s pretty easy to pick up. A couple of tips though:
- Whenever you play, you should complete the ‘Daily Quest’. To complete the Daily Quest, you need to win five PVP battles, win 10 PVE rounds and ‘Check in’. Completion of the Daily Quest allows you to claim 50 SLP and, as Axie player @AxieCab says whilst completing the challenges towards the quest you will probably earn 50+ SLP along the way!
- It took me a few days to realise this but you can keep playing the same PVE level over and over to build up your ‘experience’ points. When you get stuck on a level, go back a level and level up your Axies so that you can later take on the higher level with improved stats and damage and shield values. Note that experience points have no effect on PVP battles.