Interview: How Guild Of Guardians, Top Esports Teams Are Partnering To Bring Web3 Gaming To Web2 Audience

Zinger Key Points
  • Immutable raised $200 million in 2022 to launch games like "Guild of Guardians."
  • The game is focused on playability, not tokenomics, as its ongoing utility for users.
Interview: How Guild Of Guardians, Top Esports Teams Are Partnering To Bring Web3 Gaming To Web2 Audience

It may be a dreary winter for the crypto world, but GameFi is like a hot springs oasis of investment and development.

Blockchain games continue to be a dominant force in Web3 apps, with more than 50% of DApp usage and $748 million raised in 2022 by 14 top projects, according to a recent industry report by CoinMarketCap and Footprint Analytics.

Immutable Games Studio had the third most successful fundraising in GameFi this year, raising $200 million. Immutable is promoting the imminent launch of "Guild of Guardians," a mobile squad-based action RPG game published by Immutable Games Studio and developed by Stepico Games.

Guild of Guardians announced partnerships Thursday with eight of the top 10 esports teams: Cloud9, Fnatic, NAVI, Ninjas in  Pyjamas, NRG, SK Gaming, T1 and Team Liquid. The esports teams have already played and given feedback on the pre-Alpha game.

They will help to promote the game to the mainstream gaming community and the team brands will appear as playable characters, which can be traded as digital collectibles.

We interviewed Derek Lau, VP and game director for Guild of Guardians, to learn more about the vision for the game, the future of GameFi the relevance of Play-to-Earn (P2E) in 2022, and how the new game will help onboard more users into digital ownership and Web3.

Image: Derek Lau, Guild of Guardians

BZ: How would you describe Guild of Guardians as a game?

Lau: "Guardians is a team-based action RPG. Players can summon a team of heroes, we call them guardians, and send them into dungeons and battle through different monsters and bosses to level up. They're also able to play in a guild and work together with other players and kind of make new friends through the game as they play in progress. So a lot of the game will be familiar to mobile gamers in that it's about progression through the game strategy of creating different team compositions and heroes and collecting and so on."

What does a user need to buy to play the game?

“You don't need to spend money. The game will be released free on the app store, so anyone can download it on their phone. Players may start playing by using an email password system, so you won't have to create a wallet. And in the game, not everything is an NFT, so it looks and feels like a normal game. Eventually some of the later game content or the more exclusive content can be NFTs. Usually, these will be created by players. Many of these items can only be found by playing the game.”

What kind of play-to-own value is there for users in Guild of Guardians?

“The game is played to improve your character, so there is a Play to Own component. 

Players are collecting resources and crafting in game. Whether players are summoning NFT heroes that are tradable, or crafting items, players are able to create special objects or characters as NFTs and then use them or trade them.”

Has the notion of play-to-earn become irrelevant in the bear market?

“Guild of Guardians is a game. We don't see it as a job or an extra source of income. The way we think about it is we can use blockchain and NFTs to make the game a better experience for everyone involved in it. It's more fun, because there's more strategy involved, and it's more rewarding because the collection part of it is something that people actually own forever. There's lasting value in the ownership aspect. And they can potentially be used in other experiences and other games around the ecosystem. 

We believe there's also kind of a lasting emotional value as well and an aspect of community. We believe that the social benefits of being able to play this game and build relationships and have social value from it is going to have a lasting impact beyond just the financial.”

Is there a contingency plan for the development of a modder community adding fan-made DLC to the game, as we have seen with games like SIMS 4 and Skyrim?

“We've spoken about this a lot, but currently we don't have anything that we're working on where you can mod the game. But where we see this actually happening in our community already, when we take a broader look at what modding is, which is kind of creating content around the game. We see a lot of people in our community, whether it's building websites, or tools, analytics, creating merchandise, or fan art, all different things are happening already in our community. And that's quite exciting to see. So that's definitely something that we do have some pretty active plans to try to further encourage and incentivize, which is how we empower not just players, but people around the game ecosystem to get involved.”

So you don’t need a wallet to play, but you will need to mint NFTs to craft certain items?

“No, not quite. Players will have a wallet. We're providing players with a custodial wallet, so it's all taken care of for them and they don't need to go through the process of going on metamask and creating a seed phrase and writing it down and trying to understand what that is. They just use the email password in order to access that wallet.”

Do you see this as a way to onboard Web2 users into Web3 digital ownership?

“I think learning about digital ownership will be a part of the experience. And we believe that's also part of the magic moment, the experience of owning your first NFT. You can do whatever you want with it, and we believe digital ownership is quite powerful. So that'll be part of the journey that we take players through, but they don't necessarily need to know much about it.”

Do you manage the steps for players to make NFTs?

“Correct. The steps are like any other game. So for example, when you're playing the game, you might be collecting all these resources, right from the from playing the game, you're doing class, you're going through dungeons, and then you're using them in the game to summon a hero that's NFT here as an example, or crafting item. 

The way it works is that the objects in the game or the assets in the game, they're either normal kind of game assets or NFTs and so on. As soon as that is created, please don't need to go for an extra step to turn it into an NFT. If it's an NFT already, they'll be able to play with it instantly.”

You’ve partnered with some of the top esports teams to play and promote the game. What is the goal of the partnership?

“We have formed long-term partnerships with eight of the world's leading esport brands. it's not just to be for this initial promotion for our initial release, that's not at all kind of the intent. We have agreed with them to set up this long-term partnership. The idea behind it is that we want to help each other win. So we want to help the teams and better engage with the fans that have built that brand, how to expand that IP and help those content creators better monetize. We want them to help us with some of the promotion aspects and get their input on the game as well. And also to introduce more people to the game and to the world of digital ownership.”

Ideally where do you see this game a year from now?

“Ideally, a year from now when we've launched the game, we will have millions of players who come back every day and really enjoy it. Then we will have shown the rest of the gaming industry what a great Web3 game can look like — a game that's fun, sustainable and engaging.”

The Last Word

There are a few bright points to the current down market for crypto and NFTs, and getting back to the basics of delivering real value is certainly one of them.

The concept of P2E has lost its luster in a bear market. That is a good thing for the gamers because it keeps game developers focused on gameplay, not on tokenomics. 

Investment is still pouring into Web3, particularly in GameFi and metaverse projects, and competitive projects will soon be more able to compete with the mechanics and design of mainstream AAA games. We may not quite be there yet, but GameFi is miles ahead of the blockchain games of just a few years ago.

We may shed a tear for our lost chance to make passive income by playing “Dig Dug,” but with a P2O dynamic, Web3 still offers unique advantages and nuances for gameplay and for building your character, without resorting to unsustainable promises. 

Posted In: eSportsGameFiGuild of GuardiansImmutable Games StudioNFTWeb3FintechTop StoriesExclusivesTechInterview
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