Blockchain games have evolved by leaps and bounds over the last few years, going from games for simple non-fungible token (NFT) collectibles like CryptoKitties to fully fleshed-out play-to-earn games, where players can farm crypto and NFTs that can be traded on the market.
Illuvium is the latest blockchain gaming sensation to take the crypto world by storm. It’s an open-world sci-fi role-playing game (RPG), monster collector and auto battler built on Ethereum, scheduled to be released on Mac and PC in 2022.
The game features a play-to-earn structure. Players can earn in-game crypto token rewards by participating in competitions and quests. It uses the blockchain to guarantee the collectibility of in-game items and create a working digital economy. In this guide, we’re going to take a look at what Illuvium is, how it works, and what you can do with its assets.
What Is the Illuvium Game?
Illuvium is a role-playing game (RPG) that allows players to create 3D characters for real-time, character-focused gameplay in an open-world setting. Players can traverse the alien world of Illuvium and participate in quests to uncover the mysteries of the planet, hunt and capture native creatures called Illuvials, earn in-game rewards, and stake their assets in a decentralized, zero-fee framework.
In Illuvium, players can interact with items and Illuvials. These in-game assets — including skins, items, emotes and collectibles—exist as NFTs that are stored in player wallets. In simplest terms, NFTs are cryptographically unique digital assets that are written using smart contracts, making it easy to trace individual ownership. NFTs which players acquire from playing Illuvium can be traded in-game, or on Illuvium’s decentralized exchange, IlluvDEX, and third-party platforms like OpenSea.
The Illuvium platform’s native ERC20 token, ILV, is available on crypto exchanges. Players don’t need to hold tokens to play Illuvium. In fact, the game is free to play in Tier 0 regions. The main functions of ILV tokens are governance, liquidity mining and vault distributions. The game is completely decentralized and features a governance structure that revolves around the ecosystem’s native coin.
Play-to-earn games such as Illuvium are commonly referred to as GameFi, which is a portmanteau of “Game” and “Finance.” They represent an entirely new class of blockchain games that reward players who complete quests or participate in tournaments with something tangible, albeit digital, for putting in the time and effort to play.
Illuvium isn’t the first play-to-earn blockchain game to enter the market. In Axie Infinity (AXS), players can collect, trade and battle pets, and create kingdoms for them to live in. My Neighbor Alice (ALICE), scheduled to debut in spring 2022, takes its inspiration from popular multiplayer builder games like Minecraft.
What sets Illuvium apart from these blockchain gaming titles is its 3D open world with a massive explorable landscape, high production value NFTs and carefully crafted storytelling, which gradually reveals parts of the plot as players progress. It’s specifically designed to appeal to video game aficionados and players who enjoy big-budget AAA-rated game titles. In comparison, Axie Infinity is a quirky 2D game that’s more akin to Pokémon, and My Neighbor Alice is a 2D farm builder that shares a lot of similarities with Animal Crossing.
If Illuvium manages to make good on its promises and deliver, it could potentially become the first successful AAA-rated game ever built on the blockchain — ushering in a new era of synergy that merges online gaming with cryptocurrencies.
Illuvium Game Concept
Naturally, Illuvium has generated a lot of buzz among gamers by offering crypto enthusiasts the first-ever AAA-rated blockchain gaming experience on the Ethereum blockchain. Since there are currently no immersive open-world RPG games with quality 3D special effects in the crypto universe, it’s a significant step up from simple NFT-collectible games like CryptoKitties.
Within the in-game world, players take on the role of a member of a transport ship from an intergalactic space fleet, investigating a distress beacon from a mysterious ruined planet that’s almost completely covered by a vast crystal ocean. An extreme weather event on the surface of the planet creates a burst of radiation that disables the ship’s engines, causing it to crash-land on the planet’s surface.
Your character is the only survivor of the wreckage. As you explore the land around you, you discover majestic creatures with godlike elemental powers. Fortunately, your race has already mastered similar energies, so you’re able to capture and control these creatures, called Illuvials, and store them in slivers of crystal called “shards.”
To uncover the mysteries of this strange planet, characters take on the role of a hunter and travel across the land to capture Illuvials and unlock obelisks that grant access to new, more challenging regions on the planet.
Mythical Beasts and Creatures
More than 100 Illuvials populate the planet, each with unique stats and abilities. Some are easy to find, while others are incredibly rare. These deity-like creatures are divided into a variety of classes (Fighter, Rogue, Guardian, Psion and Empath), and have elemental affinities (water, air, fire, earth and nature) that dictate their abilities.
The successful capture of an Illuvial results in the minting of a new NFT that’s stored in the player’s wallet. The creatures can synergize and form symbiotic relationships with one another, based on common classes or affinities. Different synergies create different bonuses. Players can fuse multiple captured Illuvials to make them evolve into more powerful forms. This is achieved with a burning mechanism which destroys their source NFTs, and mints a new one that represents a more powerful beast.
Illuvium is also an auto-battler game. Hunters are encouraged to use their upgraded Illuvials to build the ultimate fighting team and battle other characters’ Illuvials in player-versus-environment (PvE) and player-versus-player (PvP) battle arenas. Players earn rewards and maintain a winning streak to acquire the rank of best hunter on the planet. Training your team through combat will make them level up and grow stronger as they develop their powers.
Players can also earn in-game rewards in the form of ILV tokens by completing quests or participating in competitions. In-game assets and ILV tokens can be traded on IlluviDEX, the in-game marketplace.
Note: The game is still in development and some of the details above are subject to change.
Illuvium Gameplay Trailer
Illuvium released a cinematic gameplay trailer in October 2021. A full trailer release is slated for November 2021. Watch the first gameplay trailer below to get a taste of what the world of Illuvium will look like from a player perspective:
Illuvium Release Date
Illuvium is expected to launch its public beta in Q1 2022. The developers haven’t yet released an exact date, but according to the official road map, the first Illuvium title will be released on PC and mobile in 2022. A second title is tentatively scheduled for 2023.
How Does the Illuvium Game Work?
Illuvium is built using Unreal Engine 4.26, which is an advanced real-time 3D creation tool.
Battles in the game occur in a simulation coded in C++ that’s hooked up to Unreal Engine to create stunning visual elements and ensure game instances are executed in a matter of milliseconds. The game also features a cinematic mode (showcased in the gameplay trailer) that allows players with less powerful machines to render matches in high quality.
Every region within the game world features assets created by professional digital artists. The game uses proprietary technology to seamlessly render these assets, achieving a cinematic feel with a fast graphics load time.
Although the game is built on Ethereum, its back end is hosted on infrastructure provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS). Core back end services are built using a serverless model with AWS Lambda to enable cost-effective, unlimited scalability.
All of the above sounds like what you’d expect from a standard modern game — which begs the question: Why is Illuvium opting for Decentralized Finance (DeFi) takes the decentralized concept of blockchain and applies it to the world of finance. Build...? According to Illuvium’s white paper, the primary goal of the project is to create a fully decentralized and autonomous game. DeFi projects have experienced tremendous growth over the past year, and the developers are hoping to leverage this growth to bootstrap a platform that can hit the ground running.
There are currently no AAA-rated games offering an immersive open-world experience with cinematic quality 3D graphics on the blockchain. Illuvium is poised to capture that market by merging cryptocurrency and gaming in a way that’s alluring for hardcore gamers, crypto enthusiasts and the general public.
NFTs on Illuvium represent verifiably unique entities which exist inside the game. One of the biggest selling points of Illuvium is that its NFT transactions are instant — and require zero gas fees. Illuvium is integrated with Immutable X, which gives it Layer 2 scaling capabilities. That means it can support fast transactions, and requires no gas fees.
Digital media in the crypto space have long struggled with slow transaction speeds and high gas fees, pushing the Ethereum network’s transaction throughput to its limit. Immutable X is a project that’s specifically seeking to increase transaction throughput in blockchain gaming systems.
It uses a technology known as zero-knowledge rollups (or zk-rollups) to enable players to securely maintain the self-custody of NFTs while scaling the network to over 9,000 Transactions per second (TPS) is the number of transactions a blockchain network can process each second or the number o.... Immutable X is considered one of the best solutions for scaling Ethereum, and the technology it uses has even been endorsed by Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin in his recent guide on zk-rollups.
Immutable X is essential for making the exploration of the Illuvium world efficient and free of distractions, such as constant gas fees and transactional delays. This scalability gives players the freedom to explore, collect, battle and earn. There’s already a collection of cosmetic and promotional NFTs that have been minted by the Illuvium DAO, available for sale on OpenSea.
What Are Illuvium Tokens (ILV) Used For?
ILV is an ERC20 token that exists on the Ethereum blockchain. Its function as an in-game reward is pretty self-explanatory, and it’s not required for gameplay, so we’ll focus on its other uses in this section. ILV tokens have two core functions:
- Governance: The Illuvium decentralized autonomous organization (As an open sourced blockchain ledger, Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) is determined by a clear set of rules ...) is responsible for governance. This means that Illuvium token holders govern and maintain the protocol through the so-called Illuvinati Council. Members of the council are voted from the community by ILV token holders, and they gain the power to propose improvements to the ecosystem.
- Liquidity mining: Illuvium token (ILV) holders can stake their tokens and earn distribution yields in the form of more ILV. Staking users receive a share of vault distributions. The purpose of the liquidity mining program is to distribute ILV from the treasury to early adopters and incentivize new adopters to participate in the Illuvium community.
All in-game purchases in Illuvium require Ether (ETH), not Illuvium token (ILV). ETH will function as the primary currency for Illuvium for the foreseeable future.
Illuvium has an additional token called sILV, which stands for Synthetic ILV. As the name implies, it’s a synthetic version of ILV that’s used as in-game currency; however, it can’t be used for player-to-player transactions, such as buying or selling Illuvials. Anyone can earn sILV by staking ILV in the protocol. The value of sILV is pegged to the value of ILV.
Like many DeFi projects, Illuvium uses yield farming to increase community engagement and decentralize the DAO. ILV holders have the option to stake and lock up their tokens in a smart contract to access the liquidity mining program. Through yield farming or liquidity mining, a person lends their crypto to a protocol to help keep its funding pools liquid. In exchange, the lenders earn lucrative incentives. 3 million ILV have been set aside for yield farming rewards.
Illuvium’s liquidity mining program creates a more liquid and transparent market for trading ILV. It has two core staking pools and flash pools, where users can stake their tokens to earn additional earn rewards. Let’s break that down:
- ILV pool: This pool is only for staking ILV.
- ILV/ETH pool: This pool only holds Sushi Liquidity Provider (SLP) tokens.
- Flash pools: These pools can only hold partner tokens.
Users who stake in the core pools have the option to lock their tokens for a period of up to one year to increase their token weight. The higher your token weight, the higher your ILV token distributions. You essentially compound your rewards if you opt to lock up your tokens for a year.
The rewards for users who choose to lock up their coins are escrowed for the duration of the lockup period. Staking users who don’t want to wait can choose to instantly claim their rewards in sILV, which again is pegged to the price of ILV and only functions inside the game.
How Do I Buy ILV?
Even though ILV only hit the market in March 2021, it’s already available on numerous top cryptocurrency exchanges with good trade volume. Illuvium’s price managed to reach an all-time high of $2,868.95 in May 2021, and in November 2021 its The market capitalization (or market cap) of a cryptocurrency is a measurement of its market value. In other words, it... reached an astonishing $838 million. There’s a lot of demand for the token in anticipation of the official launch of Illuvium in Q1 2022.
The Bottom Line
Illuvium is the most ambitious blockchain game announced to date, and the first to offer an AAA-rated gaming experience on the blockchain. As a fully decentralized protocol, it represents a new age in gaming where players can earn distributions and vote on issues related to the game itself. There’s a lot of hype around the project, and for good reason. It’s definitely worth keeping an eye on this ambitious project.
Keen to find out more play-to-earn crypto games and more? Here’s our esssential guide to GameFi.