Last month, I earned $1,800 selling a card from one of my favorite digital trading card games: Gods Unchained*. The card was a legendary Pandora, The Curious of golden quality. I never thought it was a particularly valuable card to have in my deck, so when someone offered me 3 ETH for it on OpenSea, I was more than happy to sell it.
The crazy part? I never bought this card. Instead, I earned it playing Gods Unchained and working my way up the ranks. I’m not a particularly good player and I didn’t invest hundreds of hours playing. I’m a casual gamer who enjoys playing two or three games a day, losing most, winning a few. Whenever I leveled up, the game rewarded me (as it does all players) with a random card pack. The Pandora card was in one of those packs.
That’s the power of games that run on blockchain technology. For the first time in history, game developers can genuinely make their game play-to-earn (P2E). The more you play, the better you get and the higher the chances that you can earn money playing. No longer do you need to be an esports pro or a Twitch streamer to earn money gaming. With some time and effort, you can now earn money being a casual gamer.
Here’s the gist of how that’s possible: all items that you earn while playing a blockchain game are fundamentally yours because they're items on a blockchain that have been sent to your wallet. Additionally, nearly all items in a blockchain game have a specific value attached to them. Because you have full freedom over your items and because they are worth something, you can trade them, something that wasn’t possible in (digital) games before. I explain how this works technically in my blog post on non-fungible tokens.
Of course, most people don’t play games to make money. They play games to have fun. That’s why it helps a lot that Gods Unchained is really fun to play. For one, the production values are extremely high. Everything from their website to their game client to the graphics of the game itself is top-notch.
Secondly, the onboarding process is best-of-class. All new players need to do is connect their MetaMask account to Gods Unchained. When they do, they’re immediately given 70 individual cards from the so-called Welcome Set, which are more than enough cards to play the game, level up, and earn card packs without ever having to spend money.
Thirdly, the game is quite smart in how it balances its cards. The difficulty with blockchain games is that items on a blockchain can no longer be changed. There’s no way a game developer can issue a card on a blockchain, send it to their players, and then still alter anything about it (whether that’s appearance, stats, or anything else).
This makes balancing a bit more difficult when compared to regular trading card games, where developers can alter cards long after they’ve been issued. Gods Unchained solves this by pushing its new cards through a balancing phase of sixty or ninety days, where the developers can still change a card’s properties if they deem it unbalanced.
During this balancing phase, developers keep a close eye on how players are using the new cards and how well they mix with the cards that are already out there. Once the balancing phase is over, cards are unlocked for trading and can no longer be changed in any way. So far, this seems to have worked out quite well for Gods Unchained, as I never found the game unbalanced.
Of course, there are other ways the game developers can affect the balance of Gods Unchained. For example, there are six gods in Gods Unchained, each of which has four powers. You choose your god and its power before you start the game. Developers are still free to alter the strength of those powers.
There are so many other things that Gods Unchained does right. You can fuse duplicates of cards to make them more valuable, you can customize your side of the game board with trinkets and backgrounds, every god has its own lore, the cheapest card packs are only $2.49, there are lots of contests, etcetera etcetera.
If I had to pick one negative thing about the game, it’s that I wish the credit card integration would be here sooner. Right now, the only way to pay for new card packs is with ETH. Gamers who are new to crypto need to sign up for a fiat-to-crypto exchange, go through that exchange's KYC process, send fiat to the exchange, buy ETH, and send it to their wallet. Still somewhat of a slow and cumbersome process (although it’s slowly getting better).
If Gods Unchained really wants to go mainstream, they need a credit card integration where people can pay with fiat currencies. I believe it’s in the works, but it’s been in the works for a long time and I’m an impatient blogger who’s reluctant to spend his ETH.
The fact that that’s my only complaint is a testament to the quality of the game. If you like trading card games, I highly encourage you to try out Gods Unchained*. I’ve played dozens of blockchain games, but Gods Unchained is the one I always enjoy returning to.
*these are referral links. I earn a small amount of ETH if you buy card packs using my link.