Kieran Warwick created the play-to-ear game Illuvium with his brothers Aaron and Grant-all brothers of DeFi maverick Cain, founder of Synthetix. He showed the alpha on how NFT game mechanics can be designed in a way that can be fun and profitable in the long run.
Warwick entered the world of retail straight from high school, eventually becoming an online shopping entrepreneur. He started in the world of crypto at his sister company BlueShyft Cloth, which first made Bitcoin and crypto exchange payments available over-the-counter at more than a thousand physical retailers across Australia in 2015.
Years later, with several business projects under his belt, Cain encouraged him to re-enter the space, which led to the creation of Illuvium, a Pokemon-like NFT game. Unlike contemporaries such as Axie Infinity, which experienced dramatic in-game inflation, Warwick believes that Illuvium will have power for a decade. In June 2022, the game grossed $ 72 million over adol 20,000 plots of NFT landlaying a literal grounding for what Warwick envisions as a longstanding playing field.
Plan for deflation
He explains the setup of Illuvium. When a player first arrives or “crashes” on the planet, he knows that “there is a society that has been built, and your job is to be a hunter and go out and catch the creatures known as Illuvial.”
Like the Pokemon card, this Illuvial, which resides in a specific area on the map, is a limited edition. And like the original 1999 Charizard or Pikachu cards, Genesis Illuvials is no longer available. Whenever a new set of Illuvials is available, they become more difficult to find and capture based on a bonding curve comparable to the one that manages Bitcoin halvings and makes Bitcoins progressively rarer and more difficult to “capture” by mining methods. “This is what makes him famous,” Warwick said.
In addition to being limited to “mintage” and increasingly difficult “mine,” Illuvials is deflated due to a game mechanic called “Fusing,” which involves destroying lower level characters to create higher levels.
The three-level one Illuvial can merge into one level-two version, while summoning the three-level Illuvial requires a three-level two-level sacrifice, equivalent to nine basic creatures that are forever removed from circulation.
Warwick is quick to point out that the closed and deflated nature of Illuvial game pieces makes Illuvium so polar from Axie Infinity, that the original Axie characters were created through a mechanism called breeding that produces a constant pool of characters in the game world.
An Axie was worth hundreds of dollars in mid -2021 – until gamers often rented it from the owner and shared the income, but now it’s almost worthless. This price plunge can be explained by the runaway breeding of other Axies, which also causes earnings per Axie to fall.
Warwick isn’t surprised by the economic collapse of Axie Infinity games. “I’ve been calling this for 18 months now,” he said, explaining that he believes the game was doomed from the beginning, because its economy is not sustainable. The model attracts many players who work full-time to extract value from the game, but few are added, he said.
“A lot of people find that the game is smoke and a mirror. We’re not like that – at least 10 years here.
Since childhood, Warwick, now 32, has had an interest in the business, had reasons that he wanted to start earning money from high school in 2007 and decided not to graduate college to choose Australian retailer Harvey Norman, where he was a franchisee. responsible for running the store.
After leaving in 2012, he founded Audio Invasion, an online retailer competing for music and computing goods with his brother Cain and a friend who recently started Bitcoin mining as a hobby. At the same time, he was involved in the business of selling online tutorials.
“This was the first time I heard about Bitcoins – they had hundreds of BTC,” Warwick recalls, adding that a friend who introduced him to Bitcoin was tragically killed in a bicycle accident, taking a private key to the grave with him, as it were. many other early adopters met untimely death.
When Audio Invasion ran out of money in 2014, Warwick worked as head of marketing for BlueShyft, a financial payments and retail network founded with Cain’s brother and billed as the “world’s first” over-the-counter exchange, which saw over 1,000 store locations around Australia is becoming outfitted with the iPad, with which customers can directly buy BTC in stores. In short, anyone can sign up with cash and BTC deposited to their chosen address. In addition to the retail business, the company now operates bitcoin.com.auself -billing is the fastest way to buy Bitcoin in Australia.
In 2017, Kieran’s brother, Kain, who is nine years older than him, founded Synthetix (originally Havven) – an Ethereum -based DeFi platform. Kieran helped his sister raise money for the project. At this time, Warwick began investing in Ether and other cryptocurrencies when the price of ETH was in the single digits.
“I’m a little skeptical about crypto – I’ve lost an ETH trading margin of $ 30,000, which is causing a lot of discomfort.”
Instead of flipping crypto, the younger Warwick tapped a taste for burgers in 2016 to create Burger Collective, described as an “app made for burger lovers” that hosts reviews and discounts for retail restaurants. With 200,000 users, the app experienced initial success and close integration with DoorDash, before the COVID-19 pandemic caused restaurants to close for self-catering. “Our products are all about going to the store,” Warwick explains of why the company had to shut down in May 2021 after running out of money.
When his burger application began to fail, Cain forced him to “go back to crypto,” even borrowing $ 100,000 to do so. “I ended up making a lot of money – 10x in six months,” Warwick recalls. In June 2020, he had the fortune of learning about the play-to-ear game Axie Infinity, which amazed him.
“He calls it a Pokémon -like game, and I’m an avid Pokémon fan,” he said of the initial appeal, which led him to learn about NFT, which is based on the game. Describing himself as a gamer, Warwick understands that “this is exactly what the mainstream gaming world has been asking for decades.”
“What if we make a title like AAA Fortnite? That’s what gamers want!” Warwick expressed his opinion, which he described as “a couple of weeks” of more in -depth research into the technology and functionality of the game.
What is game design? Designing game characters seemed like a natural place to start, so Warwick worked to convince Grant’s more artistic brothers to help with the design. However, getting a Grant is not easy.
“Well, I’m not going to sign crypto – it’s all scams, so I can’t put down my reputation,” Kieran recalls of his brother’s protest. He eventually gave up and agreed to design five characters.
Five designed characters don’t make the game. Although Warwick imagined himself being able to raise money and run a business, he didn’t know how to make games – a task much more than artistic design.
The answer was another member of the Warwick clan, Aaron. He is a successful game designer and will be involved on the team. Aaron brought a new idea to the table, preferring “another team’s fighting tactic, League of Legends style.”
“So brothers, we just didn’t agree on the mechanics of the game – we had an argument for 2-3 days until Aaron designed a beta version. That’s how Illuvium happened.
“We are a game with Crypto elements rather than crypto gamified. The result of the game’s DNA is a high -quality gamelan that is no different from the best traditional games,” warwick explains of the first -hand gaming experience it produces.
How to earn
There are several ways players can earn while playing Illuvium. The first was through catching Illuvials in the desert, which could later be sold for profit. The process is not without cost, however, because players have to throw “Fuel” in the game to travel to specific areas where Illuvials might exist and, when they encounter one, throw shards to facilitate capture. There are several tiers of fractions, the value of which is much higher, and Illuvial arrest of high rank with low level of fracture is statistically impossible. “Fuel is the strength of the entire economy at Illuvium,” he said.
There’s also Illuvium Zero, a “mobile companion game,” described by Warwick as “a city builder with NFT land.” The owners of the land can get Fuel, which is linked to the Illuvium economy as an integral resource needed to effectively play the game. According to Warwick, landowners make 5% of their revenue in games this way. At the time of writing, the cheapest individual land plots traded for almost 1,000 USDT in the gaming market.
The ranking battle is a captive Illuvial demand driver, where he can be challenged to rise in the rankings and earn ILV government tokens, of which 1 million is set aside as a reward for achievements such as tournaments. In that case, the DAO that manages the game takes a small percentage. With a market capitalization in the north of $ 100 million, ILV sits in the top 200 cryptocurrencies. In addition to the government -focused ILV token, which in some ways can be compared to the Axie Infinity AXS token in terms of functionality, there is the sILV2.
“SILV2 is the currency in the game, but it’s also limited,” Warwick said, explaining the tokens are commonly used to buy essential Fuel. The “2” in the name is the result of a January 2022 incident, where the currency was exploited by hackers before it was launched.
“The plan is to wait until the game starts and have an unlimited number of SLVs,” Warwick said, noting that the brothers decided to restart the tokens and make all the victims by making $ 450,000. It was really Warwick’s money, however, as “the other guys weren’t liquid, but they said they would pay me back,” he said.
Warwick has a broader vision of the future of blockchain gaming.
“I think most games will move to Web3,” he said with confidence, explaining that the advantages of the new paradigm that “gives power back to players” are so much to make upgrades necessary because of consumer demand. Unlike mainstream games that generally can’t sell in-game items or make money, Web3 games mean “consumers have a choice.”
“This is the beginning of a new cycle, and consumers will have power over the next 10-20 years.”