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Axie Infinity’s AXP Evolution 💠

Is a new era beginning for onchain XP?
William M. Peaster William M. Peaster Jul 25, 20234 min read
Axie Infinity’s AXP Evolution 💠

Dear Bankless Nation,

Let’s talk Axie Experience Points.

Axie Infinity just launched its onchain leveling system, AXP.

This new mechanism is game-changing not just for Axie Infinity but also potentially for the NFT ecosystem more broadly.

Let’s catch you up on the state of the game and the basics and big ideas around AXP for today’s post accordingly!


Understanding Axie Infinity’s New Onchain Leveling System 💠💠💠

First, an Axie Infinity refresher…

  • 🎴 Axie Infinity’s a turn-based tactical card battler where players build and compete with teams of creatures called Axies. “Axie Classic,” the first official rendition of the game, ran for 21 seasons from Dec. 2019 through June 2022.
  • 🌄 Axie Infinity: Origins, the next evolution of the franchise, kicked off in April 2022.
  • 👾 Origins offers new optimized Adventure mode (player vs. environment) and Arena mode (player vs. player) experiences and has served as the foundation for multiple new game mechanics, including free starter Axies, equipable charms and runes, and beyond.
The basics of charms and runes
  • 🎲 Origins Season 1 commenced in September 2022, and as of July 2023 Season 5 was on the verge of beginning.
  • 🧬 In December 2022, Axie Infinity announced Axie Core, a vision of the fundamental Axie experience of breeding, raising, equipping, and upgrading around Axies, and all centered on how “Axies have onchain genetic code that can be permanently altered by onchain actions.”
  • 🎯 If the Axie Core announcement was the outlining of a vision, then last week’s Axie Experience Points launch was the next major step toward realizing that vision, i.e. turning Axies from passive assets into evolvable digital creatures that can be actively progressed via gameplay.

AXP explained

There are now millions of axies. However, we’ve always envisioned axies as important parts of our identity. Digital pets. Digital friends. To get there, we need to have systems where you can infuse your axies with your time, effort, energy, and skill. Systems of vertical progression rather than horizontal progression. Deeper vs. wider. AXP lays the foundation for Axie Progression. Axie Progression is all about converting time, effort, skill, and resources, into making our axies stronger, cooler, rarer, and more personalized.” — The Lunacian on AXP
  • 🔢 Axie Experience Points is a new onchain leveling mechanism for facilitating Axie progressions and part upgrades over time.
  • 🧮 AXP can be earned by playing Origins, with each winning team's Axies earning 150 AXP each per ranked battle. To start, the maximum daily AXP an Axie can earn is 4,500. These points are non-transferable and tied to each Axie.
Snapshot of the AXP leveling system
  • ⤴️ These points accrue for ascension, an evolution process that syncs an Axie's level onchain, raises its level cap, and allows a part upgrade.
  • 🔄 Ascensions can be activated by a transaction on the Ronin sidechain when Axies reach levels 9, 19, and 29, with these syncs requiring a total of 13,310, 110,480, and 334,170 AXP respectively.
  • 🌱 The introduction of AXP and Axie leveling thus turns Axies into dynamic NFTs that can be improved and personalized over time, marking a shift from passive characters and toward ones that evolve and get personalized through gameplay experiences.
  • 🪙 Additionally, Axie creators Sky Mavis can now use AXP as a strategic tool across its ecosystem for incentivizing desired in-game actions, like completing more dungeons, and rewarding 3rd-party game developers who achieve certain traction milestones.

AXP and the big picture

I used to work at JPG, an NFT curation platform, and we developed a dynamic “Canonicon” NFT with an in-built JXPG leveling system. The more you curated, the more XP you gained, the more you could customize your Canonicon, etc., but we caked this system right into the smart contract.

That’s why from my personal vantage, I find Axie Infinity’s AXP interesting on multiple levels — i.e. firstly it’s important for making Axie ecosystem gameplay deeper, and this factor isn’t to be underestimated, but it also provides a general blueprint for other NFT games and NFT projects to adopt their own XP systems even after they’ve launched without having such systems caked in from the start.

Assets like Axies are maintained on Ronin, while the Origins game logic is facilitated off-chain. So with the launch of AXP and Ascension syncs, Sky Mavis is using transactions to checkpoint gameplay progress to the chain at periodic levels, namely levels 9, 19, and 29 right now.

This sort of system could be generalized and built into new games or layered onto already existing projects, and I’m sure we’ll see more than few such efforts going forward since Axie Infinity remains the biggest web3 game and many other gaming efforts will study what it’s doing with AXP.

In time, this sort of onchain leveling will likely become a mainstay not just in web3 gaming but also across other sectors of the space, from curation to PFPs to web3 social. It will seem obvious in retrospect, in my opinion, but just like Uniswap-style DEXes seem obvious to us now, that wasn’t always so. In a similar way, I think the arrival of AXP marks a turning of the tide here, and soon enough we’ll probably all be leveling up onchain in various ways.
via JPG
In the meantime, the near-term thing to watch for is AXP being made available in other Axie ecosystem games like Axie DoLL, Homeland, Raylights, and beyond. Stay tuned to The Lunacian, Axie Infinity’s newsletter, for future updates here!

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William M. Peaster

Written by William M. Peaster

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William M. Peaster, Senior Writer, has been with Bankless since January 2021. Immersed in Ethereum since 2017, he writes the Metaversal newsletter on the onchain frontier, covering everything from AI projects to crypto games, as the team’s lead NFT analyst. With a background in creative writing, he writes fiction and publishes art on Ethereum in his free time. He lives in Washington.

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