The return of the ‘King of Chain Games’? Understanding Axie Infinity’s new on-chain upgrade system AXP

Understanding Axie Infinity's on-chain upgrade system AXP


Translated by: Deep Tide TechFlow

Axie Infinity has just launched its on-chain upgrade system AXP. This new mechanism is not only significant for Axie Infinity itself, but also has potential implications for the overall NFT ecosystem.

First, let’s review Axie Infinity…

Axie Infinity is a turn-based tactical card battle game where players can compete by forming teams of creatures called Axies. “Axie Classic” is the first official version of the game, which had a total of 21 seasons from December 2019 to June 2022.

Axie Infinity: Origins is the next evolutionary stage of the series, which started in April 2022.

Origins offers new adventure mode (player vs. AI) and arena mode (player vs. player) experiences, and serves as the foundation for several new game mechanics, including free starter Axies, equippable accessories, and runes, among others.

The first season of Origins started in September 2022, and as of July 2023, the fifth season is about to begin.

In December 2022, Axie Infinity announced Axie Core, a vision for the fundamental experience of breeding, nurturing, equipping, and upgrading Axies, all centered around “Axies having on-chain genetic code that can be permanently changed through on-chain actions.”

If the announcement of Axie Core was an outline of the vision, then the recently launched Axie Experience Points (AXP) is the next important step towards realizing this vision, as Axies are transforming from passive assets into digital creatures that can evolve through gameplay activities.

What is AXP

“There are now millions of Axies. We have always seen Axies as an important part of our identity: digital pets, digital friends. To truly achieve this goal, we need to establish a system that allows you to inject your time, effort, energy, and skills into your Axies. This is a system of vertical progression rather than horizontal progression, depth rather than breadth. AXP lays the foundation for Axie Progression. The core of Axie Progression is transforming time, effort, skills, and resources into making our Axies stronger, cooler, rarer, and more personalized.” – Excerpt from Lunacian’s perspective on AXP

Axie Experience Points (AXP) is a new on-chain upgrade mechanism used to facilitate the progress and component upgrades of Axies.

By playing Origins, players can earn AXP, with each winning team’s Axies receiving 150 AXP per ranking battle. Initially, each Axie can earn up to 4,500 AXP per day. These points are non-transferable and are tied to each individual Axie.

These points are used for upgrades, which is an evolutionary process that synchronizes Axie’s level with the chain, increases its level cap, and allows for part upgrades.

When Axies reach level 9, 19, and 29, upgrades can be activated through transactions on the Ronin sidechain, requiring a total of 13,310, 110,480, and 334,170 AXP, respectively.

The introduction of AXP and Axie upgrades makes Axies dynamic NFTs that can improve and personalize over time, marking a transition from passive roles to roles that evolve and personalize through gameplay experiences.

In addition, Sky Mavis, the creator of Axie, can now use AXP as a strategic tool in its ecosystem to incentivize desired in-game behavior, such as completing more dungeons, and reward third-party game developers who achieve specific milestones.

AXP and the overall situation

I used to work at JPG, an NFT management platform, where we developed a dynamic “Canonicon” NFT with a built-in JXPG upgrade system. The more curation you do, the more experience points you earn, and you can customize your Canonicon, and so on, but we embedded this system directly into the smart contract.

Therefore, from my personal perspective, I find AXP in Axie Infinity interesting on multiple levels – first, it is crucial for deepening the gameplay of the Axie ecosystem, which is not to be underestimated, but it also provides a general blueprint for other NFT games and NFT projects, even if they didn’t directly embed such a system at launch, they can adopt their own experience point system.

Assets like Axies are stored on Ronin, while the Origins game logic is off-chain. Therefore, with the introduction of AXP and synchronized upgrades, Sky Mavis is using transactions to track the progress of the on-chain game regularly (currently at levels 9, 19, and 29).

This system can be promoted and applied to new games or added to existing projects. I believe we will see more similar efforts because Axie Infinity is still the largest Web3 game, and many other game projects will study its approach to AXP.

Over time, this on-chain upgrade approach is likely to become the norm not only in Web3 games but also in other areas of the space, from curation to PFPs to Web3 social. I think this approach will become obvious, just like Uniswap-style decentralized exchanges are obvious to us now. In a similar way, I think the arrival of AXP marks a shift in the trend, and soon we may all be upgrading on-chain in various ways.

At the same time, it is necessary to closely monitor whether AXP will be provided in other Axie ecosystem games, such as Axie DoLL, Homeland, Raylights, and so on.