It’s no secret that play-to-earn games are treated mainly as a source of income, especially by gamers from countries with a challenging economic situation like the Philippines or Venezuela. The reason behind it is that most P2E titles are simple clickers or 2D games whose gameplays leave much to be desired. Some players claim that they love undemanding titles, but let's be honest: nothing compares to a well-designed, truly engaging gameplay.
Changing this is the key to taking blockchain games to the next level where we’ll see bigger and more engaged web3 player communities. Better gameplays mean more fun for and thus more incentives for entering the space for web2 natives. How to develop AAA-grade gameplay, then? What makes players return to a game over and over again? Let’s revise the best practices from the teams building play-to-earn games on Elympics!
1. Simple, quick start
Nobody likes it when things are complicated. The same goes for players: it takes a lot of motivation to give a second chance to P2E titles that are hard to understand at first glance. Blockchain games come with an additional complexity in the shape of tokenomics, so developers have an extra challenge.
Your gameplay should be self-explanatory so that players can jump right in and enjoy it from the first time. It’s easy to do if you develop a hyper-casual game. If, however, your gameplay is more complex and does require an explanation, developers should include it in a short tutorial, preferably in the form of a video or simple iconography. Don’t underestimate this step: the player will determine whether your P2E game is interesting and worth playing in a few seconds. The first impression is the lasting — or last — impression!
2. Challenging mastery
Although the best play-to-earn games are easy to understand, they’re difficult to master. If the player is able to win after several hours of practice, they easily get bored and say ‘goodbye’ to your title. Let’s face it: it’s not fun to play an easy game.
When your blockchain game is challenging for the player, its replayability grows. To achieve it, it’s necessary to make it skill-based. You’ve definitely heard about pay-to-win, mechanics that have killed many titles. The same goes for games based on luck and games of chance. The engaging type of difficulty of blockchain games is strongly related to the skills of players.
3. Short matches
Another game-changing component of P2E titles is the match length. Multiplayer web3 benchmarks show that the average match duration should be shorter than 5 minutes. Why is that so important? Longer games tend to lower replayability and gamers’ interest as they cost a significant amount of time.
The best example of a highly repeated game is Counter-Strike where the match consists of 15 rounds, and each round lasts less than 2 minutes. It’s one of the elements that contributors to its #1 Steam position maintained over years.
4. Rewarding system
People desire to get rewarded for whatever they do. Whether it’s a household chore, small task, or a big project, we tend to proclaim our skills, and most importantly: we love being appreciated for our efforts.
Rewards motivate us to continue self-development, and game developers may take advantage of this while creating gameplay.
Reward players for the time and effort they invest into your virtual world: create a system with bonus tokens, items, or achievements that will help them stay satisfied and motivated for further P2E games journeys. The easiest way to do it in blockchain games is to use the game’s economy, but don’t limit yourself to purely financial incentives.
5. Fair judgement
Multiplayer blockchain games, especially those with PvP modes, attract highly competitive players. However, once they get a feeling that the rules are nor fair, they quickly leave.
The result of a match always needs to reflect who’s won. Sounds obvious? Well, in simple multiplayer games, it’s relatively easy to cheat the system and persuade it that the loser has won. Solving this problem is a purely technical issue.
Learn about the differences between client and server authoritative and their impact on cheating opportunities
6. Satisfactory matchmaking
PvP play-to-earn games require a solid player base with a wide spectrum of skills. All in all, it’s no fun competing with someone highly above our level, and – what is less obvious – the other way around.
Because of that, every blockchain game should be equipped with a proper matchmaking system that recognizes players’ level correctly. It’s a perfect use case for machine learning models that can learn player behavior patterns. Matching players randomly is never a good idea, so don’t forget to put the right technology to work.
Gameplay comes first
Developing play-to-earn gameplay is a time-consuming and complicated process that requires creativity, knowledge, and experience. If you take our tips into account, the process will be shorter, and the result more satisfactory. Don’t forget that it’s gameplay, not tokenomics, that makes a game fun na matter if it’s web2 or web3.
If you’re a game developer looking for more tips, join our community where we discuss gamedev topics and showcase our projects. We’re looking forward to having a chat with you!