Satoshi Nakamoto published “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” in October 2008. Although no one knows who Nakamoto is in real life, the choice of a Japanese name has linked Japan to blockchain technology and cryptocurrency from the very beginning. Additionally, the Japanese are generally eager to try out new technologies, and it’s no different for blockchain technology.
The Japanese yen regularly overtakes the dollar in terms of worldwide Bitcoin trading, and Japan has a reported 3.5 million individuals actively using and trading crypto as of March 2018. Japan was also the first country to legally recognize cryptocurrencies as a type of money (that could be taxed). The country is often considered to have the most progressive regulatory climate for anything blockchain.
This is why it should come as no surprise that the most popular Ethereum DApp, and the second-most popular gaming DApp on all platforms (after EOS Knights) is a Japanese game. As of April 2019, My Crypto Heroes (MCH) has on average 2,600 people play the game every day, substantially more than any other game on the Ethereum blockchain. 80% of its players come from Japan. All this is remarkable, considering the game only officially launched in November 2018.
MCH is an HTML5 RPG for smartphones and PCs, designed to be played in your browser. I quite like this, because there’s no need to install any program or app. All you need to do is go to their website and sign in with your Ethereum wallet. And even if you don’t have an Ethereum wallet installed, you can sign in with your Google account to trial the game, which is a nice touch for people who want to quickly understand the look and feel of the game.
MCH revolves around heroes. You have three teams of three heroes, and it’s your task to level up your heroes, equip them with armor and weapons, and take them to battle. Although you start out with generic heroes, most of the game’s heroes are historical characters: Archimedes, Franz Schubert, the Wright Brothers, Anastasia, and so on… Clicking on each hero gives you a link to their Wikipedia page, which is a nice touch, particularly considering I’d never heard of some of the Japanese heroes.
Each hero has a rarity (legendary, epic, rare, uncommon, common), a level (the maximum of which will depend on the rarity of your hero), a certain amount of stamina (which is consumed during a battle), a set of stats (health points, physical attack, intelligence, agility) and an active and passive skill.
When you first start the game, there’s little in the way of a tutorial, which can make figuring out what to do and how to do things a little bit confusing at first. But Double Jump, the game developers behind MCH and one of the most dedicated blockchain game developers currently out there, given the number of updates they come out with, are continuously improving the UI of MCH, and it’s already significantly improved over the last few weeks.
In fact, Double Jump recently launched the MCH Academy, designed to explain some of the basic concepts behind the game. Although the English is a little spotty at times, I have no doubt their Academy will quickly grow into a veritable resource of useful information that their community can lean upon.
Fighting With Your Heroes
There are five main tabs to choose from: Home, Quest, Duel, Land, and Market. Quest is where most of the action happens. It’s where you can send your heroes to nodes, which are the game’s dungeons. There are five nodes: Atanasoff, Antikythera, and Hollerith seem to be the game’s basic nodes available to anyone. Turing is a Prime node, which we’ll talk about later, and Cinnamon Bagle is a node that only appeared today on the list and seems like it’ll only last for four days.
Each node has different enemies and different items that will drop if you come out victoriously. Each node also has a difficulty level that’s linked to the amount of stamina it will take from your heroes. The higher the difficulty level, the more stamina it’ll take from your heroes, but the better the chances a good item will drop. You’ll also receive more Crypto Energy (CE), which are experience points to level up your heroes.
Currently, my best team of heroes has around 50 stamina and can handle a lvl 20 node that requires 20 stamina. So I can scavenge two level 20 nodes and an easier node before running out of stamina. Heroes recharge one stamina per minute, so getting back to 50 stamina from zero would take a good four hours.
Each node consists of three battles, where you fight three monsters each time. The final battle has a stronger monster that will drop the node’s item if you manage to kill it. You can either watch each battle unfold by scrolling down move by move or you can immediately scroll to the bottom of the page to see the outcome right away.
What I appreciate most about MCH is that it doesn’t require you to pay GAS fees for every action. You can play the vast majority of the game without having to authorize fee payments, despite MCH being an Ethereum game. This is because MCH has three layers: the Ethereum layer, the Loom network, and an off-chain layer. It makes the experience much smoother and so much more enjoyable.
The Economics of the Game
Everything in MCH runs on GUM. This is a purely in-game currency that can only be exchanged for Ethereum. It’s not a cryptocurrency. All the heroes and items that you can buy in MCH is denominated and paid for in GUM. You can buy 500 GUM for 0.05 ETH, 1000 GUM for 0.1 ETH, 5000 for 0.5 ETH, and so on…
On the Market tab, you can use the MCH shop to buy heroes and replica heroes for a fixed price. Whereas heroes are limited ERC-721 tokens that can be traded on third-party exchanges, replica heroes are unlimited and have no inherent value. You can buy a few novice heroes for 500 GUM and replica heroes for 300 GUM.
You also have the option to trade with other players. However, and this is by far my biggest gripe with MCH, doing so is very expensive. The cheapest hero listed in the trading marketplace today costs over 4,500 GUM, which is the equivalent of almost $90 in today’s ETH price. Items, too, are relatively expensive, with the very weakest ones costing over 90 GUM (just under $2).
However, what’s interesting is that Double Jump has created a membership option in their game. For 1,000 GUM or 0.1 ETH, you can buy a monthly prime membership. This membership gives you access to a new dungeon and gives you 50 GUM every day (with a 33% of 100 GUM and a 1% chance of 1,000 GUM).
It’s a smart move, because it means that players will receive 1,500 GUM if they log in every day, sponsoring the cost of next month’s membership and adding an additional 500 GUM at least. It seems to me that anyone who’s serious about playing MCH on a daily basis should consider the prime membership, because there’s no easier and cheaper way to get items and heroes that would otherwise cost tens or even hundreds of dollars.
Players also have the option to join in-game communities in the Land tab. There are currently ten Land factions, each of which engages in weekly raids and can help you exchange some of your heroes’ CE for GUM (although not at an enviable rate). Each faction has its own Discord, with both an English and a Japanese channel.
Joining a Land faction immediately gives you a sense of belonging, and it paves the way for the developers to create some really engaging features, such as wars between factions, leaderboards, local skirmishes and more.
There’s so much more to be said about MCH. Although relatively straightforward once you understand the basic game mechanics, there’s a lot more depth to the game than you’d originally think. This is evidenced by some of the community posts, which go in great detail on hero stats or battle mechanics.
It’s great that there’s a popular Ethereum game that doesn’t ask for GAS fees at every step. The developer team is passionately driven to improve their game, and you can feel that in the community as well. MCH is already popular in Japan, but there seems to be an eagerness to make the game popular worldwide too. With an increasing amount of English content and top reviews, that seems likely to happen too.