The more you play decentralized games, the easier it becomes to categorize them. Some DGames focus on fun and playability (e.g. Steem Monsters) while others serve as an introduction to blockchain technology (e.g. CryptoKitties). Some DGames put blockchain technology on the forefront of their game (e.g. MegaCryptoPolis) while others prefer to let it run in the background (e.g. CryptoDozer). My point is that you can capture the essence of nearly every DGame in a few words.
As such, if I were to categorize Evolution Land, it would be ambitious. Evolution Land is a decentralized, virtual management game that wants to explore seemingly everything that blockchain technology is capable of. To begin with, the game is designed as a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO). A DAO is a complex smart contract, where the bylaws (i.e. the internal rules) of an organization are written in code. Changes to these bylaws can be made through a token governance system.
This, in itself, is not very different from how a company is run. A group of people abides by a certain set of rules they’ve defined themselves. However, the big difference is that a DAO enforces these rules digitally, through code. The developers of Evolution Land want to make their game a fully-fledged DAO, i.e. a self-evolving, scalable, and open system that will eventually require no centralization whatsoever.
That’s the overarching ambition of Evolution Land. But the developers are ambitious on a more practical level, too. The story of Evolution Land is that it’s a planet in the universe (with a radius of 5,279.58 meters and an equator of 36,000 meters). The planet has 26 continents, with 24 continents that contain 2025 pieces of land (45x45) and two large continents that contain 7,921 pieces of land (22x360 + 1).
Each continent will be deployed on a different blockchain. There are already two continents you can play on: Atlantis and Byzantine. Atlantis runs on Ethereum, while Byzantine runs on TRON. Let that sink in for a while. Eventually, if the developers come through with their plan, Evolution Land will be playable on 26 different types of blockchain platforms. This means integrations with 26 different types of cryptocurrency wallets that hold 26 different cryptocurrencies. Already, you can log into Evolution Land with MetaMask for Ethereum and TRON Link for Byzantine.
But the game goes a step further too. Not only will there be 26 continents on different blockchain platforms, but continents will be able to trade with each other and wage war against one another, through cross-chain technology called the Darwinia Network, which Evolution Land’s developers are in the process of creating entirely from scratch (with the Cosmos and Polkadot blockchains as reference).
The reason why they’re doing this is simple. Gamers shouldn’t have to fiddle around with different cryptocurrencies and different blockchain platforms in order to play a game. A game should be playable regardless of the platform you use and the cryptocurrencies you have. That makes sense to me. Blockchain technology allows value to flow freely from one place to another, without obstructive intermediaries. Separate blockchain platforms create silos that go against that vision. Evolution Land’s idea of blockchain continents is a way around this.
So the game intends to be a DAO with cross-chain technology that connects different blockchain platforms. But the developers of Evolution Land also want to encourage other developers to integrate their own DApp into Evolution Land. Third-party DApps, ERC-721 assets, and traditional game assets can be linked to the world of Evolution Land. While it’s hard to know what that will eventually look like, we get a hint through Evolution Land’s integration with CryptoKitties.
Not that it’s much of an integration. Currently, the only thing Evolution Land does is show your CryptoKitties in-game. There’s nothing else you can do with them (yet). Nonetheless, it came as a surprise to see my Kitties Trixi Whipfuzzle and Susi Bevybip show up in an entirely different DGame. This is the gaming multiverse in action, something only possible with blockchain technology.
Playing the Game
The above has given you a taste of Evolution Land’s ambitions. But how does the game currently play? What’s already genuinely implemented? Well, first you need to decide which continent you’ll play on. Considering I don’t have TRON, but do have Ethereum, I started playing on the Atlantis continent by logging in through MetaMask.
Atlantis is a continent divided into 45x45 squares of land. You’ll see squares of all kinds of colors. The sky blue squares around the center of the map are reserved, the deeper blue ones are taken, and the near-black ones are still to be given out. Each square has some amount of resources on them (more on that later). Purple squares are mystical squares, because players won’t know how much resource such a square has. It could be plenty, it could be little. It’s a fortune bag, if you will.
What I like about Evolution Land is that you can “brand” your land with an image. That’s why so many squares of land in the above screenshot look so different. They’re owned by players who have added an image to their land. If you look closely, you’ll see some player has bought a 3x4 square to create a big “MyKey” logo. Cutting-edge advertising. Smart!
The green squares are the ones that are for sale. There aren’t many, and they’re expensive. You buy land with a cryptocurrency called RING. You’ll need to exchange ETH for RING in the game’s Gringotts bank. Currently, one RING costs about 0.00000959 ETH. The cheapest square of land that I could find costs 40,000 RING, or 0.384 ETH, which translates into $92 at the time of writing.
On its website, Evolution Land says that one piece of land is released for sale every two hours on Atlantis and every twenty minutes on Byzantine. I’m assuming these land auctions are cheaper than what players are selling their land for, but I didn’t know where to find that auction (which I say after having gone through what seems to me every clickable option in the game).
It’s unfortunate that land is expensive, because it’s currently the only way to get resources in Evolution Land. Each square of land has a finite amount of five different resources: gold, wood, water, fire, and silicon. These resources are slowly depleted over time, at a rate of a ten-thousandth a day. You can mine these resources with so-called Apostles.
Apostles are the game’s workers. Similar to breeding games such as CryptoKitties and Blockchain Cuties, Evolution Land’s apostles have a genetic code that they inherited from their parents, as well as a generation, and attributes that make up how they look. They also have skills that determine what they’re good at, such as strength, intelligence, luck, charisma, and more.
Evolution Land took a leaf out of the CryptoKitties book and display “great-value apostles” when you click the “apostles” tab, making it easy for players to instantly buy cheap, but powerful apostles. These cost around 188 RING, which is less than a dollar.
Currently, the only thing apostles can do is mine. They help extract resources out of the land you own. You can also set them for hire, which will allow other players to put them to work on their squares of land. Over time, the developers of Evolution Land want to give many more career options to apostles: musician, doctor, and warrior are only a few of the careers that they mention. However, only the miner has been implemented so far, so it’s hard to know what the other career options will do.
Another big feature of Evolution Land that’s yet to be implemented, but that sounds exciting, is fighting. The developers want to add PvE, PvP, sieges, group warfare, and continent warfare to their game. In fact, a big plot of land in Atlantis seems dedicated to PvE or PvP fighting. I’m assuming this will come with inventory to buy, from armor to weapons to ships to sail the oceans between continents.
I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of what Evolution Land wants to do: the DAO, the cross-chain technology, the breeding mechanisms, the fighting, the macro- and micro-economics, the governance system, and more. It’s all there. Alex Chien, the co-founder of Evolution Land, mentioned in an interview that they’re even thinking of implementing ideas such as Universal Basic Income and the Harberger tax.
While the developers should deserve credit for creating such an ambitious, vast, and complex game, I also feel they might be overplaying their hand a bit. There’s no real cross-chain technology available today, because it’s an incredibly complex thing to accomplish technically. Most DAOs so far have failed, and spectacularly so. That’s not to say accomplishing any single one of these things is impossible, but accomplishing them all in one game seems like a serious stretch.
I would encourage Evolution Land’s developers to make their game fun first and foremost. I appreciate that what’s launched today is a Minimum Viable Product, but there’s not much to do beyond buying land and buying apostles to gather resources for no immediate purpose. Create a mini-game in the bigger game, whether that’s a fighting game or something else, to keep players busy and keep them coming back, after which you can focus on implementing pieces of your bigger vision. I applaud the courage to dream big. But start small first.
If you'd like to play EvolutionLand, you can do so by visiting The DGaming Store.