CryptoAssault is a real-time Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) war game on the Ethereum blockchain. That, in itself, is already enough to distinguish it from pretty much every other decentralized game playable today. Most DGames right now are turn-based and 1v1. Off the top of my head, I can think of only two DGames where hundreds of gamers play on a single map: Decentraland and MegaCryptoPolis, both of which are building games more than real-time strategy games.

As such, CryptoAssault is unique. Its big map features dozens of players and hundreds of vehicles that fight for dominance in real-time. This is possible because the game’s actions are off-chain, while buying the vehicles and items happens on the Ethereum blockchain. This off-chain/on-chain hybrid makes the game much more playable, while also providing the benefits of blockchain technology (ownership of assets, most importantly).

CryptoAssault’s world map. The colors are the influence spheres of in-game alliances

CryptoAssault’s Game Mechanics

To play the game, you’ll need to buy units. You can either do this in-game or on OpenSea, a third-party exchange for crypto collectibles. In-game, a single unit that’s of common rarity or better will cost you 0.017 ETH (approx. $3). A squad pack of five units of common rarity or better will cost you 0.085 ETH (approx. $15). The more expensive packs give you more units of better rarity. The most expensive pack, the warlord pack, gives you three epic units or better and 47 rare units or better, at the cost of 2.99 ETH (approx. $500).

When you buy units in-game, you have no control over which type of unit you’ll get. You can get a tank, a truck, a heli, a mech, or a jet, each of which has different advantages and disadvantages. That’s why it’s good to have a look at OpenSea, particularly once you’ve bought a few units and might want to diversify your army instead of relying on chance to get the unit you want. The downside is that you’ll probably pay slightly more for it (although not always!) and that you dismiss the chance of getting a rarer unit in a cheap pack.

The cheapest CryptoAssault units listed on OpenSea

I bought two units, one in-game and one on OpenSea. My first unit was a common jet, a Skyhawk. Jets and helis can fly over in-game map obstacles such as trees, mountains, and rivers, but they aren’t good at mining map resources (more on that later). In terms of fighting, jets are significantly stronger than helis and somewhat stronger than tanks. In fact, here’s the pecking order of the units:

tanks > trucks > mechs > jets > helis > tanks

Each unit is significantly stronger than the unit directly to its right and somewhat stronger than the unit second to its right. So a tank is significantly stronger than a truck and somewhat stronger than a mech. This is important to know before engaging in combat. My second unit was a common truck, a Spinebacked Hog, strong against mechs and somewhat against jets. Trucks have excellent mining rates.

Once you have your units, you can move them to wherever you want, as long as it’s close to the circular edge of the world map and not on a map obstacle. The map is crowded with other people’s units, so you want to make sure to choose an area where you think your units will survive attacks. The map is divided into three circles and a center, with each consecutive ring having more precious resources, more valuable land, and a higher chance that the Ethereum satellite will land there.

Yes, the Ethereum satellite. It’s one of the more compelling reasons for people to play CryptoAssault. Every day, 18% of CryptoAssault’s sales are put into a satellite that will land somewhere on the world map. If it crashes on your land, you win the reward. So far, this reward has been between 1.5 and 2.5 ETH. The chances of the satellite landing in the center and the outer three rings are 60%, 25%, 10%, and 5% respectively.

My jet and my truck deployed from the outer edge of the map

Here’s how you can claim land. Every deployed unit automatically owns the square underneath it and the squares around them in a certain radius. The rarer the unit, the larger the radius. The radii for common, rare, epic, and legendary units are 10, 14, 18, and 20 squares respectively. Each square that your unit owns has a weight attached to it, which starts at one and which drops towards zero the further you move away from the center of your unit. When the radius of your unit clashes with the radius of another player’s unit (which is certain to happen), the territory is split. Whichever unit has the highest weight on a particular square gets that square.

Owning land is another way to earn ETH in CryptoAssault. 42% of all CryptoAssault sales is given out proportionally to players, based on the amount and value of the land they own. The more land they own, the better. The more land towards the center of the map they own, the better too. That’s why it’s worth moving inwards. The land squares in the center of the map are worth twelve times more than those on the outermost ring. That’s a serious multiplier.

However, you can’t move units inwards that easily. Firstly, you can only move your units every three hours and they can only move a certain number of squares. Secondly, to access the next ring, you’ll need to evolve your units. You evolve your unit by merging three units of the same type together. Ideally of exactly the same type, although that’s not necessary.

For example, the Falcon and the Skyhawk are two types of jet. You can merge two Falcons and a Skyhawk together for an evolved unit, but you’d ideally want to merge three Falcons together, because that will result in better stats. That’s right, evolving a unit means its battle stats will increase, as will its mining rate and its travel distance. And you get access to the next ring of the map.

The stats of my jet

You can also make your units stronger through enhancements. There are four enhancements for units: auxiliary combustion (+10% damage), armor plating (+20% damage), reactive armor (+30% damage), and radioactive projectiles (+40% damage). Each enhancement requires a different type of resource that can be found on a different ring of the map. The four resources are oil, iron, titanium, and uranium. You can mine resources by moving one of your units over a resource square on the world map. Each resource patch only has a limited amount of resource inside and will eventually run empty. New resource patches spawn around the world at a certain rate.

Combat in CryptoAssault

As you can probably guess, combat plays a huge role in CryptoAssault. You can attack other units at will and you can be sure you’ll be attacked at will as well. It’s important to know that your units won't disappear if they lose in combat. They’ll just be sent off the map and will require 24 hours to be entirely repaired. I’ve played my two units on the map twice, have been attacked in battle twice and also lost twice. It’s an unforgiving world, although I now realize I probably should’ve moved my units a bit more towards the next ring instead of leaving them vulnerably close to the outer edge of the world map, where anyone with somewhat powerful units can respawn and defeat me.

The formula to determine who will win a fight is surprisingly simple: it’s “((A - D) / max (A,D) + 1) / 2” with A being the attacker’s damage against the defender’s unit type and D the defender’s damage against the attacker’s unit type. Despite the formula being relatively simple, it would still be somewhat of a pain to have to calculate this manually. Thankfully, the game gives percentage odds of the outcome of any fight you want to engage in.

My jet has a 79% chance of defeating that chopper (flying over an oil resource patch)

CryptoAssault reminds me of EVE Online a bit. As a single player, you stand little chance on the map. You’re likely to be attacked and butchered by stronger units quickly after you deploy your units. However, if you join an alliance, your chances to survive grow exponentially. Sure, you’ll still need to invest quite a significant amount of ETH to find rare units and to evolve units, but you’re much more protected when you’re surrounded by units of your allies.

This is particularly the case because of the special attributes of units. It’s where the strategic aspect of CryptoAssault really comes into play. For example, my truck has 10% more defense on plateaus versus on the ground. I’ve seen a hornet helicopter that had +20% while attacking and -20% while defending. Other units can give 20% bonuses to nearby units.

These attributes, combined with the rarity and enhancements of units, should dictate where you place your units on the map and how you use them. It’s what makes CryptoAssault complex and interesting. You might want to move your units towards a chokepoint on the map and have trucks stationed on the hills nearby, giving them 10% more defense. Or you might want to deploy more flying units, if you’re moving towards the center from an angle with more rivers.

All these factors will influence the marketplace too. If players deploy lots of jets on the map, there will be a higher demand for mechs (which can counter jets). A marketplace should emerge where supply and demand fluctuate organically, based on what’s happening on CryptoAssault’s world map.

A Few Final Words

CryptoAssault is an engaging, layered game that’s unique in the DGaming world. However, there’s one thing I wish were different: while the developers encourage you to join their Discord channel on their website, and while players are actively talking on that Discord channel, the developers never say anything on the channel, to the point where players wonder whether they even check the channel at all.

It’s similar for CryptoAssault’s other social media channels. The developers sent out a final tweet on the 13th of March 2019 and published their last blog update December the 4th 2018. It’s hard for players to retain faith in CryptoAssault when its developers stay so silent. Even some minor engagement would work wonders.

But apart from the developers’ engagement with CryptoAssault’s community, I have little qualms with the game. Mind you, it’s quite an unforgiving game that requires you to spend probably at least 1 ETH to get you going, and that requires you to join an alliance, but the game is multi-faceted and well-designed, and has lots of room to grow.

To play CryptoAssault, do so by clicking here and going to the CryptoAssault page in The DGaming Store.