Much of the innovation in the blockchain industry comes from countries in the East. South Korea, Japan, Singapore, and China are all examples of countries that have spawned some of the most popular blockchain projects to date: NEO, Ontology, My Crypto Heroes, and EOS Dynasty, to name only a few. However, I live in Europe, and it’s not always easy to understand what’s going on in the East when it comes to blockchain projects. I’m sure my colleagues in America would agree.
Firstly, there’s the language barrier. Many blockchain projects are exclusively in their respective languages. Secondly, the East uses different social media channels, WeChat and Weibo in particular, which makes it more difficult to discover and learn about a blockchain project. Thirdly, sometimes there are technical hurdles too. An application might not have servers in Europe or America, causing a project’s application to load slowly or not at all.
However, Westerners have every reason to go the extra mile to research Eastern blockchain projects. There’s an eagerness to innovate there. When it comes to DGames, that translates into fun, deep, and interesting DGames. CryptoThrone is one such game. I faced the hurdles described above (although the game is almost entirely translated into English), but it was worth jumping them in the end.
CryptoThrone is a complex, addictive, and innovative game that takes the best game mechanics of popular DGames and molds it into something entirely new. I struggled getting into it at first, but found myself playing it in the small moments of the day. For a game that’s played almost exclusively by Chinese players, that’s a first.
Before Playing CryptoThrone
As befits an Eastern project, CryptoThrone is designed to be played on mobile. Technically, you can play it through a web app from their website, but I encourage everyone to play CryptoThrone on mobile. The game runs on two blockchains: EOS and Ontology, which was added recently. It supports a large number of mobile EOS wallets: MEET.ONE, Math Wallet, EosToken, AWAKE, PocketEOS, and TokenPocket.
TokenPocket is my preferred mobile wallet for EOS. I grumbled at its $4 cost at first, but it seems to be the only mobile wallet that works without technical hiccups for all mobile EOS projects. It also acts as some kind of shell that you can play DGames in, something I really like. There’s no need to download a CryptoThrone app to play the game. Instead, you find CryptoThrone by searching for it in TokenPocket’s “Discover” tab, after which the game launches inside TokenPocket. It works great.
Before you can start playing CryptoThrone, you’ll need to pay an activation cost of either 2 EOS or 1.5 EOS if you have an invitation code. That’s $8.5 or $6.4 in today’s EOS price, respectively. There’s no need to spend more than that in the early stages of the game. The game is designed so you can grow stronger without spending money, as long as you’re willing to put in the effort.
The main goal of CryptoThrone is to collect resources, build an army, and dominate as much of the world map as you can. The game is set during the late Imperial China period, which means swords and castles. But there are elements of fantasy too, as the world map is full of dragons, ghosts, and golems.
All of CryptoThrone’s game servers seem to be located in China. As such, they’re somewhat slow to respond. Clicking a button doesn’t give you the crisp response that you’d like. In fact, if you’re like me, you might click a button multiple times, thinking it’s not working, before it pops up multiple times as it’s loaded. The delay isn’t too bad, but it’s noteworthy nonetheless.
There are four main tabs in CryptoThrone: Camp, Battlefield, Alliance, and Market. You’ll spend most of your time either in Camp or in Battlefield, both of which are interesting enough to be games on their own. Camp seems to be inspired by EOS Knights, as it’s the place where you upgrade your castle (and its surrounding buildings) while Battlefield made me think of CryptoAssault, where you share a world map with other players and fight over resources.
- Upgrading Your Castle (Camp)
Every player starts out with the same buildings in their empire, all of which are level one. These are your castle, a barracks, a defense tower, a farm, a lumbermill, and a mine. There’s a research facility that gets unlocked when your castle reaches level ten, but those are all the buildings that currently exist in-game.
Your castle is the most important building. It dictates how many troops you can house. No other building can exceed the level of your castle, so you’ll need to level up your castle to raise the maximum level of your other buildings. The castle also gives you an overview of the resource cost of your troops and the output of your resource buildings, as well as the bonuses applied to them.
The barracks is the place where you can recruit soldiers. Upgrading the barracks reduces the time it will take to hire soldiers. For example, a level one barracks allows you to recruit fifty soldiers per minute, while a level four barracks allows you to recruit seventy-one soldiers per minute.
The defense tower helps protect your empire when it’s under attack. It’s also the place where you can heal wounded soldiers for a small cost. The higher the level of your tower, the more wounded you can heal.
Your farm, lumbermill, and mine are your resource buildings. The higher their level, the more resources they’ll produce and the more resources they can store. There are four main resources in the game: food, wood, oil, and ore. Food is used to recruit soldiers. Wood is used for constructing buildings. Oil is used to upgrade your castle. Ore is used to upgrade your castle as well, but also to research new technologies.
Similar to EOS Knights, the top of the Camp tab is where you collect your resources, which accumulate over time. Considering your resource buildings produce a few of each resource every minute, coming back to claim your resources after not having played the game for a few hours will result in a few hundred units of each resource at the very least (apart from oil, which you can only claim from a resource point on the battlefield).
- Exploring the Map (Battlefield)
The world map is divided into diamond-shaped land tiles. Scattered throughout the map are castles of other players (in your alliance or not), resource points (unclaimed ones and alliance ones), wild animals, and the ultimate Throne in the center of the map.
The map is divided into resource bands. The closer toward the middle of the map, the higher the resource band and the higher the level of the resource points. Resource points are a great way to quickly boost your resources. You can attack the resource point with your soldiers; each soldier you send will come back with a few units of each resource. For example, I received eight hundred food units because I sent eighty soldiers to a level two farm.
You have to be careful, though, because resources with a red flag above them have enemy soldiers stationed inside them. Considering you don’t know how many soldiers are inside (although you can send a sentinel to investigate), you risk losing your soldiers in a fight if they’re outnumbered. So far, I’ve stayed well clear of attacking enemy resource points, as I’m quite sure I’d come under relentless attack if I try.
I realized the probable danger of other players when I tried killing the dragon that’s stationed right next to my castle. I sent what I then considered a mighty force to the dragon: eighty soldiers. Turns out my eighty soldiers weren’t as mighty as I’d anticipated them to be. A level five dragon is the equivalent of five thousand soldiers. It probably crushed my eighty soldiers with its pinky toe. CryptoThrone is a game of big numbers. Two soldiers are meaningless; twenty thousand are a force to be reckoned with.
- Finding Chinese Friends (Alliance)
When TonArts, the game studio behind CryptoThrone, first released CryptoThrone, there was plenty of conflict between individual players in the game. While TonArts said that these fights were a great way to circulate resources between players (as a defeated player loses some of its resources) it also wasn’t a good way to build a strong community. As such, they introduced alliances.
The ability for players to form alliances helped strengthen the community, because it moved confrontation from individuals to groups. Attacking a player in an alliance threatens to spark a big war that could have a hefty cost, so players now think twice before attacking another player. It’s made the game more stable.
Considering I didn’t want to be a defenseless, lone ranger on the map, I tried joining an alliance. Unfortunately, right now, all alliances are entirely Chinese. I’ve requested to join an alliance multiple times, but have yet to hear back from any. My guess is that this is partly because I don’t speak Chinese and partly because I’m still weak as a worm in the game. I’m playing with the idea of creating my own alliance, the first English-speaking one. Anyone interested in joining, message me!
- Buying Resources (Market)
The Market tab is the most straightforward of all tabs. It’s where you can buy or sell resources in exchange for EOS. A single unit of each resource costs between 0.0002 and 0.0003 EOS, except for the special ores, which are significantly more expensive and cost between 0.1 and 0.2 EOS.
The Market tab is also where you can see what’s in your bag. CryptoThrone rewards you for logging in multiple days in a row, and those rewards are stored in your bag. Often, they’re runes that reduce the amount of time it takes to upgrade a building. The game also gives you an estimate of the EOS worth of your bag and your resources. When I took the above screenshot, it was 0.0005. Currently, it stands at 0.0015. I can imagine the loot of top players being worth multiple EOS if they decide to sell it all.
A Little Word About the Developer
As mentioned above, the developer of CryptoThrone is TonArts. Before CryptoThrone, TonArts was known for creating LeBlock, marketed as the largest NFT asset base in the blockchain industry. It has over 100,000 unique users and 20,000 daily active users early 2018, but it’s pretty much an entirely Chinese project, which I believe is why it’s gone under the radar of the English-speaking community (or at least it’s gone under my radar).
Overall, I’ve been impressed with CryptoThrone and with the vision that TonArts describes in CryptoThrone’s white paper: a multi-blockchain game that rewards its players with crypto if they put in the effort and play well. They seem to have put plenty of thought into every element of their game: from resource allocation to resource circulation to the game’s internal currency (simply called the “CryptoThrone Token”).
It’s why I have high hopes for CryptoThrone. The developers seem capable and eager to improve the game even more, even though it’s already quite good and complex. In fact, I feel I’ve barely scratched the surface in this review. I’ve not spoken about alliance wars, gift bags, privilege memberships, and many other aspects of the game.
CryptoThrone requires a little bit of money upfront, it’s not as responsive as I’d like, and there’s not really an English-speaking community (yet) but this is a great DGame that I can only see growing in popularity as it gets even better. I encourage you to try it out.