Beyond The Void: RTS Gaming with ‘True Ownership’ of In-Game Assets
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Beyond the Void is an upcoming game release which harnesses blockchain technology to create a novel economic system with ‘true ownership of in-game assets. What that means in practice is that if you buy premium content from the game store, you can keep it in any Ethereum wallet and trade independently with other players. It even opens up the possibility of partnerships with other games such as Spells of Genesis, allowing premium content from one game to be transferred and used in a completely different game!
The story line behind the game puts you into a distant future in which a precious resource known as ‘cubes’ fuels interstellar travel. The galactic supply of these cubes, however, is running low. Great Imperial ‘Houses’ now battle over the remaining supplies located across the outer reaches of the galaxy, and you take the role of a baron battling on behalf of one of these families.
Currently the game is undergoing a closed beta period during which early backers can thoroughly test it out prior to public release. An open beta testing period which anybody can join is expected in April 2017 with the subsequent release penciled in for June.
The Game: RTS & MOBA
The gameplay itself is described as a real-time strategy (RTS) game with multi-layer online battle arena (MOBA) elements.
Players are pitted against each other in 1-vs-1 battles to take control of a solar system containing 6 planets and mineable asteroid fields. Unlike other games, which feature static maps, these battles take place in a shifting three-dimensional terrain as the planets orbit around their sun just as they would in real life.
You enter the game in control of one planet and a mothership, which you must use to dominate the solar system. Each mothership has its own unique skill set. These include passive skills which work constantly, automatically influencing events around the ship. They also include an ‘ultimate’ skills, which are manually triggered and have a long cooldown period so that they can only be deployed occasionally. Over time, players can upgrade their mothership and unlock new skills using the experience points which they earn in battles.
When a player controls a planets it affords them the ability to build satellites around it, which in turn bring with them the ability to mine ‘cubes’ from the asteroid fields, to increase resources, build warships of various types, and research technical skills to unlock additional ships and buildings. Planets also have their own defences, which are automatically triggered when an enemy ship comes within their range.
Neutral opponents of various different types will also occupy the same map, providing problems and opportunities for both players.
To add in an extra element of unpredictability, players will also be able to deploy ‘event cards’. These cards will change the character of the battle, but will affect each player in exactly the same way – meaning that they will not necessarily work out to the advantage of the person who plays them! You can see an example of an event card to the side of this text. Because games can be customized by both players, every battle should be unique no matter how many you play.
The battle is won when one player either destroys or conquers all of their opponents planets.
Nexium, Premium Content & Staying Free to Play AND Free to Win
BtV has its own game currency called Nexium, issued over the Ethereum blockchain. These Nexium coins must be used by anybody seeking to buy premium content in the game store.
A fixed number of coins have been created, and it is impossible for anymore to be created. This allows Nexium’s to serve as a kind of proxy investment in the game, rising in value along with demand as the number of players increases.
A total of 100 million Nexium were created, with 15 mil going to the founders, 15 to a marketing budget, and the rest going into a crowdsale which was used to raise money to fund development. All unsold coins were ‘burned’ (effectively making them unusable), meaning that there is now a total of 66,521,587 in existence.
Beyond the Void is a free to play game, and its developers have said that they are keen on ensuring that it does not become a ‘pay to win’ game. This is a hard balance to get right. Many titles which have in-game purchases put so many restrictions on players who haven’t purchased upgrades, or give so many advantages to those who have, that the top players are almost always those who have paid the most.
In BtV premium content that you can purchase from the store will not give you a big advantage over players who cannot afford to buy anything. A great deal of this premium content takes the form of vanity items: unique avatars and ‘titles’ before your username, different skins to make your mothership stand out, and so on.
Players will also be able to purchase ‘Event Cards’. Free event cards lasting for one week will be available to all players, but if you want to permanently own an event card you’ve enjoyed playing with, so that you can keep using it after the time is up, then you will need to buy it. Because these events affect both players in the same way they shouldn’t give buyers a huge advantage, although they will allow you to hone your skills and strategy to perfectly suit that type of battle.
Limited duration experience point booster packs will also be available to purchase.
Serious players will be able to enter special ranked games. Winning these games allows you to climb up the rankings through a series of different leagues in an attempt to become one of the top players. Built-in tools that let you record and stream your best battles will also be included, in an effort to make the game friendly towards ‘eSports’ enthusiasts for truly competitive gaming.
Inside the Beta: A Sneak Peek
If you are wondering what all this actually looks like then and you are not an ICO backer with access to the closed beta then you can get a pretty good sneak peek by watching this video which does go into quite a lot of detail: