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Axie Infinity is one of the most successful NFT games today. It is the title that popularized the concept of Play-to-Earn and marked the start of a paradigm shift in the blockchain and gaming industry.
Today valued at more than $3 billion, the title is still on its way to increasing its growth exponentially in 2022. The crazy part about all of this? It is that they haven’t even officially launched in the market yet!
It was the July of 2021 when I first learned about this game, which was changing lives in the Philippines. The NFT era had just begun. We are indeed still at the dawn of this paradigm shift, which was brought about by the blockchain technology, in the form of cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens.
The concept of decentralized currencies has existed for more than a decade now. But it reached the ears of the mainstream media only in the early 2020s once the Covid-19 Pandemic hit us. When I learned about it, I was fascinated by the idea of earning by playing video games without actually going pro.
After decade-long research on the blockchain technology, a year of trading cryptocurrencies, playing and investing in NFT games, and writing dozens of articles on the subject, now I am on my way to creating my own NFT gaming guild.
A place where players, investors, and managers will join their forces together to create an environment brimming with passion, opportunities, knowledge, and secrets about NFT Games.
Now more than 6 months and a couple of seasons later, I can say I know quite a lot about Axie Infinity. I am Asad, and in this guide, I will be sharing everything you would need to get started with Axie Infinity. I will also be sharing things that I wish I knew when I started playing Axie Infinity.
You can check out my thoughts about the game in my Axie Infinity Review article here.
Before You Begin Read This!
I would assume that you just learned about Axie Infinity from your peers or through the internet and now want to play the game. You might be thinking of playing for free somehow or maybe playing to earn, or purely as an investment.
Regardless, I will guide you through all the steps and aspects of the game. So, let us begin with setting up your accounts.
Setting up Accounts: Ronin Wallet, WETH, and The Game Account
To play Axie Infinity, you need to be familiar with some basic crypto terms. For your ease, here is an NFT gaming glossary list that I personally tailored to help curious and amazing people like you!
Now let’s discuss some of the things you would need to begin.
- PC or a Smartphone.
- Ronin Wallet.
- An Email to Link Your Gaming Account With.
PC or a Smartphone
Currently, the game is in its beta version. According to the team, they haven’t released the game officially yet! A bold statement considering their $3 billion valuations. Anyhow, you can play the game on any PC and smartphone.
Personally, I use a Windows 10 PC to play the game. However, there are options for Mac OS and iPhone users as well. Do note that the last time I tried to download the game on an iPhone, the iOS TestFlight for iPhones was already full. Because of that, I was unable to download and play the game.
I would suggest using a computer to play the game. It is easier to manage and has more options for intractability. But everybody has a different preference so feel free to do what is more convenient.
Axie Infinity runs on the Ronin Sidechain, which is an Ethereum sidechain. To play the game or interact with the Axie Ecosystem, you need to own a Ronin Wallet. You can simply get one by going to the Official Axie Infinity Getting Started website.
Just make sure to keep your unique “seed phrase” safe. It is the one key that will unlock all your funds and assets in the wallet, so keep it as secure as your ATM card’s pin code and that one embarrassing secret that you will take to the grave.
Now, if you are looking to manage multiple accounts, perhaps you might be looking to create a scholarship program, then good news for you. You can own several Ronin Wallets at once.
Furthermore, you don’t need to create a separate seed phrase each time you need a new account. Instead, you can choose to create multiple accounts under one seed phrase, which will make managing them really easy!
An Email to Link Your Gaming Account With
Axie Infinity is linked with your Ronin wallet. To play the game, you need to provide access to your Ronin Wallet. But to create a game account, you need to set up an email and password for logging in.
I recommend creating a Gmail account for this where you can receive important updates and news from the Axie Infinity team as well. You can also have multiple game accounts using branch mails that lead to your primary Gmail account. This is especially useful when you are managing multiple accounts for your scholars.
Pay-to-Play Vs Free-to-Play Options
Once you have all these components, you are all set to begin your Axie Infinity Journey, or so I would have liked to say. But we are still not quite there yet. You see, to interact with the Axie Infinity metaverse, you need to own Axies.
Axies are the mystical axolotl-like monsters that rule the world of Lunacia. These are unique NFTs that represent playable monsters in the game. To get one of these Axies, you need to buy them from breeders and other owners who are willing to sell them.
The Official Axie Infinity Marketplace is the most popular and secure place to trade Axies and all other NFTs of the game. But can I not play without buying these expensive NFTs? The answer is yes! You can. But you will need to join an Axie scholarship program.
Now let’s see the differences between these Pay-to-Play and Free-to-Play options and how they might impact your gameplay.
Pay-to-Play: Becoming an Axie Owner
As I said, to play the game, you need to own Axies, for which you will need to spend some money in the marketplace. Buying an Axie is easy if you have the funds and know your way around making crypto transactions. However, the challenging part is which Axie to buy, and to be honest, there is no correct answer.
Buying Your First Axies: Rapidly Changing Meta and Battle V3
Ideally, you would want to buy strong Axies, which can help you win PvP battles, climb the ranking ladder and earn lots of SLP. But the game keeps changing every season, if not every day.
New Metas are being established all around the year, and an Axie that is strong today can be crap tomorrow. This phenomenon is quite scary when you consider that you are putting at the very least hundreds of dollars just to play this game.
Personally, my take on this problem has been to buy mid-range Pure Virgin Axies. These are good for breeding, fair in battles, and more predictable concerning their position in the game.
For me, that team has been the Double Aqua Plant (AAP) team. It stays in the middle of the ladder. It helped me achieve as high as 1700 MMR after playing for only a month. Additionally, you can breed them as well, as Speed and Tankiness are always relative in the game regardless of the meta.
With that said, nowadays, we are in a transition phase. Battle V3 is luring nearby, new cards will be added, and a few months down the roadmap is the land gameplay. No one knows which Axies are good or bad.
You can check out my Season 19 Axie Infinity Card Tier List here to see which cards are good to have currently.
Free-to-Play: Becoming a Scholar
If you do not want to put up your money on the line directly, you can instead choose to play for free. To play the game for free, you will need to find and join an Axie Scholarship Program.
These programs are created and managed by Axie owners who breed lots of Axies and then share them with scholars to play on their behalf. For this, the scholar gets to keep a share of the SLP earned.
I have played the game both ways, and the experience is quite different. As an owner, I had the freedom to play or not whenever I wanted. Furthermore, I could focus more on planning strategies and enjoying the game.
As a scholar, on the other hand, I had this sense of duty constantly looming over my head. I had to achieve daily targets, and each loss meant more work. I felt bound and forced to play even when I did not want to. This became a killjoy. I started hating the game, and it all went downhill.
As a gamer, I love challenges, and I like setting and achieving goals. But this sense of duty made Axie Infinity something more than a game, and not in a good way. It started feeling like a chore. Perhaps, it is only me, but I found the concept of solely playing to earn really toxic.
In my opinion, Play-to-Earn should be an added feature. A quality-of-life update, a nice to have. But when you make it into something more, like a business, it starts feeling like a 9 to 5, and all those things that we hate.
I understand that creating financial opportunities via playing games is a good thing. It is helping millions of people during this global financial crisis. I believe it should be done in a better and more ethical way.
Blockchain gaming should be about taking power out of the hands of large corporates and putting it in the hands of players. This is so they can govern the game they are passionate about and make it into something they can be proud of. Not so they can become smaller corporates with similar profit-making goals in mind.
Getting Started: Daily Quest, Energies, and Learning the Abilities
Now that you have your Axies or access to some. Let us get into the game. Once you are logged in, firstly, you would need to sync your game with your Ronin wallet. This will make it so you can see the stats and abilities of your Axies in the game.
With that out of the way, you are all set to fight your first Axie battle. But I would suggest taking a step back and familiarizing yourself with the hub. On the main screen, you will see your battle-ready Axies.
On top, you will see your in-game username and the daily energy bar beneath it. Next to the energy bar, you will see the Daily Quest button. The Daily Quest consists of 3 missions, completing which will reward you with 25 SLP. These 3 missions are checking in, winning 10 Adventure Mode levels, and winning 5 Arena battles.
At the bottom, there will be your Axies menu button, the Team menu button, and the Inventory button. The Axies menu will show all the Axies you own in that wallet. Here, you can check their stats and abilities as well. I strongly recommend you take some time to read what ability cards your Axies have and what they do.
The Team menu will let you create teams of 3 Axies that you will use to battle in the Arena and the Adventure mode. Here, you can set the positions at which your Axies will start the battle. In battle, Axies always hit the nearest opponent Axie, unless specified by an ability. Correct positioning is one of the keys to winning in the game.
Next up, we have the Inventory. Here, you can see the amount of SLP and mAXS that you own in that game account. In the future, the Inventory will hold other in-game assets too that might get introduced.
Adventure Mode and Arena: Playing With and Without Energy
Now let us see the two game modes offered by Axie Infinity. The PvE Adventure mode and the PvP Arena mode.
Adventure Mode: Player Vs Environment
In the Adventure mode, you play against the AI and clear a map consisting of levels. Each level has several monsters that you must defeat to progress further ahead.
These levels are relatively easy to beat and can be considered good practice for new players. You need to win 10 Adventure mode levels for the daily quest. In the Adventure mode, you also earn SLP for clearing a level.
However, this amount is capped at 50 SLP per day. This means that you can get a total of 75 SLP daily, at least by completing the daily quest and Adventure levels.
So, what is the difference between playing Adventure mode levels with energy and without energy? When you win an Adventure mode level, you gain a certain amount of SLP as a reward. This amount depends on the level you are playing. The higher the number, the more SLP you get as a reward per level.
These levels become progressively harder to beat and to beat them, you need to level up your Axies. To level up your Axies, you need to gain experience (EXP) points. This is where the energy comes into play.
When you clear a level with the daily energy points, you gain EXP points in addition to the SLP reward as well. Playing without the daily energy points, you will only win the SLP reward.
Arena Mode: Player Vs Player Battles
In the Arena mode, you can battle against other players for prestige, glory, higher SLP rewards, and the top 1000. You need to win 5 Arena battles daily to complete the daily quest. Winning will move you up the ranking ladder, and losing will slap you down.
Each season an AXS reward pool is set. AXS is the governing token of the game. These rewards are distributed among the top 1000 players, in the form of mAXS, at the end of each season. mAXS or Mini AXS is a fragmented portion of an AXS token. The ratio is 1000 mAXS = 1 AXS.
Furthermore, the top players can participate in the Axie Infinity esports events, like the Infinity Cup, Summer Madness Tournament, Axie Infinity Winter Cup, and more. Arena Mode can be considered the game mode that affects the Play-to-Earn aspect of the game the most.
Understanding Ranking and Match Making Rating (MMR)
Axie Infinity has a competitive game in nature. Most of its features are built around the PvP Arena mode and Ranks. The Axie Infinity Ranking Ladder is divided into MMR brackets. Your MMR determines how much SLP you will gain per win in the Arena mode.
You can gain an idea of SLP to MMR relation from the following table.
|0-800||0 SLP per win|
|800-999||1 SLP per win|
|1000-1099||3 SLP per win|
|1100-1299||6 SLP per win|
|1300-1499||9 SLP per win|
|1500-1799||12 SLP per win|
|1800-1999||15 SLP per win|
|2000-2199||18 SLP per win|
|2200-2299||21 SLP per win|
|2300+ MMR||24 SLP per win|
At the start of each season, every player is reset to 1200 MMR. This is done, so everyone gets an equal start at the beginning of each season.
It is significant to keep track of your MMR because once you drop below 800 MMR, your account is rendered unable to earn SLP from any sources. You will have to win your way back up and out of the below 800 MMR bracket to start earning again.
Besides that, reaching the top 1000 in every season will enable you to earn Rank rewards at the end of the season. These rewards are relatively generous compared to average earnings per month possible through playing the game.
You can check the rewards for the top 1000 in the last Season (Season 19) from the following table. Do remember that 1000 mAXS = 1 AXS.
|Top 1||135,000 mAXS|
|Top 2||105,000 mAXS|
|Top 3||82,500 mAXS|
|Top 4||60,000 mAXS|
|Top 5||52,500 mAXS|
|Top 6-10||45,000 mAXS|
|Top 10-20||34,500 mAXS|
|Top 21-50||16,000 mAXS|
|Top 51-100||9,000 mAXS|
|Top 101-200||3,900 mAXS|
|Top 201-500||1,250 mAXS|
|Top 501-1000||600 mAXS|
With all of this out of the way, let us see what you can expect in your first hour, day, and week of playing the game.
The First Hour, Day, And Week: What to Do? What to Expect?
Once you get started with the game, your first hour would mostly be spent checking out all the menus and indicators on the screen. After that, you might want to check out the Adventure mode map and perhaps play your first Axie battle.
At first, the Arena might seem intimidating given the risks associated with losing MMR but eventually, you would want to join the competitive ladder. After all, you need to win 5 Arena battles to complete the daily quest.
A single Axie Infinity match lasts around 5 to 8 minutes. With that, you would have played about 10 games, and an hour would have gone by. For me, completing the daily quest is usually a 2-hour grind.
For your first couple of weeks, I suggest spending your daily energy leveling up your Axies and progressing in the Adventure mode. This will help you get the hang of the game and know your cards well.
Furthermore, you will also get familiarized with the in-game battle UI. Early on, I recommend spending 15 energy points in Adventure mode and 5 energy points in the Arena mode. After that, you can slowly increase your Arena battles as you gain more confidence in your abilities.
Core Game Mechanics: What You Should Know?
Now let us dive into the game mechanics. Axie Infinity is a Trading card game at its core, with monster battling RPG elements added. Besides having a good team, you must have a decent amount of information about all the elements within the game.
Here, I will talk about 4 tips that can help you become a better play and gain an edge over your opponent.
Counting Enemies Luna
Luna is a special kind of energy in the world of Lunacia that is derived from the moon. Axies can collect and manipulate this energy to perform mystical techniques.
During a battle, the Luna indicator shows how many Luna you have. At the start of the match, both players have 3 Luna. Every round after that, they gain 2 additional Luna as well.
Luna is required to play ability-cards during battle. Now you can keep track of how many Luna your opponent has. This can help you predict how many cards your opponent can play the following turn, helping you avoid being hit by any surprise combos.
Checking the Ability-Cards of Your Opponent
Once the match begins, you can look at the ability cards of your opponent by checking what body parts their Axies have. However, if you do not remember the body parts, you can simply click on their Axies, and all their stats and abilities will show up in-game.
This can help you strategize to play in response to their key cards and combos to avoid lethal damage.
Counting Cards in The Hands of Your Opponent
At the start of the game, both players have 6 cards. Both players draw 3 additional cards from their decks after every round. Using this information, you can keep track of how many cards your opponent has in their hands. This can help you better strategize during the game and gain an edge over your opponent.
Positioning Your Axies
Positioning matters a lot in Axie Infinity battles. A simple change in positioning can completely change your game plan and strategy. Axies always hit the enemy Axie that is nearest to them.
This rule is compromised if an Axie has an ability card that prioritizes attacking a certain Axie or position on the enemy team. It is necessary to understand the best positioning for your team to win more battles.
You can read my Axie Infinity Gameplay Guide here for a more in-depth view of the game mechanics, strategies, combos, and tricks.
Tips We Wish We Knew and Some Common Mistakes to Avoid as A Newbie
You Can Lose MMR Really Fast!
MMR is one of the most significant figures in the game. Especially if you are playing as a Scholar. Losing would mean gaining less SLP per win and potentially failing to reach your daily targets, which could ultimately lead to you losing your scholarship.
This can be very disheartening, stressful, as well as anxiety-inducing. To help you keep a firm grip over your rank and MMR, I suggest avoiding playing consecutive Arena games.
Alternate Between Adventure and Arena Mode Games
Sometimes, you will find yourself losing a lot of Arena battles consecutively. This can feel really bad as you watch your hard-earned MMR go down. One of my friends once gave me a tip that helped me through such bad days.
When you start losing consecutive battles in the Arena, stop and go to the Adventure mode. Play a couple of Adventure mode games, and it will help you calm down as you win and gain some sense of achievement.
More often than not, when we lose a game, we go into this infuriating feeding mode. We make wrong decisions and fail to see even the most basic faults in our game plan. This advice helped me climb my way back from 990 MMR to 1600 MMR. 🙂
Save A Few Hundred Bucks with The Ronin Katana DEX
Another tip that I wish I knew as a beginner is about the existence of the Katana DEX. As I mentioned above, to play the game, you need to own Axies.
If you are trying to buy Axies, you will need Wrapped Ethereum (WETH). To get WETH on your Ronin Wallet, you will have to buy ETH on an exchange and then move it to your Ronin Wallet.
Now, if you are even slightly knowledgeable about Ethereum transaction fees, you would have already guessed the problem here. The transaction fees on Ethereum are really high. They can even go up to $50 and $100 per transaction. Paying that amount of money just to move your funds is not ideal, and no one really wants to pay that.
In late 2021, Sky Mavis, the company behind Axie Infinity, launched the Ronin DEX by the name of Katana. People can freely swap their Axie Infinity tokens for other cryptocurrencies used in the Ronin ecosystem.
This was a revolutionary milestone for Axie Infinity and the Ronin sidechain. Now players can move their funds in the form of AXS, USDC, RON, or SLP to their Ronin wallet for cheap transaction fees and then swap them for WETH on the Katana DEX. This tip alone can save you a couple of hundred bucks on transactions fees. 🙂
Axie Infinity: Long-Term Goals to Consider
When you commit such an amount of money to a game, you want to gain proper value out of it. With Axie Infinity, to do that, you can look at the following things that you might want to set as your long-term goals.
Earning Back Your Initial Investment
Firstly, your goal should be to earn back the initial amount you invested in the game. As this is a Play-to-Earn game, earning is built into its vision. Ideally, it would take about 5 to 6 months to gain your investment back if you play consistently.
Learning the Meta
As with all competitive games, you should invest your time in learning the meta. You should grasp the best strategies, positioning, and combos that will lead you to the top of the ladder. Of course, enjoying the competitive aspect is part of the game.
MMR and Climbing the Ranking Ladder
Consistently achieving high MMR is the symbol of a seasoned veteran. If you are anything like me, you aspire to show how early you joined the game and how much you know about it. And to me, there is nothing that speaks about the mastery of a player over a game than them consistently achieving high rank in the Arena.
Learning the Cards and Combos
Axie Infinity is a strategy game. Thus, information is one of the key winning factors. If you plan to invest your time in the game, you should better familiarize yourself with all the cards and combos in the game.
Breeding Farm and Starting a Scholarship Program
Lastly, you might want to consider breeding your Axies and expanding your team. Becoming an Axie lord and trader. Selling your Axies to other new players just like you bought one when you started.
Besides that, you might want to start an Axie scholarship program. Recruiting other players and allowing them to play the game for free while generating some passive revenue for you.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
People are often intrigued by some specific questions regarding the topics that I write about. So here are some frequently asked questions about Axie Infinity and my answers to them.
Question: How Much Does a Decent Team of Axies Cost Currently?
Answer: The cost of Axies fluctuates a lot due to their ties with different cryptocurrencies and the overall market. I bought my AAP team in early October 2021 for around $1000, including the ETH transaction fees. The same team was up for sale for $1500 minimum in the mid of that same month.
After that, we had several crypto market crashes, and everything went down to the dirt. Today, the same team can be bought for as little as $300!
Question: What Is the Name of The Company Behind Axie Infinity?
Answer: Axie Infinity was developed by a Vietnamese Game development company called Sky Mavis. Sky Mavis is currently valued at more than $3 billion with its success from Axie Infinity. You can join the official discord of the game here.
Question: How Much Can I Earn Playing Axie Infinity?
Answer: You earn SLP by winning battles and completing the daily quest in the game. On average, a decent player in the MMR range of 1200-1400 and a 50%-win rate can earn about 4000 SLP a month. At its all-time high, this amount was equal to $1800! Currently, the same is only worth $50.
Final Thoughts: 2022 And Beyond
Axie Infinity is one of the greatest stories in the world of NFT gaming. It has outdone its predecessor, Cryptokitties, and has claimed the crown as the father of next-generation NFT games.
Currently, it is going through a scaling phase and preparing for the coming 100 million users. But focusing their efforts on scaling has resulted in many short-term investors becoming angry and leaving the game because the price of SLP has touched the ground.
In my opinion, it is still the best time to get into Axie Infinity. With the Land Gameplay and Battle V3 updates planned for this year, the game has a bright future.
There is a lot of competition expected to rise in the NFT gaming market this year. Axie Infinity needs to deliver upon its infinite experiences promise to stand a chance to keep its crown.
Personally, I still believe in the long-term vision of the project. And I wish to be part of the early few who will see it grow from the ground up. I look forward to the kind of game Axie Infinity will become.
You can check out my honest, in-depth review of Axie Infinity here.