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Web3 games are under pressure from their communities to produce something playable. It doesn’t matter if the project is a massive metaverse that spans hundreds of planets and features dozens of spaceships to customize; players want something playable. And they want it now.
Video games take time to create. Then they take more time to be tested, tweaked, and tested again. We’re talking about years here, not a few months. With that in mind, web3 projects that’ve produced something playable in less than a year are pretty impressive.
Even if that playable portion of their project needs serious work, at least it shows the project is invested in their community, they’re listening to feedback and want to keep their players engaged.
One example of such a project is DeFi Kingdoms and their mini-game, DFK Duel. Though DFK Duel is not much of a dueling game and is merely an attempt to keep the community from asking the developers, “What are you doing with all that money we invested?”
It is a great time-waster. And despite the rudimentary nature and many pitfalls of DFK Duel, the community agrees: something is better than nothing.
What is DeFi Kingdoms?
DFK is an RPG game built around a decentralized marketplace. It was initially built on the Harmony blockchain, but after the blockchain was hacked in a controversial attack, DFK decided to expand its blockchain footprint. The developers created their own blockchain, DFK Chain, and have plans to deploy on the Klatyn blockchain soon.
In DFK, players obtain NFTs called heroes and use them to quest for items, trade them on the marketplace, or have them train specific skills. Each hero is unique, and players can select two heroes to pair together and summon a third hero.
All items obtained from questing have a purpose in the game, even if that purpose is to generate sales in the marketplace. When taken to the Alchemist, most items are ingredients in various potions.
There are eggs that players can find while questing, which the player can incubate and hatch into a pet. There are gardens players can invest in to earn compound interest and a Jeweler who acts like a shady banker.
Much of DFK has yet to roll out. Pets have no utility, quests can’t level up, land plots are useless, there are no PvE quests, no PvP quests, Dark Summoning has yet to be released, Jade is coming soon, Jewel is turning into a governance token, etc. I could go on, but I won’t.
But there is DFK Duel. So that counts for something. Right?
Why Dueling is a Waste of Time
Like all play-to-earn games, gameplay favors the rich. The more money you invest into the game, the more powerful your characters/starships/weapons will be. In a nutshell: dueling is a waste of time because it doesn’t just reward the rich; it rewards the rich who’ve been playing for a long time.
If you answer yes to any of these questions, dueling isn’t a waste of time, and you should consider putting your heroes to the test.
- Do you have more than 50 heroes?
- Is your average hero level 8 or higher?
- Do you have more uncommon and rarer heroes than you do common heroes?
- Are you generating at least $5 a day from gardening and mining?
- Do you have time to set aside each day/every other day to duel, or
- Do you have enough earnings to pay for a subscription to automation apps that duel your heroes for you?
Considering the average user will not answer yes to any of those questions–except for the one about having time to set aside each day–the average user should not be dueling. It’s not just a waste of time; it’s a waste of money.
Yes, you do get a consolidation prize just for dueling. So even if you lose, you don’t walk away with nothing. But considering the entry prices to duel, the bare bones nature of the dueling system, how it favors the rich over everyone else, and how many gas fees you pay cumulatively, a few raffle tickets when you lose a duel is a paltry consolidation prize.
However, let me explain where I’m at and how dueling isn’t an entirely wasteful activity.
- I have 22 heroes
- I generate ~$10 a week from gardens and mining
- My average hero level is 5
- I only have 8 uncommon heroes
- I have time to set aside one day a week to duel for a bit
- I do not have extra money for subscription dueling services
It’s a grind. It’s expensive. And, Lord Almighty, is it time-consuming. But with some strategy, patience, and good luck, even someone with my virtual wealth can play DFK Duel and it won’t be a complete waste of time. Just mostly a waste of time. But isn’t that what 90% of mini-games are? Mostly a waste of time?
What You Need to Duel
First off, you’ll need some heroes to duel. The Tavern has an agent who can hook you up. Since we know dueling favors the rich, expect to spend lavishly. Look for a hero that is at least uncommon, has a robust stat profile, and looks cool. Looking cool is almost as important as stats.
If you’re looking to collect a team of heroes, try to get heroes with the same background. The background of a hero’s card plays into DFK Duel in a big way.
You can generate gold by mining it or selling the items you’ve acquired through questing. It will cost at least 25 gold for every duel, which adds up quickly if you send multiple heroes to duel at once or play with higher stakes. Make sure you have a sound generation of gold before considering dueling.
It also costs Crystal for each duel. You’ll spend at least .10 Crystal for each duel, which will add up. If you don’t have a generous financial base or revenue generator, dueling will quickly clean you out of gold and Crystal.
Patience is needed for many reasons. Patience while the game loads your opponent in, patience while you learn the ins and outs of the dueling system, and patience as you click the refresh button repeatedly because you keep getting error messages. Patience is key.
Dueling in DeFi Kingdoms
The Math Behind The Madness
DFK Duel takes three things into consideration when deciding who wins and who loses a duel. The background of the hero’s card, the element of the hero, and a single random stat.
You’ll likely lose if any of those work in your opponent’s favor.
Example: You send a Ninja into battle. They have high Agility, Luck, and Dexterity. Every other stat is meh. They go up against a Warrior. The stat chosen is Strength. The Warrior has higher Strength, so he’s winning.
But then the duel factors in elements. If your element is stronger, your stat gains a bonus. The game has a complex wheel that details which element is stronger than others. Your Ninja is the fire element, and the Warrior is the lightning element. Fire beats lightning, so your Strength stat gets a boost. It needs to be more to beat the Warrior, though.
Next, the duel factors in backgrounds. If your background is the chosen background, you get a boost. The background chosen is the desert. Neither you nor your opponent has a desert background, so neither gets a bonus.
Whoever still has the higher Strength stat at this point wins the duel.
Since the Warrior still has the higher Strength stat, they win.
Your character’s health, mana, defense, and skill points are never considered. It’s a random stat that gets buffed by your hero’s element and background that decides the whole thing.
You might think that sending your high-level Priest with Wisdom and Intelligence stats through the roof would ensure an apparent victory. But what if the duel chooses Luck as the random stat? Or Vitality? You’re screwed. It doesn’t matter how powerful that Priest is, the random factor kneecaps them.
With this in mind, your most rounded character is the best hero to send dueling. The one who has the highest overall stats. It doesn’t matter if their Agility is in the 30s or a mere 7; if they have solid stats across the board, they have a better chance of winning.
Choose your Duel
So, you’ve decided it’s time to start dueling. You clicked on those dudes duking it out in the Tavern and want in on the action. First, choose what kind of action. Solo, squad, or warr?
In a solo duel, you duel one hero at a time. It goes incredibly fast once you match with an opponent since it only takes one random stat from one hero. Before you know it, the match is over.
In a squad duel, you choose three heroes to team up with. It goes a bit slower than solo duels. The background bonus resets after each fight.
In a warr, players choose nine different heroes to beat the crap out of each other. This one can take a while, and it might be painfully obvious who the winner is after the first three duels. But warr is a better option for players with an extensive roster of heroes who want to get the most raffle tickets at once.
Choose your Hero
So, you’ve decided it’s time to start dueling. Behold your roster of heroes. Which is your most powerful? Remember, rarity plays a vital role in a hero’s stats. A level 5 rare hero is usually more powerful than a level 8 common hero. When selecting your hero, look for a well-rounded hero with the highest rarity and level.
Choose your Ability & Background
When looking at the dueling screen and placing your bets, you can choose a stat and a background. If your stat and background are selected, you get an extra boost to your power. It doesn’t weigh in my favor often, but make sure you pick the right ones. If it comes down to a tie, they could make or break the fight.
The Ultimate Elemental Chart
Not sure which element beats which? Want to know where your Dark Mage stands on the elemental spectrum?
I got you.
- Fire dominates: lightning, water, light
- Ice dominates: fire, water, light
- Wind dominates: fire, ice, dark
- Earth dominates: ice, wind, dark
- Lightning dominates: wind, earth, dark
- Water dominates: earth, lightning, light
- Light dominates: wind, earth, lightning
- Dark dominates: fire, ice, water
Choose Your Wager
Your prize for dueling is raffle tickets. If you win, you win a significant amount. If you lose, you get, like, four. While placing your bets, you can choose how many tickets you want to win based on your wager.
If you’re dueling solo and only wager .10 Crystal, you’ll only earn 10 raffle tickets. If you wager .50 Crystal, you get 60. If you wager 1 Crystal, you get 130 raffle tickets.
And that’s just for dueling solo. If you duel in squad or warr, the standard entry price goes up, but so does the reward.
It all comes down to this.
Your hero, their hero, a random number generator, and destiny.
If you’d rather not wait in suspense, you can always click the button in the upper right corner and skip to the duel results.
Did you win? No? Too bad. Maybe next time. This screen will show you what happened in the duel. It’s not that helpful for solos, but it’s informative regarding squad and warr duels. Which hero won, by which stat and how much, and how many tickets did you get for your efforts? All are listed on the results page.
Beware of anyone trying to tell you they know a great DFK Duel strategy to win all the time.
Except for me. Believe me.
DFK Duel has been through several iterations and is still in beta. It lived shortly on the Harmony blockchain before DFK moved it to their chain, and it’s only just gone live on DFK Chain. Season 0 just ended, and Season 1 is kicking off soon.
But each version of DFK Duel has been different from the one before. Therefore, strategies developed in Season 0 will not work in Season 1, and so on.
The only real strategy one might develop is to be adaptable. Understand that this game is still very much in its infancy. Though it’s burdened by hundreds of millions of dollars, DFK is still learning to walk correctly.
I wouldn’t be surprised if DFK Duel undergoes several more changes and iterations before developers are proud to stand back and leave it alone.
What basic strategies there are, I’ve shared with you already. Aim for uncommon and rare heroes, level them up as quickly as possible, so they’re at least 8 or 9, and try to pick the most well-rounded hero you can.
Some consider it a strategy, but it’s really just for people who don’t have the time to duel but have money to waste. There are subscription services that will access your wallet and automatically duel your heroes for you.
You can allot how much gold you’re willing to spend, how much Crystal, which heroes are best to duel, and sit back. The automator will duel for you and send any raffle tickets it obtains straight to your wallet.
Alas, these aren’t free. And they aren’t cheap, either. So only subscribe and join their Discord if you have a lot of powerful heroes to duel and you know your ROI will be good.
What to do with All those Raffle Tickets
You’ve been grinding in the dueling trenches, earning those precious raffle tickets. Now it’s time to put them to use. Head over to the Castle and click on the Raffle Master. He’ll show you all the different currently active raffles.
You can enter any raffle with any amount of tickets. But your chances of winning the raffle increase the more tickets you enter. There’s also a strategy for waiting until the last hour before the raffle ends to dump all your tickets. Somehow this skews the percentage of winning in your favor. Don’t ask me how, all I know is it works.
Be warned: you need many tickets to consider entering a raffle. I dueled most of Season 0, I’m still dueling now, and I have a few hundred tickets. I’ll either need more tickets or a shit ton of luck to win any raffle now.
How Someone Like Me does it
With patience and a realistic outlook.
I only have a handful of heroes, and they aren’t that powerful. I don’t generate enough from my holdings to splurge on all activities in DFK, and I only focus on one thing to improve per week. And I only have enough time to devote to dueling one day a week.
I don’t expect to climb any rankings, nor do I expect to generate enough raffle tickets to enter any raffles. I do expect to get a few airdrops just for participating in dueling seasons.
I have accumulated enough raffle tickets in the past to join two different raffles. And after using the sniping method I mentioned above, I was able to win one of them. The earnings I made from that winning got me three new heroes.
I got a trophy airdropped just for participating in season 0 of DFK Duel. I’m sure I’ll get something similar for other seasons. Still determining if those trophies will be worth anything or have utility in the future, but I’ll hold on to them for now.
I know other players would look at me puttering along and think it’s a waste of time. But I am getting something for my troubles. Not to mention, I am learning.
I may not have enough assets to throw at DFK Duel, but I am learning the ins and outs of dueling for when I do. Plus, DFK Duel is just a mini-game. It’s not the main feature of DFK; it’s not even close. So I don’t want to completely change my investing and gaming strategy just for a mini-game.
Question: What Level Should my Heroes be When I Start Dueling?
Answer: Even whales who’ve been shoving stamina potions down their hero’s throats are slightly above level 10. So I’d say level 10 is a good start. If you have a strong level 8 or 9, they are viable, especially to help bolster your numbers for warr. But if you’re going solo or squad, aim for around level 10.
Question: How Much does it Cost to Duel?
Answer: It depends on what kind of duel you wish to undertake. The most expensive solo duel will set you back 1 Crystal and 25 gold. Squads will be 3 Crystal and 50 gold. And for warr, it will set you back 10 Crystal and 100 gold.
In $ terms, that’s relatively inexpensive. It’s about $1 for the most costly squad duel. But that doesn’t count gas fees. And that’s just for one duel, which will be over quickly. You’ll probably duel multiple times, so you’re looking at more $$.
And if you don’t have a way to generate that money in-game, you’ll need to pour more money into DFK constantly. And that’s not just expensive; it’s tedious and time-consuming.
Question: Is there Anything Else to do in DeFi Kingdoms Aside from Duel?
Answer: Oh, hell yeah. There are pets to catch and incubate, there are profession quests to go on, there are training and proficiency quests to undertake, there’s the jeweler/banker, there’s the marketplace which is full of arbitrage opportunities, there are the gardens, there’s the meditation circle, there used to be virtual land, and there’s the summoning portal.
There are docks, a castle, and even a giant snake you can talk to.
There’s a lot.
DeFi Kingdoms has a lot to offer its players. It’s a world still in its infancy, still figuring out to walk in the weird world of web3. But in its infancy, it’s produced a considerable amount of content. And I can only imagine that as DeFi Kingdoms continues to grow and mature, so will its content.
DFK Duel can be a lovely time-waster. But it feels a little too much like gambling at the moment, and it’s disappointingly bare bones. Since it can stack up expenses quickly and doesn’t give a good return on investment, it’s a mini-game that should be avoided. Unless, of course, you’re sitting pretty in DeFi Kingdoms. Then, by all means, duel away.
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