Bear markets, just like bull markets, can be distracting. In reality there are two different cycles working in parallel when it comes to crypto. There’s the price cycle in which bulls and bears fight it out in the markets. But more importantly there’s the product cycle. Oftentimes the price cycle distracts us from what’s actually being built.
Now here we are in the depths of the bear market, pessimism is at an all-time high, inflation is rampant, countries are at war, the list goes on. But if you pay close enough attention you can see the builders are still building.
Just like in the last three crypto cycles the bear market is when the excess of the bull market gets washed out and the products with utility and use cases continue to progress.
Enter Web3 gaming, which certainly saw its share of excess during this last bull run. We saw Axie Infinity, the OG of play-to-earn gaming, reach a market cap of over $30 billion and early players get fabulously wealthy. Games like Axie Infinity, Crabada and Pegaxy, which had basic gameplay mechanics, achieved huge early success only to come crashing down within a few short months. Does this mean that Web3 gaming is all just one ponzi and we should go back to Web2 games?
I think it means we need to look past the price cycle and focus on the product cycle. This last cycle was the first iteration of the product cycle for Web3 gaming. The games were focused primarily on the monetary aspect, NFTs were expensive and the gameplay was very basic. Now we’re entering a new phase of the product cycle: free-to-play, AAA games that are fun to play are entering the space.
One such game is Pulsar, and we’re here to explain why it’s helping build the next phase of Web3 gaming.
What is Pulsar?
Pulsar is a Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO), Real-Time Strategy (RTS) game that takes inspiration from iconic titles like StarCraft and Command & Conquer. The game takes place on Planet W12R, one of the last known planetary outposts before Beacon0 and the originating planetary system, the Pulsar System. Scanning systems have revealed that the planet contains a wealth of resources but it’s also infested with hostile aliens. The key in this game is to expand your empire which includes the following:
- Mine and extract resources from your Land: There are 12 raw resource types on planet Pulsar. It’s worth pointing out that the term “Pulsar” has two different meanings. One refers to the planet Pulsar which we’ll refer to as “planet Pulsar.” The other refers to pulsar, the resource which is pure energy based and can be extracted from planets in raw form just like the other resources. These resources are needed to craft structures or units.
- Refine raw material into on-chain assets that can be sold for $PLSR, traded for other assets, or used for crafting new NFTs.
- Build and craft Structures and Units to expand your mining, production, building, and combat capabilities.
- Battle aliens and other players with PVP and PVE combat experiences.
- Loot, Trade, Level Up, and Upgrade to become the most powerful territory on Pulsar.
Pulsar is launching its PVE game for Web3 players only on November 15th.
Pulsar is not yet live and the $PLSR token has yet to launch so we’re unable to come up with various ROI scenarios. However, the team has created a minting guide that has shed some light on potential ROIs.
- Units that impact $PLSR supply are built to balance against providing a ROI to the player.
- Land is balanced against an estimated 50x ROI in Year 1.
- Miners are balanced against an estimated 550% ROI in Year 1.
- Refineries are balanced against a 995% ROI in Year 1.
How is Pulsar Different from Other Web3 Games?
I sat down with CEO Alvaro Martin to better understand the game and my key takeaway was this team is building for the long term and their building a game that will appeal to traditional Web2 gamers and Web3 gamers alike. Most Web3 games so far have been built for investors who primarily care about the financial aspects of a game rather than the gameplay. Essentially this is a Web2 game in Web3’s clothing and it’s a clever strategy. If we want to reach mainstream adoption we need games that bring in the traditional Web2 audience. Alvaro mentioned that to begin with they will be targeting only Web3 players. However, as the game ramps up adoption a healthy ratio would be only 20% of players will be crypto native, “Web3” players and the remaining 80% will be traditional Web2 players (more on this in the tokenomics section).
First, he stressed the need to keep it simple and reduce the friction of onboarding. The game accepts all Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) related coins, stablecoins and credit cards. In fact, players don’t even need to set up a wallet as your assets can be stored in the treasury system. This helps remove a big barrier to entry as current Web3 games require significant know-how to get started. For example, to get started playing Crabada you need to set up a wallet, fund the wallet, bridge those funds to the subnet and then you have to buy three crabs to get started. That’s four complicated steps just to begin playing.
Additionally, the game is free-to-play, forever. We’re only recently starting to see Web3 games embrace the free-to-play model. Indeed, one of the criticisms of the early Web3 games is that the cost of entry was too high. Many players were just not willing to spend hundreds of dollars on NFTs to play a game they’ve never heard of. This game was built for everyone and free-to-play helps achieve that.
Free players can build their own NFTs, build infrastructure and explore the world of Pulsar. However, they are unable to transfer assets like Units, Land or $PLSR and their earnings are shared with the land owners. Premium players are anyone who owns Land or Units NFTs and are able to mine $PLSR. These players are able to transfer their assets freely or sell them on the open market.
Second, everything is being done with a player first mentality. What this means is the dev team will only be selling the basic level NFTs which the players can level up through game play. Instead of the game selling higher level or more rare NFTs up front that money can now go into the hands of the players. Effectively this shifts the value to players who can gather resources and level up their NFT to make it more valuable. This creates liquidity in a more organic way.
Third and most importantly, they’re building a game that’s fun to play. This has been the key ingredient missing in the Web3 gaming space up until this point. CEO Alvaro Martin was formerly Studio Tech Director at Wildlife Studios, which hit 1 billion downloads, and he was also Tech Director of the whole technology and tools at King, which had almost 300 million active players before he left the company. His time there was spent applying AAA productivity and bespoke technology to run games in a wide variety of devices, key for user adoption. He understands how to produce a high quality game and stresses the importance of making a game that’s fun to play. “We understand the tech needs to make onboarding easier to achieve significant adoption. 90% of our team are AAA developers that know how to make a high quality game. When you add in my experience in tech, mobile development and blazing fast game development, we have all the ingredients to make a high quality game in a short time period,” added CEO Alvaro Martin.
The devs at Pulsar have stressed the need to keep it simple, which is why they have chosen to stick with just one token: $PLSR. While there will technically be a fixed supply of 1 billion $PLSR, the supply will depend on the amount of Land NFTs minted. At the time of game launch the amount of circulating $PLSR will be scarce as the total Land minted will be relatively low. Only as more Land is minted (more players enter the game) and extracted through gameplay, does the supply of $PLSR increase. This gives the devs a certain amount of flexibility in controlling the supply of $PLSR; which is based on the scarcity of pulsar in Land available for mint.
This is a play-to-own game rather than play-to-earn (see our article on the difference between play-to-own and play-to-earn here). There are no burns and no staking. $PLSR is the primary currency in Pulsar and will be used for all in-game transactions including very low gas fees.
What’s truly unique about Pulsar’s tokenomics is the organic way in which the $PLSR token is created through a direct link to NFT value and gameplay. So let’s break it down:
- Pulsar the resource can only be found in Land NFTs and needs to be extracted through gameplay using Miner NFTs.
- Once pulsar is extracted via mining it needs to be refined using a Refinery NFT to create the $PLSR token.
- What this means is token liquidity is created by people playing the game by owning Land and extracting pulsar, refining it and then creating the on-chain token, $PLSR.
- This allows the game mechanics to control the supply of the token and it prevents a small group of players from controlling that supply. In effect, the only way the token supply goes up is if more people play the game.
- This mechanism also provides a floor for the price of Land NFTs since Land is the only place you can find pulsar and hence the value of $PLSR is stored within the Land NFT.
Another interesting aspect of the game’s tokenomics is the game’s revenue exposure to Web2 gamers. By targeting only 20% Web3 players and 80% as free to play, Web2 players, the game is less tied to crypto market cycles. Effectively, at this ratio most of the incoming liquidity would be coming in the form of fiat from Web2 gamers who would be buying what that 20% Web3 players are creating as in-game assets (NFTs). To give an example, let’s think about a traditional Web2 gamer who plays Pulsar and buys an in-game item with his credit card, similar to how they would with any other Web2 game. That player is buying an on-chain asset from a Web3 player which means the game economy is opened up to a new revenue source. Another example would be when a Web2 player buys a chest of $PLSR to spend in-game, they are actually executing a market buy in a liquidity pool via Pangolin or Dexalot.
NFTs & Gameplay
This game is all about expanding your domain which means accumulating assets (resources, land, buildings, $PLSR, etc.) and leveling up your NFTs. There are many ways to monetize these assets including: mining your land, crafting new NFTs, looting slain enemies, or lending your land and units to other players.
Land owners can invite other players to their land. Those players that join will need to share profits when they use the refineries. The profit sharing is up to the land owner and can range from 0% to 100%. Additionally, the land owner can appoint a Commander (administrator) who will get a share of the profits. This is done to create a seamless way to join land, do your job and get rewarded if you are an active player. The owner will be able to buy NFTs and assign them to the best players. This creates a way for people to have a “job” inside of the game. Since profits from Land owners depend on a skillful gamer, this will create a demand for really great players. Even better is this incentive structure can be applied to guild owners who will take a percentage of profits from Land owners and the Admiral will take a percentage of profits from the guild owners.
The major asset types are, Land, Buildings, Units, Resources and $PLSR. Let’s take a closer look at each one.
There are four types of Land or Biomes.
- Barren Sands
- Glacier Wastelands
- Obsidian Badlands
- Crimson Hollows
Each type of Land contains different Raw Materials, and also has different attributes:
- Security Level
- Resource Rarity
- Resource Amount
- Map Location (planned for Q2 ‘23 and will be relevant for PVP)
$PLSR is contained in Land however, some land doesn’t contain any $PLSR. This scarcity feature serves as a mechanism to protect the floor price. Depending on the Land type, different types of “in-game” resources (mineral, gas, etc.) exist in the land to be extracted and refined. Those resources help players to customize their NFTs or upgrade levels.
Pulsar refineries convert raw pulsar into $PLSR, the higher the level of the refinery the better and faster the conversion ratio. Also, refineries manufacture Unit NFTs, and allow users to research and upgrade their existing NFTs. Resource Refineries convert raw resources into on-chain Resource tokens. There are four types of resources: organic, mineral, gas and liquid in addition to pulsar. This means there are five types of refineries.
Workers are used to extract resources from land, transport them to Refineries or protect land resources. Units NFTs include the following:
- $PLSR Pulsar Miners. Only these miners will be able to extract raw $PLSR from $PLSR crystals. Pulsar Miners are incredibly important to the game economy, due to limited supply and their exclusive capability of extracting $PLSR.
- Resource Miners. These miners extract raw resources from Land, which can be refined into on-chain Resource tokens.
- Combat Units. These Units allow users to defend their Land from alien mobs and participate in multiplayer missions.
- Spider Tanks. These Combat Units are the most common infantry unit in Pulsar. They can be leveled up, upgraded, and customized to become more powerful and valuable.
- Other Units. These are other Unit NFTs that govern or enable various mechanics in the game.These include quick and nimble combat units like Drones, heavily armored Siege Tanks, and multiple classifications of transport vehicles.
- Motherships. These Unit NFTs control the amount of other Unit NFTs that can be present on your Land. As the Mothership levels up, the player can have more Units on their Land to increase production or defense.
- Mobile Depot. These Unit NFTs improve productivity by shuttling raw resources to Refineries, allowing Miners to continue mining.
Resources & $PLSR
$PLSR is the primary currency in Pulsar and the most important resource that can be mined. Raw pulsar will be extracted from the Land (mined) and refined into $PLSR (on-chain) by using Miners and Refineries (NFTs). There is a limited circulating supply of the NFTs with the ability to extract and refine $PLSR.
In addition to $PLSR, there are Resources of various rarity and value that can be extracted from Land or looted from slain aliens. These unrefined resources can be refined into on-chain tokens like $GAS that can be used to craft NFTs or traded on the open market.
Pulsar’s Mint Pass sale went live on September 14th. The Mint Passes are similar to vouchers that provide benefits such as discounts, in-game items, and exclusive drops. The Mint Pass sale ended September 21 and sold out. Since that time there have been three additional NFT mints:
- Genesis Land – forms the basis of your Pulsar empire, and land ownership is a critical element of building wealth in-game. SOLD OUT
- Genesis Units are the basic units that allow you to start extracting $PLSR from your Land, refining raw materials, and crafting new buildings and units. SOLD OUT
- Genesis Unit Packs are the lowest cost way to get started in Pulsar. These unit packs are designed to give any player the Land, Miners, Refineries, and Spider Tanks needed to jump into the game. SOLD OUT
There are various levels users can mint which include additional benefits from Cadet all the way up to Admiral.
Pulsar launched their own Avalanche subnet on October 14th. To start, the team is utilizing 3 validators that will be run by the Pulsar team. Once the game is running and transaction volume increases the team will work with Ava Labs to develop a fee structure to then open it up to external validators.
CEO Alvaro Martin cited five main reasons for choosing to launch on an Avalanche subnet:
- The ability to have their own native token
- Speed of transactions
- Scalability of subnets
- The great support and tech from AvaLabs
- The possibility to have a custom experience for a smooth user acquisition
- Alvaro Martin – CEO. Almost 20 years experience in the video game industry leading teams across the globe, focusing on creating bespoke engines and technology to enable operations in millions of players and AAA productivity. Previously worked as Studio Tech Director at Wildlife Studios and Tech Director of the whole engine, tech and tools at King. Creator of C++ Hot Reload in 2013.
- Evgeny Muralev – Tech Director. More than 10 years of experience leading and developing multiple AAA, VR and mobile titles. Including: Horizon: Call of the Mountain, Rainbow Six: Siege, Saints Row: The Third Remastered, EA Sports titles and others.
- Fernando Claros de Luna (Moon) – Game Director. Entrepreneur and Game Director with 20 years on game development in Creative Direction and Production roles. 6 years at King, working on both, new IPs and the Candy Crush franchises. Loves playing games and pretending that he can sing.
- Garrison Yang – CMO. 10 years in growth and consumer marketing, with experience working with studios like King, Blizzard, Zynga and more.
For a more in-depth list of the games the team has worked on, check out the bottom of the main page of the website which includes such epic titles as Call of Duty, Halo, Cyberpunk, Angry Birds and the list goes on.
- Pulsar is bringing AAA quality to Web3 gaming and will be free-to-play forever.
- The game is targeting a Web2 audience but incorporates blockchain technology and a single token system.
- The team has removed most of the friction points by incorporating credit cards, accepting stablecoins and various EVM supported coins. Players won’t even need to set up a wallet which removes a big barrier to entry.
- The dev team will only be selling base level NFTs which players can use to acquire resources and level up their NFTs. This will increase the value of their NFTs which they can sell on the open market later. Hence shifting those profits to players instead of the dev team.
- The dev team has significant experience in Web2 gaming and has proven they know how to build a game that is successful and fun to play.
- The tokenomics structure creates an organic increase in token supply that is linked to gameplay and NFT value. Additionally the exposure of all Web2 fiat revenue to Web3 users creates an entirely new revenue stream which helps reduce crypto market volatility.
Stay up to Date
Subscribe to our newsletter: Web3 Gaming News and Research