The Bull Case for Sky Strife

Author: FaultProofBen

Before we begin, I want to give a shoutout to parallelexperiments ∈(・ω・)∋ for collecting Hackathon Alpha: Breaking Down The Dojo Game Jam Submissions and The Potential Of Onchain Emergence last week!

I’m really grateful for your support :)

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On Wednesday, September 27 @11:00 am PST, WASD is hosting its first-ever tournament:

🏆 The WASD Cup 🏆

The WASD Cup in all its glory.
The WASD Cup in all its glory.

The winner will earn a 1/1 NFT trophy designed by Bushi, forever immortalizing their victory onchain!

If you haven’t already, you should definitely sign up for the Cup!

You can do so here.

In honor of this legendary event, we’re going to spend today discussing the game in which this glorious competition will take place:

Sky Strife.

Sky Strife is a turn-based, real-time strategy (RTS) game, where players compete to destroy each other’s bases while defending their own.

I’ve written a few times about my experience playing, whether it be my glorious wins or horrendous losses.

But today, we’re going to go deeper.

If you’re a gamer, researcher, investor, or just in it for the tech, this piece has something for you, as we’ll hit on topics like:

  • Sky Strife’s history and design

  • A breakdown & my impressions of its gameplay, graphics, and UX

  • Upcoming catalysts for the game

  • Why I’m bullish Sky Strife

Now, let’s get to it!


To start, let’s get some background on the game itself.

Sky Stife is a browser-based game built in MUD by Lattice.

Lattice is the team spearheading MUD’s development, making the game a 1st-party title.

Sky Strife was first announced during the AW Residency in December 2022, holding its inaugural playtest later that month.

A screenshot of gameplay in Sky Strife from the AW Residency demo.
A screenshot of gameplay in Sky Strife from the AW Residency demo.

The game has changed dramatically in the ~10 months since it was revealed.

In early versions, rather than solely fight to the digital death, players competed to capture and escape with an item known as the “Ember Crown.”

That element of gameplay has since been removed, as now players now need only focus on strategic combat.

In addition, the Lattice team has also migrated the game’s contracts to MUD V2, the latest version of the development framework.

Lattice has certainly embodied the “test in prod” ethos when it comes to Sky Strife’s development, holding weekly, public playtests on the Lattice Testnet throughout summer 2023.

In August, the game even saw its first-ever, community-run tournament hosted by the [WE] clan. I participated in it, and while I lost in an epic-self rug, it was a very fun experience nontheless.

A look at the latest version of Sky Strife.
A look at the latest version of Sky Strife.

Currently, Sky Strife is in the midst of its largest playtest ever, a 2-week event that began on September 18, where the team is creating matches every 8-hours.

This is the first playtest in which Sky Strife is deployed with a “persistent world,” an instance of the game that, which as the term suggests, lasts indefinitely.

Although the event has been halted temporarily due to a bug, it managed to see more than 200 players participate in the ~6 days before the incident.

In all, I think the openness of the team and ability for anyone to be able to try the game has gone a long ways towards helping Sky Strife develop the community it has today.

Under The Hood

Now that we have some context on the history of Sky Strife, let’s take a look at some of the tech underpinning the game.

As previously mentioned, Sky Strife is built in MUD, a framework for developing EVM applications, and is being deployed on the Lattice Testnet (an OP Stack L2).

Although you can create any app with it, today, MUD is most commonly used to build onchain games, providing developers with contracts, code libraries, and resources to make the development process easier.

Aside from improving DevEx, MUD provides a host of other benefits to games like Sky Strife, including far easier composability with other titles built using the framework.

Credit to Gaul (@engine_study on Twitter) for this elite meme.
Credit to Gaul (@engine_study on Twitter) for this elite meme.

Along with MUD, another defining feature of Sky Strife’s design is its use of burner wallets.

If you are a consistent WASD reader, you’ve probably seen me talk a lot about burner wallets, as they have become a staple of onchain game design.

But here’s a refresher for those of you who may have forgotten, or are new.

(Welcome btw!)

A burner wallet is a wallet that is stored in your browser’s local storage.

In Sky Strife, a burner is automatically generated when you connect your “main” wallet (i.e. the address that you normally use) to the the game’s official site.

Burners work in conjunction with your “main” wallet, as they are authorized to sign transactions on your behalf.

The Sky Strife Lobby. Source: The Official Sky Strife Tutorial
The Sky Strife Lobby. Source: The Official Sky Strife Tutorial

Importantly, this burner can only sign transactions related to in-game actions, meaning it cannot access your funds.

This system greatly improves Sky Strife’s UX by enabling signature-free gameplay, meaning that you do not have to confirm any transactions while playing.

Furthermore, it also simplifies the onboarding experience, as to get started, all you have to do is connect your “main wallet,” top it up with mudETH (ETH on the Lattice Testnet) to pay for gas, and confirm a single transaction to initiate a match.

Gameplay Mechanics and Impressions

Cool tech is nice, but it doesn’t mean squat if the game itself isn’t fun.

Let’s see how Sky Strife holds up on this most important of fronts by taking a look at it’s core gameplay, UX, and graphics.

Throughout, I’ll also sprinkle in my usual helping of takes based on my experience playing to add some additional perspective.

Matches & Units

The primary gameplay mode in Sky Strife are PVP, turn-based matches made up of four players.

In them, your objective is to survive by destroying other player’s main settlements while protecting your own.

A main settlement. Source - Official Sky Strife Tutorial.
A main settlement. Source - Official Sky Strife Tutorial.

If you happen to finish in first or second place, you’ll be rewarded with Orbs 🔮, an ERC-20 token that can be used to summon (i.e. create) new matches.

To begin a game, each player spawns with a main settlement, 1000 gold (an in-game currency) and a single unit known as a hero.

Units are the engine that makes Sky Strife go, as they are the troops that players deploy during each of their 15-second turns to achieve their strategic ends.

There are six types of units, each of which has different strengths and weaknesses.

The six different types of Sky Strife units. Source - Official Sky Strife Tutorial
The six different types of Sky Strife units. Source - Official Sky Strife Tutorial

You can buy new units with gold, which is emitted on a per-turn basis in the early stages of the game from structures known as mines.

A mine. Source - Official Sky Strife Tutorial
A mine. Source - Official Sky Strife Tutorial

One of my favorite aspects of Sky Strife is the strategy behind unit selection.

There are a ton of different ways in which you can allocate your gold to mix, match, and build out an elite squad of units.

For instance, you can optimize for brute force by loading up on Pikeman, the unit type with the highest attack and health ratings.

Or, you can go mobility-heavy by spending on a mix of Pillagers, who can move the furthest per turn and deal the greatest damage to bases, and Archers, the only units with ranged attacks.

Me mostly not following my own advice. I guess this is why I only have 1 win lol.
Me mostly not following my own advice. I guess this is why I only have 1 win lol.

Personally, I like to employ a “brute-mobility hybrid” strategy where I load up on Pikeman and Pillagers to easily probe enemy defenses while brutalizing them in melee combat.

For the most part, I’d say units are relatively well-balanced and differentiated, though I do think Pikeman are a bit OP.

And honestly, Swordsman are like sacrificial lambs and pretty useless.

These guys suck.
These guys suck.

Overall, I think the customizability of unit load outs helps add depth to the strategy side of the game, and is especially fun when you have to adjust your plan and (attempt) to make decisions on the fly.

A Typical Match

Based on my experience, matches in Sky Strife have three phases:

1. “The Arms Race”

In this phase, players claim mines and use this to purchase units.

2. “The Cold War”

This is a standoff period, where players create fronts, position their units, and wait to see who will attack first.

3. “The Hot War”

The final stretch of the game, where players and their units clash, fighting it out in an epic battle for survival and supremacy.

An example of the transition from the Cold to Hot War phases.
An example of the transition from the Cold to Hot War phases.

These different phases mean that matches oscillate between periods of intense, frenetic combat and slow burn, tension-building, standoffs.

In addition to provide a nice mix of pacing, I think this also adds further elements of strategy to the game.

For instance, during the more hectic periods, you’ll have to make quick decisions, as you won’t be able to use all of your units during each turn.

Furthermore, when the game slows, you’ll need the mental fortitude to be disciplined, as attacking first when 3+ players are remaining will often lead to your defeat by causing you to deplete your units.

While I think that perhaps some mechanisms could be put in place to more quickly break up standoffs, this diversity in pace and required player skillsets certainly adds to the fun by ratcheting up the tension and intensity of matches.

Onboarding and UX

For the most part, onboarding and gameplay in Sky Strife is smooth.

Burner wallets, as discussed above, go a long way to contribute to this by removing the need constantly spam-confirm transactions and deal with glitchy wallet connections.

With that said, at times the game can lag and have some performance issues.

For instance, as I mentioned earlier, Sky Strife had to pause their playtest this past weekend, as there was a bug in which matches could not be completed.

This is understandable for a still-in-development game, particularly an onchain one where everyone is figuring things out.

However, it can impact the gameplay experience and does show that Sky Strife is still a WIP.

Graphics & Aesthetics

I really like Sky Strife’s graphics and aesthetics.

The landing page music is iconic, with majestic, blaring trumpets that are now burned into my brain.

I also dig the pixel art in the official client, and particularly enjoy the designs of all the different structures and units in the game.

The WASD Verdict: We Like The Game

I really enjoy Sky Strife’s core gameplay, as its a well balanced mix of fast-paced action and nail-biting standoffs.

I also like competitive, PVP games, so it certainly scratches that itch.

I also think the strategy elements of the game are very well designed, particularly around the selection and deployment of units.

With that said, there still are some small tweaks (particularly as it relates to pacing and unit balance) and performance issues that I think could improve the gameplay experience if ironed out.

All in all, while rough around edges, I think Sky-Strife is a ton of fun, and its one of my favorite onchain games along with Primodium, Network States, and Words3.

In my view, it clearly has the potential to become more polished and improve over the coming months.

The Future Of Sky Strife

Now that we’ve looked at Sky Strife’s history, design, and gameplay, let’s peer into a 🔮 of our own and take a look at the future growth prospects of the game.

To do so, we’ll take a look at upcoming catalysts as well as asses the game’s distribution channels.


Persistent World:

As previously mentioned, Sky Strife worlds are not yet fully persistent, with players only able to create new matches of the game using Orbs during set periods like playtests.

Given that it can be often be hard for people to attend these events depending on their timezone, a fully peristent world where anyone can create a match at any time should help greatly with attracting new players to the game.


An upcoming game mode that’s been teased by the Lattice team is Crafting.

Although there are scant details about it, Crafting will enable players to create items that they can hold in their inventory and use in the game.

We’ll have to see how its implemented, but I think crafting can add an interesting new element to Sky Strife’s gameplay.

Mods and Integrations:

One of the coolest attributes uniquely enabled by onchain games is the ability for anyone to build mods on top of them without permission.

I think the presence of a strong modding community will be critical in determining which onchain games grow to be the largest, as they will enable novel forms of gameplay and experiences that will differentiate them from others.

The Lattice team appears to share this view, as they recently published a “wish list” of features they hope to see built on top of the game.

The list includes a variety of different ideas like analytics dashboards, systems for creating tournaments, smart contracts to automate elements of gameplay, and more.

In addition, the team has also released documentation on how to build clients that can be used to play Sky Strife.

Onchain games are client-agnostic, and like a DeFi protocol, anyone can build a front-end for them from which they can play.

This means in theory, players can experience Sky Strife through any GUI, such as one’s that are anime-style, ultra-realistic, noir, and more.

I think Lattice’s emphasis on cultivating a community of modders, and the game itself being a lot of fun, should help Sky Strife attract developers who want to build on top on top of it.

I’d imagine this will lead to some exciting and interesting unlocks that will help further contribute to the growth of the game.


As a 1st-party title, from a distribution standpoint, I think Sky Strife should benefit from its association with Lattice as the MUD ecosystem continues to grow.

However, I do think there could be some challenges that arise when it comes to distribution for said ecosystem.

For instance, unlike Starknet/Dojo with Cartridge, there is no launcher or discovery platform where you can easily onboard into MUD games.

I think until created, this could serve as an impediment to growth, as it makes it much harder to learn about, access, and start playing games in the ecosystem.

Bullish Sky Strife

All in all, Sky Strife is a very impressive game, with a strong team, innovative design, and most importantly, fun, addictive gameplay.

Despite being in its early stages and a bit rough around the edges, its nonetheless managed to build out a strong community, as evidenced by the success of its most recent playtest.

Sky Strife rules.
Sky Strife rules.

Although it may face some distribution challenges, I think there are numerous catalysts that should help the game grow over the coming months, such as launching a persistent world and crafting system.

Furthermore, given the quality of the game and the team’s support, I think Sky Strife is well positioned to develop a robust community of modders that should enhance the gameplay experience in novel and exciting ways.

So yes, as a surprise to probably no one, I’m giga-bullish Sky Strife and think the game’s future prospects are very bright.

But don’t just take my word for it.

Play a match (perhaps against me in the WASD Cup) and see for yourself. 😉

Thanks for reading!

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