Over the past few months, we’ve spent a lot of time covering games in the MUD ecosystem like Primodium, Sky Strife, Network States, Words3, and others.
However, the MUD ecosystem is growing.
There’s a ton of exciting new games in the pipeline to go along with the those I mentioned above that have the potential to bring fun, innovative gameplay to us onchain gamers.
Today, we’ll look at four of these titles to see what they’re cooking, and what trends we can glean from them about the future of the MUD ecosystem.
Below, I’ll give an overview of each of these games, and then my impressions of them based on my experience playing or publicly available information.
In honor of my Los Angeles Chargers signing Jim Harbaugh as their head coach, we’ll call this latter section “First Takes.”
(I told you I’d have a Jim Harbaugh reference in here!)
Now…let’s get to it!
Everlon is an onchain sandbox created by Tenet.
The game is built using Zuse, a framework for creating worlds with digital physics.
At the highest level, digital physics are rules that govern a digital world, like its notions of space, time, and how objects interact with one another.
With Zuse, developers can implement their own set of digital physics by creating worlds known as “sandboxes.”
As the name suggests, sandboxes are highly composable primitives, as anyone can build objects, games, experiences and more within them.
While there are few details about it, based on available footage, Everlon appears to be a Minecraft-like voxel world, where users can do a variety of activities like farm, attack other players, post on in-world social media, and more.
The Tenet team will implement different components of Everlon’s digital physics over the course of 4 phases, which (per its website) is set to begin “soon.”
Although I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the idea and implications of digital physics, I’m nonetheless very excited to try out Everlon.
It seems really cool, and well suited towards fostering experimentation and entertaining shenanigans, as anyone will be able to build or do whatever they want within it.
I’m also a big fan of the emphasis on autonomy, which should only help encourage developers to build interesting mods.
Furthermore, the world itself looks great - It’s one of the most visually appealing onchain games I’ve seen.
I’ll certainly be keeping tabs on the development of Everlon and any other sandboxes that get built with Zuse over the coming months.
Mississippi is a roguelike PVP game.
A part of the Realms ecosystem, in Mississippi, your goal is to accumulate as much treasure as possible.
To do so, you’ll explore an underground cave system, where you’ll have to find and loot (pun intended) chests.
In addition, you can also battle other players to try to take their bounty (Though you’ll likely have to fend them off yourself).
The players who accumulate the most treasure will top the in-game leaderboard, and in the future, earn $LORDS tokens as a reward for doing so.
Mississippi is currently holding a public playtest on Redstone Holesky, Arbitrum Goerli, and the Mississippi Testnet.
Along with these EVM variants, the team is working on a Starknet deployment.
I enjoyed my experience playing Mississippi, though it (understandably) is not yet a finished product.
The game is easy to pick up, and I like the PVP component. It’s fun to compete against, battle, and merc other players.
However, more could be done to flesh out the combat system, as it’s very simplistic at the moment.
I’m also a fan of the art, as the playable characters (represented by NFTs that you mint at the beginning of the game) are really cute.
On the UX front, gameplay felt smooth due to the use of burner wallets.
Having said that, I did have some issues with load times, as I had to refresh my browser multiple times to successfully enter the game.
Aether Sands is an open-world colony-building game built by k0 Labs.
The game takes place following a “dimensional calamity” known as “The Fork,” where your goal is to rebuild civilization in a desert-like world.
The way you do is by accumulating resources like water, ore, and aether, using them to produce machines called harvesters, and defending your Temple, a structure that acts as your home base in the game.
Aether Sands held its first, 24-hour-long public playtest in December 2023, and is gearing up for its second on Redstone Holesky.
I’m very keen to get my hands on Aether Sands, as it looks like a lot of fun.
The game seems similar to Primodium, as like it, you’ll need to string together production sequences, allocate resources, and strategically defend your home turf.
I’m also a big fan of the graphics, and in particular the designs of structures like temples, harvesters, and vegetation.
Furthermore, Aether Sands seems to have quite a bit of lore, which (as readers of my piece on Network States know) I like to nerd out over.
I unfortunately missed the first playtest, but I’ll definitely be participating in the next one.
MOCS (Modular Onchain Spaceships) is a PVP roguelike game.
Built by the team behind Netherscape, MOCS and is intended to serve as an introduction to the gameplay mechanics for an upcoming RTS of the same name.
(For our purposes, we’ll focus on the roguelike).
In MOCS, you’ll stake an ERC-20 token (RED) to mint a Shinobi (ninja).
This Shinobi acts as your playable character, which you can then use to explore dungeons and battle others.
If you defeat your opponents, you’ll earn the RED tokens they staked, which you can then swap for other assets on DEXs.
MOCS is gearing up for its first playtest on Redstone Holesky, and will be using RedSwap to build out liquidity for Holesky ETH to facilitate RED <> ETH swaps.
I can’t wait to play MOCS, as the game looks like a lot of fun.
I love the idea of battles having real economic consequences, as players are able to take tokens from one another which they can sell for “real” assets like ETH.
(As anyone who tried to mint a Sky Strife season pass knows, Holesky ETH is money.)
As a result, this stake-to-play mechanism should add a ton of intensity to the game, and it’s also cool to see MOCS leveraging DeFi primitives on Redstone.
While its core gameplay caught my attention, I do think the game’s UI looks a bit intimidating and could be hard to navigate.
Regardless, I signed up for their playtest and will be doing what I can to get everyone’s ETH!
There are several other up-and-coming MUD games that I’m keeping an eye on, but didn’t get the chance to cover in-depth in this piece.
Imminent Solace, an onchain war-simulator.
CardCraft, a trading-card-game (TCG).
ChaqerRTS, a real-time-strategy game.
I’d highly recommend checking out and keeping tabs on these games too!
As you can see, there’s a lot of cool new games coming down the MUD pipeline.
I think Everlon, Mississippi, Aether Sands, and MOCS all have big potential and bring innovative design features, gameplay, and mechanisms to the digital table.
While these four games are pretty different from one another, we can still see a few common trends among them.
For starters, most of these games have a PVP component.
This is not too surprising, and falls in line with many of the other MUD games we’ve seen.
I’m a big fan of this, as I usually have more fun with PVP games than PVE, and enjoy the competition they bring (especially when crypto is on the line).
In addition, based on the above quartet, art design across games is improving dramatically.
This is great to see, as higher quality graphics will go along way towards immersing players.
Finally, on a deeper level, games are leveraging the unique affordances that come with being fully onchain.
For instance, Everlon is leaning into composability and autonomy, as anyone can build whatever mod they wish in the sandbox without permission.
Meanwhile, Mississippi and MOCS are tapping into blockchain-enabled financialization to enhance their gameplay.
I’m very encouraged to see this, as I’m in the camp that the space will attract more players by creating novel experiences that are only possible onchain versus trying to recreate Web2 ones.
Having said all this, it’s worth noting that these four (and many other) MUD games still have a ways to go before launching on mainnet, or even testnet.
The road ahead is long.
But, the light at the end of the tunnel is certainly bright.
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