Right now is a great time to be an avid Blockchain Gamer. Almost weekly new and interesting titles are released into Alpha and Beta and it seems like the Crypto Gaming World is slowly starting to mature. Today I want to give you another first impression of one of blockchain gamings hottest new releases: League of Kingdoms. I first found out about the game a couple of months ago, when they announced their land sale. It didn't find it to be too interesting at that time but I still signed up for the pre-registration event, free stuff is always good! Last Friday the game finally released into its Public Beta. With a whole week of playing it behind me, I now feel confident to answer the ever important question whether the game is worth your time or not - let's get right into it!
League of Kingdoms is a game that will look pretty familiar to anybody who ever played games like Rise of Kingdoms. Not saying it's an exact clone of that game, but simply comparing screenshots, you can't miss the similarity. Although the game currently can only be played in browser, it's your classical mobile strategy game. You are the king of some random kingdom, build and upgrade you constructions, research new technology, and travel across the land gathering resources and fighting monsters.
You can fight other players as well, burn their cities and steal their resources. And because fighting each other is more fun with friends, you can join an Alliance and go to war together. The game also offers an abundance of quests to fulfill as well as time limited events that ask you to do different activities in the game every day. The game has four different standard resources to collect with corn, wood, stone, and gold and a fifth premium currency in the form of crystals. While the former four can be farmed and gathered pretty easily, the latter mostly comes from quests, events, and - you figured it - paying for it with real money.
So far this could be the review for any random mobile strategy game. What separates League of Kingdoms from all these other games is the fact that it's running on the Ethereum blockchain, so unlike other mobile games where you only pour money in but never make any back, you can actually own and trade certain assets in the game and (in theory) earn your money back and then some. I'll have more on that in a minute, but let's look a little closer at the game itself first.
What really impressed me with the game from the beginning was the quality of production. This is no early alpha build closer to a proof of concept than an actual game. Although it's dubbed a Beta and it's only running for a week now, it feels pretty complete and feature rich. The graphics are solid if not even good for a game of that kind and the different concepts really click. Especially in the beginning you always have something to do and you get rewards all the time. Kill a level 1 monster, get reward. Upgrade your castle, get reward. The first one to two days are really a lot of fun and you'll get something new almost every other minute.
After that, everything starts to take longer and longer, like it does with any of these games. Where it took you 5 minutes to do an upgrade, eventually it takes a day or more. Of course you can always spend some crystals or real money to speed things up and while the game has charm and is really engaging to play, there's no denying its mobile Pay2Win heritage. With that out of the way, it's still possible to have some rewarding progress without spending any money on the game.
The Alliance System is also pretty much feature complete with Alliance specific technologies, the ability to assist each other with building and research, and obviously the rally feature to allow your alliance to join forces and wreck havoc across the lands. As with most of these games, being in an alliance is more or less mandatory if you want to get anywhere in the game. So if you prefer to strictly stay out of any social interaction within your games, you will probably have a hard time to achieve anything in League of Kingdoms.
When you start the game, you get a protective shield that will keep you out of harms way for 72 hours. After that, you can readily be attacked by anybody not liking your kingdom. If you are not in a strong alliance by that date, it's only a matter of hours until somebody will roll over your kingdom just because he can. Being attack by another player means your troops will fight each other and some or most (depending on who wins) of the troops will die permanently while another portion is injured and can be used again after a while. You'll also loose some of your resources if your kingdom is pillaged and (much to my surprise) your kingdom can actually be completely razed. All of this might change a bit over time or might be less extreme if you start the game on a new continent without the day 1 alliances but still, right now it's a shark tank out there and you are either in an alliance razing other players or you are razed yourself.
Now let's have a look at the blockchain side of things. There are two concepts in League of Kingdoms that use the blockchain. First of all, you can mint your resources into tradable NFTs. Other players can buy these resource packages from you and burn them to gain the resources they contain. These NFTs can be traded on opensea and there are already quite some offers available there. To test it out, I minted two resource packs myself and managed to sell them for 0.02 and 0.03 ETH respectively. While this is somewhat cool for a game that just recently started, you can probably already imagine the problems coming with that... gas fees! You have to pay the gas fee to mint the token and you have to pay the fee to be able to list the NFT on opensea. And then the buyer will have to pay a fee yet again when he purchases the NFT from you. So in short, trading these resource packages right now is not going to be profitable at all.
The second layer works a bit different and is quite interesting indeed. Each parcel of land in League of Kingdoms can be owned and traded by players as well. Every piece of land comes with a development level that can be increased by investing DAI. If there's one or more Kingdoms active on the land, the owner gains both ingame resources as well as claimable DAI tokes from that plot of land. The idea behind that is to make players and land owners work together to develop the land they settle on. A higher development level nets the player more resources and that again increases the return the land owner earns on his land. The concept seems pretty intriguing and so far, people seem to like it. The price of land has increased considerably compared to what it was in the presale.
This concept leads to strong landowners forming alliances and trying to get their members to all settle on their land plots. This way they get to increase the earnings they get from their land and in return help to protect the players actively building their kingdom there. The whole idea is pretty unique for that kind of game and it will be interesting to see what effects this system will have in the long run.
Now that you have and idea how the game is played and how the blockchain interaction works, we can get back to our initial question: Is it worth your time? Well, if we only look at the game itself, my answer has to be, it depends, really! The game itself is solid and pretty feature complete already. It's Pay2Win to the extreme and some Kingdoms probably spent several thousand dollars to get where they are right now. If you can live with that or are prepared to spend money yourself, than this might actually be a pretty interesting game for you. Personally, I'm at Castle level 15 after one week. My alliance leader had that level at day 1 and I can only imagine how much money he probably spent to get there. Without investing money, you'll never get anywhere close to the top and with everything taking longer and longer everyday, I might eventually quit playing the game altogether. I'm not a fan of the genre either, so take this opinion with a grain of salt. If you like games like Rise of Kingdoms, there's probably no reason why you shouldn't like League of Kingdoms as well.
Now lets look at the blockchain Play2Earn side of things. Games like this usually life off of some whales that are willing to shell out tens of thousands of dollars in order to gain an advantage in the game. With the addition of the resource NFTs other players can start to profit from these whales as well and the whales can potentially get their resources cheaper from other players than what they would have to pay to the game itself in return. There's one big problem to this though, and that's the fact that the developer chose to run it on Ethereum. If League of Kingdoms was running on Hive instead, I would probably be really excited about the prospect of having fee-less, instantaneous trading of NFTs. With the gas fees on Ethereum though, the whole concept becomes more or less pointless. As long as the Gas fees don't drop by like 90% or more compared to what they are currently, minting and trading these NFTs simply isn't worth the effort. It's a shame really, because the concept itself is really promising.
That said, I'd still keep an eye on League of Kingdoms no matter what, because honestly, even if it's not my kind of game, it might very much be the first blockchain game to make it to the mainstream world. Not so much because of it's revolutionary blockchain applications, but simply because it uses a proven game concept and is very polished and complete already. Even if it's not the blockchain game I always wanted to play, it might be one of the blockchain games that could spearhead the Blockchain Gaming Revolution. If you want to try out the game, you can register here and start playing for free immediately. The game will be released to both Android and iOS in a couple of weeks and I guess that's going to be when we'll see if it really stands a chance in the mainstream world.
That's all from me today, thank you all for reading and please let me know what you think about the game in the comments. See you all next time!