Upland Writing Contest: My Review
I generally don't care about winning or pleasing people, and with that in mind don't expect this to be your typical brown-nosing entry in the hopes of winning some pennies.
Upland is at its core an idle game.
There are recurrent rewards derived from ‘property’ purchased by the player. The rewards are able to be claimed on a time-based interval. In the case of the property I purchased in the game, every three hours. But I didn't both to check after purchasing because the game was not interesting enough to keep my attention.
Above all it feels like a software that is still in beta, and there is little to do to actually keep me as a user involved. This is after being live for two years.
How It Works
Properties that are part of a collection will earn you a bonus when that collection is completed.
You can trade with other players when you have 10,000 UPX.
You enter the game and are forced to play the tutorial. I didn’t enjoy the tutorial. I waned to explore the planet but you are forced to choose between two locations: San Francisco, a shithole of tech dystopia where homeless heroin-addicts sleep on the streets outside multibillion dollar silicon companies, or, Fresno. Who wants to live in Fresno?
The tutorial forces you to buy property with the gifted UPX.
The cost of the suggested property is, of course, 6,000 UPX, the gifted amount.
Although this is typical of tutorials to use the gifted rewards to teach the player how to play the game, it feels a bit cheap.
There are no choices at the start.
I found the UI confusing. There should be a filter that automatically highlights property available to buy with your amount of UPX, not just a general filter of all available properties.
After purchasing a property, you are shown an animation. The “you are the owner” animation that pops up after buying property is the size of a cell phone. There is flying confetti, but this stops at the borders of the animation file, not my screen size, so it looks awkward. The animation is not stretched to fit my monitor screen. This should be fixed.
The avatars of other players float around, allowing you to see their information. But they only move in specific directions. You can't freely roam with your avatar. This feels constrained and awkward.
Despite having one property, I was not eligible for the ‘newbie’ badge, earned after owning one property. I had to go to collections and ‘edit collection’ then click a button to earn the UPX and reward. Why wasn’t this available automatically?
The tutorial then brought me to the hidden prizes scheme. The piñata reward was kind of strange. I was supposed to repeatedly click on this. It wasn't fun. More can be done to make the animation look good beyond awkward tilting and y-axis flipping.
The “good work” animation afterwards was too large for the screen and didn’t fit. This should be fixed.
If you click on your profile, then on the question mark, a UI box appears that gives you further information. But it is designed for a user to be swiping left and right, as the developers seem to be targeting mobile users. I use a computer, so in order to move through the information I had to click and drag left and right. Just give me a button.
Renewing Your Visa: You Own Nothing
Well, wait, what?
Per Medium article:
“Renewing Your Upland Visa
Visitors will need to renew their Upland Visa at least once every seven days to maintain ownership of their digital assets. There is no limit to the amount of times the Upland Visa can be renewed.
If a Visitor fails to renew their visa within seven days, an extra one-day grace period will be added. If the visa isn’t renewed, the Visitor’s assets (all acquired properties and UPX balance) will be recycled back in favor of the game economy.”
Okay. Wow. So you don't actually own anything.
Nothing is tied to your EOS account. It is all tied to an EOS account that Upland owns and manages for you.
So this breaks the first rule of blockchain. You do not own anything.
None of this is crypto.
Any rewards and property can be seized from you if you do not log in within a seven-day window.
UPX is not tradable on an exchange.
If there is a mechanism for you to lose everything after not being logged in within seven days, there is likely another mechanism for you to lose your property other ways that the devs just haven’t disclosed. After all, they are the ones who control you account on EOS.
The purpose of blockchain is immutability. Once a transaction is completed, there is no ambiguity or reversal. This is not the case for this game. As such, I cannot recommend anyone interested in blockchain to spend time with this software.
I would not call this blockchain gaming. I would call this a game that uses blockchain elements.
A seven day visa means that you are renting, not owning, the digital property.
It means this is not real blockchain tech, just scripted tokens that operate through a third-party software.
Upland also will mine and sell your data, which in the terms of service is called “Your Content”. Go read the TOS.
The devs take fees for all purchases:
“UPX Fees. You authorize an UPX contribution to be collected that is based on the total value of each Virtual Purchase and which is allocated to Upland’s Community Pool. The standard commission shall be 10% of the value of the applicable Virtual Purchase which shall be paid for by seller and purchaser, who will each pay 5%. The standard commission may be subject to adjustments over time.“
UPX is not crypto.
“Any balance of UPX does not reflect any stored value and you agree that UPX has no real world monetary value and do not constitute real world currency or property of any type. UPX may be used only towards Virtual Purchases and cannot be sold, transferred, or exchanged for “real” money, “real” goods, or “real” services from us or anyone else.”
But certainly it's worthy enough for them to take your money for it. Much of the game is designed to ensure a user feels a sunk-cost fallacy and then puts more money into the game.
UPX cannot be withdrawn. It is a utility token, based on the EOS blockchain, and is not tradable on an exchange. You can, however, trade it for USD when that option comes online, but this is not available yet.
I see this is a money grab software with false promises of ownership, where Upland simply makes a 'digital world' and calls it 'property'. Like EOS, a vaporware shitcoin that raised billions of dollars only for much of those funds to disappear into untraceable accounts, Upland uses the lingo of 'blockchain' without giving users the real ownership that comes with cryptocurrency.