Illuvium Land Sale Delay + Communication Feedback

By Deraji | ILVFi | 13 Nov 2021


This past week, we learned that the upcoming Illuvium land auction and launch of the Illuvium Zero mobile city builder game have been delayed, likely until early 2022.  Based on what had been originally shared from the development team, the community expectation was that a land sale was originally anticipated in early November.  A “leak” from co-founder Kieran Warwick in an interview with Taps Trade, we learned that the earliest would be mid-December, but given the time of year, a more ideal launch would be early 2022.  

Let me start by saying that I’m completely fine with the delayed timeline.  The reason that I became interested in the project was that this team seemed to be the only one focused on quality versus speed, and if done right, having first mover advantage of a P2E blockchain game that can appeal to mainstream gamers can be huge.  The quality bar right now is Axie Infinity, and from the disclosures from the team, this bar should be easily achievable.  Illuvium doesn’t need to beat EA and Activision out of the gate.  There are literally hundreds of gaming studios that exist, so this isn’t a “winner take all” category.  Particularly thanks to investing early and yield farming rewards, even with a modest product, the development team and the investment community will be successful.  Due to well thought out tokenomics, the economic interests of the development team and investors are aligned, with Kieran and others very publicly demonstrating both their passion and commitment to the project to avoid many of the normal concerns of an unproven crypto project.  That doesn’t mean this project is without risk, as I’ve outlined before.  It does mean the probability of Illuvium going to zero is lower in my opinion than many other entrants in this quickly growing space. (Not financial advice - do your own research)

My disappointment this week is in the communication from the team, and how this information came to light.  Certainly, this is a stressful time.  This newly formed burgeoning studio is trying not only to create the first AAA-quality P2E blockchain game, they are also simultaneously creating a mobile city builder game with a multimillion dollar real world economy and organize an NFT land sale potentially with a potential value of $100's million.  This is no small feat, particularly for a decentralized global team, with upper management who do not have extensive experience in this space.  They have assembled advisors and contributors with a breadth of past gaming experience, but simply bringing a team together doesn’t mean it will function effectively and be highly performing.  The pieces don’t assemble the puzzle, but you can’t get to the final result without them.  

I’m already seeing a shift in the language from Kieran and others on setting overly aggressive timelines.  Originally when I started following Illuvium, we expected the trailer and closed beta September/October 2021, with open beta in December.  At this point, the whitepaper has been updated to reflect a Q1 2022 open beta, which on the scale of things is a relatively minor delay in a major project.  Timelines are now written with more vagueness, and Discord FAQs are aligned with a similar level of detail.  As a community, we need to be fine with this - this is a huge undertaking, and I agree with Kieran that a poor experience at launch will be more detrimental to the long term project success than delays.

Illuvium Zero Timeline

The community reacts to what is shared, and there is a population that follows nearly every shard of content, both official and unofficial.  In terms of the land sale, the reaction is based on the approved IIP-10, which set expectations for land sale and mobile game launch in early November.  This timing was based on the approved text, with voting completed on August 20, 2021, and indicated within the document was “Start + 10 weeks” land sale and mobile release.  The expectation was potentially an immediate start, or presuming hypothetically the following Monday, August 23.  Taking 10 weeks from there, Land sale + release would have been November 1.

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However, if we backtrack how the team was progressing, we saw the launch of the pre-alpha game footage on October 12.  Evaluating the original IIP text, the first timeline element was

POC (Start + 2 weeks) - An internal demo of core gameplay features with reasonable quality art. We will share videos of this POC with the public, but we will not share the build.

Taking the YouTube release as proof of concept, we can extrapolate that from this pre-alpha release, the team anticipated two months between this release and expected auction, which aligns perfectly with the leak of “mid-December” at the earliest, but strategically delaying until 2022 to avoid holidays.  Yes, I’ve given the team the benefit of the doubt here, but this is potentially how we need to view these leaks in context of what to expect.

My Illuvium Zero Timeline based on information as of mid-November:

  • August 20, 2021 - IIP-10 Passes, approving development of mini-game and land
  • October 21, 2021 - Release of pre-alpha footage
  • November/December - Development + Audit for land auction
  • Early 2022 - Mobile game release + Initial Land Auction (20k plots)
  • “Q1 2022” - Hard reset of mobile game corresponding with main title launch

My Feedback

To the community, we invested in a game without a product.  We invested in the vision of the first AAA-P2E blockchain game, with the team disclosed (with the exception of Grant) at the start.  This team has a lot on their shoulders and while we have staked our money, they have staked their reputation.  As a long-time Blizzard player, soon(™) was a way of life for years on new releases, patches, etc., and that was with a studio with far more experience than Illuvium.  While disappointing, we need to meter our expectations, and perhaps even apply realism where even the development team does not.  We also need to rely on each other, as the communication style with critical leaks coming from alternative channels has become the norm.  While the bulk of the communication has been through Discord, we’ve seen inconsistency, particularly when delays occur.  As I’ve written more blog articles on Illuvium than the official channel, we need to accept that not everything we want to know is being clearly laid out where we may expect it.  Manage our emotions, share information, and keep the community informed and balanced.  

To the Illuvium team, realize that you are now leading a multi-billion dollar crypto project with sensitive investors and a known impatient gaming community.  Keep the focus on delivering the product, and ensure there are those in official channels to manage communication effectively.  When critical leaks are shared through unofficial channels, consider an announcement or simultaneous release of information to manage how reactionary the community is when “discovering” critical information.  Also, please do your best to manage emotions and defensiveness when responding to questions and even criticism from the community.  Your passion for the project is clear, and I do believe success is in the mutual interest of the team and community.  The intent is to be a DAO, and as such, the community feels empowered to share their opinions.  If only support and praise are accepted without retribution, this isn’t really a community directed organization.  For as long as Illuvium exists, you will be criticized and second guessed, but that is part of the governance model, and frankly, any public forum.  We need to facilitate a community that can share and be heard without fear of reactionary responses from upper management.

Surprise is the enemy of transparency.  This week, the community was surprised.  We eagerly anticipate the official blog post from Aaron this weekend to clarify things.  I sincerely hope that this feedback can be considered in the approach to critical information disclosure in the future, with more announcements like the one from Kieran on August 29.

Here’s looking at an exciting 2022 in the world of Illuvium.  Until then, we are eager and patient*.

* patience not guaranteed

Thanks as always for reading.

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Deraji
Deraji

Crypto curious thinker, amateur economist, geriatric millennial gamer passionate about Illuvium. Happy to share my economic and financial assessment of this unique blockchain NFT Play-to-Earn project. patreon.com/ilvfi


ILVFi
ILVFi

ILVFI focuses on the upcoming P2E game, Illuvium, the first proposed AAA-quality video game based on blockchain technology and NFT ownership. We'll focus on both the game play, as well as the in-game and ILV governance token economics.

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