The journey to becoming a virtual real estate executive in Upland - Part 1

A while ago, after installing and trying out the Brave browser, I got an ad as part of their Brave rewards program for a game called Upland. I’m not usually one to follow ads and actually engage with them, but the combination of a property game and it being blockchain-based piqued my interest. After reading a bit on their website and taking a quick look at their roadmap, I decided it was worth trying out, and so I created my account and set out on a journey to become a virtual real estate executive.

What is Upland?

Before I continue, it’s worth describing the game a bit. Upland is a virtual property trading game where each property is mapped to a real address in the real world. It's often described as Monopoly on the blockchain which I find is a pretty fitting description, although it doesn't quite capture the scope and vision of the game. You can buy, trade, and sell properties in Upland freely to other players, using mostly the in-game currency “UPX” which is an EOS fungible token. Selling properties for USD is in the works and currently available for testing for a limited number of players. There are also plans to allow players to develop their properties and run businesses in Upland, all of this is explained in more detail in the roadmap.

To accomplish all of this, Upland uses EOS.IO software and runs on the EOS mainnet.

Humble beginnings

As I loaded into the game for the first time, I got to pick a block explorer to represent me in-game and buy my first property. When you’re new to Upland you are considered a “visitor”. A visitor cannot trade with other players until they reach a total net worth of 10,000 UPX, at which point they can become a fully-fledged “uplander”. Additionally, you have a temporary visa that expires in 7 days if you don’t log in to the game and refresh it.

upland block explorer

Sometimes, your block explorer ends up in unexpected locations

After buying that first property, there wasn’t much for me to do. I checked out the treasure hunt feature, where you try a hidden treasure somewhere in the city, but quickly realized it would cost me way too much to send my explorer around. By default, the block explorer will move around slowly in random directions, you can, however, “send” it to a property in the game world, this will cost you a relatively small amount of UPX (usually 10-50 UPX) depending on what the owner has set as their fee. The exception to this is if you are the owner of the property you are sending to, then it’s free. So if you want to become competitive and efficient in treasure hunts, it’s almost a requirement to have a vast web of properties spread out throughout the city.

Another huge mistake on my part was not realizing that I could buy more “FSA” (fair start act) properties after I bought my first one. As you cannot trade with other players until you become an Uplander, I thought that the only properties I could buy were unminted regular properties. I, for some reason, was convinced I was limited to owning one FSA property.
This was not the case, you can, and probably should, continue to buy unminted FSA properties until you reach a total net worth of 100,000 UPX, at which point you’ll be considered a “Pro” and can no longer mint new FSA properties. As soon as I realized my mistake, I went on a bit of a buying spree and got very close to the 10,000 UPX I needed for the next step of my journey. I then decided to put in 5 USD to the game to become a full-time citizen of Upland and earn the title of “Uplander”.

I'm an Uplander! Now what?

Becoming an uplander and unlocking the ability to trade with other players is crucial to develop your net worth in Upland. I’d say it’s where the game actually starts. Since FSA properties are pretty much the only unminted properties currently, they are a hot commodity and probably the best way to can make a lot of profit as a beginner. I managed to pick up a couple of collection properties, which are usually worth more than “regular” properties and sold these off for some more liquidity to be able to pick up more FSA properties.
Now, the catch with FSA properties is that you are limited in how many you can sell each week to two properties. To me, this meant I wanted to maximize my two sales each week by selling collection properties.

upland collections

Collections are an important part of maximizing your weekly UPX income

After selling my two FSA properties for the week, I realized that while relying only on FSA properties is probably the safest strategy to increase my net worth, it was going to be slow and, frankly quite boring. Instead, I decided to split my strategy into two separate strategies. The first one would be to continue to mint collection FSA properties since they’d provide the biggest profit margin for my two weekly FSA sales. The other one relied on getting to know the market in Brooklyn to be able to flip cheap properties for profit. This strategy is certainly higher risk and requires some luck and a more active way of playing, but would provide a more frequent income of UPX as long as I continued to buy properties at low enough prices to flip them for profit.

Staten Island

One of the nice side effects of buying and selling on the secondary market was having more UPX close hand when new things were happening in Upland. One of these events was the release of Staten Island. I was kind of on the fence if I wanted to get in on this release since I mainly wanted to focus my attention on Brooklyn. But on the day of the release, I had some UPX available, so I took the bus to Staten Island and waited for the properties to unlock.

upland bus

You’ll need to take the bus to get from Brooklyn to Staten Island

Most of the properties for this initial release were FSA properties (75/15 split) and all of them were non-collection properties. I got pretty lucky and managed to grab a couple of non-FSA properties, and then I spent the rest of my UPX on FSA properties trying to get properties in different areas of Staten Island. My idea here was to spread out my ownership so that when the next wave of properties releases, I would have a way to travel freely around Staten Island.

Two week summary

So, after two weeks of being an uplander, here’s where I stand:

Net worth: 73,000
Properties: 40
Collections: 7
UPX/month: 970

I’m sure these aren’t amazing stats, but I’m pretty happy with my position. I have a healthy mix of properties spread out over Brooklyn and Staten Island along with a bunch of FSA collection properties that I’ll look to liquidate over time.

The next step in this journey will be to hit Pro status, which will probably not take long at this rate. I’m excited to get in on future releases in Staten Island and also to increase my web of properties in Brooklyn. Ideally, I’d like to finish some more collections, but that’s a secondary goal considering how expensive it is.
Some people like to min-max their time as an uplander while they still can mint FSA properties but that’s not really for me, I just try to spend my UPX on good value properties, and if that makes me reach Pro sooner, so be it.

If you are not already in Upland and would like to support me, you can use my referral link:
Upland Referral Link
If you’d rather sign up without using a referral link, you can find the link to the Upland website below.

Upland Website
Upland White Paper
Upland on Medium

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JSHC's Blockchain-based games blog
JSHC's Blockchain-based games blog

A collection of my thoughts and experiences surrounding blockchain-based games.

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