The play-to-earn phenomenon in blockchain games took off this year with the explosion of NFTs. Millions of players have joined games such as Axie Infinity, Gods Unchained, Alien World, and Splinterland. 

Admittedly, though, these have very basic gameplay, usually emulating a fantasy card game. Most mainstream gamers are used to far more immersive settings with much, much better gameplay.

Until the space has some quality additions, I don’t reckon professional or passionate players will participate. Last week, I talked about the AAA-rated game, Illuvium, being built on Ethereum. 

AAA-rating is an unofficial terminology to describe blockbuster games such as FIFA, Counter-Strike, and Red Dead Redemption. These games involve 3D characters and real-time action with excellent graphics. 

Today, I am going to introduce an AAA potential game on Solana, Star Atlas. Since its announcement in August, it has created a lot of hype for its advanced technology and play-to-earn mechanism.

Star Atlas is a space fantasy-themed MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) that is currently in production mode. 

MMORPGs host a large number of players in a virtual setting where players compete against others to gain ranking by winning battles and collecting valuable items. This genre includes games like Final Fantasy XIV, Star Wars: The Old Republic, World of Warcraft, and Guild Wars 2, which are fairly popular. The worldwide market size of MMO games stood at $42.5 billion in 2021.

Built by Multichain Ventures, Star Atlas is backed by Animoca Brands, Serum, and Moonwhale Ventures with a strategic partnership with AAA gaming studio: Sperasoft. Sperasoft has co-developed salient titles such as Star Wars: The Old Republic, Star Wars: Battlefront, and Halo Infinite.

Star Atlas plans to deploy the most advanced gaming engine in the world, built by Epic Games, Unreal Engine 5. It will enable a fully immersive 3D world with film-quality graphics that you can experience in VR. Fortnite, an MMO third-person shooting game with 6-12 million daily active gamers, currently employs the fourth iteration of Unreal Engine. The fifth edition is still in development, with its launch expected in May 2022, after which Star Atlas will stage the game launch. 

Using the principles of decentralized finance (DeFi) and NFTs, Star Atlas aims to monetize every aspect of the game.

Star Atlas value proposition. Source: Star Atlas

Like Axie Infinity, it has issued tokens that will have utility in the game and will also allow investors to earn from its revenue. 

The $ATLAS token is the in-game currency for all transactions in the Star Atlas metaverse. 

$POLIS is the governance token of the platform which will likely earn from the in-game revenues in the future. 

In Star Atlas, POLIS token holders also have a say in the political decisions of certain sections of the game. Imagine the senators of the Galactic Republic in the Star Wars movie. Holding $POLIS will give you voting rights to set land rules—taxes and other merchant rules—for specific regions of the game that you govern.

Source: StarWars.com

Items such as spaceships, crew, equipment, components, buildings, land parcels, and other resources will be issued as NFTs; thus, they are tradable. The CEO of Star Atlas, Micheal Wagner, said in an interview, “There are very few items in the game that aren’t owned by players.”

Star Atlas has already sold assets worth $30.3 million. These include Ships, Skins, Characters, and Badges. 

The spaceships are an integral part of the game that will allow players to go on expeditions. The Star Atlas metaverse has Ships of varying sizes from XX-Small to Capital. The price of the Ships currently ranges between $20 to $45,000.

You will be able to navigate the small Ships alone. However, larger Ships will require a team of players to run, while the Capital Ships will require a full fleet of players and crew members. 

Their largest ship launched till now, the Calico Guardian, was issued at around $30,000 with a supply of 235 units. The batch was sold out within minutes. The current ask price of these ships is around $45,000, a 50% profit. 

The total supply of these items is not capped, and the team will issue new ships later on. If many players join the game, the first batch is likely to be more expensive than the latter ones. 

The sale for other items such as land parcels (Structures), equipment, and crew will go live on Dec. 31. You can see the countdown on the trading page for items.

Source: Star Atlas marketplace

Star Atlas is also planning to fractionalize their NFTs with their partnership with Unicly. Unicly is a decentralized protocol that allows NFT holders to issue derivative ERC-20 tokens of their NFTs by dividing the ownership to holders.

This functionality will enable players to join large teams and potentially create more liquidity for these assets by allowing more players to trade on a single item. 

Yield Guild Games, one of the largest blockchain gaming communities, pledged $1 million to buy Star Atlas assets at the starting of this month. The official Discord channel of Star Atlas has over 87,400 members with over 160,000 followers on its Twitter account

Star Atlas is an ambitious project with a sound value proposition, a large community, and strong backing. It has all the ingredients for a successful gaming verse like Axie Infinity, possibly bigger, and the potential to take blockchain gaming to the next level. 

How to Join Star Atlas Metaverse? 

First, you need to create a Solana wallet (preferably Phantom). Download the wallet extension for Chrome, Firefox, Brave, or Microsoft Edge

Set up a new wallet or import an existing wallet to the browser extension.

Creating a new Phantom wallet

Save the 12-word passphrase in a secure location. We do not recommend putting it in cloud storage.

Phantom wallet extension

Add SOL to your Phantom wallet to pay for transaction fees and deposit USDC to pay for Star Atlas transactions. 

Amounts between $20 to $50 SOL should be enough to cover thousands of transactions on Solana. 

You can buy SOL using a centralized exchange of your choice. SOL is trading on multiple U.S. and non-U.S.-based exchanges like Coinbase, Kraken, FTX, and Binance. 

Transfer USDC to your Phantom wallet. 

Now, visit the Star Atlas homepage to join the game. Connect your Phantom wallet to the platform from the sidebar option at the bottom right of the page.

Star Atlas sidebar menu

Sign the transaction on the Chrome wallet extension by clicking on Connect.

Connecting wallet to Star Atlas

There are three factions in the game you can choose from: the ONI Region (aliens), MUD Territory (humans), Ustur Sector (humanized robots).

Choose your Star Atlas Faction

As I mentioned already, currently you cannot play the game. However, you can start purchasing assets. You can buy assets from the marketplace

There are four sets of items available on the Star Atlas market: Ships, Structures, Access (badges), and Collectibles.

The Star Atlas marketplace.

For more utility in-game, buy Ships and Access badges. However, if you’re an avid NFT collector, you can also buy other game collectibles.

Buying Star Atlas Ships

Star Atlas plans to release a mini-game, which Wagner referred to as a “light version of Star Atlas,” where you can head out on missions sometime next month.

Other mini-games explaining key game concepts will follow into 2022, with the final map—a literal atlas—after which they will announce the launch date (expected after May 2022).

As mentioned earlier, the Star Atlas team will release several new items for sale on Dec. 31. Start preparing your list before the sale begins.

Good luck and have fun.