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Game Analysis

Ascenders

Brendan Donovan
Latest updates: Dec 29, 2022

DISCLAIMER: THIS CONTENT IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT A RECOMMENDATION TO PURCHASE TOKENS OR ANY OTHER ASSETS. ANY INVESTMENTS MADE IN THE PROJECTS OR ASSETS MENTIONED BELOW ARE DONE SO AT YOUR OWN RISK. THIS IS NOT FINANCIAL ADVICE.


 

Project Highlights

  • Ascenders is a 3rd person, open world ARPG with fast-faced, strategic combat that combines a story-driven open world with a fully decentralized, player-driven crypto economy built on an Avalanche Subnet with a dual token model: $AGC Governance token and $GG currency token.
  • By building a player-driven economy model with 3 main lanes (player types), Ascenders expects players to work together and create a sustainable economy based on the laws of supply and demand.
  • Compared to other games, Ascenders has kept a fairly low profile based on their follower count. They have 16k members on Discord and 26.8k followers on Twitter. Ascenders shares daily updates on Twitter and regularly announces new events.
  • Ascenders raised $6.4 million private round co-led by Paramount Capital, Three Arrows Capital, Sino Global Capital, and Merit Circle. The round also including DeFiance Capital, Blizzard Fund, Colony Labs, GuildFi, Momentum 6, Forward Analytics, Avocado Guild, ZeePrime, Snack Club, Layer X, Mintable and others.
  • Legendary Foundry Games (LFG) was founded in 2021. Their team combines experience from not only gaming but also finance; Jackson Poon, for example, was Co-Founder of Paramount Digital and used to work at Spartan Capital. Some AAA titles the team has previously worked on include Call of Duty, Assassins Creed, DiRT, Destiny, and Starcraft 2. Ascenders is LFG’s first product. They are heavily recruiting to fill new positions.
  • NFT Land is vital to the game ecosystem; this will be the ideal NFT to own, especially for entities like Guilds or VCs who are financially minded and can leverage the various Land specialties to maximize their ROI.
  • All items are created by players, at player-managed smitheries, on player-owned land. In-game guilds grant membership via their own guild tokens. Players don’t buy resources from a game developer, instead they trade for them at a global marketplace. The DAO is responsible for actively balancing the economy.

Overview

Figure 1: Ascenders - Welcome to the world of Ascension

Ascenders is a 3rd person, open world ARPG with fast-faced, strategic combat that combines a story-driven open world with a fully decentralized, player-driven crypto economy to create an AAA ecosystem built on an Avalanche Subnet with a dual token model: $AGC governance token and $GG currency token.

  • Players drive an emergent economy:
    • Players craft all NFT gear and weapons
    • Build cities on NFT lands
    • Band together to create powerful guilds.

There are a variety of ‘play-and-earn’ roles a player can specialize in, each with its own resources, challenges, and economic loops. Player decisions can make permanent changes to the world itself.

Gameplay

Gameplay footage made by Fan

  • Ascenders takes place on the alien world of Ascension with three main areas: Seedships, Overworld and Remnants. The game features a full single player storyline campaign and side quests in a large, contiguous overworld. Wild, alien terrains are waiting to be explored, each with its own challenges, enemies, and resources.

    Figure 2: Ascenders: Early look at some in-game terrain types.

Overworld lies beyond the protection of the Seedships, continually expanded with new stories, challenges, and entire continents to explore.

Figure 3: The dangerous Overworld awaits to be discovered.

Seedships will be at the center of new cities, and serve as bases of operations.

Figure 4: Early look at Seedships

Remnants (Raids) are the long-lost remains of different alien civilizations. Dangerous but rewarding environments.

Figure 5: Remnants - where real challenges begin.

Some areas will be reserved for player-owned lands (NFTs). These areas will provide resources and allow owners to build buildings that will be useful to them and other players. Thrill-seeking players will challenge the dungeons of the deep for higher rewards and rare materials. Some of these dungeons will be limited-run tournaments, allowing competitors to compete on the PvEvP leaderboard for rare resources.

  • Beautiful graphics and impressive visual effects are one of the highlights of Ascenders. It’s hard not to be impressed by the striking environments when first experiencing Ascenders. The current Alpha version includes 2 main game modes: Single Player PvE mode and Events mode (side quests).
    • Main game mode: Players will explore and fight creatures in Ascension with the 5 minute time limit, enjoy collecting, farming, steady progress. The more items a players collects, the higher their ranking and the top ranking may receive a bonus in the future.
    • Events mode (side quests)
Fury of the small (Survival) Players take on the role of a little fury robot vs humans, trying to survive as long as possible. The greater the length, the better ranking.
Racing Robot (3 mins limit) The player will take on the role of a creature (which appears to be a mechanical spider) with the ability to roll quickly, and their goal will be to roll through as many energy rings as possible in the three minutes given.
Egg marks the spot (5 mins limit) Dress up as an Easter bunny warrior and collect 20 Easter eggs in 5 minutes; the player with the shortest time will be the winner on the leaderboard

Figure 6 - 7 - 8: Alpha test game mode

💡 With its stunning visuals and expansive open world, Ascenders truly deserves to be considered a AAA game. The latest version vastly improves upon the previous, showing that the team is constantly improving their product. But there are definitely more improvements to be made, especially to the gameplay.

  • For example, the speed running animation and camera angle shifts when changing direction in battles are quite excessive and may become dizzying or disorienting even after a short period of time. Furthermore, the current game still lacks a number of features (no minimap, no bosses, Health bar) and is centered around single player, lacking the social component essential to the success of online games. 

Game Assets & NFTs

Ascenders NFTs include land, hero avatars, and gear such as weapons and armor, consumable items, and cosmetic skins for heroes and guild halls.

NFT Gear

Figure 9: Ascenders NFT Gear

NFT gear includes everything that can be equipped to the Hero Avatar, such as Weapons and Armor.

  • Certain gear are not NFTs - these can be crafted from Common Resources (or non-crypto resources), but cannot be traded at the marketplace.
  • All NFT gear is crafted by players from a recipe of Common and Premium Resources (or tokenized crypto resources).
  • Gear crafting is done at player-owned structures and crafting stations.

Upgrading NFT Gear

  • Fusion Crystals are a powerful Premium Resource that enables multiple copies of NFT gear to be fused together to create new, more powerful gear with a higher Gear Rank. NFT gear can be fused up to five times, each time gaining power and new attributes.
  • However, fusion is a volatile process — you never know which attributes fusion will grant. While attributes are always useful, lucky fusions result in very rare attributes which greatly increase the gear’s power. A high rank gear with multiple rare attributes is a very rare and valuable item. From the humblest low-rank sword, a Legendary weapon may be forged!

💡 The Ascenders economy is truly player-driven; all gear is crafted by players, from player-collected resources, at player-built structures. If no one crafts NFT swords, there will be no swords in the NFT marketplace. If landowners don’t build crafting stations, there will be nowhere to craft armor regardless of how much players have to spend.

  • Players craft gear for their own needs or the needs of the marketplace. Hard-to-get weapons or armor should fetch a high price in the marketplace, making them worth the time and effort to craft. Opportunistic players will keep an eye on the market and look for a high-return niche to fill; clever ones will make market predictions and gamble on what items to craft and stockpile to meet future demand. 

NFT Hero Avatars

The player begins their adventure with default heroes. These heroes are not NFTs, and cannot be traded. Players who desire to change their appearance or try new skills can find new NFT hero Avatars in the Seedship.

A wide range of NFT heroes are available for recruitment, each with their own unique personality and set of skills. Rare heroes have more flash and rare specializations that make them incredibly powerful when equipped with the right gear. All heroes can be customized with skins and gear NFTs to create the perfect look.

At the Ascenders launch, an initial batch of NFT Genesis Heroes will be minted in very limited supply, and provides a list of genesis-only features:

  • Unique appearance.
  • Rare default skills.
  • A free Season Pass, which boosts in-game rewards while playing. This bonus also stacks — owning multiple Genesis Heroes unlocks high-tier Season Pass rewards — which include some of the rarest and most valuable NFT rewards in the Ascenders ecosystem!
  • Early access to all game and community features.

Figure 10: NFT Hero Avatars

Cosmetic NFT Items

Figure 11: NFT Hero Avatars

With Cosmetic NFTs, Heroes can show off their personalities by wearing cosmetic skins created at crafting stations. A Cosmetic NFT item may have stats and specializations when wearing a complete set. While customization is well within reach of all players — the rarest skins are NFTs and can only be purchased with AGC tokens.

NFT Land

NFT Land is key to the Ascenders ecosystem, and landowners play an integral part in the emergent economy. The development choices they make determine what gear exists in the game, where cities sprout up, where players travel, and what the world looks like.

Lands are scarce and can be bought at initial sales. After that, players must compete for wild lands in a tournament, many of which contain hidden treasures waiting to be discovered.

There are many benefits and abilities provided to landowners:

  • A portion of resources collected or processed on their lands (passive income), including Premium Resources.
  • Ability to build a variety of structures essential to gameplay.
  • Upgrade specific structures and specialize in high-value services for specific player groups.
  • Host massive guild halls, which bring prestige and income, as well as fast travel portals that increase foot traffic. Landowners gain automatic membership into guilds that are built on their land.
  • A permanent Season Pass.
Structures built on Land Detail
Weapon and Armor (Smiths) Players can use resources to mint items at smiths.
Silos and refineries Upgrade a land parcel’s resource production.
Player-managed shops Local marketplaces.
Hospitals, temples, and fast travel portals Gameplay services
Guildhalls Social hubs with their own rules and local economies.
Customizable houses Relax & chill, show off your prized possessions.

💡 Landowners will play a vital role in the game's economic growth. The choice of what to build on their limited land space depends on the strategy of each player. A savvy builder can maximize the return by choosing complimentary structures to create a valuable local economy that provides a set of services that cater to target customers. Each building can be specialized to fine-tune its uses and what services it can provide.

For example,

  • Build a processing structure next to a gathering structure to refine the collected resources.
  • Build a trade hall next to a crafting station, so visiting players can gear up before a fight.

Ascenders Economy

The Ascenders economy is framed by three main economic lanes - Explorer, Fighter, and Builder - allowing players to choose their favorite play style, whether it’s fighting, exploring, or building. Each has their own gameplay loop, resources, rewards, and strategies to master. Each lane is tailored around a different player type, so that everyone can find their economic niche.

Figure 12: Ascenders: Three main economic lanes / Three type of players

Figure 13: How each player lanes will play in the game

💡 By building a player-driven economy model with 3 main lanes, Ascenders expects players to work together and create a sustainable economy based on supply and demand.

Explorers and Fighters collect resources and discover new land through PvE and raids. Builders purchase land plots from other players and build infrastructure for resource processing and crafting (NFT minting). New items will increase the demand for related services on that land.

Figure 14: Ascenders Positive Game Economy Loop

  • No one lane contains all the resources required for crafting - the lanes all on rely on each others. To make their NFTs and improve their lands, players in each lane will need to trade with or participate in other lanes.
  • To craft NFT items like swords and armor requires resources from both the Fighters’ tournaments and Explorers’ gathering. Landowners need a lot of resources from both Fighters and Builders to construct the smitheries at which those NFTs are crafted.
  • Where the lanes intersect, opportunities for trade and cooperation are created. This inter-reliance creates a sustainable, dynamic economy that grows over time.

Figure 15: Ascenders' Game Economy Model

💡 All items are created by players, at player-managed smitheries, on player-owned land. In-game guilds grant membership via their own guild tokens. Players don’t buy resources from a game developer, they trade for them at a global marketplace. The DAO is responsible for actively balancing the economy.

There are no clear and hard regulations concerning the lanes. As they play the game, players can opt to be flexible and participate in multiple lanes. Each lane is essential to the game's economy.

The player-driven model will balance things out. Too many explorers would increase the supply of overworld resources and lower the price of these items, driving some explorers underground to face more formidable challenges and rarer loot.

Tokenomics

Ascenders features a new GameFi model: a Dual Token Economy with a governance token $AGC (Ascenders Governance Council) and a currency token $GG (Glow Gems), supported by a third non-crypto, in-game only currency (Resource Chips).

Resource Chips are a non-crypto, in-game currency used for transactions that do not involve crypto assets, including the crafting of non-crypto game items.

$AGC TOKEN

Ascenders Governance Council ($AGC) is core to the Ascenders ecosystem and can be used for these following activities:

  • Governance over in-game balance through veAGC mechanism.

    VEAGC MECHANISM

    Users can also stake $AGC to receive non-transferable veAGC (vote-escrowed AGC) tokens over time. Holding veAGC grants holders additional votes within the Ascenders DAO. The longer the AGC is staked, the more veAGC is acquired, and the more the staker’s vote weight is increased. Holding veAGC also provides other benefits, including increased AGC staking APY. Unstaking AGC causes all accrued veAGC to be lost.

  • Staking for token rewards & exclusive drops (including Ascenders NFT lands and heroes!)

  • Founding and upgrading player Guilds

  • Purchase high flex cosmetic items

  • Season Pass style in-game rewards, including tokens and rare NFTs

    THE ASCENDERS SEASON PASS

    The Season Pass remains active as long as the player is staking the minimum amount for the minimum duration (The dollar amount required to be staked will be comparable to purchasing a Season Pass for a traditional game).

    The Season Pass provides three main ways to improve earnings while active:

    • A series of quests and challenges, with rewards at each level. Rewards include common and premium resources, limited-edition cosmetic NFTs, GG tokens, and powerful weapons and Armor NFTs.
    • Tournament rewards are greatly increased, with valuable rewards for top players - including for the top players, NFT land.
    • Access to exclusive content, like valuable Season-Pass-only bounties with token or NFT rewards.
  • Access to VIP tournaments and events.

  • Subnet transaction fees ($AGC as gas token)

💡 $AGC is not earned in-game. A total supply is fixed at 1 billion $AGC, with lifetime distributions defined at minting, unless revised via governance proposal.

Figure 16: The value of $AGC Governance

$GG TOKEN

The Glow Gem ($GG) token is the primary in-game currency, required for most on-chain transactions.

  • Craft and upgrade NFTs, and trade those NFTs on the marketplace.
  • Purchasing services at landowner buildings, such as crafting gear or refining resources.

💡 Unlike most ARPGs, players can not infinitely farm currency by killing monsters — $GG is not dropped after encounters. $GG is instead earned from 3 main sources:

Story Earned in the main storyline and quests, won in tournaments and rewarded for participating in events. The $GG is distributed from a gameplay rewards treasury managed and replenished by the ADAO.
Trade Earned from trade on the marketplace, as landowner fees for using buildings on their land, and via GameFi features like lending with an in-game bank.
Resource Dex (Swap) The dex contains many different resources paired with $GG — for example an Ore / $GG pair. At any time, players can take their collected Ore to the Seedship and exchange it for $GG at a global rate. A Uniswap bonding curve is used to maintain balance: - As more Ore is collected and exchanged, the $GG price goes down until it is no longer worth farming Ore. This pushes $GG into circulating supply. - Alternately, players who needs lots of Ore can use $GG to purchase it from the same DEX, driving the $GG price of Ore back up. This pulls $GG out of circulating supply.

Figure 17: Full stack economy

💡 The tokenomics are detailed and meticulously built. $AGC operates as a native token with an incredibly valuable utility as the Avalanche Subnet’s gas fee and cannot be farmed through gameplay; therefore it definitely has the potential to increase in value as the platform grows over time.

The utility token $GG serves as in-game currency and has DeFi features. It promises to maintain low selling pressure and not repeat the mistakes of many other GameFi projects whose tokens plummet in value from a lack of in-game sinks, etc.). Ascenders is making all the right moves to support a long-term gaming economy

Given its complexity, some users may find it hard to understand. Fortunately, with stunning visuals accompanied by appealing gameplay (akin to famous MMORPG Web2 games), users can just enjoy the game and learn along the way.

 

Backers

Ascenders recently announced a $6.4 million private round co-led by Paramount Capital, Three Arrows Capital, Sino Global Capital, and Merit Circle, the leading investors in blockchain technology and gaming. The round also featured prominent players in the blockchain ecosystem including DeFiance Capital, Blizzard Fund, Colony Labs, GuildFi, Momentum 6, Forward Analytics, Avocado Guild, ZeePrime, Snack Club, Layer X, Mintable and others.

Figure 18: Ascenders Investors

The Team

Legendary Foundry Games (LFG) was founded in 2021. Their team has combined experience not only in gaming but also in finance; for example, Jackson Poon was Co-Founder of Paramount Digital, and used to work at Spartan Capital. Some previous AAA titles team members have worked on include Call of Duty, Assassins Creed, DiRT, Destiny, and Starcraft 2. Ascenders is LFG’s first product. They are also heavily recruiting for open positions listed on their website.

Figure 19: Ascenders Team

Community

Data as of Dec 29 Twitter Discord
Ascenders 26.8k  16K

Compared to other games, Ascenders has kept a fairly low profile based on their follower count. They have 16k members on Discord and 26.8k followers on Twitter. Ascenders shares daily updates and announcements on Twitter.

In terms of AMA and marketing events, it seems that they were only implemented in March 2022. These activities may have slowed due to market conditions or simply to focus their efforts on building the game.

💡 Although the Twitter account was created in November 2021, it feels that the team is still focusing on development rather than marketing, but this does not mean that the community has forgotten about the project.

On the contrary, although their Discord is not extremely active, the quality of discussion is solid, with the developers directly communicating with the community about gameplay, problems, and casual banter despite the fact that the game is still in early stages of development. This demonstrates the potential for a strong and deeply engaged community.

 

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  • DISCLAIMER
  • Project Highlights
  • Overview
  • Gameplay
  • Game Assets & NFTs
  • Ascenders Economy
  • Tokenomics
  • Backers
  • The Team
  • Community