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Game Analysis

Treeverse - An exclusive interview with Loopify

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.


Introduction

Ancient8 Research recently had the pleasure of interviewing Loopify, Founder/CEO of Treeverse. Treeverse is one of the most highly anticipated web3 titles in development, and with good reason. It doesn’t take much digging to realize there’s something special about Treeverse— Whether it’s the artwork, combat trailer, game design previews, detailed monthly updates, community engagement, or all of the above, there’s a clear commitment to quality and a cohesive, compelling vision throughout.

This is our first Game Analysis piece to include exclusive commentary from the game’s founder, including new details not previously announced. Thanks again to Loop for helping to introduce our readers to Treeverse!

Project Highlights

  • Treeverse is a top-down, open-world, classless, fantasy MMORPG built primarily for mobile with an emphasis on co-op gameplay and a player-driven economy.
  • To help onboard traditional gamers, Treeverse will be free to play without needing a crypto wallet, NFTs, nor any prior knowledge of Web3. Instead, to access the full experience, players will be given the option to turn their in-game items into NFTs.
  • Endless Clouds studio has over 50 employees working on Treeverse. Some team members have contributed to games like League of Legends, Rainbow 6 Siege, Horizon Zero Dawn, Dark Souls 3, and Marvel Spiderman. Prominent among them are Loopify (Loop) - Founder / CEO and Aizea - Founder / CTO of the project.
  • The game is over one year into development and aims to release pre-alpha testing to NFT holders in Q4 2022.
  • Treeverse has a modest but strong community with 17.7K members on Discord and 82.1K followers on Twitter. As a prominent figure/founder in the NFT space, Loopify has a following of nearly 200K.
  • Treeverse raised a seed round of funding in October 2021 at a $25M valuation. The round was led by IDEO CoLab and Animoca Brands. Other investors include SkyVision Capital, Stani Kulechov, and several angel investors.
  • Treeverse has released three NFT collections that include the factory Nftrees, Land-style Founders Plots, and cosmetic Timeless Character PFP / skins.
  • By targeting the mobile gaming space and incorporating Web3 features in a way that feels natural without alienating traditional gamers, Treeverse stands a real chance of becoming the crossover hit that onboards the world to Web3 gaming.

Overview

Treeverse is a top-down, open-world, classless, fantasy MMORPG built primarily for mobile-first (but also PC) with an emphasis on co-op gameplay and a player-driven economy. Players begin their journey in the city of Elderwall that is protected by the giant World Tree and will immerse themselves in a mythical world by battling creatures, gathering resources, forging unique weapons, interacting with other players, and exploring the lore through quests.

Loopify has previously pointed out that some games simply don’t need to integrate blockchain tech. When asked why NFT collectibles and crypto tokens are natural / fitting for Treeverse and its player driven economy, he replied:

“It boils down to the point that in MMORPGs like OSRS or WoW, it was natural to see items traded outside of the game for IRL money. The player behaviour happened before, it wasn't new. I believe MMORPGs are the best fit for this genre for this reason in terms of collecting and trading items, and we are building in that field.”

Treeverse stands out from other blockchain titles in part because of its compelling art design. Taking inspiration from games like Journey and Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Treeverse offers a whimsical light-fantasy world for players to enjoy. Here’s how Loopify breaks down the approach of Endless Clouds, the studio building Treeverse:

We have three overarching goals for the art of Treeverse.

  1. We want the world to be pleasant to stay in.
  2. We want the visuals to be informed by the story.
  3. We want the visual design to service our gameplay well.

Figure 1: Concept art of Treeverse

Treeverse can be compared to:

  • Art: Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Journey
  • Combat: Hades
  • MMORPG: Runescape, World of Warcraft

Gameplay

As an MMORPG, Treeverse combines social features, building, gathering, exploration, and 3rd person fantasy battles with mythical creatures. Treeverse has started building out PVE, with plans to include PVP in the future.

Notably, Treeverse has a classless “knowledge tree” system that allows players to shape their own adventure by allocating points toward character stats and attributes however they like. This is to attract different kinds of players and help everyone find their role in the ever-growing Treeverse without arbitrary, preset limitations. Casual gamers can mine rocks, cut down trees, and enjoy the social features, while adventurous types can explore the many side quests on the map. Every role & resource has a part to play in the game and its economy, which also encourages p2p socialization.

Speaking of socializing, the team understands the importance of streaming, and Loopify has stated that the diversity of gameplay and social features will give streamers plenty of content to share with their audiences, especially when PvP is released. Even just meeting up with their friends and viewers on the same server will be a fun way for communities to hang out and bond.

Figure 2: Concept art of Treeverse

Game Modes

“Story mode” explores the lore of Treeverse through the main quests. Quests will be offered to players by NPCs, each with their own stories, or from designed encounters when you reach certain places or conditions.

Building and Forging

Players can build their dream house on their personal plot of land which they can then open up to all adventurers, or keep private for their friends or guild members to visit and hang out. Gathering resources and forging unique weapons to trade will also be valuable and fun activities.

Cooperate and Fight

For those who prefer the thrill of combat, there will be many places where you can battle strange and spooky monsters on their own and with teammates against more powerful foes. It will be fun for players to compete to be the strongest adventurers in Treeverse, and anyone can fight their way to the top.

Shorter dungeons - Treeverse will have all aspects of MMO and RPG, but will focus on smaller dungeons which Mobile players can finish in 5-10 minutes. The rationale is that short-form content is increasingly popular in modern entertainment, as we can see from the rise of TikTok.

Figure 3: Dungeon & creature concept art shared in the monthly community updates

Co-op

The social features of MMO will play a key role in making Treeverse an enjoyable world in which to spend time. Treeverse has started with PVE, but will eventually include PVP as well. When asked about their future plans for Co-op / PVP, Loopify replied:

We have many systems we are thinking about. Since our game, like all games, has core values we follow - co-operative gameplay is one of them. This means when we release PvP, it will follow the same core value and we will implement systems that do cater towards groups of people.”

NFTs

Ownership of in-game assets is core to the full Treeverse experience, and the team is thoughtful about finding the best approach for attracting traditional gamers. They are careful not to use technical terms in public-facing language, including “NFT”— referring to Treeverse game assets as “collectibles” instead.

Treeverse aims to make onboarding traditional gamers as seamless as possible. It will be free to play without needing to have a crypto wallet, NFTs, nor any prior knowledge of Web3. Instead, to access the full experience, players will be given the option to turn their in-game items into NFTs.

They are also consciously trying to limit the potential of a Play-to-win dynamic as much as possible. Loopify has asserted that collectibles that can be purchased will not have a big impact on gameplay.

Timeless Characters

Timeless is a collection of unique anime PFP characters that represent 3D avatars inside of Treeverse. Timeless is purely cosmetic skins. These will allow players to express and differentiate themselves from others and flex their support for the game. Timeless is CC0 and designed to be used in multiple virtual worlds besides Treeverse. There are currently 9.4K Timeless characters listed on OpenSea with a current floor price of 0.28 ETH (data as of Oct 11).

Figure 4: Treeverse Timeless NFT collection on OpenSea

Founders Private Plots (FPPs)

FPPs are essentially Land NFTs that represent Plots that can be placed and built upon inside Treeverse. All plots are identical; they have no traits nor special attributes. FPP owners will be able to design the exterior and interior of their home inside Treeverse and teleport there from elsewhere in the game. Land owners can also choose to rent out their plots to other adventurers for a price set by the landlord.

Figure 5: Concept art of what an FPP may look like inside Treeverse

 

Nftrees

Nftrees are the original collection of 421 8-bit tree images that helped inspire the founding of Treeverse the game. Nftrees are “factory NFTs” that will produce consumable in-game fruits that offer players minor temporary buffs depending on the type of fruit / tree. Once an Nftree is placed, holders can set a $ROOT price for the fruits that the trees bear and other players can purchase from them. Given their scarcity and potential to become a recurring revenue source for holders, the current floor price is 13.8 ETH.

Figure 6: Concept art of what Nftrees may look like inside Treeverse

As a prominent figure in the NFT space who was early to the trend, we asked Loopify to share any key lessons learned from the rise (and fall) of NFT communities and projects during their first bull cycle, including the launch of NFTrees and Treeverse:

There are so many things you learn, not just as a founder, but as an active collector/trader. Nftrees was created very early on, February 2021, so it was before all the hype.

One lesson I want to highlight out of the dozens we learned is the secondary market is way more important than the primary. You need to curate your community (mainly through distribution, how you market, and balancing expectations) so you avoid people who buy but do not care/believe in your product.”

Game Economy

Many details about the Treeverse economy are not yet known, but Loopify did shed new light on the roles of the in-game currencies, Gold Saps and Prime Emeralds, and the ROOT crypto token in our interview:

Gold Saps: Base currency that runs the world of Treeverse Prime Emeralds: Additional currency that allows users to purchase further features ROOT: Premium token used to access additional non-p2w features inside of all future Endless Cloud games”

💡 You heard it here first! The fact that ROOT will be used in all future Endless Cloud games (not just Treeverse) has not been previously announced, to our knowledge.

Loopify and the Treeverse team are keeping further details about the economic system and the distribution of ROOT close to their chest for now, but we expect additional tokenomics info to be revealed in the coming weeks or months for community feedback.

Loopify assures us that “Sustainability is something we have been thinking about for a very long time, and we will continue to do so. We believe we've figured out a good system (hint: common in traditional games) to fix many problems people have with blockchain game currencies.”

Loop’s hint is intentionally open-ended, but we suspect that Treverse will count on player spending on cosmetics like skins and home customization, in-game resources for crafting, boosts like Nftree fruit, and access to added features like gated levels and certain social features.

Treeverse and Loopify avoid using buzzwords like Play and Earn (P&E), as they tend to attract speculators rather than actual gamers. While Treeverse will have "earn" mechanics, it won’t be the core concept.

Roadmap

Loopify just sent out Monthly Update 10, marking their tenth month in development. On August 1st, Treeverse celebrated their first year since launch with an impressive and stylish combat trailer:

The Treeverse team is racing to complete their Pre-Alpha which they intend to release for testing to NFT holders by the end of Q4 this year.

In the coming months, the team intends to present a more detailed look at the game economy and the tokenomics / distribution strategy for $ROOT for community feedback.

Details about governance are also forthcoming, exact date TBA. Loopify has previously expressed that in most cases, governance ought to be left up to game developers, but acknowledged there should be a balance. When asked what that will look like for Treeverse, Loopify provided us with the most details we’ve seen yet:

Balanced governance for Treeverse is always giving the players a voice. We have already done that from day 1. A traditional game would never even give the insight we have so early into development. But we are so people can point out things they like/dislike from the start and we can take in feedback.

At the end of the day, we will make most of the decisions for things like game balancing. However, big features like changes to the world and/or easter eggs in unique quests - my vision is to allow them to have a bigger say and maybe ultimately decide some things. Still very early on so can't confirm anything!

As for how token governance, ERC-20 or ERC-721, we can't speak much on that again as it does relate to tokenomics, but I can say we will try to find a way that incentivises people to govern long-term. Most governance tokens, if not all, are tokens launched for exit liquidity with no long-term purpose. We do want to change that, so we won't be doing your usual governance.”

💡 Loop has previously stated in interviews from last year that there would be a “governance token” for Treeverse (implying fungible, as was standard at the time). Given the new info that $ROOT will have cross-game utility in future Endless Clouds titles, it’s certainly possible that $ROOT will be the governance token many have assumed it will be. However, the world of decentralized governance has come a long way over the past year, including alternative tools to facilitate NFT governance, for example. The fact that Loop has adjusted his answer to not specify ERC-20 or ERC-721 implies that the team is at least considering other governance models. We’ll just have to wait and see.

 

Investors & Partners

Treeverse raised a seed round in October 2021 at a valuation of $25M. The round was led by IDEO CoLab and Animoca Brands. Other investors include SkyVision Capital, Stani Kulechov, and several angel investors.

In terms of partnerships, the team shared that their OnCyber plot is almost complete in their recent monthly update.

Team

Endless Clouds now has over 50 employees working on Treeverse and is still looking to add more developers to their team. Some team members have contributed to games like League of Legends, Rainbow 6 Siege, Horizon Zero Dawn, Dark Souls 3, and Marvel Spiderman.

Loopify (Loop) - Founder / CEO

  • Primarily leads Treeverse NFT strategy and marketing. Previously worked as a graphic designer in eSports. He remains pseudonymous.
  • In Q4 2020, Loop began minting his art as NFTs. He developed a significant following (now almost 200K on Twitter) and became a prominent voice in the space by posting educational content in articles and Twitter threads. During the NFT bull cycle, he collected and flipped his way to “a decent portfolio size.”

Aizea - Founder / CTO

  • Aizea is a pseudonymous developer who worked on the Nftrees Collection with Loopify in February 2021 before they co-founded Treeverse.
  • Aizea created the website, developed the smart contracts, and continues to help lead the creation of the game.

Scott Chin - Art Director

  • 6+ years’ experience in Game Industry from AAA titles to award-winning Indie games.

Robert Shapiro - Game Producer & Country Manager

  • 8+ years’ experience as a software engineer and full stack developer in fintech and games.

 

💡 Meet the rest of the team on the Treeverse website.

Figure 7: Treeverse team members

Community

I believe Treeverse has one of the best communities and we aren't even a top project where that forms naturally” - Loopify

Web3 Games Twitter Followers Discord Members
Treeverse 82.1K 17.7K
Ukiyo 89.3K 24.9K
Ember Sword 87.1K 70.3K
Tatsumeeko 13.6K 90K

Treeverse may not be a “top project” (yet), but the team goes above and beyond in terms keeping their community engaged and updated on the development of the game. The monthly development updates are full of new art, designs, and accomplishments.

Figure 8: Treeverse Monthly Development Updates

The Treeverse community clearly appreciates the team’s consistent engagement and attention to detail. In the recent Monthly Update 10, Lead Game Designer, Max, shared the following insight:

“To offer a unique gaming experience that only Treeverse can provide, we’ve decided to implement dynamic events in our world. Players can affect the world in different ways, just like planting little seeds in Treeverse. As time progresses, these effects will eventually grow into something that can change the world inside Treeverse and directly affect all players’ gaming experience and our world lore. So everyone can be a part of our game.”

This is a great example the team’s dedication to quality and vision. It’s a feature that Treeverse did not need to include, but will do so anyway because they know it will enhance the overall experience for players and get their community excited to play a meaningful role within the game.

 

The team is also very in-tune with the concerns of the community. For example: Due to an oversight during the Timeless Characters NFT drop, one supporter managed to snipe the 44 rarest Characters all at once using a smart contract. The community was understandably disappointed, so the team reached out to that supporter and actually managed to buy back most of these Characters to give most of them away for free to the most active members in the community. This was some God-Tier damage control that flipped a negative into a positive, and proves the team can operate with tact and grace under pressure.

Conclusion

It’s hard to build a great game, and even harder to build a great game that’s also a social network, which is what an MMORPG really is. By targeting the mobile gaming space and incorporating Web3 features in way that feels natural without alienating traditional gamers, Treeverse stands a real chance of becoming the crossover hit that onboards the world to Web3 gaming. At the very least, we can expect the beautiful design, variety of gameplay, and engaging social features to build a cult following that drives significant value (emotional, social, financial, etc) to both players and Treeverse for years to come. Thanks again to Loop for answering our questions, and we hope to see you within Treeverse someday soon!

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  • DISCLAIMER
  • Introduction
  • Project Highlights
  • Overview
  • Gameplay
  • NFTs
  • Game Economy
  • Roadmap
  • Investors & Partners
  • Team
  • Community
  • Conclusion