Popular games come and go, but some of the same issues keep on popping up, time and time again. While gaming will always have its problems, there are a few key issues that could be solved through the use of Blockchain Technology. Let’s check it out!
Big Games, Big Problems
The issues faced by games obviously depends on what you choose to play. Let’s look at some possible ways to make significant improvements in three popular games, namely Apex Legends , Valorant , and Call of Duty: Warzone . So in my opinion, some of the biggest pain points in these games include wasted time getting skins, broken metas, and, naturally, rampant hacking. However, some of the aforementioned candidates seem to suffer more as a result of these issues than others. And modern game developers tend to simply repeat themselves when it comes to these mechanics. Thankfully Blockchain has the answers to some of the biggest and most prevalent problems currently plaguing online gaming.
You Unlock It - We Own It
I’m a huge fan of Apex Legends, a battle royale-style game. I have been running around like a madman as my favorite character, Octane, since he first showed up in the Outlands.
Metal legs and speed. What more do you need? Hey…that rhymes!
Fun fact: Octane was inspired by a speed run of ‘The Gaunlet’ in Titan Fall 2 by player Cash_mayo. Anyway, the one thing better than getting that dub with your friends, to me, is unlocking new skins for my stim-injecting speed freak. Whether it be skins for your character or skins for guns, people have shown a HUGE interest in acquiring them. Apex, like many other modern games, boosts this need for them by introducing time-locked events that have you pounding the pavement to reach a goal and unlock a skin before the time runs out. Why put in all the extra time and effort? Because you may never have access to that skin you want again!
The Holo-Day Bash event gave you a little over a month to finish, but I…didn’t.
The fact still remains: even after unlocking those skins, if you stop playing the game, that time you spent grinding away is essentially reduced to ‘a waste of time,’ or I guess glory stories for the future at the very least. With so many players investing time and energy into something that doesn’t even affect gameplay, you’d think they’d have a greater desire to own those skins outright. I know I do. Regardless, it shows there is an existing and active market in which to integrate Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) using Blockchain technology. Imagine owning those skins you worked so hard to unlock. Now imagine being able to sell those time-locked skins to someone who desperately wants and is willing to pay good money for them.
There are plenty of skins I have unlocked but never actually used (and have no interest in using). But if I could sell these items as NFTs? Sign me up! More importantly, skin ownership would likely translate past a game’s popular lifetime. Imagine how much money an old time-locked Halo event skin would sell for as an NFT, regardless of whether people still played it or not. Nostalgia in gaming has proven to be a force to be reckoned with as we continue to see classic titles being remastered. I personally can’t wait for the soon-to-be-released Diablo II: Resurrected.
NFTs have recently become a booming sector within the Blockchain industry, and digital ownership of skins used in popular mainstream games would empower and see tons of new players joining the NFT community. It would also create an everlasting community associated with any popular game that successfully managed to integrate NFTs into their platform. It would sustain a consistent revenue stream for older ‘forgotten’ games for players, collectors, and developers alike. So everyone wins. Now…when do we start?
New Meta, Old Problems
I can’t even recall how many times I played a game and it was updated with a new gun or class, and all of a sudden, the variety of builds or strategies seemed to boil down to one choice, or you just…couldn’t compete. Ah, the ‘Meta’ of the update. Now I haven’t personally played the game Valorant, but my love of esports has proven this to be a great example.
This may be the new big boy in esports. I may need to product test this out…you know, for work reasons and such.
Usually described as a hybrid of Counter-Strike and Overwatch , Valorant is quickly becoming one of the top games in global esports. Pros and streamers have been abandoning their preferred games for the apparent new hotness that is Valorant. Don’t get me wrong, there is a meta present within the pro community, and it consists of a small variety of gun choices. One person who, mind you, used a controller instead of a keyboard (which is unheard of) decided to try something else and gained notoriety (or glory, depending on who you ask) by stomping pros and streamers alike with a new meta using an arguably ‘broken’ gun.
Enter Dasnerth , an unsponsored player who didn’t just climb the ranks to the pros league against keyboard users with a controller, but absolutely dominated everything in his path, using one gun and one gun only: a shotgun tantamount to the ultimate noob tube, The ACS-12 Judge .
Repeatedly complained about by participants, yet remained unchanged until Version 3.0. Maybe a tiny dose of community governance would have helped out here…
Now I’m not saying what Dasnerth can do everyone can do, but it opened the door to the idea that a section of the community started running with, something called the ‘Judge, Jury and Execution’ meta. While the Judge was always known to be a new player weapon because of its one-shot kills, it wasn’t until Dasnerth that pro-level play saw anyone using it.
Even though multiple updates provided by Valorant have fixed several other issues, when it comes to The Judge and its obviously overpowered stats, the community has ardently argued against it. However, nothing happened until the v3.0 update : months of irritated players in the community wanting something to change, update after update, yet no nerf to The Judge.
Who You Gonna Call?
If only there was a system that would allow the community to vote for or elect leaders to decide balancing changes. Oh wait. Yep, forgot…Blockchain! Introducing Blockchain-based governance to player pools, even with centralized updates, could show developers exactly what the community wants. It would allow major game companies to maintain ownership of their property while servicing updates that fit and reflect the community’s sentiment. Annoying metas that previously lasted for months or years could become focus points to fix as they arise. The community would have an active voice in the development of the system instead of the largely unheard one it currently has.
Then there’s the Big Kahuna of online gaming. Cheaters, hackers, grifters, whatever you wanna call ’em. They are here, they are many and they simply…suck. Arguably the most popular streamer game at present, Call of Duty: Warzone has no equal when it comes to cheaters within the community.
Ever wanted to be killed while parachuting down before you even start playing a game? And by a person not even aiming directly at you? Join the movement that is Warzone. It’s fun…sometimes.
Cheats and hacks seem to have created a Wild West of matchmaking. More often than not, you’ll find yourself pitted against someone who is cheating. Now, the types of cheats people use vary from garden variety aimbots to location exposure, and even the unfortunately entertaining to watch in replay videos, magnetic bullets . You literally don’t even have to look at someone, and the hack will curve your bullet to act as a heat seeking missile. Poor bastards.
Call of Duty: Warzone also has the wonderful problem of slow updates to fix these hacks, opting instead to rely on the community to report and allow targeted bans of cheaters, which, as you would expect, is extremely…inefficient: centralized servers running checks on individual reports that anyone can claim against anyone else playing, sometimes for no reason at all. You know how you can effectively prevent cheating on Call of Duty: Warzone? Integrating server access with Blockchain technology is one solid approach. Blockchain ledger systems have proven to be the most secure way of storing and maintaining data integrity. However, this integration is easier said than done.
I think I may need to expand on this topic. If you’re interested, I’ll have a follow-up article for all of you in a couple of days, so stay tuned!
Get It Going!
Gamers are united on some of these issues and possibly unaware of others, but all it takes is greater impetus to get the ball rolling. It’s possible for skins to provide some benefits to users for their time investment, just as much as the companies that created them. Governance voting gives players the opportunity to have their say in how things evolve and makes for a more inclusive, democratic experience. It’s likely that centralized data collection and analysis will still form a large part of the process, but rapid community-based decisions to correct meta issues will only contribute to the long-term value of online gaming. The upshots of these integrations include higher engagement within old and new communities, no opportunities to cheat and a more streamlined experience for all.
There’s no disputing the fact that Blockchain technology alone is capable of providing these benefits and that game developers need to move towards adopting these solutions as soon as possible.