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Balthazar Research Report: Explore the Illuvium Universe
Updated 30th November 2022
This article was first published on September 15, 2022, and was last updated on November 30, 2022.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 TL;DR
- 3 Background
- 3.1 Lore
- 3.2 Gameplay
- 3.3 Playtesting
- 3.4 In-Game Purchases
- 3.5 Additions
- 3.6 Technology
- 3.7 Tokenomics
- 3.8 DAO
- 4 NFT Game Assets
- 5 Illuvium website
- 6 Artwork
- 7 Blockchain
- 8 Team
- 9 Roadmap
- 10 Guild Facilitation
- 11 Whitepaper
- 12 Socialnomics
- 13 Speculations And Connecting The Dots
- 14 Conclusion
9/10 – Impressive
Pre released game score
Illuvium sets out to catch us all as one of the most promising projects in GameFi. Their best in class socials is in a league of its own and Illuvium might be the ones opening the GameFi arena for mainstream adoption. Illuvium is an extremely impressive project which thrills us. There is no doubt they’ll deliver.
Background – 9
NFT Game Assets – 9
Website – 8
Artwork – 9.5
Team – 9.5
Whitepaper – 7
Socialnomics – 9.5
Read More on Explaining the Scoring.
Written by Nicholas Korsgård, Chief Gaming Officer, Kim Bjerkeli, Sigurd Thomassen, and Heidi Anette Laugsand Johansen, Game Strategist, Balthazar Alpha Team
Many have tried, but few have succeeded in actually capturing that youthful feeling that Pokémon instills in us. Remember back to encountering that one favorite monster you’ve been dying to capture, the thrill of the challenge. Will you be able to capture it?
Imagine. You’re stranded – alone – in a new extraterrestrial environment. Crawling out from the wreckage, you must face the harsh reality before you. To survive, you must capture these strange creatures with incredible powers – the Illuvials.
Journey and investigate the enchanting world with your favorite Illuvial, and learn more about the tragic events that destroyed Illuvium.
This is Illuvium. Enjoy.
Illuvium combines elements of a collectible NFT role-playing game with those of an auto-battler. In the overworld, you can engage in activities like mining, harvesting, capturing, and combating Illuvials as part of an open-world role-playing game.
Our report dives into the DeFi-focused sci-fi adventure RPG and auto battler game. Follow along on our trip through the background, NFTs, website, art, blockchain, and team. Before ending with a look at their roadmap, whitepaper, socialnomics, and some speculations.
Get comfortable, grab a drink and allow yourself to experience the alien world of Illuvials.
- Illuvium is an interconnecting DeFi game protocol tying together a few different games set in the same universe with different purposes. The core game is an RPG where players catch monsters for use in battle in the second game, an auto battler. Finally, a mobile manager game is used for resource farming.
- Illuvium uses both $ETH and its own token $ILV for governance and transaction purposes. These tokens live on the Ethereum blockchain. For gasless fees and speedy transactions of NFTs, the game leverages Ethereum’s Layer-2 scaling solution, Immutable X.
- The Illuvium team is over 150 people in various roles. The leadership has assembled a stellar team of professionals. We believe they have all the prerequisites to deliver an outstanding gaming experience considering their employees.
- Illuvium’s website has a simple but clear design which makes the site easy to navigate and use.
- Illuvium’s artwork is consistently used throughout its platforms, making for a recognizable brand. It is in line with modern design and of good quality. A lot of work has gone into the various gameplay trailers showcasing their creative creature design and colorful world.
- The whitepaper covers the basics but doesn’t seem to have been updated for a while. We’d like an up-to-date description of more gameplay and lore in the whitepaper. One source of truth.
- Illuvium is perhaps the best-in-class at handling social media in the GameFi space. They manage to retain their current followers while also gaining new ones, which is especially impressive when considering that Illuvium has one of the highest social media follower count of any web3 games to date.
- Illuvium feels like an attempt to catch the Pokèmon generation (those who are now in their 30s) with a similar type of game, but on the blockchain. We see a potential avenue for eSports that would be great for the game’s longevity and success. However, we would like to see more details before concluding.
Illuvium, the world’s first IBG (Interoperable Blockchain Game), is an upcoming open-world exploration, NFT creature collector, and auto battler game built on the Ethereum blockchain.
Disclaimer: Illuvium notes that the game is in development, and all details are subject to change.
You start the game as a passenger of a transport vessel heading for a distress beacon. When arriving at the destination, you discover a ruined planet that could be the long-lost cradle of your race’s civilization. The entire world is covered in a crystal ocean except for a small section of land towering over the sea. The extreme weather on the planet disables the ship’s engines, stranding the ship on the surface.
Crawling out from the wreckage, you discover strange creatures, some with extreme powers. Fortunately for you, your race has just begun mastering the same energy these creatures possess, and you are therefore able to capture and control the creatures called Illuvials into crystals called shards.
Shards are mined from the planet’s surface. And to uncover the planet’s mysteries, you become a hunter, subduing and capturing Illuvials across the land. Obelisks may block your path, but over time you’ll unlock those as well, opening up more of the world to explore.
Following your emergence from the crashed ship, you stumble upon an almanac titled “Illuviary.” Seemingly one of your kind has been here before, and in the book, you find an index of every Illuvial across the planet Illuvium. However, all the entries are locked. To unlock the entries in the bestiary, you must find and capture the corresponding Illuvial and record its digital signature. Identifying and uncovering the Illuvial’s biology might just be what you need to uncover the mystery of Illuvium.
On Illuvium’s Medium, we find articles uncovering some of the regions on the planet. These articles go quite in-depth on the area in question and showcase a lot of concept art alongside in-engine screenshots and an overview map of the region. Below we’ll showcase the revealed areas. Images picked from Illuvium’s Medium page.
To begin with, Illuvium will host an Overworld RPG where players can roam the lands and capture Illuvials to use them in the Battle Arena game mode. The Battle Arena is a 3D auto battler similar to DOTA Auto Chess or League of Legends’ Teamfight Tactics. Alongside these, a mobile game is connected to the Illuvium protocol called Illuvium Zero.
The Overworld is a high-quality 3D world of the planet Illuvium. Players will traverse the seven regions of the continent above the water on this planet. The goal is to discover and capture Illuvials alongside uncovering the planet’s mysteries.
Traversing the regions, players will use energy. Energy will determine how long a player can stay in an area, as players will be sent back to the central hub once out of energy. Upon spotting an Illuvial in the overworld, you can choose to encounter it, but at the cost of energy.
Capturing Illuvials requires a shard which would have to be brought, but having a shard with you is still not a guaranteed capture. While trying to capture one, the quality of the shard and your luck will determine a successful catch to add another NFT to your collection.
When you enter the Overworld game for the first time, you start by customizing your character before selecting your Polymorphic Subordinate Drone, your mechanical assistant. The drone, or PSD, is instrumental in mining and harvesting. It can extract minerals from Illuvium’s surface and use them to craft useful items. The PSD can also mine ore, which can be used to make weapons and armor.
For some players, adventuring might be the whole point, and the Overworld will provide the explorers with ample opportunities to capture Illuvials. It could be very lucrative if you manage to capture a powerful and rare Illuvial. Over time Illuvials will be harder to capture as the captured population increases. This mechanism will be in place to prevent overpopulation, and it will, in essence, change the capture rate in tandem with the number of Illuvials captured so far. It will also become increasingly rare to stumble upon rare Illuvials over time.
If you’ve acquired a couple of Illuvial NFTs, either through capturing them or buying them off the IlluviDEX marketplace, you can take them to the various battle arenas and test your mettle.
The battle arena is a game mode where you can put up teams of Illuvials against other players or the computer in 3D auto-chess style battles. There will be various flavors of the battle arena, such as Ranked Arena, which is the competitive ladder system, great for PvP and eSports.
In Ranked Arena, the play-and-earn aspect will truly come to fruition for those who excel. In Ranked Arena, there won’t be an RNG aspect where you get random Illuvials to play with or an outstretched hand when you’re behind. Ranked Arena is PvP, where you have to bring your NFTs and be rewarded for your merits.
Another battle arena is called Leviathan Arena. This is a wagering game where you can bet on the fight’s outcome. You can participate in this game mode either as a player or spectator, and how much you want to wager is entirely up to you.
Finally, the Survival Arena, or the PvE alibi for Illuvium battle arenas, focuses on casual gameplay and playing versus the computer. The goal here is to last as long as possible in endless fights seeing how far you can get. There will also be a PvP challenge in this arena, which revolves around who can last the longest.
Illuvium Zero will be the hyper-casual game mode for mobile. You can compare it to traditional mobile games like Farmville and similar resource-gathering games, or in web3, you can compare it to Tezotopia. To earn resources in this game, you must have a Tier 1 to Tier 5 land plot as an NFT. You can farm resources from the plot, and depending on the plot’s attributes, the resources may vary. The resources gained in Illuvium Zero can be used in the other two game modes. Though the uses are many, some examples can be energy for the Overworld and ingredients for shard crafting. Some resources can even help the Illuvials evolve into a stronger version.
As in similar games, all resources in Illuvium Zero are either fungible or non-fungible tokens you can directly list on the IlluviDEX marketplace. In that case, the mobile game can purely be a way of generating resources and selling them for passive income. The game is central to the protocol because some resources can only be acquired there and are essential for the other games. There will also only be 100,000 plots of land sold, a hard limit set by the team.
The whitepaper has quite scarce information regarding the gameplay of the various game modes. However, Illuvium’s YouTube channel has a lot of content covering the topic and is an excellent source if you want to learn more and get a feeling for the gameplay.
Our Alpha Team received access to the beta version of Illuvium’s Arena, their auto battler. After playtesting the arena mode, we see great potential in the gameplay of Illuvium. While the arena is only one of the three games of Illuvium, it may be the most critical one. The other two games will feed into the arena battler in both resources and catch Illuvials in the overworld. This game mode will also feature the competitive side of the game in the form of tournaments and esports.
Learning to play in Illuvium’s arena was a steep learning curve but one that felt like an enjoyable challenge rather than a headache. Between primary element combinations, composite combos, Omega powers of each Illuvial, and combat placement each round, Illuvium’s auto battler has proven it has the necessary depth needed to engage players. While we haven’t played enough yet to become masters of the meta, based on our playtests, it felt like there were multiple successful strategies and viable combinations. Having that variety is very healthy for the genre of auto battlers, as without it, the game becomes stale. With complex strategy systems, there is the flip side potential to scare away more casual players. In-game tutorials and guides will be key moving forward as they open up the beta to the public and introduce new players to the game’s strategies.
One other highlight that stood out to us was the visuals and audio. The camera movement was fluid and allowed us to view our beautiful Illuvials in full view and witness the intense battle action up close. We can see this also being really useful for fun content and great highlight reels. While the arena environment was fairly simple, this isn’t necessarily bad. The simplicity of the arena puts more focus on the Illuvial characters and the action of the battle. It also gives players a clear view to strategize each round. While logging into the game, the music and sound effects were soothing and pleasant. The in-game sounds were much more intense, matching the feeling of battle. All of the audio matched the quality of a Triple AAA game they set out to be.
Recently Illuvium released a viewing of the first capture of an Illuvial in the wild on Brycent’s Twitch Stream (https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1654712614). We haven’t had the opportunity to experience the overworld of Illuvium ourselves, but we can now visualize how these two games will work together. One big distinction that Illuvium will have over other similar auto battler games is the ability to capture the characters you play with. We expect that in the future when you can capture your Illuvials in the wild, there will be a much stronger emotional connection for players with their auto-battling companions. It’s the same type of connection that many players have experienced with catching Pokémon and leveling them up in battles.
Before we can fully sing the praises of Illuvium’s arena, we will eventually need to see the PVP side of the auto battler. How PVP is implemented will be the true sign of success. Most competitive auto battlers keep players engaged through intense competitions and fiercely contested rankings. Giving players the ability to show off their skills in Illuvium through tournaments, leaderboards, and ranking systems will keep players motivated to keep learning, playing, and competing. If PVP is implemented correctly, we believe the Illuvium arena could have the potential to compete with the likes of other popular auto battlers such as TFT or Dota Auto Chess. We are excited by the single-player version and eagerly await to test out PVP action when it arrives.
In Illuvium, there will be in-game purchases, all transacted in $ETH. You can purchase various products and benefits in-game, such as
- Shard Curing
- Wagering On Battles
- Illuvial Revivals
- Obelisk Travel
In-game purchases are something most modern-day games enable in their marketplace. And although it often grants player’s a convenience boost, the items such as “enhancements” that offer powerful attribute boosts are looking very pay-to-win to us. Focusing on skillful strategy in the Ranked Arena, we’re curious to see how items like “enhancements” play into the game.
As the game progresses and the first generation of Illuvials are captured, the team has plans to introduce new generations of Illuvials down the line. The sets will be voted on by the Illuvium DAO and released steadily as the rarity of previous generations increases. Early generations of Illuvials will not disappear completely. Still, they will be significantly harder to come by, and with the fusion mechanic, the numbers will drop as people combine them for stronger Illuvials. Owning a generation one Illuvial will likely be a rarity over time.
Illuvium is a large planet, and although most of it is covered in water, the newcomers to the planet have just begun to explore the landmasses. Players will unlock new zones for others to explore and new Illuvials to discover. Occasionally, a new region will be released after an obelisk is unlocked. If you’re the one who finds the key to the obelisk, it could be a very profitable discovery.
Over time, the DAO will vote on game expansions. For now, there are three games in the Illuvium suite, and we might see more games added to the protocol down the line.
Illuvium uses Unreal Engine 5 as its game engine. The battles in-game are deterministic simulations, meaning that the outcome is already determined as soon as a battle is executed. What you see as a player is the playback simulation of this. This makes for low server-side strain, and every battle ever played out can be easily stored and replayed. The simulation code is written in pure C++, allowing quick execution in less than a few milliseconds.
The backend systems for Illuvium are hosted on Amazon AWS. The core backend systems are built with AWS Lambda, a serverless solution where you only need to deploy code for execution. Using AWS Lambda allows Illuvium to scale infinitely while also keeping a lid on the costs.
The persistence solution is DynamoDB from AWS, a flexible NoSQL database service for single-digit millisecond performance. Using the solutions from Amazon gives Illuvium a durable and highly-available scalable solution. Illuvium also leverages the whole suite of AWS security and monitoring solutions tools.
Illuvium has, since the 14th of June, 2022, had a bug bounty program with a maximum bounty of up to $150,000. The program focuses on smart contracts, websites, and apps. The aim is to prevent loss of funds, frozen or malfunctioning contract state, unavailability of blockchain and web assets, authentication and authorization issues that could potentially lead to loss of user funds, and reputational damage.
Illuvium has a primary token called $ILV, but since the game is built on top of Ethereum, you can also use $ETH for several purchases in-game. The game also has a synthetic token pegged to $ILV’s value. It is called $sILV2 and works like a gift card in-game.
Image from Illuvium’s medium article on land sale: https://medium.com/illuvium/51-land-sale-explained-8cbadfb6a6b5.
The $ILV token is primarily used for governance, and its cap is 10,000,000 tokens.
The token distribution is represented in the pictures below.
As we can see, there’s a big focus on DeFi in Illuvium as the yield farming portion is the largest position of the distribution. The tempo of the yield farming protocol is three years, with most of it distributed in the first two years, as seen in the picture below.
In-game purchases done in $ETH will be sent to a smart contract working as a vault. Periodically the vault will use the $ETH to purchase an equivalent value of $ILV from the $ILV/ETH Uniswap V3 pool, and the $ILV will be distributed to holders with their tokens staked.
Long-term staking is incentivized through a distribution system that differentiates between locked and unlocked tokens. The longer a token is locked, the higher the returns. The lock-time can be anything up to 12 months. Some examples of the weighting of the staking yield are shown below.
Having the tokens staked renders them unavailable for the duration of the period, which is where the synthetic token $sILV2 comes in. This is what we meant by a one-token economy with a twist. $sILV2 will be the in-game token used for transactions that don’t involve other players. We’ve already mentioned examples of this, such as shard curing, travel, and cosmetics. Transactions between players and on the IlluviDEX will primarily be in $ETH. Still, it seems that most tokens within the Immutable X ecosystem can be used depending on the requirements of the seller.
When NFTs change hands on the IlluviDEX, or a wager is made, 5% of the transaction value is taken as fees. Immutable X also carries a small capped fee for all transactions to cover the gas fees making it seem “free” to the user.
Illuvium has reserved 1,000,000 tokens for in-game yields. These tokens will be distributed in tournament battles, quests, and daily challenges. It primarily incentivizes gameplay and lowers the bar for capital-light players to partake in yields through sweat-equity.
Illuvium is built to be governed by its community. $ILV holders will govern and maintain the protocol through the Illuvinati Council. The council members will be elected by $ILV holders through nomination, then voting. The nominee will then have the votes of those who voted for them. The voting period of the election will be 72 hours, and the five nominees best suited will rise to the council to govern the platform.
In order to reduce plutocracy, voting is quadratic. This means that the more $ILV you vote with, the less they weigh. This mechanism is well known and a fair way to weigh votes.
Proposals to the DAO can be submitted to a GitHub repository and must achieve a supermajority to be accepted.
The governing period for the council is one epoch. An epoch’s length can be configured through proposals, but during the epoch, the council members’ main task is to debate and vote on proposals. Council members will receive a stipend for the job, which is paid out in $ILV by the IlluviumDAO.
NFT Game Assets
The creatures on the planet are called Illuvials. Illuvials will become NFTs when you have captured them in shards. At the game’s launch, there will be more than 200 Illuvials to discover and capture. Each one of them has unique abilities which play into the variety and strategy when used in battle. As of releasing this report the total number of Illuviuals is 205! (Source: https://infoluvial.io/illuviary)
Affinities are the Illuvials’ bond to the elements of Illuvium. There are five primary affinities on Illuvium – Water, Fire, Earth, Air, And Nature. Illuvials of the highest form can form affinities with two elements from the five base elements. This could, for example, be a frost affinity formed from air and water or a deeper bond with the same elements, such as the inferno affinity from fire and fire.
Affinities will provide strengths and weaknesses to the Illuvials. Like in childhood games (eg. Pokemon), the type or element matters. For instance, a nature type is weak to fire. Fire type is weak to water, and so on.
Illuvials can be put into one of five classes. These are fighters, guardians, rogues, psions, and empaths. As with affinities, classes will affect the outcome of battles in which you participate. Ascended Illuvials can sometimes take on two classes simultaneously, granting them a stronger class. Examples of this could be the slayer class consisting of rogue and fighter classes, or the invoker, a combination of psion and psion.
When using Illuvials for battle, it pays off setting them up in teams with affinities and classes that synergize. Illuvials form symbiotic relationships with each other based on their affinities. Working together when fighting in different arenas will lead to higher chances of victory.
If you end up with three of the same type of Illuvial and they’ve reached a certain level, you can fuse them into a more powerful beast. It is, in Pokemon terms, evolution. In this process, you essentially burn the three NFTs and mint a new one, more powerful. Fusion could have extra costs, such as resources farmed in Illuvium Zero.
Shards are as central to Illuvium as Pokèballs are to Pokèmon. These items are the one thing that’ll enable you to capture an Illuvial you defeat in combat. It is no guarantee that the shard will hold when trying to capture. Therefore, it is wise to stock up on a few shards before going exploring.
Shards can be mined from deposits, but their rarity comes in several tiers based on their power at capturing Illuvials. Stronger Illuvials make for tougher capture rates. More powerful shards can alleviate some of this difficulty, and with more powerful shards comes a higher rarity.
Weapons & Armor
Unlike Pokèmon, in Illuvium, you as a player can participate in the fight; equipping fancy, futuristic weapons and armor will also make you ready for combat. Weapons can be enhanced with gemstones storing certain Illuvials’ essence, granting you an aura that boosts your fighting Illuvials in battle. Which weapon you prefer to wield will also determine your class, adding to the team’s synergy.
When it comes to armor, if it gets too damaged, it will have to regenerate, which will effectively be a cooldown for you as a player to use it again. Choice of armor can set a fight up in your favor depending on your choice. Each armor piece has different attributes, and choosing the right one to synergize with your team is one of many strategic decisions you’ll make as a player.
Imbues are what we usually know as skins in other games. It is a cosmetic change to the item in question and will differentiate your look from other players. You can imbue items such as weapons, armor, and your drone.
Illuvium land plots are NFTs yielding tokens and other NFTs as resources for use in the other aspects of Illuvium. It is tied to the mobile and desktop companion game Illuvium Zero and generates income for the owner or rentee managing the land.
Land comes in five different tiers, where higher tiers represent higher rarity and larger yields. If you don’t own a land plot, it is possible to rent land from other players who don’t have time to manage it themselves. Profits will be shared between the players.
Illuvitars are the player’s avatars which also can be used as a profile picture within the Illuvium sphere. It consists of a portrait and accessories. It has nearly infinite possibilities in the combinations between the core portrait and various accessories. Portraits and accessories come in crates, which you have to buy. However, the rarity of the crates ranges from virtual to diamond, with higher rarity crates having a higher chance of dropping rare portraits. The same goes for accessories.
The image below shows an example of how it might look to create your Illuvitar.
You have a base portrait with the option of adding a few accessories to the mix.
Illuvium has a handful of different promo NFTs, which are non-playable NFTs distributed through giveaways, events, contests, and airdrops. The most recent NFT drop is the Illuvium x Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs cosplay NFT. This NFT symbolizes that Illuvium is an official sponsor of the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs rugby team. Those participating in the promotion will get a jersey, exclusive cosplay NFT, and a Bulldogs 2023 classic membership.
The Jersey is designed by Illuvium to be worn by the Bulldogs in their Round 25 clash, It features obelisks and armor as a nod to Illuvium.
Partnerships and collaborations like this highlight the many cool utilities NFTs can bring. Not just digitally but by bringing utility into the real world.
We compared Illuvium’s desktop version of its website to its mobile site to see how it measures up and if there were any changes they could make to the site to improve it. Follow along to see our verdict. In this test, we used a Samsung Galaxy S10+.
Link to website: https://www.illuvium.io/
Illuvium’s heading menu got our attention right away upon entering the website. Especially because of the banner, on which we have different views because it looked much like an advertisement. However, the team had made the heading menu very clear as to when or where the user would have to click to see more, which we appreciate. The menu would send the user to a new part of the website by clicking on the different aspects in the heading menu.
In the “Community” aspect of the heading menu, the website’s creators had put the social media platforms – Discord, Twitter, and Telegram. Usually, we would see these links readily available, and for this website, we are afraid it might blend in with everything else on the menu.
The background would also change after a few seconds, displaying new scenery. An area to join the newsletter had also been neatly added with an arrow underneath indicating to keep scrolling. At first glance, upon scrolling down, the website looked professional, and we could find information about the project, a video trailer, artwork, and the play-to-earn concept itself. We also enjoyed the background theme that enhanced the vivid colors from the pictures displayed.
The site also had a call to action, “Ready to become a landowner?” It also explained NFTs and true ownership of assets and the marketplace. Lastly, the user could find information about entering the newspaper, which included giveaways, events, and development updates. The partners were also nicely showcased on the site.
Last but not least, the user would get a second chance to check the social media platforms in case they missed it in the heading menu.
All in all, the website itself is very straightforward, with no extra effects or special layouts. We usually find faults in the these areas, but Illuvium has done an excellent job with their website. Next up, we will be having a look at the mobile site.
Upon first opening the Illuvium mobile site, we noticed the more narrow layout, which is natural due to the mobile screen. We think that the heading menu system had been well made considering this. The text was also of a nice size, and the banner was well made to fit the screen. The background would also change every few seconds, and the option to join the newsletter was still available. By scrolling down, the blocks of text, videos, and pictures had been well adjusted, and it looked really good overall.
However, we did notice that the pictures displayed were quite pixelated. Maybe especially the image of the variety of Illuvials. The area in the mobile site explaining the NFT aspect looked really well made.
We were impressed with the added gallery, the user-friendliness, and the quality of the display itself. It felt extremely smooth to use on mobile, and the colors were vibrant and crisp.
Furthermore, the second option to join the newsletter was available, and the partners were added in rows of two. Lastly, the lower menu was displayed, giving the mobile user another chance to partake in their various social media platforms.
To conclude, the Illuvium website had a somewhat simple design, which made the site very easy to navigate through and use. One could argue that the double-upper menu is too much. However, we did like the design overall. The banner underneath was questionable and had an “advertisement feel,” so we would suggest implementing this information in another way. We would also recommend making the social media platforms in the upper menu more noticeable as we felt they got lost in all the text. Using the mobile site, we noticed some images were pixelated, especially the Illuvials picture.
Our only worry is if the website does a good enough job at letting the reader know that the metaverse is divided into three different games. The NFT part, on the other hand, looked amazing and really impressed us. Illuvium shows us, yet again, that sometimes a simple design is a good choice.
Illuvium consistently uses its artwork and graphics throughout its platforms, making for a recognizable brand. Their artwork and graphics are mostly in-line with modern design and offer brilliant quality.
Checking out their Gameplay Reveal Trailer we can instantly see the quality and meticulous work that has gone into the making of this trailer.
The visuals and graphics are insanely good, showing off creative creature design on their Illuvials, the colorful and creative world design, the high-resolution next-generation AAA title, and the overall graphics.
Check out the Gameplay Reveal Trailer here:
Although there is gameplay footage, we cannot say for sure that what is seen in this trailer is actual, unedited gameplay footage. In fact, we would be surprised if it was. Nevertheless, the trailer does give us a good indication of what we can expect from Illuvium, and going through some of their many YouTube videos; we’re confident that the artwork will be of some of the highest quality we’ve seen to date within the web3 gaming space.
Illuvium has also recently showcased the overworld in the following videos. It’s definitely worth taking a look, as it goes deeply into the artwork in Illuvium and offers a lot of exciting information.
Illuvium uses Immutable X and Ethereum for its blockchain needs. The $ILV token is an ERC-20 token issued directly on Ethereum, whereas its NFTs are on the Layer-2 scaling solution Immutable X.
What Chain Does The Game Run On?
Ethereum is the most used smart-contract platform out there, surpassing the average of over 1 million daily transactions (to see more statistics on Ethereum, you can visit the Etherscan website). However, being the most popular blockchain for smart contracts also makes it expensive to use, as it still has its limitations in throughput.
What has been Ethereum’s biggest drawback is the high cost of doing a transaction on the chain, also known as gas fees. Ethereum is also running a Proof-of-Work consensus algorithm which causes a lot of energy usage to keep the blockchain secure. However, the imminent “merge” that will take Ethereum from Proof-of-Work to Proo-of-Stake will reduce energy consumption by 99.95%.
Immutable X is a layer-2 scaling solution for NFTs on Ethereum. Its purpose is to remove the limitations prevalent on Ethereum, such as the low scalability, bad user experience, and slow developer experience. The solution enables zero gas fees when trading and minting NFTs without compromising user security. This marvel is made possible through Zk-rollups, a scaling solution that batches many transactions to generate validity and then submits it to a layer-1 smart contract for verification.
Our Thoughts On The Chain?
The combination of Layer-1 Ethereum and a Layer-2 solution like Immutable X is something we see several projects go for. You get the benefits of building on Ethereum’s security and enormous community while at the same time leveraging no-cost transactions in-game and with the NFTs on Immutable.
Although the $ILV token is still on Ethereum and will be subject to the gas fees plaguing the network for so long, the synthetic $sILV2 will alleviate in-game spending as it lives on the Layer-2 solution. We expect transacting in-game and trading NFT will be a smooth experience with this blockchain setup compared to games purely living on Layer-1.
Who Is On The Team?
- Kieran Warwick – Co-founder
- Chairman (Jul 2016 – May 2021) at The Burger Collective
- Sales Marketing Director (Jul 2015 – Oct 2016) at blueshyft
- Co-founder (Jul 2012 – Feb 2014) at Audio Invasion
- Franchisee (Jul 2011 – Jun 2012) at Harvey Norman
- Store Manager (Nov 2007 – Jun 2011) at Harvey Norman
- Aaron Warwick – Co-founder
- Franchisee (Oct 2006 – Sep 2010) at Harvey Norman
- Grand Warwick – Co-founder
- John Avery – CTO
- Founder (Doc 2020 – present) at oobikoo
- Owner (Feb 2010 – present) at JNA Mobile
- Head of Infrastructure (Dec 2020 – Aug 2021) at hoolah
- Consulting Practice Director (Mar 2018 – Dec 2020) at Oracle
- Principal Consultant (Feb 2010 – Mar 2018) at LimePoint
- Technical Consultant (Feb 2010 – Mar 2013) at Cohesion Corporation
- Oracle Technical Consultant (Feb 2009 – Jun 2010) at Redrock Consulting
- Principal Consultant (Aug 2007 – Feb 2009) at Enterprise Glue
- Basil Gorin – Blockchain Director
- Solution Architect (Jan 2017 – present) at CML Team LTD
- Senior Software Engineer (Apr 2013 – Dec 2021) at Starpoint Solutions
- Full Stack Engineer (Oct 2012 – Mar 2013) at Starpoint Solutions
- PHP Developer (Jun 2011 – Sep 2012) at Starpoint Solutions
- Java and JavaEE Software Engineer (May 2007 – May 2011) at Starpoint Solutions
- Chief Technology Officer (Feb 2020 – Jan 2021) at Sophophilia Studios
- Solution Architect (Feb 2018 – Jan 2020) at Sophophilia Studios
- Full Stack Developer (Jan 2020 – Dec 2020) at Toptal
- Solidity Developer (Sep 2017 – Dec 2020) at Upwork
- Solution Architect (Jan 2019 – Dec 2019) at Paxnet
- Technical Consultant and Blockchain Adviser (Aug 2017 – Jul 2018) at NagriTech International Distributors
- Senior Software Engineer (Jul 2011 – Jun 2015) at DataCradle LLC
- Danny Wilson – CFO
- Co-founder (Jan 2022 – present)
- Senior Advisor (Dec 2021 – present) at Aether Games Inc.
- Senior Advisor (Oct 2021 – present) at Ocean Floor Music
- Senior Advisor (Sep 2021 – present) at Ertha
- Senior Advisor (Dec 2021 – present) at Arcade
- Senior Advisor (Oct 2021 – present) at Utopia Labs
- Senior Advisor (Jun 2021 – present) at Mars4
- Managing Director (Dec 2013 – Jun 2019) at Harvey Norman
- Managing Director (Jan 2016 – May 2019) at MAC1 Corporate
- Retail Franchise Director (Sep 2003 – Dec 2013) at Harvey Norman
- Nate Wells – Game Producer
- Rogier van de Beek – Lead Concept Artist
- Aleksandr Kirilenko – Lead Modeler
- Alexandre Belbari – Lead Animator
- Petr Ermolaev – Lead VFX Artist
- Dmitriy Ten – Environmental Artist
- Pedro Bergamini – Senior Solidity Engineer
- Blockchain Developer (Jul 2020 – Dec 2020) at LearnToDapp
- Lead Frontend Engineer (Feb 2020 – Jul 2020) at Gestão OPME
- React NodeJS Developer (Sep 2018 – Feb 2020) at Gestão OPME
- Lionel Pinkhard – Game Developer
- Andrew Wall – Head of Video
- Digital Consultant (Dec 2018 – present) at Awall Digital
- VP, Social Media & Production (Jul 2019 – Nov 2020) at RagingBull
- Head of Community, Gaming, Network Development & Production (May 2014 – Jun 2019) at Broadband TV (BBTV)
- Head of TGN (Dec 2012 – May 2014) at TGN.TV
The team working on Illuvium consists of over 150 members. These members were easy to find on Illuvium’s website, with most of them having some sort of link to social media or their LinkedIn profiles, making it easier to find the information on their team members. The information was also short, concise, and well elaborated on the core team, whereas all members had a proper role. This included 18 community mods, which we found to be a fantastic addition to their team page.
At the time of writing, Illuvium has 8 jobs they’re hiring for, all listed on their website: https://www.illuvium.io/jobs.
With the number of team members with seemingly diverse experiences and covering many areas of expertise, the team at Illuvium looks to have a solid foundation to build their game upon. We believe this team has all the prerequisites to deliver an outstanding gaming experience considering their employees.
Kudos to Illuvium for presenting their team members with such clarity. We’re highly confident in this team’s expertise, structure, and experience.
Do They Have Relevant Experience?
The team members working on Illuvium have relevant experience in their respective fields. As seen from the team member listing above and from looking through the different mediums listed on the individual members and their previous experience, many of them seem to have some, if not a lot of, previous work they can show for.
Co-founders Kieran and Aaron Warwick have years of business management experience.
Nate Wells, the game producer on Illuvium, has worked with huge titles such as Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite and has been the lead game producer on games such as Rise of the Tomb Raider and The Last of Us. These titles are considered massive AAA games with many fans – So we’re confident that Nate will be an invaluable asset to Illuvium’s team going forward.
Aleksandr Kirilenko, the lead animator on Illuvium, has done freelance 3D modeling jobs for giants such as Pepsi, Sony, and Toyota.
Rogier van de Beek, the lead concept artist for Illuvium, has worked with Paizo, an American role-playing game publishing company known for their tabletop role-playing game Pathfinder. Rogier has also shown off his work on his Instagram account and YouTube profile, where he takes us through his illustration process.
Alexandre Belbarim, the lead animator on Illuvium, has worked for over a decade on huge projects, spanning from; Marvel’s X-Men, Transformers, Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxies, Godzilla, Ready Player One, Men in Black, and even The Mandalorian.
There is no doubt that the team behind Illuvium has a lot of talented team members with a plethora of diverse talents and experiences.
Who Are Their Backers?
We can see their promoted backers on their website, featuring well-known names in the business. Let’s take a deeper look at some of them and what they stand for.
Yield Guild is one of the project’s partners, aiming to bring players together to earn through blockchain-based economies. They call themselves “The settlers of the new worlds in the metaverse.” They have invested and contributed gamers to well-known titles such as GuildOfGuardians, Illuvium, Nitroleague TheSandbox, Cyball, and Thetan arena.
Read more about Yield Guild here: https://yieldguild.io/.
Unfortunately, Lotus Capital has very scarce available information. The firm is based in the middle east, in Egypt. They prefer to invest in seed-, early- and later-stage companies operating in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector. Through their website, the firm informs that they have several advantages, such as direct access to 30,000 crypto users in the middle east, a deep network, Arabic marketing, and token economics advisory.
Read more about Lotus Capital here: https://www.lotuscapital.me/.
Delphi Digital was founded in 2018 with one simple mission. They wanted to build the best institutional-grade research firm dedicated to crypto and digital assets. Their team consists of dedicated global analysts specializing in specific sectors of the digital asset industry. Their website states that the team aims to change the crypto landscape and incubate protocols that will shape the future.
Read more about Delphi Digital here: https://delphidigital.io/.
We will now look at Illuvium’s roadmap, which we have found in their whitepaper.
Game Developer’s Roadmap
Illuvium’s roadmap seems to be divided into two parts: technology and sales. From what we can see from the roadmap, the team is working on an “Auto Battler Trailer” as well as “Yield Farm Contracts V2”, including a soon-to-be “Zero Land Sale.”
Although the roadmap isn’t as creative and visual as what we’ve seen from other projects, it cuts straight to the point and is up to date. They have also added a simple “In development,” “To be ratified,” and “Completed” to make it even easier to follow along.
Alpha Team’s Thoughts On The Roadmap
Judging by what the team has already accomplished and a highly detailed roadmap, we seem to find little to no issues thus far. As many projects state, creating a game is far from a linear process and is naturally subject to change. This is stated very clearly in Illuvium’s roadmap. In addition, they have updated their goals with status, as mentioned earlier, stating whether the goal has been completed or is in development.
In addition to the roadmap, Illuvium has also created its own marketing strategy approach to target most of the market, which you can easily find in its whitepaper. The team also announces and shares its progress with its highly supportive community through social media platforms such as Twitter, Youtube, and Discord. We also want to specifically include one of the project’s playlists on Youtube called “Illuvium: Insider,” welcoming the community to get to know the project even better. These videos seem to be often shown live and open up for Q&As as well.
Judging by the already completed tasks in the whitepaper and the many social media platforms and Youtube channels sharing the project’s progress, we are confident that the team has everything under control, and their community seems to be thriving as well.
In Illuvium, there really isn’t a need for the typical guild/scholar model. The game has a free-to-play aspect where players that don’t have the capital to enter with purchased NFTs have the option to test out the game in the same fashion as everyone else but are limited to tier 0 NFTs without earnings. However, there is a mechanism that allows for the leasing of land. Someone who owns land plots but doesn’t have the time or just wants to maintain their land can lease out the land through the Illuvium smart contracts to willing renters. Profits will be shared between the two parties.
In short, renting is possible for land plots that are part of the Illuvium Zero mobile gameplay.
Link to the whitepaper: https://docs.illuvium.io/
Illuvium’s whitepaper is in a GitBook style, with clear sections covering the core parts of the project. It starts with a very brief introduction of the game before going into details regarding the $ILV and its DeFi features. It also explains why they focus on DeFi and their reasons for using Immutable X as a Layer-2 solution on Ethereum.
Following this section, we get the game overview which explains the core parts of the game. This section alludes to some lore, although it is not very descriptive or deep. Subjects like game modes and the various NFTs are also covered in this section.
In the next few sections, we get an insight into future plans, the tech, and the DAO, before delving into tokenomics.
Finally, the roadmap, team, and partners are highlighted.
In addition to their whitepaper, they also have a news page found here: https://illuvium.io/news
In this section, Illuvium has been really on point for releasing a lot of interesting news and information. Much of this is information that can be seen in relation to the whitepaper, and as such, we’ll include it in this section as well, including our rating of the whitepaper.
Alpha Team’s General Thoughts On The Whitepaper
Illuvium’s whitepaper doesn’t seem like it has been updated in quite a while. There is a lot of focus on the DeFi side of things and how this will be a good investment, so we don’t feel that this whitepaper is targeted at the typical web2 or web3 gamer but more at the curious gaming crypto enthusiast. Since Illuvium’s inception in 2020, we’ve seen the narrative change in the grander ecosystem from play-to-earn to a big focus on good games with crypto/NFT features.
What we feel is lacking in the Illuvium whitepaper is an up-to-date description of the game itself and its lore. For now, the whitepaper is primarily a semi-outdated document focused on the investment and not so much on the game.
Even though the whitepaper isn’t up to speed on everything, the Illuvium Medium is regularly updated with new articles covering important updates, lore, and other curiosities.
The Illuvium Medium has been replaced by the Illuvium News page. The content of these posts would be great additions to the whitepaper under the game overview and a possible lore section. Framing it all in the whitepaper would create an excellent resource for new enthusiasts looking to get into the project.
We can’t imagine any clear growth implications based on our research. Illuvium has a strong and broad team and the finances to support it. The quality of the content we’ve seen thus far, including gameplay videos, leaves little to no worry about potential growth implications.
Social Media Followers Count
Illuvium has quite the amount of followers. From our impression, their community is strong as well. We’ve previously mentioned their Youtube channel, which we will take a closer look at, amongst the other social media platforms the project uses.
In a post from November 17th, 2022, Brycent and KieranWarwick did a Twitchstream and broke the web3 twitch viewer record during the Overworld debut. On Brycent’s Twitch channel it states that the stream has had a total of almost 100,000 views!
The first of the social media platforms which we were shocked by was Illuviums’ Youtube channel. It has over 45,600 subscribers and a total of 2.2 Million views. Although the individual videos don’t have super high views, we can see the work and effort which has been put into these videos.
The team has also included playlists, making it easy to find what you are searching for. As the picture below shows, they have content playlists, including their community, such as the IlluviTalks, where the community can engage, comment, and even ask questions throughout the video. They even have a playlist for gameplay, trailers, and NFTs.
The videos are also of high quality with enticing music, and it seems like the community is eager to follow along. We are happy to see how Illuvium has created its Youtube channel for the best experience possible for the user. If someone has a question -Illuvium’s Youtube channel will probably have the answer.
Discord is the second most popular place if you are a part of the Illuvium community. The channel has several different chats and information channels, language channels, and links to all their social media platforms for clarity. The Discord members also have the advantage of seeing “leaks” of the game, which are posted by the team. For a discord channel with this number of members, we expected quite a bit of activity across the different channels, and we were not disappointed. The community seems as strong and active as they’ve been rumored to be.
Twitter seems to be the most popular platform to follow this project, with almost 340,000 followers. The project joined Twitter in October 2020. Several projects we’ve previously researched also seem interested in Illuvium, such as Shrapnel, The Harvest game, Rebel Bots, and Mobland. Most recently, it looks like their favorite way to share updates, news, and ideas are through videos.
They vary from conference-like videos with co-founders to smaller clips on their in-game development showing off attacks, skills, or even the Illuvials themselves. All in all, they seem to reach between 6,000-10,000 viewers per video. Last but not least, let’s get into the engagement rate.
With approximately 340,000 followers, we would love to see Illuvium’s engagement rate between 1-3%, translating to between 3,400 – 10,200 interactions per Post. From what we can see from recent posts, they end up between 196 to 4,119 interactions, which translates to 0,05%-1,2%. The posts with the most hype seem to be either events or competitions, as well as trailers for the game.
Illuviums’ Instagram dates back to April 2021 and has since added 174 posts at this written moment. We can see a trend of 1-2 posts a day, and they seem to be keeping their streak for the most part. Usual posts seem to be short videos or pictures of the Illuvials and the in-game world and game concepts.
The project’s Facebook was somewhat difficult to find since it was only promoted through their discord channel and not on their website along with the other social media links. Although it seems like the team did try to post frequently on Facebook, we can see that there have just been three posts for the last month. Even though the updates are less frequent on this platform, the community still seems engaged and happy to see updates.
The posts featuring Illuvials and the trailers which have been published have all looked very professional and of high quality.
On Average, lately, we’ve seen a continuing trend of projects losing their followers little by little. However, Illuvium is the strong opposition to this, which we find impressive. They have gained more followers in the past month on nearly all of their social media channels. We are looking forward to seeing how the team manages to maintain their thriving community on Twitter while we applaud them on their well-created Youtube channel.
Speculations And Connecting The Dots
There is no doubt Illuvium has captured tremendous interest in the web3 space. Whether Illuvium will be the game that bridges web2 gamers over to the world of GameFi is quite uncertain on our end. As we’ve discussed earlier in this research report, this looks to be quite a capital-heavy game, and there are clear pay2win elements, especially in the in-game purchases providing benefits in-game.
One can speculate whether Illuvium is an attempt to recreate Pokèmon for adults and capture the now-adult gamers who grew up on Pokèmon games. Obviously set in an otherworldly universe and with AAA graphics. There are definitely clear resemblances.
Instead of Pokéballs, you have shards, and instead of evolutions, you have fusions. With the addition that you can fight alongside your monsters as well. The slogan on Illuvium’s website, “Collect them all,” sounds awfully familiar to Pokémons “Gotta catch ’em all!”.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. Nostalgic similarities can be a huge factor in a game’s success and whether new players are willing to give the game a proper chance.
Whether Illuvium can find success as an eSport is something we consider detrimental to the general longevity and success of the project, and we would love to see more details and plans in this regard. This might be possible in the current iterations of games but might be even easier in future games with team-play or more cooperation available.
Illuvium has been one of the prominent giants of the GameFi space since it started revealing its NFT collections and trailers early last year. Amassing more than 346’000 followers on Twitter and 45’600 subscribers on Youtube is impressive and substantial. One can see that this futuristic adult rendition of Pokémon has sparked hype in the GameFi community, and if you’ve made it this far in our report, you might have a better understanding of why that is.
Illuvium’s team leaves us with a very high conviction on them delivering a great ecosystem of games. The cinematics released has been genuinely amazing in addition to the artwork and general world-building of Illuviums overworld.
The whitepaper in itself is not recently updated or detailed enough to grab a higher score from us. We would love to find more lore and gameplay mechanics which we see outlined in Illuvium’s Youtube videos, their news page, or in previous Medium articles implemented in the whitepaper.
There are plenty of distributed sources, but they are not compiled in the whitepaper. Because of this, the project’s general information is quite scattered and requires a lot of time and effort to find. It would be much easier for new potential players if details regarding gameplay and lore were centralized on the main website or in the whitepaper.
We hope to see improvements on this in the near future. Illuvium has later consolidated a lot of its information to its website in the News section.
Illuvium is one of the most promising projects in the GameFi space, which is reflected in our score of 9, indicating projects we’re confident will deliver high-quality content to web3 gaming. Illuvium shows touches of brilliance in several aspects. One aspect is notably their best-in-class handling of social media. Illuvium is on top of social media, managing to retain its current followers while also gaining new ones. This is especially impressive when considering that Illuvium has perhaps the highest social media follower count of any web3 games to date.
Illuvium is set to release in 2023.
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