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Written by Nicholas Korsgård, Chief Gaming Officer, Kim Bjerkeli and Sigurd Thomassen, Game Strategists, Balthazar Alpha Team, and Heidi Anette Laugsand Johansen.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Background
- 3 NFT Game Assets
- 4 The DEFY website
- 5 Blockchain
- 6 Team
- 7 Roadmap
- 8 Features
- 9 Whitepaper
- 10 Socialnomics
- 11 Conclusion
- 12 Other Research Reports
- 13 Register for Token Sale
- 14 Connect with our community.
In this article, you will read about our first look into the DEFY metaverse and how we perceive its upcoming Augmented Reality (AR) location-based play-to-earn game. We will also shed some thoughts on the steal-to-earn vision DEFY is bringing to the table.
We will be looking into its website design both on a personal computer and using a phone. Continuing, we will be exploring an easter egg, a potential teaser of the gameplay.
DEFY is an Augmented Reality (AR) location-based play-to-earn hacker game built on the Ethereum blockchain using the Polygon Layer-2 platform. Players, or “Operatives” as they are called, have joined a revolutionary hacker movement to take down an evil tech oligarch called Future Systems, to keep the metaverse open and decentralized.
Future planned updates include factions and Player vs. Player (PvP) elements. The economic model in the game is supposed to incentivize recruitment of new operatives, repetitive play, and user-generated content through active and passive earning mechanisms.
DEFY is set in a near-future dystopian world, where the evil tech oligarch Future Systems has amassed dictator-level power over global networks that power the internet. As a result of Future Systems’ power, neither privacy nor individually have room to exist. Everyone relies on Future Systems to provide the necessities of life that governments used to control- health, education, and finance.
Not everyone chose to fall in line; some chose to rise up and fight back. This is where players come in. Future Systems has a mole that wants to bring the system down from within. He is Kha0s, and he is the founder of the revolution against Future Systems. He’s currently working as a systems administrator for Future Systems. He has created a way for players to hide our identities and hack the network through an exploited mobile app.
By completing research tasks, operatives generate new exploits, allowing new hacks on the Future Systems network towers distributed around the real world. Once a network tower has been hacked, they will spew FCOIN to surrounding areas that operatives can collect. All FCOIN collected are then sent to Kha0s, amassing a treasury from which he can launch a 51% attack on Future Systems to bring their entire system down.
DEFY’s gameplay mechanics are heavily inspired by successful location-based mobile games like Pokémon Go, Ingress, Zombies Run, and District. DEFY operatives can interact with the game either through the “at-home experience” taking place entirely through the mobile/web application or the “IRL experience” where the metaverse overlays real-world locations and encourages exploration and physical movement. This is where the move-to-earn element comes into play.
Essentially, DEFY field operatives will continuously hack into the Future Systems network to steal encrypted wallets. These wallets store FCOIN for Future Systems for transactions in that specific area. If the operative successfully decrypts the wallet, they can drain the contained FCOIN. Kha0s has created and provided a sophisticated hacking toolkit for the DEFY operatives to crack the wallets that is the core of the game’s actual gameplay.
For the operatives to crack and drain the Future Systems wallet, the operatives have to decode a series of ciphers to calculate each piece of the encryption key. Once all ciphers are solved, and all parts of the encryption key are calculated, the operatives can now combine their findings to reveal the private unlock key. Each different wallet contains a different amount of FCOIN, and the only way to guesstimate the wallet’s value is by scanning the wallet’s level of security. Higher security wallets require more unlock keys and contain a higher total amount of FCOINs.
DEFY also has a profit share model called “Community Decryption Queue” built into the game. This is meant for the operatives who “specialize in fieldwork” and instead want to outsource the actual wallet decryption. Through the community decryption queue, you can offer collected wallets to the community for hacking, paying a split of the rewards to the hacker. It is possible that through this system, you can also directly delegate the job to a specific user, and as such, they are opening up the doors for guild accessibility from the start.
Every 24 hours, Kha0s will also leak an encrypted file from Future Systems to the Operatives, which gives a chance to win consumable items that can be used when exploring outdoors or sold to other Operatives. This leaked encrypted file can be accessed through a “Code Guess” game, where you have six attempts to guess a five-digit passcode. Odds of rewards are increased with the total remaining attempts, and there is also a streak bonus for daily attempts.
Then there are side puzzles available, currently “Code Search” and “Code Swap,” which, upon completion, reveals one out of the five digits in the correct position for the daily Code Guess game.
Go outside and play
Now let’s move on to the real world, Augmented Reality (AR) gameplay, where the inspiration from Pokémon Go and the likes come to fruition. Real-world gameplay will come through what DEFY has called “Network Cell Tower Hacking.” So let’s take a look.
All funds from everyday transactions flow through Future Systems wallets, which are located all around the world. And to maintain these wallets, Future Systems has created a global network of cell towers. Each cell tower has a hexagonal boundary that divides all maintained wallets into groups. Once the total value of the wallets in a group passes a threshold, the held funds are transferred back to Future Systems HQ.
This is where the operatives come into play. The operative’s mission is to hack into these cell towers to reveal locations of the wallets in the area and steal the funds of the wallets before they get transferred back to the Future Systems HQ. However, the network cell towers are cloaked and concealed from the naked eye. Operative masks contain scanning devices, which will send out a pulse revealing the locations and hexagons of nearby towers. Once you are physically within the cell tower’s hexagon, you can hack the adjacent tower.
Cell tower hacking involves completing a series of challenges within a time limit to access the data. A code will be shown during a challenge, along with a grid of characters. The operative’s challenge is finding the code in the grid to complete the challenge. Once you successfully complete the required number of challenges, you get access to the data. The time limit is based on the security level of the tower and represents how long you have until Future Systems traces you and kicks you out of their system. The tower’s security level is also relative to the combined value of all the wallets within the tower’s hexagon. The higher the value, the higher the security, and vice versa.
If the operative completes the hack, it will reveal the locations of all the wallets maintained by the tower, and the tower will be taken offline for about an hour. With the wallet’s locations now visible, the operatives can now visit the wallet’s site to begin stealing the wallet’s data file. Transfer of the data takes time and will appear as an unbanked wallet in your inventory. These unbanked wallets remain encrypted and need to be decrypted later in order to access the funds within. With the wallet in your inventory, you can now move on to the next wallet’s location.
We wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking that the challenges DEFY has brought to the table are difficult enough; we agree to some extent but are happy to find out that there is even more depth to these challenges. This extra depth to the challenges comes in the form of “Threats,” which come in the form of drones – automated Repair and Maintenance drones (ARMs) as they are called. These ARMs are passive until a tower is hacked, which then alerts the ARMs that will head to the hacked tower to investigate.
If the tower hack is successful, the ARMs will seek out and close exposed wallets. If the hack fails or the contents of all wallets in the area have been stolen, or the wallet’s closed, the ARMs will continue searching for remaining operatives in the area before going back in passive mode.
Then there is another added element, which is called “heat.” Some of the actions performed by operatives generate heat. Heated operatives attract ARMs, and with high enough heat level will also make the pursuing ARM change mode into ARMED (Automated Repair, Maintenance, and Enforcement Drone). If an ARMED catches an operative, the operative loses any unbanked wallets and potentially other items in their inventory.
ARM drones will pursue any operative with a heat level higher than 3, or if all exposed wallets are already closed. Heat items produce a heat radius which expands with the number of things the operative holds. Any ARM drones entering an operative’s heat radius cause it to pursue. If the operative banks the heat items, their produced heat get’s removed.
Luckily the game provides several ways to deal with the extra threats. On the one hand, you can deal with high heat by banking wallets you are holding on to. However, this transfer does cost a small amount of FCOIN, and the time to transfer increases with the number of wallets being banked. The wallets themselves are still vulnerable while being moved, and you cannot collect new wallets while banking is processing.
Then there are two weapons an operative can use against the pesky drones. EMP and Anti-Drone Weapon. The operative masks are equipped with an Electromagnetic Pulse Device (EMP) that disables all drones within a certain radius when fired. The EMP has a five-minute recharge time before new uses, but the recharge time can be decreased through kinetic energy, meaning running around rapidly for about 30 seconds.
Using an anti-drone weapon, you can destroy the drones themselves for a more permanent solution. This weapon has a charge requirement and needs to be pointed directly at the drone. If you shoot and hit the drone, it will explode and drop parts that the operatives can use to create their own drones.
Operatives can also utilize extra tools to get through sticky situations. These tools can be earned by completing the daily challenge or buying through the marketplace. These tools are:
- Exploits – Instantly bypass a security measure attached to a tower
- EMP Charges – Instantly charge your EMP
- Transfer Boosters – Speed up transfers, either establishing a connection to the tower, stealing wallet data, or banking your wallets
- Heat Dampeners – Lower your heat level for a short period, for example, sneaking past ARMs blocking your way.
NFT Game Assets
For the operatives to hide their identity, masks are required. There are two main classes of masks: Generic and Premium. Generic masks are free NFTs granted to free-to-play players upon account creation. On the other hand, premium masks offer several benefits to their counterpart.
Some play-to-earn elements are only accessible for premium mask holders, and the masks themselves are upgradeable. In the future, you can burn your premium mask to mint a new and better mask. In addition, operatives can also build on to their masks, full-body suits, aesthetic items, and music through leveling up and acquiring in-game NFTs.
Operatives owning a premium mask can convert collected FCOIN to $DEFY through the DEFY web platform. Every six hours, a reward of $DEFY tokens in proportion to contributed FCOIN sent to Kha0s treasury gets distributed to Operatives.
As we mentioned before, if you explode a drone by using the Anti-Drone Weapon, you can collect parts and combine them into your own personal drone. Operative-owned drones can be trained to complete tasks, such as flying to a hacked wallet, retrieving the FCOIN, and returning to the operative. The operative drones can be upgraded by purchasing items from the “hack store,” trade, or game progression. Drone owners can also buy AR hangars to store their drones. These Hangars are customizable and visible to other Operatives.
To encourage user-generated content in the game, users and artists can generate and sell NFT assets in-game such as Mask upgrades, Drone skins, AR hangar items, and virtual assets for land-holders. The marketplace itself will be denominated in both $DEFY and FCOIN, and the artist will receive all payments in $DEFY.
Premium mask owners can utilize their $DEFY to advance their gameplay and earning potential by purchasing land. The actual real-world map is divided into a hexagonal grid of land parcels purchasable with $DEFY. The land parcel owner will earn passive income based on any FCOIN earning within its borders. This means that the actual value of the land increases with player interaction growth in the area. Land parcels are tradable on the secondary market.
The DEFY website
How does DEFY’s website measure up on desktop computer versus a smart phone? We compare the differences between the two versions and provide a verdict with our recommendations.
Our first impression opening DEFY’s website on our PC is WOW. The website is appealing with a blue background, and we are hit with a black and green spinning globe. The website appears to be visually balanced, not too much nor too little.
In addition to the themed globe, the text keeps changing as the cursor moves through it in a hacker-reminiscent way. This reminds us of the Matrix, which most people would be familiar with, and gives some expectation to what DEFY tries to assort itself to.
‘Keep the metaverse open’ and ‘NFT mint 26 march 2022’ are examples of text presented to the reader. Carrying on, we can see characteristics of the website, such as the text glitching and vivid pictures of maps, NFTs, and features that the game presents, such as crafting your very own drone.
DEFY is presented as a PVE play-to-earn game based on code-breaking gameplay in the whitepaper.
The game starts as soon as you enter its website. We find this addition very interesting, and we appreciate the effort of this easter egg being added to the site, which gives an old-school sort of feel to the game. The website provides a tip through the changing text to check the developer console, which is done by pressing F12. Here we find a note saying, ‘to prove yourself worthy, decode the following message.’ Followed by an encrypted message which is seen below.
For reference, the phone used for testing the website of DEFY is a Samsung Galaxy S10+. We don’t get the same grand feeling as the desktop version when entering the website using a phone. For the text to change, we have to tap it directly, and the cursor, which previously felt like an addition to the page, is now a permanent green dot to wherever you click. Even when we try to drag the cursor as you would on a desktop computer, it doesn’t move and forces the page to attempt to refresh. Compared to the desktop version, the globe animation when using the phone looks big, unclear, and takes up a lot of space.
On the other hand, the glitch effect on the text looks good on both devices.
Another fault we took notice of was the animation of the drone. The spinning image covers the whole screen and still doesn’t fit entirely. This gives the user an ‘unfinished’ feel to the website using a phone.
Screenshot captured by the Samsung Galaxy S10+ when opening the website. The picture demonstrates the fault with both the cursor and the issue regarding the forced refresh when trying to move the cursor.
On the desktop version of the website, we can uncover and solve the easter egg. The easter egg, which is a huge reason for us loving the desktop version, would be way more difficult to uncover using a phone. This could be critical because, as we know, a large majority of the play-to-earn audience is currently based in developing countries who don’t have desktop computers but do have phones. Considering this, we think it would be beneficial for DEFY to have a second look at their website to accommodate the need of the majority play-to-earn audience and increase usability on phone devices.
We will not give away the solution to the easter-egg, but we recommend trying to solve this code for yourself to feel the magic that this game potentially beholds. Just remember to attempt it using your desktop computer. We, in the Alpha team, enjoyed figuring this one out.
If you are into challenging your mind or solving mysteries, this game might be for you. This puzzle, or trial of the game, if you will, introduces you to the potential that this game might hold.
Our verdict: DEFY definitely made us stay on the desktop version of the website with this easter egg. On the other hand, the mobile site did not impress us. It has faults, and details that are supposed to impress the user instead are buggy on the phone device. Features such as the spinning globe, drone, and even the cursor itself, which are great additions on PC, don’t reflect well using a phone.
Despite challenges on the mobile site, we are excited to see what lies ahead for this game. We, in the Alpha team appreciate the unique feature of the easter egg that is added to the website, which introduces us to the potential gameplay.
What chain does the game run on?
DEFY is set to be built upon the Polygon Network, which is a layer-2 solution to Ethereum.
Ethereum is the second-largest blockchain globally and the number one blockchain development platform of choice. However, it has its limitations regarding low throughput, poor user experience, and no sovereignty. What this means for the consumer is high gas fees, delayed PoW finality, and shared throughput on the blockchain, which could be a clogging risk.
Several projects have been exploring Ethereum-compatible blockchains as a way to counter these limitations while still taking advantage of Ethereum’s ecosystem. Before Polygon, there were no specialized frameworks to build such blockchains or protocols to connect them. Polygon sets out to be a protocol and framework for building and connecting Ethereum-compatible blockchain networks. It takes the best of Ethereum and other sovereign blockchains into an attractive feature set, listed below:
- ETH Compatibility – Industry dominance, established tech stack, tools, languages, standards, enterprise adoption
- Scalability – Dedicated blockchains, scalable consensus algorithms, custom WebAssembly execution environments
- Security – Modular “security as a service,” provided either by Ethereum or by a pool of professional validators
- Sovereignty – Dedicated throughput and resources, fully customizable tech stack, sovereign governance
- Interoperability – Native support for arbitrary message passing, bridges to external systems
- User Experience – Comparable to “Web2”, “zero-gas” transactions, instant transaction finality
- Developer Experience – Equivalent to Ethereum, no protocol level knowledge required, no token deposits, fees, or permissions
- Modularity – High customizability, extensibility, upgradeability, short time-to-market, community collaboration.
In short, Polygon is a decentralized Ethereum-scaling platform that enables developers to build scalable user-friendly dApps with low transaction costs without ever sacrificing security.
Over 7,000 dApps have taken advantage of Polygon’s scaling solution. And they are committed to fostering the growth of Web3 applications by providing the infrastructure needed for Web3.
Our thoughts on the chain
Polygon seems to have become the go-to layer-2 solution on Ethereum. And we’ve seen it be used in several P2E games. We believe it’s so popular because of the average transaction time of just 2.3 seconds and the overall network throughput of 10,000 TPS (transactions per second). This is currently unbeaten on Ethereum-compatible solutions. In comparison, Ethereum takes about 15 seconds to do the same type of transaction and consumes significantly more power.
Another point is that Ethereum is a safe place to build because of its enormous ecosystem and widespread adoption. It is not necessarily risky to build out P2E games on other blockchains like Solana or Tezos, but going for an Ethereum based solution could be a way of “playing it safe.”
However, it is not without risk, as only recently, on March 11, 2022, Polygon suffered from an extended service outage after an upgrade. The network was down for over 11 hours which caused a lot of ripples in the crypto world, as the network couldn’t produce new blocks, costing the community and consumers a lot of money.
Is the chain opened or closed?
Polygon is secured by a permission-less or open set of Proof-of-Stake validators and checkpoints submitted to the Ethereum blockchain.
Who is on the team?
- Ben Pember – Co-Founder & CEO
- Tom Threlfall – Co-Founder & CFA
- Michael McClenaghan – Co-Founder & CTO
Other notable members
- Daniel Ricketts – Lead Mobile Engineer
- Tom Parke – Software Engineer
- Sam Withers – Marketing
- Christopher Siva Chance – Community Lead
DEFY has, as far as we can see, a small team with highly competent founders who have years of experience within their respective fields.
They have the CTO Michael McClenaghan, who has extensive experience developing location-based mobile applications, having previously launched the app District Race, which is a white-label fitness app for global companies. This app was customized for companies such as Apple, Adidas, Redbull, and MasterCard and had over 700,000 users globally.
In addition to this, they have a co-founder with a strong background in international finance. Their marketing lead, Sam Withers, an international DJ and a big influence on Twitter within P2E gaming, has a large existing audience and knowledge of digital marketing. They claim to have one of the strongest founding teams in the space.
Do they have relevant experience?
The CEO Ben Pember has been in director positions since 2010, and as mentioned above, the rest of the founders have a lot of experience in their respective fields. We’re curious to see if the team grows, as it seems to be small compared to other games we’ve analyzed.
Who are their backers?
Game developers roadmap
Our thoughts on the roadmap
DEFY’s roadmap for the future covers the whole of 2022 and the first half of 2023. In the first quarter of 2022, we can expect the whitepaper release, which at the time of writing seems to be in a transition state from a PDF whitepaper to a web-based whitepaper.
They will also be heavily focussed on the tokenomics part of the project, in both strategic partnerships, public pre-sale, and DEX and CEX listing. In addition to this, they will have their first mint of the VPM (Virtual Private Mask) NFTs, which provides early access to the game due at the end of the quarter.
For Q2 2022, they’re looking to release the beta for the game’s mobile app and go live with global PVE gameplay. On the economic side, they plan to have a land sale, a secondary VPM mint and launch the token swap for FCOIN → $DEFY.
In Q3 and Q4 of 2022, we can expect faction and PVP gameplay and a way to get passive income through the “Femtocell,” an addition to the gameplay loop.
By 2023, all we know is that they intend to introduce customizable virtual spaces via a land creators platform and enhanced avatars.
DEFY’s roadmap is concise and covers the not-too-distant future. With a fast-changing environment like the P2E space, it is essential to be adaptive and quickly change to the new paradigms. The further you look ahead, the less accurate it becomes with any plans or predictions. The same goes for DEFY’s roadmap. We believe this roadmap is sufficient for now and expect it to be actively updated as they keep ticking off goals along the way.
Delegation: Maybe through the “Community Decryption Queue”
Staking: Yes, the aim is to set up a liquidity pool for staking and further liquidity needs.
Link to the whitepaper: https://docs.defydisrupt.io/whitepaper/
Our general thoughts on the whitepaper
At the time of writing, we think the whitepaper lacks a bit of polish. It is likely in a transition phase of being a PDF whitepaper going towards a web-based GitBook type of whitepaper. We like the approach of using GitBook.
Regarding tokenomics, we would love to see more details about the distribution and the inflationary and deflationary measures available. As the number of $DEFY tokens will never exceed the 2.5 billion cap, we’re curious about how they intend to balance their economy through the measures mentioned above.
The team has dealt with the scaling of apps before, so we’re not worried that they can’t scale on the technical side. With the NFT launch coming up, we believe the word of mouth and referral program of the invitation cards is a clever way to get the word out. Currently, the number of active people in their community is not too significant. We can’t see any clear growth implications for this project, but the community side is where we would like to see some growth in numbers towards the launch. Being able to sell out their Genesis VPMs before or shortly after the public launch would be crucial.
Social media followers count
DEFY doesn’t have too much to analyze when it comes to the socialnomics of the game. It has a small Discord community of only 771 members at the time of writing, and its Twitter followers are around 11,000. It seems the game has kept a low profile up until now.
However, as the NFT mint is coming up, they’ll most likely start to make themselves more visible in the crypto sphere. The team recently tweeted about their NFT launch, described in detail in this Medium article.
The NFT launch will happen in four phases. These phases are windows of opportunity where a future operative can acquire a VPM.
- Phase 1: March 26 – requires a phase 1 Invitation Card
- Phase 2: April 9 – requires a phase 1 or 2 Invitation Card
- Phase 3: April 23 – requires a phase 1, 2, or 3 Invitation Card
- Phase 4: April 30 – Minting open to the general public. There will be no public minting phase if all 8,888 Genesis masks have been minted during the previous phases.
The masks will be crucial to participating in the early days of the DEFY Revolution. Now, you might wonder how you can obtain an invitation card. There are three methods to get this.
- Invitation via Solving Puzzles
- Invitation via an existing DEFY Operative
- Invitation via the Marketplace
We’ve already explained our experience with puzzle-solving. Unfortunately, we were too late to be included in the batch of operatives who were granted an invitation card from the first two puzzles. But a third puzzle was released on the March 16, and it will run till March 26, when phase 1 starts.
Those who crack the code will be offered a free invitation to join the DEFY Revolution. The same goes for the subsequent two phases. A corresponding puzzle will be released and grant an invitation to the ones who complete it.
The second way to get an invitation is through an existing DEFY Operative. When someone successfully joins the revolution through the minting of an NFT mask, they will be rewarded with an additional invitation card to recruit a friend during the next phase.
The third and final way is an invitation through the marketplace. Since all DEFY Revolution Invitation Cards are distributed as ERC721 NFT tokens, they can be sent, traded, or sold on the open market. Therefore if an operative chooses to list their unredeemed invitation card for sale, it may be purchased and used to mint a mask.
Some technical details regarding the launch:
- Minting takes place on the Polygon Network
- A mask will cost 0.08 ETH or an amount in MATIC based on an appropriate conversion rate
- Gas fees for Polygon ERC-721 mints are around $0.02.
Keep your Mask
There are benefits for operatives who hold on to their Virtual Private Masks. Apart from the early access to the game and the mask NFT itself, operatives will also get one additional invitation card with up to 10% commission upon successful activation. There will also be anywhere between 10 to 100,000 $DEFY tokens attached to every NFT minted, which for the luckiest is estimated to be around $10,000 at the time of launch.
We’re excited about DEFY’s launch. Even though AR is not a unique selling point, we definitely think that the learn-to-hack part of the game is in the P2E world. It is nice to see that more projects focus on “getting out there” and combine several “future technologies” like AR and Blockchain into one project.
We’ll end off with this message:
Balthazar Research Report: Join the DEFY Revolution
Written by Nicholas Korsgård, Chief Gaming Officer, Kim Bjerkeli and Sigurd Thomassen, Game Strategists, Balthazar Alpha Team, and Heidi Anette Laugsand Johansen. Contents1 Introduction2 Background2.1 Lore2.2 Gameplay2.3 Go outside and play2.4 Threats2.5 Protections2.6 Helpers3 NFT Game Assets3.1 Land4 The DEFY website4.1 Personal computer4.2 Phone usability4.3 The verdict5 Blockchain5.1 What chain does the game run on?5.2 […]
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