Blockchain Brawlers shook the Play-to-Earn world after it offered unparalleled earning, put out a staggering trading volume, and its native $BRWL token was listed on multiple exchanges, all within its first few weeks. The simplicity of the current iteration of the game, paired with its successful tokenomics, has acted as an attention beacon that has created an usual problem: the blockchain gaming world is looking at all the wrong aspects of Blockchain Brawlers.
This isn’t to say earning isn’t important in a Play-to-Earn game, but the project has been quickly categorized as a basic clicker, and I can see why; on the surface, that’s all it is. What’s truly interesting about WAX Studio’s first game lies below that surface and a lot of it isn’t even public knowledge. So, after several conversations with the team behind Blockchain Brawlers, I wanted to bring to light the reasons why I am excited about the future of the game and why you should be too.
As always, we want to remain completely transparent at Token Gamer: I (Rob) am an ambassador for Blockchain Brawlers. This isn’t a paid position, I’m just part of a small group that gives feedback for the game. Nevertheless, there are benefits to being an ambassador, one of which is the knowledge I want to bring to the public’s attention.
Below are three reasons why Blockchain Brawlers is going to be an important project in the space.
1. Richard Garfield’s Involvement Is Far More Significant Than it Sounds
It’s frustrating and amusing, but the projects in blockchain gaming with the least substance to them are typically the loudest about why you ought to care they exist; empty vessels make the most noise and all that. The team behind Blockchain Brawlers has the opposite problem to this: they don’t play the hype-building game enough. The best example of this is number 3 in this list, but Richard Garfield’s involvement is also a strong candidate.
Richard Garfield is the legend — and this is a rare instance where “legend” is fair use — who created Magic: The Gathering. When he agreed to work with WAX Studios on Blockchain Brawlers, there was an announcement and lots of media coverage. My expectation of this partnership was that Garfield would be a sort of consultant, advising on the upcoming PvP mode of Blockchain Brawlers. I liked this news, I was pleased WAX Studios was able to secure somebody of his caliber, but was it going to be a game-changer? Probably not.
Wrong. The reason I, and many others thought this, is because there was little else to go on. That is in part due to humbleness, and in part due to restraint while WAX Studios gets all of its eggs in a row, but Garfield’s role in Blockchain Brawlers is far more impactful. The PvP mode is a game Garfield made before his involvement with WAX and it is being brought over and repurposed for WAX Studios. That is, the person who made Magic: The Gathering, one of the most iconic gaming inventions since dice, has created a new game and it’s going to be the PvP module of Blockchain Brawlers. It’s hard not to be optimistic about that. Furthermore, Head of WAX Studios, Michael Rubinelli, assured me that it’s not a game that currently exists; this is a new format. If this creation is 1% as successful as Magic: The Gathering has been, it’ll be like a technological singularity for blockchain gaming.
2. The PvP Mode Is Skill-Based, Competitive, and Will Have an Elo Rating System
The news of Garfield’s role in Blockchain Brawlers — his true involvement — has me markedly more excited for what’s to come, particularly the PvP mode he has created. Nevertheless, the term “PvP” is applied loosely, particularly in blockchain gaming. To my eyes — and I’m sure some may disagree — PvP is only worthwhile when there is skill involved. Though there are a lot of interesting comments on the PvP mode by WAX Studios, it’s the extra information that ties it all together.
Firstly, you may have seen that WAX Studios has split the game into two phases: the Mining Phase (that we’re currently in), and then the PvP Phase which is coming. That is, right now we’re grinding $BRWL and gold NFTs to use in the PvP phase to come. There are a few pieces of information that stand out about this that are already public:
- In the PvP phase “you’re actually playing a game not simply mining a currency”
- $BRWL will have “exponentially more utility in the PvP phase”
- Mining phase ends when 1 billion $BRWL is in circulation
The first is a great example of Michael Rubinelli and WAX Studio’s self-awareness. As I highlighted in my first article after playing Blockchain Brawlers, it isn’t currently a game, it’s the early foundations for a game. It’s comforting to hear the developers observe that too.
The second point is great in terms of game complexity (both gameplay and economy), but also for the value of $BRWL token. The more ways to spend a token and the more areas of the game in which $BRWL is needed, the better.
The third point is simply an arbitrary endpoint for the current phase but it does indicate that the players will control when we move into PvP, and also that $BRWL won’t be overabundant in the PvP phase.
What really excites me, however, is what the team shared with me on the call that prompted this article. The PvP mode of the game — Garfield’s creation — is skill-based, it’s not pay-to-win (that is, the legendary brawlers do not offer a PvP advantage), it will be competitive with leaderboards, and it will have an Elo rating system. The Elo system was originally created for chess but has been used to measure the skill level of players in a vast array of other games, including the majority of esports games.
3. The Writers and the Lore are Unsung Heroes
There is a part of Blockchain Brawlers that barely gets a look-in, overshadowed by Richard Garfield, how much you can earn, and what’s to come. The writing and lore of any game are often underappreciated, and yet it is crucial to a well-rounded project and can cultivate a community in a way few other aspects can. When it comes to Blockchain Brawlers, it is criminally overlooked and I blame Blockchain Brawlers for that. The team is irritatingly humble; let me explain.
While on a call with senior members of WAX Studios, furiously mining them for exclusive information, David Pava, VP of Marketing at WAX Studios, began innocuously discussing how the writing and story is being approached for the game. A few parts I knew, but most I didn’t and I stopped him mid-sentence to ask why this wasn’t common knowledge. I got the humble shrug I ought to have expected.
So, here are the two elements of the writing and lore that I believe everyone interested in Blockchain Brawlers needs to know.
Community Driven Story
Professional wrestling has a fundamental focus on audience participation and Blockchain Brawlers intends to mirror that. This will be achieved in a number of ways, from direct to more indirect. For example, community surveys are not only used for game feedback and to make nuts-and-bolts decisions, but to affect direction. Through players’ answers, everything is decided, from the naming of the city to the macro decisions on the tone of the game’s backstory.
What’s more — and few people know this — the most active community members will vault the fourth wall and become characters in the Blockchain Brawlers universe in the form of trainers, managers, announcers, and more. This has already happened twice so far, with George the Ginormous becoming the manager of legendary brawler, Rusty Klutz, and Arcade Danger becoming an investigative reporter for Brawlerverse Magazine.
One more obscure way in which the Blockchain Brawlers developers use the community to influence the story is through memes. The writers keep an eye on common memes shared on Twitter and Discord and add them to the game’s canon, posting them in the #Brawlerverse channel. One example of this is #ScottyGang, chanted by supporters of common brawler, Scotty Wideye.
The All-Star Team
The most famous member of the team behind Blockchain Brawlers is Michael Rubinelli, Chief Gaming Officer at WAX Studios (I recommend listening to our interview with Mike on the Mint One Podcast.) Mike is not only a longtime wrestling fan, he produced multiple of the bonafide classics of the WWE games while working at THQ.
This is all common knowledge at this point. What isn’t, is the caliber and relevant experience of two more crucial members of WAX Studios.
David Pava: VP of Marketing for WAX Studios
25+ year veteran in games & entertainment, including multiple wrestling franchises
- Former producer and content manager for WCW.com (World Championship Wrestling) at Turner Sports
- Former marketing manager for THQ & marketing consultant for multiple wrestling titles
- Wrestling game credits include: WCW/NWO Revenge, WWF WrestleMania 2000, Smackdown vs. Raw
Chad Damiani: Creative Consultant
20+ year TV & film veteran, including wrestling & TV
- Former announcer and writer for World Championship Wrestling
- Since WCW, he’s moved on to write and work on film, TV, and reality show projects for Sony, Fox, Paramount, New Line, FX, TBS, CBS, and NBC.
Then, on top of these three powerhouses, you have Cub Studios who are the incredible artists behind the visuals of Blockchain Brawlers as well as a number of key executives at WAX Studios who assist.
As you can see, the writing and game direction isn’t managed by a handful of people looking to make a quick Play-to-Earn title for a cash injection, its industry veterans with unparalleled backgrounds in wrestling games. You’d be hard-pushed to find people better suited to making Blockchain Brawlers!
When Blockchain Brawlers launched, I was outwardly critical about one aspect: it was called a game and it didn’t feel like one. Although I had heard that’s where it’s headed, I wasn’t sure what that truly meant. Blockchain gaming has been saturated with promises and postulating, with little in the way of substance to support it. I’m pleased to see, Blockchain Brawlers isn’t part of that camp — in fact, they’re not on the same continent.
WAX Studios has been quietly assembling the perfect team, drafting in the crème de la crème of wrestling game experience. Then, they compounded this by hiring arguably the premier human being on the planet at creating competitive card games, Richard Garfield. All of this is rounded out with proper community engagement and involvement.
It’s a shame some gamers turned away from Blockchain Brawlers, chalking it up as another clicker when it was in its simplest form, finding its feet in the complex and jagged landscape of Play-to-Earn. However, those who looked further down the line and have stuck by the project look set to reap the rewards as Blockchain Brawlers sets its sights on redefining the entire Play-to-Earn genre, bringing it back to that which spawned it: gaming.
You have two ways to win a sold-out Blockchain Brawlers Artifact pack with us. Each pack contains a brawler, a ring, and some swag — all you need to get brawling — as well as a 0.1% chance to find legendary brawler, Rusty Klutz!
The first is during our debut Twitch stream tonight, 26th May 2022 at 8pm UTC where we will be giving away 5 packs and opening one live on air.
The second is by entering our Gleam giveaway where we are giving away another 5 packs!