Influence and Test-to-Earn: Is This the End of Paying to Help Developers?

"'Do you remember when testing games was a career?' Now it's a paid privilege, both inside and outside of crypto." Viva la Test-to-Earn.

In a recent Mint One podcast episode, I put forward an off-the-cuff comment when discussing some of the utterly absurd prices for beta passes to blockchain games. I said something along the lines of, “do you remember when testing games was a career?” Now it’s a paid privilege, both inside and outside of crypto. What irks me about blockchain game testing is studios have the audacity to set 4 figure price tags on an alpha or beta pass!

Admittedly the word “investment” skews the matter, but regardless, developers knowingly exploit gamers’ enthusiasm, not only getting their product tested, but making money off of it too. I made the comment in jest, but it has become something of a mind-worm ever since.

Then, coincidentally, I see the sci-fi game, Influence, is launching a test-to-earn event.

What Is Influence?

Influence is a sci-fi strategy MMO where players create the world they inhabit, colonizing asteroids, flying ships, building, and fighting in PvP. The game draws inspiration from the likes of Eve Online, Sim City, and Civilization, looking to capture a burgeoning and complex economy.

Asteroids act as the game’s land — NFTs that the players can own and then mine and build on. You can recruit a crew of five classes — Pilot, Merchant, Engineer, Miner, and Scientist — as well as secondary market crewmates that will allegedly be under $10 and not offer game-breaking benefits. Combat takes place in real-time, but no footage of that is available yet, at least that I could find at the time of writing this.

Below is the overview of the test event from the Influence Discord:


In order to utilize the Influence testnet you will need to be on the Goerli Ethereum Network. This network utilizes goETH which you can acquire for free and then play around in Influence without having to pay any money for assets or transactions.

In this guide we will break down the steps to getting setup.

How much can I earn?

1% (1.5 billion SWAY) of the total initial SWAY distribution at launch will be given to participants of the Influence TestNet.

10,000 SWAY for minting an asteroid

(with a limit of 100 per address)

5,000 SWAY earned after completing the surface scan.

In the second phase users of the testnet will be able to bridge their asteroids to Layer 2 / StarkNet. Subsequent opportunities to earn will be available at this point (and during additional phases in the future) as part of the distribution of the 1.5 billion SWAY.

NOTE: SWAY is only available to you at the release of Exploitation (Our first major release coming this Summer). You will earn it now, but won’t be able to use it til the game launches.

Influence Discord

To join the test event on the Goerli Network, I recommend following the guide on their Discord. Once you’ve verified with the server using Captcha, click this link to go to the relevant channel.

Final Thoughts

Test-to-Earn is a new twist on Play-to-Earn and it’s one I want to see more of. For too long players have been working for large games studios to test their products for market and paying for the opportunity to do so. With tokenized economies in blockchain games, this can at the very least be incentivized with the game’s own token, rewarding players for taking the time to test the game.

I, like most gamers, have bought into as early as pre-alpha projects to test a game. I’ve done it outside of crypto, but inside blockchain gaming I am far looser with my requirements. There was a time when testing a game at such an early stage was a paid career, or at the very least, a deeply appreciated favor from community members; I would like to see us return to a state where developers value the time and attention of their playerbase.

Robert Baggs
Robert Baggs
Full-time professional crypto writer and Editor of Token Gamer. Co-host of the Mint One Podcast. Obsessed with MMOs. London based. Primary holdings: WAXP, ENJ, & BTC. Secondary holdings: ETH, GALA, & MATIC

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