Viewers of our stream may have noticed Superdope playing a brand new game on Elixir this week: Tollan Worlds. This brilliant, nostalgic MMORPG has just integrated Chainlink VRF and other Web3 games ought to follow suit. But what is VRF and what does it do in Tollan Worlds?
What Is Tollan Worlds?
Firstly, as Tollan Worlds is still so new and not everyone would have seen our stream, let’s give a quick overview of the game. Tollan Worlds is a pixel art-style, sandbox, Web3 MMORPG, available to play (with an access key) on the Elixir launcher. It is a beautifully nostalgic, cosy game on Polygon that I have a knee-jerk affection for.
Tollan Worlds x Chainlink VRF
Tollan Worlds announced on their Medium page yesterday that they have integrated Chainlink’s VRF. VRF stands for Verifiable Random Function and, simply put, it allows for absolute transparency whenever a random result needs to be generated. I first wrote about Chainlink VRF when Gala Games teamed up with Chainlink in June, and I’m going to recycle that explanation on how it plays a role in gaming:
“The initialism RNG (Random Number Generation) is used in many capacities within gaming and players refer to it to describe all manner of mechanics, but for good reason: randomness plays a central role in gaming. Whether you’re opening a loot crate, taking the spoils from a boss, or doing damage to another player, RNG will likely be involved. Nearly all areas of gaming where luck plays a role will be underpinned by RNG. So, why does that need to change in web3?
There have been enormous amounts of unexpected friction in the transition from Web2 to Web3 as we make our first steps across the threshold. Many systems require rethinking to fit our new framework and as innocuous as it might seem, RNG is one of them. Fair and transparent distribution of loot and rewards is essential and it must be beyond manipulation, particularly with the values that move around in blockchain games. So far, Chainlink VRF is the go-to solution for this problem.”
— Gala Integrates Chainlink VRF, But What Is Verifiable Random Function?
Now, with MMORPGs, randomness truly is part and parcel of the experience, from loot to damage and everything in between. Tollan Worlds has recently launched an event, The Marks of Fate, and this involves randomness. Players fight their way through the passages of the Mycelium Mines and once you complete the main quest, you will be assigned one of 4 Marks of Fate: Tah, Sevend, Elve, or Keth. There are only 6,000 of these ERC-1155 token marks available in total (1,500 of each) and which one you get once you complete the quest is random. Each token will have a different utility, unlocked in the next phase of the game.
This represents and small and simple example of randomness within a game that becomes more complicated in Web3. Hypothetically, imagine the Keth mark’s utility is far more desirable than the rest and that as the players flood into the game, 1,500 of them suddenly feel woefully limited. As a result, the price spikes, and the players holding the other 3 marks are rueing their luck at best. I say at best because it wouldn’t be all that difficult for the systems not to be random, and instead to be rigged.
That is a simple and extreme example, but as Web3 prides itself on transparency (albeit with some of the most senior figures not practicing what they preach), the little but crucial mechanic of randomness must be verifiably random as far more is at stake than in Web2 games.