Axie Infinity is the largest and most popular play-to-earn (P2E) game: a blockchain-based title that enables anyone to generate real money in the form of crypto tokens simply by taking part. Blockchain games have enabled whole new game dynamics, and the combination of compelling gameplay and crypto rewards has propelled Axie to the forefront of the P2E movement. The game now boasts a user base of 2 million, with a thriving digital marketplace.
A growing number of people are earning meaningful income in Axie Infinity, either by collecting the game’s native currency, SLP tokens, as they progress, or by developing and selling Axies, the characters on which the game is based. Because Axie uses non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, these Axies actually belong to players and have become hot digital property that can be bought and sold – with the most rare and valuable Axies selling for many thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.
So what exactly is Axie Infinity, how do you get started, and what are the best ways to earn by playing?
Axie Infinity is an online game in which players collect, develop, breed, battle, and trade fantasy creatures called ‘Axies’. The game is similar in some respects to Pokemon, but because Axies are based on non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and the game is hosted on the Ethereum blockchain, entirely new gameplay dynamics are enabled. Axie Infinity is one of a growing number of play-to-earn (P2E) games, which actually reward players with real money in the form of crypto tokens that can be transferred and traded.
Axies themselves are fierce but loveable creatures that look something like dragons (though they’re actually based on axolotls). Each Axie is a unique digital collectible with its own genetic ‘code’, which is stored on the blockchain. This code determines Axies’ characteristics and rarity, which also gives them value; the rarer the Axie, and the more suited it is to battle, the more income it can generate and the more it is likely to fetch on the open market.
These digital pets come in nine different classes, which sets out certain basic characteristics. The nine classes are: Beast, Plant, Bug, Mech, Dusk, Aquatic, Bird, Reptile, and Dawn.
Each class has its own strengths and weaknesses. These strengths and weaknesses are evenly distributed, so that every Axie is stronger than three others, weaker than three others, and the same as two others. Different Axies will therefore complement those in other classes, and the ideal team of Axies could include a diverse pick of creatures. However, it’s far more complicated than just the nine classes!
Every Axie has six body parts: Eyes, Ears, Horns, Mouth, Back, and Tail. It’s therefore possible to have a large amount of variation in just the physical appearance of an Axie.
The Axie depicted above is from the Plant class. It has Papi eyes, Clover ears, Carrot tail, Rose Bud horn, Serious mouth, and Pumpkin back.
Here’s another example:
This Axie is a Bird class, and has Tricky eyes, Early Bird ears, Anemone back, Serious mouth, Babylonia horns, and a Swallow tail.
Because Axies are breedable, they receive a randomly-determined combination of their parents’ genetic code and overall characteristics. Different body parts are associated with different classes, and will give it certain advantages.
In addition to their class and body parts, each Axie is scored across four domains: Health, Speed, Skill, and Morale. Health determines how much damage an Axie can sustain in battle before being beaten. Speed determines the order of play in a battle, with faster Axies getting to attack first, and being less likely to be harmed when defending. Skill influences the amount of damage an Axie will inflict on its opponent in battle. And Morale is a kind of ‘luck’ score that can increase the odds of inflicting serious damage, and can give the Axie extra attack time before they’re knocked out of the battle.
Every Axie is given a total of 140 base stat points, which are shared across these different attributes – with their Class determining how the points are distributed and, consequently, the creature’s attributes. As an example, Plant and Dusk have the highest number of Health points (43), while Mech has the highest Skill and Bird has the highest Speed.
Then, each body part will give additional stat bonuses to different categories, depending on the part’s Class:
Because each body part adds a total of 4 points to the Axie, every Axie has 164 points spread across different categories. This means Axies have a wide variation in characteristics, which makes them more or less effective when attacking and defending against other Axies.
Axies’ abilities in battle depend on which type of horn, mouth, back and tail body parts they have. These abilities can be offensive or defensive, for example inflicting damage upon their opposite number, or draining energy from the other team. When Axies go into battle, they play a move against their opponent, which is represented by a Card. Different cards may be ‘comboed’ for extra impact. The full list of cards can be viewed and sorted using Axie World’s Card Explorer. Any given Axie will have a range of different cards that should suit its role in the team and enable it to be a more effective fighter.
Finally, Axies can be bred with each other to produce new Axies. Each Axie can be bred a maximum of 7 times. Each breeding requires a certain amount of Smooth Love Potions (SLP) tokens, with breeding becoming more expensive the more times a creature is bred. However, as Axies are developed and bred, the chances of gaining a rare new Axie, which will perform well in battle and win more SLP, become higher.
Axie is a multi-platform game that can be played using a downloadable client for Windows, or on mobile. Game functionality is the same whichever platform the user chooses, though some users will naturally prefer one or other approach.
Because Axie Infinity is a blockchain-based game, before playing you will need to download and familiarise yourself with the crypto wallets used in the game. These enable you to securely store and manage your tokens, including the NFTs that represent Axies, and the SLP tokens that are required when playing the game and that are paid out for winning.
You will need two separate wallets: MetaMask, and the Ronin wallet. MetaMask is a very popular browser-based wallet (also available on mobile) that is used by millions of people to access the Ethereum ecosystem. You can use MetaMask to log into Axie , and to buy ETH, the token that powers the Ethereum network.
The Ronin wallet allows you to interact with the Axie ecosystem. All significant actions within the game are processed on the Ronin sidechain, which is a solution developed by the Axie team to address the congestion and high gas fees on Ethereum. Using Ronin means players can acquire and trade NFTs and SLP tokens more cheaply and reliably.
A full guide to getting set up with MetaMask and Ronin, and creating an account for Axie Infinity, can be found on the Axie Substack. The most important point is to copy down your Seed phrase, which gives you access to your account, and to keep it safe – since losing this means losing access to your tokens!
Once you’ve created an account, you need to download the app in order to play the game. You can download the client for Windows, or the mobile version for iOS, Android, or mobile browser. The whole process is probably easiest on desktop, and Google Chrome browser is recommended, since this works well with MetaMask, but the mobile versions are also extremely popular.
Go to axieinfinity.com and click the Play Now button in the top right of the screen. You should see the following pop-up:
The download will start automatically and you’ll be prompted to save it to your desktop. If you prefer to play another way, cancel this and select one of the other options – iOS, Android, or Mac OS, and follow the instructions to download and install the app. Again, there’s plenty of help on the Axie site.
Once you’ve downloaded the client, you’re almost there. Before you can start playing, though, you’ll need to buy some Axies. You need a minimum of three to form a team. They’re available from the Axie Marketplace, marketplace.axieinfinity.com, which is linked from the home page. You can log in using the wallet that you created in an earlier step, or using your email, or with a QR code.
Axies are priced in ETH, the native currency of Ethereum, so you’ll need some tokens to make your first purchases. You can buy ETH directly from MetaMask using a credit card, or from an exchange like Coinbase, Binance, or TimeX. You will then need to withdraw the ETH from the exchange to your MetaMask wallet. Once you’ve done this, you then need to bridge the ETH over to the Ronin sidechain, so that it can be used in Axie Infinity and on the marketplace. Use the Ronin Bridge for this, which is again integrated into the Axie site. The bridge allows you to move digital assets backwards and forwards between Ronin and Ethereum. However, exchanges like TimeX allow you to deposit and withdraw certain tokens (like SLP) directly to Ronin, cutting out the Ethereum network altogether and saving you considerable time and fees.
On the marketplace you’ll find a wide range of Axies for sale. The rarer and more developed (and useful) the Axies are, the more expensive they will be.
Ensure you research your Axies carefully so you can build a balanced starter team! Even the cheapest Axie is likely to cost $100 or more, though, which can make it expensive to get started. However, any NFT purchased can later be placed for sale on the marketplace, allowing players to recoup their initial investment.
The high cost of entry has opened a new market for Axie Scholarships, in which owners lend NFTs to players in return for a proportion of their daily earnings. These scholarships are often organised via guilds that create a community of players and asset holders, pooling knowledge and expertise to increase chances of success and earnings.
Crypto Gaming United (CGU) is a major guild that seeks to attract active play-to-earn gamers and give them access to the best blockchain gaming opportunities. The initiative organises scholarships for Axie and other games, and at present has over 5,800 scholars spread around the world, with a Discord community of almost 100,000 users. In addition to gaining access to Axie NFTs to improve earnings potential, CGU members can learn more about blockchain technology and play-to-earn gaming, and earn additional CGU tokens by completing useful tasks and helping promote the project. Gamers can find out more about scholarships by joining the Discord.
Once you’ve downloaded the client and registered (see above), and purchased 3 Axies, you’re ready to start.
There are two main ways to earn money in Axie Infinity: farming SLP, and breeding Axies for sale. Of course, there’s no reason you can’t do both of these in the course of a game.
SLP can be earned in three ways. You can battle other Axies either in Adventure mode (against the computer) or PvP mode, against another player’s team. You can also earn SLP simply by completing certain tasks, like logging in daily. As you go head-to-head against other Axies, you’ll learn more about what works well in battle, what strategies to adopt, and which Axies fare well against different kinds of opponents.
The other main way to monetise your gameplay is to breed Axies for sale. Every time two Axies are bred, you will need to pay some SLP (either tokens that you have won or purchased from an exchange). The new baby Axie will have a selection of characteristics drawn from its parents, with an element of randomness meaning there’s always a chance of getting a rare and valuable creature.
You can either deploy these Axies in combat, using the most powerful ones to win more battles, or sell them on the marketplace. The more times an Axie has been bred, the more SLP will be needed to breed it again. You can also lend your new Axies out to other players to get them started with an Axie Scholarship.
Smooth Love Potions (SLP) is the fuel of the Axie Infinity gaming system. You can think of it as the native currency of the game.
There is a potentially infinite supply of SLP, since more is created as new players sign up and progress in the game. However, there are also sources of demand for SLP (like breeding Axies), helping to maintain the token’s value.
Nonetheless, as a crypto token, SLP is subject to the forces of supply and demand on the open market, and the price can be extremely volatile. At the time of writing, SLP is trading at a little over $0.06, but has been as high as $0.35 in the past year. Dedicated players can typically earn between 100 and 200 SLP per day. Once earned, SLP can be withdrawn via the Ronin bridge to Ethereum mainnet, or directly to supporting exchanges like TimeX, where they can be traded for other cryptos.
As players progress in Axie Infinity, they will be more or less successful than other teams. Teams’ success is scored in MMR points, with each game adding or subtracting points. The Axie Leaderboard ranks everyone against each other over the course of a season.
The Axie team offers significant cash prizes in tokens every season, meaning that the best players can win very welcome bonuses in addition to their daily earnings.
Axie Infinity is the largest and most popular play-to-earn game, allowing users to generate meaningful income simply by spending time in the game and winning against opponents in Adventure or PvP mode. Players earn SLP tokens, which can be traded on crypto exchanges for other currencies, and can also develop and sell Axies on the built-in marketplace.
How do you get started with Axie Infinity?
To get started with Axie Infinity, you will need to set up your blockchain wallets, create a user account for the game, purchase at least three Axies for your starter team, and download the app.
How much can I earn playing Axie Infinity?
It’s possible for dedicated players to earn 100-200 SLP per day. The price of SLP fluctuates on the open market, but this is roughly $6-12 USD.
How can I trade my SLP earnings?
You can withdraw your SLP via the Ronin bridge to the Ethereum blockchain, where they can be traded on various exchanges, including Uniswap (a decentralised exchange). Alternatively, SLP can be sent directly to an exchange that supports the Ronin chain, like TimeX, saving time and transaction fees.