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Kieran and Aaron Warwick: Illuvium Enters the Arena

Mar 30, 2021 ·

By Yan Liberman, CFA, CAIA, and Guest Analyst Coalie Bee

The Delphi Podcast Hosts Yan Liberman and Colm Buckley have Kieran Warwick and Aaron Warwick, Co-Founders of Illuvium, on the podcast to discuss the upcoming launch of their new game. The group discuss Kieran and Aaron’s story to better understand the genesis of Illuvium. Afterwards they go into all aspects of the game, ranging from token econ to long term vision.

Every Delphi Podcast is dropped first as a video interview for Delphi Digital Subscribers. Our members also have access to full interview transcripts. Join today to get our interviews, first.



 Music Attribution:

  • Cosmos by From The Dust |
  • Music promoted by
  • Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License

Interview Transcript:

Yan (00:01):

Hey everyone. Thanks for joining. Today we have Kieran and Aaron Warwick, who are the co-founders of Illuvium. I’d love for you guys to introduce yourself. Thank you very much for joining.

Kieran (00:21):

Hi Yan. Good to be here today. My name is Kieran, I’m one of the co-founders of Illuvium. Bit of background on me, I’ve been in crypto for, I think four or five years investing now. I left very briefly, maybe not briefly for a couple of years to found a tech startup. I then got roped back in by Kain in a summer of last year and started investing in a bunch of DeFi projects.

Kieran (00:57):

Got really, really caught up in the yield farming craze. And then it was a few months after that, where I started thinking, “All right, now I need to launch my own project,” saw the gap in the market with NFTs. And yeah. So I thought let’s speak to Aaron and launch a game.

Aaron (01:19):

Yeah. So I’m Aaron Warwick, Kieran and I obviously we’re brothers. He did rope me into this space, but I’m glad he did because it’s been an exciting ride. Up until probably middle of last year, I was definitely more inexperienced in terms of the crypto space. I knew a little bit about the technology behind it, but nothing about the investing or anything like that.

Aaron (01:43):

So it’s been a bit of a wild ride to get up to speed in terms of how everyone thinks about the space, but it’s been very enjoyable and I am the one who designs most of the gameplay elements. I’ve written most of the story and we hope you guys like what we’ve come up with.

Yan (02:04):

Yeah, no, absolutely. All the content that has come out so far, looks exciting and the quality is kind of unparalleled so far. We’d love to kind of dive into, what is Illuvium and provide a background for the listeners about the game and how it works.

Aaron (02:20):

Yeah. So Illuvium is an RPG Open World explorable game, where you collect strong and powerful creatures that you put into your collection. And once they’re inside of your collection, you strategize against other players and also other Illuvials in the environment to create a team that suits your play style and is effective.

Aaron (02:47):

And you battle those people, either in the ranked arena where everything is more skill-based and strategy-based, or you can go into the Leviathan arena where it’s a little bit more about bravado and showing that you’ve got the biggest and baddest collection out there. It’s set on an alien planet that has suffered a cataclysm and you effectively have no idea what has happened or what’s going on.

Aaron (03:16):

There is a small element of religion that plays into it as well, with the main character and their philosophy on what’s happening versus other people. But over the course of the game, people will start to understand what has gone wrong here and how they can survive and take the planet for their own.

Yan (03:42):

And in terms of the inspiration for the game, it draws from some elements of Pokemon. And it definitely, I think, will tap into nostalgia for a lot of people. So I’d love to hear more about that.

Aaron (03:54):

Yeah. So Kieran grew up right at the heart of the Pokemon craze. He’s right in that age group. I’m a little bit older than Kieran, so I think I just missed out. So growing up, I didn’t really understand how big Pokemon was really until probably about five or six years ago when I worked out that it’s actually way bigger than it’s ever been, rather than something that was… Just something that happened when Kieran was a kid.

Aaron (04:26):

So it’s been really interesting to see how big that’s grown over the years. And we wanted to have that sort of a feel put back into the game. But the problem with centralized games is, you can collect all of these things, but there isn’t a whole bunch of meaning behind it because what you’re collecting is totally separated from what everyone else is collecting.

Aaron (04:51):

Whereas if it’s on the blockchain, then what you have is seen by everyone else it’s fully owned by yourself. And a Pokemon style of game definitely matches that type of technology that has sort of come about in the last five or six years. Ours is a little bit different because I like strategy games. And I like to have that skill element built into the things that I play.

Aaron (05:19):

So when we looked at it, my first thought was that the Pokemon style of turn based, one-on-one combat, really leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to the skill. It’s usually very easy to work out what’s the right thing to do at any particular moment. But it’s not particularly fun for people. So we thought about what we could do to change it.

Aaron (05:41):

And that’s why we decided to put an auto battler into the game because with an auto battler, you get a vastly different number of choices that you can make. There’s far more strategies. It requires you to build multiple teams. And I think that those two genres will actually merge together very well. And we may be the first to do this, but I don’t think that we’ll be the last. I think it’ll start to pop up more and more.

Colm (06:09):

So just on that point there, like you’re saying, you’re introducing the auto battler aspect to kind of introduce more scale into the game and stuff. But a lot of people who aren’t familiar with auto battlers just think like, “Oh, there’s very little skill involved here,” because you’re not really doing much, you know? So what would you say to those kind of people?

Aaron (06:26):

Yeah. So when I talk about skill, I think it’s probably good to be clear that I’m not talking about fast twitch, muscle fibers, 360 No scope style, headshot skills. That’s definitely not what this game is. If you’re after that massive adrenaline rush of running around and doing quick actions, this isn’t that style of game.

Aaron (06:48):

The skill from this game comes in understanding how each of the individual creatures in the game work with each other. How they can be seen to be beneficial for your team. How they can be a liability. The difference with us compared to most other auto-battlers that are out there, really comes down to the fundamental philosophy that we’re on the blockchain and people need to collect their things over time.

Aaron (07:16):

Most auto battlers, it’s done with a shared deck, where everyone has access to all of the same things at once. And you randomly draw them from a deck rather than going out into the wild and capturing and tailoring your team. So ours is a lot more similar to the way that Hearthstone is played, in that you have to build your own deck and design it so that it can work against your opponents in a one-on-one situation.

Aaron (07:42):

Whereas the majority of the auto battler genre at the moment is either like eight player matches where you’re just randomly assigned against someone. The reason why we didn’t particularly like that is because it takes away from the specialists of owning the cards. So if you own a particular Illuvial, but then when you go to play, everyone has access to it, it doesn’t feel quite as special as what it could be.

Aaron (08:05):

So our mode is based on a one-on-one battle. So you don’t get quite as much strategy in terms of figuring out what’s the best set to play for this round. It’s more, my opponent is thinking about beating me. I’m trying to beat them. And it ends up being effectively a lot more like real chess. You play something, they play something, and the strategies that can sort of flow on from there effectively become infinite.

Yan (08:36):

And just on that note, in terms of collecting the alluvials, can you kind of go into how that element of the game will work and kind of the aspects involved there?

Aaron (08:46):

Yeah. So there’s effectively two modes to the game. There’s battle mode, which can be split up into encounters in the wild and also ranked. They’re very similar, that’s the auto battler style. And then there’s the Overworld mode, which is where you’re exploring around and trying to capture the creatures. So effectively you’ll come up against an encounter.

Aaron (09:08):

You’ll go into that encounter against that creature, plus a programmatic set of companions that that creature will bring into the encounter with them. So it’ll be you up against say three, four or five other creatures. And at that point, your job is to say, “Okay, this is what I’m up against, I need to play a set of characters that is going to defeat these.”

Aaron (09:36):

We have a thing called affinities and classes in our game, and that’s where the skill really comes into it. If you’re up against a team that’s mostly consisting of nature characters. You’re probably going to get an advantage out of using fire because you get a damage bonus that goes along with that. But at the same time, if they’re all of a particular class for example, if they’re all Psions, you probably don’t want to play your Empath characters, because your Empath characters work a lot better when they’re all clumped together.

Aaron (10:10):

And the Psion characters tend to absolutely obliterate anything that’s clumped together. So you have to try and pick. So maybe you do have a really good Empath team, but for this particular battle, you got to switch from that and pick some Fighters or some Rogues and get in there and to do some damage. So you’ll always have to be thinking on how to win, when you’re out in the wild.

Aaron (10:32):

Because it’s a random encounter, that’ll pop up against you. I’m not going to say that it’s going to be requiring 600 IQ plays every time just to win the match. It’s going to be a little bit of strategy. You’ll need to know what you’re doing and you’ll get better overtime.

Aaron (10:49):

But where the really high skill comes from will definitely be in the ranked arena because you’re playing against other people that are countering you at the same time as you’re countering them. So there’s definitely a lot more skill when it goes into to that side of things.

Aaron (11:04):

And then if you win the battle in the wild, then we have a mechanism called shards. There’s a particular type of technology that allows you to absorb the essence of the Illuvial into it. And once you’ve done that, you control it. Anyone who knows Pokemon would say that it’s very analogous to a Poke Ball, and once you’ve defeated them, you get that opportunity to try to capture them possibly one, two, three.

Aaron (11:32):

You try and capture as many of them as you can before they flee. And there you go, you’ve added to your team and now you’ve got more combinations. And if you collect three of the same, you can fuse them together into a higher form that does better things, more damage, that sort of stuff. So you’re always trying to build your deck towards capturing as many things as you can to make your team as strong as it can be.

Kieran (11:58):

I think-

Yan (11:58):

I’m sorry.

Kieran (12:00):

Sorry to cut in there. I think it’s also important to note for the really Pokemon Maxies out there, that if you don’t want to go into one of the battle arenas, we’ve set it up, so it’s essentially two genres melted into one.

Kieran (12:18):

So if you want to avoid battling altogether and simply become a collector, which I know a lot of people in our community want to do, you can simply battle them, collect the ones that you can as Aaron was saying. And then you can go to our Illuva decks, which is where you can essentially… It’s a marketplace where you can buy and sell your Illuvials.

Aaron (12:42):

Yeah, that’s right.

Yan (12:45):

And in terms of that evolution, so you mentioned you need three to go from stage one to stage two, do you then need two or do you need three of the stage two to get to the final form?

Aaron (12:54):

Usually, yeah. There are some curve balls in there in terms of what is required to fuse to the next level. So for example, we revealed last week through probably a two-month wild goose chase where people were trying to work out our cryptic hints, a character which is a Lynx. And it was actually Kieran’s idea. And as soon as he mentioned it, I absolutely fell in love with it.

Aaron (13:24):

But it effectively works in a similar capacity to Eevee in Pokemon where it can branch off into all of the different classes and all of the different affinities. So there’s effectively 31 of them in the game. And to fuse that one up, there’s a few more elements that need to go into that recipe to pick which one you want. And there’s going to be let’s just say some tough choices to make, and definitely a few tears along the way when you’re trying to evolve all of your Lynxes.

Yan (14:01):

So something like a firestone, waterstone type of equivalent that needs to be combined?

Aaron (14:06):

Something like that. Yeah.

Kieran (14:08):

I think we really killed our concept data.

Aaron (14:16):

We’re not on speaking terms anymore.

Kieran (14:18):

But I’m hoping it’s going to be an amazing project. We’re going to have 150 different creatures to draw. You can really go in and then we’re like, “Please draw up 31 cats.”

Aaron (14:34):


Kieran (14:35):

He’s finished them now.

Yan (14:37):

That’s awesome. And in terms of I guess new user onboarding, would love to hear kind of the strategies you guys have in place, whether it’s working with other DeFi communities or using token based incentives. Yeah. I would love to learn more about that element.

Kieran (14:56):

I mean, there’s a few things at play here. The number one strategy that we’re taking is or the number one objective that we’re trying to achieve in terms of user onboarding is bridging the gap between centralized and decentralized gamers. I think, moving forward this new place style of gaming is going to take off. I think also having it on the blockchain, being able to have ownership over your assets is also going to take off.

Kieran (15:27):

I think the biggest blocker right now, and certainly for the massive YouTubers out there that have followings of 10, 20, 50 million plus, they’re not hopping into DeFi right now because they’re just using a title that’s grabbing them. There’s no Fortnite, there’s no model Warcraft, there’s no League of Legends. And so for us, we’ve wanted to really go that next level and make something that could bridge that gap.

Kieran (15:59):

And so targeting a lot of the mainstream gamers is… And specifically the YouTube influencers that have that massive catchment. Where if we can get it across to them and get them playing and into the beta, then they’re going to start getting their normal centralized gamers to jump over and things like launching on Immutable to reduce, to not have any gas fees or minting fees, then it all plays into making the transition for those centralized gamers smoother.

Kieran (16:36):

All of a sudden you’ve got Meta Mass popping up every 10 seconds. They just boil out of the funnel then it just becomes too hard. So mainstream gamers and then obviously what I’m calling more the low hanging fruit is the people that are already in DeFi. They understand play to earn, they might be trying out two or three different titles out there.

Kieran (17:02):

We want to get those guys to come across and obviously we’re taking an approach of partnering with as many large communities in the DeFi space as we can. The mechanism to do that, that we’ve been using so far is creating a little bit of a fun cosplay NFT series, where they’re not able to use them in game, and I have a theory on that the non in-game NFT promotional, primer NFTs that we’re giving away are going to be more valuable in the end than the in-game ones. But we won’t go into that.

Kieran (17:44):

But yeah, so that’s the approach we’ve taken. Obviously, with Kain being our brother and him influencing a lot of other people to join our project. We’ve been able to leverage that and go out to those communities and say look, “You can potentially own an NFT if you can come and join, see what’s up.”

Kieran (18:05):

Obviously not all of those people are gamers, but if we can get a certain number of those people, a certain percentage, then we’re happy. And yeah, our plan is to just keep on getting as many of those partnerships as possible. And it’s been working fairly well up to this point. Our main community is in Discord, and I think we just got 17,000. So it’s going well.

Yan (18:32):

Yeah, no, it’s massive. And all that’s happening without the introduction of the ILV token. So would love to learn a bit more about where that comes into play as well.

Kieran (18:42):

Yeah. It’s pretty crazy. When we first started, I said to Aaron, I said, “Look if we can get…” I think once again, the competitive nature. I think Synthetix had about 18,450 users in their Discord when we started. And so I said, “Look, we need to beat that within six months,” and it’s looking like we’re going to be able to do that even faster. And without the token, you’re right.

Kieran (19:17):

The hype that we have around it is based on the team that we have, they’re producing assets and we’re leaking them out to a community that hasn’t really seen in my opinion, the level of detail that we’ve gone to in terms of the artwork. So yeah, it’s going well.

Colm (19:37):

And just on the token there, the one interesting part of the blockchain games is the true asset ownership of these digital items. But another part is incentive alignment, where you want the developers, the players, the whole community and third-party developers and everything to have incentives all aligned, and mostly that’s done through token. So do you want to talk about maybe how you think about the incentive structures and how you’ve aligned them here?

Kieran (20:04):

Yes. So I’ll let Aaron go into more of the detail of how we plan to distribute it. We didn’t actually have any in-game rewards planned until we started talking to a bunch of our advisers, some who had invested in other games like Axie and Gods Unchained and stuff like that. And we realized that we massively miss the mark in not providing some in-game yield.

Kieran (20:36):

And so we ended up taking 25% of the total yield and setting it aside for the in-game stuff. And obviously we had tournaments and stuff like that planned, but I’ll let Aaron to go more into the detail of what we’ve flushed out.

Aaron (20:54):

Yeah. So as far as the incentives for the player goes, if you just want to play the game, the main incentives are, even though we’re a blockchain game, which usually requires quite a significant amount of capital upfront just to play the game to begin with, because we’re with Immutable X, we have the option of allowing a free to play element with the game. And so that’s what we decided to do.

Aaron (21:24):

So there is a way to go in and play the game, learn all of the features, see all of the beautiful landscapes, everything that the game has to offer, except for the more rare items that could potentially be worth a bit of money. But it’ll at least be able to onboard people into the game without them having to say, “Okay, I’ve got to pay $600 up front.”

Aaron (21:45):

So we think that that’s going to bring a whole bunch of new users into the game, that currently would look at competing titles and say, “Maybe it’s interesting, maybe play to earn and that is good, but I’m not sure I want to spend 3/$400 just to give it a shot.” But there hasn’t really been that option until the latitude solutions have started to come out.

Aaron (22:11):

So I guess we’ve been lucky enough to time that, that we could plan the game from the beginning with that in mind, rather than it be something that we sort of tackle on as an afterthought. And then by allowing them to get into the game and get into the gameplay yield, we can incentivize them for playing ranked tournaments. We can incentivize them for doing quests in-game.

Aaron (22:33):

We strongly believe, or at least it’s my opinion that most of the incentive should go to people that have a little bit of skin in the game, and are doing active important things in the world, rather than simply logging on or just walking around the world. So we want to make sure that we’re not giving bots a lot of that gameplay yields. And so the best way to do that is through competition.

Aaron (23:01):

That’s where we’re going to focus most of that gameplay yield, so that we can be a 100% sure that the people who are earning money are actual human players, that are part of our fan base that love the game, that are evangelizing for us. Then on top of that, they’ll be able to sell everything on the marketplace if they choose, if they want to upgrade, maybe they don’t like the fire set anymore. They want to try something else.

Aaron (23:29):

They’ll be able to earn money through… I guess you couldn’t really call it investing. But if you capture something early in the game, we have a bonding curve set up that every time something is caught, it becomes just that little bit more difficult to catch in the future, which means that it’s going to become harder and harder, which could potentially see those assets be appreciating assets over time.

Aaron (23:57):

Then once we finish our first set, that’ll end with a bit of a story element that will be community driven. Once that’s done, there is no more minting of those original Illuvials ever. So whatever the amount is that are in the world, that is the fixed amount. The only thing that could ever happen is that they can go down through a fusion.

Aaron (24:21):

So it could be potentially that we get to a stage where one of the stage ones, which is the little ones, they look a little bit cuter. It’s entirely possible that there ends up being literally one of them in the entire world. Now, I don’t think that, that would happen because as it starts to drop, the quantity is down, people are probably going to want to hold onto it and not fuse it into something higher up.

Aaron (24:46):

But just to safeguard against that, we have made sure that once we cut off the minting, that the number that are in the world is something that’s not divisible by three, because then effectively there could potentially be someone who fuses the last of them out of existence. And we wouldn’t be able to do anything to stop it because that’s built into the game.

Aaron (25:08):

That we can’t mint them after that and we need people to be confident that what they’re getting is something that’s provably rare. So we’re hoping that none of them… Yeah, we’re hoping none of them go out of existence, but you never know how low that pool is going to get.

Kieran (25:26):

Yeah. The other thing-

Yan (25:27):

Sorry go ahead.

Kieran (25:28):

The other thing as well there is that, obviously if you fuse them, they become a stronger Illuvial. It’s a tier above, but there’s also leveling of the Illuvials. A lot of people are in love with the character that we dropped I think a couple of months ago now called Squiz. And it’s this little squid, it’s really cute. And I can see myself having three of those and then I’m like, “Do I really want to fuse this, then I have no Squiz and what if I don’t get it again?”

Kieran (26:05):

So there’s also an element of the game where you can level that Squiz up to a point where it might not be as strong as a competing tier three or tier four, but it still can hold its own somewhat. So it still has some playability with it.

Yan (26:24):

And just in terms of the leveling and how that transitions when you fuse them, is it going to be the highest level of the three that are fused or will the V2, variously started at zero. I was wondering how the leveling system works with fusion.

Aaron (26:39):

When they get up to the highest level, they will then effectively go back to scratch. You have to get them up to a particular level, which is the cutoff that allows them to fuse. So you can’t just get three, that is say level one and try to put them together. It just won’t work. And we’ve added that in there so that people have to spend a little bit of time with their character actually playing it.

Aaron (27:03):

The only way that you can level something up is to give it experience in battle. So if it goes out there and starts wasting some other Illuvials and getting some frags and dying itself, it’ll quickly move up in the levels. It’ll slow down over time, but you do have to get it to some minimum threshold before you can fuse it together. And then you’ve got to level that new one up in just the same way.

Aaron (27:28):

So there’s definitely an element… I guess it could be considered a grinding element, but we think that grinding by battling other people is a decent way to do the grinding.

Yan (27:43):

Yeah, as a player who’s played a lot of games where you spend countless hours grinding, there’s a satisfaction to it.

Aaron (27:50):

Mm-hmm (affirmative). We just had some debates yesterday with my lead developer about the way that the mining is going to work in the game. And eventually I sided with him on it. He is quite a big fan of RuneScape. And so you can understand that what we ended up choosing, it’s maybe a bit more grindy than what I would choose, but in the end, I think that the majority of players are probably going to appreciate that there is going to be a little bit of that sweat equity to get the best items in the game.

Kieran (28:26):

Not as grindy as RuneScape, I hope.

Aaron (28:27):

Not as grindy as RuneScape, but there is a little bit of a mini game in there, so that it’s not completely mineless. But I had some ideas to make it a bit crazy and wild, but it would mean that you’re constantly having to be very engaged on a mental level. With the auto battler genre, you can actually spend a little bit of time away from the screen, because the battles take place themselves once you put them out there.

Aaron (28:57):

So I didn’t want it to get to the point where you’re constantly stressed out about every little aspect of the mining. So there are some slightly more casual aspects to it, but we think it’ll still be pretty fun.

Yan (29:11):

That makes a lot of sense. And one element of the token that I thought was a really brilliant design, was the incorporation of sILV and what that means. So I’d love for you guys to kind of touch a bit on that for the audience.

Aaron (29:23):

Yeah. So when you get your yield… So you stake your token and you have the option of locking it for a variable length of time, anything up to 12 months. The longer you lock it for, the higher your weight is in the pool. Some people have been a little bit confused as to what that means. Having a two times weight just means that it’s the equivalent of effectively having twice as many coins in there.

Aaron (29:51):

It doesn’t mean that all of a sudden your coins are more valuable or anything like that. It just means that they draw a little bit more of the yield pool than if you hadn’t have locked it. And that’s a reward you get for having the confidence in the title. But when you get that yield, it’s locked for 12 months. So you don’t get access to that until 12 months is up, and then you can use it and you can sell it or whatever you want to do.

Aaron (30:17):

Which means that the coin will only gradually go into the market, so we should get a nice organic growth with things like the price and the circulating supply. But there are going to be some people that don’t like that, they don’t like the idea that I got this yield and I don’t have access to it this very moment. So instead of taking that as ILV, which will be locked for 12 months, you can instead say, you want to mint it as sILV, which can be put onto the Immutable X network inside of the game.

Aaron (30:50):

And then it’s valued one-to-one and you can then go use it for in-game purchases. So if you’ve been eyeing up that Squiz, that’s on the market and you just don’t quite have enough to afford it, you can take that yield, transfer it across and boom you’ve made use of your yield straight away.

Aaron (31:09):

But for us, it adds value to our system because it means that instead of people just taking it off the network and doing whatever they want with it, they’re actually using it in-game. There’s more engagement. So we feel that it’s a good compromise between making sure that the value of the system is safe and also giving people a bit of that option of having a bit of fun.

Aaron (31:34):

And every time you get a new lot of yield coming in, you can effectively do what you want. So you can choose one or the other. You can make sure that this week you take it as sILV, then the next week, maybe you take it as ILV.

Aaron (31:46):

And you can also pull it up over time and just not choose either until you know what you want and save a little bit on gas fees, because that’s something that as Kieran will know from knowing me, I absolutely hate inefficiencies. So anywhere where we can save people on gas fees, we absolutely will.

Kieran (32:04):

Yeah, we touched on that before, but before we started the podcast, I think he had technical difficulties. But the other thing is that we… It’s kind of a little bit weird. So obviously we built the tokenomics. It’s still a financial protocol at its heart, right? And we’ve taken a lot of the tokenomics from Synthetix. The issue is that our catch base or our user base is going to be a mixture of gamers and also investors, right?

Kieran (32:43):

DeFi stakers, yield farmers, and so it might be okay for a… It might make sense to a DeFi investor, right? Who’s looking at a protocol and going “Okay, my yield’s going to be locked up 12 months. I understand that. I believe that the token is going to appreciate in that time. So that makes sense to me. That’s fine.” That’s your Synthetix model.

Kieran (33:08):

But in our case, where we’ve got gamers sitting there and they’ve got yield, they want to get in, they want to use that. We needed to allow them to be able to use that yield to keep it fun and entertaining for them. It also introduces a slight deflationary aspect of the token, which plays back into the DeFi investors liking the model that we’ve set up. So we feel like it’s a happy medium for both value user basis, essentially.

Yan (33:44):

So they won’t necessarily be able to spend it in the marketplace where they can purchase items that they would be buying from, I guess, basically the protocol itself, whether that’d be in Shards or something along those lines?

Aaron (33:56):

They’ll be able to use it on the marketplace too.

Kieran (33:59):

Yeah. Shards are a little bit different. Shards, you actually mine shards and then you cure them. It’s not a direct purchase from the store in-game if you will, like skins and enhancements are.

Colm (34:22):

Awesome. So another aspect of the game is the governance, and you’ve been quite clear about, you don’t see yourselves as some centralized heads of the game that’s going to decide everything. You want this to be a very open process and you’ve created the player council of community representatives and stuff like that. Do you want to talk through how you’re thinking about governance and IIPs and all that kind of stuff?

Kieran (34:45):

Yeah. So obviously this again comes from Kain. He’s very, very big on decentralization and true decentralization giving the power back to the people. And we thought that played very, very well into gamers as well. You know, we’re teaching these centralized gamers that you can actually have ownership of your skins and your characters and all this stuff.

Kieran (35:17):

But on top of that we’re saying, you can actually govern this platform in a way that you can change the outcome of something that doesn’t make sense to you, or you mentioned an IIP. If you think that you can put through a proposal that is going to improve the protocol in any way, the way that it’s set up, is that any member who has ILV can put through one of these proposals, for example marketplace fees, they’re currently set to 5%.

Kieran (35:56):

If someone says that that’s too much, they can run an IIP and put that forward to the council. The council is made up of currently five community members. The council was essentially voted in by the community itself. And so they act as delegates to govern the entire protocol. And then it’s up to them. So the IIP comes through, the council looks at it, they deliberate.

Kieran (36:28):

They think “Okay, how rational is this? Does it actually make sense?” And then it goes to a vote. If that passes, then it goes to the EDOW, which is made up of a bunch of the core-devs and core contributors of the project. And they essentially implement that change to the protocol. So it effectively means that us as core contributors, we have a say in the exact same way that anyone else in the protocol does.

Kieran (37:03):

There’s no difference between myself and Aaron and anyone else in the game, apart from the fact that we have a little bit more experience and a little bit more of an idea of where we see it going, but at the same time, that’s as far as it can go.

Kieran (37:21):

I’ve recently put through our first proposal to launch the BLP sale at a $100 price point, and it had a bunch of other parameters in there, and essentially the council then voted on that. It got approved, but if that didn’t get approved, then we couldn’t go ahead with the BLP sale the way that it was, and we’d have to go back.

Kieran (37:48):

And either the council could come up with… There’s obviously chambers inside our Discord where they can discuss, “Is $100 too much? Should we go down to 50? What is the rationale behind this IIP that’s come through?” And then they can vote on that accordingly. And ideally they’re the voice of the entire community. What is the quorum?

Yan (38:19):

Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. And with that LBP around the corner, I would love to just get some idea about timelines for that. Beta launch of the game, the full launch or anything else you guys can disclose at the moment.

Aaron (38:32):

Do you want to go Kies?

Kieran (38:33):

Oh sorry. There you go.

Aaron (38:39):

The balance of sale for people that don’t know about a balance of sale, the best way that I’ve been able to explain it to people so that they understand, I know you guys understand it quite well. But some people still struggle understanding the weights. Effectively you have a start price that you pick for the token, and you have these two weights where it has to weigh up to 100%, but we start with the weight of our token being much higher, which means that it represents a larger portion of the pool, theoretically.

Aaron (39:14):

And Ethereum, it represents a much lower amount of the pool. That’s going to level off over time to get in our case, 50/50, some launches go even further than that, drop it down even lower. But if you’ve ever played the game Flappy Bird, effectively what’s going to happen with the price is that it’s always going to be pushed down by gravity, which in the case of a balance of sale is that weight changing.

Aaron (39:41):

And every time someone purchases tokens, it’s going to take them out of the pool, which will mean that it’s going to have to readjust the price of each token that still exists, because it still needs to represent the same amount of value. So purchases bump the price up and that’s effectively the same in Flappy Bird is having a tap. So it’s just going to fall and get tapped up and then fall and then get tapped up.

Aaron (40:04):

The reason for that is because if you start at a zero price point, it becomes a mad gas war where you’re fighting against bots, everyone’s trying to get their transaction approved at the same time. Your slippage can be set maybe to 5% or so, but in the course of three seconds, the price of the coin is blown out a million times and all of a sudden your transaction fails.

Aaron (40:29):

And it seems to be a fairly bad time for a lot of the people involved in the sale. Whereas with a balance of sale, you can effectively just wait. If no one purchases a token it’s going to slowly fall down and you can just find the right entry point for yourself.

Aaron (40:47):

So again, we’ve done it for the community, so that they don’t have to deal with these incredibly high gas prices. They can wait till the time that is right for them to strike. And it could be that a particular token doesn’t ever reach that point, but at least, you know that you’ve had your own sort of safety point where you say, “This is where I think it’s worth.”

Aaron (41:09):

And if everyone else thinks it’s worth higher than that, maybe you miss out on the token, but you’re not going to get burned, so to speak. So we just feel like it’s a much more gentle and fair way of doing it. And people shouldn’t be too scared about what the starting price is because that’s going to fluctuate over time and hopefully find a good discovered price that everyone can roughly agree on.

Colm (41:32):

Sounds good. And for the BLP you mentioned that there’d be NFT rewards for participants in the sale. What’s that going to look like? How are people going to get rewarded? What are the really good rewards looks like?

Aaron (41:44):

So the way that those NFTs have been set up, we tried to come up with a few different scenarios. What we settled on is whenever you purchase in the sale, that’s going to be recorded at the end of the sale to say this is the eighth amount that you purchased. It may not have been 100% clear on our initial documentation and I may have to re-look at it.

Aaron (42:12):

But effectively, if you sell back and forth during the sale, you’re going to forfeit those points. So you can’t just buy and sell and hope that you’re going to get a whole bunch of points in there. You have to keep all of your purchases to be able to be awarded with these NFTs. And then we calculate at the end of the time, maybe you have 1 point, 6 points, a million points.

Aaron (42:38):

I have no idea what some people are willing to go out there and spend. And we have a range of different things that cost different point values. And it will naturally sort people out, because if something is either not desired or it’s at a higher price, less people will claim that particular reward, which will mean that there’ll be fewer of that one minted. So if fewer of them are minted, it’ll raise the price.

Aaron (43:07):

So we think it’ll naturally allow people to discover which ones are the best ones to use. And it’ll be a little bit personal choice. Some people will like the Squiz amount that we’ve put in there. Other people will probably prefer the promo NFT that we’ve got thrown in there. We have a promo NFT that comes in a normal, a Holo and a dark Holo, and obviously the dark Holo is going to be significantly more expensive than anything else, because that will be the rarest type of thing in the game.

Aaron (43:43):

But if you don’t want the dark Holo, you can go for the Holo. That’ll be a lot cheaper or just the normal one. And that will give people a good understanding of what our shards will look like in the game. As we’ve said from the beginning, these are all promotional. We don’t want people to be able to pay in this sale in order to get a leg up in the game.

Aaron (44:02):

So you won’t be able to use this character in the game, because we feel that that would be unfair. But as Kieran mentioned earlier, promo NFTs can sometimes become more valuable. Because I guarantee you there’s going to be some people that mint the most rare things in the game, it’s not set up so that there’s only going to be one person with Rhamphyre, for example.

Aaron (44:26):

There may be 10 or 15, who knows. But for this sale, it could be that there’s one or nobody who goes for that high level thing. We just don’t know. So I think everyone will be able to find something that suits them. It’s effectively broken up into a badge. The badge works a little bit differently, because it’s based on your minimum spend.

Aaron (44:51):

So anyone who spends anything in the sale will be able to claim the bronze version of the badge, which we’re calling the Dawnlight badge to represent being effectively similar to a founder. You’re in the game before there was a game. And then if you’ve spent a bit more, you can claim it as the silver version or the gold version, et cetera, et cetera.

Aaron (45:14):

You don’t need to use points for that. You just need to claim it. I mean I don’t know why anyone would want to put in a dollar, but they can, and that would give them access to that bronze Dawnlight badge. Then you’ve got the emotes, which you have to pay points to get. They have a variety of different price points for each of them, which we’ll, I guess sought them out into rarity.

Aaron (45:39):

I think the most expensive of the emotes is called a gangster Squiz, which I think the artwork of that one is really cool. And the way we’ve set up these emotes is, in the game there’ll be quite a few and you’ll be able to flash them while you’re playing against another person, just to have a little bit of a meme with them or maybe to taunt them.

Aaron (46:03):

Maybe you just beat them and you flash up a big crying emoji at them and… I don’t know. I’ve always found that sort of part of every game really satisfying, to be able to effectively taunt my opponent. But these emotes are exclusive, meaning that you can only get them in the sale and you will never be able to get them outside of that. So it’s like a slightly more upgraded version of the standard emotes.

Aaron (46:31):

Now someone else could have the same emote as you, but your version of it would just be that extra, little bit special. And then on top of that, there’s obviously the promo NFTs that people can buy. So we think there’s going to be something for everyone in there. At least we hope so. And in the end, they’re just meant to be an extra little fun thing for the sale. You’re not going into the sale to buy these NFTs. You’re doing it because you want to invest in the project.

Colm (46:59):

Are those emotes NFTs as well? Are they tradable?

Aaron (47:03):

Yeah, they’ll be tradable and they’ll be usable in game.

Kieran (47:07):

Yeah. So just to be clear, all the promo NFTs they obviously are tradable on the marketplace. There’s already people trading some of our promo NFTs that we’ve done with partners at the moment, some of them going for like five Eth and up. But yeah. The main thing is that for the first time, we’re actually giving out an NFT that can be used in-game.

Kieran (47:33):

And obviously there’s always going to be people who are like, “That’s bullshit. We want to be able to use our Holo Rhamphyre or dark Holo Rhamphyre or whatever,” but we’ve taken the stance that we want the game to be balanced from the start.

Kieran (47:51):

And if we start adding NFTs where if someone’s… If you’re a whale and you can afford to buy a dark Holo for whatever it is, a million dollars, and you can go into the games from day one and start wrecking people, it’s not going to be the best experience for the little guys out there, which is what we’re mainly targeted in.

Yan (48:20):

Safe to say Kain’s probably going to be the favorite for the dark Holo after the LVP?

Kieran (48:25):

Yeah. I mean Kain has [crosstalk 00:48:27]. He’s going to go straight onto the market. And as soon as every single dark Holo that comes onto the market, he’s apparently going to be buying it up, because he wants to go into that Leviathan arena and start flexing on people. But yeah. We’re trying to go to the most balanced, fair launch across the board in every aspect of the protocol and the game.

Yan (48:57):

Yeah, I Think that makes a lot of sense. Yeah. Sorry.

Aaron (49:00):

We might not please everyone all of the time, but everyone should be aware, we are trying to please everyone all of the time with what we do. We really want this to be community-driven. I spend a lot of time every day just thinking of things that people say in the Discord, if they don’t like it, and it’s not something that… It’s just a matter of education, then if we can find a better way to do it, we will do it.

Kieran (49:33):

I just shared with you Yan the emotes if you want to…

Yan (49:38):

Yeah. These are awesome. I’m just staring at them now.

Kieran (49:46):

I know [inaudible 00:49:46] as well and no video but the YouTube people, they should be able to see it if you want to check it up.

Aaron (49:53):

There’s actually two lakes in there. If it’s the image that I think you’re going to show, because two of them, we haven’t-

Colm (49:59):

I was just looking for those, yeah.

Aaron (50:06):

Yeah. I think one of them is going to be sleeper popular. And it’s funny because it’s actually not a popular character amongst our devs, just because of the complexity of it. But I think that people are a little bit sleeping on it.

Aaron (50:30):

Yeah. So there’s actually three lakes in there, when I think about it. Because we didn’t show the stage three of the shoe bill. So the one that’s on the right, the second from the top, that bird, that emote is called Death Stare Blaze Nights and that is a configuration templer, which is quite scary, yes.

Aaron (51:02):

So you can say that the normal amount, you just get the Death Stare, the special balance of pool emote has the scars and the eye patch as well. So if someone sees that one and then they go to the marketplace and they can’t buy it and they’re like, “What? How is that possible?” It’s because someone bought it in this sale.

Yan (51:21):

Got it. Yeah that makes a lot of sense. I appreciate you guys sharing that. And in terms of the timeline after the LBP?

Aaron (51:30):

Yeah. So we’re trying to have a closed beta inside of Q2. It will definitely be towards the end of Q2, depending on how we go with the development. We’re still trying to add even more people to the team so that we can get things done quicker, faster, add more features, make it run more reliable. And then Q3 is the plans launch of the game.

Aaron (52:01):

It’ll still be launched as a public beta, but once it goes to the public beta, everything that is captured inside of there will be for keeps. Whereas anyone who gets into the private beta, where they do the testing, we’ll give them a platform where they get some fake money to spend on things, where they can go around and collect. But once we get to the end of that period, however long that takes, we’ll be wiping everything out of people’s wallets, so that when everyone starts the game, there will be no legs up.

Aaron (52:37):

Kieran and I will start with exactly zero Illuvials in our wallets and so will everyone else. And then it’s just may the best player win.

Yan (52:49):

Yeah, that’s exciting. It’ll really be interesting to see in the early days as everyone kind of frantically tries to capture all the stage ones and it’ll be exciting to see kind of the bonding curve in action as well, just in terms of preserving rarity. I’m sure that’s insanely difficult to model out.

Aaron (53:08):

Yeah, we have an economist as one of our core contributors who we hired a couple of months back, who we’ve been speaking with a lot to make sure that the model that we go with fits everyone’s best interests in terms of all of the different parameters.

Aaron (53:30):

And then again like Kieran said, once people get to see it, if they’re not happy with what they see, they can just put forward a proposal and it’ll get voted on, and I’m sure there’d be plenty of them that get passed. There’s going to be lots of people that come up with great ideas and hopefully it’ll steer the project in all sorts of good ways.

Kieran (53:51):

Yeah. And I think just touching on that, that’s where it gets interesting, because having the governance over the top of the game and the protocol, we have a plan in our heads of where we want to go. Things like when we start the second Genesis… Sorry, the second character set, which effectively…

Kieran (54:19):

Our timeline on that can change at any time, because once we, as the core contributors and all the artists on the team, once we get that set ready, we might have an idea to launch it. And then the council can vote, no, if we don’t want to launch that yet let’s keep the Genesis set going. And there’s other things that we have planned as well, like expansions.

Kieran (54:45):

And again, we might think that it’s a really good idea, but in 12 months time, when we have 50,000 players and effectively 15,000 people contributing to governance, our expansion ideas might be totally, totally left field and miss the mark. And someone in the community might come up with something way, way better and we’re happy they implement that if that’s the case.

Yan (55:14):

Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. There’ll be the beauty of kind of decentralization and allowing everyone to have a say and vote with their stake. Absolutely. I think we’ve gone on for quite a bit, so love to allow just all of the listeners to find out where they can learn more about… Where to find you guys, learn more about the project.

Aaron (55:37):

Yeah. So as I said, the biggest platform that we have is Discord. We do have a Telegram, we’re not as active in that and we’re starting to change that. But where most of our leads happen, where our announcement happens, it’s all in the Discord first. So that’s where we would urge you to join first.

Aaron (56:01):

Obviously we also post up on Twitter and Medium and stuff like that, that’s where we go into a bit of detail. But it all feeds out of our Discord channel essentially. So that’s where you should start.

Kieran (56:18):

Yeah. It’s a little bit easier for us to work in there because there’s a lot of scammers that pop up trying to take people’s hard earned crypto. And on Discord, you can very quickly quash all that and make sure that people know where the official stuff is. Telegram gets a little bit trickier.

Kieran (56:37):

I’ve already seen about seven or eight different Telegrams scams, Twitter scams. Just use our official Twitter that you’ll see from our website and our official Telegram. And if you go into the Discord, I’m sure you’ll be taken care of. It’s a really cool community.

Aaron (56:56):

And until the 30th, you can see at 3:00 PM, if anyone tries to sell you ILV [inaudible 00:57:02], do not buy it, you will be scammed. I promise you that. Yeah.

Yan (57:09):

That makes a lot of sense. Well really appreciate the time. And thank you guys for coming on and telling your story and teaching us about Illuvium.

Kieran (57:18):

No, thank you so much for having us.

Yan (57:26):

Awesome. Yeah. No, that was good.

Show Notes:

(1:35) – (First Question) Kieran and Aaron’s Background.

(3:19) – What is Illuvium? / How it works?

(7:12) – Thoughts on the Illuvium skills.

(9:36) – Illuvium game modes.

(15:36) – New user onboarding / Strategies.

(19:30) – ILV Token.

(27:15) – How the leveling system works with fusion?

(29:59) – Insights about sILV.

(35:07) – Thoughts on governance and IIPs.

(39:00) – LBP sale / NFT rewards.

(50:10) – ILV emotes.

(51:56) – Insights about the timeline after the LBP.

(55:52) – Where to find Illuvium?