Update – 8/1/19
The Ember Sword release date is now possibly sometime in 2022, according to Sune from SoCouch Studios.
Ember Sword is a blockchain-based MMORPG being developed by So Couch Studios. The developers claim that Ember Sword will let players collect cosmetic items that they will truly own and can trade among each other.
It further claims that players will be able to own land in the game. This land will be configurable in various ways to make it a unique playing experience. And land-owners will be able to earn crypto from placing auction houses on this land.
But can the Ember Sword team really deliver on these promises? And are Pixel tokens, Ember Sword's premium in-game currency, worth collecting? In this article, we will explore these questions.
Ember Sword graphics
One of the reasons many collectors are keeping an eye on Ember Sword is because of the pre-alpha gameplay trailer put out by the team.
Ember Sword gameplay
Besides the graphics shown in the pre-alpha trailer, Ember Sword is also getting a buzz because of the detailed explanation of gameplay provided in the white paper. Here is an overview of what the team claims Ember Sword gameplay will consist of.
The game world will be divided into three types of territories: kingship, wilderness, and outlaw. In kingship territories, all zones will be owned by players. Player will decide what content is available in these zones.
Outside of the kingship territories, players will find wilderness zones. These zones will contain rare resources that are not available in kingship territories.
They will also contain “world bosses” that can be fought either solo or in a group. Players will not be able to fight each other in wilderness zones.
Beyond the bounds of the wilderness will exist the savage outlaw lands. In these zones, players will be able to kill each other and earn PvP cosmetic rewards.
They will also be able to take over resource nodes in these zones by force and exploit them to make gold.
The developer claims that Ember Sword's combat system will be “classless.” Players will be able to switch spells and abilities on the fly, without changing specializations or leveling new characters.
Here are some example of skills and abilities that So Couch has stated is likely to be in the game:
- Impale – increases melee range by 200% and damage by 100%, with a 6-second cooldown
- Polymorph – turns all enemies within a given area into sheep, immobilizing them
- Shield Bash – immobilizes and silences nearby enemies
- Raining Arrows – causes fiery arrows to fall from the sky, providing 8 seconds of fire damage
In Ember Sword, there will be no character experience levels. Instead, there will be levels for each skill. Each time a character uses a skill, experience will be gained in that skill.
This will allow players to develop their characters in whichever direction they want, without being held down by “class” concepts.
The Ember Sword gameworld will be divided into regions. Each region will have a resource that is only available in that region.
This will provide a profitable opportunity for players. Players will be able to load up resources in a covered wagon and trek across the outlaw territories to get to a kingship territory on the other side of the game world.
They will then be able to sell these resources for gold-profit.
Collectible card loot
When players loot bosses in Ember Sword, they will obtain digital collectible trading cards.
These cards will be part of a set. When a set is completed, the player will be able to turn it in for a cosmetic item.
Ember Sword economy – gold and PIXEL tokens
There will be two in-game currencies for Ember Sword. The first is gold, which is a centralized currency similar to what you find in games like World of Warcraft or Elder Scrolls: Online.
The second currency is PIXEL. PIXEL is a fungible token on the Ethereum blockchain. It can be used to buy a premium monthly subscription that consists of a special title, more bank slots, and other perks. It can also be used to trade land and cosmetic items.
The team have not actually sold any PIXEL Tokens yet, neither through a private presale nor public crowd-sale. They're planning the crowd-sale for the first half of 2020, and it will be work very much like a traditional games industry pre-order crowdfunding campaign (there'll be founders packages and different tiers of rewards etc. that supporters can buy).
However, it will have an inflation rate of 6% per year once the game launches. This will allow new players to purchase tokens from the developer to buy land or cosmetic items from other players.
If a player does not buy PIXEL from the developer or from other players, the only other way to get it is by earning cosmetic items and selling them to other players in exchange for PIXEL.
Players will be able to use PIXEL tokens to buy LAND (all caps, the name for in-game land) in kingship territories. The only NPCs that will be allowed on a player's LAND will be the ones put there by the player, such as a blacksmith, castle guards, monsters, etc.
Players will be able to customize their LAND so that it appears unique.
LAND-owners will also be able to place world bosses on their LAND. These bosses will drop cosmetic items. If a player who earns one of these items chooses to sell it at the local auction house, the land-owner will earn a PIXEL commission from the sale.
LAND-owners will also be able to earn a PIXEL commission for every premium subscription they sell.
The Ember Sword team claims that it will not be creating all of the content for the game. Instead, artists will be able to submit models, skins, animations, and other artwork to the Ember Sword community.
If the community votes for a creator's work, it will be made into a new collectible within the game. The creator will then earn a PIXEL commission for the work.
So Couch Studios: Who Are They?
Because this game has not yet been released, you may want to know a little about the developers before forking over cash to collect PIXEL tokens. So here is some info about them.
The So Couch Studios team is headed by CEO Mark Laursen, a professional Counter Strike and World of Warcraft Esports player turned game developer.
The Creative Director for the company is Sage Durain, who formerly worked on Guild Wars.
The team also includes Joris Huijbregts, Sune Thorsen, Loren Roosendaal, Lars Henriksen, David Atkinson, Jannik Damkvist, Marc Pilgaard, Lorenzo Torelli, John Muller, and Samuel Horton.
As individuals, these developers have worked on a wide variety of successful projects, including games like Neocron and Chaoswar, as well as companies like Devdog, NordicGameBits, Edgeflow, Apex Virtual Entertainment, MindGym, and Trigger Global.
Despite this impressive track record from the individuals who make up the team, they have yet to produce a product as a team.
Ember Sword is So Couch Studios' first project as a company.
According to the team's roadmap, they expect to have a public release of the game in Q4 2020.
Are Pixel Tokens Worth Collecting?
Ember Sword certainly appears to have great graphics, at least from what we have seen so far.
This is exciting to see – because right now, many blockchain games have graphics that are far below what players of non-blockchain games except.
If blockchain games are to replace centralized ones or at least to take a portion of the gaming market, they will need to produce graphics and gameplay that are at least equal to what is already possible in centralized systems.
Ember Sword also appears to have a very well thought out game design. Given the details provided, it's easy for a reader of the white paper to get swept away imagining a world of marauding player-gangs fighting over outlaw territory resources. This level of detail provided by the team is a plus for the project.
But despite these advantages, Ember Sword PIXEL tokens still represent a great risk to collectors.
The game is not slated to be released until the end of 2022, with with many alpha and beta tests before that starting in 2020. This is a long time for a collector to wait in order to either use his token or sell it to someone else to use.
And despite the excellent credentials of the individual team members, we do not have a previous product from them that we can judge them by.
This is in contrast to other developers, such as Blockade Games, that first produced less ambitious projects before deciding to run a large ICO for Neon District.
In summary, Ember Sword looks promising. But given the long roadmap and early stage of development, we think collectors should be cautious when considering whether to own the Ember Sword in-game currency.