Update 12/16/2019: Neon District Season 1 Loadout is now available to the public. Players can register, receive a free character, buy loot crates full of gear, and level their characters and armor in preparation for the launch. The full version of the game is slated to be available on January 27, 2020.
More information about the Season 1 Loadout will be provided below.
If you’re interested in playing Neon District at launch, now is the time to start getting prepared.
If you’ve been paying attention to the latest news about blockchain games, you’ve probably heard of the game Neon District.
Many blockchain news sites have claimed that this game has awesome graphics and an amazing team behind it.
It is also reported to rely on new technology that will solve the scalability problem currently plaguing blockchain games.
But what is Neon District really? Will the actual game live up to the hype? Or are players bound to be disappointed? This article will explain what we know so far about Neon District.
It will also consider whether we can expect the team to deliver on such high demands expected of them.
Castle Crypto was on the scene in NFT NYC for the first gameplay reveal of the game. The hype is real – but will it follow through?
Neon District Graphics and Story
The first thing to say about Neon District is that early videos of its gameplay look stunning.
In Neon District, we are presented with a dark, post-apocalyptic world full of violent robots and masked urban fighters, presented in high-resolution 2D video.
Neon District Trailer – Gameplay
According to the story of Neon District, a golden age of free trade was ushered in at some point in the past, but governments lashed out and tried to destroy this new culture of freedom.
Many people decided to conform. But others continued to fight back. Living in the shadows, these new rebels, called “degens,” try to survive in this harsh world.
Neon District Season 1 Loadout (New!)
The developer of Neon District has recently made the Season 1 Loadout publicly available. This allows players to level their characters and acquire gear before the full launch. Previously, this limited version of the game was only available to holders of Founder’s Tokens.
But now, anyone with a PC and web-browser can participate.
Here is how to access and use the Neon District Season 1 Loadout.
Accessing the Season 1 Loadout
To register for the loadout, follow these steps
Navigate to the official Neon District website.
Click Season 1 Loadout at the top-right
Select access the loadout portal
Fill out the fields, and select submit
You’ll receive a verification email with a long string of characters that will serve as your verification code.
Cut and paste this code into the webpage to confirm your email address.
This will take you to an intro page that you can use to get a free character. Select pick free character to continue.
You’ll be asked to choose your character’s class.
There are six character classes in Neon District: Demon, Doc, Genius, Ghost, Heavy, and Jack. Ghost appears to be a thief-like class, while Heavy seems to be the default class for tanks. Docs are healers. And Demons play a DPS role.
Geniuses and Jacks appear to be experts at overcoming non-combat challenges.
Once you are done choosing your free character’s class, click the get your free character button in the upper-right to continue. You should get a message saying “free character acquired.” Click to loadout home to continue.
Using the Season 1 Loadout
The Neon District full game will be released on January 27, 2020. At that point, missions will be available for your character to play through. For now, you can use the Season 1 Public Loadout to gear and level your character.
To see a list of your characters and gear, click inventory from the menu at the top of the screen.
From here, you can view the characters, weapons, armor, shells, and boosts in your possession.
Click S1 Loadout to go back to the main menu.
At the top of the screen, the amount of Neon you own will be displayed. Neon is the in-game currency for Neon District.
You’ll need this currency to buy characters and gear to be used in the game. Neon can be purchased in a bundle of 300 for $2.99 (approx. $0.01 per Neon) or for larger amounts at a discount.
Either a credit card or Ethereum can be used as a payment method. We tested out the purchasing system and found that it worked smoothly using either method.
Using Ethereum, we saved about $0.24 vs. a credit card. But this may have been because of temporary exchange-rate fluctuations.
Once you’ve got Neon, you can buy additional characters for 100 Neon a piece. However, there isn’t much point in doing this unless you already have one character leveled up and geared.
The main thing you are going to want to do with your Neon is to buy loot crates. These crates contain various random items that will make your character more powerful.
To buy a crate, click the get gear button from the main menu.
Each loot crate costs 500 Neon and contains 4 items. Each item has a 47% chance of being common, 28% chance of being uncommon, 15.35% chance of being rare, 8.25% chance of being Ultra-Rare, and a 1.4% chance of being Legendary.
On our first attempt at crate opening, we received some common leggings, a common chest piece, an uncommon helmet, and an uncommon melee weapon.
In addition to using the Season 1 Loadout interface to buy loot crates, you can also use it to increase the levels of your equipment and characters.
Each character level requires a certain amount of juice. And each level of a weapon or piece of armor requires a certain number of parts. Juice can be purchased for 200 Neon per 3 units. And parts can be purchased at a rate of 25 parts per 500 Neon.
As with Neon, there are discounts for players who buy juice or parts in bulk.
When the game is released, you’ll be able to earn loot crates in game. And some of these will contain juice and parts.
But if you want to get a head start, you can stock up now.
Neon District items and character progression
This section will explain how gameplay is affected by items you receive from crates – in other words, it will explain what character progression consists of in Neon District.
Attributes and skills
Each character has 3 attributes and 5 skills. The attributes are Attack (ATK), Defense (DEF), and Hit Points (HP), while the skills are Tactics, Nano, Mech, Stealth, and Hacking.
Attributes are primarily used in combat, whereas skills are used to overcome Environmental Objects. Environmental Objects are non-combat challenges that players must sometimes progress through.
Each piece of gear increases one or more of these stats or skills. For example, a Leatherhead Canis (common chest item) gives the wearer +100 HP, +15 ATK, +5 DEF, and +5 Mech.
There are five gear slots that can be equipped: head, chest, arms, legs, and weapon.
An ability in Neon District is called a CARD. This is short for Cyber Assisted Response Directive.
Each turn, your character’s A.I. will choose approx. 3 CARDs from the list available to it. These will be chosen based on which CARDs the A.I. thinks are the most advantageous to you. From the options it provides, you decide the CARD that actually gets used.
Each character has 10 CARDs available to him by default. The weapon you equip to your character provides him with an additional 10 CARDs, for a total of 20.
Here are some example CARDs we found on our free character and from the weapon we pulled from a crate:
Stultify – Target enemy -20 ATK, -20 DEF this Battle
Sting – +0 ATK. Target single enemy. Inflict Poison (1)
Easy Exploit Stealth: Inflict Poison (1)
Break Down – +0 ATK. Attack target enemy. Inflict DEF Break (1)
Medium Exploit (Any): Inflict DEF Break (1)
Precise Cut – +40 ATK. Attack target enemy.
Easy Exploit (Any): Gain -10 ticks.
Character and equipment levels
Each time a character levels, his stats and skills increase. Each level costs a number of juice equal to the new level. For example, going from level 1 to 2 costs 2 juice, but going from 2 to 3 costs 3 juice.
Beginning at level 16, there is a chance that gaining a level may cause the character to be unable to gain more levels in the future. This probability increases with each further level increase.
In the unlikely event that the character makes it to level 20, there will be a 100% chance that he will be unable to obtain further levels.
Armor and weapons can also be leveled through a similar process. This increases their stats, but requires spare parts instead of juice.
Season 1 Loadout conclusion
This is what we know so far about the Season 1 Loadout for Neon District. We’ll continue to test out the system as we head towards the full release. If new features are implemented, we’ll let you know here.
The rest of this article will explain the technology behind Neon District, as well as provide some info about the team that is producing the game.
Neon District technology
In addition to the storyline and graphics, Neon District is also getting a buzz because of its technology.
This game is one of the first to use the new LOOM Network, an Ethereum sidechain designed to solve the scalability problem in blockchain games.
Here is an explanation of the scalability problem and how the LOOM network and Neon District attempt to solve it:
For years, blockchain games have been trying to solve the problem of how to keep transaction speeds high without increasing cost to users.
This is a problem inherent in the Proof of Work (PoW) consensus protocol inherited from Bitcoin.
In a PoW system, high transaction speed can only be obtained at low cost if there are very few users. As a system gains more users, transactions must either become more expensive or slower.
In a PoW-based game, this means that a player must pay for every important action his character takes.
This means that he will have to pay for each battle, each item picked up, each adventure he goes on, and every other important action.
If an action is important enough that it needs to be recorded on a blockchain so that it can’t be deleted, the player must pay for that action to be recorded.
While this does ensure that the player’s assets will not be stolen, nerfed, or deleted, it also can lead to enormous cost.
For example, each major action taken in Etheremon costs between US $0.20-$0.25 and takes 15 seconds on average to process. This isn’t much money. But if you play Etheremon a lot, it can add up very quickly.
And if the Ethereum network gains more users in the future, this cost could become even greater.
DPoS and scalability
It is not uncommon for DPoS systems to produce transaction speeds of three seconds or less. In addition, users of a DPoS system do not have to pay for each transaction.
Instead, they are allotted a certain amount of bandwidth within a particular time-period based on the amount of investment they have made in the system (the amount of the system’s currency they own).
During times when the network is congested, users who don’t own much of the currency find that they cannot conduct transactions, especially if they are using the system a lot.
But during off-peak times, even users who haven’t invested much can transact freely.
For these reasons, many game developers have begun to use Steem, TRON, and EOS to make games.
However, there are drawbacks to this approach. DPoS systems do not have “miners” that add blocks to the blockchain after solving cryptographic problems.
Instead, they have “witnesses,” elected officials who keep copies of the blockchain and are authorized to make changes to it.
These witnesses are elected based on a “one coin, one vote” principle. So in theory, it is possible for a rich user in a DPoS system to take over the blockchain and erase or alter transactions.
In practice, this type of fraud has never actually occurred. But many blockchain enthusiasts fear that it could happen if DPoS systems become more widely used.
This is the problem that the LOOM Network is attempting to solve.
The LOOM Network Scalability Solution
In the LOOM Network, transactions can be approved either through a DPoS sidechain or through the PoW Ethereum mainnet. Minor transactions such as battles, gaining equipment, missions, etc. can be done through the sidechain.
This should allow costs for game actions to be reduced to zero.
For Neon District to work on the LOOM Network, the developer will need to invest in enough LOOM coins to handle the bandwidth generated by the game’s players.
If it cannot do this, players will need to buy enough LOOM coins themselves to earn them the right to use bandwidth. However, players will not have to pay for each transaction.
Instead, if a player performs too many actions in the game, he will simply have to wait for a cool-down before he can perform another action.
In practice though, most players should find that they can play as much as they want for a very small investment ($20-$30 worth of LOOM, for example).
While this DPoS sidechain will be available for most in-game transactions, this chain will also be connected to the Ethereum mainnet.
If a player wants to save an in-game asset for long-term storage, he will be able to transfer it to the mainnet. This will provide added security in case a wealthy player or developer gets control of the LOOM Network.
Once an in-game asset is transferred to the Ethereum mainnet, it is out of the hands of the LOOM Network witnesses and cannot be altered by them.
Some players may feel more confident investing in the game because of this protection.
This is how the LOOM Network hopes to solve the scalability problem, and it is one of the reasons Neon District is getting so much interest from the blockchain community.
Neon District Team
Neon District is being developed by the Blockade Games team, which consists of Marguerite Decourcelle, Diego Rodriguez, Ben Heidorn, Adrian Seeley, Andrea McGinty, Brendon Steele, Chris Chapman, Cody Hann, Craig Barnes, Dave Plinq, Hardy Fowler, Kyle Chivers, and Troy Salem.
This is the same team that has given us Pineapple Arcade and Plasma Bears.
This team has yet to produce a breakout hit. But they have gained notoriety in the blockchain community for the sophistication of their games.
Pineapple Arcade is a point-and-click puzzle game with extremely difficult cryptographic puzzles.
In the past, some of the puzzles have awarded cryptocurrency to the first player who could solve them.
Plasma Bears is a browser-based collectible game similar to Etheremon and Axie Infinity.
In Plasma Bears, players collect bear parts that can be used to construct cute bears. These bears can battle with each other to gain experience.
The winner is determined by the moves made in the battle, which is in turn determined by the configuration of bear parts. This system leads to very complex battles.
It is this sophistication that Blockade games is known for, and that is expected to be present in Neon District when it hits the market.
Neon District: can it live up to the hype?
Given the facts we currently know about game, the question remains as to whether it can live up to expectations.
The Season 1 Loadout shows how character progression will work. And it gives us a glimpse into the loot-crate mechanic that will provide the principal form of rewards in the game.
However, we still don’t know what the missions in the game will be like once it is launched. Right now, we just have an interface that allows us to acquire gear, but there are no enemies to use the gear against.
Still, Neon District may turn out to be just as innovative as many expect.
We think this game is worth keeping an eye on, even if you end up waiting until the final release before buying anything.
Check back to this page after the public release. At that point, we’ll play through the full version of Neon District. And we’ll let you know what we think of it.