Upland is a new, virtual real-estate game that features properties identical to real-life San Francisco. In Upland, players can buy property, earn rents, trade properties with others, and build collections.
Upland features assets on the EOS blockchain network.
In order to understand how Upland works, we created an account, explored the game’s interface, and bought a property.
In this article, we’ll tell you what we found out. We’ll explain Visitors, Uplanders, VISA renewals, Upland Pool, Community Pool, and more. We’ll tell you everything you need to know to decide whether to start playing Upland.
Getting Started With Upland
The registration process for Upland is simple. Players can sign up by downloading the mobile app from the Google Play or Apple App Store or by navigating to https://play.upland.me/signup.
Players do not need EOS tokens to begin playing the game. In fact, a person can play Upland without even owning an EOS wallet.
After entering an email address and password, the player is directed to verify his email by clicking a link within an email sent to his address. This link leads to a “get started” button.
Choosing a Block Explorer
Pushing get started brings up a choice of block explorers. Block explorers are player icons. They are similar to the playing pieces used in a game like Monopoly.
Block explorers automatically explore the city and discover new properties for the player.
UPX signup bonus
Once the player picks a block explorer, he is given a 3,000 UPX signup bonus.
UPX is the currency of Upland. It can be used to buy properties that will earn rents.
Visitors and uplanders
Players with net worth in the game of less than 10,000 UPX (approx. US$10) are considered visitors. Visitors can buy properties and earn rent, but they cannot sell their UPX for cash.
Visitors have free EOS wallets that contain their properties and UPX. But the private keys to these wallets are controlled by the developer.
Visitors must renew their Upland VISAs at least once every 7 days. They can do this using a simple button that appears in the interface. If a visitor fails to renew his VISA within 7 days, he loses his account and all of his assets.
Uplanders have net worths of at least 10,000 UPX. In other words, they own at least $10 worth of game currency or property. Uplanders can use the game client to generate their own private EOS wallets to store their game assets.
The game developer does not have access to the private keys of the wallets controlled by Uplanders. And Uplanders can sell their assets currently to other players on the marketplace for UPX or trade them for other properties.
In the future, it will also be possible to sell properties for fiat currency in a fully US compliant way as recently announced in the context of the Linden Labs / Second Life-Tilia partnership.
Discovering and buying properties
Once a player has entered the game, his Block Explorer or playing piece will begin to move around the city. As it passes by plots of land, it will discover them.
These plots can be purchased by the player. But if they are not purchased within a certain amount of time, they will go back to being undiscovered. Undiscovered plots will not be available for purchase until the player’s block explorer passes by them again.
Once a property has been discovered, clicking it will bring up a menu with further info and a buy button. Clicking more will also bring up a monthly earnings figure.
If a player decides to purchase a property, he will begin earning UPX rent from it right away.
The rate of return varies from property to property. In our testing, we purchased a property for 2,600 UPX that pays 37.44 UPX per month. This is a 1.42% rate of return.
While we would have liked to earn more, it’s definitely better than most U.S. dollar savings accounts.
In addition to earning income from individual properties, players can also gain revenue from completing collections. Each collection completed results in a one-time bonus and a permanent multiplier.
For example, the Sunset collection pays a one-time bonus of 900 UPX and 1.3X rate of return on all of the properties that compose it. It can be achieved by owning 3 properties in the Sunset neighborhood in San Francisco.
And the King of The Street collection pays a one-time bonus of 950 UPX plus 1.3X rate of return on the properties that compose it. It can be achieved by owning 3 properties on the same street.
Where Do The Rents Come From?
Having explained how this game works, we realize that some readers may wonder how these payouts are financed. After all, no players are actually living on these plots of land. So there is no one around to pay rent.
Here is an explanation of where the rents come from.
Before the creation of Upland, 100 billion UPX tokens were minted on the EOS blockchain. 50 billion of these went to the Upland Pool and 50 billion went to the Community Pool.
The Upland Pool is controlled by the developer. The developer sells these tokens to new players at a rate of $1 per 1,000 UPX. The proceeds are used to fund operations and further development of the game.
The Community Pool is used to fund payouts to property owners. When a player buys a property, the UPX spent goes into the Community Pool. And when players trade properties using the built-in trading system, the transaction fees from these also go into the Community Pool.
There was also 50 billion pre-minted UPX in the Community Pool at launch, and most of this fund is still available.
In addition to these sources, new UPX is minted each month. Half of this new supply is paid into the Community Pool and half into the Upland Pool.
The whitepaper states that this newly-mined supply is 320 UPX per month or 160 for each pool. This amounts to a 0.0032% inflation rate.
These are the sources used to pay rewards in the game.
Leaderboards, Treasure Hunts, and Challenges (Upland’s new build)
The newest Upland build has introduced three new features: Leaderboards, Treasure Hunts and Challenges.
Leaderboards rank players by various criteria, including number of visitors, completed collections, uplanders referred, and more.
Leaderboards do not pay out UPX rewards. But some players may enjoy trying to reach the top of them just for bragging-rights.
Treasure Hunts allow players to find rare treasures while exploring properties. When the Treasure Hunt icon is selected from within the menu, the player receives the following message:
“Treasures contain UPX rewards and are spawned on minted properties in Upland. To claim a treasure, you only need to get your Block Explorer within discovery range of it!”
Players can also “practice” hunting for treasures by completing pinata-tapping minigames. These minigames cost between 10 and 20 UPX per session.
These “practice” Treasure Hunts do not appear to reward UPX. But we suspect that these minigames must be completed in the “real” Treasure Hunts. Thus, players may gain an advantage in the “real” hunts by practicing these games beforehand.
Challenges require players to complete tasks in order to earn UPX rewards. The developer has stated that most of these will be “similar in nature to leaderboards,” except with time-limits and payouts.
On May 18-19, a Burglary live event was held that used the Challenges system. Burglars were trying to steal artifacts from numerous San Francisco museums. Holders of the Complete Curators Collection could try to stop the burglars and earn points on the curator leaderboard, while everyone else could try to find the artifacts and steal them for points on the burglar leaderboard.
Prizes were given out to both sides based on which players had the most points.
The Burglary event ended May 16. And in our testing after this date, we did not find any challenges. But more should be scheduled in the future.
The Future of Upland
As with other early versions of blockchain property games, Upland is currently a very simple game. Aside from using the new Challenge and Treasure Hunt features, the only thing players can do right now is sign up, buy property, build collections, and earn crypto.
However, the developer plans to add new features over time that should reward players who have greater skill over players who just buy and hold.
For example, Upland has announced that it plans to add buildings that can be placed on land, farmland that can be used to produce food, and mineral deposits that can be farmed for resources.
Future patches will also include VR support.
Conclusion: Will Upland be the new MegaCryptoPolis?
It’s too soon to know whether Upland will turn out to be a fun game. But we can look at the history of games like MegaCryptoPolis (MCP) to see how Upland may turn out in the future.
When MegaCryptoPolis began, the only thing players could do in it was to buy and sell property. But over the next year or two, the developer kept adding new features. Today, MCP is an extremely complex strategy game with a passionate fanbase.
Unfortunately for new players though, prices for MCP land now range in the $40-$70 range. For some players, this is too steep of a cost of entry. And these players may feel that they have missed the boat.
Upland may present such players with a second chance – since many Upland land plots currently sell for between $2-$5 worth of UPX. This gives prospective owners a chance to get in early without spending a lot of money.
On the other hand, players who buy land in Upland now may be stuck for a while with an early version of the game that doesn’t have many features. So this risk should be taken into account when considering whether to play.
Overall, Upland appears to be an interesting game with a lot of potential. We’ll be playing it from time-to-time as it develops further. And we’ll update this page as new features are added.