So, a review of a game that isn't from the STEEM blockchain, namely EOS Knights. This is a game that I've been playing for a while now, and it is the classic idle game... in that much of the action is timer based. You set your heroes off to do stuff, with minimal input from you... and several hours later (or minutes or less if you are impatient), you return to see what they have dredged up from the depths of the orc invasion. The game is based upon the beloved "freemium" model of gaming, however instead of earning and spending fiat... you are spending and earning EOS! Is it worth it to play? Will you be raking in EOS?
Now, as a "real" gamer (aka, PC Master Race), I have an incredibly snobbish attitude towards Facebook and Mobile based games. I have two crypto games that I play, namely SteemMonsters and EOS Knights. So, how does EOS Knights stack up against the cream of the STEEM crop, SteemMonsters (@steemmonsters, developed by @yabapmatt)
PS: Please note, that if you sign up to play EOS Knights, you can use my referral code g44daojvguge to get 1000 Magic Water (I also get the same, and trust me, you WILL need it!). Likewise, if you choose the SteemMonsters route, there is a referral embedded in the link.
In a bit of a surprise twist, EOS Knights is based upon the EOS chain, which means that you will need to have an EOS wallet (address) and some EOS in that account to play. At the moment, the safest way to access the EOS chain is via the Scatter extension or the desktop app. This acts in the same way as MetaMask, with the extension being unlocked with a master password which then can sign all transactions with the EOS private keys as needed.
You will need to have EOS in the account even if you don't splash out on the freemium model of the game, as you need to stake EOS to access RAM/CPU resources on the network. It is probably recommended that you stake around 50-100 EOS (which is locked up, but remains attached to your account, you can always claim it back later...) for a relatively seamless play. Stake less, and you will have your game transactions rejected due to lack of resources.
Speaking of transactions... you are going to see this screen a lot, it is the signing screen for Scatter. For every little action that you do in the game (buying, crafting, sending pets....), you need to sign a transaction to authorise the action. For all the vaunted EOS chain speed... it still takes a couple of seconds for each transaction. This adds up to being one huge annoyance....
Compare this to SteemMonsters which only requires only minimal on-chain transactions... making for a relatively smoother (but still not as good as non-decentralised app) experience. This is something that the developers of EOS Knights really need to learn from... in fact, it is a lesson that needs to be learnt across the board. Blockchains in their current form are SLOW... this might and hopefully will change in the future, but it can make for terrible user experience if you are needing to sign many transactions....
Anyway, you are able to white-list the transactions (which carries it's own risks if you don't know what you are doing...), such that they are automatically signed. However, even with this option in effect, each action still has a noticeable lag time for it to broadcast to the chain.
Okay, enough with the back end stuff... if you are happy with crypto tools, then you will be happy doing all this stuff. On the other hand, the vast majority of the planet aren't really comfortable with the set up of either Scatter or Metamask, so I'm not sure that this is a great hurdle for people to try and jump before they actually start playing the game....
This is the main game screen... you send your knights out on an adventure. Then they go killing orcs on auto-pilot (seriously, you CAN'T do anything!). Well... this is an idle game... so if you happen to be doing something else on your computer, it doesn't hurt to have this tab open.... slowly generating EOS for you! After a small input every now and then when you remember isn't such a tough thing to do....
After your toons finally succumb to the endless waves of orcs, you are rewarded with Magic Water (the other in-game currency, which is used for levelling items and characters) and a few material components. The rarity and power of the components are random, but are linked to how many orcs you have managed to defeat and how many levels you have managed to survive. Rebirthing them resurrects your toons... in time for another groundhog day like fight against the endless waves of orcs! Narrative and story line is not a strong point of this game.
Speaking of strong points... I'm playing on a desktop... and the game is mocked up to be like a phone! There are iOS and Android versions of the game (which I'm not installing on my phone... the crypto ecosystem is at best a dark alley at the moment...). Surely, it couldn't have hurt to have some sort of desktop sort of interface. After all, there is a touch more space that could be used!
Your toons are eminently unmemorable. Knight with sword, Archer girl and Witchy witch, seriously, there isn't much differentiation between them. One might have more hit points or attack or something... but the way the game plays... it doesn't matter. They may as well stand in a line and just punch it out with the orcs on the other side.
You only start with the single toon, and you have to buy the privilege of fielding the other two. It doesn't cost much (I can't remember exactly what it was, but it was a fraction of EOS), and you will need them to be able to survive longer. You can do without it if you want, but it makes the grinding more... grindy.
These are the three toons, Eric the Warrior, Oria the Archer and Scarllet the Mage. You can equip them with various items that you can buy from other users (for EOS on the marketplace) or that you can craft from the materials that you find on the orc slaying routine. Items are a necessity, as they improve your stats... however, there really isn't much differentiation between the different stat boosts. Just equip something... level it, and move on when you can afford something better.
The toons can also be levelled up after they have slaughtered the requisite number of orcs. At first this is quite easy to do (you need to expend Magic Water), but soon you hit a bottleneck with the Magic Water. So, either you pay for Magic Water.. or you grind for it. I did the grinding....
A recent addition was the skill list. For a while, I was a bit confused as to what they were for, as they didn't come into play in the main game. However, recently there was an update that included a bit of a Dungeon Crawl that ended up utilising these skills.
This is the levels... as you survive these levels, you will gradually get better drops and more Magic Water with each expedition. I've made it to level 92... there are over 1500 levels... Hmmmm!
Wheeling and dealing
This is where things get a little bit interesting! With your material drops, you can sell them on the marketplace for EOS (which means that you can eventually earn EOS!) or craft them into items that you can either sell or equip on your toons. The inventory space is a bit limited to start with, but for a small EOS investment you can expand it out enough store a decent amount of materials.
Crafted items are also available to be bought and sold on the rudimentary marketplace. Items of varying quality and power can be crafted, and they all require a specific recipe of a materials that you acquire in the main idle game. Items can also be combined (synthesized) to make more powerful versions... however this requires duplicates... and Magic Water. It is a necessary act though, as you need to have more powerful equipment to survive longer, to get more powerful materials....
At the moment, most of the market is stuck on the minimum or near minimum prices for the items. So, there is a bit of a glut in the items and materials (except for the really rare stuff...). This is a bit of a common occurrence in these dApp games... it can be hard for the developer to not accidentally crash the economy with some ill-thought update... and once it is done, it is much harder to reverse.
However, there are community "events", where you get a huge bounty for submitting a certain item of a certain quality rating. During these times, if you are lucky enough to craft one of these items, you will land a relatively huge windfall. However, I've found that during these times, you are more likely to be selling the items and materials that are required to make these items... and often a decent markup as well, as more people are trying to hastily craft the items!
Note that you can also trash items and material for ... Magic Water!
Well... no self-respecting Freemium game would be without a Gatcha mechanic. Here, it shows itself in the a list of pets that can be purchased for Magic Water. Oddly enough, this is the MOST critical part of the game to go strong on! You will need Magic Water.. it is the limiting resource (unless you spend lots of EOS), and more importantly (unlike EOS) it has no intrinsic value outside of the game.
You can send your pets on timed expeditions... to collect Magic Water and also materials. Now, the rarer the pet the more Magic Water they bring in. In fact, this will be the major source of Magic Water in the game... so it is important to spend the initial bulk of your Magic Water in getting higher level and rarer pets. Otherwise, you will be Magic Water bottle-necked! (that is my one and only PRO-TIP!... use the referral code (g44daojvguge)... you get Magic Water!)
The Dungeon Crawl
The Dungeon is a recent addition to the game, which requires a little bit more interaction from the player. You can access the Dungeon with tickets, which can be crafted or are dropped at a rate of one per day. The benefits of the Dungeon are rarer and perhaps unique material drops... and Magic Water!
Your toons are dropped into a Dungeon, where you try and complete a level in a sort of Grimrock-like Dungeon Crawl format. You stand and fight, and you sling skills that damage or hinder (or boost) the enemies and allies. It is viscous... on the only easy level that I'm allowed to access (due to my level limits)... I get slaughtered by the third stage. I can't even defeat the lowest boss!
Still, I try occasionally, as I want that unique drop... plus the 50 Magic Water per try doesn't go astray either!
The skills that you use are the ones that were mentioned briefly in the toons heading. You can purchase a new skill point each time your toon levels up. The descriptions are pretty self explanatory... and there isn't much to the game.... but it is more active involvement than the main idle game (I'm not sure if that is a good or bad thing...)
Can I earn EOS?
So, this is the main critical question. You will not be playing this game for fun or for the gripping story, you will be having it running to try and farm some EOS in an idle game.
You will need an account that has EOS in it (you don't need to spend it, but you will need to stake it for RAM/CPU usage) to begin playing this game. There is a bit of a set up cost, as you will need to expand your toon roster to the maximum three, and then expand your item and material inventory so you don't keep bumping up against the limits. (I forget how much this ended up being, but it was maybe on the order of 2 EOS).
Now, if you are patient and don't spend EOS to hurry things along (to overcome Magic Water bottle-necking...), it is going to be a slow drip of EOS. Just don't expect the huge rewards of the above page... In the time that I've played, I've made around 3 EOS...
Well... it is an idle game... so if you don't mind having it run in the background or just setting it running once a day... then it's not a problem. It is akin to have a little EOS faucet. The game is laggy, uninteresting and really non-intuitive. Things are just not well explained and I couldn't find a decent FAQ, so you will be seeing messages pop up... with no idea why things aren't working as you thought!
That said, I have it running (your computer doesn't need to be on for it to run on the chain)... and I check in and revive my toons and sell a couple of things on the marketplace. Probably, it would be handier to do this on the phone apps, but I'm not going to install this on my main driver.
SCORE ONE FOR STEEM!
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