What Is Illuvium (ILV)?
Illuvium (ILV) is an open-world fantasy battle game built on the Ethereum blockchain. Often touted as the first AAA game on Ethereum, ILV looks to provide a source of entertainment to both casual gamers and hardcore DeFi fans through a range of collecting and trading features.
The world of Illuvium is inhabited by creatures known as Illuvials, who can be captured by players that best them in battle and nurse them back to health. They become a loyal part of the player’s collection and can be used when battling other adventurers as part of Illuvium’s auto battler gameplay.
The game is a fusion between an open-world exploration game and a PVP battle game. Players can spend their time exploring the expanses of the game world or building up their team of powerful beasts.
ILV has been in development since 2020 and is being built by a worldwide team of more than 40 individuals, including the co-founders, serial entrepreneur, early cryptocurrency adopter Kieran Warwick, and experienced game designer Aaron Warwick are brothers. (And who are coincidentally also the brothers of Kain Warwick, the co-founder of DeFi platform Synthetix).
The ILV token has many uses within the Illuvium ecosystem. It’s the main token used to reward players for their in-game achievements, entitles players to their share of the Illuvium Vault, and is used for participating in the game’s governance via the Illuvium decentralized autonomous organization (DAO).
How Does Illuvium Work?
Although Illuvium has blockchain-based elements, it is more akin to a full-fledged video game. It’s accessed through a downloadable desktop app and has a range of supporting DeFi applications surrounding it — including a yield farm and decentralized exchange.
Players roam the Illuvium landscape battling Illuvials and other players, participating in quests and daily challenges, and participating in its communal storyline. Throughout their journey, they collect Illuvials, which have a range of characteristics that make them variable in their rarity, utility, and desirability. These include:
- Classes: Empath, Fighter, Guardian, Rogue, and Psion.
- Affinities: Air, Earth, Fire, Nature, and Water.
Through its class and affinity are its most important attributes, each Illuvial has many additional attributes that help determine its strength in combat. Some of these can include attack damage, attack speed, and savagery. Illuvial gets stronger with victory, can be enhanced with in-game items, and can be upgraded into a special “ascended” from — which benefits from two affinities at once.
Each Illuvial is represented by a unique non-fungible token (NFT) and can be freely traded on external exchange platforms and the gas-free IlluviDEX (more on this later). They can also be fused into more powerful forms and come in normal, holographic, and dark holographic variants, which are considerably more scarce.
The game will feature a variety of revenue streams, mostly derived from in-game purchases of items, crafting components, cosmetics, and shard curing. 100% of this revenue is distributed as rewards to those staking the ILV tokens through an ILV buyback system.
What Makes Illuvium Unique?
Illuvium features a fully 3D environment, with over 100 unique Illuvials scattered throughout various regions, unlike most other blockchain-powered games. Each Illuvial is designed by a team of world-class artists, ensuring it appeals to players accustomed to big-budget retail games.
Beyond this, it boasts many features that help it stand out from both other blockchain-enabled games and AAA titles. These include:
- Layer-2 Integration: Although Ethereum secures Illuvium, it is built on Immutable X (IMX) — a layer-2 solution designed to help scale applications with NFT functionality. By leveraging Immutable X’s capabilities, Illuvium ensures players can mint and trade their NFTs with zero gas fees and practically instant transaction finality. Players always maintain custody of their assets while using IMX.
- The IlluviDEX: Illuvium features a built-in decentralized exchange (DEX) platform appropriately named the IlluviDEX. This can be used for trustlessly exchanging Illuvium assets, including Illuvial NFTs. A 5% fee is deducted from each sale and funnelled into the rewards pool for ILV stakers.
- Yield Farming: 3 million ILV — equivalent to 30% of the maximum supply (10 million) — are allocated to the Illuvium yield farming program. These will be distributed to users contributing liquidity and partner reward schemes for three years.
What Is sILV?
Illuvium features a unique yield farming reward system in that all ILV rewards earned through the yield farm are locked for one year before they can be withdrawn.
However, stakers can skip the unlock timer by converting their ILV rewards to a secondary in-game-only asset known as silver. By claiming their rewards as sILV, users receive the USD equivalent of sILV, and can spend their rewards early to purchase in-game items.
SILV cannot be withdrawn from the game and is not represented by a blockchain-based asset.
How Does Illuvium Compare With Axie Infinity?
Although Illuvium and Axie Infinity feature collectable in-game characters that can be battled, traded, and upgraded, the scope of the game world surrounding these critters differs somewhat.
On one side, Illuvium is a 3D role-playing game with a gradually revealed storyline and a massive, open, explorable landscape. In contrast, Axie Infinity is a highly popular, quirky 2D game featuring adorable critters known as Axies, reminiscent of Pokemon. These Axies can be bred, battled, and traded. For now, there is no story mode to speak of.
Both Illuvium and Axie Infinity feature a strong gamified DeFi element, which means there can be real Ether (ETH) at stake while playing either — since some Illuvials and Axies could fetch significant sums on the open market.
Unlike Axie Infinity, which uses a random assortment of assets to produce each Axie, Illuvium’s Illuvials are wholly unique. Each one features custom artwork and rigging to ensure they are distinct and bear characteristics that relate to their properties and region.
The two games have some similarities, but Illuvium primarily targets traditional gamers who may or may not have experience with cryptocurrencies and NFTs. At the same time, Axie Infinity would mostly appeal to crypto savvy.