9Lives Arena is an RPG game with a focus on 1v1 fantasy PVP. They’ve made headlines previously by being one of the first blockchain games to boast high fidelity 3D graphics, as well as positioning themselves in a strategic partnership with Enjin. The game of course is built on Ethereum, and they’re back again in the headlines this week with the official announcement of their Kickstarter campaign! If you’ve spent any time on Telegram then you’ve probably heard of 9Lives Arena, and you will have no doubt seen the Ooogies!
We had the honor of connecting with the Canadian team behind 9Lives Arena to learn more about them, their game, and their future!
Can you tell me a bit of background about you and your team? What inspired you to get into blockchain / crypto games?
I am a hardcore gamer that turned my passion into my profession back in 1990. I worked for a lot of publishers and developers across 7 different countries until I decided to start my own studio in Canada in the summer of 2015. Touchhour is an ambitious indie studio focused on competitive fantasy PvP. The team is still small but mighty, everyone is a passionate gamer and we are all competitive and experienced at developing and playing games. The concept of the game was created first and production began in 2016. After learning about blockchain and what an incredible job Enjin was doing we realized how blockchain technology will revolutionize gaming and we decided to work along side Enjin to offer our gamers true item ownership.
Tell me about how the vision for 9Lives Arena came about. What inspired you to make a game like this?
I love fantasy PvP, it all started in 1997 when for the first time I could fight other players in games like Meridian 59 and Ultima Online. Even the first Diablo that year had pvp and you could collect the victims ears! 😀 Throughout the years players like me went from MMORPG to MMORPG looking for that pvp fix. In recent years you would find us in the Souls series excited to get invaded, organising fight clubs or invading others… competitive gamers are in Moba’s and in open world survival games… What I realised is that nobody really ever created a game that’s focused on the 1on1 experience. Every MMO I ever played had a dedicated duelling scene. Even in WoW you would find players duelling 24/7 outside of Orgrimmar – yes I played Horde 🙂 the Souls games have fight clubs and some even have an Arena, but their core competence is still PvE. So I decided someone had to make a clever RPG experience that is tailor made for the competitive player that loves the heart and soul of what PvP is all about – that 1on1 situation. Where it’s you versus me, mano a mano, nobody else to blame.
What is the basic gameplay, story, and marketplace of 9Lives Arena? How does the game and marketplace work?
Let’s start with the Ooogies. In 9Lives Arena all your resource gatherings, item crafting and unlocking spells and skills can be done by your companion – your Ooogy! He works for the player even when you are offline. We all have done the grinding in so many games, nobody is getting younger and this is a fresh change that allows you to go to the beach while still progressing if you made sure your Ooogy is fed and has enough fish stew in his pot.
We are developing a companion App that ties into 9Lives Arena and through that you can get in Touch with your Ooogy wherever you are and order him around or feed him… Think of an Ooogy as a tamagotchi on steroids – they are amazing cross platform companions. They are minted out of Enjin and can be leveled up and traded. There is a massive genepool and a lore around them and unlike your typical blockchain collectibles, Ooogies actually work for their money! 😀 they are extremely useful! Now, while Ooogy does all the work for you, of course you can still help him and do some mining and resource gathering yourself… but you don’t have to, you can entirely focus on sparring with other players to level up and build a hero that you think kicks ass. There are no fixed classes. You choose how you build a competitive hero, what spells, skills, items stats you prefer etc. Finding out what works for you is part of the meta. Once you have a max level hero and you feel confident to fight for fame you can enter the 9Lives Arena. Here with every loss you lose a life! How many victories can you achieve with those 9 lives?!?! Once you die on your last life your hero is gone and turns into an oversized statue that can be displayed in your arena. Or traded as a trophy on the blockchain. This brings some interesting blockchain dynamics as certain items will become more rare over time because they are lost at final death. Yet the only way to have a statue featuring certain items is to die with them. Permadeath in 9Lives Arena comes with persistent progression. Your Ooogy never dies and actually levels up, all the resources and items he constantly crafts are part of a shared bank box amongst all your character slots.
Players that don’t care for competition could just get the mobile companion App, raise an Ooogy, get their hands on rare crafting recipes and specialize in armor or weapon crafting and sell their items to the competitive players that are always on the lookout for certain stat combinations on items. Stat distribution is random when you craft an item and the stat budget depends on the quality level your Ooogy achieves during crafting. Players will be able to buy and sell item blueprints, items, Ooogies and even leveled and equipped Heros in the form of ERC-1155 tokens.
What are some of the barriers you see ahead for your project and Crypto Games in general?
9Lives Arena is not your typical Blockchain game. It does not run entirely on blockchain technology and therefore we don’t have to deal with the pitfalls of gas fees etc just to play the game. We just utilise blockchain to give players true item ownership and the security of being able to trade safe and melt items. In terms of barriers I think it’s all about educating gamers on how they actually benefit from blockchain integration and making sure blockchain integration is done seamlessly and easily and not something that scares them away.
Tell me about your perspective on blockchain technology and games in general. Where is this all going? and why is it important to you?
I personally have spent quite a bit of money over the years to buy skins and ingame items. All that money is gone. I consider it money well spent but if all of my purchases had been run on a blockchain I would still own those items and be able to trade them or melt them. Even if those games had shut down.
I truly believe we will get to the point where players think twice to buy a skin or an item in a game where they have no true item ownership due to the lack of blockchain based items. I know I will certainly move my spendings towards the games that run their items on a blockchain. Enjin just announced the Game Multiverse and 9Lives Arena is a truly excited to be a part of it. The future possibilities are mind blowing! We start with multiverse items that have special powers and can travel between the gaming worlds… what a time to be alive! 🙂 Imagine, some of our items we create today will still travel through future gaming worlds when all of us are long gone…
What is your roadmap, and what plans do you have for the future for your team and your project?
9Lives Arena is currently at Alpha. We are going to invite players in waves once the backend is fully developed and we can make sure the service side allows for a stable experience. We are looking forward to growing a healthy community around the game and the companion app and scale the development team accordingly. Once the game is live we plan to run seasons and tournaments constantly updating, balancing and fine tuning the experience adding more content and features over time. 1v1 is our initial focus but we already have plans to grow from there…
9Lives Arena has officially launched their Kickstart campaign. Go check it out: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/touchhour/9lives-arena?ref=project_build#
Got any comments, corrections, or new info? Get in touch!