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Plai Labs staged a live demo of Champions Ascension in a community game event at the Web3 Gaming Expo.
The event took place live in the afternoon at the 3XP Web3 Gaming Expo, a first-time blockchain and esports gaming event where I’ll be a speaker today on a panel on big game companies going into blockchain games. Plai Labs also announced that it is moving over to the Polygon blockchain network.
Champions Ascension is an arena-based, gladiatorial combat game built inside a virtual world. Though the 3D arena combat is the centerpiece of the game, Champions Ascension is also building an open world around it.
This Old Sally event was a long time in the making. In late 2021, Jam City announced the addition of a new blockchain division anchored by its first project, Champions Ascension. Chris DeWolfe and Amber Whitcomb took this division and spun it out of Jam City as Plai Labs, with a focus on creating dynamic, unique and engaging social experiences leveraging Web3 and AI technologies.
Johnny Casamassina, the chief creative officer at Plai Labs, said in an interview that the company hosted a big tournament with more than 30 guilds for Champions Ascension, which has a focus on its community of players as its foundation.
Payton Kaleiwahea, head of marketing, said the tournament was aired on the front page of Twitch as players tried to take down Old Sally, a monster of the sewers in the world of Champions Ascension.
“The game has been coming together quite nicely,” said Casamassina on the day before the event. “The players have to take on a crocodile, a legendary creature. It’s going to be a high-difficulty event. It’s goig to be a lot of fun. It’s got a lot of drama. We’re going to be on stage shoutcasting on Twitch.”
The event was the company’s first-ever player-versus-environment (PvE) raid, with the aim of killing the monster. Plai Labs gave out $5,000 in prizes.
Meanwhile, the company said it moved $10 million in assets over from Ethereum to the Polygon network.
“The attraction for us to go to Polygon really stems from the idea that we want to be providing a lot more on-chain activity to players from the standpoint of creating a very low friction solution and environment of safety for them to transact,” Casamassina said. “So they can pay for anything without having to pay outrageous gas fees every time they interact with the blockchain.”
It was also about enabling community groups to put their own identities on the chain. Players can buy NFTs and get full ownership in the game. But now the gameplay has been opened up to traditional Web2 players as well as Web3 players.
“This is very much intended to be a free-to-play game that has player ownership at the backbone of it,” said Kaleiwahea.
Players are coming back to the game each week as they are playing on the pre-alpha client. Kaleiwahea said that players are putting in several hours a day. The game also launched a 15-person free-for-all mode to increase engagement.
“We have a baseline set of users come in and it is very dedicated,” he said.
Plai Labs has about 45 full-time employees.
“We very fortunate to have an extremely experienced team,” Casamassina said.
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