A Definitive 2023 Guide to the ever-popular NFT Game – Axie Infinity in 2023
NFT gaming, SLP, AXS, Axie Infinity—you’ve probably heard one of these in the past month or so. If your answer is yes and you’re clueless as to what the hype is about, let me fill you right in.
So, what the heck is ‘Axie Infinity’ and how do people play and earn from it?
Axie Infinity is a blockchain-based play-to-earn game inspired by the enormously popular Pokémon video game franchise. Axie Infinity focuses on breeding, growing, and combating cute creatures called Axies that you can use to fight other players and earn MMR and SLP in return.
It isn’t free-to-play though which is the reason why many players seek out scholarships (yes, there are scholarships for Axie Infinity). In order to battle in Axie Infinity, you will need to buy three Axies from the marketplace. The average price of a single Axie as of writing is $33, and if we multiply that by 3, that’s $99—a sum of money that may not be affordable to some people.
However, Axie Infinity remains a prime example of how gaming and cryptocurrencies can coexist, and how video games could potentially be developed and built around in the future.
NFT? Crypto? Blockchain? What are these Cryptocurrency terms?
Let’s take a few steps back and help you understand the nature of Axie Infinity and blockchain in general.
Axie Infinity falls under the genre of games called “blockchain gaming”—video games where people can play to earn cryptocurrencies that they can convert to real, liquid cash in the outside world.
Okay, but what’s a blockchain? A blockchain is a decentralized database that is shared among thousands of complex computer network nodes. In essence, it stands as a database, storing information in a secured, digital format. Blockchains are well known for their critical role in keeping a secure and decentralized record of transactions in cryptocurrency systems like Ethereum, Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and more.
Gotcha, but I’m still confused about the concept of “play-to-earn”. Can I really earn money through playing video games? Fortunately, yes—it is no longer just a fantasy to earn money while sitting back and playing video games. However, this is only exclusive to the previously discussed genre of games called “blockchain gaming” like Axie Infinity.
The concept of play-to-earn relies on blockchain technology since you can earn items in the form of crypto tokens, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and staking while playing the games. Many of these games will reward you with one of the digital goods listed above if you play for a long period.
In the game world of Axie Infinity, you earn SLP tokens which you can trade for fiat or stablecoins on trusted exchanges.
In a specialized marketplace, you may also sell and exchange digital goods like land and weapons in the form of NFTs with other players. Because these objects would be tokenized, they would be one-of-a-kind assets that could not be duplicated, and the token for these items would be securely maintained in a distributed ledger.
Wait! Help me with this last one: NFTs? Ah, NFTs. Non-fungible tokens or better known as NFTs are more or less a unique product that cannot be duplicated or replaced with something else. These NFTs can take the form of a photo, video, GIF, or anything under the sun that’s digital, really.
Think of it as a really rare Pokemon card, like the Pikachu Illustrator. There are probably thousands of copies, imitations, and fake dummies of this specific card, but nothing can top the original copy because it holds the value and worth of being the original copy.
The same applies to NFTs. Although there are hundreds of memes mocking its mechanics of being just a “glorified JPEG”, saving a photo of an NFT does not make you the owner of it, thus, it holds no value. You can’t sell it back to the marketplace, you can’t flex it on your Twitter profile, and you can’t be a millionaire off it.
The Gameplay of Axie Infinity
Now that you’re in the loop with blockchain terminologies, let’s talk about the most important part of this article: understanding the gameplay of Axie Infinity.
To make it easier for you to get, imagine Pokémon and Hearthstone getting married and having a baby. That baby would be called Axie Infinity—a turn-based card game in which you have complete control over what your Axies (monsters) do on each turn. Each player has at least four cards that are randomized for each battle, so you can’t exactly use any card you want at any given time.
Apart from the cards, there are also 6 Axie classes you have to know: Aqua, Beast, Plant, Bug, Reptile, and Bird. Going deeper is yet another classification of an Axie: their Tail, Mouth, Back, Horn, range (melee or ranged), and costs. Each class has its own strengths and weaknesses, and just like Pokemon, each class counters a specific type of class. For example, Reptiles will significantly do more damage to Aqua, while Aqua won’t do much against Reptiles.
While other turn-based games allow players to select which enemies they want to engage, Axies only attack and damage opponents at random. As a result, you won’t be able to focus on a single target, even if they’re left with a slither of health. The same is true for PvP battles which adds the element of randomness and luck in the game.
Speaking of PVP, this is where you’ll earn most of your SLP. Axie Infinity makes use of a Matchmaking Rating (MMR) system, an exact, numerical measure of your rank. The higher your MMR is, the more SLP you’ll get per win and the higher your name will go in the leaderboards.
But what if you lose? Your MMR will go down, but the good news is that you won’t lose any of your hard-earned SLP.
Once you start getting comfortable with the core gameplay, the next step is to balance your time to accommodate all of the game’s modes, such as Daily Quest, PVP, and PVE. While participants are given free Axies at the start of the game, most players avoid using them and instead utilize Metaxies (expensive breeds of Axies) for their stats and rarity.
How do players earn money in Axie Infinity?
Now we’re getting to the interesting part.
Yes, it is totally possible to earn money in Axie Infinity, although it may not be as straightforward as you think. Let’s walk you through the several ways you can earn money while playing Axie Infinity.
1. By playing the game
As mentioned earlier, Axie Infinity rewards its players Smooth Love Potion (SLP) for playing the game. This SLP can then be converted into fiat through online exchanges. It isn’t advisable to keep cashing out every time you earn SLP though as these exchanges often have fees that take a large cut of your cryptocurrency. The better strategy is to wait until you’ve got a sufficient amount of SLP, say 2000, then convert them into your desired currency. As of writing, SLPs are trading at $0.010 each.
To earn SLP while playing, you can:
- Win battles vs AI-controlled units in Adventure Mode (PvE).
- Win battles vs real players in Arena Mode (PvP)
- And by completing Daily Quests
2. Staking AXS tokens
Before we talk about staking, let’s discuss what AXS tokens are first.
Axie Infinity Shards (AXS) is another in-game token in Axie Infinity. It is the Axie Universe’s official governance token that holders can use for staking. AXS can be earned by playing the game and voting in important governance votes. You can also earn AXS through participating in community-generated content and playing other games within the Axie Universe.
In layman’s terms, as long as you are involved in the important activities of the Axie community and a daily player of the game, you will be eligible to earn AXS.
Now, let’s get to staking AXS.
This may sound complicated, but it really isn’t. Simply put, staking entails locking up your AXS tokens to sustain Axie Infinity’s blockchain network’s operations in exchange for newly issued AXS. With Axie Infinity’s worth and revenue skyrocketing in recent months and the value of AXS climbing up along with it, staking your AXS tokens gives you a piece of the action. Think of staking AXS as another source of passive income.
Just remember to be mindful of how much AXS you stake as you can also lose some if Axie Infinity’s revenue goes down.
3. Breeding and selling Axies
Aside from in-game tokens such as SLP, the Axies you control have intrinsic worth as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Just like real-life pets, Axies can also breed, resulting in the birth of a baby Axie. When two Axies breed, the result is a new Axie with a different collection of stats, body parts, abilities, and genes, making it a unique product of the already two Axies that were probably also bred by another set of unique Axies.
After you’ve successfully bred a baby Axie, you can choose whether to keep it for yourself or sell it on the market. The value of an Axie is determined by its quality, such as whether it has well-balanced numbers or a strong synergy of abilities. The better its numbers and stats are, the higher it’ll go for in the market. As of writing, “floor” Axies—Axies with horrible numbers and stats—currently go for (on average) 0.0125 ETH ($32.55)
Some players are so good at breeding that they become millionaires due to the number of high-quality Axies they are able to sell on the marketplace. Currently, the most expensive Axie was sold for 300 ETH. That’s a mind-boggling $820,000 according to Axie’s website.
While it may seem like an easy, lucrative business, it isn’t a sure-fire way to earn money as you’ll need SLP and AXS in order to breed and make Axies. The rates for breeding vary from time to time, but as of today, you will need a minimum of 1800 SLP and 0.5 AXS to get started.
How much can gamers earn a month playing Axie Infinity?
How much you can earn in Axie Infinity has no definite answer. The figures below can fluctuate as the cryptocurrency market is very volatile and fragile to unforeseen ups and downs, but let me run you down with some numbers just to give you an idea of how much you can potentially earn playing Axie Infinity right now.
As of writing, 1 SLP is $0.00325, and players on average can get 100-200 SLP per day. This means that if we do some calculations, that’s around $0.30 to $0.65 per day. If we multiply that range by 30 (average number of days in a month), that’s around $9 to $19.50 monthly.
With the current state of SLP, playing and grinding for SLP isn’t the most lucrative method of earning in Axie Infinity.
At its peak in May of 2021, SLP was worth $0.36, meaning players could earn $36-72 daily. That’s more than the monthly right now, which is crazy to think of. Oh, and that’s $1,080-2,160 monthly if you were wondering.
What exactly should I do to earn this much?
To earn the 100-200 SLP per day, you must complete the things I discussed earlier which were:
- Win battles vs AI-controlled units in Adventure Mode (PvE).
- Win battles vs real players in Arena Mode (PvP)
- And by completing Daily Quests
Let’s talk about PvE or Adventure Mode first.
This will be the first thing you will do and complete as a beginner, and frankly speaking, the hardest part of the game. Your first 50 SLP will be a tough one as your Axie’s level is low and in Adventure Mode, a low-level Axie can only earn 1-4 SLP per match.
For the most part as a beginner, you would want to be farming for XP in Adventure Mode so that you can get more SLP as your level goes higher.
And don’t worry about losing matches in Adventure Mode. The AI-controlled units aren’t as smart as your future opponents in PvP, so expect to win every time you go for a PvE match. Nevertheless, these PvE matches are still a good opportunity to practice and familiarize yourself with the game.
It’s also worth noting that there are 2 boss fights in Adventure Mode which give one-time SLP rewards.
- In Ruin 21, the boss fight will reward you 200 SLP.
- In Ruin 36, the boss fight will reward you 300 SLP.
Cool, so I can just keep playing Adventure Mode and get infinite amounts of SLP then? Not so fast. You can only earn a maximum of 50 SLP per day in Adventure Mode and there is also a resource called “Energy” which will be used every time you play Adventure Mode to level up your Axies or to collect rewards in PvP/Arena.
The good thing is that you don’t need energy to earn SLP in Adventure Mode, but it’s still worth discussing as it is a core part of Arena Mode.
Energy is a resource in Axie Infinity used for Adventure Mode (if you want to level up your Axies) and to collect SLP in Arena Mode. It refills over time, but the amount of energy refill you get will vary on the number of Axies that you have. The screenshot below should give you the exact numbers of Axies you need to earn energy in X amount of hours.
Apart from refill times, there’s also the number of energy per day you can hold.
- For players with 3-9 Axies, you get 20 Energy per day
- For players with 10-19 Axies, you get 40 Energy per day
- For players with 20 Axies and beyond, you get 60 Energy per day.
As you can see, the amount of Adventure Mode matches you can play in a day depends a lot on how many Axies you have. So apart from grinding SLP and XP, you should also keep track of how many Axies you own so that you can benefit from the extra energy limit per day.
In a nutshell, do Adventure Mode matches every day to level your Axies up, earn SLP on the side, while also focusing on growing your roster of Axies to benefit from the extra energy cap.
If you do all of these, expect Adventure Mode to give you 50 SLP per day, 350 SLP per week, and 1500 SLP per month.
Okay, that’s PvE/Adventure Mode covered.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: PvP.
As of writing, Arena Mode or PvP is still the best way to earn SLP in Axie Infinity. Thanks to the recent updates, the higher your MMR is, and the higher you climb in the leaderboards, your SLP gain will also skyrocket.
The good thing about your Axies’ level system is that it has no bearing in Arena Mode. It only affects your SLP gains and Axies’ power in Adventure Mode, so there is no “required” level to start your PvP journey.
However, it’s also important to master your Axies strengths and weaknesses before hopping into the Arena. This won’t be an in-depth guide to PvP as we’re focusing on SLP gains, but the general rule of thumb is to study the class weakness chart.
- Bug, Beast, Mech do 15% more damage vs. Plant, Reptile, Dusk
- Plant, Reptile, Dusk do 15% more damage vs. Dawn, Aqua, Bird
- Dawn, Aqua, Bird do 15% more damage vs. Bug, Beast, Mech
Once you’ve done that, it’s time to grind PvP and get your first few wins.
As discussed, your SLP gains in PvP will depend on your MMR. As a starter, you can expect to be placed on the 800-950 and 950-1150 brackets.
Here’s a detailed breakdown of the SLP gains per MMR bracket.
|0-800||0 SLP per win|
|800-999||1 SLP per win|
|1000-1099||3 SLP per win|
|1100-1299||6 SLP per win|
|1300-1499||9 SLP per win|
|1500-1799||12 SLP per win|
|1800-1999||15 SLP per win|
|2000-2199||18 SLP per win|
|2200+||21 SLP per win|
As you can see, top players earn around 18-21 SLP per win. If we assume that they win 5 matches per day, that’s already 90-105 SLP per day from PvP alone.
Of course, you’re just a beginner so you won’t be getting this much. If you want to get a higher MMR though, you’ll have to keep playing and keep mastering the game.
As we discussed earlier, energy is an important resource in Arena Mode. You need 1 energy to be able to collect SLP after winning a match, and because you only have 20 energy at the start, you should aim to use 10 to 15 of that in PvP and the rest to Adventure Mode and Daily Quests (which I will discuss too later).
With that in mind, you should, on average, be playing 10 to 15 matches of Arena Mode in a day. That may sound a lot, but as the average win rate of an Axie player is roughly 50%, you will most likely win 5-8 matches per day which amounts to 5-8 SLP if you’re in the 800-999 bracket, or 15-24 SLP if you’re in the 1000-1099 bracket.
During your first few days in Axie, your main goal in Arena Mode is to get your MMR as high as possible, preferably in the 1100-1299 bracket so that you can earn 6 SLP per win. This is easier said than done of course, but with enough effort, luck, and skill, climbing in Axie Infinity is totally possible.
Let’s get to Daily Quests, perhaps the easiest way of earning SLP in Axie Infinity.
The reason why daily quests are easy SLP gains is that you essentially just have to play the game to complete them. It’s always going to be these three tasks:
- Daily check in (log in to Axie Infinity)
- Win 5 Arena matches (PvP)
- And complete 10 Adventure mode levels (PvE)
For the most part, you won’t even notice that you’ve completed them already. Just make sure to claim your SLP every day as it doesn’t auto-claim it for you.
After doing PvE, PvP, and Daily Quests, you should expect to earn 100-200 SLP per day as a beginner. Here’s a quick breakdown of SLP gains on every mode:
- Adventure Mode: 50 SLP per day
- Daily Quests: 50 SLP per day
- PvP: 5-8 SLP per day or 15-24 SLP per day
For the low end, you can expect to earn 105-108 SLP per day, but if you’re climbing the Arena mode leaderboards, then you can expect to earn 115-124 SLP per day.
If we do some quick maths, that’s 3150-3720 SLP per month or $32-$37. Not too shabby for a starter, eh?
4 great starting Axie Infinity combo decks for beginners
So far, we’ve talked about what Axie is, how to earn by playing it, and how much you can expect as a beginner.
Before you hop in and grind that sweet sweet SLP and MMR, you should first familiarize yourself with the best starter combo decks in Axie Infinity. With that being said, here are 4 great team setups to use as a beginner:
- Plant, Bird, Beast
- Plant, Beast, Beast
- Plant, Aquatic, Beast
- Plant, Aquatic, Aquatic
The reason and logic behind these starter combos is that they follow a simple strategy: building your team with 1 Defender and 2 Attackers. This way, there will be one Axie (preferably Aquatic and Plant) to absorb the damage and two Axies (Beast and Bird) that will be dishing out the damage.
Should I go the breeding route or climb the ranks in PvP? Which is more lucrative?
With the current price of AXS and SLP in January 2023, breeding is not an optimal route to go for right now.
The SLP and AXS required to breed are almost unrealistic to accomplish as a beginner as it will take you weeks or months before you can even breed your first Axie. Not only that, but the fact that you aren’t guaranteed a quality Axie every time you breed just makes it a riskier path to take. It’s also important to note that the average price of a floor Axie right now is 0.0125 ETH ($32.55), which is almost the same as just playing the game and earning 100-200 SLP for a month.
So the answer? Just stick to playing the game, doing adventure mode, climbing the ranks in PvP, and completing daily quests as this will earn you more money, especially when you’ve reached the higher ranks in Arena mode.
Of course, this answer won’t always be true—it will always depend on the climate of cryptocurrencies, updates in the game, and many more factors out of your control.
Right now though, you are better off climbing the ranks in PvP to earn SLP consistently and safely.
Axie Infinity Scholarships – what they are, pros and cons, and how to find a sponsor
What is an Axie Infinity Scholarship? Scholarships are for those who wish to play the game but lack the financial means to do so. As the minimum amount of money you need to enter Axie Infinity right now is $99, you may find yourself lost as to how you can get into the game without spending that much. That’s where scholarships come in—funded by executives who have the opposite problem: they have a lot of resources (cash or already bred Axies) but not enough time to play with them all.
A scholarship is exactly what it sounds like: a manager provides students part of their unused Axies in exchange for them playing the game for them, dividing whatever money they make.
To play the game and earn SLP, a normal scholar receives three Axies from the management. Once the team has earned enough SLP to cash out, the scholar’s earnings will be split between the management and the scholar. Earnings are often split 60/40 (with the majority going to the manager), though this is dependent on the terms of the two parties’ agreement.
A manager (at least a decent one) also assists scholars in learning the ins and outs of the game, which can be intimidating for newcomers. The convoluted economy, along with the high cost of entry, creates an extremely high barrier to entrance – a manager can help a lot with that.
What are the pros and cons of being a scholar?
- You can get into the game without spending a single cent
- You get guided by your manager
- You get to be exposed to a healthy community of fellow Axie scholars
- You also learn more about the blockchain and crypto, in general
- You get to play strong and quality Axies
- Not all scholarship programs and managers are legit; do your own research!
- The split between SLP can be unfair
- Axies given to you can be low-quality
- High expectations from managers and peers
- You don’t get to play and learn the game on your pace
Where do I find a sponsor? What’s the application process like? Finding a legitimate Axie Infinity Scholarship sponsor is easier than ever due to the popularity of the game. A quick Google search can help you out and just like with real jobs, you will need to go through an extensive application process. There are also numerous groups and pages on soial media websites like Facebook and Twitter where top scholarship programs reside.
As always, it is VITAL that you do your own research and always do background checks before applying.
Aside from looking for one, you can also ask your friends who are already in Axie Infinity to refer you to scholarship programs and managers they know. There are also streamers on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch who often do scholarship giveaways to their viewers.
As for the application process, it can actually get more formal than what you would think. You’ll need to explain why you’re deserving of such a role, your background with P2E and blockchain gaming, and more. There are even scholarship programs that do interviews and video calls, but for the most part, you can expect written application letters as the standard when it comes to applying for a scholarship.
How do I get started?
If you’ve decided to start and buy 3 Axies of your own, then let me do a quick rundown of the things you’ll need to get into Axie Infinity.
1) Get and set your Ethereum Wallet up
This is the first and easiest part of the process. For this step, I recommend MetaMask. It’s free, secure, and trusted by millions of users around the world.
Just go to metamask.io, click Download, and follow the installation steps as displayed.
2) Create a Ronin Wallet
This is yet another digital wallet, but this time, it’s for your in-game items like AXS.
You can add Ronin Wallet as a browser extension, just click on your web browser and it will download automatically.
Once you’ve downloaded and added Ronin Wallet to your extensions, click on the Ronin extension on your extensions bar and follow the instructions as shown.
3) Create an Axie Infinity Account
To create an Axie Infinity account, go to the Axie Infinity marketplace and log in using Ronin Wallet to get started.
Voila! You should have your own Axie Infinity account by then with your own Axie username.
You’re not done yet though as you will still need to set up your email and password
As for everything related to the blockchain and crypto, I strongly advise that you use an email that nobody else knows of and a strong, unique password.
4) Connect your Axie Infinity account to MetaMask
After you’ve successfully verified your email, go back to your Dashboard, go to “Account Settings” and click on the “Attach MetaMask” button.
A series of popups on your MetaMask extension should appear. Just keep clicking “Next” and on the last pop-up, click “Sign”.
5) Buying your first set of Axies
Now that you finally have an Axie account connected to MetaMask, you can get to buying your first three Axies. As mentioned, the average price of a single Axie right now is $33, and because you’ll need to purchase three, you’ll need a minimum of $99 to get started.
You can purchase Axies straight from the marketplace or from other players. Just be mindful of who you’re transacting with and not fall for scams.
Before you do all of that though, you will need Ethereum (ETH) in your Ronin Wallet first as it is the currency you will use to buy Axies in the marketplace. There are two ways to do this:
Use Ronin Bridge to deposit ETH into your Ronin Wallet. On the Ronin Bridge website, click on “Deposit” and follow the instructions as shown.
Buy ETH with fiat on Ronin by utilizing the Ramp Network. Unfortunately, this option is not available in every country.
6) Downloading Axie Infinity client
Once you’re all set and ready to battle, go to Axie Infinity’s website and click on the purple “Play Now” button on the top right. You will be led to the download page. On this download page, click on the “4 – Download & Play” button and choose your respective OS.
In Conclusion – My parting thoughts on Axie Infinity
That wraps up my in-depth guide on how to get started and how to play Axie Infinity! It certainly is more complex than it looks, but it’s definitely a fun game that can earn you money on the side.
It’s definitely way past its glory days where every corner, you’d see people flexing their six-digit earnings just from playing the game, but it’s still a viable side hustle, especially for students who are into gaming and into the concept of play-to-earn.
At the end of the day, Axie Infinity is in no way shape or form supposed to replace a 9-5 job. However, it does show us a glimpse of what the future of crypto, blockchain, and gaming could look like. An interactive mix of gameplay, grinding rank, and earning cash. Who wouldn’t like that?
Disclaimer: This guide is not at all financial advise. Cryptocurrency and blockchain gaming involves real-world financial investment at the user’s risk. This article is provided for informational purposes only.