In these Meltelbrot interviews, I chat with indie game developers and creative community members of Enjin who put their time and developing skills to a task within the overall Enjin ecosystem. The space is full of creative and dedicated pioneers, who are all involved in creating new and exciting platforms to entertain, reward, inform, and connect us all, with a particular focus on blockchain gaming and the Enjin suite of Blockchain Gaming Tools.
Today I chat with Nhayge & Deputy Sheriff Shaun, devoted community managers and veteran players of 9 Lives Arena, an AAA-looking PvP where you can craft your own blockchain weapons, and battle to the death, plus much more. Warning: This game is addictive! I’ve chatted with Dreadlord, Founder of 9LA previously, so it’s time to hear from some of the biggest supporters of the game, and will be good to hear their thoughts as fans of 9LA, and why the undercurrent of the hype is building about what this game can become.
But first the giveaway, again us writers will be giving away another batch of 10 Meltelbrot/eGamers tokens to the first 10 who follow, retweet this article, and add their ENJ/ETH address as a reply on Meltelbrot twitter. 9Lives Arena is also offering closed alpha access to 3 winners (picked via fairpick.io) so they can have a chance to become a true warrior and partake in the major 9LA prize (more about that below).
Also to all Multiverse101 holders who read this, a 9LA tournament is being organised specifically for you with some cool 9LA prizes. Training has just started and spots are limited. First rounds of tournament are taking place in a week, Thursday 16 April 2020, with three designated time-slots. If you hold a 101 Founders Token, and want to check out the 9Lives Arena, then please let us know in the Multiverse Movement Telegram Channel and we will connect for link to 101 channel. Ok let’s crack on and enter the Arena!
Thanks for chatting Nhayge & Shaun, so I just downloaded 9LA, and I see the latest update allows players to connect their Enjin wallet (and 9LA Blockchain Inventory) to the game. After downloading, I’ve got a heap of q’s so thanks for taking the time to answer them. First q as always though is – what’s your background in gaming and / or gaming development?
Nhayge: Thanks for having us! I’m happy to see you get into the game and I hope I can clear up any questions you have! Personally, I’ve been an avid gamer for the better part of 30 years now, and a good portion of childhood memories revolves around playing SNES and N64 with my brother in the living room. My focus shifted towards competitive online games after the internet became an actual usable thing and I got my first PC. Since then, I’ve been active in many communities, from running a server in Counter Strike Source, to being a guild master in World of Warcraft, to my involvement in the 9LA community now.
Shaun: Meltoid you sexy beast !! Personally, unlike a vast majority of the Enjin community, I’ve never been a gamer, hence why I have kids and not a collection of odd tubesocks ! I come across 9lives following ENJ as a crypto investment, and after watching kids dump money into Fortnite skins, it made perfect sense.
Gigidy;) Other than for the laughs, why are you dedicating your time to tutor others in the ways of 9LA?
Nhayge: Short answer? It’s fun. Slightly longer answer? I kind of stumbled into 9LA when I first got involved in the Enjin community. It didn’t look that appealing to me at first to be absolutely honest and I stayed away from it for some time. I got sucked into it after my freeloading ass joined the telegram channel for some giveaway, and quickly fell in love with the developers’ vision, the constant banter in chat and of course the game itself. Since I know from experience that it’s a bit harder to get into a competitive game like 9LA, I want to help everyone out who’s showing any sign of interest. There’s a lot to unpack with this game, and I think with a little bit of guidance everyone will understand that it’s just plain fun to battle it out in the arena and not scary at all.
Shaun: Initially, for shits and giggles . Dreadlord made me an admin during the 2019 GDC as a joke , letting the lunatics run the asylum while he was away . In all seriousness , I believe in the Touchhour team . The big kahuna once said to me while we were just randomly chatting ‘I am part of the core target audience I am building the game for .. its basically backwards engineering from what gets me super excited to play ‘ . That candid honesty gave the team my unwavering loyalty and belief in their creation , which I’m always happy to share .
I got to say, it looks AAA beautiful. Detail detail detail, screenshot worthy! To recap on the team behind 9LA, what can you tell us there?
Nhayge: Well, they’re an actual team of actual game developers, with some amazing talent and years/decades of experience in the field. They’re professionals who are making a game of triple A quality, not some bored highschool student brewing up an Enjin-powered cash-grab like we’ve sadly seen too many times before. And it really shows. From their awareness that a small team with limited budget can’t develop the next Skyrim but has to stay small in scope but high in quality, to their understanding of how each and every gameplay feature works together to make a coherent experience, to their incredible attention to detail in the game assets, it all shows that they truly understand what they are doing.
Shaun: Primarily , it’s the motivation of the team that is most inspiring . This is a crew of pros , making a AAA game , for gamers primarily , with the blockchain integration secondary . Motivation is obvious with the way Blueprints are sold to fund development . No loot boxes or new ‘presales’ every month . A legitimate store with no gimmicks or cash grabs . Gamers making a game for gamers . Real passion . Our fearless leader Dreadlord has been in the industry longer than a lot of the community have been alive man . That’s some top tier pedigree !
There’s a heap of games to play out there, and people tend to stick to genre or gameplay – from the games developed before, which one is 9LA most like?
Nhayge: You can see the inspiration from many games in 9LA but two stand out in my opinion (which is of course heavily influenced by the games I’ve played myself). One is Dark Souls for the very methodical approach to combat with a focus on right positioning and stamina management, and how you can punish your opponents for making mistakes or being greedy. The second one is the PvP part of games like World of Warcraft or Guild Wars where you have a variety of spells with cooldowns on your hotbar that you need to use strategically to make the most of them. I think anyone who has played either of those massively successful games will feel right at home in 9LA.
Shaun: I’m about that 9lives monogamy. Do other games even exist ? I wouldn’t know …
Ok for someone that wants to check out 9LA, what are the next steps to play?
Nhayge: If you want to play right away, you’ll have to buy access to the alpha version with a Founder Pack 3-7. Packs 3-6 come with a ton of goodies such as Blueprints, Ooogies and Multiverse items but if you’re just interested in the game itself for now, 7 is the way to go. After that, the devs will whitelist your email address and you’re ready to play.
Shaun: Once you’re in , get Ooogy working . He’s the backbone of crafting and keeping mats stocked.
I noticed there’s a blue arrow point that shows different points of interest. What are all the interactive points of play within game other than match making?
Nhayge: Blue arrow? Maybe I’ll have to turn on the tutorial again haha. It’s been a while! Anyway, there’s actually quite some things to do outside of getting your ass handed to you in the arena. There’s a bunch of things connected to the two major meta progression paths in the game: Ooogy levelling and unlocking of combat styles, races, spirit animals and spells. Once you have a level 30 character, a whole new section of the island opens up to you with more interesting stuff as well. But I’ll leave that to the players themselves to find out, no spoilers. All I have to say is, go Sacred!
Shaun: I don’t want to discriminate against the sacredtards .. But Blood clan is where the cool kids have the coolest parties . I’m not saying Sacred skull selection necessarily makes you stupid , but there is a higher chance that your parents are brother and sister . Just sayin’ .
What tips do you have for someone that’s just entered the Arena? Any shortcuts?
Nhayge: When you’re up against another player, stamina management is the most important part of the game. If you run out of stamina, your giant two-hand-wielded chunk of a sword will hit like a wet sock and you will get knocked down by your opponent. Alpha also currently still has a rather small pool of players who generally are more than happy to help out. After each battle you’re put into a dialogue chat window with your opponent – talk to them, ask for tips, ask for them to go easy on you, ask for them to make a new level 1 character to fight against. It’s a skill based game, so you have to expect losing at first. Don’t get discouraged, though, as every loss still levels your character and gives you a better grasp at the intricacies of combat!
Shaun: Take your whoopings well … and trash talk everyone else regardless of your skill set . Half the battle is being a keyboard warrior . Most importantly though , persevere . Not having the gaming experience of most of these nerds has been very humbling . I am the metaphorical red headed step child of the arena … but I still show up regularly for those ass kickings I’ve learnt to love !
There’s many out there that have blueprints from the 9LA presales, with the Enjin wallet now linked in-game, what should blueprint holders do? How can they craft from their blue-prints?
Nhayge: It’s super simple. You just have to go to the in-game settings (press Esc) and link your Enjin wallet from there. After that your Blueprints will show up for Ooogy to craft at the smithy! It makes a world of difference to see your character in that badass gear and show off to your opponents. As a small reminder at this point: 9LA is not pay2win! Blueprints don’t give you stronger gear, they only give you different looking gear. You can have the exact same stats with your free starting Blueprints you get with the game as someone who has spent thousands of dollars on the game. They will just look cooler.
Shaun: What Nhayge said , but with a sexy Aussie accent .
I initially entered and got matched with a mate (eGamers George?) which I won without using a mouse;)…and yes I’m not going to stop telling people that, please don’t cancel these interviews ha, but how many players can we expect to compete with? Is there a designated fight night organised?
Nhayge: I’ll make sure to remind George as well of your glorious victory in battle when I get the chance! The player pool is still pretty small but I have never had a problem finding someone to play with. When you stand on the summoning pad to initialize a battle, it will give a signal to any other player online that you are ready to fight. And if nobody shows up, just ask in the in-game chat or telegram. We have players from all over the world so it doesn’t matter when you want to play, there usually is someone available, even if it is some laggy weird guy from Australia. No fight nights per se yet but we often plan ahead a couple of hours in chat to meet up in the arena.
Shaun: Most players you’ll encounter when you’re fresh will slow their personal play style down and happily guide you through, even taking losses so you can become comfortable with spells and fight dynamics . Except that pesky German , he has a real issue about being superior and exterminating other players ….
I’ve been following 9LA from the get go, mainly as a spectator so to speak, and I was told via the in-game chat that there’s a viewing platform in the game to watch fights. After checking it out, I’m intrigued – what’s that all about?
Nhayge: Well, it’s exactly what you’d expect: a way for you to spectate other fights directly from the game itself. It’s currently disabled but will be a lot of fun once we get some tournaments going. Oh, by the way, there’s an official tournament at the end of alpha with tons of high-value prizes. The main prize will be one of the incredibly rare Blueprints with only 9 supply, which was sold for around $2000. So better start training 😉
Shaun: Watching matches will also work as a way to learn and develop other playstyles with your own characters . You may see spell combinations you hadn’t considered used in unique and awesome ways .
That’s a mega prize! Recently I read that the UFC might be buying an island to host tournaments. You guys virtually have one now ha but with the PvP aspect being suitable to wagering on fights, is that something 9LA in your mind can explore?
Nhayge: For sure! We have had many discussions about that in the community and it’s something people and the devs are really excited about. Any gambling activity will most likely be implemented via third party services since it’s a very touchy subject for lawmakers and differs from country to country. Don’t want Steam to block your game because you can make a bet in it. For now, game development itself is the top priority anyway, so you’ll have to wait a bit until you can lose your money by betting against me.
Shaun: 9lives is structured to be a huge draw for esports . Being able to bet and watch the match will be epic , but it’s still a while away of course . I can’t wait to explain why I lost my house and family at a gamblers anonymous meeting ! Really breaking new ground !
What’s the best armory/weapon setup that’s available out there to collect?
Nhayge: Literally any of them. That’s the beauty of the Blueprint system. You don’t have to spend a single cent on Blueprints and can just craft your items from the ones provided to you with the game. Once you get your Ooogy crafting, you’ll want to look for items with Strength, Physical Crit and Life Leech for now.
Shaun: The stat combos when building a char are huge . Melee based , mage based , an amalgamation of the two . The intricacies of building your char to your personal playstyle are massive.
We recently sent our war cries off to form an eternal 9LA chant – when will we hear the revolution?
Nhayge: That’s above our paygrade. Soon?
Shaun: You get paid ? I’ve been paying rent for that admin title …
Lol. I know you’re busy, so I just have one more q – where after being so involved with 9LA do you see it being in 1 year?
Nhayge: Hopefully at the top of twitch, to dream big. 9LA is absolutely perfect for streamers with its high stakes skill based gameplay, especially once many of the systems the devs are working on now are implemented. From the tokenization side, we’ll have to see what Enjin is doing until then. Their system now basically only allows for “be lucky and find item X backed by Y ENJ” implementations, which I find neither interesting nor promising. Luckily, 9LA is a game first, and Enjin integration comes second.
Shaun: 9lives is going to be huge . Every person that has touched it so far has been blown away . As a person with limited gaming experience , the concept , style , experienced team and potential to earn while playing won me over immediately purely from an investment point of view . Now I’ve played in excess of 1000 matches for fun ! 9lives made me a gamer (I’m not sure if that means I have to grow a neckbeard and move into my mother’s basement , I’m still learning their ways).
Sensai say come back when sock is like rock….I got some extra q’s from an interested community member MapleSnow too if ok to throw in…For someone who has never played before, how hard will it be to compete against others starting off?
Nhayge: Oh, you’ll die. A lot. There is currently no matchmaking since the player pool is still small, so your fresh level 1 character will go up against the most skilled players if they are available. But as mentioned earlier, just talk to them. They want to have challenging fights and really don’t have fun just beating new players into the ground. It’s a close-knit community full of helpful people.
Shaun: In the beginning , it takes time to unlock bloodlines and spell classes as well . Everyone loves unlocking achievements, right ? But as Nhayge says , the current player base is happy to teach and guide new players . We talk a lot of shit , but the community has each other’s backs .
Also, is playing the game viable if we don’t have blueprints and don’t plan on spending tons on getting them?
Nhayge: Yup. Access to the game is all you need to compete with the best players and biggest spenders. That $2000 sword Blueprint they bought gives them zero advantage in the arena. They’ll look pretty neat though when they flex over your dead body!
Shaun: Cannot point out enough that 9lives is in no way pay to win . I have dropped a dollar or 2 into the dev team’s stripper fund , and still get beaten regularly and brutally .
Basically, what is the basic minimum needed to get started properly?
Nhayge: A PC with a decent GPU (benchmark on the lower side is an old mobile card 980M, which runs the game at around 40 fps at max settings), access to the game with a Founder Pack 3-7 and some balls, figuratively.
Shaun: 35 USD, and time to get balls deep into the game . Imagine if there were some kind of worldwide lockdown so pesky shit like work didn’t get in the way ….
True that ha Hope that answered your q’s Maple! So anything else you’d like to share with the readership guys?
Nhayge: See you in the arena! And make sure to hop into the 9LA telegram, it’s a ton of fun!
Shaun: Do your future a favour and get amongst 9lives now . It’s the jewel in the multiverse crown , you’re robbing yourself by sitting on the sidelines.
2020 is shaping up to be brutal but certainly a time to play inside too! Thanks for taking the time out gents and giving us all a little insight on 9LA and how it’s progressing. I got my mouse now so am looking forward to kickin George’s ass again (disclaimer: he did beat me once so it’s even.) Should others want to have a play then make sure you get a pack and have a whack (no socks required;). Should you wish to keep up to date on all things in the Arena then follow via the social links below. Stay well!
George has a native interest in emerging technologies and he’s a strong advocate of decentralization. He is the founder and manager of egamers.io as well as an IT student.