“Play to earn” (P2E) is a fresh gaming primitive that has a lot of people enthusiastic about, even the World Economic Forum. Players are able to ‘truly’ earn and own digital assets that they can then sell outside of the game at their own discretion. In this situation, the players themselves may stand to benefit the most. Play-to-earn refers to the ability for gamers to earn rewards and even money by participating in games. It has exploded this year, thanks to the popularity of Axie Infinity, a game created by Sky Mavis in Vietnam that uses NFTs. It's spawning a new form of metaverse economy, one in which people aren't just playing games. We're starting to reimagine the future of employment in which the guild represents the players or performs some type of metaverse labour in exchange for payment.
Are these gamers humans or bots?
In video games, a Bot is a semi-artificial intelligence (AI)–based expert system software that takes the position of a human in the said video game. A bot designed for a first-person shooter (FPS) functions substantially differently than one written for a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). The former can entail map analysis and even rudimentary strategy, while the latter can be used to automate a time-consuming operation like “farming (a time consuming process of repeatedly gathering resources)”.
Bots for first-person shooters usually try to play the game like a human would. Bots operated by computers can play in tandem against other bots and/or human players over the Internet, on a LAN, or in a local session. Bot intelligence and features can vary a lot, especially when it comes to community-created material. Advanced bots use machine learning to dynamically learn the opponent's behaviours as well as dynamically learn previously unknown maps, whereas simpler bots may rely entirely on lists of waypoints created by the developer for each map, limiting the bot to just playing maps using those waypoints. Although using bots in current massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) is generally against the rules, a large number of players still utilise MMORPG bots for games like RuneScape.
To draw a parallel between GameFi and finance, you could say that high-frequency trading (HFT) algorithms are the closest parallel to gaming bots. Without HFT and day traders in general, the market would face a major problem: insufficient liquidity. A restricted player base in play to earn games, where players are paired up with other players, can mean waiting a long time for a match. Even if the player population is larger, if there isn't a well-balanced skill distribution, gamers may be partnered with others far over their own rank and skill level. Bots, at least in part, overcome this problem. Bots can be matched with each other. They are, however, frequently paired with human gamers. These bots perform admirably and have a modest skill set, making them ideal for players with similar skill sets and perhaps fewer than the best set of cards or monsters required to compete at the highest levels.
What happens when strong economic actors collude the system? Bot farming is a sort of exploitation that involves generating clicks and automating games in order to gain rewards, assets, and experience. Typically, the criminal (or devious group) will employ the bot across multiple accounts in order to "harvest" assets more quickly. To put it another way, it's a form of deception. The bots can take whatever actions are required to generate the prizes and assets on their own. Combat, questing, daily objective completion, looting, and even selling are all automated. Players can swap in-game awards and assets for cryptocurrency in the play-to-earn space. As a result, bot farms are amassing fortunes through deception. It wreaks havoc on the gaming economy, and the community is enraged by the injustice of disclosed scams.
Axie Infinity is the most popular play-to-earn game this year. Smooth Love Potion (SLP) is earned by winning battles and completing daily missions throughout the game. Users can then trade their SLP for fiat currency on cryptocurrency exchanges like Uniswap or Binance.
When bot-farm accounts are identified, they are instantly banned, and their NFTs are no longer usable in the game. Axie Infinity, in fact, banned many accounts exposed for bot farming in July 2021.
Sybil-resistant P2E projects
The challenge of creating fair and equitable systems in games isn’t new. Impatient gamers who cannot be bothered to spend hours legitimately earning the gold required to purchase level-ups, armoured battle cloaks, and pixelated crossbows are now simply purchasing that gold from others who have worked for it. Because it is far more convenient to combine laziness and money than to spend all day leveling up in the game as intended. Either gamers can be outright bribed for their in-game tokens, or be faced with bot armies. Some bigger bot farm companies would have thousands of bots in their name running 24/7. A typical gamer wouldn’t have the means to go against that magnitude of gaming prowess.
According to the Axie Infinity Terms of Service, players are not permitted to “game” the system in an automated manner. This involves sending comments or messages using scripts, data mining, robots, or other data collection and extraction methods. Similarly, according to Alien World's ToS, "you may not employ any automated software or "bots" in relation to your access or use of Alien Worlds, the website, materials, or services."
In most cases, games will feature built-in detecting systems for catching criminals. Additionally, the community frequently assists in the provision of information and tip-offs. Bot farming will result in your account being suspended. It takes advantage of the game, irritates the community, has a detrimental impact on the local economy, and violates game security and ethics.
The role of Humanode
Play-to-earn (P2E) has already had an impact on the lives of many people in impoverished areas, helping to put food on the table for families and providing young gamers with a better future outlook. P2E projects using Humanode can include liveness detection checks. Humanode is designed to be interoperable with swappable consensus to cater for all chains and protocols. To maintain the integrity of decentralisation and economic fairness, gamers would have to demonstrate that they are indeed a human behind the game character, resulting in a more equitable and democratic system for GameFi companies.