What Is Illuvium (ILV)?
Tech Deep Dives

What Is Illuvium (ILV)?

CoinMarketCap takes a deep dive into an upcoming blockchain-based game — a fantasy world where Illuvials roam.

What Is Illuvium (ILV)?

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Blockchain games aren’t anything new. In fact, there are hundreds of them available, many of which have gone on to achieve a great deal of success — with the likes of CryptoKitties, My Crypto Heroes, Axie Infinity and more having successfully attracted a sizable player base.
But to date, we haven’t yet seen a game that could be considered a true AAA title with a broad appeal. Yet, with Illuvium on the way, this may not be the case for much longer.

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What Is Illuvium (ILV)?

Illuvium is an open-world fantasy battle game built on the Ethereum blockchain. Often touted as the first AAA game on Ethereum, Illuvium looks to provide a source of entertainment to both casual gamers and hardcore DeFi fans through a range of collecting and trading features.

The world of Illuvium is inhabited by creatures known as Illuvials, who can be captured by players that best them in battle and nurse them back to health. From then on, they become a loyal part of the player’s collection and can be used when battling other adventurers as part of Illuvium’s auto battler gameplay.

The game is a fusion between an open-world exploration game and a PVP battle game. Players can spend their time exploring the expanses of the game world or building up their team of powerful beasts.

Illuvium has been in development since 2020, and is being built by a worldwide team of more than 40 individuals, including the co-founders; serial entrepreneur and early cryptocurrency adopter Kieran Warwick, and experienced game designer Aaron Warwick, who are brothers. (And who are coincidentally also the brothers of Kain Warwick, the co-founder of DeFi platform Synthetix).
The ILV token has a number of uses within the Illuvium ecosystem. It’s the main token used to reward players for their in-game achievements, entitles players to their share of the Illuvium Vault and is used for participating in the governance of the game via the Illuvium decentralized autonomous organization (DAO).

How Does Illuvium Work?

Although Illuvium has blockchain-based elements, it is more akin to a full-fledged video game. It’s accessed through a downloadable desktop app, but also has a range of supporting DeFi applications surrounding it — including a yield farm and decentralized exchange.

Players roam the Illuvium landscape battling Illuvials and other players, participating in quests and daily challenges, and participating in its communal storyline. Throughout their journey, they collect Illuvials, which have a range of characteristics that make them variable in their rarity, utility, and desirability. These include:

  • Classes: Empath, Fighter, Guardian, Rogue and Psion.
  • Affinities: Air, Earth, Fire, Nature and Water.

Through its class and affinity are its most important attributes, each Illuvial has a large number of additional attributes that also help determine its strength in combat, some of these can include: attack damage, attack speed, and savagery. Illuvials get stronger with victory, can be enhanced with in-game items and can be upgraded into a special “ascended” form — which benefits from two affinities at once.

Each Illuvial is represented by a unique non-fungible token (NFT) and can be freely traded on external exchange platforms and the gas-free IlluviDEX (more on this later). They can also be fused into more powerful forms, and come in normal, holographic and dark holographic variants which are considerably more scarce.

The game will feature a variety of revenue streams, mostly derived from in-game purchases of items, crafting components, cosmetics and shard curing. 100% of this revenue is distributed as rewards to those staking the ILV tokens through an ILV buyback system.

What Makes Illuvium Unique?

Unlike most other blockchain-powered games, Illuvium features a fully 3D environment, with over 100 unique Illuvials found scattered throughout its various regions. Each Illuvial is designed by a team of world-class artists, ensuring it appeals to players accustomed to big-budget retail games.

Beyond this, it boasts a number of features that help it stand out from both other blockchain-enabled games and AAA titles. These include:

Layer-2 Integration

Although Illuvium is secured by Ethereum, it is built on Immutable X (IMX) — a layer-2 solution that is designed to help scale applications with NFT functionality.

By leveraging Immutable X’s capabilities, Illuvium ensures players can mint and trade their NFTs with zero gas fees and practically instant transaction finality. Players always maintain custody of their assets while using IMX.

The IlluviDEX

Illuvium features a built-in decentralized exchange (DEX) platform appropriately named the IlluviDEX.

This can be used for trustlessly exchanging Illuvium assets, including Illuvial NFTs. A 5% fee is deducted from each sale and funneled into the rewards pool for ILV stakers.

Yield Farming

A total of 3 million ILV — equivalent to 30% of the maximum supply (10 million) — are allocated to the Illuvium yield farming program. These will be distributed over a period of three years to users contributing liquidity and through various partner reward schemes.

What Is sILV?

Illuvium features a unique yield farming reward system, in that all ILV rewards earned through the yield farm are locked for a period of one year before they can be withdrawn.

However, stakers have the option to skip the unlock timer by converting their ILV rewards to a secondary in-game only asset known as sILV. By claiming their rewards as sILV, users receive the USD equivalent of sILV, and can spend their rewards early to purchase in-game items.

SILV cannot be withdrawn from the game and is not represented by a blockchain-based asset.

What Is an Interoperable Blockchain Game?

Illuvium was initially promoted as an AAA-grade blockchain-powered explorer game, but the scope of the project has now expanded considerably.

Today, Illuvium is billed as the world’s first “interoperable blockchain game”. Essentially, this means the team behind the project is building a Web3 gaming ecosystem where in-game assets (tokenized as NFTs) will be usable across a range of different platforms, products and experiences.

As an interconnected ecosystem of Web3 games, Illuvium hopes to provide players with an open ecosystem where they are free to create, use/trade their assets, and build their in-game legacy.

The team behind the project already has several games in development. These include the originally planned Pokemon-like title known as "Overworld" which sees players navigate a lush 3D landscape and battle rare and powerful creatures known as "Illuvials".

The second game is an industry builder-type title that allows players to buy, own and develop NFT-based LAND. The resources gathered through this process can be used in the Overworld and potentially other titles in the Illuvium ecosystem. This is known as “Illuvium Zero” and is available on both mobile and desktop platforms.

The third game being developed is a card-style auto-battler called Arena. The game allows players to automatically battle their Illuvials and take part in a deceptively complex battle system that allows players to potentially win a variety of rewards. The game has three different modes (Encounter, Ascendant and Leviathan) — each tailored to different player types and experience levels, providing a range of gameplay experiences.

Illuvium Arena is currently in the private beta phase of development and is coming soon to PC and Mac.

What Is Illuvium’s Current State of Development?

Illuvium has been in development for more than two years and given the scope of the game, it appears to be following a more traditional game development schedule — with typical AAA studios taking 2-4 years to ship a polished product.

Right now, Illuvium has three games in public development (Illuvium Zero, Arena and Overworld). But the founders have previously hinted that a further six games are planned. Though the full details of these are yet to be announced, Illuvium co-founder, Aaron Warwick, did share that one of these is a first-person shooter.

“We already have in the works, at various levels of concept, probably 15 to 20 games that we think could work. We’ve got some basic game design documents for five or six of them that we think are very obvious ones that can exist in our universe,” said Warwick in an interview with Polemos. “There is a first-person shooter that is at a very low level of concept.”

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As it stands, there are still three main titles in development.

  • Illuvium Overworld: In private beta since December 2022.
  • Illuvium Zero: Currently an alpha version, available on Windows, Mac and Android.
  • Illuvium Arena: In private beta since December 2022

The team also stated that many people playing Illuvium won’t even know they’re playing a blockchain-powered game — since they plan to put most of the blockchain elements in the background.

Likewise, it will be employing a fun-first model, allowing players to enjoy the titles for their entertainment value, rather than relying on pure play-to-earn tokenomics like other games.

Where to Trade the $ILV Token?

As of writing, ILV is the seventh largest gaming token, behind juggernauts like SAND (The Sandbox) and AXS (Axie Infinity).

It’s also relatively liquid, with the token typically racking up $3 to $6 million in daily trading volume across more than a dozen popular exchange platforms.

Binance currently stands out as the most liquid exchange for $ILV, with the platform typically capturing around 40% of all $ILV trading volume. The token is also supported by several other well-known platforms, including Coinbase, KuCoin and OKX.
All four of these platforms have posted their Proof of Reserves (POR).

It’s also available to trade on most of the popular decentralized exchanges (DEXs), including Uniswap and Uniswap.

How Does Illuvium Compare With Axie Infinity?

Although both Illuvium and Axie Infinity feature collectible in-game characters that can be battled, traded and upgraded, the scope of the game world surrounding these critters differs somewhat.

On one side, Illuvium is a 3D role-playing game with a gradually revealed storyline and massive, open, explorable landscape, whereas Axie Infinity is a highly popular, quirky 2D game that features adorable critters known as Axies that are reminiscent of Pokemon. These Axies can be bred, battled, and traded. For now, there is no story mode to speak of.

Both Illuvium and Axie Infinity feature a strong gamified DeFi element, which means there can be real Ether (ETH) at stake while playing either — since some Illuvials and Axies could fetch significant sums on the open market.

Unlike Axie Infinity, which uses a random assortment of assets to produce each individual Axie, Illuvium’s Illuvials are wholly unique. Each one features custom artwork and rigging to ensure they are distinct and bear characteristics that relate to their properties and region.

The two games clearly have some similarities, but Illuvial is primarily targeted towards traditional gamers who may or may not have experience with cryptocurrencies and NFTs, while Axie Infinity would mostly appeal to the crypto savvy.

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