Old school Billiards went virtual in Decentraland with 8 MetaBalls, a free, play-to-earn game that became the latest Decentraland DAO grantee this May. 8 MetaBalls, located at coordinates (159, 125), mimics classic arcade rooms and venues where players earn prizes resembling those of traditional billiard games in the form of in-game currency like balls and chips, which they can then exchange for Wearables and NFTs. The Decentraland-based game has a big open-space room filled with pool tables and a central giant scoreboard where users can hang out and play. There are also closed, private rooms with pool tables, designed for exclusive tournaments.
Users can play 8 MetaBalls, a F2P & P2E pool game, in a variety of different game modes: Arcade, Tournaments, Pool Clubs (where groups of players may compete), and PvC & PvP modes. Since the first week of August, the game has hosted Weekly Tournaments, where the Top 9 on the Weekly Leaderboard—whose ranking is based on XP—receive rewards (which change every week), such as jackets, t-shirts, leather cues, and ball cards.
Other ways to collect prizes include Achievements, Wearable and NFT giveaways, and Photo Contests on Twitter, where participants win random NFTs or Wearables for posting selfies in the 8 MetaBalls building. Players can also earn billiard balls simply by hanging out in the building.
To make their vision a reality, the team behind 8 MetaBalls submitted a petition for a 120,000 USD Decentraland DAO grant. The grant money—meant to “build the game and prepare for the next level of development”—accounted for the full-time salaries of all members of the team, as well as for the addition of a few new members with backgrounds in marketing, developing, and 3D modeling. The team is distributed all over the world: Tony Mo, one of the co-founders, was formerly based in Russia; his partner and co-founder Vitally is based in Tenerife, Mithra, their community manager who first connected with the founders by providing feedback on the game, is from Iran, while two 3D modelers are from Ukraine. The wider developer squad is spread throughout Russia, Georgia, and Ukraine.
8 MetaBalls made two submissions of their grant proposal. The first one, in March, was rejected because it didn’t reach the threshold for approval. Then in late April, after having garnered support from the community and having made various improvements within the platform—such as launching the first version of a multiplayer mode, instituting daily events with prizes, and introducing PvP tournaments—8 MetaBalls resubmitted their proposal, which was approved on May 12.
During their first month, 8 MetaBalls introduced more features to their experience, such as the chance to level up by reaching an XP threshold, Daily Tasks, the Weekly Leaderboard, new Wearables, an improved Arcade system, and a new Achievements system with daily, weekly, and monthly achievements.
By August, the team had introduced a second game to be integrated into their platform: 8MetaPawns, the first working chess game in Decentraland. The new game has two playing modes: AI (with four levels of difficulty) and Multiplayer. The team also created a new building to serve as their Game Center, which integrated 8MetaPawns and 8 MetaBalls. As for 8 MetaBalls, by August, weekly tournaments were already in place, as well as the possibility of playing private tournaments in password-protected rooms.
The Decentraland-based game still plans to add a variety of new ways to achieve awards, as well as expand its scope and introduce new ways to spend said rewards. 8 MetaBalls also envisions launching more user retention mechanics like game chests, daily super-games, loot boxes, and collection items. Improving visuals is also important to the game’s developers—they intend to focus more on new 3D buildings, introducing more billiard infrastructure such as tables, chests, boards, and cues, and enhancing the interior and exterior design.
In the future, the developers behind the game also want to franchise 8 MetaBalls, creating separate pool buildings and open the possibility for landowners to place miniature versions of the game on their LAND. In this event, 8 MetaBalls would intend to provide backend service and marketing support as well as share profits with partnered landowners.
Most recently, the team is working on starting a beta test period for 8MetaPawns, continuing tournaments and social activities to attract players, increasing social media presence, and introducing new NFTs with in-game utility, such as cue chalk (which limits bad hits) and gloves (which make hits more accurate).
As for the Game Center, the team is now working on moving both games to the new building on the new estate, and to thoroughly “combine 8 MetaBalls & 8MetaPawns under one hood.” This is what 8 MetaBalls ultimately hopes to achieve: its long-term goal is to transform an (initially) single-game scene (8 MetaBalls) into a “Game Center with multiple games covering different interests and audiences” under one unified economy.
The metaverse is full of yet unrecognized potential and opportunities. Do you have an idea that could benefit the Decentraland community? Learn more about the DAO’s grants here.
Do you know of a cool Decentraland community project that you think should be next in the Community Highlights series? Contact the Decentraland Foundation team @decentraland on Twitter.
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