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We Tried STEPN - The First Web3 Move to Earn NFT Game
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STEPN is the first Web3 NFT game that requires you to literally move from place to place for any progression. The more you move, the more tokens you earn.
You’ve heard of NFT games and play-to-earn titles. Nowadays, they’re usually the same thing.
There’s quite a variety to these games - from solving jigsaw puzzles to dismembering aliens to buying virtual lands, all mixed up in one goofy bag.
One thing they have in common is they’re extremely easy to play. Some are more entertaining than others, but the main appeal is how little effort you have to put in to make a quick buck.
That was until we heard about STEPN, the first Web3 NFT game, which sort of threw the effortless concept out the window.
This game requires you to literally move from place to place for any progression. The more you move, the more tokens you earn, and the more tokens you have, the higher chance you’d win valuable items.
In a way, you could call it a move to earn game.
The amount of physical exertion required to play this game can be daunting to most modern-day gamers. Who would have thought, in generations, we’d need more than our fast fingers to win a game, but here we are.
We decided to put STEPN to the test, sacrificing some of our hard-gained calories, and here’s what we found.
Like any other NFT game, STEPN operates on a blockchain and issues its own token for in-game utility.
In this case, the game went live on the Solana blockchain, an increasingly competitive cryptocurrency. You can use SOL to purchase any STEPN products on its marketplace, but the game itself uses Green Satoshi Tokens (GST) and this is what you’ll be earning.
One GST is worth just over $2.50 and one SOL hovers around the $90 mark. There’s also a governance token, GMT, which is worth more than GST and used in endgame content. You can earn GMT as well as you level up. Depending on the type of sneakers you use, you have the option of earning GST or GMT. They all would be the same once you convert to Solana.
Getting Started in STEPN
STEPN is a GPS-based game where the app tracks your movements and steps, similar to what your Fitbit does.
To start running, you need to purchase a pair of virtual sneakers. Yes, on top of your real sneakers. These are minted NFTs so you can resell them on the market, possibly make some profit to buy a better pair.
Each pair of sneakers is like a two-dimensional Pokémon, having their own stats and rarity. The stats determine how long you can run without needing to recharge. They can also grant you a speed bonus so you can earn more GST while running.
The game also allows you to import it and spend it directly in-game, but we recommend setting up a new wallet within STEPN and transferring SOL to it.
Note that you need to spend SOL on the market, but will earn GST while playing the game.
One thing about the STEPN marketplace is that the prices of the product don’t often reflect their quality. For example, you might find a pair of Common sneakers with average stats for 9.0 SOL and then another pair with worse stats for 1500 SOL.
This level of discrepancy is baffling to us, but as the game is still in its early stages, this may get fixed in the near future.
The above is a Common pair with decent stats, better than a lot of four-figure sneakers. Their high Resilience will make sure you run for a long time.
Earning in STEPN
While you need sneakers to start earning, you don’t need to buy anything to start running.
First-time users can try out the app and all its mechanics for free. When you’re ready to commit and, as soon as you have some STEPN sneakers, the earning meter will start filling up as you run.
Here comes not only the worst feature of STEPN, but one of the most hated mechanics in gaming - time-gating. There is a cap to how much you can run with the app each day, meaning there’s a limit to your earnings.
They call it Energy and you get a small amount for free every day, plus some from your sneakers. High-quality sneakers give a lot of Energy but there is a general cap of how much you can have each day. This amount translates to 100 minutes of running.
You can continue to run even after your Energy has run out, but the earning meter will stop until the next day.
There’s also a speed meter that you need to keep up with in order to stay earning. This is one of the most challenging aspects of the game that requires you to be in optimal shape on every run.
After trials and tribulations, we give STEPN a 4/5. Most of it goes to the innovative twist to the play to earn concept.
The activities in the game, like Marathon, keep players engaged and motivated and that’s something most modern games have yet to achieve, let alone NFT games.
We’re not, however, the biggest fan of the time gating mechanics. If you want to keep players interested, you need to allow them to play more. Right now, the amount available to earn in STEPN pales in comparison with a majority of NFT games. That needs to change as soon as possible if the brand plans to even have even a slight edge in the long-term competition.
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