Plus how reCAPTCHA saved the day
Alien Worlds has shot up the NFT charts to second place this week as an influx of users has driven sales up by 38%. The game on the Wax blockchain had $5,29 million in volume and is only surpassed by NBA Top Shot with almost $20 million.
In the last 7-days, the number of traders for Alien Worlds has increased over 177% to around 62,000 while sales have jumped to over 240,000. This activity has generated over $5 million in sales volume with the average NFT in Alien Worlds selling for approximately $21.
In the Alien Worlds universe, players can acquire NFTs to mine TLM, engage in battles, and complete in-game quests. Depending on their strategy, players may purchase and assemble NFTs that best suit their gameplay.
The game itself is appealing enough as it allows the mining of a token in TLM with a real-world value that users can stake or simply cash out. Vitally, and due to the fact the game certainly had appealing traits to users, we had predicted that some but not all the users were bots.
Users, bots, or both?
On the 5th April 2021 after steady growth, we see a notable and continued surge in the number of unique active wallets interacting with the dapp. It is important to understand at this point that a ‘user’ on DappRadar is a unique active wallet and that one person can hold multiple wallets. This increase in activity came with criticism as people started questioning the legitimacy of the growth, stating that a large number of robots were in fact gaming the system.
The mechanics of Alien Worlds are very simple. Choose an avatar, receive your shovel, choose a planet and start mining for TLM tokens. It almost lends itself naturally to being gamed as the process of mining and then collecting the reward is as simple as pressing one button, three times. Waiting for a countdown, and then repeating the process.
Looking at transactions, which can be any activity within the dapp such as confirming a TLM reward, or choosing a new planet to mine. Interestingly, pre-cull, the numbers were averaging around 200 transactions a day per wallet. That’s quite a lot for any mere mortal to achieve. We observed a massive drop on the 9th of April – this is when a new reCAPTCHA form was added. This security system pops up at every step where the dapp interacts with the user’s wallet in an attempt to combat bots.
reCAPTCHA uses an advanced risk analysis engine and adaptive challenge function to keep malicious software from engaging in abusive activities. Basically, it stops bots from performing the actions of humans and in this instance mining TLM.
More importantly, since the move by the developers we have seen a more steady increase in transactions from 3.4k to 4.7k in the last 8-days proving that Alien Worlds certainly has a real audience of users.
As mentioned, it’s not surprising that Alien Worlds suffered at the cold, metal hands of bots. Simple mechanics and the TLM token having an increasing real-world value were the motivators and unfortunately also the premise of the dapp.
The introduction of the reCAPTCHA form seems to be working for now at deterring bot farms from ruining the game for real users. The lesson for any developers out there would be to ensure from the start that they realize that bots are everywhere in blockchain games and that building mechanics to deter this is vital to long-term success.