The play-to-earn game that nobody plays anymore to earn
Farmers World has gone from a leading blockchain game in the industry to a bot driven wasteland still enjoyed by a few. Despite showing impressive user data, the actual activity within the dapp is quite meaningless and without value.
The farming game Farmers World on the WAX blockchain was once a thriving ecosystem where many ventured in to enjoy riches. The game had all the recipes for success with NFTs that could be used, and items that players could create.
According to the latest BGA Blockchain Games Report by DappRadar, the farming game still attracts an average of 85,000 daily Unique Active Wallets (UAW) in Q3 2022. However, this number is down 32% compared to the previous quarter.
Looking at these numbers, one might think Farmers World is still on top of the game, despite a drop in Unique Active Wallets. However, the reality is a bit grimmer . In the past 30 days, Farmer’s World has seen its community trade 74,150 NFTs, a drop of 20% against the previous period. These trades come from only 3,202 different traders. But the real problem is that the total trading volume from all these trades is less than $2,000.
The average NFT trade in Farmers World over the past 30 days is $0.02.
Farmers World had its glory days
Among the most expensive NFTs ever sold for Farmers World, we see the Gold Member pass. In November 2021, these sold for 229,000 WAX or $186,612 at the time of the sale. Chainsaws and Mining Excavators sold for $80,000 or $90,000 late last year. Back then, being active and competitive in Farmer’s World cost thousands.
While the most value went into Farmer’s World by the end of 2021, the most trading activity happened a few months later. The first 3 months of 2022 saw the most trading activity, but the price of the average NFT sale had already plummeted. At its peak, the game saw 54,000 NFT trades happening in one day, but since late June the number has fluctuated between 1,000 and 3,000 trades per day.
Now the average lifetime price of a Farmers World NFT is $22.42. That’s the average price measured over more than 7.3 million sales. The total trading volume for the collection exceeds $165 million, yet now we’re seeing only $2,000 in a month.
The game introduced three types of tokens: gold, wood and food. On the blockchain these would be stored as FWG, FWW and FWF. However, these tokens hardly represent any value at the time of writing.
It’s clear that bots drive the activity for Farmers World. This gets emphasized by looking at the most common on-chain actions performed by users of the dapp. That would be Claim and LogBonus, or simply put, accounts logging in and claiming a daily reward. These activities can be automated and performed by thousands of bots.
Farmers World is an apocalyptic ghost town
One looking for some activity from the developers will find nothing but silence. The Twitter account has been silent since May 2022, while Discord activity is limited to some community members wondering if Farmer’s World will even make a comeback. We reached out to ‘The Nerd’, the only project leader still in the Discord server. But we got no reply.
Yet, between all those bots, there’s still a human element. Players who have invested money in the game and hope to regain some of their funds. While there are also others who now buy all the NFTs for cheap to simply enjoy the gameplay.
“I’m only playing. No return of investment, no update, no communication. And it doesn’t matter”Farmers World community member on Discord
“I like how we are all still here, not actually waiting for an update. Just trying to recover our ROI as much as we can”TheDragon on Discord
And that’s exactly what it is, users enjoying a nice farming game experience with only hope and no expectations. Nobody knows exactly how many bots are active in Farmers World, but it’s clear that bots have destroyed the game economy. However, these bots right now also keep the UAW numbers up. They claim, harvest, and sell until there’s nothing left to sell.
“Everybody is doing that, so the price keeps dropping more and more”A community member named Ether
Bots are common practice
Bots are at the core of the problem faced by Farmers World and many other Web3 services. A bot is a piece of software that automates a set of actions or performs a certain action when a trigger is hit. These bots are active in decentralized exchanges, trying to outsmart traders. And they are also active in games, performing simple tasks to make money.
Some community members have suggested that the Farmers World developers need to implement Captcha protection to ensure bots can’t operate. However, bots will always be there when the most simple actions allow bots to participate in a game economy. Only when the complexity of the actions exceeds the bot’s ability to be profitable will botting be pointless.
In August Levan Kvirkvelia, the co-founder of Jigger, revealed a study that indicated that 40% of Web3 gaming accounts are bots. Now, the study also included GameFi and DeFi dapps. Therefore arguably the conclusions were a bit off. Nonetheless, botting can be a serious problem if the actions to grow one’s wallet are too simple. Such would also be the case with Farmer’s World, where bots now use the Claim and LogBonus functionality daily.
The more participants need to think and perform complex actions, the smaller the influence of bots. The study from Jigger showed that the esports platform Chain Games and the trading card game Gods Unchained have less than 1% of bots. This would then suggest that complex actions such as winning competitive matches that require lots of manual work, aren’t favorable for bots to participate.
Farmers World can still be enjoyed as an easy game experience, but its once prosperous play-to-earn mechanics have now evaporated. Since the moment the developers went silent on Twitter, Farmers World has seen its number of Unique Active Wallets drop tremendously. The number of wallets went down from 140,000 to the current 73,000 UAW per day, while the trading volume of NFTs has been dropping since February 2022. With the amount of botting happening in Farmer’s World, the project now serves as an excellent use case on how not to design a game economy. Bots will drain the last bits of financial incentive. Yet, some of the remaining human farmers still play the game, and perhaps that’s what ultimately makes a good game.