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_Planetary Perspectives: A Look at the Distinct Cultures Emerging in Alien Worlds

Gaming has always had its own multifarious culture, and with the rise of the internet, social media and esports, it’s only grown stronger as the years have passed. The social bonds (as well as the factional fissures) that exist between Alien Worlds Explorers, however, are especially distinctive due to the planetary affiliations players have.

Cultures that have bloomed in the Alien Worlds Metaverse combine the complexity and richness of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) like World of Warcraft with the competitive ethos of trading card collectible communities like Magic: The Gathering. The fact that each Planetary Syndicate is governed by players adds the special sauce of decentralization into the mix. It’s a potent blend.

Because DAOs empower Alien Worlds players to create proposals which take effect both inside the game and beyond its borders, being a member of a Planetary Syndicate is akin to being part of a unique culture, linked to one’s identity in the metaverse. Culture is a huge economic driver, one powerfully tied to innovation, creativity and entertainment. And what is the metaverse built on if not ownership and culture?

Effectively, DAOs tokenize a team or community acting collectively. And because they express the value a group of people ascribe to their collective interests, DAO tokens can be seen as a kind of culture TVL.

Syndicates in Sin City

The distinct cultures emerging on the six Planets of Alien Worlds – namely, Neri, Naron, Kavian, Eyeke, Magor and Veles – have been illustrated by a number of landmark events. Take the game’s first official in-person player meetup in Las Vegas last June, which was partially resourced from a community proposal on Kavian.

Get-togethers between like-minded gamers isn’t exactly unprecedented, but this one was different, combining character development performance art with decentralized governance. In short, Kavian’s Custodians designed a special character avatar NFT to represent the planet, then brought the creation, Kavia Obsidiana, to life in Sin City. Passersby who interacted with her got the chance to win TLM by clicking a link and submitting a short story detailing how they thought the strange being landed on Earth.

It wasn’t the first time Alien Worlds’ presence had been felt in Las Vegas either: in January, a massive billboard promoting the game appeared on the Strip, the result of an awareness campaign by Neri Custodians.

Culture Comes to Life in Alien Worlds

So, what do Alien Worlds players think of the cultures emerging in the ecosystem? “I see each planet curving its own path and having its own culture, without that meaning that there are no common values and traditions,” says Dr Yunani, a Custodian on Neri. “This diversity is beneficial to the ecosystem as one planet complements the other and, at the end of the day, they all offer something for everyone.”

As for Neri’s own traditions and character, Dr Yunani cites the influence of cryptomonKeys, a community-driven NFT trading card series that made Neri its home planet. “One tradition I’m sure emerged from Neri is the practice of dropping community NFTs to miners. It was all started by the CryptomonKeys and their monKeymining! For those that don’t know about monKeymining, it’s a free distribution initiative that has dropped hundreds of thousands of NFTs to miners.

“From being the last planet, with a budget allocation of less than 10%, we became the number one planet for available funds with about 40%. This has given Neri Custodians much greater flexibility but also responsibility for managing the available Trilium.”

As well as its strong treasury, Neri is known for its aggressive anti-bot activity, as community member Vyryn explains: “Our initiatives have included ambitious Neri-funded games to expand the Alien Worlds ecosystem as well as tools to combat bots. We hope to achieve tighter integration between the Alien World flagging system and the highly successful monKey detective bot-flagging system which has flagged more than two million bot accounts on a public endpoint to ensure real people are given precedence in community initiatives, including games and giveaways.”

From the forests and methane swamplands of Neri to the ice caps and mountainous terrain of Naron, diverse communities and cultures are forming and expanding.

“Naron historically always was, and indeed still is, the planet with the highest direct mining rewards,” explains Pestilentia, a long-time member of Naron’s council. “Later, it became home to the development team of Mission Control, which started out by creating tools and rewards for miners (the Miners Union) and evolved to create and extend a viable, fun and long-lasting environment for many players. Mining is a part of it, but we are convinced adding more use cases for Trilium and Alien Worlds NFTs provides more long-lasting benefits.”

Shrimp Baguette, another Naron O.G. who also serves as a Custodian on Veles, concurs with Pestilentia. “We believe the roadmap of Mission Control aligns well with the future of Alien Worlds. Nevertheless, we’re more than willing to provide funding for other projects too, if they have a strong team and sustainable ideas for using AW NFTs and/or TLM.”

Naron Custodian Isaiah believes his community’s dedication to improving Alien Worlds for miners and community members is what sets it apart. “Since before I was on the Council, they were the first to do miner rewards. It’s cool to see how some Syndicates go towards more user rewards, others towards more mini-games to build on top of Alien Worlds, while others do more promoting to the outside world. Each planet has its role to play in making Alien Worlds a better place.”

Content, Events, Proposals: Life as a Syndicate Custodian

With its smoke-filled skies, the volcanic Magor is home to no permanent settlements. Yet a passionate population has emerged on the planet, which has recorded a number of notable milestones and over 400 community proposals so far. “One of my earliest and most memorable events was the Magor Fire Heart Valentine event, an extraordinary occasion where players were rewarded with a barrage of TLM arrows for mining on Magor,” recalls Custodian MjaM.

Other highlights cited by MjaM include Crossing Universes, a crossover ‘multiversal’ game collaboration with WAX project NFT Panda. Rewards for Season 2 were denominated in MAG tokens, which are pegged 1:1 to Trilium, with a bumper prize pool of 150,000 MAG. The Magor community’s collaborative outlook was also emphasized when it contributed significant funding towards the development of Trillium Quest, a soon-to-launch MMORPG that lives within Alien Worlds.

As far as culture is concerned, MjaM believes Magor stands above the rest. “Integrity is one of our foremost values, guiding us in making choices that are honest and transparent and ensuring each decision benefits our planet while also resonating with the broader Alien Worlds community. Community engagement stands as a foundational pillar, and our values and competitive spirit influence the content we create, the events we organize, and the proposals we endorse.

“But it’s not just about what’s happening inside our own Magor Syndicate bubble. We also learn from others, especially when we interact with other Syndicates. Their viewpoints open our eyes to new possibilities, encouraging us to expand our perspectives and grow together.”

Anders, a Custodian on Kavian, heralds his community’s focused approach to financing meaningful projects. “The idea is not to throw Trilium at anything, but rather find the projects that fill a need for the community and bring long-term value to Alien Worlds. Lately on Kavian we’ve been pushing more marketing and content creation, in an attempt to boost reach.”

Anders, who created the website to document Syndicate-approved proposals and provide other resources for Explorers, says he doesn’t personally believe the Kavian community differs a great deal from the wider Alien Worlds society at this stage, as the ecosystem remains in its infancy.

“We need a lot of things to grow, including content, tools, activities, games and more. I think we’ll see more traditions and customs of Planetary Syndicates emerge in the coming years. As of now, it’s still about giving the foundational broader Syndicate world the legs it requires to stand tall for a long time.”

Planet Veles is home to Draxos Industries, manufacturer of the popular Draxos Axe mining tool, and its movers and shakers are vocal supporters of the aforementioned Mission Control initiative, having recently earmarked 125,000 TLM for front-end development of its website.

“In general Veles has supported the building of tools and UI that are beneficial to the ecosystem as a whole,” explains Adam, a Veles Custodian. “Until recently the planet was controlled by members of the Miners Union, so a large percentage of resources was allocated to that and later Mission Control. Veles culture values mining, education and building.”

Of course, Custodians are not bound to a single planet for life and several have sat on the Planetary Councils of multiple Syndicates. Adam points out that the current crop of Veles Custodians, when representing another planet, created community polling on-chain for all Alien Worlds Syndicates on, the first Galactic Hubs grant recipient.

The flexibility of players to jump ship and govern on different planets raises a pertinent question: can a “culture” ever really emerge on a single planet? After all, what would the identity of a political party be if it was periodically governed by members from the opposite aisle? Wouldn’t a homogenous or confused culture emerge?

“Traditions and customs are important aspects within any community and as the community grows, its values and preferences can change,” Adam sagely notes. “Change is a necessity in any community and results in the need for agility; to allow for scenarios that were not previously considered and adapt as necessary.”

Change, of course, is a fundamental part of Alien Worlds, particularly in the Syndicate era: weekly votes ensure popular Custodians can be re-elected while poor ones can be swiftly deposed. As far as Veles is concerned, Adam proudly states that the planet’s current crop of Custodians has always supported “proposals that encourage engagement and create real-world results, having been responsible for some of the most unique and entertaining allocations of resources in Alien Worlds, such as numerous artist grants, real-life engagement events and Alien Avatars.”

Exploring Eyeke

Lisa Chandler was at ground zero when Alien Worlds came together as a project, and so she benefits from a particularly authoritative vantage point when it comes to discussing her chosen planet’s unique culture. “Eyeke has become the location of choice for miners, diplomats and attendees of events and meetings,” she reveals. “In my own case, when I first came to Eyeke and others were in control of decision-making, I was allowed to send 1 TLM proposals to welcome and connect communities and influencers to the planet. This set the tone and signaled to players that we were going to be inclusive and this has continued.

“Today, Custodians work hard to include many people in the creation of the planet’s lore, leadership, engagement and play opportunities. We currently host 17 committees, each with a community manager and up to four additional committee members.

Those committees include those dedicated to things like Blockchain, Communications, Communities, Games and Open Source Software, with community managers and committee members earning monthly Trilium rewards for their efforts. “Each week, there are also several live events for discussion (community calls) where players can rank each other on their contributions (Fractals),” Chandler adds.

In common with other planets, Trilium has a major role to play in determining how Eyeke evolves, both in terms of its culture and the games which develop on the planet. “We have been inviting creators to connect to Eyeke so we can send them TLM as rewards, brainstorm with them how Trilium can be used in their games and how to best represent or connect Planet Eyeke,” says Chandler, who would like to see the planets’ Trilium allocation rise from 2% to 10% – then increase 10% each year automatically.

Looking to the future, Chandler says the focus of Eyeke will be on supporting creators that can generate value for the planet and the Interplanetary ecosystem. “The more tools for communities, the better. And the more we can do to empower them to vote in various ways (concepts, lore, proposal pools, custodians), the more they’ll engage, create events and activities around these actions, and grow our active player base. In the metaverse, we also need to focus on strategies for creating better worlds than we had on Earth. Ultimately, our goal is to support people, whether it’s miners, explorers, creators, community managers, developers, media or technology providers; we want to identify and nurture paths for further engagement.”

Conversing with the various planetary representatives underlines one thing: communities and cultures are flourishing in Alien Worlds, and a healthy level of competition is ramping up between the six rival Syndicates. Whatever’s happening in the wider web3 market, the budding planetary ecosystem continues to attract novel projects, user-centric products and what Eyeke’s Lisa calls “community-driven media.”

With thanks to the interviewees for answering questions about their experience in Alien Worlds.