As early as the release of Minecraft treasure hunt and mining servers around 2012, the world was introduced to a concept in which players could earn cryptocurrencies or other digital assets by simply playing games. That’s pretty much any gamer’s dream, which might explain its crazy popularity. With this, the play-to-earn (“P2E”) gaming revolution was born.
But P2E did not just explode in popularity by itself; in fact, it received quite a bit of help from a dedicated community of gamers that recognized its massive opportunity to earn. This group of players supported each other, learned the ins and outs of the game, and even helped market games to newcomers. Importantly, they formed official guilds.
While guilds more so served as unofficial communities of supportive gamers in the traditional gaming space, guilds have been integral in the development of GameFi, as they help to lower the barrier to access for newcomers and create opportunities for investors. The sky’s the limit when it comes to the future potential of guilds; though, it helps to understand where they originated and who the major players currently are.
The Rise of Gaming Guilds
Modern Gaming and Clans
After 30-some years of arcade, Atari, and LAN gaming, an explosion in broadband Internet capabilities unlocked new opportunities for gamers. Since, multiplayer online gaming has become incredibly popular across both consoles and computers, and gaming communities sprouted up across numerous different game categories, especially MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games). Games like Everquest, World of Warcraft, and Runescape brought together groups of players in order to gain access to special in-game resources or to complete missions that were otherwise too difficult individually. These communities were known by many different names, including clans, guilds, teams, and others.
Naturally, these groups of players competed for status. World of Warcraft is well known for its “world-first” races where top guilds went head-to-head to be the first to defeat the toughest bosses. Particularly devoted players would take time off of work just to participate in the competition, purely for the fun of it. This competitive spirit led to the emergence of eSports and elite gaming teams.
ESports and Monetized Gaming
The introduction of streaming and eSports added a new aspect to these guilds, monetization. With the 2011 introduction of Twitch, an online live streaming platform popular among gamers, gamers were able to stream their gameplay in front of an online audience and earn an income.
Also, at the competitive level, monetized eSports became popular in the 2010s following the release of popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games like League of Legends (LoL) and Defense of the Ancients 2 (DOTA2). Many of these early opportunities to earn came through competitive video gaming in online or in-person tournaments which often offered cash or other compensatory prizes. Online live streaming added legitimacy to these competitions, which brought sponsorships, ad revenues, and new ways to make money.
Soon, several of these communities had grown into full-fledged organizations with brand deals and payroll for players. As one of the biggest names in League of Legends, Team Solo Mid (TSM) was one of the first to embody the idea of a gaming team-gone professional. Organizations like Team Liquid, FaZe Clan, and Method quickly followed suit.
Power to the Players: The GameFi Guild Revolution
If MMORPG guilds were the OGs, eSports teams formed the second evolution of guilds and clans. Now, GameFi guilds are shepherding the third evolution of these gaming communities with the support of play-to-earn gaming.
Play-to-earn (P2E) games suddenly provided players with an even easier and more accessible way to earn money while playing games. New communities formed around these P2E games as players began to pool knowledge and resources. As more gamers joined the industry and the prices of in-game assets continued to increase, new players were having to fork over quite a bit of money just to play the game. This gave rise to some of the first P2E guilds as players banded together to help each other and maximize their earnings.
Now, many blockchain guilds run similarly to a well-established business, though they are typically structured as decentralized autonomous organizations (“DAOs”). These organizations incorporate programs that lend out in-game assets to new players in return for a cut of the future income a player will make. This allows players to get into a P2E game without the large upfront investment, while guilds also secure revenues that can be used to grow operations.
Who Are the Top Gaming Guilds?
Yield Guild Games (YGG)
Yield Guild Games was one of the earliest blockchain guilds ever created. The guild was first established around Axie Infinity to support players while promoting the play-to-earn trend. YGG is partially credited with the incredible success of Axie Infinity, as it was born from one of the original communities that played the game.
The guild itself was first established in the Philippines in 2020 during the height of the pandemic. Due to Covid-19, unemployment was at all-time highs which led to a large influx of players looking to earn money online. YGG helped to organize and educate new players and provided a central community for players looking to earn money.
Currently, the guild operates as a DAO with the YGG token acting as its governance token. The guild has expanded into numerous other NFT games including The Sandbox, Ember Sword, and other popular P2E games. It now boasts a massive collection of NFTs across multiple games and ecosystems.
Merit Circle (MC)
Merit Circle is another large blockchain guild operated by a DAO. The guild uses the MC token as its primary governance token, and it currently boasts a fully diluted market cap of over $4.19 billion. Merit Circle currently focuses on Axie Infinity, but it’s also expanding to Star Atlas, Illuvium, and Hash Rush.
There are currently over 1,200 different scholars, or players, in the Merit Circle community and more join every day. The guild offers educational content and one-on-one coaching to help new and veteran players improve their earnings and game knowledge.
Avocado Guild (AVG)
Avocado Guild is another fast-growing blockchain guild. With over 10,000 scholars and a fully diluted market cap of over $1.77 billion, the guild offers players and investors an excellent environment to join the play-to-earn trend.
The guild partners with multiple games and ecosystems, including Axie Infinity, Cyball, BigTime, Elpis Battle, among others. Avocado is supported by several large investors, such as Three Arrows Capital and #Hashed. Additionally, the guild is well-established across multiple blockchains and supports players on Binance Smart Chain, Polygon, Solana, and more.
Good Games Guild (GGG)
Good Games Guild is relatively new to the scene, as it was established in the middle of 2021. Like the other guilds, it operates through a DAO structure with its governance token, GGG. The guild currently supports several games, including Axie Infinity, Mytheria, and Happy Land. It has also partnered with Titan Hunters, Gamestation, and several other notable brands.
The guild likens itself to a community or gaming hub rather than the more earnings-focused guilds above. However, it still provides a variety of options to earn cryptocurrency. These include a rent-to-earn program through which players can rent their NFTs to the guild to earn profits. And, of course, it offers players a chance to become scholars in return for a share of their earnings.
Playing an Integral Role in the Ecosystem
Guilds have evolved to play a very important role in the GameFi ecosystem. Without them, many players would be discouraged by the high price tag to enter a game. However, many of these guilds offer more than just in-game items or high-level characters. Oftentimes, the guild offers additional resources to help players learn about the game and even share some of the best ways to earn cryptocurrency. These educational resources come in many different forms — from articles to advice from expert players.
We recognize the value this provides to the industry’s continued growth, and that’s why we at Kyoko.Finance aim to provide guilds with even more flexibility. Through Kyoko’s cross-chain asset lending protocol, guilds can rent out their existing, idle NFTs to other players and earn interest payments. Likewise, they can borrow others’ assets for another game and expand their resource pool at lower risk than if they were to purchase the NFT themselves. Guilds no longer have to start over when moving to a new game; instead, they can jump right in by borrowing the items and characters they need to get started.
Kyoko also provides unsecured credit loans to guilds of all sizes through our guild-to-guild lending platform. Guilds must first pass an auditing process in order to be whitelisted on the platform. Once approved, a credit line will be provided and guilds can borrow USDT without the need for collateral. For more well-established guilds, Kyoko also provides larger collateralized loans and higher credit limits.
Guilds are dynamic, and that is why there is such high demand for these services, as seen with the stable demand for Iron Bank loans from C.R.E.A.M. Finance, even despite its recent major hacking incident. Kyoko is here to provide guilds with the support and resources they need to continue growing and dominating the play-to-earn game arena.
Kyoko.Finance is a cross-chain GameFi NFT lending market for guilds and players. Kyoko’s Guild-to-Guild lending, P2P NFT lending, and cross-chain asset lending platform aims to solve the most pressing issues challenging the GameFi market, including the rising cost of entry and siloed in-game assets across different blockchains. Kyoko’s metaverse will also allow Guilds to display their history, progress, and other accomplishments, while players can connect with others in a world that can be built in, developed, and sold off.
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