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It's going to be a big year for Dogami. Developed in France and backed by big players like Ubisoft, Animoca Brands and The Sandbox, we can expect the first NFT drop, a playable game and a new play-to-earn (P2E) economy by the middle of 2022. And that's only the beginning.
The ultimate goal is the Petaverse, an open world where gamers can socialize and interact with each other and their NFT pets. But there's there's more that needs to happen if gamers are going to get on board.
So, what can we expect from the Dogami gameplay experience? Are the NFTs looking like a good investment? How will Dogami's play-to-earn mechanics work?
Let's dive in and find out.
Dogami is a mobile game that will be available on both iOS and Android devices, and its mobility and augmented reality (AR) features make it unlikely to appear on PC, Xbox or PlayStation. But there's a slim chance it could come to Nintendo Switch in the future.
The initial NFT sale for Dogami was set for February 22, 2022, and that first drop sold out.
The game isn't expected until Q2 2022. Its initial release won't include the full feature set, as you'll see in the roadmap later on.
According to the roadmap, Dogami is working on its P2E game beta launch, and DeFi features like farming and staking.
Dogami is an AR pet simulation. It takes the AR experience you'll remember from Pokémon Go and combines it with the gameplay of Nintendogs. In the game, you're charged with training and nurturing a Dogami — essentially a dog that's an NFT.
While not yet confirmed, we can expect further NFTs to enter the Petaverse in time. This could be additional animals, like cats, but also items and cosmetics.
Your goal in Dogami is to successfully nurture your dog NFT from a puppy, through adulthood, into parenthood and ultimately to the afterlife. One of the game's aspects I like is how each of these phases changes up the gameplay. It — hopefully — ensures that things don't get stale as you get deeper into the game.
Also, how the AI is implemented will be critical to the game's success, in my opinion. For example, how will the Dogami react to the daily routines you go through to bond, teach and look after it: If these are rote and monotonous, it will be a grind. If the AI is more dynamic and able to better react to the environment it's in and the subtleties in the ways you perform the task vs. another player, it'll be a lot more immersive.
One aspect I'm not too stoked about is the ability to buy your way through the grind. You can pay extra for deluxe items and consumables, which will bring down timers and cooldowns so you don't have to wait as long to complete tasks.
Monetization strategies like this are downers in mobile games, and for good reason. Dogami will need to make sure it doesn't over-incentivize spending more money by making the game deliberately boring.
But it gets worse. Some tricks you can teach your Dogami can't be taught without buying specific accessories. Not only do these accessories up your daily reward ceiling, but they can help you in the player versus player (PVP) competitions.
That sounds a whole lot like a pay-to-win scenario to me. And pay-to-win sucks.
The initial Puppy Phase is very similar to what we have seen in other pet simulator series like Nintendogs, Petz and Little Friends. You must feed, clean, train, groom, play and teach your pet. Your days are filled with quests and challenges to complete. Successfully hitting those goals will help your puppy progress through life, and increase your Bonding and Boosting levels.
The Bonding and Boosting levels define how much DOGA token you're awarded at the end of any given day, which ties into the P2E mechanics, which I will go into in more detail shortly. Notably, the Bonding Level doesn't reset each day, so your maximum daily DOGA reward increases over time, not through a day.
Leveling your Bonding also unlocks more gameplay mechanics, like activities, features and consumables. This should hopefully ensure a constant supply of new experiences.
One of the more intriguing challenges will be walking your dog a set distance every day, which requires you to use your real legs to get around the real world. This fitness and health aspect sets Dogami apart from other similar games.
Because remember, this is an AR game. So, it's good to get out and about. You can do all these quests and interactions seeing your pet as if it exists in your real environment.
The Adult Phase brings about some dramatic changes. While you still need to bond with your dog, you can also start leveling them down career paths. These career roles include Police, Firefighter, Farmer, Space, Yoga and Skater.
Train your dog in player versus environment (PVE) and PVP minigames targeting that career to level up. These minigames will tie into annual Dogami Olympics, as well.
The better you train your Dogami and the further they climb the career ladder, the more DOGA tokens you're rewarded on any given day. An NFT with a completed career pathway receives a special badge, which should amplify its value.
Also occurring in the Adult Phase is breeding, but I will go into more detail about that shortly.
At the time of writing, not much is known about the gameplay experience in this phase. All we know is that your Dogami NFTs can't enter this phase until they've reached their breeding max. At this point in the game, it will be very interesting to see how the developer finds a way for "spent" NFTs to retain some value, both as a collectible and in terms of utility.
Regulars to NFT games like Pegaxy will see typical mechanics in play with the Dogami breeding process. Each NFT has a limited number of breeding opportunities. Once in the Adult Phase of the game, you can pay a sum of DOGA tokens to breed your Dogami with the opposite sex.
The genetic traits of the two breeds are combined, there's some randomization in there for added unpredictability, and a rarity tier as well. But there are two key variations that make breeding a bit more unique.
First of all, you can't breed whenever you like. There are Love Seasons, which are set moments in time when your pet is free to get jiggy with it. But also, once the mateship is complete, only one of the two parties will get the resulting Dogami NFT. And to that, I say, "What the hell?"
When an NFT puppy is born, the two players involved will enter a blind auction where they'll have to bid even more DOGA tokens to try and gain ownership of the NFT. Whatever the final bid is, 5% is then added on top to fund the developer.
This is unnecessary and reeks of a cash grab. You could end up in a bidding war with a player that has a lot more DOGA than you. As a result, you never get to enjoy the thrill and joy that comes with minting a unique, new NFT. I sure hope they reconsider this aspect of the game.
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The Dogami themselves are cute enough, on par with what we've seen in like-minded pet simulators. At first, the developer is focusing on pure breeds. Indeed, the initial drop will have eight breeds, with 1,000 NFTs of each. Ultimately, we'll see over 300 breeds, which will, of course, include cross-breeds as the Love Seasons unfold over time.
The Dogami themselves come in four rarity types: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Diamond. They're each given a distribution of 140 points across five stats: Vitality, Robustness, Intelligence, Friendliness and Obedience. You improve these through gameplay, as a result of their attributes or by pairing your Dogami with accessories — at a cost.
As for their attributes, there are nine: Ears, Sharp Muzzle, Smooth Paws, Sweet Tail, Whithers, Tooth, Chest, Robust Shoulder and Charming Eyes. Five of these are randomly selected upon creation and are assigned one of four rarities: Common, Rare, Epic and Legendary. The chances of getting a higher rarity attribute improve with the Dogami's rarity.
As well as adding deeper variation to the NFTs and making them more collectible, there is utility in all this complexity. You'll notice the impact of your Dogami's traits based on the time it takes to complete particular tasks and follow specific career paths.
The play-to-earn aspect of Dogami isn't as straightforward as you might suspect. As mentioned, you can earn DOGA by completing daily tasks linked to training and bonding with a Dogami NFT. There are also milestone moments that can reward you with DOGA, such as linking together multiple days of consistent play.
However, the two biggest qualifiers for how much you might earn in a day are defined by your Bonding Level and Booster Level. Now the Bonding Level is the biggest driver. At level 1, you can only earn a maximum of 5 DOGA a day. But by level 10, that's up to 50 DOGA.
In some genres, such as a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) like League of Legends, leveling is reset at the beginning of each game. But here, leveling is a grind over many days, if not weeks.
For a scholar, if you get a Dogami on a low level, there's no potential to get it to a high level on that day. That's a heavy cap to deal with.
The Booster Level is a multiplier that floats between 0.5 and 2, depending on how quickly you attend to your Dogami's needs. So, if you're not always checking on your phone, your daily DOGA earning limit could end up halved.
Ouch! I'm not sure if that's a case of tough love or just a sinister approach that demands an unhealthy attachment to your screen.
For scholars or players keen to get into Dogami without owning an NFT, you can still be involved. During the Puppy Phase, you can set up a smart contract with a Dogami owner.
It's not clear yet whether that will be an upfront fee for rental, or a profit-share. But you will be able to define the length of time for the rental. This process is called Dogami Day Care.
There is also the Dogami Academy that comes up in the Adult Phase. It allows a player to rent someone else's NFT and train it up one of the career paths. Earned revenue is split 50:50 in this arrangement, which sounds great.
However, you must have previously finished at least one career path before you're eligible to rent through the Academy.
This would seem like you can't rent in the Academy unless you've previously owned an NFT. Because scholars aren't allowed into the Adult Phase, so will have never completed a career path. They can only rent in the Puppy Phase. Hmmm…
Dogami will launch with the Puppy Phase, the AR experience and staking in Q2 2022. The breeding, accessories, Adult Phase and community events come in Q3 2022. While the PVP mode, cross-breeding and walking mechanic will land in Q4 2022 alongside the Petaverse.
The Petaverse will ultimately be a social experience where gamers can walk around an open world, interacting with other players. Presumably, their Dogami will come for the ride. It's unclear if you'll meet players online, or whether it's more like Pokémon Go where you meet up with other people in real life to be together in-game.
Thankfully, Dogami only has a single currency to deal with, the DOGA token. It's what you will use to buy in-game items and accessories, as well as what is burned when you breed. You'll be awarded DOGA for your daily toil, competitions, loyalty tasks, walking goals and more.
Dogami is built on the Tezos (XTZ) blockchain. To buy DOGA tokens, you can head to Gate.io or Vortex.
To purchase a Dogami NFT, you'll have to head to the secondary marketplace for now — all the NFTs during the February drop sold out. The Dogami marketplace requires XTZ for purchases.
There are definitely plenty of positives in Dogami's favor. We know that this genre has a big audience. The success of the Tamagotchi and Nintendogs shows a love for pet simulator experiences. Then you combine that with AR and fitness gameplay, and there are a lot of boxes ticked.
It's also not a complex genre when compared to big 3D open worlds and visceral action fests. It should be within the developer's means to complete the roadmap.
While the developer doesn't have a name, there are real humans involved. People with a diverse range of skills and experience you can easily look up on Linkedin and vet.
Backers such as Animoca Brands and The Sandbox can't be ignored, while Ubisoft went as far as to invest $6 million in funding. It's worth noting that it was Ubisoft who created the Petz series too. I wonder if there have been any teachings or even code passed on there?
When you also look at the following that Dogami has in the socialverse, the game shapes up to be a good investment.
That said, there are some design decisions to be concerned about: Buying your way through cooldowns and even to victory in PVP is a slippery slope. The pathway for scholars and guilds to get involved isn't clear and may not be economically viable. And the breeding blind-auction system is a joke.
Whether that turns you off or not, Dogami is a P2E NFT game that deserves attention.
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