Opening the Portal: EtherOrcs & A New Approach to L2 Gaming
You may have heard that EtherOrcs will soon have L2 capabilities to help reduce overall gas costs. I’m sure that move triggers plenty of questions — so we decided on giving a brief overview of how we are enabling interactivity with EtherOrcs on Polygon and why it will benefit the future of the project.
As we like to do, we are doing it in a way that very few projects have before… we are keeping holders EtherOrcs NFTs and future Allies NFTs on Layer 1 (L1). We know the majority of the NFT market is on L1, and will remain there. Not only that, but we know L1 is here to stay so it’s important for the permanence and value of all EtherOrcs NFTs that their core attributes live on Ethereum L1.
You will have the ability to stake your Orc to the “Portal” which will enable you to take actions, (farm $ZUG, go on raids, etc) all on L2. Whenever you are ready to bring your spoils back to L1 and update your Orcs equipment, level, etc — just bridge back using our GUI.
Essentially, we have built our own bridge to enable your Orc to remain locked on L1 and have a “ghost Orc” perform actions on L2 for a fraction of the cost.
We are going to use Polygon as it should be; a computer to process the more gas intensive interactions needed to play on chain games, at a fraction of the cost of mainnet.
So why are we adding functionality that enables you to take actions with your Orc on Polygon?
- Drastically reduces gas costs
- Unlocks more interactive content
- Creates as much value for our holders as possible
EtherOrcs is a fully on-chain project on Ethereum (L1) today. All aspects of your Orc are stored fully on-chain, but also all of the core actions you execute with your Orc (farm $ZUG, raid, level) are fully on-chain as well. There are a ton of reasons why this is great and important to us that we won’t be covering here.
What can be challenging about being on chain in Ethereum, however, is gas costs. We have gone to great lengths to optimize our contracts to minimize gas costs, but ultimately each action you take with your Orc is going to cost some amount of gas.
While gas on Ethereum mainnet is sometimes reasonable, other times it can become unsustainable. Example: a number of high demand mints are occurring at the same time, raising gas fees dramatically at the exact moment you want to go on the next raid or shift from farming to leveling.
Now, imagine we are implementing an active raid where you need to press a switch at just the right time or solve a puzzle within 30 minutes. It will be a horrible experience if you aren’t able to complete your task because of a temporary fluctuation in gas.
This is why it’s paramount for us to be able to develop on L2 for future state interactivity. If you’ve followed our roadmap, you know things like Dungeon Crawls will be highly interactive and having those transactions cost pennies vs one hundred dollars will be important.
Finally, and most importantly, our playerbase will be able to take full advantage of a DRASTIC reduction in costs with no change in rewards. This greatly enhances the sustainability of our game so that everyone has the ability to take actions and optimize their Orc without having to worry about the slow bleed of gas costs. Literal money in our Orc pockets.
And why choose Polygon?
We will make this one simple… It’s about cost. We are excited by a number of different L2 and sidechain options in the market right now, but Polygon best fits our needs right now with an established sidechain and good support.
It can be best summarized in a chart, see below:
Yes… you’re reading that right. You will be able to farm or train or pillage or raid for pennies. Now imagine you have your Orc staked to L1 for a month. You’re saving potentially thousands of dollars by staying on L2 — with rewards and value increasing on your Orc with absolutely no difference in what you were doing before.
The more we dug into all the options at our disposal the more Polygon made the most sense. We thoroughly investigated any and all negative aspects of Polygon, including RPC congestion causing slow transactions over the summer. This particular one was rectified by Polygon and is a non issue, furthermore there are ways we can overcome it within our own project if it ever became an issue again. After hours of research and testing we are very confident that this is the best L2 solution for our eco-system.
Why is it not a migration?
Now, does it mean we are migrating all Orcs to Polygon? No. We are going to keep your Orc on L1. Your Orc will stay staked in the “Portal” on L1 while they are activated on L2.
We have built our own bridge (The Portal) to be able to take your Orc, $ZUG, and $BONESHARDS all into L2 in a single transaction (and back as you please). Likewise, you can always just bridge $ZUG or $BONESHARDS or an Orc alone as well.
For better or for worse, Ethereum mainnet is where a majority of the NFT market is. We are also excited by a lot of the options in the market and want to ensure we have flexibility over the long term to adapt to a variety of L2 solutions if needed.
Orcs on Polygon can execute all of the same tasks and get all of the same rewards as your Orc on L1.
What’s the catch?
As much as we would love to say there’s no catch — there will be one major difference. You’ll execute a majority of your actions on L2 and likely will want to stay there for a while.
When you choose to come back, it will take several hours — so if you are planning on selling your Orc or trading it to a friend — you’ll need to plan ahead. This is less of an issue for our user base since on average 98% of Orcs are staked into the contract.
Same with ZUG and Bone Shards. There will be trade-able $pZUG and $pBONESHARDS on polygon that are directly convertible with Ethereum Mainnet $ZUG and $BONESHARDS, but you will need to account for that two to three hour potential lag time as you bridge assets back from Polygon to Ethereum.
What if I want to continue to take actions on L1? I like the gas!
That’s a real option if you choose it. We will continue to make all of the existing contract capabilities available on L1. This is an option, but it will benefit you to learn how to use L2 as we will continue to build new and more interactive capabilities that will only be on L2.
As always, this is only possible with a ton of incredible work, testing, feedback and more from our community and team. The Horde is powerful together! We look forward to building this framework for the future of on chain gaming. It’s going to be a fun ride.