Pioneers to the New XOCIETY: Meet the Team NDUS
Imagine yourself standing before a horizon. Nobody has seen what’s beyond but everyone knows that there will be an advent of something new. There is nothing more attractive than an unknown world full of discoveries and possibilities both good and bad.
XOCIETY is a blockchain-based MMOTPS mainly focused on PvE, powered by Unreal Engine. The game starts as Avatars wake up in the post-apocalyptic Earth dominated by hostile modified genetic organisms and dangerous machines — the aim is for players to reclaim the lands which were rightfully theirs before they were forced into cryonics.
We sat down with core members of Team NDUS to highlight their views on the Web 3 gaming industry, their conviction, and most importantly, the future of XOCIETY. Read on for more details from Jeffry, the Lead Director, and YK, the Design Director.
Q1 : Please introduce yourselves and your team.
Jeffry : I am the Lead Director, Jeffry, aka Oldginger.
Our team, Team NDUS, is building a blockchain-based MMOTPS metaverse, and we have around 50 people on our team, all from Web 2 gaming studios or blockchain businesses. I believe our team has the largest manpower among the incumbent Web 3 gaming studios, and our team is very experienced, which means XOCIETY progresses at unbelievable speed.
YK : I am the Design Director, YK, aka Dr. Nam.
Let me tell you more about the team’s experiences in Web 2 games to give you an idea of how diverse and deep they are. We have people who worked in NC Soft on Lineage 2M and Blade & Soul; on Netgames’ HIT; XLGAMES’ ArcheAge and Civilization Online; on Pearl Abyss’ Black Desert, Crimson Desert, and DokeV; on Neostream Interactive’s Little Devil Inside; on Gravity Interactive’s Ragnarok Online; on Nexon’s Wars of Prasia and so on.
Q2 : What was your career path up until this point?
Jeffry : I began my career around 2000, so I have been in the gaming industry for more than 20 years now. I worked for two of the three big Ns, as well as for 2K Sports.
*3N: Nexon, NC Soft, Netmarble — Korea’s leading game studios.
YK : I was a scenario writer at first, then became a director. I was in the traditional game industry for 18 years, mainly in startups. I was the main PD for Everytown, a mobile game with 6M downloads. I like to call my career “crawled up from hell” as I always had to fight for survival in this industry.
Q3 : Why did you move from Web 2 to Web 3? What was your major motivation or vision you saw in the Web 3 industry?
Jeffry : I always thought Web 3 technology would bring a smartphone-scale change to people’s lives.
And all tech-based changes always started from games people play; the smartphone itself was fully utilized by innovative games before it entrenched deeply into the mass. Also for Web 3, a game innovation will take place before mass adoption within a few years, and I want to be a part of it.
YK :When people began building games for smartphones, the traditional PC gaming developers disregarded the trend thinking smartphone games could not compete with already high quality PC games. But look at the result. Instead of the smartphone gaming industry consuming the PC gamers, it added an additional layer of ‘smartphone gamers’ expanding the overall gaming population.
I was half a step late to the smartphone gaming trend, and I do not want to be late again for another great leap in this gaming industry.
Jeffry :Traditional Web 2 games have reached the limit in their user base. They have the finest graphics, the finest technologies, and the finest gameplay — but they all address the same market of developed countries, and the market is saturated with an influx of AAA games. Too much cannibalization.
Emerging markets, especially from Developing Nations, were somewhat ignored by Web 2 gaming studios as their accessibility to Apple Pay or Google Payments is restricted as they require banking accounts.
For cryptocurrencies, however, you only need a smartphone to buy, trade, or sell anything within the game. With this new layer of Web 3 games, a totally new market has opened expanding the gaming population even further.
Smartphones have penetrated emerging markets with its easy-to-use mechanics that were unavailable in PC or console games, and the same thing will happen again with blockchain games.
Q4 : How did you end up in this project?
Jeffry : About a year ago, I took the role of so-called ‘metaverse PD’ in my previous company. Full 3D immersive digital experience? We had it. Creator economy? We had it. So naturally, I sought the essence of a ‘metaverse,’ and I concluded that it was a transparent system to sustain the ownership of virtual goods.
If a project did not incorporate true player ownership but instead maintained a centralized control over the rights, it is only using metaverse as a gimmick.
At the time, I could not find anyone who was well-versed in blockchains enough to initiate a project. Luckily, I was introduced to UNOPND, where I could build this metaverse and so I joined, and built Team NDUS.
YK : Well, I was interested in Web 3, but not interested enough to leave Web 2 for it. However, one day the creative artist from Team NDUS, MJ Lee, called me for a drink. Next day, I was kidnapped(?!) by Jeffry here. I cursed the drinks back then, but not anymore.
Q5 : What is the best thing you love about your team?
Jeffry : Our team is old. Literally, the average age would be around mid-40s. So we have lots of experience, and thus are quick to adjust into new environments.
In Web 2, we were following the proven paths and focused on how to make it better. In Web 3, we have no footprints to follow, and we don’t know what is ahead of us. Yet, being experienced also means that we have experienced failure, so we know how to detect and overcome risks. I think it is incredibly valuable to know what not to do, especially when you are not clear on what to do.
YK : Korea has a high-context culture. Koreans try to deliver their intentions through metaphors and nonverbal cues, which could lead to miscommunication. However, we are experienced enough to not make such errors happen, as all of us have built games from scratch before.
Q1 : Can you describe XOCIETY in one sentence?
Jeffry : Shoot, Earn, Pioneer. Build into Metaverse. Or you could call it MMOTPS. You will wake up in the future Earth, where everything is wiped out, and you will pioneer your way into the world again.
In XOCIETY, you will shoot hostile machines and other enemies with other players to earn back and develop the parts of future Earth. Together you will pioneer into the new frontier of metaverse building your own stories and values within.
We are confident that XOCIETY will be the only AAA game in Web 3. All those Web 3 games that claim to be AAA, we all know they are not.
Q2 : How is XOCIETY different from other games?
YK : Current metaverse games all sell lands, but without any utility. We have obsessively engineered our land model to actually incorporate true value.
All lands in XOCIETY have to be raided in order to be owned, and each land has its own distinct ecosystem and monsters. So the unlocking of lands would work similarly toWoW expansion releases.
Jeffry : Let me elaborate on that. Other metaverse projects sell lands, and lands have owners, but they have no players. And landowners are not players. Such a gap between players and landowners is very unhealthy for the game economy, we thought.
To own the lands, you have to engage and play your way into ownership. If you don’t want to, then you buy lands from the players who rightfully played their ways to ownership.
Think of the Wild West. You cut lumber and build houses. You discover oilfields, so you build railroads. There are houses and railroads, so people come to live there. Team NDUS will never sell its lands, sit back, and yell ‘DIY!’ We give the players objectives to conquer, like ‘games.’
That’s the key difference between artificial value from incumbent metaverse lands and organic value from our lands.
Q3 : How does XOCIETY play differently from other shooter games?
Jeffry : The main difference would be that your growth path and your treasures obtained from your journey will be permanently recorded on the blockchain.
YK : Before the advent of smartphone games, we had great puzzle games on the Internet built with Adobe Flash. Now the smartphones are released, and Candy Crush comes along. Candy Crush is indeed a well-made game, but it is not extraordinarily designed compared to previous puzzle games — but it was on the brand new layer of smartphones. It was a phenomenal success.
We will serve the same purpose on the blockchain layer. People will come over, play XOCIETY on this brand new layer of blockchains, and say “Whew! That was fun, let’s go for another match.”
Jeffry : We are basing our business model on the proven Web 2 business models, but only implementing it on the blockchains. P2E element or governance through token economy will not be the core component of our game, the core component will always be gameplay itself.
Q4 : Why did you choose a MMOTPS for XOCIETY?
Jeffry : The demographic distribution of crypto-friendly users is largely concentrated on NA and EU regions, which overlaps with shooter game demographics. Since we are aiming for larger audience, we though it would be best to target those demographics by choosing MMOPTS.
YK : We made it Third-Person since it is much better to decorate your avatars when you can see them directly on screen.
Q5 : What do you think the future will look like for XOCIETY?
Jeffry : “Whew! That was fun, let’s go for another match.” That is the mindset we expect from the gamers who play XOCIETY.
The main goal would be to establish an entertaining fictional universe. We always call on metaverses to be immersive digital spaces, but to be immersed into the digital world, it must have its corresponding story.
Lee, the creative artist on Team NDUS, has drawn Ragnarok, a cartoon series that gave birth to Ragnarok Online the game. MJ Lee is building such a story in XOCIETY.
YK : When people say that they want to visit famous cities like Singapore or New York, it is not only the physical features they want to see but the story — history, culture, atmosphere, people, etc.- behind those cities that attract those people.
Now we are building a new city of metaverse, but it has no culture, no atmosphere, no inhabitants — people would be unwilling to visit such a place. Thus, we need to design our digital world with stories and narratives to let people know what they would experience when they visit XOCIETY.
Q1. What are Frontier Avatars?
Jeffry : First of all, Frontier Avatars are more than PFPs. Of course, you can use it as one if you want to.
Frontier Avatars will be early access tickets. As the name suggests, holders would be on the frontiers of the untapped territories. We would shortly release our Alpha playbuilds right after the NFT sale, so Frontier Avatar holders can pioneer XOCIETY earlier than anyone else.
NFTs are not mandatory in playing XOCIETY; Frontier Avatars would have unique appearances though. Common avatars are customizable, but players cannot reproduce the look of Frontier Avatars even with the rich character customization.
Frontier Avatar itself would not be much different in the actual gameplay, but it would give buffs to party members during raids or during events, so ordinary players would want to befriend them.
YK: Outgame-wise, there would be whitelists and airdrops exclusively for Frontier Avatar holders.
Frontier Avatars would be like influencers in the real world. With their unique appearances, everyone would recognize them, and with their buffs, everyone would want to play with them.
Also, as they are utilized as ‘early access tickets,’ they would be involved in Alpha playtests, which means they could accumulate knowledge on boss raids faster than anyone else, giving them additional attraction.
Q2. What is the sale plan?
Jeffry : Team NDUS is aiming for the Frontier Avatar sale in early 2023.
Q3. Are there any other NFTs in XOCIETY?
YK : We have Companions NFTs. Frontiers or not, all avatars would have their own Companions. It is a drone that help the player in combat, and collect resources. There are two types of Companions, common Companions and First Companions, and the latter would be sold asNFTs.
You could think of Companions as Pods in Nier: Automata.
We have other NFTs planned, but they are not fixed yet.
Jeffry : Having mounts is essential, isn’t it?
When we make partnerships with other NFT projects, they would be featured as in-game items or raid monsters.