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Passage and Strange Clan - An Ambitious Metaverse and Gaming Project
Cosmos metaverse and gaming for the mainstream
Welcome to the alpha please newsletter. We curate alpha for you. That’s it; that’s the newsletter.
This alpha please newsletter is about Passage and Strange Clan. Two exciting native Cosmos/IBC ecosystem projects.
I’m Pickle, this is my first post for alpha please. Hope you find it informative.
Originally I had planned to do a twitter thread on Strange Clan, however as I started researching it I discovered more and more about Passage, and the two are inextricably linked.
I’ll attempt to provide an introduction to both for new people to get them up to speed, and hopefully you’ll be able to appreciate the potential of these projects and why I’m bullish on their future success.
What’s to come?
What is Passage?
What is Strange Clan?
Strang Clan NFTs
Strange Clan Tokens
What’s the Play?
What is Passage?
In the teams own words;
‘Passage is an accessible and customizable 3D world for video chat, presentations, collaboration, and e-commerce.’
Passage is the first native Cosmos/IBC ecosystem metaverse, being built using the Unreal Engine. Think of it as Sandbox or Decentraland (although not a perfect comparison) but with more features.
They are using Akash Network (cloud computing protocol within the Cosmos Ecosystem) for CPU provision, and soon for their GPU provision when that becomes available (currently being AWS). Why does this matter?
The accessed worlds/applications/games will be streamed with processing being done external to the the user’s device, meaning high specification rendering with potentially photorealistic images and metaverse environments can be accessed from simple devices such as basic smartphones and tablets.
This is hugely important, because it opens up projects building on Passage to a much much bigger addressable market and user base. You don’t need to be a from a first world country with a powerful computing device to participate in this iteration of the metaverse.
Passage will, in future, deploy on their own IBC compatible blockchain built using the Cosmos SDK. The Passage team themselves will be the initial creators of ‘worlds’ linked in the Passage universe, but they will soon after allow other builders/teams to create their own worlds/immersive experiences, and they are concurrently creating a toolkit to allow new creators to easily incorporate 3D visuals and assets to ‘bootstrap’ their world.
Their landing page does a fantastic job of outlining how Passage will work for most people.
The team who have created and are building Passage is led by Lex and Arel Avellino via their Three Division studio. They have experience of creating and customising events and environments for big brands like Amazon, Lego, Disney, and so unlike many other web3 gaming builders, know how to take a project from conception and design through to delivery while sticking to deadlines. They also managed this work with a small team and tight budgets (currently 15 members and recruiting).
The developers and arts team working on Strange Clan specifically have experience working with or for studios including Epic, Ubisoft, Activision and Square Enix.
To quote Lex directly from a conversation I had with him:
We've done events in Passage with Amazon, Capitol Records, Scooter Braun, and American Girl. We've helped design and execute events for Warner Brothers, Lego, Red Bull, Dallas Cowboys, Marvel, Disney, and more! We did all of the virtual implementation of the events in 3D.
Why does this matter? How many times have we seen grand whitepaper plans and massive token raises in crypto, only to see projects flounder, run out of cash, and achieve very little? The space needs professionalisation and it’s refreshing to see people like this enter the space.
To quote Lex again:
‘We have a core team of 15 full time stateside employees who are focused entirely on Passage and Passage worlds. We also have a team of contractors who supplement work in different areas as well as several partner teams working with us to scale up operations for content creation and development.
We're actively growing our core team as well as our partner teams, but we have a pretty substantial impact for our size. We've been building virtual experiences and 3D content for over 5 years now. So we're very familiar with this whole life cycle, and we're growing our team very intentionally.’
They’re not recent converts to the metaverse who are simply cashing in on a narrative, they’re for real.
In addition to the above, Passage have also recently unveiled their marketplace, which currently only houses NFTs from the initial Strange Clan release of ~5000 characters. It is on the Juno Network, and requires a tiny amount of $JUNO for gas, and $ATOM as the native token to purchase NFTs. The interface is reminiscent of Opensea and very easy to use, certainly the best market place I’ve used outside Ethereum. Currently it’s unclear if this will remain on Juno or move to Passage native chain once it’s live.
What is Strange Clan?
Strange Clan is the first major world and game being built out by the Passage/Three Division team. The landing page lays out the basics of the storyline and roadmap concisely so I would encourage people to take a look.
There is a strange infection in your homeland, you and your companions (NFT characters) must flee to another town. Quests, crafting, land ownership, farming and all the usual features you expect of a fantasy RPG game are involved.
I definitely got some Death Stranding vibes from the storyline…
Those who’ve been involved in web3 gaming with the likes of DeFi Kingdoms or Bridgeworld will see some basic similarities.
There will be a 2D game released in Q2 2022, and the beta of their 3D game in Q4 2022.
As this video by Chjango shows, they’re moving through development of their 3D game at pace, and I’d encourage going through some of their other demos available on youtube.
Here is a snippet of some of the game development.
The TLDR version:
Strange Clan NFTs
Their initial NFT launch of 5000 characters occurred in October 2021 upon the release of ‘town 1’ (Paradise) with prices ranging from 9-14 $ATOM in a dutch auction style, reveals happening in February with subsequent marketplace trading opening up the same month. The team raised approximately $2m from this.
I would encourage everyone to look through the NFTs on the marketplace. This is one of the best (if not the best) NFT character series releases I’ve seen. The artwork and detail are phenomenal, thanks to Nichloas Roberts who is the in-house creative director at Three Division alongside artists he works with.
The NFTs are split into species (‘character’) and classes, with several other less major differences such as accessories, variant, colour, background. StrangeClansFans is the best analytics site for the NFTs, including to check rarities.
It is important to note that the team has not announced the specifics of how the NFT characters and classes will interact within the game and how important each of the features are. The mechanics will be revealed shortly but until then the community are trying to interpret things independently through hints. The discord is helpful in fleshing out the latest thinking.
So beyond ‘price go up’, liking the art, wanting to join the community and most importantly, wanting to play the game, why should you buy or hold an NFT? Lex breaks it down nicely
To briefly summarise:
$PASG airdrops (more on tokens later)
Presumed $YAWP airdrops
potential whitelist access to the second series of 5000 NFTs to be minted (‘town 2’) either directly or through holding the $PASG airdrop
Exclusive access to in game quests/items
Early access to testing
There will be no minting process external to the game for Towns 3 and beyond and the upcoming town 2 mint will be the last to occur in the traditional way.
Strange Clan Tokens: $PASG $YAWP
There will be two tokens at the time of writing this in the Passage metaverse. The $YAWP token will be the token specific to in game use within Strange Clan and there are few further details provided at this stage, but I suspect there will be an airdrop element relating to ownership of NFTs.
‘Two separates tokens will coexist where the Passage coin is the overarching coin for the Passage ecosystem and the marketplace. The Strange Clan Token will be the native token of the Strange Clan game.’
The primary token will be $PASG.
There will be multiple utilities to the token on release, and I suspect further utility added as time goes on and more worlds get built out.
Acting as a validating token to run nodes to secure the Passage blockchain
A discount off the 3% fee in the Passage marketplace (reduced by 0.4-1.2%)
$PASG will be required to pay for streaming time in metaverse - fees will be determined in fiat value then converted to PASG. 3% of fees accrued will be permanently burned - world creators can decide how to manage this fee (bear the cost, pass it on to users etc)
To use certain things in the future toolkit to bootstrap your world quickly, creators will have to pay a fee in $PASG
$PASG will need to be staked in order to create worlds/experiences. The amount will be determined by resources required to maintain the world (CPU, GPU etc), users and other variables
$PASG staking will likely allow for minting whitelists for various future projects or current projects (e.g. town 2 NFTs in Strange clan).
There has already been a private sale, the price is unknown. There will be a future public sale in coming weeks, which will be done via the Osmosis DEX. There will also be a significant airdrop for NFT holders.
As per above, the initial float will be largely for community members, either as airdrops or the public sale, with much of the foundation tokens being released for liquidity provision. Private sale, team and advisor tokens have a significant cliff. I would personally categorise the overall distribution fair and positive for the community.
See below for the airdrops expected for holders of town 1 NFTs (Currently available in the marketplace) and town 2 (sale due in May).
The initial NFT sale for Strange clan raised only $2m, and I suspect the raise from the $PASG sale will provide the additional funding and runway needed to invest in ongoing development for years to come.
While all the main things seem to be in place for Passage and it’s metaverse to succeed, we are still in the early stages of its development. There is a lot of money sloshing around web3 and many competing metaverse projects are launching, not all of them will do well or meet their lofty goals. There is no such thing as a sure bet. Metaverse/gaming projects are arguably the most hyped but also most difficult area to conquer. A potentially more sensible approach would be to await further progress and releases from the team to confirm they are delivering what they’re saying they will, in a timely manner and at the level of quality publicised, before investing any significant sums.
What’s the play?
Let me start with a disclaimer; I have no affiliation with Three Division or Passage. I did not participate in the mint of NFTs. I have no allocation of tokens. My access to investments involving this project are the same as all the readers of this article.
The two primary ways to get in right now is by buying the NFTs and/or getting involved in the discord and getting whitelist spots for the town 2 NFT sale.
The current floor price of the NFTs is 60 ATOM/$1.7k USD. Each NFT is entitled to 5700 $PASG (2/3 instantly released 3 days after the public sale). Given what I’ve said above, I’ll let you all do your own calculations based on what may be fair value.
My personal methodology to to choosing crypto investments would deserve it’s own article, but to keep it brief, the three main things I look at are the team, community, hype (momentum) and tokenomics.
I don’t think I need to restate how unique and experienced the team at Three Division are and beyond what I’ve written above, they have their own youtube channel, regular community updates and podcast. I suggest listening to this episode for more on their background and recent history. Their enthusiasm and drive is immediately evident.
The Strange Clan discord has a great positive helpful vibe. The community is growing and getting stronger with time, and people are clearly digging into the lore and future possibilities in the game. I would say it’s still in ‘sleeper’ mode and once the game goes live, it’ll get busy.
Outside the Cosmos community, I don’t think many people are aware of Strange Clan or Passage. They came to my attention as I’ve been getting into the Cosmos world and specifically Juno the past few months. I think we’re in a ‘pre-hype’ state, which should change with the game release and token sale.
When comparing the $PASG token, I look to similar projects and their marketcaps and utility of their tokens.
The Passage team are building what I’d argue is a ‘metaverse 2.0’ project, with likes of Sandbox and Decentraland ($SAND and $MANA) being ‘1.0’. Additionally, there will be potential for major high quality gaming content to be produced within the ecosystem, especially with the benefit of streaming metaverse content which doesn’t require native user-end processing power. And there’s NFTs. And a marketplace. And it’s own blockchain. The real comparison here is a combination of $MANA, $SAND, $GALA, $AXS, opensea.
I’ll be making more posts in future for alpha please so if you like what you see, consider subscribing to the substack/following me.
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