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Free to earn: How Shrapnel will make skill pay 

Concept art from Shrapnel.

The creators of highly-anticipated extraction shooter Shrapnel have explained how players who don’t want to spend anything in-game will be able to earn.

They will be able to get their hands on free gear and can trade that gear, but only when a certain in-game task has been ticked off, the head of economy at Shrapnel studio Neon told a recent Discord AMA. 

Francis Brankin did not detail exactly how players would earn the free gear, but said Shrapnel’s approach was similar to the way “scabs” functioned in the FPS Escape From Tarkov.

“The gear itself will be untradeable, so you can’t sell it into the market until you have done a certain activity,” he said. “That activity could be as simple as ‘kill three people with this weapon’ [or] ‘survive five sessions with this weapon’.”

“Whatever it is, you’ll have to do something to then turn that [gear] into something that can be transacted on the marketplace and have value.”

Shrapnel is due to launch at the end of 2024.

Players using free gear will be able to progress through the game, collecting loot as they go. However the value of this loot will be low.  

“The things that you loot within those sessions are things that could be transacted on the marketplace and have value,” Brankin said. “It’s just that value that you get in those early sessions – that you’re playing for free – is going to be very, very, very minimal.”

The market will set the value of the loot, but as players progress, there will be more controlled and systematically priced markets.

When released – it’s due at the end of 2024 – Shrapnel will be a free-to-play blockchain-enabled game. Players can jump in and start playing without spending anything upfront, and may not even realize the game is blockchain-based.

The project has ruled out pay-to-win mechanisms in its gameplay. Its blockchain integration revolves around player-created maps and skins, with map creators earning revenue each time their map is used. 

“We’re never going to force [players] to bring money into the game,” Brankin said. 

“The way we manage that is there is always a safety net that will catch [them].”

Progression through that safety net at the bottom is based on skill, Brankin said.

Shrapnel high-quality graphics are being built using Unreal Engine 5. It won Most Anticipated title at January’s GAM3RS Choice Awards in Miami and at December’s inaugural GAM3 awards. 

The premise of the game is that the earth is being bombarded by fragments of an asteroid, rendering a swathe of the globe uninhabitable. 

The fragments (Sigma) are valuable, and must be collected by operators who, armed to the teeth, venture into the forbidden zone.

The game is soon expected to release 10,000 of Sigma Containment Unit NFTs (unique digital assets). It’s a free mint and the subsequent owners of the NFTs will get privileged access to content and creator tools. 

*In an in-depth interview with Polemos, Neon CEO Mark Long revealed Shrapnel’s release schedule as well as his design philosophy.

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Polemos staff

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