Play-to-Earn MMORPG MIR4’s poor Steam reviews haven’t stopped the game from topping 20,000 concurrent players

Is this the allure of crypto-mining?

Publication date of the original Japanese article: 2021-08-31 21:44 (JST)
Translated by. Nick Mosier

MIR4, an MMORPG from Korean developer Wemade, launched on Steam and mobile devices on August 25, and despite the scathing reviews, is still seeing massive player growth. Let’s take a look at the unique systems this game offers and unravel why MIR4 is reviewing and growing as it is.

MMORPG with a system similar to an “idle game”

In MIR4, players can choose between four different classes and throw themselves into battle against monsters and other players. The basic ingredients for an action game are here. You fight by making use of skills and dodging attacks, and can dash and double jump your way around the map.

On the other hand, quests can be advanced automatically by clicking on icons and you can make your character automatically battle or gather materials. It’s essentially a system similar to an “idle game” that doesn’t require much intervention from the player to progress.

But with that being said, elements of combat, gathering, and quest advancement being automated isn’t especially rare for an MMORPG. On mobile especially, games that have these kinds of mechanics are too numerous to count, so it’s hard to think the game is popular for its automated elements alone.

Low review score, high player count

If you look at the Steam reviews, you’ll see a number of complaints that the game is boring and plays itself. As of this writing (August 31, 2021), MIR4 is sitting at a 36% positive rating, or a “mostly negative” evaluation. However, the game has also reached a peak of over 20,000 concurrent players and is trending upward. The reason for this contradiction might just be a certain unique feature the game has implemented.

*At the time of translating the article (September 6), the Steam review evaluation has improved to “Mixed” with a 49% positive rating. The peak concurrent player count has reached 36,719 according to SteamDB

Image Credit: SteamDB

Mine in-game currency to earn real-world cryptocurrency

MIR4 makes use of blockchain technology and player’s actions in the game can earn them cryptocurrency outside of the game. In the game is an item called Darksteel which can be “refined” into DRACO, a utility coin being promoted by Wemade. As of this writing, 1 DRACO is worth approximately $1.76 USD. The rate and number of Darksteel needed to refine it fluctuates daily.

DRACO can be converted into Wemade’s WEMIX Token, which can be used on cryptocurrency exchanges like bithumb and BiKi. In other words, getting Darksteel in the game is connected to getting real-world cryptocurrency.

There are multiple ways to acquire Darksteel in the game. The main method is to literally “mine” for it. In other words, it’s an effort to make mining in-game count towards items that can be converted into real-world assets.

While each Darksteel mining spot has multiple veins, the same vein can’t be mined by multiple players. That’s why you can see players attacking others to take their spot while they’re mining. These fierce mining battles only seem like they will get more intense as time goes on.

NFT coming soon

A press release from Wemade on August 25 highlights forming clans and battling over the Darksteel producing Hidden Valleys as an element of the game. While trying to introduce cryptocurrency as an incentive for players to battle in the game is interesting, it’s hard to not be apprehensive about the kinds of battles that could take place.

Wemade is also planning on introducing NFT (Non-Fungible Token) technology to the game where items in the game bought with DRACO will become an NFT. To put it plainly, the items will have a certificate of ownership in a sense. An avatar purchased by a player would be unique and the player would own it. It will also be possible for players to buy and sell their avatars on a platform Wemade is launching in September.

Overall, it seems like a lot of players are attracted to the aspect of MIR4 being an MMO that you let sit as it earns cryptocurrency. Encouraging player competition by connecting it to real-world assets is very interesting. But as the saying goes, money is the root of all evil, so there is some worry about what kind of trouble could arise between players.

In the time I spent with the game, there were many things that concerned me. The global chat was constantly full of what looked like RMT (real money trading) messages. And as a word of caution, there were also a number of clans expressing things that were racist and xenophobic. But with all of that being said, it will be interesting to see how things develop with Wemade’s MIR4 from here. For better or worse, it looks to be a title that will be hard to take our eyes off of.

MIR4 is currently available on Steam and iOS/Android.