Dogami analysis: P2E NFT game introduces the Petaverse

Dogamí is staking its claim as one of the best P2E NFT games of 2022, as Pokémon Go meet Nintendogs in this augmented reality pet simulator.

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It's going to be a big year for Dogami. Developed in France and with the backing of big players like Ubisoft, Animorca Brands and The Sandbox, we can expect the first NFT drop, a playable game and a new play-to-earn economy by the middle of 2022. And that's just the start.

The ultimate goal is the Petaverse, an open-world space where gamers can socialise and interact with each other, their NFT pets in tow. But there's plenty that needs to be achieved before then if gamers are going to get on board.

So, what can we expect from the Dogami gameplay experience? Are the NFTs looking like a good investment? How will Dogami's play-to-earn mechanics work? Let's dive in and find out.

What formats is Dogamí on?

Dogami is a mobile game and will be available on both iOS and Android devices. It's unlikely to appear on PC, Xbox or PlayStation due to its reliance on portability and augmented reality. However, there's a slim chance it could come to Nintendo Switch in the future.

When will Dogami be out?

The initial NFT sale for Dogami is set for 22 February 2022. The game experience itself isn't expected until Q2 2022. Its initial release won't include the full feature set, as I'll detail when we look at the roadmap later.

What kind of NFT game is Dogami?

Dogami is an augmented reality pet simulation. It takes the AR experience you'll remember from Pokémon Go and combines it with the gameplay of Nintendogs. In the game, you'll be charged with training and nurturing a Dogami, which is effectively a dog that's an NFT.

While not yet confirmed, we can expect further NFTs to enter the Petaverse in time. This could be additional animals, like cats, but also items and cosmetics.

Dogami gameplay explained

Your goal in Dogami is to successfully nurture your dog NFT from a puppy, through adulthood, into parenthood and ultimately to the afterlife. One of the aspects of the game I like is how each of these phases changes up the gameplay experience. It will hopefully ensure that things don't get stale as you get deeper into the game.

It will also be important how the AI is implemented. This will be critical to the success of the game in my opinion. How will the Dogami react to the daily routines you go through to bond, teach and look after it. If these are rote and monotonous, it will be a grind. If the AI is more dynamic and able to better react to the environment it's in and the subtleties in the ways you perform the task versus another player, it will be a lot more immersive.

One aspect I'm not too stoked about is the ability to buy your way through the grind. You can pay extra for deluxe items and consumables, which will bring down timers and cooldowns so you don't have to wait as long to complete tasks. This devilish monetisation strategy is hated in mobile games and for good reason. Dogami will need to make sure it doesn't incentivise spending more money too much by making the game deliberately boring.

But it gets worse.

Some tricks you can teach your Dogami cannot be taught without buying certain accessories. Not only do these accessories up your daily reward ceiling, but they can help you in the PVP competitions. That sounds a whole lot like a pay-to-win scenario to me. And pay-to-win sucks.

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Chris Stead, Finder's game expert here. I've been covering video games since the mid-90s, and I've turned all that experience towards provding honest feedback on NFT and P2E gameplay.

Puppy Phase

The initial Puppy Phase is very similar to what we have seen in other pet simulator series like Nintendogs, Petz and Little Friends. You need to feed, clean, train, groom, play and teach your pet. Your days will be filled with quests and challenges to complete and success hitting those goals will not only help your puppy progress through life, it will increase your Bonding and Boosting levels.

The Bonding and Boosting levels define how much DOGA token you're awarded at the end of any given day, which ties into the P2E mechanics, which I will go into in more detail shortly. Notably, the Bonding Level doesn't reset each day, so your maximum daily DOGA reward increases over time, not through a day.

Levelling your Bonding also unlocks more gameplay mechanics like activities, features and consumables. This should hopefully ensure a constant drip-feeding of new experiences.

One of the more intriguing challenges will be walking your dog a set distance every day, which requires you to use your real legs to get around the real world. This gives the game a fitness and health aspect that helps set Dogami apart.

Because remember, this is an AR game. So, it's good to get out and about. You can do all these quests and interactions seeing your pet as if it exists in your real environment.

Dogami Review 5

Adult Phase

In the Adult Phase, the experience changes quite dramatically. While you still need to bond with your dog, you can also start levelling them down career paths. So far, we've heard of Police, Firefighter, Farmer, Space, Yoga and Skater as careers. Levelling up is done by training your dogs in PVE and PVP minigames targeting that career. These will tie into annual Dogami Olympics, as well.

The better you train your Dogami and the further they climb the career ladder, the more DOGA tokens you can be rewarded in any given day. An NFT that has completed a career pathway receives a special badge, which should amplify its value.

Also occurring in the Adult Phase is breeding, but I will go into more detail about that shortly.

Spirit Phase

At the time of writing, not much is known about the gameplay experience in this phase. All we know is that your Dogami NFTs will not be able to enter this phase until they have reached their breeding max. It will be very interesting to see how the developer finds a way for "spent" NFTs to retain some value, both as a collectable and in terms of utility, at this point in the game.

Breeding in Dogamí

To a certain extent, regulars to NFT game experiences, like Pegaxy, will see typical mechanics in play with the Dogami breeding process. Each NFT has a limited number of times it can be bred. Once in the Adult Phase of the game, you can pay a sum of DOGA tokens to breed your Dogami with the opposite sex.

The genetic traits of the 2 breeds are combined, there's some randomisation in there for added unpredictability, and a rarity tier as well. But there are 2 key variations that make breeding a bit more unique.

First of all, you can't breed whenever you like. There are Love Seasons, which are set moments in time when your pet is free to get jiggy with it. But also, once the mateship has been completed, only 1 of the 2 parties will get the resulting Dogami NFT. And to that I say, "What the hell?"

When an NFT puppy is born, the 2 players involved will enter a blind auction where they'll have to bid even more DOGA tokens to try and gain ownership of the NFT. Whatever the final bid is, 5% is then added on top to fund the developer.

This is unnecessary and reeks of a cash grab. You could end up in a bidding war with a player that has a lot more DOGA than you. As a result you never get to enjoy the thrill and joy that comes with minting a unique, new NFT. I sure hope they relook at this aspect of the game.

Dogami Review 1

Are the Dogami good collectable NFTs?

The Dogami themselves are cute enough, on par with what we've seen in likeminded pet simulators. At first the developer is focusing on pure breeds. Indeed, the initial drop will have 8 breeds, with 1,000 NFTs of each. Ultimately, we'll see over 300 breeds, which will, of course, include cross-breeds as the Love Seasons unfold over time.

The Dogami themselves come in 4 rarity types: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Diamond. They're each given a distribution of 140 points across 5 stats: Vitality, Robustness, Intelligence, Friendliness and Obedience. These can then be improved through gameplay, as a result of their attributes or by pairing your Dogami with accessories (at a cost).

As for their attributes, there are 9: Ears, Sharp Muzzle, Smooth Paws, Sweet Tail, Whithers, Tooth, Chest, Robust Shoulder and Charming Eyes. 5 of these are randomly selected upon creation, and are assigned 1 of 4 rarities: Common, Rare, Epic and Legendary. The chances of getting a higher rarity attribute are improved by the rarity of the Dogami itself.

As well as adding deeper variation to the NFTs and making them more collectable, there is utility in all this complexity. You'll notice the impact of your Dogami's traits on the time taken to complete particular tasks and go up certain career paths.

How does P2E work in Dogamí?

The play-to-earn aspect of Dogami isn't as straightforward as you might suspect. As mentioned, you can earn DOGA by completing daily tasks linked to training and bonding with a Dogami NFT. There are also milestone moments that can reward you with DOGA, such as linking together a number of days of consistent play.

However, the 2 biggest qualifiers for how much you might be able to earn in a day are defined by your Bonding Level and Booster Level. Now the Bonding Level is the biggest driver. At level 1, you can only earn a maximum of 5 DOGA a day. But by level 10, that's up to 50 DOGA.

In some genres, such as a MOBA (think League of Legends), the levelling is reset at the beginning of each game. But here, the levelling is a grind over many days, if not weeks. For a scholar, if you get a Dogami on a low level, there's no potential to get it to a high level in that day. That's a heavy cap to deal with.

The Booster Level is a multiplier that floats between 0.5 and 2 depending on how quickly you attend to your Dogami's needs. So, if you're not always checking on your phone, your daily DOGA earning limit could end up halved. Ouch! I'm not sure if that's a case of tough love, or just a sinister approach that demands an unhealthy attachment to your screen.

Dogami Review 2

Does Dogami have a free-to-play mode?

For scholars or players keen to get into Dogami without owning an NFT, you can still be involved. During the Puppy Phase, you can set up a smart contract with a Dogami owner. It's not clear yet whether that will be an upfront fee for rental, or a profit-share. But you will be able to define the length of time for the rental. This process is called Dogami Day Care.

There is also the Dogami Academy. This occurs in the Adult Phase, and allows a player to rent someone else's NFT and train it up 1 of the career paths. Revenue is split 50:50 in this arrangement, which sounds great. However, you must have finished at least 1 career path previously before you're eligible to rent through the Academy.

To me, this would seem like you cannot rent in the Academy unless you have previously owned an NFT. Because scholars aren't allowed into the Adult Phase, so will have never completed a career path. They can only rent in the Puppy Phase. Hmmm….

Roadmap: What is the Petaverse?

Dogami will launch with the Puppy Phase, the AR experience and staking in Q2 2022. The breeding, accessories, Adult Phase and community events come in Q3 2022. While the PVP mode, cross-breeding and walking mechanic will land in Q4 2022 alongside the Petaverse.

The Petaverse will ultimately be a social experience where gamers can walk around an open-world, interacting with other players. Presumably, their Dogami will come for the ride. It's not clear if you'll meet players online, or whether it's more like Pokémon Go where you meet up with other people in real-life in order to be together in-game.

I think the use of the word Petaverse, as opposed to Dogaverse, is interesting. The door is obviously left well ajar for the developer to expand into other animals in the future.

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How to buy the DOGA token

Thankfully, Dogami only has a single currency to deal with, the DOGA token. It's what you will use to buy in-game items and accessories, as well as what is burned when you breed. You'll be awarded DOGA for your daily toil, competitions, loyalty tasks, walking goals and more.

At the time of writing, you cannot yet buy DOGA. But Dogami is built on the Tezos blockchain, so you may need XTZ to buy the NFTs and to swap for DOGA.

Is Dogamí a good investment?

There are definitely plenty of positives in Dogami's favour. We know that this genre has a big audience. The success of the Tamagotchi and Nintendogs shows a love for pet simulator experiences. Then you combine that with AR and fitness gameplay and there's a lot of boxes ticked.

It's also not a complex genre, when compared to big 3D open-worlds and visceral action fests. It should be within the developer's means to complete the roadmap.

While the developer doesn't have a name, there are real humans involved. People with a diverse range of skills and experience you can easily look up on Linkedin and vet. Backers such as Animorca Brands and The Sandbox can't be ignored, while Ubisoft went as far as to invest US$6 million in funding. It's worth noting that it was Ubisoft who created the Petz series too. I wonder if there have been any teachings or even code passed on there?

When you also look at the following that Dogami has in the socialverse, the game shapes up to be a good investment.

That said, there are some design decisions I'm very concerned about. Being able to buy your way through cooldowns and even to victory in PVP is a slippery slope. The pathway for scholars and guilds to get involved isn't clear and may not be economically viable. While the breeding blind-auction system is a joke.

Whether that turns you off or not, Dogami is a P2E NFT game that cannot be ignored.

Dogami Review 4

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