David Johansson (Blocklords) - Founder Stories

David Johansson (Blocklords) - Founder Stories

We have the great opportunity to dive deep into the story of interesting founders, exploring their backgrounds, their vision and their route to success. We also have the chance to explore their most successful projects, and what they are trying to achieve and why.

Today we are glad to introduce David Johansson - Founder and CEO of Blocklords.

Source: Blocklord

Hi David, how are you doing? To kick start the interview, please tell us a bit about yourself and your journey into the crypto space.

My career history is pretty eclectic, which has been instrumental in my current role as the CEO of MetaKing Studios and the Creator of BLOCKLORDS.

My education at San Diego State University, where I studied film, set me up with a strong understanding of storytelling, character development, and world-building — the fundamental building blocks for crafting compelling video games. Not to mention, directing theater turned out to be a goldmine for deepening my storytelling knowledge and the necessity of team effort.

After wrapping up my studies, I spent a couple of years in Hollywood, picking up skills in creative film packaging and sharpening my storytelling abilities. About ten years ago, I transitioned to China and began my journey in the gaming industry. I've played a variety of roles in creative and production departments on games like Crusader Kings, Liberators, and League of Angels. This experience gave me a unique perspective into player preferences and how to craft engaging gaming experiences.

I stepped into the world of cryptocurrencies in 2017, as a tech enthusiast and retail trader. This gave me an insider's view of the crypto market and allowed me to truly comprehend the potential of web3 technologies. Recognizing the massive opportunity of integrating web3 into gaming, I pivoted in 2018 to focus on the development of BLOCKLORDS, and later co-founded the Seascape Network.

Diving headfirst into the crypto universe was quite the eye-opening journey. It kicked off in the heat of summer 2017 when a buddy of mine dropped the term ICOs into conversation. The concept of decentralized crowdfunding sparked my interest, urging me to do some digging. As I began unraveling the mysteries of Bitcoin, I was instantly hooked by the ideas of blockchains, mining, and sound money. One thing led to another, and soon enough, I found myself knee-deep in smart contracts and even dabbling with Solidity.

That summer marked a turning point in my life. I surfaced as a fully fledged crypto junkie, or as we cheekily refer to it in the community, a "degen." This fresh obsession not only shifted my perspective on finance but also lit a fire in me to investigate how web3 technologies could shake up the gaming industry.

In 2018, you launched BLOCKLORDS, an MMO ( massively multiplayer online), taking place in a medieval setting. Why did you start this project? And what makes this strategy game so unique?

During my stint in the free-to-play gaming world, I noticed a significant problem: the incentives just didn't line up. Companies were pouring their creative energies into catering to a small slice of users willing to shell out cash within games, while the majority of players were left in the dust. This sparked a desire in me to devise better-balanced player economies, where newcomers could contribute value to veteran gamers, and incentives could deliver a win-win situation for all involved.

This vision, when mixed with my budding fascination for web3 technologies, became the cornerstone of BLOCKLORDS. By melding the strength of decentralized systems with economies centered around the player, our goal is to craft gaming experiences that are exciting, fair, and sustainable, designed to meet the needs of players from all walks of life.

I've always been a big strategy game buff, with classics like Total War, Age of Empires, and Crusader Kings etched in my memory. These games fueled my aspiration to build a persistent online universe, where players could lose themselves in a medieval fantasy world. And not just any world, but one filled with strategy game mechanics covering the gamut of player roles - from the simple life of a farmer to the commanding heights of a king ruling a nation. In 2022, the buzz around BLOCKLORDS really started to amp up, and we had the good fortune to secure funding from some big-time investors. The lineup included Spartan Group, Maker's Fund, Bitkraft, Square Enix, Animoca, Polygon, and Funplus. With their backing, we've been able to keep pushing ahead with BLOCKLORDS development, broaden the scope of our game universe, and keep up our momentum in delivering player-centric web3 experiences to game enthusiasts worldwide.

BLOCKLORDS is a strategy game nestled in a medieval universe, where players can climb the ladder from simple beginnings to the heights of power. A global team, hailing from over 30 countries, is the driving force behind BLOCKLORDS, with a shared goal of delivering unique and captivating gaming experiences for players at all skill levels.

The game weaves a complex in-game economy with asymmetric incentives designed for a variety of player roles - from farmers to warriors, lords to kings. This design approach opens up multiple avenues for players to add value and flourish within the gaming universe. By channeling our efforts into forging rich, immersive, and player-driven journeys, BLOCKLORDS has carved its niche in the gaming scene, striking a chord with both hardcore strategy game fans and casual players.

BLOCKLORDS is a multiplayer play-to-earn (P2E) game. More specifically, in which way can gamers earn money?

We're trailblazing a new path here, crafting a AAA grand strategy web3 game rooted in the fundamental principle of fun. There's a good deal of skepticism from traditional gamers towards web3, fueled by past negative experiences and a lack of understanding of what web3 technology can really offer them.

There are also prevalent misconceptions about digital assets spoiling games — but digital assets don't have to be a dull JPEG or a contrived paywall. They shouldn't be built purely on hype. They shouldn't drain the joy from the game. Digital assets can be powerful tools for enhancing player enjoyment and fostering a sense of true ownership over their experiences. And that's exactly what we aim to offer our players: Above all, a genuinely fun experience where value is defined by a players deeds.

The game offers many playstyles, such as a farmer taking care of the land, a knight hired to fight, a lord building cities, and ultimately a king engaging in wars. Please tell us more about it.

When you look at traditional gaming, there's a genuine sense of achievement in leveling up your character and advancing through the game. But when all's said and done, the options with that character are rather limited. You can pour months, even years into these games, and yet walk away with little to show for it, because in reality, those characters and assets remain the property of the studio. This is where web3 technology can really step in to boost the player experience and fill in those gaps.

Creating sustainable economies is always a bit of a tightrope walk. Every character role in the game is interconnected, deriving some benefit from the others. So, if there's a dip in the number of players in a particular role, it could inadvertently boost its value. This dynamic ensures that the game world is always brimming with opportunities, and regardless of the role players take on, everyone reaps a reward. That said, there's no free pass in the world of BLOCKLORDS — players need to hustle and grind to carve out a sustainable space in the in-game economy.

That's the magic of crafting a world that mirrors our own in many respects. Undoubtedly, we'll have players who ascend to the noble ranks of Kings and Queens, but there'll also be those whose main aim is to stir up trouble and utilize their power for their own benefit. In a realm where everyone holds ownership, everyone has a vested interest in the outcome and a natural balance tends to emerge.

In the BLOCKLORDS universe, there'll be treaties forged and wars waged, revolutions sparked and even periods of peace enjoyed. Given that their characters are on the line, we anticipate that players will invest heavily in making tactical decisions and forging alliances to ensure their legacies not only endure but flourish. After all, necessity is the mother of invention, and people never cease to surprise.

At the beginning of the game, each player selects a Hero - a unique character with a distinctive set of traits - which is minted as NFT. Each hero can also be traded on the ImmutableX marketplace. Can you expand it?

A big part of BLOCKLORDS' charm lies in its accessibility — it's open to all. Players can start from scratch with a simple Farmer character and, by effectively leveraging their time and skill in the game, they can gradually climb the ladder to Ruler. This approach truly empowers players, offering them a platform to showcase their skills and reap the rewards. Given the game's asymmetrical economy, these Heroes hold significant value within the game world, allowing players the chance to effectively turn their passion into profit if they so choose.

As time goes on and generations of characters evolve, these traits can become highly specialized, allowing players to carve out their own unique legacy within the world. And this is something that could only be achieved by actively seeking specific traits for their lineage. Given enough time, I reckon we'll witness some intriguing mix-ups and specializations!These Heroes are imported into the game and then exported back onto chain, we’re calling this process the BLOCKLORDS Portal, it allows users to take a Hero from Polygon import it into the game and then reexport it onto IMX and vice versa, so the player can control where they want to store their assets!

A unique aspect of the game is its dynamic map, which constantly changes according to the kings'/queens' actions. How does it work precisely?

In the Community Beta, we've got a map featuring 50 distinct regions. Unique Hero holders can stake a claim on a region, becoming its Lord or Lady, while other villager players have the option to settle in either a claimed or unclaimed region.

These Lords and Ladies are in charge of setting tax rates for their regional settlers dependent on their status  and have access to city coffers. Down the line, it'll be crucial for players to align themselves with a Lord that matches their playstyle. Eventually, with the introduction of battle regions, entire kingdoms will find themselves embroiled in grand wars, which are sure to be resource-intensive!

In May this year, you released the Beta version to your community. When are you planning the full game launch?

Once the beta phase wraps up, we'll hit the pause button on the game for a bit to roll out new features, fine-tune the economic mechanics, and implement any necessary tweaks based on the feedback gathered during the beta testing. When all the updates are in place, we'll kickstart the open beta in the summer, inviting even more players to dive headfirst into the richly immersive world of BLOCKLORDS and its layered strategic gameplay.

As we carry on expanding and enhancing the world of BLOCKLORDS, players can eagerly await a smorgasbord of new features and improvements down the line. We've got our sights set on deepening the farming mechanics, offering more strategic choices within the game's economy, and unveiling an array of features and buildings for Lords to discover and utilize.

Players can also look forward to a set of dynamic new battle mechanics involving animals, raiders, and knights, bringing an added dimension of strategy and engagement to the gameplay. Plus, we're really stoked about the soon-to-come Kingdom system and nation wars, allowing players to engage in epic large-scale battles and vie for supremacy in the BLOCKLORDS universe.

Please share your most significant achievement and most extensive challenge at BLOCKLORDS until now.

We're turning our dreams from years ago into reality, and launching the game to receive such an overwhelmingly positive response is a truly gratifying accomplishment. I believe the ongoing challenge as we move forward will persist in enlightening people.

The onus is on us to lead by example, to showcase the real-world applications of our digital asset Heroes, and to affirm that indeed, web3 games can and should be a whole lot of fun. Without spilling too many beans, I can say that the future looks promising, and I'm brimming with anticipation for what's in store as we set forth on this journey hand in hand with our players, partners, and supporters.


Thank you David for the interesting interview about Blocklords. Good luck with your project!

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