CoinDesk attended the closed event as a guest and was able to interact with other “voyagers” and participate in the action-packed storyline.
From the start, the experience was designed to transport players into a sci-fi fantasy world that combined elements of popular MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) and NFT culture.
Users began the trip by entering the “Infinity Space,” an empty arena where voyagers could familiarize themselves with controlling their avatars and sending messages to other players. Voyagers were able to gather in small groups and speak to each other directly – a feature meant to mimic a “real life event,” in which players could only talk and hear others when in close proximity, said Yuga Labs chief creative officer Michael Figge.
After about 20 minutes, large screens appeared over the Infinity Space and broadcasted a message from Bored Ape Yacht Club mascot Curtis, who was “hosting” the experience.
The ape character split the group into four teams based on colors and announced their respective captains: Luster (yellow) was led by Yuga Labs community program manager Lowbellie, Crimson (red) was led by Twitch streamer Brycent, Veldan (green) was led by Snoop Dogg’s son and NFT collector Cordell Broadus, and the winning team, Glacia (blue), was led by gamer Jimmy Wong.
Voyagers’ outfits transformed into their assigned team colors, and players began to assemble into groups. Moments later, a wormhole to the “swamp” opened, transporting players to their team area to complete tasks and earn points. The game involved several wacky directives, including gathering “magic blobs” to give to digital toads that shot flames from their mouths. All the while, voyagers could run, jump, fly and explore the multidimensional space.
The winners of the game received “winged helmets” that Yuga Labs said would be airdropped to their wallets.
While some existing metaverse experiences are paired with poor graphics, lagging speeds and virtual spaces that are difficult to navigate, Otherside’s user experience was relatively robust and easy to use in comparison.
Notably, the experience was incredibly detailed and didn’t appear to have widespread congestion issues despite thousands of players converging on the space at once.
Feedback from players was generally positive, with many sharing optimism for the future of the platform.
Still, some users complained about connectivity issues and questioned the significance of several in-game artifacts that remain shrouded in mystery.
A public rehearsal for the Otherside
The gamification of the Otherside platform is a part of Yuga Labs’ broader strategy to build excitement and allow holders to familiarize themselves with the experience ahead of its official launch. Yuga Labs hosted the First Trip in July 2022, welcoming 4,600 players to the Otherside for the first time. Players that returned to the Otherside for the Second Trip are eligible to claim an Obelisk, a digital collectible to commemorate their adventures.
According to data from secondary marketplace OpenSea, Otherdeed NFTs have done 568,607 ETH in trading volume, or just over $1 billion. At the time of writing, the collection has a floor price of 1.67 ETH, or about $3,000.
Figge told CoinDesk that more Trips are being planned ahead of the platform’s official launch. Meanwhile, he’s focused on building out an ecosystem that will eventually be accessible at all times to token-holders.
“We're doing these grand theatrical experiences right now with First Trip and Second Trip, these are basically 90-minute big Broadway shows,” said Figge. “But we are taking all of that technology that we've been building and funneling it into a version of the Otherside that will be built and accessible with a higher level of cadence.”
Each Trip executed by the team provides feedback on the parts of the experience that worked and those that need fine-tuning. Spencer Tucker, chief gaming officer at Yuga Labs, told CoinDesk that the biggest takeaway from the Second Trip was that players want more intimate “breakouts” and community-building experiences to strengthen relationships with fellow voyagers.
“As we build in the future, it’s something we'll definitely take into consideration because you can have persistence, but you also need the ability to have your own sort of identity and form your own clique,” said Tucker. “As we explore what the persistent space looks like, we want to allow people to stop and smell the roses sometimes while still having really cool experiences that they can dive into.”
Yuga hasn’t yet set a date for its Third Trip. However, Figge and Tucker shared that in the coming months there will be more advanced experiences and opportunities for token holders to enter the Otherside.