Virtual worlds or even online communities tend to carry the weight of having to replicate behavior from the physical world. At Wayports, we think that is a big mistake, and that a lot more can be achieved by imagining new virtual activities.
This is why we host a simulated racing competition called the Wayports Racing League (WRL), which is a community activity that happens around a video-game called LiveForSpeed (LFS). At first it was a great way to network and do something different online with our peers, but then it grew as an onboarding method and larger aspect of what we do.
So why do we struggle to find new drivers? Our core audience is the corporate world and the people in tech startups. While these groups definitely love games, most of them feel comfortable with arcade, simple games, or elaborate ones that they play by themselves or with friends.
We understand that this might not be for everyone: it is about bringing a game dynamic into the workplace, or actually, getting your work peers into a more personal arena of play time. It requires trust and familiarity as much as preference for it, with a likelihood of losing, which not everyone is ready to deal with.
There is difficulty even when we approach partners in other companies, people holding higher positions who decide to field a team in the WRL, and then say something like "LiveForSpeed? great! I used to love NeedForSpeed!". We obviously clarify that those games are not affiliated, and that the more popular one is an arcade game, meaning it requires little to no effort to master.
Simulation games tend to mimic the physical forces of nature, so that friction, acceleration, grip and deceleration all demand a bit more out of the player. This introduces a range of options that affect how comfortable -or uncomfortable- you might feel with the game dynamics.
So if a player has a natural talent or skill in dealing with feeling lost, having to ask a lot of right questions, and being at ease with feeling inadequate until things click into place, then that player will succeed. Just like with work. It turns out work is a multiplayer game after all.
But this difficulty generates an immediate downturn in excitement. People quit after 2 or 3 races, when they see that they have isolated themselves into not being fast enough to be competitive. In this stage you hear feedback such as "I thought it'd be easier", or "I don't have time for it". Time is often a factor for people whom are offered your help, but deny it because it involves a bit of technical effort on their part. It has been eye-opening for us.
So what about the cases of people succeeding? It is more of an effect of community, being closer to their peers. Whenever someone with zero experience in racing completes a season at the WRL, and decides to stay for the next one, it means they like the challenge. They have hit that zone where it is fun and getting a bit better all the time, even if they are unable to compete for the top 5 positions.
They like watching the race on YouTube afterwards and hearing the expert analysis of the live commentators. They enjoy talking about what happened with others while breaking the ice on the Monday weekly meeting at work. Even when the result is heartbreaking, the journey is pleasant.
Races are unpredictable. You might have the pace and qualify to start in the top spots of the grid, but something outside of your control can destroy your chances of winning. It happened to me in Season 2, where twice I was taken out on the first lap by a driver who struggled to control their car. It is involuntary, and can happen to anyone, so the best you can do is to move on.
When something like this happens, there is a huge amount of resiliency and calm that is needed to stay in the same mindset and with the same ability level. In those two races, I was able to come back to a podium finish, despite being put in last place at the opening of the race. You have to ignore the negativity and keep going, which is another brilliant skill to master for your work environment.
But perhaps the best about all this is that you do not have to be a professional player of LFS. People are used to hear about eSports, where only the top 10% of players worldwide can get to even compete in a tournament, but that is not the case with the WRL.
We have seen players pick up the game and get to develop enough pace for a top 5 finish within a week. It matters a lot how much they care about it, what it means in getting to know their peers and how much the community is interesting to them. In this new Season 3 that we begin this Saturday, July 31st, the community aspect is getting a big boost. We are bringing all-new teams that represent community efforts in Wayports.
So naturally there is a team for the Bank of Wayports, the virtual entity that makes it possible to have cryptocurrency vaults associated to your account. There is also a team for Lilium, which is the cryptocurrency that we created to transact for goods inside of Wayports. These two concepts are huge for our community because they will allow us to reward players for their activity.
This means that if you participate in at least 8 of the 10 races in a season, and you score points, you will receive Lilium in your Bank of Wayports vault. It will allow you to then mint NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), or digital goods that you can sell to other players. And as our community grows, our hope is that companies will write smart contracts using Lilium as a way to pay for services. These financial systems are built using the Flow blockchain, which is used by the world-famous NBA TopShot, among other projects.
But what can you do now with Lilium? Perhaps the best immediate impact of this initiative lies with The MacLane Library. Contrary to what you may have come to expect from the crypto world, our strategy does not deal with investments nor speculation around assets, but with the utility around community services.
So imagine you play this game with us, and you come over to Wayports to talk about it afterwards, meaning you are an active member of the community. You will have earned a number of Lilium, which can then enable you to publish a book. If you ever wanted to do such a thing, you could now write and publish a book through The MacLane Library.
You would only have to take an appointment with us, design all the specifics of your printing needs, and we would invoice you for publishing. Then you would settle this invoice just by transferring your race-earned Lilium to the vault address of The MacLane Library. We then would convert this value to US dollars, pay our partners that help us achieve the service and get your ordered delivered to you. Isn't that a brilliant example of the future for virtual communities?