What is Axie Infinity? Explain Like I’m Five

Axie Infinity is a play-to-earn NFT game developed by the Vietnamese game studio Sky Mavis. It has taken the world by storm in recent months. It’s a game where players need to purchase “Axies” with Ethereum, but in return they can also earn real money by converting in-game points to cash, or by breeding and selling more Axies.

This means that even though the price of entry is high, you will get your money back. It sounds like a scam, really. But I did extensive research and finally gave in and bought a (cheap) team to test it out. It’s even in the news…

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Play to earn (But you have to pay first before playing)

What is Axie Infinity, a play to earn NFT game

Before you can play the game, you will need a team. A team is composed of 3 Axies. On average, at the time of writing this, an Axie can be purchased for around 0.15 Ethereum or around $350.

Also, if you’re lucky, you can build an entire team in just a little under $1000. Again, I know that it sounds like a scam. It took me three weeks of extensive reading before I finally realized that it’s the real deal of play-to-earn game models.

To begin with, the pseudo play-to-earn game model has been around for a while now. People collected rare items in Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (or MMORPG) like World of Warcraft and sold them for cash to the highest bidder.

Some even peddle high level accounts in other games and sell them for thousands to tens of thousands of dollars.

Think of that, only this time it is virtual pets and in-game points.

How Axie Infinity Works

What is Axie Infinity, a play to earn NFT game

There are currently two game modes: Player Versus Environment (PVE) and Player Versus Player (PVP). In PVE, players need to defeat monsters on each stage, up to 36 stages. Each stage will give them Smooth Love Potion and experience to level up their Axies.

Smooth Love Potion or SLP is the game’s “gold coins” so to speak. You can convert SLP into real money through cryptocurrency trading platforms like Binance.

The other game mode, PVP, pits two actual players for battle. Whoever wins gets SLP.

There is a Daily Quest that resets daily where you can earn 50 SLP as a bonus. You can get this free SLP by winning 5 times in PVP and 10 times in PVE. In PVE, you can earn up to a maximum of 100 SLP per day. Meaning, realistically, you can earn 150 SLP per day at the minimum.

What is Axie Infinity, a play to earn NFT game

Honestly, it’s a fun game. And it’s even more fun because you can earn money from it.

Anyway, this is basically how the game works for now, but for future expansion, the developers are preparing Weekly Quests and Special Events. There are also plans for items.

What Can You Get Out of Axie Infinity?

What is Axie Infinity, a play to earn NFT game

The short answer is money. As mentioned above, you can make a minimum of 150 SLP per day. As of writing this, 150 SLP is around $40. That’s 4500 SLP each month or $1200.

Believe it or not, there are organizations out there who are investing hundreds of thousands of dollars monthly to build teams and they are making profit. If everything turns out well, the typical return on investment is 2-3 months per team.

Manager and Scholars

That said, here are some key terms you should know:

  • Manager — refers to the owner of the teams. Someone who invests their money to buy Axies.
  • Scholar — they are the players who get paid to play the game on behalf of the Manager.

Usually, Managers and Scholars split the plunder either 60-40 or 65-35, in favor of the scholar. So do the math and see how long it will take you to get your money back and start making profit.

Managers tend to look for students or unemployed people in Southeast Asia, since $720 (60%) in many Southeast Asian countries is already a lot of money. Enough to even support a family of three or four for a month.

Did I mention It’s in The News?

Those are just few examples among the many. And it is getting more attention daily. In the Philippines, it has been featured several times in television news already. How crazy is that?

So, What is a Good Axie?

What is Axie Infinity, a play to earn NFT game

If you’ve played Pokemon, you’ll know that each Pokemon can have their own set of skills, and that the same Pokemon can have different skills. And the types of Pokemons always have strengths and weaknesses. It is the same with Axie Infinity.

In the game, there are 5 main stats:

What is Axie Infinity, a play to earn NFT game
  • Speed — determines the order of who gets to attack first.
  • Health — determines the health of your Axie.
  • Skill — determines how much bonus damage is added to your skills.
  • Morale — increases the chances of critical hits and last stands.
    • Last stand means when your Axie dies in battle, there’s a chance that they will still hold on to dear life and fight for a couple more rounds before finally saying goodbye.

In game terms, there are 3 positions you should fill:

  • Tanker — this position will receive most damage to protect other team members. They should have high Health (or HP) and have good skills geared towards healing or defense.
  • Damager — the main damage dealer of the group. Typically, their HP and other stats will be just normal, but their skills are inclined towards dealing the most damage.
  • Support — provides support to the team. Like a healer, or skills that give “buffs” to team members (like granting them additional attack power, speed, or health). And the inverse is also true, as a debuffer they can slow down the enemy, poison them, and the like.

However, the current gameplay for Player Versus Player (PVP) is mostly seeing 1 Tanker and 2 Damagers. It’s also like a game of Rock Paper and Scissors. One defeats the other. Also think of card games like Yu-Gi-Oh!, it’s a bit similar to that.

Anyway, before jumping in and buying one, do extensive research on YouTube. There are a lot of YouTubers who are giving out free tips on what is the best Axie to buy. It’s a really helpful community out there.

How to Get Started (+ A Word of Caution)

You will need two browser add-ons before you can get started (link goes to the comprehensive official guide). You will need MetaMask and Ronin — Ronin for Chrome, Ronin for FireFox.

These two will help you create an account in the Axie Marketplace and the two things you will need to login into your marketplace account to purchase, gift, and sell Axies, as well as claim SLP and send them to an external account for USD (or other fiat) conversion.

That said, due to the game’s popularity, a lot of bad elements are doing their best to phish and steal accounts, Axies, SLP, and Ethereum from unsuspecting users.

So, if you are going to create an account, do not use Google search to install MetaMask and Ronin. A lot of people have been creating fake Metamask and Ronin, and once your transaction goes through, nothing will turn up in your real account.

As of July 2021, there is no official mobile app for Ronin. There are also several fake addons/plugins, so be careful. Also, if you see Ronin on the Play Store or App Store, it’s a fake. MetaMask has both iOS and Android apps. I took these links directly from the Axie marketplace.


I know that it’s still too good to be true, but with the current trend, more and more play-to-earn games are popping up and soon they will become mainstream and might become the default too. Are we finally going to say goodbye to subscription games? We’ll see. But I am optimistic about it.