Illuvium vs. Star Atlas

With Illuvium’s Kieran Warwick set to debate Michael Wagner from Star Atlas on July 27th I thought there was no better time to compare the two projects. I tried my best to come at this from a completely unbiased perspective, but have to admit I am much more knowledgeable about Illuvium vs. Star Atlas. I took a few days to look through the Star Atlas Twitter, discord and website to help gain a better understanding of the project. What I found was interesting and worth the research. 

The Premise: Illuvium

Illuvium gets its inspiration from Pokémon and in its simplest form, the project claims to be the Pokémon of Web 3. Finally, you can sell the Charizard that you catch in game. In its current state, Illuvium has an autobattler in private beta 1 that is similar to team fight tactics. They have Illuvium Zero, which is a city builder game coming very soon. Also coming shortly is the avatars that will be used in game called Illuvitars. Each component will come together in the Illuvium Overworld where you will be able to explore different regions, catch and battle Illuvials. Every step of the way it makes sense and each portion of Illuvium has a purpose. 

The Premise: Star Atlas

Star Atlas is giving off major Star Wars vibes. It’s a game where the opportunities are infinite. The space they are envisioning is seemingly endless. Endless exploration of planets and endless possibilities for how to build and grow your resources. In Star Atlas you can join one of three factions: Ustur Sector, MUD Territory and ONI Region. So far we know these to be a human species, alien species and androids. I assume joining certain factions have different benefits and drawbacks. It’s an interesting concept. Overall, Star Atlas appears to be a space exploration game with no limit on size and scope. I wonder if having such a large map will bring down the details in the game or lead to players (and graphics devs) feeling overwhelmed. Time will tell, but bigger isn’t always better. It’s good to have specific guidelines on projects for both the team and fans. 

Transparency: Illuvium

I’ve seen a ton of NFT projects come and go in the last 2 years. No team has been more transparent than Illuvium. This is led by cofounder Grant Warwick who proudly posts his teams progress in discord. I looked at discord post dates to get an idea of the frequency and here is what I found for Illuvium: July 16, July 17, July 18, July 19 and July 21. That type of consistency is what I mean. These updates included a wide range of items from the layout of an arena to landscapes to types of armor. These regular updates provide all the details one could ask for when interested in a game being built. 

Transparency: Star Atlas

The first thing I looked for when joining the Star Atlas discord was a Leak channel. This is always my first test for a project as Illuvium has set that standard for me. What I found was a ships channel where they show progress on spaceships being built and an official-sa-art channel where they provide updates on in-game art. The ships channel seems to be updated roughly twice a month with the last update coming on June 29th. The official Star Atlas art channel has been much more quiet. There was new art leaked there on July 1st, but before that the last leak was December 2021. To be frank, this is unacceptable and I would rather get rid of a channel like this than update it once every six months. For new people coming in this is a red flag. In this new world of Web 3, every project brings risk and transparency is everything as we wait for these games to develop. 

Artwork: Illuvium

The artwork for Illuvium is incredible. It puts most of Web 3 to shame. They strive for perfection and the work speaks for itself:

Arlen wields a sword alongside Illuvials in the game Illuvium.
A group of Illuvials pose in the game Illuvium.
Arlen overlooking an obelisk in the Halcyon Sea region of Illuvium.

Simply stunning. It’s hard to do better than what the Illuvium team has built and continues to build. 

Artwork: Star Atlas

Although they provide artwork with much less frequency, I do like what I see. Similar to Illuvium, I will let the art speak for itself: 

A spaceship navigates space in the game Star Atlas.
People congregate on a distant planet in the game Star Atlas.
Multiple spaceships navigate space in the game Star Atlas.

The concept art is very clean and clearly Star Atlas has some talented designers. It will be interesting to see how these images translate to actual gameplay. 

Getting ready for the debate

So there you have it. A window into each project ahead of the debate. I think Illuvium has a more focused approach than Star Atlas. There is a clear number of regions, Illuvials etc being created. We know what we’re getting with Illuvium. Star Atlas is more of a wild card. That’s not necessarily a bad thing and it’s good to be ambitious, but there seems to be a lot more variables at play with Star Atlas. More variables means more points of failure. As an investor, it’s something to consider. 

Personally, I didn’t see anything in Star Atlas that would make me shift my focus from Illuvium, but I could see the allure for gamers looking for a good space exploration game. Illuvium, in my opinion, is still in a league of it’s own, but Star Atlas is a better quality design than most other NFT games out there. Both will help lift the standard of gaming in Web 3 as a whole. Now that we have an understanding of both projects, all that is left to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the upcoming debate on July 27th!

Thank You

As always, thank you for reading my article! Follow me on Twitter (@Rhamphy) to keep up with the latest Illuvium news, leaks and more.

Everything I write is purely my opinion and should not be taken as financial advice.

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