Monday, July 8, 2013
If you've been hoarding Bitcoins, there are an increasing number of ways to spend your virtual currency, from buying pints in London or records in Berlin through to currency speculation.
And then there's gambling. Games developer eGenesis is launching a public beta of Dragon's Tale, which it's describing as "the first massively multiplayer role-playing casino... The Disneyland of gambling, and it's powered entirely by Bitcoins!"
Set in a 3D world, Dragon's Tale is a collection of mini-games for people to play and bet on. "You can tip cows, hunt for Dragon's Eggs, catch fish, run monkeys through mazes, feed ducks," explains eGenesis.
"There are 60 different games so far, with new ones being added all the time, and every one of them is a new take on gambling. About half the games are luck-based and half are skill-based."
The beta test starts on 12 July, but Dragon's Tale has been around for several years in its pre-beta form. Creator Andrew Tepper first announced the game in 2010 on a Bitcoin-related forum.
"What if there were a truly different kind of casino that existed as a persistent world? A world where everything that you see, everything that you can touch, was in fact some sort of game," he wrote.
"No traditional slot machines, card games, dice, but an RPG where your character advances by success at games of chance. Bitcoins rekindled that idea, and since learning of them, I've been brainstorming such a World."
The MMORPG aspect involves players chatting to one another and levelling up their characters' skills as they play, as Tepper explained as he announced the new beta test for Dragon's Tale.
"The first thing that stuck me about online gambling today is that it's a pretty lonely experience, typically one player in a web browser, watching a 2D slot machine," he said.
"I've taken what I've learned in the last 15 years building MMORPGs and for the first time applied that to gambling. I've created an intensely social world where players can explore the game world together, share techniques, and rely on each other as they level up by completing gambling quests."
Bitcoins aren't the only currency used for gambling in Dragon's Tale though: the game also supports credit cards.
Will players be happy to stake their hard-earned Bitcoins on a still-beta game of this nature? On its site, eGenesis warns that the game may experience the odd server crash, forcing its servers to "roll back a few minutes".
That wouldn't be good news for players who'd just won big, though. "If you lose Bitcoins due to a server crash, we'll do everything we can to verify any lost jackpots, and reimburse you for them," promises the developer.
Dragon's Tale is far from the only online game where people can gamble their Bitcoins, even if it's the first to add the MMORPG aspects.
Other examples of Bitcoin gambling services include Bit777, Bitino, SatoshiDice and BitZino. On the non-gambling side of gaming, the SteamBits website sells a selection of console and PC games in exchange for Bitcoins.