Wherefore Art Thou, Rarity?

Eternal Dragons
7 min readAug 19, 2022

What Unit Rarity Means In Eternal Dragons — Chapter 1

When entering the “shop” in the very first round of a combat session, there are few things more satisfactory or powerful than having it filled with common Genesis dragons. To understand why this is so, we need to understand how the ‘rarity’ label of in-game assets (such as units and items) is used by game designers.

Generally speaking rarity has two purposes.

The first one is to control frequency of use. In many games the power of an effect (a card, a skill, a weapon) isn’t solely composed of what the effect does but also of how often it does it. Cooldowns, number of copies of a card in a deck, access to ammo, these are all tools that allow designers to empower players without jeopardizing the game’s balance.

The second purpose is to control scarcity. This is where rarity of in-game assets are a way to escalate player power as they progress. In this scenario games will periodically reward higher rarity items that have little or no restriction of use. An example of this is RPG itemization. Higher rarity items give higher stats, bonuses to skills and are always in effect.

But the significance of rarities varies with games. Their importance to the game’s overall balance isn’t always the same.

In some games common items are but fillers. They are only there to teach game mechanics like character itemization, inventory management, vendor interactions and crafting. In such games, players soon outgrow common items and learn to regard them as trash.

This is such a prevalent usage of the ‘common’ label that experienced gamers often enter games with the predisposition to treat common items as useless.

In other games common items are an integral part of the game’s balance and strategies. They are an essential part of the game’s core system, not educational tools.

Card games can be an excellent example of this. Any strategy pursued is decided and founded by the cards players add to their deck during the early game and those are usually labeled as common. Then, once in a while, the game offers a selection of rarer cards that solidify strategies with powerful effects.

This is how we approach unit rarity in the first Eternal Dragon game, the autobattler. Early battles are waged solely by common and uncommon units and it is upon these units that one’s entire strategy for the combat session is founded.

Having a selection of common and uncommon dragon NFTs instead of the free-to-play minions is an advantage both in unit power and in creating streamlined, focused strategies. To explain how this all works, let’s take a look at the combat session loop …


This is a diagram of the combat loop. To understand how unit rarity applies to combat we should examine each of the phases depicted, but before we do, note that this is work in progress, some modifications to be expected.

Setup Phase
- Here players can edit their roster.
- The roster is a list of all the units that can appear in the shop.
- By default, the roster only has Minions. No Genesis or Descendant dragons.
- This allows anyone to play the game regardless if they’re a Dragoneer or not (if they hold a dragon NFT or not).
- Dragoneers can swap out the free-to-play Minion units in the Roster for their dragon NFTs.

Shop Phase
- Here, players have a coin they can spend on:
- Recruiting units (adding them to the team).
- Raising the shop tier (more on this below).
- Rerolling the shop (get a new selection of units to recruit).
- Players recruit units for several reasons.
- To increase the team’s size. (Easy decisions)
- To raise the team’s affinity bonuses. (Easy decisions)
- To “bench” a unit. Benched units are saved in the “tray” for later strategic uses. (Experienced decisions)
- To evolve a team’s formation, how its units are placed. (Advanced decisions)
- To counter enemy teams. (Pro-gamer decisions)

Combat Phase
- Once all players have locked in their team, combat begins.
- This is where players watch their strategies unfold.
- After combat, if the player still has health points, they go back to the shop to upgrade their team.

The shop is where most player decisions for combat are made. One of those decisions is whether to raise the shop’s tier or not. This is often a difficult decision to make because it costs coins to do so, the same coin used to recruit units. Raising the shop’s tier often means not recruiting a unit that round.

The shop’s tier affects gameplay in several ways. The most important one, the one discussed here, is that it dictates which units from the roster can appear for recruitment.

- Shop Tier 1: Only common units appear.
- Shop Tier 2: Uncommon can now appear.
- Shop Tier 3: Rare units can now appear.
- Shop Tier 4: Epic units can now appear.
- Shop Tier 5: Legendary units can now appear.

It’s important to note that as you raise the shop’s tier higher rarity units are entered “into the mix”, lower rarity units can and will still appear throughout the combat session, just at lower frequencies as the shop is upgraded.

Deciding when to spend one’s coin on raising the shop’s tier and when to spend it on unit recruitment is a core choice. In general, there are three “overall” shop strategies.

The Power Play
Forgo early team power by upgrading the shop as fast as possible instead of recruiting units. Dangerous, but if you get ahead of the curve without sustaining too much damage, it’s well worth it.

The Safe Play
Upgrade the shop at opportune moments in balance with team development. Develop both shop and team simultaneously, solidify your strategy and team by the mid game.

The Aggressive Play
Reach higher shop tier later, focus entirely on powering up the team as fast as possible (get full affinity bonuses, overlapping roars, upgraded units) inflicting serious damage to players in the early game.

Free-to-play players can play as much as they like with the default roster of Minion units. But real Dragoneers can edit the roster before starting combat. By replacing a Minion unit in any category of the roster with dragon NFTs players are increasing the overall power of their roster and shaping their overall strategy. Got a favorite Hunter strategy? Replace the Minions in the roster with Hunter class dragons that follow that strategy. Within the autobattler genre, this is unprecedented control over the shop feature.

Since Genesis units are more powerful than Descendant units and Descendant units more powerful than Minion units, the most basic thing any competitive Dragoneer does is replacing common Minion units in the roster with common Dragon NFTs. Highly ambitious Dragoneers do this with Genesis dragons.

This is what you want your common roster to look like:

Being a part of this community this early you are in luck. This is your chance to set yourself up with an amazing roster by grabbing common Genesis dragons from Magic Eden now while the floor is at such an advantageous state. Once the autobattler goes live, demand will only increase.

And that’s it!

Oh wait … that’s not it …we have a quest for you!

New quest: Start Building a Team — and gain priority whitelist!
As you have read, it can definitely make sense to have a team full of commons from a gameplay perspective. Due to that, we are introducing an all-common quest!

Show us your team of six Dragons that are all common and are not of not more than two different classes!
Extra style points if they are also from a few affinities!

To participate, simply head to our Discord’s #show-your-team channel and post a screenshot of your team and wallet address there until 23:59 CET Sunday, the 21st of August.

You hereby have the complete freedom to copy the following line:
*\*exclaims\** I am **Dragoneer** I foster my roster!
… into our Discord’s #general_chat channel. You’re welcome!
… or post it on Twitter and tag us for a whitelist spot!

Stay safe! ❤

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Eternal Dragons



Eternal Dragons

Eternal Dragons by Trailblazer Games. Play & Prosper with unique Dragons across multiple games in the ever expanding world of Eternal Dragons.