The Aftermath of Empire Wolves Drop
August 5, 2022
Before we begin, a special thanks goes out to all of our community members, especially those who were there with us from the start and gave us their valuable time. Thank you for believing in us and showing your support.
The Wolfpack was in full force from the 28th of July until the early hours of the 31st of July when we sold out of Empire Wolves, our first Cardano NFT collection. The entire journey from building to the launch of “Empire Wolves”, the first Empire of the Wolves of Rome universe, was an emotional rollercoaster.
We faced so many challenges as a team going into this mint. We were worried about a variety of issues, including:
- The market timing: At the time of launch, the NFT market was most likely at its lowest point. We were constantly wondering whether we had chosen the absolute worst time to launch something in the midst of one of the biggest bear markets. However, we all believed in the project, as did the Wolves of Rome community, and we received tremendous support from our Wolfpack.
- The product: We put a lot of effort into making our NFTs more useful. Every Empire NFT includes a 3D printer-compatible bust, an MP3 of conceptual music composed explicitly for the Empire to which the NFT belongs, and a beautifully crafted pdf lore book with the Empire’s backstory.
We often questioned if we were putting in too much effort to ensure high-quality results when less complex 2D pfp NFTs would have done the job just as well. Or if anyone looked closely enough to see the full potential of the NFTs or notice that we already had a working game.
- The mint cost: Due to the ongoing crypto winter, there have been free and low-cost mints over the past few months, so we were constantly wondering if our price of 180 ADA for the new project is too high. Furthermore, the Cardano NF market is uncharted, with less awareness than other blockchain protocols such as Ethereum and Solana.
All of our questions were answered soon!
All of these concerns were addressed 29 hours after the public mint went live. When the Wolves of Rome community supported us, we sold out of our first Empire NFT collection.
The two-day Discord mint party was epic fun for everyone involved, from reading the lore book together, the team members meeting and chatting with the community members, and the live streaming of mint pool and the celebration of everyone’s NFT pulls.
The rest of Sunday was spent partying, and on Monday we eased back into work by hosting the largest group alpha testing onboarding session we’ve ever hosted. From Monday, we were back on the drawing board.
Looking back, it’s difficult not to notice the things we did a little differently, even “backwards” (to quote our friend @heropool). Generally, an NFT gaming project announces itself through a Twitter page, followed by an NFT reveal and a roadmap that promises a lot of opportunities in a short period of time.
Often, the drop occurs before the development of the game (which is totally understandable), and if successful, things proceed from there with the money raised from the drop. However, we chose the road less traveled. We began work on this project in 2018, with Akira creating the concept and writing what is now a novel-length lorebook.
After some deliberation, we settled on a trading card game format for the game.
- Reason 1: We’ve all spent our lives collecting and playing trading card games, so we’re all familiar with the genre.
- Reason 2: It’s a strong usecase for blockchain-sovereign ownership, and it’s based on a game type that emphasizes collecting, rarity, and ownership.
The next step was critical. Unlike other NFT projects, we prioritized creating a playable alpha version of the game before selling any NFTs to the community, which is a very different approach than the one most NFT projects take. We wanted to make sure that we weren’t just a promise, like many of the overly optimistic projects out there, but that we were actually delivering a meaningful and entertaining product that our community could test in its early stages before investing in NFTs, tokens, and so on.
We didn’t ask the community to bear the entire burden of a promise by purchasing an NFT before seeing the product. Instead, we kept our heads down and put ourselves and our money on the line.
We stopped chasing the numbers
For us, Vanity metrics ≠ Community
While having a large following on Twitter or Discord can be great and an indicator of success, it can also be seductive and misleading. We’ve all seen it. Many NFT collections with large social media followings failed because their REAL community was only large enough for a 1k drop and the rest were bots or people with low intent.
We avoided “growth promoters” and hacks and tricks that were offered to us-you know what I mean. We took ‘the stairs’ because the ‘elevator’ to the community building is often a deception. Instead of taking shortcuts, we took the long route of bonding with our community members.
We jumped into Twitter space after Twitter space, often 3–4 times a day at first, not to shill but to listen, learn, and connect with the value system of Cardano NFTs; to understand the culture of our admired peers and builders in the community; and to make genuine, meaningful connections. This path is slow, but it is authentic.
We collaborated with prominent projects in the Cardano NFT space including NMKR, ADA Ninja, and Occult Archives to launch exclusive NFTs. We also reached out to content creators who have made a name for themselves in the community by being honest and picky about the projects they review. We showed them our project, and they reviewed it, talked to us, and chose to spread the word about Wolves of Rome because they also believed in the Wolves’ Empire.
We learned from our mistakes
I’d like to say we had a perfect plan, but we didn’t; we made mistakes and learned the hard way, and we have so many individuals and groups to thank for believing in us and supporting us through thick and thin.
From the crazy wolves who minted us out to service providers, partners, and other collaborative NFT collections who jumped on calls with us to brainstorm how we could provide more value to holders, and to anyone who provided us with any form of platform to spread the word about Wolves of Rome.
In addition, we have recently introduced Wolves of Rome community rewards collectibles, which were not originally on the road map. The community rewards are being introduced to express our gratitude to Empire Wolves owners and alpha testers for being an incredible wolfpack. These limited-edition collectibles will be airdropped to Empire series holders and minters, as well as those who participate in alpha testing events and tournaments. The first reward in this series was Empire Wolves holder medallions, which were airdropped to Empire Wolves NFT holders.
We’re here to stay. Our team is pumped. Our wolf pack is excited, ready to roll and we are executing a plan driven by passion, backed by steady footing.
What’s next for Wolves of Rome?
We launched by introducing the Empire Wolves. The future drops will expand to include the remaining Empires and races, each of which will encompass the total available NFT drop of Wolves of Rome. There will be six Empires in total, each with their own drop. Empire NFTs will be released in the following order: Empire Wolves, Empire Liches, Empire Vampires, Empire Barbarians, Empire Yukatec, and Empire Qin. The remaining drops will be released roughly three months apart to allow us enough time to perfect the quality of the NFTs.
We’ve sold out Empire Wolves, and Empire Liches is the next series in our lore and universe. The Lich kingdom will be made up of 2000 different NFT busts. The mint will go live on October 27th for whitelisted members and October 28th for the general public. You can stay up to date on whitelist openings by following us on Twitter or joining the Discord server.
Every Empire NFT whitelists you for the next Empire, so if you bought an Empire Wolf, you’re automatically whitelisted for Empire Liches as long as you own the Wolves NFT in your wallet when we go live with Liches. If you want to pick one of the Empire Wolves, you have to buy it from the Jpg.store.
Once more, we can’t thank you all enough for your support. Your support will help us navigate this wonderful space at this somewhat interesting time.