What Is Illuvium (ILV)? Learn About the Upcoming NFT Game

Illuvium (ILV) is a highly anticipated open-world video game aiming to be the first AAA blockchain title in the gaming industry


Illuvium. Source: Illuvium YouTube


Illuvium is an upcoming fantasy role-playing game developed on the Ethereum blockchain by a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) called the Illuvium DAO. The game was first announced in January of last year and described as “a decentralized, NFT collection and auto battler game built on the Ethereum network.”

What is Illuvium?

In Illuvium, players are immersed in a 3D open world to explore and capture deity-like beasts called Illuvials. The Illuvials that players collect are represented with NFTs on Ethereum’s blockchain with real-world value. Players use the Illuvials they have gathered to battle other players to win ether (ETH).

Quick facts:

  • Illuvium is an upcoming blockchain-based role-playing game built on the Ethereum blockchain.
  • Players explore a 3D open-world searching for creatures called Illuvials that they can collect and use to battle other players.
  • The game uses a play-to-earn model where Illuvials are represented on the Ethereum blockchain as NFTs, and winning battles against others wins players ether.
  • Illuvium is said to be the first blockchain-based AAA video game of this scope so far, making it a significant milestone in the space.

How to play Illuvium


The game begins with a spaceship crashing into an alien world with diverse environments, extreme weather events, varied climates and strange beasts. Players then take on the role of a Hunter that must explore, capture beasts and begin to unlock strange obelisks that let players fast travel and uncover more of the map.

Illuvium concept art
Concept art for Illuvium. Source: illuvium.io


Like any role-playing game, players must customize their character to their liking. From there, it’s time to head out into the world and begin exploring. 

Illuvium is an open-world game developed on Unreal Engine 4. This engine allows for detailed regions and environments making it stand out amongst previous blockchain-based games. Once captured, Illuvials and other in-game items will exist in the player’s wallet as NFTs. 

Illuvium illuvials
Concept Illuvial art. Source: illuvium.io

There are over 100 Illuvials to find around the open world that belong to different classes with different affinities. Because of this, some Illuvials match well together during battle while others may not. The variation also depends on the opponents’ Illuvials, making for interesting situations and matchups.

Illuvial classes:

  • Fighter
  • Rogue
  • Psion
  • Empath

Illuvial affinities:

  • Water
  • Fire
  • Earth
  • Air
  • Nature

More powerful Illuvials can have affinities to two elements at a time, allowing for various combinations. Illuvials can even stack the same affinity twice, letting the Illuvial become stronger within that one affinity. For example, air and water can be combined to create a frost Illuvial while two fire affinities can be stacked to create an inferno Illuvium.

The combinations of classes and affinities are hugely important when battling. Should a player choose an overgrowth Illuvial (nature + nature) against an inferno Illuvial (fire + fire), they will likely have a rough experience.

While the NFT representation of Illuvials is stored in crypto wallets, in-game Illuvials are stored in items called shards. You could think of shards as Poké Balls in Pokémon. Just as Illuvials vary in power, shards vary in strength. More powerful Illuvials require stronger shards. Combat experience lets Illuvials grow stronger, increase their powers and level up.


One core aspect of the game is the fusing of Illuvials to make them more powerful. Collecting three fully-leveled Illuvials lets players merge, or “fuse,” them into a single, more powerful Illuvial. More powerful Illuvials are better in combat and worth more ILV, the native token in the game. Those looking to make money playing Illuvium will likely need to focus on finding matching Illuvials, training them to their highest level, fusing them, and then selling them for higher values.


Once players have captured Illuvials and would like to battle, they may enter a matchmaking queue in the Ranked Arena. They may also call out individual players and challenge them to a battle in the Leviathan Arena where spectators can bet on their match.

Illuvium battle arena
Illuvium battle arena. Source: illuvium.io

It’s important to note that Illuvium is an auto-battler. This means that both players must choose their Illuvials, weapons and armor before the match. Players do not manually choose attacks or have the ability to alter the outcome once the battle has started as is with other similarly styled games like Pokémon.

Weapons and armor

The player’s character must also participate in battles along with their chosen Illuvials, giving weapon and armor selection meaning beyond aesthetics. Weapons and armor in the game are represented with NFTs, just as Illuvials are, and the player’s choice can affect the outcome of a battle.

Free-to-play vs. paid version

Players begin Illuvium with a free-to-play experience in the Tier 0 regions of the world. These areas will help them learn the game and understand its mechanics. While Illuvium describes this as a “non-abridged” version, players will need to opt-in to the paid version to collect NFTs from higher-tiered regions. 

Illuvium Zero

In addition to the main Illuvium game, there is Illuvium: Zero, a building game that lets players create their own industrial complex that can interact with the main Illuvium game. Illuvium: Zero adds a land component to Illuvium similar to other metaverse real estate markets such as Decentraland or Sandbox. Land in Illuvium: Zero is procedurally generated and players must farm resources on their land to build their complex. 


Illuvium features its own online marketplace that the Illuvium DAO governs, called the IlluviDex. This marketplace serves as a place for Illuvium players to buy, sell and trade their in-game NFTs, including Illuvials, weapons, armor, skins and more. Illuivum NFTs can also be listed and traded on other marketplaces just as any blockchain’s NFTs can.

What are ILV and sILV?

The Illuvium game has two ERC-20 cryptocurrencies called ILV (Illuvium) and sILV that help to power the game.

The ILV token allows holders to partake in yield farming, staking and governance of the Illuvium DAO. Those who wish to stake their tokens have the option to receive rewards in either ILV or sILV.

If holders choose to receive ILV, the rewards have a lock-up period of one year. This lock-up period ensures that trading pairs between ILV and other coins maintain high liquidity. Those who choose to earn sILV will receive rewards immediately with no lock-up period, though sILV can only be used on in-game purchases. Several revenue streams, including in-game purchases, are used to fund rewards for those staking ILV. 

How to stake Illuvium

Holders of the ILV token are able to stake their tokens to earn rewards from the network. 100% of in-game revenues are given to ILV token holders that are staking their coins to the network. As mentioned, ILV is subject to a 12-month lock-up period whereas sILV can be claimed at any time for use in the game.

Staking ILV will require a compatible etheruem wallet. One of the most commonly used ethereum wallets in the DeFi space is the MetaMask wallet browser extension as it allows users to easily connect to various DeFi platforms. Those seeking to stake their ILV will simply need to send their tokens to a MetaMask or MetaMask equivalent wallet and then head over to Illuvium’s staking site and connect the wallet with their ILV tokens.

Stakers then want to choose the “core pools” option and follow the on-screen prompts from there. It’s important to note that the release of staking rewards has been temporarily paused until staking V2 is launched. Rewards will continue to be calculated for those that continue to stake and the calculated rewards will be rolled over at the start of staking V2 in the coming weeks.


ILV has a max supply of 10,000,000 tokens and has a current circulating supply of nearly 650,000. ILV tokens were distributed in rounds starting in December of last year. Illuvium DAO sold 20% of the tokens in seed rounds. Following that, 15% went to developers, 15% went to the treasury, 10% was allocated to a launchpad for future investors and 30% was dedicated to yield farming. The final 10% will go to in-game rewards.

How to buy Illuvium (ILV)

Illuvium (ILV) can be purchased on the following exchanges:

  • SushiSwap
  • Binance
  • Kucoin
  • 1inch
  • OKEx
  • CoinSpot

Governance of the Illuvium DAO

A decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO, is a collective of individuals governed by code and algorithms via a blockchain rather than a central authority like an executive team. Typically, DAOs are directed and governed by majority rule among the collective of its users.

Holders of the ILV token can use their tokens to nominate individuals to become members of the "Illuvinati Council," the elected group responsible for running the DAO. Nominated individuals then become candidates for the Illuvinati Council and a 72-hour voting period begins resulting in five individuals elected to the Council who will govern the platform. These elected individuals are responsible for enacting changes in the DAO’s best interest. 

Quadratic voting

Quadratic voting is a method of voting that allows voters to express the relative strength of their preference. For example, if 100 people were voting on a series of topics and 51 of the voters barely cared about a subject while 49 held a passionate view, the result would favor that passionate minority. 

At its most basic level, quadratic voting works by giving each voter a certain quantity of votes and allowing them to spend their votes however they wish. If a voter is more knowledgeable about a given topic and therefore has a more firm opinion, they may choose to spend more votes on that particular subject. The Illuvium DAO uses quadratic voting to maintain as much fairness in the DAO as possible.

Zero gas fees and near-instant transactions

Illuvium uses a layer-2 scaling solution known as Immutable X. Immutable X was created specifically to speed up transactions for blockchain-based marketplaces, games and applications on Ethereum. The system uses Zero-Knowledge Rollups that bundle transactions together to improve privacy while also increasing speed. This means that making transactions while playing Illuvium is quick and painless.

Development team

Illuvium’s development team consists of over 75 individuals with experience across several fields. Some of the more prominent names among the team include co-founders Kieran and Aaron Warwick, the brothers of Kian Warwick who founded the DeFi protocol Synthetix. Illuvium’s game producer, Nate Wells, previously worked on hit games like Bioshock, The Last of Us and Rise of the Tomb Raider. 

Why is Illuvium important?

Illuvium is considered the first AAA blockchain-based video game. Previous iterations of blockchain-based video games such as CryptoKittes and Axie Infinity were limited in scope in comparison. The success of Illuvium could translate into the adoption of these play-to-earn blockchain-based mechanics across far more of the gaming landscape.

Existing games with massive player bases such as Fortnite, Call of Duty: Warzone, Apex Legends and more are all free-to-play and rely on the sales of skins and items, all of which could be turned into NFTs with real-world value. 

When does Illuvium come out?

Illuvium is not out yet, but eager gamers may not need to wait too long. The first private beta was scheduled to launch sometime in late 2021 or early 2022.

A second private beta is scheduled for mid-Q1 2022, followed by an open beta launch in late Q1 2022 that anyone will be able to play. There is also a mobile version of the game that is loosely scheduled for late 2022.

Illuvium: Zero is currently in an off-chain, semi-private beta phase but is planned to launch alongside the main game in Q1 2022. These release timelines are subject to change and those wishing to stay up-to-date on release schedules should keep an eye on Illuvium's Discord for updates and should register and create an account on the game's site.

Frequently asked questions

How much does Illuvium (ILV) cost?

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How do you buy Illuvium (ILV)?

Illuvium can be purchased on Binance, SushiSwap, Kucoin, 1inch, Okex and CoinSpot.

When can I play Illuvium?

Illuvium is planned for release sometime in Q1 2022.

Is Illuvium free-to-play?

Illuvium is a free-to-play game, but those seeking a deeper experience will need to purchase ILV and sILV tokens in order to access more in-game assets.

Get educated. Check out The Investor’s Guide to BitcoinThe Investor’s Guide to NFTsThe Investor’s Guide to DeFiThe Investor’s Guide to the Metaverse or The Investor’s Guide to Music NFTs.

This is not an endorsement of any project, and should not be interpreted as investment advice. This Guide is for educational purposes only.

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