If you want to experience the metaverse, Decentraland is a great place to start. With simpler graphics, Decentraland is similar to Roblox in presentation. This isn’t the place to come for realistic 3D models in a virtual reality (VR) setting. When we say the metaverse is a more visual version of our Web2 internet, this is exactly what we mean. It’s a place of interconnected suburbs which dedicate space to weird and wonderful things. But at first glance, it can feel a little confusing, so we’re here to smooth the process.
Wallet Vs Guest
To start, you’ll see a screen asking if you want to sign in as a guest or with a wallet. Playing Decentraland as a guest will remove much of the interactivity and personalisation you would expect. So, we’ll focus on signing in with a wallet.
You can use three different wallets to connect to the servers, but the most popular would be Metamask as it’s generally seen as the most popular and secure wallet available. If you don’t already have a Metamask wallet, head to their website and create one for free. This will install a browser extension, allowing you to connect.
Once everything is connected and you’re logged in, you’ll be able to begin customising your character using the base models available. If you want to express yourself with a more personal style, you’ll need to utilise the Decentraland marketplace, which we’ll come to soon.
As you enter the world of Decentraland, you’ll find yourself standing in Genesis Plaza – a kind of central lobby where many people hang out. Here you’ll find boards surrounding the area which advertise special events, popular areas, NFT drops and games.
Genesis plaza tends to hold large groups of people chatting or discussing topics. There can be a lot of self-promotion and it becomes a quick way to discover new places to visit.
Genesis plaza is just the start. By hitting ‘M’ or heading into the ‘TAB’ menu, you’ll find the map of all of Decentraland. You’ll see here that Decentraland is broken down into plots of land called parcels. They vary in size, depending on what the landlord has purchased. Smaller plots can be just as interesting to explore as the larger ones, but you’ll find a huge variety of content, from art galleries to poker halls.
From this screen, you can pretty much visit anywhere, but you’ll need to select a parcel of land with a clickable home icon. These act as quick travel points, much like Role-Playing Games. Once you’re back in the world, after a short teleport, you can then walk everywhere, or in some cases, catch public transport.
You may notice that some parcels of land have translucent green barriers around them barring entry. These areas are private, meaning that either owners haven’t opened them up to everyone, or you would need an NFT equipped to enter.
The Decentraland marketplace is the backbone for personalisation and expression for the metaverse. It’s here you’ll find everything from wearables for your avatar, to parcels of land. On the left, you’ll find a breakdown of categories to browse and different ways to view content on sale.
It’s important to mention that Decentraland uses its own ERC20 token for many purchases, called MANA. This can be transferred not only on the marketplace for items but also to other players for goods and services. On top of this, users can trade in Ethereum and Polygon throughout Decentraland, so ensure you know exactly what you’re spending by checking each item carefully.
Items within the marketplace use the popularised RPG loot colour system to indicate the rarity of the piece, as seen below:
- Grey – common – 100,000 items issued
- Orange – uncommon – 10,000 items issued
- Green – rare – 5,000 items issued
- Blue – epic – 1,000 items issued
- Purple – legendary – 100 items issued
- Pink – mythic – 10 items issued
- Gold – unique – 1 item issued
The Decentraland DAO (Decentralised Autonomous Organisation) allows users to vote on important changes; from new LAND sales to what items can be wearable. This is means that holders of the MANA token have an opportunity to vote on any possible upcoming changes.
This rule of digital democracy is one of the more enticing aspects of metaverse platforms as it allows users to feel they have a modicum of control of their experience. As Decentraland is fully decentralised, it constantly relies on the users to craft each aspect of the metaverse.
Voting tends to revolve around several key features, but is not limited to:
- Upgrading LAND and adding features to Estates
- Specifics of future LAND sales
- Size of marketplace fees
- Additions of community-run servers
- Allocation of MANA towards development efforts
- Addition of new wearables to the marketplace
- Choosing members of the security council
Ease of Use
Decentraland is not only relatively easy to use, as well as explore, but it’s also fully available for anyone to play. Whereas some metaverse platforms are tied into a one-off price or are still in alpha stages, you can jump in right away and all of Decentraland is there for you. Anyone even vaguely familiar with videogame online worlds will feel immediately comfortable here, knowing their way around the map and chatbox.
One thing to keep in mind if you decide to take time to explore; while the metaverse is becoming more and more popular, the LAND is remarkably large, which tends to make for a quiet experience. You won’t find distant areas buzzing with other people, but if you head to one of the advertised districts, you’re more likely to find others exploring.
Decentraland has established a great base for future builds and communities. Being able to use a low spec laptop for entry opens it up for plenty of people, though if you’re looking for a more tech-heavy experience, you may want to look elsewhere. Decentraland offers a great starter experience for those interested in dipping their toes into the metaverse waters.