The PlayFi Manifesto

The videogame
industry is broken.

Players are acutely aware of how they are being exploited by developers, developers are frustrated as their games are perverted to serve lootboxes, and financiers are frustrated because Candy Crush makes them oodles more money than a retro platform – and they don’t get why they can’t just monetize the platformer as much.

The vitriol is aimed at all of them, but the truth is it is neither developer, nor player, nor financier who is to blame. It’s the things between them. The way things are done. And it’s time we destroyed the way things are, and build it. Anew.

It is time we talk about what Play really is.



Before you can lead a soccer team to a league championship, you have to kick the ball. Play exists before anything else.

This means games start not with a world, but with a tilt of the controller. With each tilt and button press, an order emerges. This order is an understanding of the rules, the functions, and all the possibilities they bring.



Play does not concern itself with the future or past. It is the movement of your body, the pounding of your heart, the words that you’re thinking as you read this sentence.

As the game grows, it is the responsibility of the developer to ensure only the now enters. It is their job to protect Play.



Pete Gogolak played. Dendi Played. The Eagles played. These moments happened because of the extraordinary agency afforded the players within a very tightly controlled space. This space allows experimentation. It allows boundaries to be broken. It is the new.

Developers have a responsibility to maintain these spaces to enable the new, not crush the new.



If you monetize play, you break it. If you say otherwise, you’re wrong. FIFA doesn’t monetize vanity items for players, charge them for special bonuses, and it doesn’t slow them down if they are poor.

Being as ethical as FIFA is a very low goddamn bar.

Within NOR, Play is never monetized. Play will always be free.



Three Card Monty works because the players are given the experience of feeling like they are good at the game. The space the game holds is a fragile illusion, one any hustler knows players are scared to shatter.

Modern Game Development is no different.

Players all get to enjoy being empowered. Until the game turns on you, pushes you into paying to continue that enjoyment, and the scam is complete.



Within the space of the game, Play is a living, breathing force. Eventually all games end, and this ending concludes play, setting it in stone.

Concretized endings make space for the new. This closure enables the play – now past – to become something else. They become part of the emergent Metagame.



Among the sea of concluded games, another type of player emerges. Looking over all the games, they see patterns. They recognize efficiencies. The Past and Future come together in a new game, one beyond the games.

Metagames are the result. Simply Metas for DOTA2 all the way to Fantasy Football, Sports Teams, Agents, and Sponsorships are Metagames. These are not accidents.



One Player throws his credit card at a game, and others players do not understand. “You aren’t actually increasing their skill!” they say, as the words fall on deaf ears.

This player doesn’t hear them because they aren’t playing the same game. These players are not playing with the Now, they are playing with the Meta of the game: purchases, markets, efficiencies. These players are Metagamers.



Play is free, and this applies even here – where the Metagamer is spending capital. In the Metagame the money itself is the mechanic of play, an analogue to the controller, the button press, and skilled reactions.

Like the first Magic Circle, if allowed to bleed into another, players are tricked into spending money – and Metagamers are tricked into feeling they’ve bought skill. They haven’t. 3 card Monty strikes again.



Metagames are emergent from Games. Games are conditioned by their Metas. Players and Metagamers rely on each other. Their only relationship is their difference.

We let that fool us into thinking they were the same thing, which removed not only their agency, but put them in conflict as each fought to be the audience that game makers would care about.

Play does not need to compromise. Metagamers and Players can have their space, play their games, and thrive alongside each other.

We believe it is time to give the same freedom to all who Play. For Play and Finance to work hand in hand, not for one to dominate the other.


And if you agree with us, we want you on this journey. Join us as we bring back Play.


Introducing The Aspects

When making NOR, our goal has been to lay bare the things implicit to the digital world that we all once upon a time were bothered by and now seem to take for granted. Somehow the nature of time, and the way habits are developed, has melted our objections away and left us with many negative elements in the space so baked into our lives we can’t even imagine a world without them. The obvious are easy – microtransactions we all hate, pay-to-win schemes frustrate by nature and prey on “whales.” Going deeper, however, we find more.

Today, we want to talk with you about death. At least, the lack of it.

Ever since the days of the coin-op arcade we have been sold lives. Your inevitable in-game death would come and these lives would run out. So we needed to buy more. The rules around how you bought and used lives were manufactured, unnecessary. It had to be designed this way, apparently. How else will you charge people money?

We have since moved away from pumping quarters into machines, but the idea of life and death in this form never really changed. Today, many games still use this to drive revenue, couching it in ‘attempts’ or ‘energy’ instead of lives. The rest have stopped charging for it, but they still pretend death is a painful, awful loss, to be avoided as you proceed through the game, the outcome of which has now become inevitable.

NOR sets out to make this plain, and make death matter again. All who join our ecosystem will be granted an Aspect on entry, a proof of your immortality that sits as a digital twin in the platform. While Play is something that’s shared equally with everyone, for our economy your place in the hierarchy extends first from the center of power. To best explain this, we want to introduce Aseela and the Aspects of the Nine.


At the center of everything within our world is the Coalescent, the source of all immortality and focal point from which the City is built. The Coalescent, also called Aseela, is a god-like being and the locus of power for all of Khora.


The Nine Progenitors are eternal beings irretrievably linked with The Coalescent and from which all living Khorics ultimately descend. They are each a luminary in their field, their identities never to be sold or traded. They are controlled by NOR’s storytellers, and will be used at their discretion to keep the narrative of NOR and Khora interesting. We will be revealing each in detail as they are minted in the coming days.

THE 81

Each of the Nine serve as models for the first generation of immortal Khorics to emerge from The Coalescent. These 81 have first access to purchases, activities, and any element of NOR’s economy. Their individual Aspect is also a mixture of two of The Nine, and will yield other unexpected properties revealed as the platform grows. No two will be alike, and already they are mostly allocated to early supporters who understand the vision and are excited to make their mark.

THE 729

The next echelon of distance away from The Coalescent are The 729, a tier reserved for our Discord Illuminaries and everyone on our whitelist, which opens on March 31st. They will wield enormous influence over the economy and issues that affect all of Khora.

THE 6561

This minting will begin following the 729, with the whitelist coming shortly before. Though their distance from The Coalescent is greater, they will still have full access to NOR’s economy, enjoying privileges not afforded the 59,049.

THE 59,049

These will be minted in six batches. Even the most distanced of those who possess an Aspect have full access to NOR’s economy and are welcome to participate. Immortality is for all Khorics, but this is where the privilege of economy ends.


As the platform grows, The Coalescent will gain the power to issue more Aspects to larger groups. However, anyone who doesn’t have one of these Aspects will be relegated to playing in the economy in only the most minor ways possible. The groups above are the Inner Circle of Khora.

This ensures those who take part are not only actively engaged in the success of the platform, but understand how special they are to us and the entire play base. You control FATE like no other players do. You have special privileges, and will be recognized on sight in multiple games or even in the stands. You are the elite.


These NFTs are immortal. Their Aspect carries on and follows with them. Trade it away and all it can do goes with it. Death is different here, and for those who carry an Aspect the “game around the game” is always open for play. Championships, tournaments, and our Final Rounds—the places where death is absolutely permanent—this is where players play on a level playing field.  Ultimately, those who risk permanent death do so for a chance to become a powerful member of the Inner Circle. Those already there have no need.

More of NOR will reveal itself in the coming days.