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World Building in The Metaverse

What are the fundamentals of building a new world? Culture, government, or currency?

Noir Ventures talks worldbuilding in the Metaverse

What would we need if we were to build a new world or civilisation?

A currency? A government? A culture?

These are some of the questions that Elon Musk has been answering as we get tentatively closer to building a new civilisation on the red planet.

Humans have been developing civilisations, societies and ‘new worlds’ for 10,000 years. Our collective nature, cooperation and ingenuity has led us to where we are today.

A potential new human civilisation on Mars and looking back at what we’ve already created on earth supplies us with handy frameworks for how we should build new spaces in the metaverse.

Teams of developers, brands and VC’s are all vying to create new worlds that we might all eventually inhabit. Whether through VR or your laptop, a new virtual world needs to feel meaningful and inspiring, and be full of diverse communities, rich marketplaces, stories and gamification.

For us as designers and brand strategists, thinking about every aspect of building these ecosystems will be the difference between a world people genuinely enjoy hanging out in and another empty virtual webspace.

Here are 5 fundamental aspects that need to be considered when building a new world in the metaverse.

The metaverse is uniquely positioned to allow brands to explore new creative offerings — to forge deeper, trusted connections with audiences. We will communicate in ways that make us feel as if we are actually in a specific space with other people — shared environments where human interaction feels as natural as a conversation with friends.

To create real value, brands must create spaces where people can share in their passions unencumbered by language differences. In the words of Thomas Thurman, president of the EXPRESS Language Foundation, “the Metaverse is the new frontier for the expression of information.”

That might mean a universal language like English or Chinese enabled by AI translation tools. Or a language based around a shared culture or deep passion that everyone in the community understands ( recently built a metaverse brand for automotive enthusiasts–their language was cars).

Supported by a universal language and culture, online relationships between community members and brands can feel genuine and meaningful, rather than transactional and extractive.

In the last 10,000 years of human history, we have moved from foraging, farming and building in small family and tribal units, to being more specialised — trading our goods at markets, creating an economy and utilising the power of money.

Fast forward to 2022, crypto projects have reinvented the way new currencies are used for raising capital, building economies and rewarding creators and fans. Elon Musk even hinted on the Lex Fridman podcast that he thinks crypto in some form could work as a currency in a new colony on Mars.

A tokenised eco-system allows founders to go directly to a critical demographic and offer them the opportunity to become a part of the company by purchasing an NFT, land in the metaverse or a community token.

Being able to give each fan, investor or creator in the community a tokenised share in your metaverse project is a powerful value proposition. Each token can become an all-access pass, offering membership and community access, with varying levels, voting rights, governance and even profit sharing.

If we’re to build a new world on mars, infrastructure that works together, is efficient and is habitable will be paramount.

The same can be said for infrastructure in the metaverse. Having a strong dev team in place that is supported by artists, creators and a strong brand will be essential in creating cultural oases, where people genuinely want to socialise.

And these cultural oases need to be interoperable, meaning we need to create simple, barrier-free interconnectivity between different networks.

The metaverse must create experiences that can’t happen offline. Replicating offline experiences online can result in a reduction of value for users due to their original real-world expectations of that service not being met.

Instead, we can take advantage of technology and other efficiencies that Web3 is uniquely positioned to offer and design solutions that are unique to an online environment.

That means being diverse, connected and imaginative when building infrastructure, art and culture in the metaverse.

Elon Musk has also recently said that governance structures on the red planet would be decided by the early colonisers but he favoured a direct democratic system where individual laws were voted on by everyone.

Sound familiar?

DAOs are entities that resemble collectives or cooperatives in some ways but don’t have any central points of control, rather governed by everyone in the community through consensus.

So whether you’re building a civilisation on Mars or a community in the metaverse, if we want to have a direct democratic system in place that gives everyone a voice, DAOs are the way to go.

We arrived at this point in our history—pondering the building of virtual worlds— because, unlike our primate ancestors, we cooperate effectively with strangers. We do this because we believe in things like gods, nations, money and human rights— things that are all in the common imagination of human beings.

A strong brand story for any metaverse is essential for creating a loyal following of strangers who believe in your purpose, will abide by your values and want to work collectively towards your vision.

At Noir, this takes the form of a strategy and story that centres on both the project itself and the community as the protagonists, with a shared goal and purpose.

It’s a narrative that speaks to people emotionally that can be easily communicated and understood. It’s how you’re going to change the world, how you’re going to alter the state of an industry, how you’re going to capture value and how you’re going to make a difference.

If you have a metaverse project in the pipeline or are interested in talking to Noir about building your brand world:

Get in touch here.

Alex Theaker—