The recent rise of Splinterlands asset prices on third-party markets has caused a situation in which players are able to earn a significant amount of rewards with only the purchase of the Summoner's Spellbook, and without ever needing to acquire or even rent any in-game assets. While this may benefit the Splinterlands company in the short term (due to increased Spellbook sales), it is unsustainable for the overall game economy and therefore also bad for the company and the community in the long term.
It is very important to the overall game economy that players are always incentivized to get to higher leagues and obtain more cards, so when a situation like this arises it is critical that it gets addressed as quickly as possible.
For a healthy, long-term game economy, the earning opportunities must be proportional to the amount of in-game assets held.
In order to address this issue, we plan to implement the following changes on Thursday, September 30th, 2021, after the end of the current ranked play season, and they will apply immediately after they have been released.
DEC Ranked Battle Reward Update
The first area that needs to be addressed in which rewards given out are not proportional to in-game assets held is the DEC rewards for ranked battles.
Starting shortly after the end of the current ranked play season on Thursday, September 30th, 2021, the DEC rewards given out for a ranked battle win will be based on the minimum of the winning player's current rating and the maximum rating for their current league within the game.
For example, if a player's ranked battle rating is currently 2,500 and they are in the Silver I league, then when they win a ranked battle their DEC reward will be based on a rating of 1,899 (the maximum rating for the Silver I league).
This change will go a long way to properly aligning incentives for players to increase their collection power and move up into higher leagues.
Please note that in the near future SPS rewards will also be added for ranked battle wins in addition to the current DEC rewards, and this change will apply to the calculation of SPS rewards as well.
Loot Chests Rewards for Bronze/Novice League
The second area that needs to be addressed is the rewards given out in loot chests in Bronze/Novice league specifically. Starting shortly after the end of the current ranked play season on Thursday, September 30th, 2021, loot chests earned in Bronze league will give out Credits instead of DEC tokens, and will also have a lower chance of containing reward cards as compared to loot chests in Silver league and above.
The new percentage breakdown of receiving the different types of rewards based on league are shown in the table below:
|Bronze III / Novice||10%||0%||45%||45%|
|Silver III +||50%||25%||0%||25%|
The change from DEC to Credits is necessary to prevent a similar restructuring from happening in the future if the external market price of DEC tokens significantly rises again, and the reduction in the chance of receiving a card is necessary to reduce the rate at which the new reward cards are being "farmed" by accounts with little to no in-game assets being held.
As always, we will closely monitor these changes and the overall game economy and will adjust if/when necessary in the future. Our goal is always to ensure that we build a sustainable system to the benefit of everyone in the ecosystem over the long term.
We expect that there will be some players who are not happy with these changes, and will say that this hurts "new players" and makes it hard for them to get into the game and move up. In reality though, it has nothing to do with whether players are new or old and has everything to do with whether or not players have acquired and held assets in the game.
It is important to understand that Splinterlands is NOT a free-to-play game. It is a play-to-earn game in which all of the in-game assets are scarce and limited in quantity. It is much more similar to Magic the Gathering (the physical playing card version) than Hearthstone, and in MtG no one expects to get the physical playing cards for free, but they do expect that they own the cards they purchase and can trade or sell them whenever and wherever they wish.
If you are looking for a free-to-play game where you can earn unlimited-quantity in-game assets that cannot be transferred or sold without having to purchase anything (or very little), there are thousands of fantastic such games in the various app stores that you can try.
On the other hand, if you want the ability to earn limited-quantity collectibles that can be freely transferred and sold, Splinterlands is the place for you, but it's important to note that, just like MtG cards, Splinterlands cards and the ability to earn the scarce in-game assets cannot be given away for free and, once again, the earning opportunities must be proportional to the amount of in-game assets acquired and held.
Additionally, figuring out the best way to maximize earnings in Splinterlands is a huge part of the fun and challenge of the game - it's not just about the battles. The best players aren't just the ones who can choose the best teams for the given ruleset and mana cap, but they are the ones who can most efficiently use the card market, rental system, SPS airdrop, liquidity pools, etc. to push their in-game earnings to the absolute max while spending less on in-game assets at the same time.
So while new players who are looking for the familiar "free-to-play" game experience may very well not be interested in Splinterlands and leave, we hope that the players (new or old) who want to be able to earn through playing and who are interested and excited to learn about the game economy and how to most efficiently deploy their funds to maximize their earnings will have a great and extremely rewarding experience in the Splinterlands for a long time to come!
Season End Reminder
We also want to take this opportunity to remind everyone that the season end changes implemented for the end of the last ranked play season are still in effect and are expected to continue indefinitely.
Mainly, the season end loot chest rewards are based on each player's league at the end of the season - not the highest league achieved during the season.
Additionally, ranked battles will not be able to started within 5 minutes of the season end. The ranked season timer will also be updated to end 5 minutes before the season end processing takes place so that it will hopefully be clear to players when ranked battles will no longer be able to be submitted for the current season.
Any ranked battles which have already been started before that time (i.e. the "find_match" transaction has been submitted) will still be able to be played out and completed, however any new "find_match" transactions for ranked battles will return an error and will not be matched with an opponent starting at 9:55 AM ET / 13:55 UTC on the 30th. Ranked battles are expected to resume 15 minutes after the new season starts.
Stay tuned for more updates from the Splinterlands!
NOTE: All rewards from this post will be burned.