How can we balance the long term economy of Splinterlands and encourage card combination?
- I don't speak that often in dedicated posts about Splinterlands lately, although you see talk of it in many of my posts like my Saturday Saving Series, where I have set an annual target of 200,000 Staked SPS!! But other than that, pretty mum.
- Splinterlands brought me to the hive blockchain in the first place. Splinterlands is the game I play every day without fail, and have grown to truly love it for what it has been, is, and hopefully will become under the great leadership of @aggroed and @yabapmatt.
- Since joining the game in August of 2021, and religiously watching the AMA/Town Halls, while playing, investing, reading, and watching videos about Splinterlands during this past (almost a year). During that time period from what I have learned and seen I will make the following statement.
I believe I can paraphrase the economic mastermind of Splinterlands, @yabapmatt , when I quote "The goal of the economy is to incentivize players to combine their assets into one account rather than playing multiple smaller accounts and also to incentivize players to combine their cards and use them to play."
With those key goals in mind, lets move forward. But first, also consider it has long been known that a portion of the Splinterlands community uses bots or programs to play their account for them, usually by splitting their assets between many smaller accounts in addition to utilizing the rental markets.
The creators of the game have emphatically stated on numerous occasions that if the company Splinterlands takes action against botters, which is an action only a central authority entity can exercise, they will go against one of their core principles, decentralization. Which makes sense considering they plan to give a significant portion of control of the future path splinterlands takes though the SPS governance token and voting in the SPS DAO.
Cryptmancer was introduced by aggroed in the most recent town hall, where Aggroed gave mancer props for coding a significant portion of the Splinterlands game at this point, well done mancer I would tag you but I cant find your hive account name. Please see mancers video from a month ago. I began considering not only the economic cost of the botting that is occurring but also the human cost.
I know myself as a human don't like to feel like I am playing against just a machine first off because I want to play against a human, enjoy victory or taste defeat, and learn and grow as you do with a human opponent in games. Second off that I need to put as much time as possible in to compare with a machine that doesn't eat or sleep, and we know ECR doesn't help when you split your assets and have programs running thousands of accounts as we saw in mancers video. Imagine if thousands of individuals ran such a farm on their own. It will happen though, definitely.
As we move forward with understanding of what bots can and do as a part of their economic agenda, and we accept their existence, we begin to realize that although bots are here to stay, perhaps we need to adjust the economy. Well the Splinterlands team had just that thought, and have recently released two batches of Ranked Rewards updates, which I myself am very fond of the direction the team is going. But I would be remiss if I did not point out that the two goals of the team were not accomplished. Combining has not been happening, yet.
If you take the time to watch Infidel's video you will see it is very very profitable to be a bronze and silver player right now. Which is where most of the bots play and stay. But if they stay there and never advance, not only to they become a net drain on the economy because they extract value without needing to ever put additional investment, rental expenses are a small fraction of the value earned from bots.
That is why we want the bots to move up in leagues and consolidate their accounts into fewer more powerful accounts. Why would they do this other than economic incentive? But information indicates the roa for assets on a champion account tend to be significantly lower than if those assets were split between a bot farm of many smaller accounts in bronze and silver from what the numbers of chests opened in bronze/silver vs champion tells us for example. Compare total nfts earned by all champion players to all bronze or all silver, since the new rewards update, the numbers are amazing.
Today, in cryptmancers new video, this amazing gentleman has brought to our attention a new bot service, called Archmage, that is close to being put out in scale is already having success giving the account 1st place in the entire game, with an extensive collection of course. If we see this service roll out, will this give the team the intended results and lead to bot account consolidation? or just older players who use to be human players, being replaced with robots, to compliment our extensive robot contingent. I dont know, but its interesting to think about.
Now here is where we have a huge structural issue in the game, and it has existed since I started playing, through the bull market, and the current bear. From what I hear it has always been like this. Combined cards always cost less per bcx(card) than individual cards, and sometimes the discount can be significant like 50 to 80% significant.
From my understanding, this has been the norm for the Splinterlands economy because multiple single cards could be rented out for a higher rate of income than 1 combined card could in almost all instances. So combining cards reduces your cards value per card, and reduces your rental income. Combining cards also increases your cards stats and gives new abilities to your cards at certain levels.
Pros of combining
- One stronger card with increased stats and abilities.
- At max, card receive a 5% bonus to their total CP.
Cons of combining
- Less cards to rent out, lower dec income.
- Lower resale value due to market pricing of individual cards much higher than max copies in all instances observed.
This is a perversion of order in my opinion, in that an upgraded card with better stats and abilities should always have a higher value and game utility than a level 1 version of a card, item, monster, etc.
Consider it this way, when you combine cards in Splinterlands, your card utility in game goes way UP compared to the lvl 1 version, BUT your card is now worth less on the open market than when it existed as multiple lvl 1 versions, and also will now earn reduced rental income as a combined unit compared to when it existed as multiple lvl 1 versions.
One way to directly increase the value of combining cards would be to factor the cards % to max into the rshares formula. For example where a ghost card would receive no rshares, while a lvl 1 copy of a card recieves 1 (basically as the formula is at is currently stands, meaning no nerf for lvl 1 cards r shares earned).
The new incentive would be along the lines of lets say a particular card takes 50 bcx to max. A card with 10 out of 50 total bcx combined, would receive a 20% bonus to the value of their card in the r share formula. While someone with 200 bcx combined out of 400 total bcx on a max card would receive a 50% bonus to their r share contribution from that card being played.
This percentage based system equalizes out all the disparities between editions and rarity in total bcx required to max. In addition the team could choose to add an additional bonus above 100% for max cards used, if they so choose to add value to maxxing a card.
In this way, every card you combine will have a growing incremental effect on your focus and daily reward share earnings. Versus now, sometimes you need 100 copies of a card to get to the next level to see any change or progress. This is great for player morale.
Champion Level Abilities
- Another idea Id like to put forth for the community is the idea of Champion Levels, its one of those ideas that hits 2 birds with one stone. My concept for champion abilities, are 3 options for every card in the game, between a potential 3 improvements for the card permanently, whether +1 health, +1 speed, +shield, or +opportunity.
- Old cards that are seemingly unobtainable now for new players, do not have enough supply to support this type of activity, so it will be unfair playing field for old collections vs new. (solved this great rebuttal thanks mav chat for giving me this great issue to consider).
Will add so many possible permutations to the game will reduce the ability of any particular card combinations being used by bots or humans to spam win without skill.
Will give new usefulness and utility to old cards that have been power crept by newer sets, in addition to coming land utility.
Give players the choice to customize their cards permanently and make them unique.
- Create a general card sink alternative to burning cards for dec. Call them Crystals of Praetorian Essence. Lets say a card can be burned for 500 dec, it could now be burned for 500 dec OR 100 praetorian essence. pick a ratio and apply it evenly to all cards based on cp and set/rarity.
Allow these essence to be used to purchase champion level upgrades for high level accounts, and let them be used by lower level accounts to purchase soulbound cards of various types.
Please let me know if you like or dislike my ideas, I welcome all discussion and hope we can bring our beloved game Splinterlands to the next level.