WARNING! The Precarious Future of Splinterlands: Splintermarket Fall, Splinterbots, Flawed Pack Release, New Legendaries (and cards in general), Voting Discrimination, Open Source botting? SPLINTERLANDS NEEDS YOUR HELP
The Numbers: Who's REALLY playing?
Some recent numbers were brought to my attention by @mawit07 who had read my previous article and wanted to sum up the numbers today, however the interpretation therein was "optimistic". I appreciate that he read my article and has been monitoring these numbers, kudos and thanks for the tag. Here are the numbers and what they mean.
ACCOUNTS EARNING SPS
These are accounts earning SPS, this doesn't mean they AREN'T bots but the likelihood of them being players is much higher as any account not earning SPS is certainly a bot.
TOTAL ACCOUNTS EARNING DEC
Any account earning DEC but not earning SPS is a bot or alt. So bots and alts account for roughly 66 percent of the player base at least. But....
TOTAL ACCOUNTS STAKING SPS
Realistically the actual player number is potentially closer to 92k as any bot that is in fact stocked with cards and not delegation and is earning SPS will be transferring it to another account for staking. Additionally the vast majority of any human players at this point has SOME SPS staked.
TLDR Numbers Summary: How many people are playing?
Anywhere from 2/3 to 6/7 of players are bots or alts! This is not an exaggeration. Bots outnumber players potentially leaving human players potentially as little as ONLY ONE SEVENTH OF THE "PLAYERBASE". To compare these stats to earlier ones check out my article here
Splinterbots: Bots Inf/vest Higher Leagues
As predicted in my previous post about The Invasion of The Splinterbots, these bots are now inf/vesting in higher leagues. This is due to the fact that card packs are readily available and collection power to advance bots to higher leagues is readily available. Naturally bot owners have flocked to this influx of the cards printed as if ALL ACCOUNTS WERE HUMANS IN NEED OF PACKS. Despite developers and the player base knowing this is a falsehood packs were printed as if all "signups" are players. The majority of players are still bots, as expected general sale wasn't instantly bought up BECAUSE MOST ACCOUNTS AREN'T PLAYERS. If each account was in fact a real person we would not be dealing with many days of general sales, but here we are days and days later. Packs aren't selling due to the small ACTUAL player base being overly-saturated. Consider that this is after (and including) the initial large buys we are at 6 million packs sold. Remember the fear of not getting packs? Remember those bulk sales? Including those MASSIVE buys we are ONLY at 6 million packs sold.
Chaos Legion Arrives, But NOT FOR MOBILE USERS
Chaos Legion arrives and the general sale is supposedly available to everyone. HOWEVER, packs are not available for purchase on the mobile app. THIS IS A MAJOR FLAW IN SALES RELEASE AND SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN LIGHTLY. This is a complete failure of a sales launch, purely from this alone. At the very least a notification to buy packs on the desktop website could be published. HOWEVER THERE IS NO ACCESS OR KNOWLEDGE OF ANY PACK SALE WHATSOEVER FOR MOBILE USERS. This is a major flaw. I would recommend removing it from the app store if you plan to not allow pack sales because it would be "too much of a strain for the system", or if it's to discriminate against mobile users and only allow access to these packs for desktop users. Either way this doesn't bode well from both a legal and developmental perspective. Many people in the world only have the means to in fact own a phone, and this is excluding ALL of those people from participating in this sale if they were introduced via the android app (Which seems like a very likely scenario). This issue is known to the devs, and left unattended. Why do I say this? BECAUSE YOU CAN OPEN PACKS FROM CHAOS LEGION ON MOBILE. If these features were added to the app, it's strange you can't buy packs. Chaos Legion packs being unavailable to buy for mobile app users and the knowledge of such a sale not being present in any notifications isn't something that is being done completely unaware. They have added the packs and the cards to the mobile app. Players WERE able to buy Untamed packs on mobile, so having this pack sale NOT available is something that seems quite unnerving. It's quite a mess up or discrimination in user base whichever way you look at it. Below are recent sceenshots taken from inside the Splinterlands app on the app store. This could lead to ANOTHER lawsuit against steemmonsters, with valid grounds ( currently filed lawsuit against steemmonsters here in the court of Pennsylvania currently under way ).
Splintermarket Fall: It's All in the Cards
As many of you have no doubt noticed the Splintermarket has fallen, again, this has been predicted in previous articles ( links here, here, and here). There are numerous reasons for this market collapse, including the overall fall of BTC recently. However, don't be fooled and pass this off as exclusively "being part of the overall crypto market". There are numerous reasons prices for SPS, Dec, Cards, and everything Splinterlands has fallen recently.
- Bots are devaluing player time: The fact of the matter is is YOUR PLAYTIME IS WORTH LESS NOW THAN IT EVER WAS (due to bot v bot mining). For every bot churning it devalues the time REAL players put into the game. Why is this? because of bot rental services it is now cheaper and easier to RENT a bot than to actually play. This means those guild positions you want, and the ranked positions and portions of the DEC pool you are scrambling for are worth less every second bot armies remain active, making it is no longer worthy to PLAY for most players. A lot of players have started doing "rent only tactics" as playtime is no longer worth the time or effort against a tsunami of bots IN ALL TIERS BUT CHAMPION. Bots need to be removed or you will lose all real players to OTHER #play2earn titles that have taken a stand against bots (more on this later). This isn't new, and has been mentioned for YEARS by the community.
- Chaos Legion is Overprinted: Remember the illusionary fomo? remember the threat of packs being unavailable? Despite warnings not to panic. And here we are over a week into the general sale with packs STILL AVAILABLE for purchase from the Splinterlands store. And the card market lows getting lower by the day. Of course these cards will see a bump in price after they finish printing, however this is an all time low due to oversaturation.
- Other Play2Earn titles exploiting managerial weaknesses:
Other titles ( #GodsUnchained being the biggest competition), have displayed more rigid management (not flip flopping on various things after AMAs) and taken a stance AGAINST bots in their #play2earn player experience. They even published advertisements like "#Play2Earn TCG card game without bots. Try Gods Unchained Now". That was almost the EXACT text in their Brave browser ad campaign. This is a DIRECT shot at Splinterlands and #play2earn ers in the cryptospace, as most web2.0 users won't identify with why it has the "without bots" included. It is naïve to think they released this advertisement without taking Splinterlands into account after it's rise to the peak of exposure in the #play2earn card space. They were poaching players with the promise of playing only other players.
- More Cards, More variety, Less demand: With more cards comes less overall demand. More cards are available so all cards are less desired due to increase of supply. This doesn't mean older cards are less valuable or new cards are less desireable. This merely means there are A LOT more cards supplying the market, and demand has become the lowest it's been in quite some time. This isn't bad just a market observation.
Voting in 2022: And what ALL this means
If you have been following me you know voting with SPS staked as weight is intended to be implemented in 2022, but because this isn't coming in tandem with bot restriction of any sort it is potentially cementing botting and the way it is into the landscape forever. Regardless of how many REAL players don't like it, newcomer votes will be worth LESS than bots SPS potential on average (Despite those players dedicating much more time and love into the game). Your voice and time to the developers is worth as much as one bot with your same collection power running automatically all day. Despite you being a human being participating in THE COMMUNITY (the real value of Splinterlands), to them your statistics are the same as any bot who has the same amount of money backing them. It is abundantly clear that Splinterlands doesn't want the little guy or time (not wallet) dedicated player to have a fair say in voting OR AN OPPORTUNITY AT GENERAL SALE (Users with less income likely ONLY have their mobile device). Regardless of what you want, the voting is in the bot lords' hands if this plan is enacted. In previous posts I have been more understanding of the botting etc., and I will propose solutions in the next section. However, things are much more bleak this time around. Either all individual users need to start to hoard SPS at a greater rate than bot lords (highly unlikely) or there needs to be a change in the projected roadmap if you are someone who doesn't find bots fun. I propose a solution that isn't banning bots below, far from it... open source botting. I even propose open source botting for everyone, BUT BOTS EARNING FIGHTING OTHER BOTS (not players) is bad for the long term economy. Open sourcing botting to be readily available (but able to be monitored) was the newest solution present but there are previous thoughts (captcha, deck rentals, etc. here)
Emaciated Rays of Hope: What can be done?
The fact of the matter is bot lords are bleeding the game dry of REAL players, and likely a lot of veterans may not notice as they ARE IN THE LAST LEAGUE NOT INF/VESTED WITH BOTS (Champion). This has been a slow poison, but there is still hope to take the TCG gaming crown. However, here are some sparse solutions to this dire issue. (More solutions like captcha and deck rentals in previous post here )
Open Sourcing Botting to be a Button ANYONE can use: The concept here would be that ANYONE can bot any account, but by doing so the game would COUNT THEM AS A BOT (Bot Mode ON or something akin to that). It could be an option next to play, bot coding is already readily available in the community. This way there are no more falsely inflated statistics or pretending like all "sign ups" are people. AND NO MORE BOTS EARNING FIGHTING BOTS AND COUNTING THEM AS "GAMES PLAYED". However this needs to be implemented BEFORE voting is enacted otherwise the control of the game will be centralized to 10 individuals and the façade will be complete to anyone entering thereafter. Then expect policies that obscure botting to be harder and harder to discern, UNTIL a rival gaming company investigates what's going on and uses it to tank the competition by informing industry journalism. It's a cutthroat world. Despite this behavior deceiving the common user any investigation will reveal what is actually happening with relative ease due to the nature of the blockchain. Basically... "It's not a bug it's a feature" mentality and then have it be available to all easily OR it'll be seen as a deception and a reputation blotch. The issue isn't bots fighting players and earning if they beat a player, this could even be a very cool mechanic to the MAIN gameplay. THE ISSUE IS BOTS FIGHTING BOTS AND EARNING AND ENDLESSLY PLUMMETING DEC VALUE FOR EVERYONE INCLUDING THEMSELVES.
LETTING YOUR VOICE BE HEARD: You the community needs to be informed of what is happening and voice you opinions to the developers in the AMAs... EVERY AMA and on hive for that matter. Don't forget to subimit and vote in the support section of the Splinterlands website here too (If you like open source botting vote for 615). At a certain point they can't ignore everyone's voice without the true nature of Splinterlands being shown. Voice your plan to retain human players.
BAN THE BOTS ALREADY: If the bots remain unregulated and an "elephant in the room" part of gameplay, that is both acknowledged and simultaneously ignored despite public outcry in discord, it will not bode well for the game. Splinterlands isn't the only #play2earn title out there.
Before You Say Things or Sell Things, Please Read
THIS ARTICLE IS ONLY AGAINST BOTS EARNING AGAINST OTHER BOTS AND NOT AGAINST BOTS EARNING WHEN BEATING A PLAYER. THIS ARTICLE IS NOT ANTI-BOT IT'S ANTI BOT VS. BOT MINING. This article SUGGESTS banning bots as ONE OPTION to solve the obvious issue of bot v bot mining (open sourcing botting, captcha, and various other solutions provided here and in this article you are reading aswell). The pro of low wait times can be kept IF BOTS ARE REGULATED, but right now the long term cons outweigh the short term pros with the current system. If NOTHING is done for too long removing them all together will be one of the only ways to save face. Please read everything including this section before commenting.
Despite this, the gameplay loop is STILL fun to play, and the developers deserve a lot of respect and admiration for what has been done thusfar. The new cards work well and the gameplay itself is still phenomenal. However in the cutthroat world of gaming business that will not be enough. Other #play2earn sharks are smelling the blood in the water and have positioned themselves for long term market dominance (Microsoft has purchased Hearthstone and Blizzard as a whole as their flagship into the blockchain for example). Even though the Splinterlands developers having an excellent vision for what they want their game to be down the line, they need to cauterize the potential public relations bleeding or we will watch many migrate to another game and eventually they will be saying things like "Remember Splinterlands being the number one game for a while?" instead of just "Let's talk Splinterlands". This game can still go all the way to the top, but not without changes to the current dynamic of at least the mobile application (and preferable botting aswell).
THE PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE IS NOT TO:
- Scare you into selling (far from it if anything you should hold on)
- ONLY Ban the bots (This was ONE suggested solution to see the public response I personally like the open source idea a bit better, and here are other thoughts about it from an earlier post like captcha)
- Badmouth anyone
- Slam Splinterlands or the developers (I know I say that your say matters as much as a bot to them, but that's because if SPS weighted voting is enacted this is literally the truth. Regardless of intention, think about that for a moment).
- Promote Gods Unchained, it merely highlights ONE AD CAMPAIGN THEY HAD AS AN EXAMPLE AND THEIR INTENT WITH SAID AD CAMPAIGN. At no point during this article do I not wish for a better future for ALL OF US IN SPLINTERLANDS.
THE PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE IS TO:
Get your attention
Inform new players there are bots
Address the issue of bots having the same numeric representation and votes as real players (due to bot v. bot mining), and ask your thoughts
Address the issue of Bots fighting other bots and bleeding dec. NOT BOTS FIGHTING AGAINST HUMAN OPPONENTS. And present solutions here in this article and the previous one here
Inform that the market is low for cards (time to buy?) and factors as to why,
Highlight the potential public relations issues associated with a flawed android app pack release and hidden botting.
Highlight the issue with bots being a "phantom player" false statistic (And the potential ramifications)
Show you #Splinterlands is a game worth your time and will be swimming with the biggest fish.
Show that even though there are different views on subjects, we can discuss them politely.
Pull your attention in for a discussion that is in dire need of talking
Present solutions that have LONG TERM MARKET VIABILITY because bot v bot mining is not helping anyone long term (including botters). (Open source botting and captcha being a few suggestion in this and a previous post).
If you think this article was a hit piece, Anti-bot rant, or doomsday article, I hate to tell you that it's not. There are even pro bot solutions here. I love #Splinterlands and personally have great respect for the thought that has gone into the card game itself and I love the community around it too. It's like othello or chess( easy to learn hard to master and with great depth of play), I am not overplaying it even slightly Splinterlands cardplay is a classic and has been well thought out thusfar. I will continue to play this game, and tell my friends that it's worth a look. Please take this article as what it is: A CALL FOR COMMUNITY DISCUSSION THAT IS LONG OVERDUE ABOUT HOT TALKING POINTS. This article is just to get you guys to be active in the feedback section and to discuss these issues as a community and motivate you to comment and post your solutions. You don't even have to vote for my proposal (615) if you don't want to, but be active in the feedback section and this great community. Thanks for the comments, this section is added to and edited to address questions in the comments. I felt it necessary to show the intent of the article aswell as my intent was NOT to preach doomsday and say there is no hope. Splinterlands can still reach the top, but we need to prepare for a future where larger companies will be vying for the same crown. These larger companies have no qualms about playing dirty or slinging mud. So if you thought this was a hit piece (It's not) that would influence the market enough to effect anything. Imagine what a company that can actually hire journalists/investigators AND WANTS TO HURT SPLINTERLANDS AND NOT HELP IT would do. Just saying.
This Weeks Giveaway: Say Anything (In Depth)
To participate in this week's giveaway and be delegated a random common card for the Splinter of your choice all you have to do is comment on this post. No liking necessary, however you will only be awarded a card for an in depth reply. No "I'm ins" will qualify. Read and say what you think and don't forget to comment about the 2022 roadmap too (more information here). I continue to have hope for Splinterlands, but it is the time for action and not merely hope. The least I can do is inform all of you. And before you comment PLEASE READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE THIS IS NOT AN ANTI-BOT OR BANNING BOTS IS THE ONLY SOLUTION POST. I in fact propose open sourcing bots for everyone to use. Stay safe out there and please read everything before commenting.
Keep Summoning and See You in the #Splinterlands
(Centaur #NFT from Splinterlands pictured above)