Keeping Up With Splinterlands -- Rating Changes & Renting Implementations
Keeping up with Splinterlands is a much better choice than the Kardashians, and there had been a lot of new updates in recent weeks. The rental updates are most critical to me but there are others too that I will be sharing my thoughts on.
Ranked Battle & Rating Changes
Image from this recent Splinterlands blog
First off, we have the mana cap changes. I like the higher mana cap on bronze because the old bronze leagues are very boring and downright streamlined. The old range of 12-30 in bronze is too fixed and most players and bots - there are a lot of bots down there - already figured out the optimum all-level 1 team to play every time. It devolved into a rock, paper, and scissor game. Bronze also has a limited ruleset number so most matches are as vanilla as they can be with less room to be creative.
It usually comes down to these three teams:
- Blue with Deeplurker to take out small creatures in the middle
- Green full magic team with Obsidian as the all-out attacking squad
- Black with Cursed Windeku and the sneaking Silent Sha-vi as an anti-magic squad
And here's how the triangle works:
- Blue beats black due to their high armor from Freya Krendul
- Black beats green because Thaddius Brood neutralizes Obsidian's magic boost and Silent Sha-vi can kill most small magic monsters in one hit
- Green beats blue as magic attacks ignore armor
You see these three setups in like 80% of the games and it's incredibly boring and doesn't give players much to learn. You just remember the three and you are good to go until Silver. I hope the mana cap change at least spices things up, although I really don't understand why Splinterlands is so afraid to give high mana to lower leagues.
Give the newer players an easy place to have fun with all the high-level cards. I understand the learning issue and making it easier for them to start, but come on, this is ultimately a game and not an academic class. We are here to have fun and there aren't a lot of places to have fun with high mana cards besides moving up in leagues.
Guilds are for the more dedicated players and tournaments are even more cutthroat. I played a lot of tournaments and it's the same ol' 200 faces down there in the bronze-silver leagues. The 90%+ of the lower league player base doesn't have much use of their huge monsters. This sucks more now that reward cards are soulbound. Imagine these bronze players opening up some of the bigger cards like Terraceous Hulk or Usut. They want to play them but there aren't a lot of rooms to use them and win with a low mana cap. They can't sell them immediately for money to buy the cards they want either. So, it just sits in their inventory for a very long time and they can't do much with them. This is not fun for players, especially newer players who we want for this game's long-term growth. People want to play with the new, shiny things they get. This is gaming reward 101.
I don't think it's unfair to have higher mana matches in bronze. More often than not, the players with a big collection are blazing through bronze and won't stay down there for long. The recent reduction in bronze rewards gives no reason for good players to stay down there so I disagree with something along the line of "we don't want newbies to be beaten down hard by collectors with all the 10+ mana cards if we have 60-70 mana in bronze".
The current bronze is made up of ultra-budget players, casual players, and bots. I have been there every season due to the season restart downgrade from Silver 1 league. I can assure you that I had seen no more than 5 collectors in 100 matches. It's just a lot of players and bots with level 1 free cards -- just let them have fun with a wider mana range.
The other implementation I loved is the rating hiatus if the player is not active:
Additionally, players who have not played any ranked battles in a particular format in the current season will not drop down in rating at all at the end of the season. This is so that players who take a break from the game will remain at the same rating and league in which they left off rather than falling all the way back down to Bronze and having to slog their way back up when they come back.
There are so many games out there that don't do this and it's super hard to get back into them after a break. I had personal experience with this. I tried coming back to some games but then I just stopped again after I realized I need to climb all the way back up from the bottom all over again. For a more old school comparison, it's like you wanted to go back to a single player game. You booted the game up and you realized "shit, my save file is gone!" Many players just stopped right there. I like this and believe this is an important implementation in the long run.
Imagine, in the year 2028, there are like five different games under the Splinterlands banner. We already have a tower defense game coming up soon and there could be more of them in the future. It's understandable for players to take a pause from this main card game we have to dabble in the others and then come back to this after some time. Everyone takes a break sometimes. We really don't want the players to feel like they have to play every season. It really sap away a player's interest in the game and it's a big issue in the modern days with all the daily mission structure in all the multiplayer games.
Image from this recent Splinterlands blog
Season rental is a dream feature for me, as I had stated many times in my previous articles like this one. Sadly, the reality is not always as beautiful as we dreamed. I am not saying that the current landscape of season rental is useless, it is a wonderful option for people who just wants to rent-and-play without having to work the rental market every few days. For an extreme budget player like me, who chooses effort over time, it's not a viable option. Here are some random screenshots from PeakMonsters:
You will find some bargains here and there for sure; I am not denying that. However, most of the time, the seasonal rental prices are a lot higher than the day-by-day rental. With a small budget in mind, I have no choice but to continue to go with the daily rental and just re-rent cards every few days when all the rental bots just take back the cards and re-shuffle the price.
I like that we have the option to rent seasonal now and I am not saying it's bad. It's just that the market isn't for me right now. Props to the team for having it implemented for sure, and I am sure there will be times when I get to use it -- like a few days later.
Market Listing Fees & Expiration
A few days later, we will have market listing fees. Cards will also expire if they are listed for too long. This update will surely change the whole rental market, especially at the lower levels where the cards are cheap. A lot of my common card rentals are below 1 DEC per day. The listing fee is 1 DEC per card, so I am definitely expecting some price changes. I just am not sure if it would be up or down.
For rentals, the listing will be pulled down if no one rents the card in 30 days. This sort of incentivizes the cards to not be too high in price so they can get rented. More critically to this line of thought, price change is charged 1 DEC as well. This is a huge change because the current landscape is that we have these renting bots changing the prices of a dozen cards every day. I have to re-rent cards every few days because of these bots and their price adjustments. This update will change all of that at once.
This could be good news for renters like me for various reasons. I am expecting these to happen: the fair chance that seasonal rental will be much cheaper and more aligned with the daily card price just so they can get rented. Even if not, daily rentals should be less likely to be rapidly pulled for price change. Ironically, the consistency and hustle-free advantages that seasonal rental is supposed to provide might not be that important anymore.
As this is implemented by March 7, I can only share about the actual experience next week. For now, I am both excited and unsure about this. I am not positive about my total rental price per day as I am 50:50 on whether it'd go up or down. I understand the implementation though, now I can only sit back and see what's what.
That's all from me today. If you are not yet a warrior of the Splinterlands, grab your ticket and join us!
Disclaimer: All images are properly credited. All rights reserved.