Splinterlands: Are we losing sight of what's important?
I am by no means a whale or a community leader. I am however an observer with some skin in the game. Less than some but more than most. Beta, Kickstarter, Untamed, CL, TD, and I've bought into every single tangent this game has taken from there (Tract+, Runi x5, Out of pocket SPS, nodes x2, and thousands of packs). I own every single regular foil card (99% maxed out).
I watch every single town hall. I do consider myself a stakeholder, and do my utmost to support the team and this game. I am however, concerned.
Speaking of games. Is Splinterlands really a game? Well yes, but becoming less and less of one in my opinion. It is more and more dependent on what I describe as Crypto Alchemy to the detriment of the actual game. Is the game aspect one that people actually want to play? I will argue no in many cases. Most of the OGs don’t even play anymore, and many operate bots. In the best case they let human scholars play their decks. But those scholars aren’t playing because the game is fun and engaging. They are playing to make a living.
So much focus has been placed on tokens and game economy, the actual game play has lagged behind. The game can get tedious, especially with ranked play. I personally am not interested in playing it. I am interested in playing other games that provide little to no rewards because the game play is engaging. I don't need monetary rewards to play and enjoy a game. I have played games for years with no reward but the enjoyment of playing. Crypto games are new, but their nascence does not preclude them from needing to stay fresh, engaging, immersive, and relevant.
My engagement in the actual game is minimal, though I used to play a lot. I am thrilled that I am able to provide an income to someone, but they aren’t playing because the game is actually great. They would play a monetized version of Pong in order to pay their bills. The fact that bots and scholars are playing is sending misleading signals to us. At a 60-40 split and a full wild deck and a top tier player, I see about $300 per month in income for them, which is good money for someone in the Philippines. For me, the juice is not worth the squeeze, as the squeeze has become just plain boring. So what we are creating is a tiered game-- ‘investors’ that couldn’t bother playing hoping to have their bags pumped, and people in less affluent countries doing the actual playing, since there is no way they could ever afford a maxed-out deck. The team and many of the members in the Mavericks chat are hyper focused on token the value discussion. Remove the bots and the people seeking rent, and all you have left is a defi platform. This was never the original vision from what I remember? I thought the vision was to create a game that “I(Yaba) would want to play.”
The team and many the members in the Mavericks chat are hyper focused on the token value discussion. The discussion surrounding the success of Splinterlands typically involves:
- Bull market for BTC
- DEC/SPS flywheel
- Liquidity / Exchanges
- DEC sinks
- Various ancillary tokens
- Land (Depending on how much ‘game play’ is involved here versus more defi)
These continue to be huge distractions and are tangential to the game-- you know, the game where you choose cards and do battle with them?
We need to focus on making a game people (new ones especially) want to play instead of focusing on how to exploit the existing user base, internal economy, and waiting for BTC to pump. That other stuff would take care of itself if fresh players were flocking to the game.
- New Player Experience / Onboarding
- Improved Ranking System
- More immersive experience
- Player retention
In sum, the game is stale, and it’s not advancing enough to keep people’s interest. The game will drive the game economy-- this was the case before crypto (WoW gold anyone?). The true value is in the game in my opinion, tokens are ancillary and will derive their value from the game. Don’t get me wrong, I like the project and I love the team. I just think we have lost our way. We have become obsessed with the ‘crypto’ side of the equation and have lost the ‘create a game that we want to play’ side of it. Let us be realistic, this is rapidly becoming a defi project dressed up as a game. Over time, this is a recipe for decay of both users and investors. A great game is where the value lies. There are plenty of crypto games out there floundering because they decided to let tokenomics drive the game, and not the other way around. The game should stand on its own without crypto, and sadly it does not.
A personal anecdote: I have two 13-year old nephews I offered to let them play my full deck. They quickly lost interest--rewards be damned. Back to Roblox they went. If you can't get 13-year olds interested in your card-based battle game, you still have some work to do.
I know that these discussions are had ad nauseum in discord, but I wanted to collect mine in a more coherent manner. Your thoughtful replies are appreciated.
PS. Rewards for this post shared with my scholars.
Posted using Splintertalk