New Player Lessons Learned Guide from a fellow new player

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(Edited)

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Hello gamers and NFT enthusiasts!

I'm @kotenoke and I am one of the many thousand new players just like you that have entered the vast world of Splinterlands. I work in IT and have been a gaming enthusiast more or less my entire live and fascinated with crypto since I learned of it in 2015.

Now, enough about me and on to why you are here; this game is not exactly easy to pick up. As such, I want to cover off on some basics that will help you guys get started and help you avoid wasting your time or money because it is certainly easy to do so.

Table of Contents
#1 Account Creation
#2 How to make that money!
#3 General Monster Order and Selection
#4 Helpful Sites and Tools
#5 Card level limits and leagues
#6 Card Power and how to get more quickly
#7 Suggested cards for new players
#8 Buying and transferring HIVE/DEC

#1 Account creation
Splinterlands runs on the HIVE network. When you create an account on the splinterlands site you must use a valid email address for verification. It is important that you use an email that you actively utilize and have access to as there are functions that depend on it later.
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After inputting your email and selecting a desired user name, you will be prompted to create a password. If you are new to the crypto world I would create a password for your account in the same manner as you would for any other site. Alternatively, Splinterlands allows passwordless authentication via 3rd party wallets. My suggestion here would be either MetaMask or Keychain.

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At this point your account will be created and you will automatically have a wallet address associated with it on the HIVE network. This isn't clearly explained anywhere in game to my knowledge so when you get to section #8 and you are trying to buy DEC or cards just remember you already have an account/Hive Wallet.

Regardless of your chosen setup method, the account will have a private key that you will need when you decide to purchase cards/currency, cash out, or generally do anything on the Hive network. To access this key you will need to send a request to the email that is associated with your account. DO NOT SHARE THIS WITH ANYONE NO MATTER WHAT. This is done by clicking your user name in the top right of the interface and selecting "Request account keys". The master password that is sent to your email is what you will enter into your wallet to act as the auth source for transactions and login.

After you have successfully created your account play the tutorial to get a feel for the game but know that 99% of what this game has to offer and the entirety of the play to earn features of the game is behind a $10 paywall in the form of the Summoners Spellbook. Assuming you enjoyed the taste you've had, the first thing you are going to want to do is purchase this spellbook. This can be done with paypal if you don't want to deal with crypto or with many of the popular crypto currencies.
spellbook.PNG

If you haven't already started and are interested, I'd absolutely appreciate it if you used my affiliate link here to sign-up.

#2 How to make that money!
Money making in this game is relatively straight forward from a glance but there are a few ways to go about it and the game doesn't really do a great job explaining up front.
Winning matches: Each win will net you an amount of DEC (the game currency) based on the total pool for the day, your rating, your capture rate, and other market factors. This will be your faucet as a free to play player. At first it is tedious and slow but you'll get through it soon enough.
Opening Chests: As you play the game you will notice that each day you are given a quest which typically requires you to win a game 5x under a specified situation (Example: 5x with a death deck, 5x including a sneak creature, etc). Completing these quests will earn you chests increasing in number as you go up the leagues. Although winning games is great, chests are the real bread and butter of your play to earn strategy. These are how you will obtain most of your DEC and more importantly reward cards.
Airdrops/Staking: Once you've earned or purchased in-game assets your account will become eligible for the daily SPS airdrop (while it is active). This is currently one of the best ways to "playtoearn" as the current staking rate is 113% APR at the time of writing. This is an absurd rate that you are not going to find ANYWHERE and it is fueled by the sheer number of people interested in the game. Generally speaking, raw DEC counts for more than cards when it comes to calculating your airdrop amount.

#3 General Monster Order and Selection
Generally, the tutorial actually does a good job explaining monster positioning. What it doesn't really say though is that you should really be looking to synergize your comps and you should place magic generally before ranged. Look for cards that will work to support your tank as it is the most important card.

In addition to the cards I have linked below I'd like to provide some insight as to how you might identify your own powerful cards for the future. First off, most cards are viable if combined well. Thats not to say that cards are not clearly better than others. One thing that has helped me is to map out the strength and health attributes as well as skills (I assign a value to each skill) and then plot them out by mana cost. That alone will show you raw data as to which cards are objectively better. From there you just need to pick cards that complement each other.

#4 Helpful Sites and Tools
HIVE Engine: This is my preferred exchange for buying DEC. There are other ways of getting DEC but this is definitely the fastest.
SplinterTalk: General feed that aggregates posts from various HIVE projects including PeakD and LeoFinance.
LeoFinance: LeoF is a more tech specific crypto content site similar to PeakD and SplinterTalk. As it relates to Splinterlands, you can find some decent guides providing older card win and use rates. Top notch stuff for any data analyst.
BaronsToolbox: This is an account analyzer. It will read your wallet and give you what I consider to be the cleanest view of your account stats. The developer is a player first and created this awesome tool for all of us to use. Show him some love.
SplinterCards: Splintercards has more cool tools related to airdrop calculations, print rates, and pack value estimations.
Dyipeys Bronze Guide: Solid guide for getting to Bronze II without spending anything.
PeakMonsters: A market interface for the in-game card market. It has far superior search functions and integrates directly with your HIVE wallet which means transactions facilitated through it are instantly in-game.
MonsterMarket: MonsterMarket is similar to PeakMonsters. Really it is a matter of preference.

#5 Card level limits and leagues
Cards in Splinterlands become stronger as the level of the card increases. However there are restrictions within the game that limits the levels that you can actually play.

  • Your summoner's level: By default as you level your summoner they can summon higher and higher level monsters. As seen below, at level 2, Alric is capable of summoning up to a lvl 3 common, 2 rare, 2 epic, and 1 legendary. If a card is summoned with a higher lvl, the game will scale it down to the level appropriate.

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  • The League you are in: In addition to your summoners capabilities you are also limited by the league that you are part of. Given you can opt out of advancing, they decided to put card level limits in play. As seen below, if you are in the Bronze league, regardless of your summoner capability you can at most summon a lvl 3 common, 2 rare, 2 epic, and 1 legendary which also happens to match the lvl 2 Alric I discussed above. These restrictions are stackable in the sense you will only be able to summon the less of the 2 caps.

leagues.PNG

#6 Card Power and how to get more quickly
Advancing through leagues requires both rating which intuitively comes from winning games as well as carp power (CP). Unfortunately, CP is not as intuitive. Instead a CP value is assigned to each card depending on the card's set and rarity. Generally, foil cards and higher rarities will have higher CP ratings. Ideally, you would be earning cards to innately increase your power and DEC to allow you to buy cards to increase your CP. However, as the CP requirements become quite significant in later leagues, owning all of the required cards to produce the needed CP is not realistic for most players. As a result, the most efficient way to get CP is to rent cards. From my experience, foil epics and foil rares have been the best DEC to CP ratio to rent however there are always one off chances you'll find a better deal on the market.

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image created by @elclements

#7 Suggested cards for new players
The first thing I want to make clear is that this game does have an element of pay to win. It is a TCG and like all others, if you are strictly playing with the freebies you get up front, you won't be able to compete at high levels. That said, over time you CAN grind out the resources you need to eventually get stronger and stronger and compete at higher levels. You will eventually be earning cards though drops or you can use your farmed resources to purchase/rent a few cards which will significantly speed up the process. Generally speaking you don't need to 'buy' cards at all but if you plan to play long term, owning is usually better as rental fees are non-recoverable and you can always sell a card.

As a new player I focused on the Bronze and Silver leagues so that is what I've got experience with. I also would think that is going to be where most new players are ending up at first. It is completely possible to do well in the Bronze league with ONLY the starter cards though you will be missing some pieces to be able to effectively deal with some of the games random rulesets. @DYIPEY has created a great guide already showing his experience with comps to get you through BRONZE II with only starters so instead of giving my take there check his out: Bronze Guide. To do well in Silver, you will at most need a higher level summoner and tank. Now onto my card priorities.

1 - Furious chicken lvl 1
Furious Chicken.png
Furious Chicken is a 0 mana 1 health card and is the only 0 mana card in the game. As a new player you will regularly end up in low mana cap games which will end up not filling all 6 of your monster slots. Here is where this glorious bird shines. Once you've got your lineup chicken comes in to serve as an appetizer for your enemies. He can be used in the starting position to absorb a first hit on your tank or in the rear as bait for enemies with sneak. It may seem trivial but his ability to give you a free hit the lower leagues is priceless. Given the use of this card, you really don't need anything more than a level 1.

2 - Summoner of your choice. Generally try and level 2 summoners from different elements to keep you competitive if your primary element is locked out due to match rules. lvl 2 or 3 depending on if you want to stick in bronze or silver. Mylor(green), Alric(blue), Zintar(black), and Pyre(red) tend to be the most used from my experience in the lower leagues however dragon summoners are heavily favored in higher leagues.
Alric Stormbringer.png

3 - Tank of your element type leveled to the max of your desired league.
(Sea Monster)
Sea Monster.png
Generally, your tank is the most important monster card you will have out. There are generally 2 key strategies with tanks but either way you will want your tank to be as strong as it can to allow the rest of your team to do its thing. In addition to the water tank above, Sea Monster which can sometimes solo entire teams, upgraded starter tanks are also surprisingly viable and include (Living Lava, Unicorn Mustang, Shieldbearer, and Haunted Spirit)

4 - Once you have a tank get some cards that synergize well with it and start to build your non-starter collection. Non-starter cards can often solve niche rules that would otherwise be an instant loss for you. My suggestions here include:

Axemaster
Axemaster.png
As a primary water player axemaster quickly became a go to card for me. As you play you'll notice that one of the meta decks for low league players is using mylor(green). Range attacks bypass mylor's ability and axmaster gets a 2 for 1 attack as his ability while also touting respectable health and speed.

Armorsmith
Armorsmith.png
Armorsmith is a cheap synergistic card in the light deck and he absolutely alone can take the starter light deck to high bronze. His ability to repair armor is a straight upgrade as armor can absorb more dmg than its value. Look to pair him with Shieldbearer.

Sand Worm
Sand Worm.png
Sand worm is a situational card at a hefty 9 mana. I primarily use him in those random 99 mana cap games. You aren't going to cap out any other way so why not. His sneak ability also keeps him relevant as a hard hitting melee.

Prismatic Energy
Prismatic Energy.png
Energy is a magic tank high magic reflect and a hefty 9 hp at lvl 1. It is another situational card that will most often be used when the no melee attacker rule comes up. If you have this card more often than not you will win that ruleset.

Creeping Ooze
Creeping Ooze.png
Creeping ooze is a card similar to Furious chicken in that one of its primary duties is to absorb a hit for the rest of the team. However, while serving that purpose it also reduces the speed of the entire enemy team while alive. That is a huge boon especially if you are up against a Pyre player. At 1 mana it isn't quite as versatile as chicken but this is still great for when the mana cap is just over your meta build.

Wood Nymph
Wood Nymph.png
Healers in general are great cards and should be used when you can, especially with a nature or light duck, but Wood Nymph is special. She has a 1 magic attack that she can dish out while supporting which makes her one of the best lower league healers in the game.

Other honorable mentions include: Shadowy Presence, Fineas Rage, Goblin Mech, Kelp Initiate, Phantom of the abyss

#8 Buying and transferring HIVE/DEC
Unfortunately trading HIVE and DEC is actually the most complicated thing about this entire experience. To avoid legal regulation Splinterlands has opted to avoid allowing direct payments for DEC at this time. Since DEC is the currency used to purchase and rent cards as well as do most other things in the game that can be a problem. To get around this you'll want to buy HIVE tokens on an exchange and then swap them for DEC to eventually bring in-game.

When I did this I made the mistake of using one of the more popular currencies, BTC. Unfortunately this resulted in a large amount of loss due to fees and spot differences (BTCs spot is around $15k). The most efficient route I've seen yet is directly purchasing HIVE on bittrex, send it to HIVE.ENGINE which creates swap.hive. Then exchange that for DEC on hive-engine. From there you can move the currency in-game via the DEC window. Even then there is a 0.75% trade fee at bittrex and 1% on hive-engine. When you are making transactions on HIVE.ENGINE, it isn't super intuitive if you are used to buying on a more user friendly exchange such as coinbase. You effectively can only place Buy and Sell orders, no market orders. This means if you want to buy a coin, you must look up the details for the top Sell order and match it directly. For example, if I was going to buy DEC using the details below I could place an order for up to 109,509.243 DEC at .00726 (93,780.161+4,200+529.082+10,000=109,509.243). If I wanted more than that I would need to either place 2 orders or place my larger desired order at a higher price using the next order listed (In this case, .00728).
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Wrap Up

Well that was a blast to write. I hope you have enjoyed reading this guide as much I as did writing and were able to learn some of the things quickly that I struggled through. I plan to update this as I continue to learn as well as eventually throw up an ROI infographic using the data from my experiences over the next few months.

If you are feeling generous please support the developers of the sites I listed and of course I'm always appreciate of a bone thrown my way too.

Images were created using screen captures of application menus via snagit and all content is mine unless otherwise mentioned



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Welcome to the HIVE blockchain and THE TERMINAL in Discord! 🙂

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@kotenoke

As KittyGirl mentioned, wonderful to meet you in TheTerminal Discord! A big shout out to @failingforwards for encouraging you to jump on into the HIVE. This is one heck of a write-up, for all things SplinterLands!! I look forward to seeing what else you have to share with us!!

Wes...

!LUV !WINE !giphy Welcome To HIVE

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Check out the last post from @hivebuzz:

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Thanks for the love everyone. Exploring Hive has been a rush and I hope to share my experiences with all of those that could benefit. Appreciate the advice on adding image credits by the way.

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Hello, @kotenoke! This is @traciyork from the @ocd (Original Content Decentralized) curation team. We noticed you shared your first post here on Hive - congratulations and welcome! And what an amazing post it is - I haven't dipped my toes into the Splinterlands water yet, but I'm impressed by how awesomely detailed and extensive this is!

It would also be awesome if you could do an introduction post, so our community can get to know you better. For an example of what an intro post is like, you can check out this one by my friend & curation team member -

Keeping Up With the Buzz - My Introduction to the Hive Community.

Speaking of community, we have many different ones here on the blockchain, devoted to all kinds of interests. Here's a link so you can check them all out - Hive Communities . I think you'll find these two particularly interesting to start off with -

Splinterlands

Hive Gaming Community

Also, as Hive can sometimes be quite confusing, the newly launched Newbies Guide should be helpful to you, as it is a growing repository of useful and easy to understand posts about how the Hive ecosystem works.

Please be aware that Hive is a bit different from other social media platforms since you are monetizing your blog, so it is important not to include content that you don't own without sources (and it shouldn't exceed 50% of the post). For more information, check this post - Why and How People Abuse and Plagiarise by hivewatchers.

Since you're new, you may run into an RC (Resource Credits) error when trying to comment/post because you don't yet have enough Hive in your account yet. For assistance with a temporary delegation to get you started, be sure to check out the Gift Giver site.

For now, @lovesniper will follow your account and we are looking forward to seeing your intro post. Also, please mention (also known as tagging) @traciyork & @lovesniper in your intro post in order for us to be notified, so we can consider your post for OCD curation. Lastly, feel free to hop into the OCD Discord server if you have any questions!

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Welcome, @kotenoke! Glad to hear that you are enjoying your stay both on Hive and Splinterlands. My guildmate @failingforwards mentioned you, so I thought I'd check out your post. We're always looking for peeps that are actively blogging on any Hive front end to join our guild(s).

Check us out on our Discord server if you like https://discord.gg/4HKTGTKa

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