Splinterlands and the Bot Situation

Splinterlands and the Bot Situation.png

Hey guys,

today I want to write up some thoughts in the bot situation.First and foremost for everyone who isn't aware, Splinterlands is permitting users to have their accounts played by bots. It's not against any terms of conduct or rules in the game.

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Secondly a large majority of the daily active users are bots. There is no exacts number that has been confirmed but youtubers like Tales from the Cryptmancer and others have investigated the issue and its very likely we "only" have around 20-40k unique/real players, maybe even less.


A lot of discussion has evolved about the whole situation and there are definitely some aspects which are quit negative.

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  • The new player experience is outright awful

The largest amounts of bots are playing in bronze league, because it has the lowest requirements. Bots can rent single copies of certain cards for extremely cheap and earn with them. This leads to bronze league largely being a very unpleasant league to be in. On one hand, because it's no fun to play against accounts with names like "asdkljasflk" or "121238231" and on the other, because the bots are very strong and almost always pick the best team. When you're a new player with limited choices, because you don't own a large collection yet or don't even know how the mechanics work, there's no chance for you to win against the bots. And even if you manage to get a win the earnings are so meaningless that it's just very discouraging.

  • Bots extract value from the eco system

Large bot farms don't reinvest their earnings back into the game to grow their collection for example, but just sell off what they get, resulting in reward cards being worth almost nothing, because the supply that's being "farmed" by the bots completely outweighs the demand.



Bots aren't all bad, though.

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  • Cheap cards

Yes, bots are selling off all their reward cards and driving down their prices, but this is great for new players, who either don't have a lot of funds or are just not sure if they want to invest into the game, yet. With some cards being as cheap as a penny, these players can get strong cards for super cheap.

  • Queue time

With only 20-40k players queue times for games would be way longer. And with a game like Splinterlands, where the playing time per game is 3 minutes (after that you can watch the battle of course) it is very important to have fast queue times and not play for 3 minutes and then have to wait for 10.

  • Automation

Not all bots are the same. There are those who only rent the bare minimum and sell off everything they earn as long as it's profitable. These are usually behind the thousands of accounts and farms.
But there's also more "intelligent" bots like Archmage and Xbot, which either take a 35% fee off of your earnings or require a token you have to purchase first. Both of these aren't as easily scalable as those bot farms and they offer automation for players who don't actually want to extract value form the game but just don't want to play every single day.

I personally have been playing Splinterlands daily, grinding out my quests (sometimes even on two accounts) every single day for over a year. At some point I didn't really enjoy it any more but didn't want my investment go to "waste". So I rented out my cards. However every now and then I like to play a tournament or guild brawls, which I can't really do when my cards are rented out, since there is a 24h cancel period and then also a cooldown timer.

A bot allows me to have my account being played and put the investment to "use" on a regular basis, while at the same time being able to log in and play tournaments and brawls every now and then. Which brings me to my next point.


Tournaments and Brawls

I am of the firm belief that those modes should be players only. We already established that playing against bots isn't as much fun as playing against real players and in a highly competitive mode like a tournament it also painful to lose against an AI that can process all the needed information way faster and more precisely than a human.

I haven't thought about how to make sure of this, but from my point of view it's surely the way to go. It's more fun, it keeps real players active in the game and it enables larger amounts of rewards (maybe sponsors and an e-sport league in the future), because they can't be farmed day and night by bots. With ghost card tournaments it also provides new players with an exciting opportunity.



I personally think bots themselves aren't the problem. The latest reward changes that penalize your earnings for cards you don't own or that aren't leveled up to a league specific minimum should keep the bots in check. And we've actually seen this work. Since the changes went live daily active users went down from 400k to 170k and didn't go back up. So a lot of the bots went off line.

However there definitely has to be done something about the new player experience. I don't have a solution on top of my head, but maybe something connected to a battle pass, where new players complete missions / quests against AI and get rewarded with cards. Those could either be soul bound cards they can only use to climb ranks and that would give them an advantage over bots or ghost cards they don't actually own and can't earn with. There could also be very powerful cards that they can only use for a certain amount of games or period of time. Completing these quests could be fun and a great way to teach new players the game while also giving them a little boost going into their ranked play, but nothing a bot could farm and abuse.

Lastly tournaments and brawls should be places free of bots, where it's down to the actual players skill and collection.


None of this is financial advice. These tips are for educational purposes only and might all fall out of date as both Splinterlands and the Crypto Market in general are subject to constant change.


Start playing Splinterlands today!

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Previous Posts

Check out my push into gold league: Part I, Part II, Part III

Check out my 5 tips for new players series: Part I, Part II, Part III

Hope you enjoyed the read. Have a great day and until next time!



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