As Creative Director for Splinterlands, I decided to give my personal musings in response to some of the chatter I see on Discord.
For the most part, I think the majority of Splinterlands players were overjoyed to hear about the plans to add further depth to the game by expanding gameplay to include land ownership, resource management, crafting system, spells, items, and all the rest. There was overwhelming positivity and eager expectations.
However, there were also those who have expressed concern and even outright disdain at the thought of changing a game for which we have all grown so passionate. And that’s okay. Opposing opinions and collaborative discussion is how we’ve been able to succeed where other blockchain games continue to stumble.
YOU GUYS ROCK!
Community has always been (and will continue to be) a huge aspect of Splinterlands development. I don’t think anyone seriously questions this. After all, there are plenty of examples where public opinion has swayed the direction of many aspects of the game and how it is developed. You may agree or disagree on those changes to stats, features, names, or functionality...but I think we can all admit that there is always a willingness to be open to feedback.
Now I’m not here to debate the pros and cons of every proposed road map item. But I WOULD like to offer some perspective from someone who has been neck deep in the creative aspects of the game since launch.
NERDS ARE WE.
First and foremost, the majority of team members love gaming. And for those that are not hardcore gamers, they are huge fans of anything creative. Just like you, we invested years in all things geek, whether that be Magic: The Gathering, Hearthstone, Dungeons & Dragons, online RPGs, you name it. The objective with Splinterlands is to create a fun blockchain game that is fueled and inspired by the same things we loved about other games over the years.
The focus has always been on “what can we do to make this game awesome?” Yes, we need to keep an eye on sustainability. Yes, Splinterlands is still a business, and businesses need to make money. But the philosophy has always been that by adding VALUE and increasing the FUN factor, the money will follow. We continue to add an absurd number of updates and features to the game on a consistent basis. I would not be surprised if we are THE most advanced, feature-rich NFT game in existence. Maybe we don’t have a huge team full of 3D animation experts, but just like the Avengers have “a Hulk”, Splinterlands has “a @yabapmatt”.
His vision and understanding of Steem technology allows our devs to push the boundaries of what’s possible in blockchain gaming. He is the perfect balance of practicality and innovation.
And then there’s @aggroed. Yes, he’s ambitious, but it’s not an ambition for ambition’s sake. It’s not an ambition to become rich, powerful, or famous. It’s a commitment born of passion. Passion for the things he BELIEVES in. He believes in blockchain. He believes in freedom. And he believes in kick@$$ games that are fun to play.
I’ve talked to him a lot to brainstorm, discuss ideas, or contemplate integration of possible features into the game. Same goes for when we talked about the land idea. Or the crafting, items, and spells. All the different ways we could squeeze in gameplay from our favorite RPGs. Not once--not ONE time--did the conversation ever turn to how we could squeeze the most money out of people.
If anything, most of these internal conversations revolved around things that only the most nerdy of nerds would care a goblin’s tooth about. We talk about LORE. We talk about a fictional world and fictional people and how we want everything to make sense to give the player a more immersive experience. Why? Because that’s what WE would want from a game.
I’ve continued to be blown away by the positive attitude, team work, knowledge, and experience amongst the entire Splinterlands team. Collectively, they work on a daily basis to make the Splinterlands the best it can be.
SOMETHING DIFFERENT, SOMETHING BETTER.
This isn’t a cash grab. This isn’t a greedy pump and dump, full of false promises and minimum effort. This is a social gaming experience being built brick by brick with blood, sweat, and tears. Molded and carefully crafted out of a love and appreciation for the games that came before.
The really cool part about this is that I truly believe we are creating something unique. The more the game evolves, the more it becomes its own beast, distinct from anything else in the industry.
Now let’s talk about the land stuff.
If you’re not jacked out of your mind at the prospect of building, mining, crafting, exploring, equipping, casting, and all the rest...then something’s wrong with you. Are you crazy? This stuff is absolutely AWESOME! This is a blockchain gamer’s dream come true! I already started stockpiling some DEC to prepare! I’m so excited!
For those of you who are concerned about any potential bot advantage or pay-to-win impact or newbie onboarding, take a big breath. Everything is fine. We’ll figure it out together. The point of announcing our plans so far in advance is so that we can look at this from all angles. We’ve got a ton load of spreadsheets and artwork and flow charts. We’ve been thinking about this for a long time. And getting you guys involved in the thought process can only make the game better!
Ultimately, we envision a game that allows you to explore the Splinterlands. We want an immersive tutorial experience. We want campaign mode. We want to tell stories and put you in the middle of it. We want a dynamic, ever-changing geopolitical landscape where you make a difference in the world, utilizing the characters and resources at your disposal. We want to add layers of depth and strategy that keep players entertained, regardless of the type of gameplay you enjoy. In parallel with that, you’ll have raiding and guild battles.
Ideally, if you only like one aspect of the game’s ecosystem, you should be able to focus on that aspect of the game while others may focus on other things. I imagine that many symbiotic relationships will result from the upcoming features (and marketplace). Or, if you’re like me, you’ll want to experience ALL of it.
EYE OF THE TIGER.
Yes, we’ll need to find creative solutions to balance bot vs human gameplay. But we readily accept the challenge. You and I are pioneers. We are making history, not just in the crypto space, but for the entire gaming industry. Let’s tackle this together!
Running in place is not our style. We’re not interested in giving you a hamster wheel and shouting “done!” We wouldn’t be satisfied with that, so why would you?
One step at a time. Little by little, we will create an empire.
Are you ready?
Disclaimer: All opinions expressed here are my own. All references to specific aspects of potential gameplay features may or may not happen, depending on development or market influences. I like cheese. If someday your DEC balance is replaced by a Cheese balance, it may or may not be my fault.