years months since its inception, Splinterlands has gone through a number of changes. So have I. When the game came out my time on Steem, or anywhere on the Internet, was rather limited, so I barely was aware of its existence. I first started getting excited about it around the time reward cards were introduced.
Yes, those were the days! Aggressively playing daily quests, selling reward cards, and trying to make it to higher and higher leagues in each season. Of course, with each season there was some additional challenge: either there were less cards rewarding a quest, or the seasons were gradually reduced from three to two weeks, not to mention the huge number of reward cards made taking them to the market almost pointless. Eventually I got fed up with the game, and stopped playing for a while. That was just before tournaments were introduced.
After a hiatus of a couple of weeks, I started getting interested in Splinterlands again. Not as a player, at that time Drugwars was the latest craze, and I was all over that one, but as an investor. Just as I started selling off my decks, I realized the potential of renting out my cards instead. Talking about eating your cake, while having it for later too. It was the best decision ever! After a while renting out cards became as exciting as it was playing them.
Getting to Know the Rental Market
Thanks to PeakMonsters I could easily look at what each card was worth, according to the value other players attributed to it. For a sales transaction that's pretty straight forward. You can ask a certain price for a card you want to sell, or make a bid if you want to buy it, and if someone decides to accept it (naturally the highest bid and the lowest ask), you got yourself a deal. But for renting them out, things are a bit more complex.
When you want to compare your card with the rest, there are a number of parameters to consider: What's the daily fee charged for a card? How long are the possible contracts they can be rented for? And most importantly, how high is the escrow in case of early termination?
Strategizing With the Escrow
What on Earth is an escrow? Admittedly, I had heard the term before, but I had no idea what it meant. Looking up its definition further confused me with legal terminology. By trial and error, however, I managed to figure out how this obligation of payment in case of breaking the contract works, and how I could make it work for me! As it turns out, most people keep breaking contracts all the time... so why should I not cash in on it?
What I found out worked quite well, was using a relatively low daily fee (compared to other rentals of the same card at the same level), to make it seem like a bargain renting the card from me (instead of anyone else). This meant, my cards were rented quickly, and even though I didn't make too much on them, it was better than offering an expensive rental contract that nobody wanted. To make up for the cheap offer I added a juicy escrow, in case people changed their minds mid-way through the rental period.
At first it was just an experiment, but I quickly noticed how careless people were. Although they initially signed a contract for a month, they gave me back my card after only two days. And it didn't seem to bother them that the escrow was10%, but soon even 20-30% of the daily rental fee! Best of all, I got my card back (which could immediately be rented by someone else), and I got the sum for the entire time the card was not rented! Needless to say, it was a cause for daily excitement to see which contract was broken, and how much more money I raked in from it. Even if renters were wise and responsible, keeping the contracts they had agreed on, it meant a constant income, so I didn't mind it either. Money kept flowing in.
Getting Back Into Playing
So what could I do with all this Steem coming in from successful rentals? Of course: buying more monster cards! I quickly replaced the Earth and Death decks, which I had sold off before discovering rentals. Then I got myself a couple extra beta packs since they were so cheap. This meant, that all of a sudden I had myself a few extra summoners and monsters. And even though they were all level one cards, I couldn't resist the temptation of playing them again, along with my higher level cards that were not being rented at the moment. As soon as I was back in the game, I was once again doing daily quests, and collecting reward cards.
Over the last couple of seasons, I made another shocking discovery: the more I played my cards the less people were renting them. What happened? Did the prices change so drastically? Looking at the market didn't suggest so. It was much rather the fact that if a card had been played recently, it would be in cool-down mode when it got transferred. So I'd have to stop playing them for a while before anyone would want to rent it. Never mind! So I decided to finish this season, and then take another break from Splinterlands, hoping for good rental contracts.
New Reward Cards Coming Out
So, am I going to stop playing? Well... I can't say for sure. They say there are new reward cards on the horizon, starting to be released next season. Also, by that time I'll have just about managed to collect enough Dark Energy Crystals to buy myself 500 charges of Basic Legendary Potion, meaning that I'll have a 25% higher chance of getting legendary reward card. So I guess I'll keep playing for a while before going back to rentals.
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