Aside from the upcoming launch of the Untamed edition, a major focus of the Splinterlands development team has been getting ready for large-scale growth of the game. We are gearing up for a significant marketing push in 2020 and we want to make sure the product delivers an experience that converts as many new people as possible into dedicated players. We're excited to announce the release of the first major initiative geared towards that goal.
As most of you know, in order to create a new account in the Splinterlands game and to play it requires the purchase of the $10 Starter Set. This purchase both covers the cost of the actual Steem account creation and the indirect cost of unlocking the ability to earn in-game rewards.
The downside, however, is that it creates a large barrier to entry for new players who would like to try the game out a bit before having to fork over $10. While we don't have any exact numbers, we believe that we have lost a decent amount of potential players who were initially interested in trying the game but weren't ready to buy the Starter Set up front.
As a result, we have been working on a way to allow new players to create an account (a real Steem account) and start playing the game for free, but then still require the $10 Starter Set purchase in order to "unlock" their account and the ability to earn rewards in the game.
We expect to release this new feature on Monday, October 28th, and it will work as described below.
New Account Creation
Players who are new to the game and who do not already have a Steem account will be able to create an account for free in order to try out the game before deciding whether or not to purchase the Starter Set.
They will be prompted to choose a username, which will serve as their Steem account name, and then they will be prompted to enter their email address and choose a password which will serve as their login credentials for the game.
Splinterlands will then create the Steem blockchain account with the player's chosen name, but will NOT provide the master password. Instead, the master password for the account will be securely stored and encrypted on our servers and will be provided to the player only upon request (more on this later).
When the player logs in with their email address and chosen password, only their private posting key will be made available to the game website in order for them to sign and publish transactions to the Steem blockchain and play the game. This will all happen behind the scenes and as far as the player is concerned they will just log in with their email address and password and be able to play.
Starter Set Changes
With this new system, the Starter Set will no longer be required in order to participate in both Practice and Ranked battles. Without a Starter Set, however, players will be unable to earn DEC through winning Ranked battles, complete Daily Quests, earn Ranked Season Rewards, or participate in tournaments.
Additionally with this change, anyone who has an account will have access to use level 1 versions of ALL Common and Rare cards in the Beta edition set in battles. Accounts created after the Untamed edition release (currently scheduled for November) will have access to level 1 versions of all of the Common and Rare cards from the Untamed edition instead of Beta.
The reason for increasing the number of cards available to all players is that we want new players to have as much of a fun and interesting game experience as possible right off the bat so they will be more inclined to stick around.
The current set of 30 cards that are available to new players means that they only have access to 9 Monster cards to choose from when making a team (4 splinter-specific cards and 5 neutrals). This gives extremely few options and little variety when creating a team. By opening it up to all Common and Rare cards, the number of Monsters available to new players will increase to 15, which we hope should make things more interesting and help get new players hooked.
The purchase of the $10 Starter Set will then unlock the following features:
- DEC rewards for Ranked battle wins
- Access to Daily Quests
- Access to Ranked Season Rewards
- Ability to participate in tournaments
- Ability to purchase Booster packs through the game website
- Access to the master password for the Steem blockchain account
Master Password Access
Once a player has purchased the Starter Set, they will have an option in the Settings page in the game to request their Master Password. This will require a manual verification process over email or Discord.
If a player wishes to request their master password without purchasing the Starter Set, they can contact us via email or Discord and we will handle on a case-by-case basis to prevent abuse.
"Playable" Card Collection Filter
The card collection screen on the game website will now default to a new filter option called "Playable" which will show all of the cards that the current player has access to use in battles.
This is different than the "Owned" filter as it will show cards that are available to all accounts to use in battle even if the player doesn't actually own them, as well as any cards that are delegated to the player from another account. The "Owned" filter will now only show cards of which the current player actually owns real copies.
New Player Help Popups
While ultimately we're working towards a robust new player tutorial system, in the meantime we've added some basic help popups that will appear the first time a new player visits certain screens in the game such as battle, collection, and the market.
We expect that this will be a big improvement over what we have currently and at least provide new players with a little more information about what's going on, what to do, and where to get help.
Stay tuned for more updates from the Splinterlands!