Caustic Takes: Splinterlands - Impact of the Recent Reward Changes

Caustic Takes: Splinterlands - Impact of the Recent Reward Changes

By cgrave | cgrave | 9 Nov 2021

If you are reading this post, you probably do not need any further introduction to Splinterlands. However, for the sake of the rare few who do not have any idea what I am talking about, Splinterlands, formerly known as Steem Monsters, is a Play-to-Earn (P2E) NFT Card game which went viral approximately 4 months ago when the Splintershards (SPS) airdrop was first announced.

The game operates on the Hive blockchain and can be Free-to-Play (F2P) if you have no intention of earning anything from the game. A small investment of USD10 to purchase the Summoner's Spellbook is required before players are able participate in ranked battles and start earning rewards. Through ranked battles, players can earn Dark Energy Crystals (DEC), the main in-game currency of Splinterlands. At the time of this post, 1 DEC was worth USD0.01178893. Not surprisingly, bots were quickly created to exploit the system and farm as much DEC as possible without spending time or money on building their deck or learning and playing the game.

The bots overtaxed the game servers and negatively affected the gameplay experience for genuine players. At the end of September 2021, the developers decided to make changes to the game economy and rewards. Loot chests earned from Quests or Season Rewards in the Bronze/Novice Leagues would no longer give out DEC. Instead, they would give out Credits. Credits can be purchased using PayPal or accepted cryptocurrencies and is fixed at 1,000 Credits for $1. This means that 1 Credit = USD0.001 or 0.08482534 DEC. 1 DEC = 11.78893 Credits.image.png

Revised Loot Chest Rewards. (Source)

At the beginning of November, further changes were implemented to prevent the farming of DEC by bots. The developer removed DEC rewards for ranked battle wins in Bronze III and Novice Leagues. To earn DEC rewards, and later SPS rewards, players would need to minimally qualify for the Bronze II League. For those unwilling to spend on the game, this may be easier said than done.

To qualify for Bronze II, players need a minimum of 1,000 Power. The Power of an account is determined by the total DEC value of all playable cards owned or rented by the player. This means that a player would need to either obtain enough cards through the various reward chests or spend money to purchase or rent cards from other players. To put things into perspective, players in the Bronze/Novice Leagues get only 1 loot chest from the daily quest and 5-9 loot chests as a season reward.


Requirements and Rewards for the Bronze Leagues. (Source)

Players can increase the number of loot chests dropped for the daily Quest reward by using the Quest potion. This can be obtained from loot chests or purchased from the shop for 750 DEC. That is USD8.841698 for 5 extra loot chests. If you choose not to spend money on Quest potions or buying/renting cards, it is impossible as a new player to meet the 1,000 power required to enter the Bronze II League to earn DEC.

To earn DEC in the loot chests, players need to meet the 15,000 Power requirement for the Silver League and achieve a minimum 1,000 rating. Achieving a rating of 1,000 is not difficult, even for new players, as it only requires a player to have a fair understanding of the game to win enough ranked battles. The 15,000 Power requirement is another matter altogether. After playing the game for 3 months, I barely have 2,000 Power. I cannot imagine how many more months would be needed to reach 5,000 Power, much less 15,000 Power.


Requirements and Rewards for the Silver Leagues. (Source)

Approximately 2 months ago, I decided to purchase 100 Quest potions and record the daily loot chest rewards. After the changes made to the loot chest rewards for the Bronze Leagues, I realised that it was easy enough to determine the impact of the reward changes by comparing the drops pre- and post-change.





A detailed analysis would probably just fill the post with too many screenshots hence I have taken a rough sample of 6 Quest rewards pre- and post-change to give an idea of how the change has affected the rewards for a Bronze League player. As you can see from the above, the average dollar value of the rewards pre-change is higher than the average dollar value of the rewards post-change. I do not have the exact figures but I reckon it should be approximately 80%, which is roughly the difference between 1 Credit and 1 DEC. Card drops have also decreased.

Essentially, the developers have made it more difficult for the new player to reach any of the higher leagues with the reward nerfs. Do remember that the quest rewards shown above have been inflated through the purchase of Quest potions. Without Quest potions, pick 1 of any 6 and you will get an idea of how an F2P new player (one who does not spend any money or purchase anything with the earned rewards) would fare under the new economy.

This post is solely for reference and is based on my personal experience. It does not constitute as any form of financial advice and readers are advised to always do their own research before investing in anything, crypto or otherwise.

This post was originally posted on HIVE.

For more Caustic Takes, follow me on @cgrave

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