The biggest selling point for players to try out Splinterlands is without a doubt the fact that it's possible to earn money by playing the game. Many seem to be rather hesitant to make the initial 10$ investment to get the Summoner's Spellbook which game unlocks earnings. I made an overview of how to get great returns and potentially freeroll the game.
Starting out with high expectations in terms of game earnings will lead to disappointment. The most healthy way to view Splinterlands is as a regular game with the difference that it allows you to earn some micropayments which have the potential to add up if you play daily. The game is actually good and can be compared to games people pay for and play just for fun (unlike almost all other crypto games). I see the fact that you actually own your cards along with the earnings factor as a game within the game which gives everything an extra dimension. There is also always the potential for it to really get popular which will increase the card prices (we are still very early on) and the small chance you have each day to get one of the really rare 40$+ reward cards.
How To FreeRoll Splinterlands?
Playing the game as a Free Roller means being able to earn rewards from the game without having anything money invested and at risk. Since there is no real way to earn rewards without first getting the 10$ Summoner's Spellbook, it means you will need to earn that 10$ back first which should not be all that difficult.
By getting the Summoner's Spellbook, you also get access to your private keys from both Steem & Hive. With those, you can actually start selling cards you earn (I use monstermarket.io) and engage with the Splinterlands community joining some of the challenges which will get rewarded by the team and other players.
Especially the blogging allows you to very quickly earn back the initial 10$ investment if it is something you personally enjoy. Each week a new challenge is presented which rewards everyone that takes part (Link to this week's Challenge). I made 8 posts in the last 2 months combined which added up to around 25$ in net earnings (See March earnings Report). These earnings are not linked to card collection values and anyone who is willing to put a little bit of effort into it can get these. As a new player, I would personally make a weekly post on my progression while also joining the weekly Share Your Battle Challenge which is the best way to earn the initial 10$ investment back and move forward from there on out.
Getting Great Returns
The game can be approached from a Return on Investment point of view with your card collection value being the investment and the game earnings being the returns. You want the earnings to be meaningful considering the fact that you are playing a game (20$-100$/month) while you are having an enjoyable experience without overly having to spend time on it. Some of my personal tips to make this happen...
- Leveling Up Summoners & Cards
This is quite a tricky one because having more cards available to choose from is far better compared to having a lot fewer cards & summoners at a higher level. I would say when looking purely at earning a reasonable amount while still remaining good ROI, there is very little point to leveling up summoners higher than Level 3. Level 3 allows you to play all Golden Foil Cards at their starting stats and they each give +10% extra DEC earnings. From my personal experience playing both a Level 5 and Level 3 account, the difference in earnings is rather neglectable. (Both Reach around Diamond 1 or 2 League currently)
- Sign-up Deal
I'm personally offering a win-win deal where I help everyone out who is willing to try the game using my Referral Link giving them a big early game advantage by leasing up to 48 extra cards. For the full deal check this post.
To give an example of what is possible as a starting player, @diostrade & @a1b1n1 signed up 6 days ago under my affiliate getting all the card leases and already managed to grind their way up to Gold 1 league with an owned collection value of around 6$. They both did grind out a lot of games, since win streaks give extra progression it is possible to get up to higher ranks this way.
- Daily Routine
Completing the Daily quests is key to getting the best returns because they give out Reward Chests while increasing your rank for more end of season rewards. Having most Summoners balanced makes completing these quests quite easy. For me, it usually takes 10-20 minutes each day and it's one of the first things I do in the morning after I wake up. Having some kind of routine certainly helps in this regard.
- Community Card & DEC Giveaways
Many people are giving away free cards on Steemit/Hive, especially when you are a starting player these can really accelerate the pace of growing your own card collection. Most of these posts can be found on the Splinterlands Discord in the #sm-giveaways-posts channel. Some recent examples of players who do giveaways:
@stever82 | Splinterlands Game Rule Strategies With a Chance to win DEC
@cryptofiloz | Splinterlands Quest Giveaway (Win Free Card) - Round #406
@forever-crypto | Take Your Choice #2 - Splinterlands Giveaway on Steem - Which card do you want to win?
@threejay | Splinterlands: 250 DEC daily give away ##273(NO UP-VOTE, RE-STEEM , or FOLLOW Required)
- Making Friends / Joining Guild
Engaging in the community is an excellent way to meet other players and make some friends. If you have a bigger social network in the game you are likely to be helped out or can help out others with needed cards, insights on the game, notifications, ... It also very much adds to the fun while being part of a Guild also gives you extra DEC earnings each win.
- Capture Rate % and DEC Earnings Maximisation Each game you play, your capture rate goes down while it replenishes over time. the closer you are to 100% the more DEC you will earn. Not leaving your capture rate sitting at 100% helps to get better returns. The game also has a mechanism to balance out the number of players at a certain time by giving out more DEC for a win when there are fewer players on the network and less DEC when more players are playing. You basically want to drain your capture rate at times when rewards are high. Having some friends in the game and giving each other notice from this makes quite a big difference.
- Buying Cards on Market vs Buying Packs
Basically, when you buy cards directly from other players on the market you know exactly what you are going to get while card packs give you a chance to get lucky drawing very Rare Legendary or Golden Cards.
For as far as the expected value goes, buying cards from the market is almost always cheaper unless the game gets to a point where buying packs and being able to sell the cards on the market is profitable. Opening packs does give quite some extra fun value
- Best Value Cards
You actually don't need the more expensive Epic or Legendary cards to do well. Many of the cheap cards offer excellent value. If I were to buy a competitive collection from scratch I with a limited budget I would not include any legendary card but focus on finding cheap leveled up summoners along with many 0.01-0.04$ cards. One example is the Sea Monster vs the Chain Golem where the stats don't really justify the price difference. (Both are awesome cards). I would also mainly focus on getting older cards that are fully printed already. Long story short, fancy cards are fun you can get way better ROI with the cheap cards.
- Finding Cheap Cards On the Market
New players come and old players leave all the time. Sometimes players are looking to sell their collection without wanting to wait all too long end up offer them for a cheap price on the market. By being able to spot these and buying them up you can make some great returns since cards are worth more than what you buy them for. Checking the market regularly spotting someone who is selling lower-level cards cheaper for each card compared to some that sell their higher level cards is a method I use. When you search their username in the game you will also be able which other cards they are selling that usually also will come at a big discount. Also at the end of the season, reward cards tend to be cheaper because selling pressure increases a bit so you might want to time your purchase.
- Buying Cheap Packs
The game has a 2nd hand market for Card Packs where they are sold for cheaper than what they go for if the official store. Higher Level players get card packs as a reward at the end of the season and some bought them early on to be part of the airdrop. 2nd hand card packs can be bough on steem-engine or Monstermarket. They do not grant spots for the airdrop and I'm not sure to what extent it is possible to see what cards are in there without opening them.
I did buy 10 Untamed Packs myself recently for 0.562$ each (5.62$ total) and the cards in them were worth 6.03$ last time I checked their market value. Thanks to @clove71 for the tip and the DEC to get me some potions to open them!
- Blogging & Affiliate Earnings
As already mentioned above, getting active in the community can give a big boost while blogging allows you to spread your personal affiliate link which potentially gives you some extra earnings which can add up over time as mo.
- Other ways
There are plenty of other ways to increase your earnings and returns like Entering Tournaments, Using Golden Foil Cards to increase DEC earnings, Leasing cards to play or leasing out cards getting passive income in return, improving your game to get higher ranking and more rewards, buying most rank efficient cards,...
Even though I consider myself somewhat of an "ROI grinder", the game pushes me to the point where I am getting cards just for fun as I enjoy the experience of growing my collection while having more options available to battle. If you plan on trying out Splinterlands, make sure to use my Referral Link so you get all the benefits that come with it (See here). I will start off leasing a Creeping Ooze to everyone signing up so you know you are under my affiliate and will all the cards if you actually start playing the game!