Invasion of the Splinterbots: A Dire Warning, Solutions, And more!
Invasion of the Splinterbots: In Depth Analysis w/ Dire Warning and more!

Invasion of the Splinterbots: A Dire Warning, Solutions, And more!


 

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Game Mechanics: Amazing Machinations
If you aren't playing Splinterlands yet click here to sign up and get a FREE CARD!
In this section I will highlight positive aspects of Splinterlands. The developers did an excellent job of actualizing a wonderful card game. The cons ,while not numerous, will be highlighted in depth later.
1. Simple Mechanics with a multitude of combinations
Splinterlands has easy to learn mechanics that offer depth of play at higher tiers. However, even in the lower tiers there is such possibility and card variety that you will still always be seeing something new. There are an almost endless plethora of possible lineups and card combinations, as well as a variety of summoners to choose from.
2. Depth of Counterplay: Steps Ahead
With endless combination comes endless counter play. Anticipating your opponent's lineup while they anticipate yours is a part of this (all in the confines of an all but certain ruleset). However, due to the mechanics of synergy within the game (Summoner buffs, attack position abilities, and areas of attack) there are many combinations available for a wide variety of playstyles. There will never be any unbeatable combination across every match. There are so many factors at play any battlemage should always be on their toes.
1. Card Ownership: It's Your Spellbook Battlemage
Each card in every account owns their OWN cards (Spellbook phantom cards excluded) and can lend, rent, trade, give, or sell them to any other player in the game (or cash them into actual money). This isn't offered in many collectible card games.

Of course these 3 pillars of acheivement for Splinterlands are huuuuuuuge points in their favor, it is very hard for a game to achieve the level of complexity and depth in a simple package with an easy to unwrap bow. This game has the potential to appeal to all manner of card players. There are issues that keep it from reaching a mainstream audience however. Sadly here we must delve into the negative aspects of gameplay (as they stand today), keeping in mind that these problems can be solved (and will need to be solved if this game is to ever gain player base beyond the composite it has now).

Wrenches in the Gears: Gameplay Issues


Again, this is an overall positive review of Splinterlands. The game itself has massive potential, but these issues need to be addressed otherwise the game will never be able to prosper economically beyond a certain level (I'm talking competing with Hearthstone, Eternal, etc.). It has the potential to dominate the genre, but certain issues will keep this from happening.
1. Bots, Bots, and more Bots
There are bots as far as the eye can see, these bots are even in gold tier this last season (and positioned to advance to higher leagues next season). That's right, the bot issue is crawling up from bronze to knock on the champion league's doorstep. These bots are leaking DEC from the DEC pool from real players, and siphoning SPS (stake and influence in Splinterlands, yup these botters get the influence to change the game too). This practice has been essentially endorsed through lack of action by the devs. Throughout every AMA the public has asked for a solution for bots and the developers have sidestepped or postponed the issue even now. Sadly, this issue is the Achilles heel of the entire Splinterlands dynamic. The most recent rewards update was an effort to combat the rampant hemorrhaging of DEC and cards from bronze league caused by the high density of bots in that league. That league merely requires a spellbook to make a bot (madness). This however has nullified the majority of rewards for bronze players too, it will be relatively easy for the bots to re-inv(f)est into Silver League. So will the solution after that be a rewards reduction for Silver league to stop the bleeding? Gold? Where does it end? This isn't sustainable, a more effective long term solution needs to be established.

That's it. That's the main issue, but it's such a big issue it gets multiple sections below.


Splinterbots: Deadly Spinning Androids

An issue with bots, beyond the aforementioned, is that they can also be used to cast a negative light upon the game itself once this game is viewed as competition on the competitive card game market. There will be people who will try to spin this to capsize the game as they will not want it to have a seat at the table on the TCG and CCG video game mainstream market. If someone were to see what has happened so far (the soft endorsement of bots, the uneven ratio of bots to players in certain leagues, and the general increase of value in all assets) they could display it in a way that makes it seem like the developers passive endorsement of bots has been to inflate the player statistics to draw value in for the game. In all of the posts about growth the bots are referred to as "sign ups" or "spell book purchases". Not all of these have to be a real person. A developed company could easily use this data , that is transparent on the blockchain , to make it seem like a story of deception instead of a story of ignoring an issue. This would be a worst case scenario and could crash the game at whichever moment it reaches peak exposure. It would be very hard to draw people in and develop a playerbase with the smell of "scandal" lingering on the project for months or years to come. This is unlikely to happen at this stage, but if bots are not dealt with by the time Splinterlands is recommended in the app store it could lead to a reputation blot or worse. At that stage any game company affiliated youtuber etc. could use the current in-game standard as an excuse to mar the reputation of this wonderful game. Net neutrality will not be an effective screen against this sort of spin either as it has been thus far. The net neutrality response WILL be viewed as an endorsement. I know those of us in the crypto space may want "net neutrality", but this is a GAME (on the android app store no less) not the wild west. Players will see it as the equivalent of "Well this Call of Duty player bought the game, so it's his right to be able to use aim-bot on his account if he wants."

Botting Excuses: Propelled with Hot Air

**1. It's too profitable, how else can I make money on my cards when I'm not using them?**


This isn't really true. If botters were to rent their cards in sets as decks to players they would do better, much more so than individually or by botting. Both Monster Market AND Peakmonsters will be launching this feature soon (it may already be out at the time of this post), it is much more profitable than botting. Botting is just avariciously bleeding the game dry, transparently no less. It's very short sighted too, as it depreciates the value of the WHOLE GAME.


**2 It's too hard to hinder them, so why bother?**

This nihilistic response and approach is the most pathetic, if that is the case we should ALL cash out now. If the reason is "it's too hard man" that doesn't bode well for the future of the game. One solution is simply having a captcha once a day to collect your daily mission. This is NOT inconvenient OR difficult, considering the alternative is the long term collapse of the game. With said captcha, NFT card earnings for bots would be SEVERELY reduced without needing to resort to reducing the rewards for everyone in bot infested tiers.

**3 "If we remove the bots there wouldn't be enough people to play against?"**

If that's the case what are you investing in? Shadow boxing robots created by crypto whales? Sounds silly, doesn't it? The number of players should be the ACTUAL number of players and not have the hyped and exaggerated prices caused by these "sign ups" (bots).

**4 "Those aren't bots, look at the cards people are buying, people must be playing!"**

This also isn't true. Technically ,at the bare minimum, there would need to be 2 people with a lot of money wanting to equip their bot armies. They might even be using bot accounts to buy the cards to add layers of illusion to the market.

 The REAL Numbers: As Observed By Peakmonsters
In @peakmonsters peakd article here there is very helpful information. We get ACTUAL DATA on how many bots are actually engaged within Splinterlands and how many real players have cards vs. how many alts/ and or bots are out there. The numbers do not lie. Alts being less of a detriment as only 1 account can be played at a time, a human is necessary to be behind the wheel so it doesn't cause the same detriment as all accounts constantly farming via bots. However, the majority of these accounts are robots not alts.
- Everyone that has cards: 271,104
- All non-bot or alt accounts: 167,610
- Every Account that has ever won a game: 568,952
- Accounts transferring all DEC out (to the penny): 493,517
- Total Accounts Playing Recently: 434,253

As you can see the numbers support that more than half of these accounts are alts or bots. That is crazy to think about and is a huge issue for further development. Perhaps this is a potential cause for the recent market shift?
Final Thoughts: Positive Review w/ Dire Warning
Games are valued based on gameplay (that's the perceived value that creates the value of in game currency) and botting is essentially the only thing hindering the gameplay (perceived value) in this game from taking a seat in the mainstream CCG and TCG table. If we want this game to have real value and breakthrough to the mainstream market botting needs countermeasures. It's that simple. It could even take the throne if the bot issue is dealt with. However, until that time this game is in fact tethered and can't go beyond a point because ANY NUMBER OF NEW PLAYERS COULD BE ROBOTS. This also means this could be a "pump" being done while the devs sit and watch it happen. This leads to grievous issues later, just not at this current time. The issues that it potentially does lead to could be dire, causing anywhere from a price dip to a permanent stain the game won't be able to shake (long term value crash). Aside from that, gameplay is superbly well done and future prospects could lead to an excellent game. Overall this a positive review, but with a dire warning. I also discuss botting in another post here (ages ago), this is not a new issue and this is not the first time someone has mentioned that this is a serious problem either (It is one of the first things mentioned in EVERY AMA since the start). This issue is constantly being discussed and is a common conversation among the player base (even as memes). However it impacts EVERYONE (even the whales), and by the time diamond and champion league are wondering why there are so many bots it will be too late. The devs need to prioritize this in the upcoming months. This is my view as a CCG/TCG professional, crypto investor, AND someone who loves this game and wants it to take the crown. The developers have made a great game, but it NEEDS a sustainable bot solution. There are the funds to do it and the means. Don't be idle #BanTheSplinterbots #FightForSplinterlands . If you are a member of the Spinterlands team please understand that I'm on your side and love this game too. The only reason I'm going to the effort to post this is that I care about and truly appreciate all the work you guys are doing. It would be a shame to see all the hard work you guys have put forth to be for naught. If you are a botter, this isnt attacking you either. No one is telling you WHY it's a bad idea long term for YOUR assets, until now. I'm just trying to inform some of you about aspects of perceived value and roadmap potential beyond "mining with bots", and more profitable alternatives for your long-term assets that won't depreciate their value.

Potential Solutions: There is hope
A few solutions are:
- Letting players run the posting keys for the account and have said players be paid a percentage of the dec they attain (50/50 or otherwise negotiated).
- Deck rentals (Coming soon I'm sure)
- A Captcha (one a day for the daily quest)

These are all suggestions that hold water. The only thing that most of us can agree on is that something needs to be done about the long term market viability of these assets, because botting is doing more harm than good. I personally have hope or I wouldn't be posting anything in the first place to inform all of you of the predicament we are all in.

This Week's Giveaway: Bot Community Discussion

To enter this giveaway all you have to do is like AND comment your view on bots below. The winner of this giveaway will receive a molten ogre for 15 days. Anyone who comments with in depth thoughts will receive a special secret delegation prize, all opinions valid. Don't forget to follow for more Splinterlands content, including tournaments, giveaways, and much much more!

 

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CryptoniusRex
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