Welcome to the next episode in my Splinterlands gaming experience.
My focus since starting to play Splinterlands and acquiring the spellbook has been to complete the daily quest consistently as this seems to be the only way of potentially (and slowly) improving the power of my decks by gaining new cards.
Easier said than done since all quests so far involved winning 5 ranked games with a specific splinter. As a Bronze 3 player gravitating around 100 rating being matched up against rating 500-1000 is a certain defeat. While battling the windmills and trying to play every single game to the best of my ability I discovered that there is literally nothing I can do to stand a chance against these much higher rated players as their cards simply obliterate whatever free cards I can use. The fact that Splinterlands does not seem to care about matching you with similarly rated players (at least at the very low ratings) is probably driven by the pool of players, which is less than for a standard TCG.
So, with limited time to play and get to 5 daily wins with a certain deck and with the knowledge that I will lose 95% of the games I decided to play in the most efficient manner possible.
That is: chain surrendering until the rating drops below 100 and I am at novice rank. Then, I have a shot of winning a game. This takes me again to Bronze 3 and pairs me with 3-4-500+ rating players. Rinse and repeat.
This method cuts down the time needed to get to 5 wins to 20-30 mins at most. This is manageable. Still, more time than I would expect to spend for such a small reward and without the added benefit of feeling that you actually become better at the game. But at least, it's a start. I think the gamemasters realized this issue and at least had the decency of implementing a bot system for the novice rank which in most cases guarantees you a win - will call that the pity win. That, or people are trying to acquire cards by creating multiple accounts and applying this same strategy.
3 days in and I have gained 1 card (which is utterly useless), 14 DEC (again, utterly useless for progression) and 1 card that is probably useful but can't do much alone, yet.
Unfortunately, bludgeoning people sufficiently so that they decide to spend money is not an ideal direction of game development. Instead, dangling the carrot in front of them, giving them the feeling they can get better ranking through skill and then hit them with slightly more powerful decks that will challenge them up to the point they are hooked and they will spend money to get a shot at that ultra-powerful wombo-combo... that is better game development.
My feeling is that Splinterlands is trying to achieve the best of both worlds - 1 being a competitive fun card game and the other being a revolutionary NFT riding the bandwagon of cryptocurrency trends and trying to make some people earn money in the process. The latter obviously has an impact on game design as it channels the creative energy towards more profit oriented gimmicks than good game design.
For the moment I will continue working towards improving my deck and honing my skills. Let the grind begin!
PS: I have a nagging feeling that the bloody spellbook needs to be purchased every season. Leave a comment below if that is true please as I could not find any relevant information on this anywhere.