A few days ago, I completed my first full season in Splinterlands. Although I had played the game for a small portion of a previous season, I wanted to wait until I completed a full season to review the game. My hope is that this post remains brief, so I won't do an in depth overview of the game, but rather provide a short discussion about my most/least favorite aspects of the game.
Let's start with the good. I like that the game is easy to understand but hard to master. Within a day or so, I was able to grasp the basics of how the cards and their powers work. The rules are quite straightforward, and if you are ever in doubt as to how a card works, it is easy to find out by simply hovering your mouse over the icon that you don't understand. Although the basics of the game are intuitive, mastering the game will be a continual challenge. To win matches, you must successfully guess what team your opponent will play and develop a strategy to counter it.
The actual game play itself is fast. I like playing longer games such as Word of Warships when I have a significant amount of free time to devote to the game, but it generally takes less than a minute for me to join a Splinterlands match and choose my team. This is one of my favorite features because it gives me something to do while at work if I catch a quick break. If you want to watch the simulated battle, this can take a bit more time as you have to wait for the opponent to select their team, but this isn't strictly necessary as the result of the battle will automatically be written to the blockchain once both teams have been submitted.
The recent update which mandated a certain "power rating" to move up to the next level is the only thing I don't like about the game. Prior to this update, players could move up into higher leagues (and thus receive more rewards at the end of the season) based on their rating. The rating was determined by how many battles a player won, but the "power rating" is a function of the quantity and quality of a player's card collection. To use an example, I finished this season with a rating of over 1,000 which should have put me in the Silver III league and given me 12 loot chests at the end of the season. However, because I have not invested into purchasing more cards, my "power rating" kept me in the Bronze II league and I only received 7 loot chests.
I won't pretend to know the exact reason why this feature was implemented, but from my viewpoint, it comes of as money grabbing and punishes players who can achieve a good win record without spending a lot on cards. You could win every match, but until you invest in more cards, you will be stuck in lower tiers with lower rewards. The implementation of the power rating system discourages further game-play once you reach your highest allowed "power rating" league because further game play will not allow you to advance to higher leagues (although you still earn DEC).
The recent "power rating" update has made me less focused on leveling up, earning rewards, and making a profit from the game due to the need to continually invest more in the game. That being said, Splinterlands is still fun to play and is a good way to pass the time when you have a quick break. Although there is still a way to make money from the game, the recent update has made me view Splinterlands as more of a game (which is fine) than an economic pursuit.