Rabona: Play2Earn Soccer Manager On HIVE

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With Rabona we look at another HIVE game, that has been around a while and deserves the attention of the Cartel. The Soccer Manager has created a play2earn ecosystem for Soccer and manager game fans. And like usual, when we look at games, we go deep. Grab your snacks - and kickoff!

What Is Rabona?

Rabona is an MMO-styled soccer management simulator built on the Hive Blockchain. Players tackle the challenge of building a competitive soccer (football/futbol) team as head coach while also juggling the financial aspects involved in building a sports brand. By training and acquiring team members, players compete to achieve top spots in their leagues each season to determine who is champion.

The core gameplay involves weighing multiple strategic choices to form a winning plan helped along by a bit of luck. There is no single strategy that leads to winning, as different approaches can achieve similar results based on the formations of each team and the skills players prioritize. By masking a subtle layer of rock-paper-scissors with the need to balance offense and defense, matches can even boil down to a simple question: Which team can outlast the other?

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The Story So Far

Announced early in the summer of 2020, Rabona dove straight into an Open Beta by the end of that same summer. A roadmap was soon to follow with attractive goals like the Bank of Rabona (RBN staking) and Club Tokenization (joint team ownership). This lead to a partnership forming with ARK as part of their ongoing effort to incorporate blockchain communities with their developing MarketSquare platform.

Going into 2021, Rabona launched its own internal exchange for trading RBN and PEG.HIVE (a native token pegged to HIVE). This was followed by a "collectibles" auction featuring the Wanderers FC line-up of players from the 1872 FA Cup Final. These players are unique, come with peak stats and were delivered frozen (as NFTs) to the winning bidders.

By the summer of 2021 it became clear that some of Rabona's initial goals (Bank of Rabona and Tokenized Clubs) were too complex and time-consuming for the original dev duo to deliver on their own, so two new hires were brought in to expand development capabilities as part of Rabona's updated roadmap. Moving into the end of 2021, the new team announced the new Robona V2 (beta) interface based on the @dGoal interface @mciszczon had created prior to joining the team. This blossomed into a new referrals system dubbed Referrals 2.0 alongside the Exchange V2 and Wallet V2 UI updates.

Tokenomics

RBN is the native token responsible for handling all aspects of Rabona's economy. Players receive 1,000,000 RBN with the Starter Pack, and using a referral code provides a large boost to their club funds. Beyond that, RBN can only be earned through the in-game activities associated with upgrading the Stadium (ticket/food/merchandise sales), securing advertisement contracts, and team performance.

PEG.HIVE is a secondary token pegged to the value of HIVE. RBN can be exchanged for PEG.HIVE through Rabona's internal exchange which can then be withdrawn for actual HIVE with a 3% transaction fee. Inversely, HIVE can be used to purchase PEG.HIVE in order to then purchase RBN.

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What's the Latest?

So far this year, Rabona has introduced Referrals 2.0 as part of the interface update to V2. The new system aims to reward referrals with RBN, relative to a fixed USD value alongside actual HIVE. Shortly thereafter, seasonal rewards were reduced in an effort to address a perceived weakness in what kinds of activities were being reward. Lower leagues receive no rewards, for example. The seasonal hive reward pool is now only 100 HIVE with a stated goal of returning it to 400 HIVE once the new rewards system has been implemented.

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Looking Ahead

As part of the announcement for a new rewards system, a rough breakdown was provided:

  1. Daily HIVE rewards will be given to players for winning matches, regardless of league. This will replace the end-of-season HIVE reward by providing up to 4 daily HIVE payouts and 30 seasonal payouts based on how well a team performs. The goal is to balance the overall payouts to 400 HIVE during a season.
  2. Claiming HIVE will be tied to completing daily tasks in order to receive rewards earned the previous day. These tasks include daily training and submitting match line-ups with other possibilities being considered. Additional thought is being given to giving a bonus on top of the daily reward for completing said tasks. If these tasks are not completed, the daily rewards will be returned to the pool.
  3. Seasonal rewards will be replaced with RBN allowing for all league levels to earn rewards.

Tournaments remain an ongoing endeavour, with the latest update suggesting 2022 would showcase the interface's design along with the potential for backend implentation. Regardless of when that happens, it's been stated that the release of tournaments will coincide with the end of the current beta phase.

How Do I Get In the Game?

Rabona is not a free-to-play game, but it does have a fixed entry price of $10 for the duration of the current beta. This will eventually increase to $20, and it covers the cost of purchasing a Starter Pack that provides access to the game, 1 million RBN, and 11 randomized players.

In order to purchase this pack, you'll need the Hive Keychain browser extension and a Hive account to sign into Rabona. Once set up, you can also play from a mobile device.

After purchasing the Starter Pack, you'll gain access to the rest of the game's site pages, including a guide worth reading through. It's more detailed than the landing page, but we'll also cover the base game cycle for Rabona below.

Before doing anything else, find and click the Training button on the navigation bar:

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Select "Passing" from the dropdown menu and click "Train" to begin your first 23-hour training cooldown:

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We'll come back to this later, but for now it is important to realize that this will save precious time while you're busy learning the ropes. Any time your training cooldown isn't running down is time wasted prolonging your next opportunity for improving your team.

Baby Steps

Once you've trainined your team, the beginner tasks are relatively simple and let you earn your first RBN, directly. They'll help you get started in the game and learn the important functions:

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Don't worry if you're not immediately familiar with how everything works, as we'll continue to walk through the steps required to become a top-ranking coach.


Let's revisit the navigation bar to help with finding your way around Rabona:

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The "Dashboard summarizes everything important at a glance. Wondering when your next match is and who you're playing against? Where your team stands in the league? A look at the dashboard can help you quickly answer these questions.

The Exchange allows you to easily buy and sell RBN or PEG.HIVE.

News lets you keep track of everything that's happening both in your club and globally.

Team is where you scout new players, identify understaffed positions and extend/terminate player contracts.

Training is where you punch the 23-hour timer that improves your team for free.

Fixtures provides an overview of the league and all its matches. You can submit your match lineups here as well.

The Stadium allows you to upgrade your buildings and change ticket prices.

Sign is where you go to "sign" free players to your team (you still pay their salary).

The Market lets you buy new players for your team (recommend avoiding for now).

Financials tracks your income/expenses and allows for managing advertisement contracts.

Tables, Ranking and Wallet are either self-explanatory or not as important right now. By the time you're ready to use them, you'll already have a good idea of what they're for.

Tryouts

Given the randomness of your starting team, let's review what all the numbers mean. These are the stats each player has and how they impact your team's performance:

Overall Strength represents the averaged comparative value of the player relative to other players with the same "Position" (Attacker, Defender, etc.). The player's position will determine which stats affect Overall Strength the most:

  • Goalkeepers = 0.6(Goalkeeping), 0.2(Endurance), 0.1*(Speed)
  • Defenders = 0.4(Defending), 0.25(Passing), 0.2(Endurance), 0.1(Speed), 0.05*(Dribbling)
  • Midfielders = 0.2(Defending/Passing/Dribbling/Endurance), 0.1(Shot/Speed)
  • Attackers = 0.2(Passing/Shot/Endurance), 0.15(Defending/Dribbling), 0.1*(Speed)

Goalkeeping is crucial for the Goalkeeper, as it determines how likely shots on goal are to be successfully blocked.

Defending is most important for Defenders, but every position (except maybe the Goalkeeper) actively uses this stat to determine turnovers when an opposing player has the ball.

Passing (the stat we just trainined) determines how successful passes between players are. Considering how important moving the ball around the field is, maximizing Passing across all positions ensures your team can do so without too many turnovers.

Dribbling determines how successful an individual player's attempt to move the ball is. This is particularly important for players that are likely to handle the ball most (Midfielders, Attackers), as failing to dribble will usually result in a turnover.

Shot influences the likelihood that a shot on goal will score. A player's Shot stat is directly compared to the Goalkeeper's Goalkeeping stat to determine whether or not a goal is scored. Attackers will benefit the most from this stat, while Midfielders will appreciate having more of it once other priorities like Dribbling and Passing are maxed out.

Headball modifies a player's interaction with high passes whether on offence (trying to score) or defense.

Form modifies all player actions and can change after every game. The intention is to eventually allow players to improve over a season before reverting to a default value.

Speed also modifies all player actions making it a good secondary stat for any position. It differs from Form by only changing through training and after each season.

Cleverness determines how savvy each player is at "negotiating" their contracts. This means a lower value is preferred if you want to limit team expenses over the long-term.

Teamplayer contributes to a team's overall Teamplayer score to increase or decrease the entire team's performance. This means players with high primary stats (Passing, Defending, Shot, etc.) but a poor Teamplayer value can actually hurt the team's overall performance.

Endurance affects how quickly each player's stats begin to decline as a match carries on through exhaustion. A star player with poor Endurance might quickly score during a match but fail to perform in the second half.

Vulnerability determines each player's risk of injury during a match. A higher value equates to an increased likelihood of sustaining injuries.

Keys to Success

To be successful in Rabona, you need to balance increasing the strength of your team with upgrading buildings to generate income. This includes considering the contract costs for your players, as it's possible to spend more per game to employ your team than you bring in.

It can be temping to sign strong players straight away, but if you don't take steps to improve the neglible income you begin with you'll eventually run out of RBN. Higher Overall Strength results in higher salaries, and an ideal starting range for players on new teams is 400-500 RBN per game rather than the 600-1000+ you'll often find on the market:

Take some time to review your team to make note of what your weaknesses are. For example, a Defender with extremely poor passing skills might be worth replacing even if their Overall Strength is higher. They might get a lot of turnovers, but they'll struggle to move the ball anywhere before losing it again.

If you can't find any players on the market worth buying, it's strongly recommend that you scout players through the "Team" page or browse for good offers on the "Sign" page. Once matches start playing out, player salaries will begin to drop with each match until somebody scoops them up. Unless your starting player rolls were truly awful, aim for a team with 13 - 16 players to start playing.

Note: If you choose not to immediately sign a player you've scouted, they'll be visible through the "Sign" page with the reason "Scouted".

Training

Once your first cooldown from training Passing (our strong recommendation) is finished, you'll have the option of selecting which of the many options you'd like to improve for free every 23 hours. Initially, Passing and Defending are likely to provide the largest overall improvement to your team with Passing having a slight edge given its universal importance across positions.

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Passing helps every player improve, thereby increasing your chance of winning, thus Defending and Shot should only be trained when your team has an average Passing value in the 60-70 range. Keep in mind that training one stat can reduce the value of other stats, so always consider whether or not it makes sense to train a player rather than excluding them from training. If, for example, a player already has a very high Passing value, it's probably better not to include them in Passing training as it could decrease other stats more than training would increase their Passing value.

Aging

Scouted players have a starting age of 17-19, and all players eventually retire at the age of 40. After each Season, player stats will improve or deteriorate based on their age. Younger players primarily improve until the age of 29 when they're most likely to "peak" before stat decline sets in. In addition to the base randomness of age-related changes:

  • Vulnerability starts to experience decline around age 22.
  • Endurance and Speed begin to decline shortly thereafter.
  • General decline begins around age 29.
  • Specialized stats like Goalkeeping start decline around age 32.

This means that exceptionally statted characters will eventually drop-off and might become worth selling before their age makes them undesirable for other players. Keep this in mind when looking for new players of your own.

Seasons

When you first join Rabona, you'll be unable to play any matches until the current Season has finished. Each Season lasts 7.5 days with 4 matches played each day for a total of 30 matches per season. While your team will automatically play its matches and pick a lineup for you in the background, you do have management options worth considering.

This is also a great time to check for good offers under "Sign", as many players will have contracts that have expired or have been canceled. After your first Season, take a look at your income from the previous Season (under "Financials") to get an idea of the total salary available to you for picking up new players.

Only buy through the market if you urgently need a player in a position and cannot find a reasonable alternative under "Sign". Otherwise, you risk paying too much for a player you might otherwise have found through Scouting or persistently checking the "Sign" page.

Note: Do not buy frozen players, as you cannot use them to play unless you pay HIVE to unfreeze the specific player!


Line-up

Once a new Season officially starts, navigate to the "Fixtures" page to set your line-up for the Season. If you spent time getting to know your teams strengths and weaknesses, picking where, exactly, within your line-up each player will go can provide subtle benefits that may lead to more wins:

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For example, pretend your Defenders have similar Defending stats but Bob Jacoby and Tiago Bento have mediocre Passing stats. Your better passers (Yuan Du and Antonio Azevedo) should be placed closer to the center of the field (slots 4/5) while your inferior passers are placed at the edge of the field (slots 2/3). It's not guaranteed, but central positions are more likely to have opportunities to pass relative to other players. A similar approach can be applied to the Shot stat.

If you don't do this, the game will simply put together your team based on each player's Overall Strength by position. It's not recommended that you rely on this automation, especially when players are suspended or injured. It is usually better to put together your own line-up provided you spend the time getting to know your players.

Formations

You'll also notice that you have the option of setting a formation for your team. On the "Team" page, you can see which formations your players excel at (Starter Pack players default to a value of 30 for all formations), and this will help you determine whether or not a potential player is worth signing. You might find a highly statted player that covers one of your weaknesses, but a poor formation value will undermine their value if ignored.

This is doubly important given how formations interact with each other. Your chosen formation provides bonuses or penalties relative to the formation of each team you play against. If your players have poor stats for the formation you've chosen and it matches up poorly with your opponent's formation, your team will suffer a noticeable disadvantage.

Leagues

There are 4 types of League in the game: The League of Champions, the Level 1 Leagues, the Level 2 Leagues and the Level 3 Leagues. Each League (except for Level 4) has 4 Leagues subordinate to it:

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For your first season, you'll begin in a Level 3 League with up to 15 other clubs you'll play against twice (one home, one away) during that season. The overall winners of each League advance to the next level (3 > 2 > 1 > Champions) while the bottom 4 teams revert to a lower level (Champions > 1 > 2 > 3).

You can track how each club in your League is doing on the "Tables" page. In order to earn rewards, you must advance to a Level 2 League. Each Level will then receive 1/3 of the Season's rewards (currently 400 HIVE) spread across each League within each Level. This means players in the League of Champions can receive more HIVE because there's only one League compared to the 4/16 Leagues in Level 1/2.

Player contracts

As player contracts count down each Season, you have the option of extending contracts at any time. Unless you know you'll be busy, waiting until a few matches before the end of the Season to renew contracts that are about to expire will limit your costs over the long-term. Players "ask" for a greater salary when renewing their contract relative to their Cleverness stat.

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Don't procrastinate this crucial process, as you'll lose any player you fail to re-sign when the Season ends. Once your player moves to the general player pool on the "Sign" page, other players have the option of signing them. At the same time, keep in mind the relatively value of each player (and their age!). An underperforming player with an incredibly high Cleverness value and/or subpar stats may not be worth holding onto. Additionally, any players you keep are likely to gain stats from finishing the Season.

Game Day

We've talked a lot about all the ways you can prepare for your daily matches, but what actually happens during these matches? It's actually quite simple! [insert crazy math memes galore!]


Matches

The field is divided into twelve zones, organized horizontally (Defense/Def Midfield/Off Midfield/Offense) and vertically (left/mid/right), with additional zones for the kick-off, corners and goal/penalty boxes:

L CornerGoal/Penalty BoxR Corner
L DefenseM DefenseR Defense
L Def MidfieldM Def MidfieldR Def Midfield
Kick-Off
L Off MidfieldM Off MidfieldR Off Midfield
L OffenseM OffenseR Offense
L CornerGoal/Penalty BoxR Corner

Each zone has a weighted set of outcomes for which players can be present in them and where the ball is likely to move to. For example, if the ball is currently in the L Def Midfield zone, here's the probability of it moving to each of the other zones:

L Corner2%R Corner
12%5%3%
BALL15%5%
Kick-Off
25%20%5%
3%4%1%
L CornerGoal/Penalty BoxR Corner

How the ball moves to the resulting target zone depends on the originating zone, but the average chance of passing, dribbling or shooting comes out at:

  • 60-70% Pass
  • 30-40% Dribble
  • ?? Shoot (heavily depends on the zone)

Once a zone is targeted and method of movement selected, the game determines if the action is successful using the comparative stats of each player involved. A pass compares the Passing stat of the two players sending/receiving the ball with the Defending stats of the opposing players that are defending them. Dribbling and shooting are handled the same way (Dribbling vs. Defending or Shot vs Defending). These values are further modified by the Speed/Endurance of each player and the "team factor" (home game bonus, Teamplayer values, formation modifiers, formation stats) of each team.

This process occurs 90 times, one complete cycle being considered a round, per half for 180 rounds of ball movement each match. There are additional calculations that handle fouls, cards and injuries.

Post-game Stats

After concluding a match, you'll be able to review the outcome using a summary of goals scored and a simple timeline of when important events (goals, fouls, etc.) occurred during the match:

You can only review matches you've directly participated in or from the leagues you competed in. Simply go to the "Fixtures" page to see a list of your own match history. Completed matches will show "Match" next to them (click this to view its details) while upcoming show "Lineup" (click to prepare your team). In the op right corner, you can switch between "My" matches or "All" matches to view how the other clubs within your league are faring.

Rewards

Initially, your primary source of income will be fans attending your home games. Winning a match increases your fanbase while losing will result in lost fans (less than you gain from wins). You'll start with a hefty amount of regional fans, but they're a fickle bunch that will desert you quickly for losses and are slower to return for wins than international fans.

That said, a larger percentage of your regional fans will attend matches relative to your ticket prices. If you notice your utilization rate is low, your ticket prices are likely too high to attract patrons. Alternatively, if your stadium is hitting maximum capacity, it's time for an upgrade.

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Management

In addition to building the best team you can, you're responsible for securing the funding necessary to sustain your team through upgrading Buildings, adjusting ticket/food/merch prices, and marketing services. Without these sources of income, your starting RBN fund will eventually dry up leaving you with few options to turn things around.


Buildings

For all service-based Buildings, you only receive income for home games when your own fans are attending.

Stadium Capacity determines how many vistors can attend your matches. You also have the option of adjusting your ticket prices, but pay close attention to "Utilization". This represents what portion of visitors that could have attended a match decided to do so. This number will drop if your ticket prices are too high, resulting in less overall income.

Catering Capacity determines how many of your visitors can also be served food. It's ideal to match your Stadium and Catering levels to ensure maximum coverage without wasting Catering capacity. Like tickets, you can change food prices, but pay attention to how many visitors are actually paying. If your prices are too high, overall sales will drop.

Shop Capacity allows for selling up to a fixed number of shirts and scarves at the prices you set. Just like with food, monitoring your sales will clue you in to how effective your pricing is.

The Hotel generates 100 RBN per occupied hotel bed per night. For every 100 visitors you receive, 1 will want a bed, but you cannot set your own prices.

The Parking Lot operates similarly to the Hotel by providing a parking space for every 4 visitors for 4 RBN up to its maximum capacity.


An Office Building reduces the cost of contract renewals and salary offers for players.

The Building Yard reduces the construction time required to complete Building upgrades.

The Youth Academy improves the results of scouting by increasing possible stat ranges.

A Training Center provides a fixed percentage bonus to your team's performance during home games.

In order to capitalize on the income provided by visitors, upgrading the various Buildings found on the "Stadium" page can unlock new revenue streams and provide general gameplay perks.

As highlighted by the beginner tasks, upgrading your Stadium and Catering Capacity to 5 is a top priority for new players. This results in higher revenue, but not all upgrades are worth purchasing right away.

Upgrade costs and operating costs increase with each level, so you shouldn't upgrade beyond level 5 until your visitor count gets close to maxing out your capacity. You don't earn anything for empty seats, but you still have to pay for them. The same applies to other buildings like the Training Center that provide bonuses your initial income may not be able to sustain, even if you're winning matches!

Once your club has enough fans, keep an eye on the upgrade/operating costs of the upgrades you'd like to buy. Are the benefits likely to outweigh the costs? If you're unsure, don't hesitate to try temporary upgrades at lower levels. You can downgrade them, later, if you decide they're not worth the cost just yet, but you will not receive a refund for any RBN spent on the upgrade.

Finances

There are 30 matches per season, but only half of them are home games. This means you only receive service-based income twice a day (2 of the 4 daily games) for a total of 15 times over the Season. This income is offset by the operating costs of your Buildings, the salary of your players and any one-off transactions like scouting and purchasing players.

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Naturally, the goal is to generate more income than expenses while also winning matches to grow your customer base. More than anything, it's important to increase ticket and merchandise sales by honing in on the ideal price for your fans.

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If you're also avoiding unnecessary operating costs from underutilized Buildings, you'll be a profitable club in no time.

Advertisements

You can sign advertising contracts which provide an additional income at the end of each Season. These contracts are offered based on the succcess of your club, and their payouts are relative to your fanbase and League. Each contract lasts 3-5 Seasons (much like player contracts), and a new contract can be signed after the first one has ended. After advancing out of a Level 3 League, you'll begin to receive TV money income based on your League.

If after playing you want to provide feedback, Rabona has a Nolt.io page where you can upvote other suggestions from the comunity or submit your own.

For official updates and guides, check out Rabona's blog or engage with the community on their social media platforms:


This article was written by @btcsam and @entrepidus, edited and proofread by @francis.melville.
Our Cartel operator for Rabona is @btcsam.

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