What is the Energy Capture Rate (ECR)?
According to the Splinterlands Official Documentation:
ECR is a fluctuating player statistic that limits the amount of Dark Energy Crystals that can be earned for a given Ranked battle.
A player's Energy Capture Rate (ECR) gradually diminishes every time they play a Ranked battle, then regenerates with time.
Why should I care about ECR?
The amount of Dark Energy Crstals (DEC) earned for a win is multiplied by the player's current ECR. The lower your ECR is, the lower your reward will be.
If your ECR is 100%, you'll receive 100% of the DEC reward if you win a Ranked Battle.
In the other hand, if your ECR is (for example) only at 50%, you'll earn just half of the DEC; if the ECR is at 80%, only 80% of the DEC; and so on.
Wow, that's a bummer. Why Splinterlands has a system that makes me earn less DEC rewards?
According to Splinterlands FAQ, the Energy Capture Rate exists to prevent bots (or players with too much free time) from playing 24/7 and end up earning too much from the DEC Reward Pool.
Due to the Splinterlands Tokenized/NFT economy, if people could play several hours per day without any kind of limitation, bots and "professional farmers" would end up raking all the DEC rewards for themselves, and the rest of us (real, regular players) would be left with just scraps.
After all, Splinterlands needs to have a system to limit how much DEC per day a player can earn; otherwise, everyone would be harmed.
OK, that makes sense. How do I lose ECR and how do I increase it so I can start earning larger rewards again?
The ECR starts at 100% for all players and is reduced by 1% after each Ranked Battle played.
If your ECR isn't full, it'll automatically regenerates over time at a rate of 25% per day (or 1.04% per hour).
There's no other way to increase your ECR: you'll have to wait for it to regenerate at this fixed rate.
How Should I Manage my ECR to Maximize my Rewards? An Analysis of 5 Scenarios
Disclaimer: For the sake of mathematical easiness, I assumed that 1) the player would earn 10 DEC per win at 100% ECR and 2) the player would win 100% of the matches. But the results would be exactly the same for any other DEC/win or average winrate.
Scenario 1: Perfect 100% ECR
The first Scenario is the perfect one: if you play 1 game every 57,6 minutes, you'll be able to play 25 games, everyday, with 100% ECR.
Obviously, this isn't feasible to be achieved, as you would have to be able to play one Splinterlands game each and every hour of the day, including while you're sleeping, studying, working and so on. So this is just a theoretical scenario to show what's the maximum that can be achieved according to the rules.
OK! Now let's take a look at more realistic scenarios!
Scenario 2: One Game Session per Day
You sit down at the computer once per day and play 25 Ranked matches in a single session of gameplay. After that, you stop playing until the next day. It can't get easier than that.
This is the scenario that's probably adopted by majority of the Splinterlands players, because it's the most direct and time-savvy approach.
By playing all the 25 games at once, you're receiving, in average, just 88% of the DEC that you could be receiving if you played "perfectly". To be honest, that's still a good number.
Scenario 3: Two Game Session per Day
You split your 25 ranked matches in two gameplay sessions: you play 12 games in the morning, go on with your day and, 12 hours after that, you play another 13 matches, completing your 25 matches/day.
By doing this, you're now earning 94,2% of the possible DEC. It's a great number, 7% higher than the Scenario 2 of playing all the matches at once.
I'm personally adopting the Scenario 3 strategy for two reasons: I like to optimize my DEC earnings a bit, but I also want to play some matches after I wake up and then play a bit more in the afternoon.
Scenario 4: Three Game Session per Day
You're now splitting the 25 matches in three sessions: 8 games, then after 8 hours you play 8 extra games, then after another 8 hours you play the last 9 games for the day.
You would be earning 96.3% of the maximum DEC in this scenario. To be honest, it doesn't seem like a great idea: you will have lots of scheduling problems and end up missing up the correct time to play; and, even if you do everything correctly, you'll earn just 2,2% more DEC than in Scenario 3, which is way more convenient.
Scenario 5: One Game Session every 2 Days
If you can't play Splinterlands everyday, you could play 50 Ranked Matches every other day: you play 50 games on Day 1, then not play any games on Day 2, then play 50 games on Day 3, and so on.
If you're definitely unable to play your ranked matches everyday, this is your best strategy. But it's definitely way less efficient, and you'll be earning only 75,5% of the possible maximum DEC.
Also, playing daily is also more efficient because you can do your Daily Quest, which gives you extra cards/potions/DEC rewards.
Results & Conclusions
You DEFINITELY Shouldn't Play More than 25 Ranked Battles per Day
The reason is simple: if the ECR recovers 25% per day and each Ranked Battle reduces the ECR by 1%, you can maintain your ECR near the maximum value if you play only 25 Ranked Battles per day.
After playing 25 Ranked Battles, your ECR will be around 75%. After one day, it'll be back at 100%, and you can play again and receive full DEC rewards.
But, for example, if you play 50 Ranked Battles today, your ECR will drop to 50%. By tomorrow, the ECR will just be at 75%, and you'll earn less rewards because your ECR isn't full. You are shooting yourself in the foot if you regularly play Ranked matches with low ECR.
Exception: You SHOULD Play More than 25 Battles/Day if You Won't Play Everyday
Let's imagine, for example, that today is Friday, and that you'll be travelling with your family on Saturday and Sunday: you won't be able to play Splinterlands for the next 2 days! The horror!!
In this case, it makes sense to play up to 75 Ranked Battles today: your ECR will drop to a (very low) 25%, but it doesn't matter: it'll recover 25% today, 25% on Saturday and 25% on Sunday; when you come back Monday to play, it'll be back at 100%.
For each day you won't be able to play, you can play an extra 25 Ranked games without being harmed by the ECR recovery rate.
You can be (a bit) more Efficient if you Split your 25 Daily Matches in Several Sessions Across the Day
As we saw above, if you play all games at once, you'll be earning 88% of the DEC; if you split in 2 sessions, you can earn 94,2% DEC; in 3 sessions, 96,3% DEC.
But, while being mathematically more efficient, splitting your daily games in several sessions across the day isn't very meaningful after all. If you go from 1 session to 3 sessions, you'll be earning less than 10% extra rewards; however, you'll need a very organized schedule to make it work.
If you can't or don't want to split your gameplay and want to play all your 25 Ranked Matches at once, don't lose your hair over it: you'll be very much fine and almost as efficient as the hardcore gamers!
Thanks for reading this article, and until next time!
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