Splinterlands Development Update - September 2019

Hello out there to all ye adventurers in the Splinterlands...@yabapmatt here to let you know what to expect coming up in the game and what the heck we've been up to since our last update.

Things got a little sidetracked during the Steem Hard Fork issues over the past week, but it looks like that's behind us now so we're back to work on product development. We wanted to thank all of you for your patience and support during the downtime. We've learned a lot of lessons from the incidents and are working to reduce the impact on the game from similar issues in the future.

Million Monster Madness Tournament Update

As things would have it, the Steem blockchain halted right in the middle of our Million Monster Madness tournament with ~$300 in prizes to be paid out. We understand that a lot of you rearranged your schedules to be able to participate in this tournament, so to try to make it up to everyone we have decided to split 300,000 DEC among the 276 active participants in the tournament.

If you were active in the tournament (meaning you checked in), then you will receive approximately 1087 DEC sometime in the next few days. We also plan to reschedule the tournament and will let everyone know when that will be.

Daily Update Popup

Those of you reading this post likely don't have any trouble staying on top of what's going on in the Splinterlands. You probably know about Splintertalk, Peak Monsters and Herons Unlimited. But there are a significant number of players who don't regularly follow our Steem blog, or maybe don't even know about it, and are missing out on all of the other cool things Splinterlands has to offer!

In order to help address this, we're going to be adding a Daily Update popup into the game website that players will see approximately once per day after they log in. It will feature the latest updates from our blog as well as a "Did You Know?" section to help promote some of the other cool features and services related to the game.

Design credit goes to @nateaguila, as always!

It will also show details about your current quest status, ranked play status, and the next upcoming tournament so you can get a quick overview of where everything stands and what's happening when you first come to the site for the day.

Purchase Beta Packs with Dark Energy Crystals (DEC)!

Currently if you want to use DEC to purchase Beta packs you have to first transfer the DEC to either Steem Engine or Tron and sell it on the market for STEEM or TRX which you can then use to purchase the packs. This is an unnecessarily difficult process, so going forward we are going to be doing a limited-time trial of allowing Beta pack purchases directly with DEC.

The cost of each pack in DEC will still be $2 based on the current market price of DEC, just like when purchasing with any other cryptocurrency. It's important to note that DEC used to purchase Beta packs will not be burnt like it is for other in-game DEC purchases, but instead will go to Splinterlands as revenue for the business. We intend to put this DEC back into tournament prizes and/or save it to use for other promotional purposes. We never sell DEC either directly or through the markets.

We've been a little hesitant to do this in the past because you never know exactly how things like this will end up affecting the overall economy, but it's been a heavily requested feature and we think that it's important to give it a try. If the limited trial goes well then we'll plan to make the option available going forward for the remainder of the Beta packs and for purchases of future edition packs as well.

Archmage Arius Balance Update

Archmage Arius is one of the rarest and hardest to get cards in the game. Currently 53 out of a total of 90 have been found via the Mystery potions. He was also meant to be a very strong and sought after card in the game, however that has not turned out to be the case. As a result, we will be reducing his mana cost from 6 to 5 in hopes that he will start to appear more regularly on the battlefield.

Splinterlands Now Available in Russian!

Thanks to Splinterlands player @shenan and Danilla from cryptogamingpool.com, the Splinterlands game website has been fully translated into Russian!

We really appreciate the support and enthusiasm the game has received from the Russian community and are very happy to finally be able to allow them to experience it in their native language.

We look forward to being able to add even more language translations to the site in the future, so if you're able to help out with that, please contact us on discord!

Paid Starter Sets Will No Longer Give Cards

A little while back we made a change where Starter Sets obtained for free via a promo code would no longer give the player any cards. Instead anyone who has a starter set can now always use any of the 30 starter set cards in battle, whether or not they own them.

Going forward, this will be the case for all starter sets, both purchased and free. The primary reason for this change is that it's way too easy to profit off of buying starter sets. A number of people have been purchasing large numbers of starter sets and immediately dumping the cards on the market and then running bots to farm DEC and reward cards which are also then dumped on the markets. Currently it's possible to make your $10 back and much more very quickly and easily.

This is a very bad thing for the game if left unchecked as it will cause high inflation for the 30 starter set cards and lower market prices. Obviously we want people to be able to profit from the game, but it should require a good bit of time and/or monetary investment above and beyond just the $10 starter set.

Even without the cards, it's still more than worth it to purchase the starter set for $10 for anyone who can put the time, effort, and/or investment into the game. It unlocks the ability to participate in tournaments which have a steadily increasing pool of prizes, and in the ranked season play in which you can earn a significant amount of DEC and reward cards.

Updated Quest Potion Price and Reduced Quest Rewards

As discussed in the section above, it's currently much too easy to extract value from the game - which means extracing value from, you, the players - with a bare minimum of time or investment. This is something we take very seriously as it threatens the sustainability of the entire game economy.

Initially when we started the daily quests, we expected that you wouldn't be able to get farther than bronze league with the bare minimum starter set cards. As it turns out, it's quite easy to get well into Silver league with a minimal set of cards, which is allowing bots to farm reward cards at a higher rate than anticipated.

This has been further exacerbated by the addition of the quest potions, which, upon further examination, have been quite underpriced. As a result, the price of all levels of quest potion will be increased by 50% and the quest rewards for the Silver league tiers and the first two tiers of the Gold league will be reduced.

We understand that a number of people will likely be upset by these changes, but we hope that you will understand why they are important for the long term sustainability of the game. The current batch of reward cards are quickly running out, and we can't keep giving them away at the rate they have been going. This also leads us to the last and most exciting section of the update:

Introducing New Reward Cards!

As you may know, each Reward edition card has a limited number that will ever be printed based on the rarity. Currently the following four Reward cards are nearing that limit and will soon cease to be printed forever:

  1. Lord Arianthus (10,000 limit)
  2. Flame Imp (100,000 limit)
  3. Hobgoblin (100,000 limit)
  4. Mushroom Seer (100,000 limit)

These four cards will run out much sooner than other cards due to the fact that they were part of the original 10 reward cards released before the set size was increased to the current size of 30 cards, and there were fewer Legendary and Rare cards in the initial set than the other rarities relative to their drop rate in the game.

In any event, as soon as the cards hit their print limit noted above, they will no longer be printed ever again. This means that only around 900 max level versions of those cards will ever exist in the game. While this may seem like a lot given the current size of the player base, if we are successful in significantly growing the game these cards will be very hard to come by.

But enough with the #OldRewardCards, here's a sneak peak of what's going to be coming in to take their spots:

Furious Chicken

Despite being a mostly ridiculous card with an Enrage ability that will almost never get used, as the first and only zero mana cost card in the game the Furious Chicken should be an auto-include whenever you have a low mana cost match and a free spot available on your team!

Beetle Queen

Yes, you've read that right...the Fire splinter is getting a Tank Healer! The Queen also has a nice Magic attack and gets Inspire at max level to give a boost to the Melee attackers on your team.

Naga Windmaster

The Naga Windmaster has a new ability called "Headwinds" which reduces the Ranged attack damage of all enemy Monsters by 1 point (though it will never reduce it below 1). This should help the Water splinter fend off some of those nasty Prince Rennyn teams!

The windmaster also gets the Shatter ability which destroys all of the target's armor when hit with an attack, and Poison at max level which should make him a worthy addition to many Water splinter teams.

Unholy Spirit

At only 2 Mana this card is an unusually powerful legendary that should hopefully help breathe some life into the Death splinter. In addition to the new Headwinds ability described above, it has Flying, Demoralize, and another new ability called Blind, which reduces the hit chance of all enemy Melee and Ranged attacks by 15%.

For those of you about to call "OP" in the comments, keep in mind that it only has 1 Health, even at max level, so if it goes up against a Monster with Magic Reflect, or a card with Opportunity like the Fiendish Harpy, it's not going to last very long!

Beta Packs are Running Out!

We greatly appreciate the players sticking with us through the recent challenges and we're glad to put that behind us and look towards the future. Right now less than 15% of the Beta edition booster packs are remaining for sale. This will mark the first major hard end to a majority of the existing cards in the game, and it's an extremely exciting time to be a Splinterlands player. Whether it's for making a team right now or hodling into the future, we hope you partake in grabbing some packs before they're gone and joining one of the most promising games in all of crypto!

Stay tuned for more updates from the Splinterlands!

Steem Monsters / Splinterlands Contact Info:

Steem Monsters / Splinterlands Blog

Steem Monsters / Splinterlands Website

Steem Monsters / Splinterlands Discord

Steem Monsters / Splinterlands Telegram

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