Why THIS is a Marking Nightmare for Splinterlands

in #splinterlands3 months ago

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Tower Defense Concept Art Faces Scrutiny

The upcoming Tower Defense game has the potential to be an amazing financial and growth opportunity for Splinterlands, minus a glaring problem that will restrict its growth and cause a real marketing headache for them.

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A few days ago when the leaks began, I had hoped I was wrong about what I saw, but sadly yesterday's reveal indicated my instincts were correct. Splinterlands has used image references to Satan and the occult in this upcoming game. This imagery is a poor choice on Splinterlands' part for many reasons, not just on a personal affront to my faith (and 1. billions of others), but it's a marketing DISASTER. However, the concept art images aren't the only problem here. When you include real occult images, the gameplay meaning also becomes cringe worthy at the very least in using Christian beliefs as a sort of mockery. I'm assuming it's unintended of course; however, it could really turn future Splinterlands' players away from the platform and even worse, send current faithful gamers away as well. Let me explain why in this post I've been dreading to write for days as I do not wish to speak ill of Splinterlands when I love it so much. Hopefully this post will strike up a needed conversation to the top members of the Splinterlands' team and changes will be made so we can go on as gamers and not as religious crusaders when discussing a crypto game.

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Reasons Why the Occult Pentagram Images are Unacceptable in Upcoming Game

On a personal level, the pentagrams displayed in the new Tower Defense game made by Splinterlands are against my Catholic Christian beliefs, but on a professional, theological level, they strike at the heart of Christianity itself. I feel I have room to speak on this topic, because of my background. My degree is in religion; I have a Masters in Theology and come from a multi-religious family. I was a happy high school religion teacher for 10 years. Please keep my professional background in mind while you continue to read as I am not just speaking from my own personal beliefs but from actual knowledge. Therefore, here's why I don't think Splinterlands wants to keep the current concept art for the new Tower Defense game.

  1. The Pentagram is a real image with power behind it. It offends many Christians, and for marketing purposes you don't want to offend anyone. I've never understood why a business wants to involve itself in political issues (unless that is the very creation and meaning behind the business), because you ostracize others and lose potential revenue.

    When you're using fantasy, lore, etc. to build a beautiful story in Splinterlands, I understand the value of using Christian references. At the same time, this is a GAME, and the occult's imagery is NOT something to mess with. There are reasons why Christians do not engage in those images. It's not just that it's offensive; it's that there IS ACTUAL POWER behind them. They are used to desecrate what is sacred to Christians. You might defend the position of using occult imagery because we want to "love all people and their beliefs," but when the occult's very beliefs are a an attack on Christian beliefs, it's must better just to avoid it altogether. Stick with mythology, fantasy, magic, fairy tales, etc., but do not try to use REAL images that conjure what Christians believe is evil for a game.

  2. According to the developers of the game, the basis behind Splinterlands' Tower Defense is to save souls. The game premise includes these monsters needing to be saved so you take the tower and cover the occult image with your monster as was explained during the recent Town Hall, and they will fight for the soul. While I love the concept of saving monsters in the game, it's too deep when you ACTUALLY include occult pictures. Saving souls in real life isn't a game, and looking at occult imagery and monsters together just seems to mock the very understanding of what a soul really is.

    For the purposes of understanding a soul, let's say a monster is like that of an animal. Animals have souls, but not in the sense that we understand them. They do not have free will and intellect to the level that human beings do. Therefore, when you start to water down terms like "souls" which is something sacred and add REAL occult images to continue your theme, it doesn't have that powerful "wow" factor you're looking for in a game. Or maybe it does, but it's the WRONG wow factor. Yes, perhaps we want to save our monsters from imminent death, but to use terminology like souls, salvation and then put the occult mixed in with it is in my opinion stepping across the fantasy line and now bordering on mocking it all. I'm DEFINITELY certain that was not the intention when Splinterlands added those occult images. In fact, the intention seems to try to give VALUE in saving souls, so certainly you can keep with this idea of saving the monsters but please remember that actual occult (from the Christian's perspective) believes in doing whatever it can to destroy souls. As a scholar of humanities and theology, I get what you're trying to do, but this is a GAME. Let's please keep to the realm of gaming and the realm of soul-saving separate, or at the very least, keep the occult out of it. I'm not interested in my soul being destroyed today thank you, and I feel many Christians will also not be taken in by the look and ideology behind the game mechanics. I will not in good conscience be able to recommend this game to any of my Christian friends. They will look at me like I've lost my soul, and that's no game!

  3. Continuing with the occult theme, in the Tower Defense game Splinterlands has included conjuring spells in the Tower Defense game. The good news here is, you remove the occult stuff, and then spells can return to the fantasy and magic that it is. However, you enter those occult images, and we just went from fantasy to a very dangerous reality. Splinterlands will again find itself in a marketing nightmare as soon as those occult pictures are released. The concept of conjuring spells is a VERY REAL concept in Christianity versus the occult. You have actual Latin chants that are used to call upon the dark souls of Hell to destroy souls. There is actual evil in the world, but let's say you don't believe in that. That's fine, I'm definitely not here to convince you of that. What I am hoping to point out to you is the marketing nightmare these images can bring about for the game among over 2 billion Christians, and there's just no reason to even go NEAR this stuff and endanger potential revenue. It's just all WAY too dark, intense and highly controversial, so why ruin your game and your marketing with these images?

  4. When you stay in the realm of fantasy, you can do nearly anything. For example, did you know The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien is actually about Christianity, more specifically the Catholic Church? Tolkien was a devout Catholic and used language, creativity, imagination, mythology, etc. to create light, dark, evil, goodness and in the end hope which is the most important element. If you had no idea that The Lord of the Rings was actually sending you Christian subtleties, then yay! What a win! He was able to share Christian concepts without blatantly showing specific Christian imagery. That's brilliance. Splinterlands can do the same here, and I think then you can talk about saving monsters and conjuring spells and all those amazing features that we all love about fantasy games, but once you mix fantasy and reality together, you've complicated what should be just a game people go play at the end of a long day. I would imagine many people don't want to look at pentagrams after the end of a long day. They want to escape to a fantasy world, not be reminded of what they politically need to stand up for as Christians.

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Thank You For Listening

I hope this post has been helpful. I truly pray someone on the Splinterlands' team sees this and reconsiders the artwork. It's so offensive to me, and I would imagine to many other Christians who know about the occult. We just want to play a game. We don't want to have to actually battle for our souls in why or why not in good conscience we should be supporting Splinterlands anymore. Please PLEASE reconsider your images.

Thank you to any and all who read this post. I appreciate that you took time to read it, and I hope if someone agrees with me will send this onto those who need to see it. I'm open to any discussions people want to have on this topic as well. Feel free to make comments. Thanks.

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Good point. I also had problems with these kinds of things way back when I was younger. But we've already had games like Diablo where demonic imagery and the likes are all present but still rakes in millions of revenue. There are even sicker indie games out there. It also seeped into children's entertainment now, Five Nights at Freddy, Poppy's Play Time, Siren Head, Piggy. What's sad is I learned to accept it as entertainment and enjoy it now. Sign of the times, I guess.

I just believe want to get as many people on board for this game and signs are different than pictures of hell, monsters etc. Signs point to action like a stop sign says stop. This sign is something used in the occult that calls forward action so it is different than just dark imagery. Thank you so much for your response and yes it is a sign of the times.

i appreciate your work, but sorry i totally disagree with you. this just belongs to games. the most famous games in history have such signs. which is quite normal in fantasy games, because there is usually evil and good and what characterizes evil more than satan?

Thank you for your comment. It really won't be about you or me but about those who won't participate in the game because of a moral stance against it. Therefore, why even go near that when it could potentially offend others? I understand that it does not offend you and that's great. I'm glad it doesn't for you, but it will to others and that does effect your pocketbook and mine as it does not help with the growth of the game.

Thank you for writing this important piece. My question for you would be why you only address this from your Christian background when you have a wide range of religious knowledge to draw from. How would Muslims feel about these symbols? Jews? Hindus? etc. I understand that when choosing imagery for a game, teams must decide on a look and feel that tries to pull in the largest audience possible. But what if the Splinterlands team thought that it was better to try to appeal to an alternative occult audience than a traditional Christian audience? Maybe your opinion is in the minority despite the billions of Christians in the world.

Hi Duce! It's always best to go from your specific background and not try to pretend that I'm an except on every religious background. Jews would be offended as well I presume and probably the Muslims as well though again, I cannot be an expert in this.

What I think is missing here is the two-fold issue: for me on a personal level it's a no. From a marketing perspective it's a BAD idea because it is offensive to other faiths. When you're trying to reach a mainstream audience, you want to offend the fewest people possible. If you're going for the Satanist audience, then by all means, but in this case previous religious imagery has been avoided in the game. A sudden departure from that position means you're now putting yourself into a corner you must defend. Is Splinterlands interested in defending that? Perhaps they are. In which case, my title is fitting... they have a marketing problem they will have to address and take a stand on. Again, it doesn't really matter my opinion here. What matters is they will need to address it and take a position. Once their position is made, you can choose to stay or go, that's up to you, to me, to all of us. Since moneywise we don't want ANYONE to go of ANY religion, it would be best if they avoided religious problems completely and then they do not limit their audience. You may find Christians that have no problem with it, but I'll find just as many that do, so it's not really a wise economic/marketing strategy is my point in this post. My personal opinion is just my added personal opinion on why I couldn't be involved with it if the images stayed.

Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I appreciate it.

Thanks for this well written explanation of the potential marketing issue they might run into. I haven't seen the pictures yet so I will have to go take a look and will probably agree with you.
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Thanks Steve! I appreciate the support.

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!1UP A different perspective that I hadn't thought of yet. I didn't like TD's art as it didn't have any Splinterlands reference elements, I wanted to see a shared universe and not something entirely different. Thanks for sharing your ideas.


Thank you so much, Underlock, for your comment, the OneUp and your perspective as well. I, too, noticed the look is a great departure from the Splinterlands' artwork and seems quite over the top. It would be nice to have the consistency across the board and I think would make the whole company seem more cohesive with the various gameplay.

Thanks for your thoughts and knowledge on the topic. I was unaware of the signs and symbols and their meaning. I do like the fantasy part of the game and hope that the game does not head to a dark and evil place.

The team is planning to discuss the situation. I enjoy the fantasy part too, but I just thought they would want to know that other people might turn away from the game because of the imagery. I would like success for everyone so I felt it was important to say something. Thank you for reading and comment, Sara! Please have a wonderful time at Hivefest. Safe travels!

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Sorry but i think that this post is a load of nonsense for many reasons not withstanding the fact that I don't believe in any of the gods.

However I know that a lot of people do have their beliefs which is their own personal choice and they are fully entitled to them in their own space. I would have been raised catholic but long since walked away from religion as my own educated choice.

I do believe that people are far too easily offended these days and that if you try to please everybody then you will not please anybody. The pentogram is not an offensive image and predates Christianity by thousands of years.

This imagery is a poor choice on Splinterlands' part for many reasons, not just on a personal affront to my faith (and 1. billions of others), but it's a marketing DISASTER.

Christianity itself consists of many ideas stolen from older pagan religions and what you say are Christian concepts would also be common across all major religions all of which again predate Christianity.

I like your content usually and appreciate your splinterlands reviews but this is a case where i think that you would be better off to keep your religion out of the game. Just because it offends you personally isn't any good reason for the team to change a game which is going to be built for users across the world with all different mindsets and beliefs. It is you and not them that has made it religious.

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Hi Niall. Thank you very much for sharing your insight with me. As I stated in the post, although religion is my preference, this is much more about a marketing problem they face since I am not the only one that is offended (or just doesn't like the aesthetic of the new TD game).

I will not defend my religion because that truly does miss the point I'm making. I am not offended by your personal religion so please do not be offended by mine. It is just my personal choice and I am allowed to voice my concern. Does it offend you that people get offended? It is easy to say these sorts of things when one is not offended, but since we want MORE people not less coming to the game, and since prior to this game there hasn't been any religious reference, from a marketing perspective it is best not to enter into religious ideas now. We want as many people playing the game and bringing their money here.

From a non-religious perspective I've seen many people complain that the look of the TD doesn't connect to the artwork of the Splinterlands game and they would like to see that consistency. So you could say there are people who do not have a religious aversion to it and still don't like it. I would imagine if you have enough people speak up that the artwork isn't connecting with the Splinterlands' theme, religious or otherwise, the team would want to consider changing it and they are. Continuity is important so that the Splinterlands cards will make sense to the TD gameplay.

Anyway, there is no hard feelings for your point of view, but since you have responded to me regarding my personal religion, I felt it was important to respond as well. We should all be able to live in a world where our opinions are heard and respect is given so I truly appreciate you taking the time to write to me. And I would say we probably both agree that religion should just not be part of the game at all then there are no issues like this. Thanks so much.

This reminds me of when I was dating a muslim girl who was so torn because I wasn't muslim that we couldn't be together for more than a week without her freaking out and breaking it off again.

At one point I was curious so I started reading the Quran. I brought a few points up to her that I found interesting and wanted to understand better. It turned out she'd never read it and knew nothing about the religion.

It seems like you've dedicated your life to religious studies and therefore it jumps out to you as so important. I'd be willing to bet the vast majority of christians don't know or care what they're looking at.

With that said, I see no reason not to change it but I highly doubt it would be a marketing disaster. People are pretty desensitized.

Hi Kris!

Yes, I've read parts of the Quran and I'm sure you and I would have quite a great discussion together. When you come from a multi-religious family you come to realize there is no good in disrespecting one another's views. It's much MUCH more enjoyable for me to see what we share. That's a pity she hasn't read it as there are some beautiful passages there and the dedication to prayer five times a day is something any good Christian should strive for though we fall short where the Muslim faith requires it. The Catholic Church as 9 hours during the day but since it is not required it is rarely done. It's called the Liturgy of the Hours (or Divine Office) and is what you commonly see on the TV shows of the monks or nuns waking up in the middle of the night to pray.

Yes, I'm aware that people wouldn't perhaps know it, but there will be Christians that do and so it can be a problem for them. Also, since I'm a person of integrity, I need to stay true to myself and my beliefs otherwise what am I but just a walking hypocrite. So, while it was not easy for me to write this post because I am someone who likes to find what we share, not what makes us different, I do see the marketing problems for Splinterlands when it is not essential to the game and could easily be removed without any gameplay issues. It just seems to make the most sense to remove it, especially since Splinterlands did not start out with religious imagery so this is a departure from their current artwork. If they had started this way and I come in "guns blazing" well that's just ridiculous. Since they did not, and now they are, I have invested my life savings into this game, and therefore feel I must speak up now or I will regret it later.

I hope that makes sense. It seems I'm not the only one that has been bothered by the artwork, both in a religious sense and also just that the TD artwork looks nothing like the Splinterlands' artwork. It's been interesting to see the reactions. I just want to be heard like everyone else, and I hope that everyone is respectful about it. Your comment was very respectful and fascinating about your previous girlfriend. It is interesting when people live a life they have not studied but then again I'm a natural student by nature and love to learn, not only about my own beliefs but about others as well because of my love for all people.

Thanks again for your comment and stopping by! It means a lot that you would come and write your comment. Have a great day.

I agree, Rosie.
Imagine going on Shark Tank and presenting an exciting new product, which for no apparent reason has a picture of an arsehole on it.
The investors are going to love the product, but when they see the chocolate starfish they're going to rightly question the judgement of the developer.
Why alienate 100 million potential customers, in the US alone; for no gain?

Thank you, Matt. Your comment of all the comments I've seen has meant the most to me. Secretly I have been wondering what you thought about it (from a marketing perspective). It was very VERY hard for me to write this but I am proud of saying it and now it is in the hands of Splinterlands and not my decision to make, but if I hadn't mentioned what I felt like they might not even realize, then I knew it could really hurt Splinterlands down the road because in America we have some REAL STRONG Bible thumpers and yet they might love to be in Crypto. Why have religious art that really has never been entered into this game prior to now and doesn't even feel like it connects to the Splinterlands' art? Like this doesn't even have to be a religious issue at all. I really REALLY want to play Tower Defense as it's something I enjoy immensely, but I really was hoping the artwork had more of that Splinterlands feel to it. That's what happens when you outsource it to people not quite into the game yet. I think it's something they can fix though, and I hope they do.

You have a wonderful day, Matt! You certainly made mine so I thank you so so much!! :)

I don't like the art also. the tower looks like in evil side, not in the hero side.

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Thank you for commenting, QQChris. The artwork even from a non-religious perspective doesn't seem to tie into the Splinterlands game so I hope that some of the Splinterlands creative team can work with this third party development team and make it more cohesive, not to mention, just remove the religious reference because we don't really need religion mentioned in the game at all and that would solve any problems.

Thank you SO MUCH for stopping by. Have a great day!

Good stuff Rosie, I don't know much about the occult, but like you, I'd rather keep the fantasy as fantasy.

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Thank you so much fighter! Agreed. :) We just want some good games! WOO HOO! :) Have a great day and thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!! :)

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