As most of you already know from listening to the weekly town halls, we have been working for a number of months now on a major overhaul to the ranked reward system in Splinterlands. In the past, we have mostly had to resort to quick, band-aid fixes just to keep things running and squash exploits, but now that we have significantly expanded the team we have finally had the time and resources to do a deep dive into the entire reward economy of the game.
The goal of that deep dive was to identify what we believe are the core pieces at the heart of most of the economy problems we are currently seeing and come up with comprehensive solutions that will serve as the foundation for a sustainable and growing game economy going forward.
Just a heads up - this is going to be a LONG post as we go into detail about all of the changes that are planned as well as the reasoning and goals behind them. While we know that some of you will be excited to go through all of that with a fine-toothed comb, for those of you who just want a quick update of what's happening we'll start with a tl;dr version of the changes:
- "reward shares" earned from ranked battle wins will now determine season and daily rewards in addition to DEC rewards
- Please note that this means that gold foil and older edition cards as well as win-streak and guild bonuses will now increase daily and season rewards in addition to DEC rewards
- Each "starter card" used in a ranked battle win will REDUCE the reward shares earned, with 100% starter cards = 0 reward shares
- Daily quests will change to daily "focus" where players will receive a certain amount of reward chests based on the total amount of reward shares they have earned from ranked battle wins using the focus element (splinter) over a 24 hour period
- Season rewards will be based on the amount of reward shares earned from all ranked battle wins during the season
- There will be different types of loot chests, one corresponding to each league (Bronze - Champion), with higher league chests containing significantly more / higher valued rewards
- The type of loot chests earned from daily and season rewards will be based on the highest league achieved during the PREVIOUS season
- Purchases of the Summoner's Spellbook will now include 3000 Credits which can be used in the in-game shop or to purchase or rent cards from the market
- There will be 12 new reward cards released - some featuring a new ability - that will be available to be earned through the new loot chests!
The most important takeaway from all of this is that these changes will allow the amount and value of rewards given out through daily and season loot chests to be significantly increased across all leagues in a sustainable way due to the fact that it will now require real cards (whether owned or rented) to earn them.
The code for these changes is scheduled to be released during the week of May 22nd, however the new reward system including the new season and daily focus rewards, new loot chests, new reward cards, etc. will go into effect automatically at the beginning of the new ranked play season starting on Tuesday, May 31st.
Please note that the change so that starter cards used in battles will reduce the amount of reward shares earned will go into effect when the code is released, which means that starter cards will reduce the amount of DEC earned from ranked battle wins beginning at that point.
All of the other changes will automatically take effect when the new ranked play season begins on the 31st. If players have an outstanding daily quest when the new ranked rewards begin, they will need to complete the quest, or request a new quest, in order to begin their first daily focus.
The key takeaway from the economy deep-dive was that the starter cards - the cards that are able to be used by players in battles even if they don't own (or haven't rented) them - are one of the core underlying issues causing many of the economic problems seen in the system to date.
The issue is that the starter cards are unlimited (in the sense that there is no limit to the number of accounts that can be created), add no value to the ecosystem, and have a claim on the reward pool. This means that as more and more accounts are created and are playing with starter cards, more and more value is being removed from the reward pools without any value being put in.
The initial thought to address this was to simply remove the starter cards completely and require that players either buy or rent cards in order to play the game, but that provides a much worse experience for new players and would lead to situations where players enter into a match and then have no cards to use and are forced to surrender.
After more thought and significant input from team members, we settled on the solution that starter cards would remain in the game but would reduce the amount of rewards earned from ranked battle wins in the same way that gold foil and older edition cards increase the rewards from ranked battle wins - via the "reward shares" mechanism.
This way we are able to achieve both goals - starter cards would no longer have a claim on the reward pool and we can still ensure that players always have enough cards to play a battle.
Currently, the DEC rewards for ranked battles are determined by an amount of reward shares (Rshares) earned by a player for a win. The number of Rshares earned is based on the following formula:
Where rating is a player’s rating; ECR is a player’s energy capture rate; and bonuses are applied by card type, win streak, and guild lodge level. Since the rating is cubed, that means that higher ratings earn significantly more Rshares than lower ratings, so the best way to increase your Rshares earned quickly is by increasing your rating.
Please note that the rating is capped by the maximum for your tier or league. This means that if you are in Bronze I your rating will be capped at 999 for Rshares calculations even if your actual rating in the game is above that. Additionally, if you are in Bronze III due to a low collection power your rating will be capped at 399.
To address the issue caused by the starter cards, we are reducing the amount of Rshares awarded for a battle for each starter card used by the winning player in the battle by adjusting the Rshare formula as follows:
Where %_starter_cards is the percentage of the winning player’s cards in the battle that are starter cards.
As seen in the example table below, a team with 6 cards, 5 monsters and a summoner, and three of them being starter cards will yield 50% of the normal reward share value.
|# of cards played||# of starter cards||% of Rshares earned|
While this change works very well to reduce the amount of DEC earned from ranked battle wins by players using starter cards, it won't do anything to reduce the amount of daily quest and season rewards that players can earn using starter cards - which account for the bulk of the overall rewards in the system.
As a result, we will also be changing the daily quest and season rewards to be based on the number of reward shares earned from ranked battles, just like DEC rewards, as described in the following sections.
One thing that we noted above, but want to repeat here, is that this means that going forward the use of gold foil and older edition cards in battle, as well as being on a win streak and benefits from the guild quest lodge will increase not only your DEC rewards from ranked battles but also your daily quest and season rewards! We look forward to these changes providing more value to those types of cards and to guild membership going forward.
Additionally, it is important to note that now that all types of ranked battle rewards will be determined by reward shares, it will incentivize achieving higher win rates over simply higher numbers of battles. This is due to the fact that reward shares are reduced by ECR, and ECR is used for both wins and losses.
The reward shares earned from every ranked battle win during a particular season - no matter what element or cards are used - will contribute to players' season reward points (SP) for that season. The more season reward points earned during the course of the season, the more loot chests the player will be able to claim and open once the season ends.
A maximum of 150 loot chests can be earned in a single season, and players in any league from Bronze to Champion have the opportunity to earn the maximum number of chests. Of course, Champion chests will have significantly larger and higher value loot in them than Bronze chests (see the Loot Chests section below for more details), but now players in all leagues will have the opportunity to open a large amount of chests each season if they have earned them.
As mentioned above, the type of loot chest that each player will earn in the current season is based on the highest league achieved at any point in the previous ranked play season. For example, if a player reached Diamond league at any point in the previous season (meaning they achieved both the required rating and collection power and chose to advance to that league) then in the current season they will earn Diamond loot chests no matter what league they are currently playing in.
Before everyone starts complaining about the above mechanic being exploited - please know that it will take FAR more reward shares to earn a Diamond loot chest than it will to earn loot chests for lower leagues. So that means that if a player rents cards for one day in a season and gets up to Diamond league so they can earn Diamond loot chests the next season, if they are only playing in Bronze or Silver league next season they will not earn enough reward shares to get very many Diamond chests, or perhaps none at all.
Therefore it's almost always better from a rewards standpoint to have the highest league achieved in the previous season be one that you can reasonably play in and achieve a reasonable win rate in the following season.
Please see the table below for some actual numbers around average reward shares per win in each league (assuming mid-range rating for the league, 100% ECR, and no bonuses or reductions) and the number of reward shares needed to earn certain amounts of season reward chests.
Please note that the reward shares values shown in the game UI for both quest and season rewards will be divided by 1000 to keep the numbers smaller and more easily readable.
|Avg Rshares / Win||166||3,048||12,977||34,328||71,473|
|Rshares 1 Chest||300||5,000||18,000||43,000||90,000|
|Rshares 10 Chests||4,009||60,541||207,856||480,788||979,863|
|Rshares 50 Chests||70,712||667,419||1,853,082||3,731,227||6,807,237|
|Rshares 100 Chests||966,785||4,305,926||8,540,563||13,873,088||21,423,246|
As you can see from the above numbers, if a player got to Diamond league in one season but then is only playing in Bronze league next season, they may only be able to earn enough reward shares to get one Diamond chest the whole season, whereas had they stayed in Bronze the previous season then they could earn somewhere around 30 Bronze chests instead.
One of the additional issues that this new system resolves is that previously since season rewards were based on the player's league at the end of the season, once a player achieved a high league they would be hesitant to keep playing for fear of dropping back down before the season end and receiving fewer rewards.
With the new system, since the next season's chests are based on the highest league achieved at any point during the season, there is no issue with dropping down in leagues before the end of the season, and there is always incentive to continue playing to keep earning more reward shares to unlock more loot chests in the current season.
The daily quests will be renamed to "Daily Focus" and will work very similarly to the new season rewards system described above.
Each daily focus will last for 24 hours and will focus on a specific element or splinter. The reward shares earned from every ranked battle win during that 24 hour period using the focus element will contribute to players’ focus reward points (FP). The more focus reward points earned during the 24 hour period, the more loot chests the player will be able to claim and open once period ends.
Each player's current daily focus element will be available in all ranked battles that player plays during the 24 hour period where the focus is active to ensure that players always have the option to use their focus element.
A maximum of 30 loot chests can be earned for each daily focus, and players in any league from Bronze to Champion have the opportunity to earn the maximum number of chests. The chests earned for daily focus rewards are the same as the chests earned for season rewards, with champion chests having significantly larger and higher value loot in them than Bronze chests (see the Loot Chests section below for more details). With the new system, players in all leagues will have the opportunity to open a larger amount of chests each day if they have earned them.
Just as with the season rewards, the type of loot chest that each player will earn for each daily focus is based on the highest league achieved at any point in the previous ranked play season. For example, if a player reached Diamond league at any point in the previous season (meaning they achieved both the required rating and collection power and chose to advance to that league) then in the current season they will earn Diamond loot chests for each daily focus no matter what league they are currently playing in.
The old quest potions will be removed from the game when the ranked rewards changes go live and we switch to the daily focus system. Anyone who has unused quest potion charges at that time will be refunded the DEC tokens that were spent on the potions.
As mentioned above, there will now be different loot chests (one for each league) earned for season and daily focus rewards. The type of chest received will be based on the highest league achieved at any time during the previous ranked play season.
Each chest will still have one item in it just as before - some DEC, a potion, a Chaos Legion pack, or a reward card - but higher level chests will have either more DEC or higher chances of higher valued rewards. The details of the rewards for each type of chest are shown in the table below:
|Chest Type||DEC||Reward Cards||Potions||Packs||Token Multiplier||Gold/Rarity Boost|
|Bronze||33.33%||33.33%||33.33%||0.005%||1x||-75% (0.2% Legendary & 0.5% Gold Foil Chance)|
|Silver||33.00%||38.00%||28.25%||0.75%||2x||0% (0.8% Legendary & 2% Gold Foil Chance)|
|Gold||32.00%||43.00%||23.00%||2.00%||8x||50% (1.2% Legendary & 3% Gold Foil Chance)|
|Diamond||31.50%||48.00%||18.00%||2.50%||16x||100% (1.6% Legendary & 4% Gold Foil Chance)|
|Champion||31.00%||53.00%||12.50%||3.50%||48x||300% (3.2% Legendary & 8% Gold Foil Chance)|
The percentages for DEC, Reward Cards, Potions, and Packs show the chances of a single chest of that type containing that type of reward.
The "Token Multiplier" is a multiplier on the amount of DEC that can be earned from that type of chest. The formula for the DEC rewards in the chests will be the same as before, and then the token multiplier will be applied on top of that. For example, if a chest previously would get 5 DEC, then a new Bronze level chest would get the same 5 DEC (since it has a 1x multiplier), but a new Silver level chest would get 10 DEC (with its 2x multiplier), and a new Champion level chest would get 240 DEC after applying the 48x multiplier!
Last, but not least, each type of chest gets an adjustment to the chances of receiving a legendary or gold foil reward card which is labelled above as the "Gold/Rarity Boost". This means that Bronze chests will have a 75% less chance than normal of getting legendary and gold foil reward cards, Silver chests will have normal chances of getting legendary and gold foil reward cards, Gold chests will have a 50% increased chance of getting legendary and gold foil reward cards, up to the Champion chests which have a 3x increased chance of getting legendary and gold foil reward cards.
Please note that once these changes are released, Bronze chests will no longer contain Credits instead of DEC. They will now contain DEC rewards like all other chest types.
New Reward Cards
There will be 12 new reward cards plus a new ability released when these changes go live that will be able to be earned through the new loot chests from daily focus and season rewards.
We will be releasing the stats of those new cards periodically between now and the release (sorry to disappoint anyone hoping to see them right now) so stay tuned for posts about them in the near future!
We don't want you to leave empty-handed after reading this far though, so we'll go ahead and announce the new ability - Reflection Shield!
The Reflection Shield ability makes the character immune to all indirect, or reflected damage. That means that it will not take damage from Blast, Thorns, Return Fire, or Magic Reflect!
Keep in mind that the higher league loot chests will have a higher chance of receiving Legendary and Gold Foil reward cards - so if you want to pick up some of the three new Legendary cards that will be released you'll want to rank up as much as possible!
The Splinterlands team is extremely excited about these changes as we feel they address some of the most important issues with the game economy currently, but we want to be clear that we don't expect them to address EVERY problem. Additionally, while we spent a lot of time trying to think through all possible angles and use data analysis to arrive at the initial numbers and configuration parameters used, we don't expect we will have gotten everything perfect on the first go-around.
We want to assure the community that we are committed to closely watching the results of these changes as well as listening to feedback from the player community to fix any unintended issues and to continually improve the product and the ecosystem.
We are also going to be looking at making future improvements and changes to other parts of the game economy to try to further increase reward potential and reduce abuse and exploits. These areas include the collection power system, card rentals/delegations, card cooldowns, and the ranked season leaderboards.
We are looking forward to players who are contributing value to the ecosystem by owning or renting cards starting to earn significantly more rewards across all levels of play. We hope that this will spur an increase in card purchase and rental activity which will also help further increase rewards and kick off a virtuous cycle for the overall game economy!
Stay tuned for more updates from the Splinterlands!
NOTE: All rewards from this post will be burned.