While boosters valued at $1 are guiding DEC prices downwards, Splinterlands feels stagnant to some despite so many new cards, since there are not that many core updates and, well, tournaments still stuck.
First of all
dgamemarket is now accepting DEC as a payment method for the Steam games you can buy on it. I always promote it and I think implementing DEC in third party services is a very good way to get people to buy and hold it.
That's is third party DEC update from the title.
At the endgame
There is nothing higher to reach than champion 1 and first place in every tournament. But is it fun?
While battling through champion ranks without trading wins can be a really fun struggle, a lot of players feel tournaments are incredibly unfair due to the same old problems of card transfers between participating accounts, volume of players thanks to bots and a gigantic time sink.
By the way, if you want to play tournaments but you're always one minute too late, I suggest turning on browser notifications. They show up both when check ins are enabled and as soon as the tournament rounds start, so it's spot on.
The jump on card levels from gold to max is terrifying. A smoother transition would certainly help, specially at the beginning of each season. If you are a better player for the summoner levels you have, then you should be able to win.
Tournaments should go BOOM
As far as prizes go, it is estabilished that a lot more prizes of a lot less value is a much more popular concept than very few but huge prizes. Unfortunately, Splinterlands has it all backwards at this point.
The lack of community and press coverage during tournaments is also very unsatisfying. A lot of us could be learning a thing or two and picking favorite players we want to follow more often (who would certainly benefit from being promoted in this upvote-driven blockchain).
But right now most of us get nothing from tournaments existing. We don't necessarily have to get money from them. But it's a competitive card game. There's still a lot of other things a community has to gain from better tournament coverage. We could easily grow into an esport.
How to carve better path for new players
What's the most frustrating thing a new player will have to go through after spending $10 on a starter account? They won't feel like they are making any progress at all. Not getting any DEC through not winning with untamed proxy cards means insatisfaction.
I understand $10 is meant to be the paywall for getting access to the reward pool, but how about maybe giving back to these players like $2 or $3 so they can actually buy some cards and get a taste for the game?
This could easily get implemented by setting up a fixed 25 DEC bonus for the first, say, 100 matches of every new account that has paid $10 to get started (so it doesn't include promo codes).
These players not only paid $10, they are also going to hold those cards anyway to get a better playing experience, so nothing can go wrong from that. By giving them an easy way start out without extending benefits for too long, they won't give up for getting only 0.001 dec for their wins.
Last but not least, knowing you are guaranteed to get at least a little bit of your money back even if you suck horribly at the game makes a new customer feel safer because it's like a cashback insurance. This would act as an incentive to buy a starter pack.
We've seen some of the press coverage splinterlands is getting out on the internet, but we as players don't see in them the things that are make the game more fun to us. It is a fun trading card game that takes skill to play and actually rewards us with money every time we play it. But that's usually not what general media focuses on.
Telling gamers about how their game's backend technology is technically techy won't get their attention. Some people think of splinterlands as a gambling game, but at it's core it is a traditional TCG game and it will get more attention if it's actually advertised as such.
Reward cards are a lottery ticket
Getting greys every day? Sorry! But it's still a provably fair lottery where you could win 75k dec for a gold foil legendary. You don't think it's that useful? You know, a GFL is worth at least 30 dollars instantly.
Even if you can't make use of it due to not having good cards, you can still sell it and greatly upgrade your collection - or even cash it out.
What you need to remember is every reward card is a lottery ticket. You should not think less of these. Even a legendary, gold foil rare or gold foil epic will make a lot difference in your gaming pocket.
Untamed boosters guilty for lower DEC prices
These cards are made to be an addition to beta cards. They are not supposed to be powerful by themselves. This protects beta-card holders but it sucks to everyone else.
Have you played with a brand new account these days? It's very hard to get above Bronze 3 because the level 1 untamed proxy cards are terrible. Absolutely terrible. They are weak and they are not fun to play by themselves.
All of this has led to untamed kind of backfire. Since the main reason people get DEC is for buying boosters while paying cheaper than they would pay using paypal, but the average value of a booster pack is as low as $1, then it makes sense DEC prices go down.
Mobile will help but it won't be a miracle
The mobile app is in the works and it's pretty much taking every single minute of development time available from the team. We understand how important it is and how it opens up splintersland to a much greater audience. We are thankful, but we are not confident that alone will bring DEC back up.
Still, we really do understand mobile is the dev's number one priority and that we have to wait until it's done to get anything else available to the rest of us. It kind of suchs, it doesn't really help with our anxiety over Splinterlands, but yeah, we get it. Specially those who already play through a phone. Oh, they are begging for the app.
Lower rank levels are not fun
There are too many bots. There are too few rewards. I enjoy playing in low level accounts because I'm good at it but I never watch the results. I just skip them and go straight into the queue for the next battle. Because the playing experience in itself is crappy. New players probably dislike this too.
We want more game modes
@aggroed once stated we'd get a different kind of tournament mode where we can submit a team days ahead of time. Events like this could take weeks or months to finish but they would bring diversity, which is something we really need. Spamming ranked gets tiring.
@senstless talked about how he only played poker tournaments before, mostly in the "Sit & Go" category. Having these in Splinterlands would be great, and it's something "Magic: the Gathering Online" has done for a really long time in a popular way.
We've also heard about boss modes, campaigns and whatnot, but these seem so far away it's saddening instead of cheerful. It's more like "we can only dream..."
Economic changes and broken promises from the dev team have been shit
Yabapmatt had stated Delwyn Dragonscale would be the only summoner outside the water splinter that would get a buff to magic attacks. That was the official answer to why he had a mana cost as expensive as 5. Archmage happened soon after.
As a really big card in the SEED/Germinator-campaign, this was a huge blow on some of the investors' trust. Even a single occurence can serve as proof we should fear it happening in the future.
TCG is a media that relies on trust and to some of us, that trust has taken a few hits lately.
First, the dev team made a major change to the way DEC would be handled without consulting the community. Not everyone was pleased with the new changes of being able to buy potions with cash and fixed prices on packs.
The original way DEC was managed made it easier to draw a line to it's increasing value. More players into less DEC = higher DEC value. If every set was worth 6%-8% (ish) less in DEC value than previous sets, there would be added upward pressure on the price.
If the style of original design was kept in the long term, we would still be able to draw a line straight to DEC being worth more in the future and harder to get with each new set that comes out.
This important because it adds a lot of incentives to getting involved. Even if a new player gets no more than .0007 dec, this is not too bad because in a few short years it would be worth 1 to 10 cents since DEC would become scarcer.
Everyone would be hodl'ing and playing like crazy, and investing and hyping out constantly, which is is what we used to have had all over the place. Now, not so much.
Also that chain golem from the kickstarter campaign... I'm sure it had a lot of financial impact, but it's not explicit how it happened. It was great to jump in at the time, but now I'm not so sure it was a good thing at all.
Not to mention the Prince saga. What if you had bought or gotten that card when it worth $$$ then they changed it on you? It is harder to invest in SL when sudden changes like this have been happening more frequently. Gremlin Blaster, anyone!?
I also have a quote straight from @jacekw on this subject:
DEC price is pretty low, currently at $0.64 / 1000 DEC, but there is no reason for DEC to have higher price right now.
In my opinion, reason of low price are:
- pegging 2000 DEC = 1 UNTAMED packs (which can be bought for $2) does not help keeping 1000 DEC value around $1, EV from pack is not even close to $2, it’s more like $1. So it’s not like you can buy something worth around $2 with discount paying DEC, it’s more like you just buy something worth around $1, so it’s still much lower than cost taking into account discount
- a lot of people get DEC from sales, but they prefer STEEM/SBD, so they just sell this DEC for STEEM, moving prices down
- people that win DEC from tournaments, especially weekend ones with high prizes has to do something with this DEC, if they don’t want to buy packs / potions they will probably sell DEC
- no way to pay rentals, put bids with DEC, so for this usecases you need to sell DEC
- not too much DEC sinks, some of them don’t really works (nobody buys skins, they are too expensive), I hope this will change with some Guild Updates, Guild Wars etc
- Beta cards prices decreased last weeks, but I would say they are just back to normal levels after being pumped before UNTAMED because of FOMO.
- Reward cards prices decrease because they are strongly dependent from DEC price.
- Untamed cards price constantly are decreasing, but markets for most demanded cards are rather shallow.
- Alpha cards prices are high, but that doesn’t reflect the real price that buyer is gonna to pay. You have to make discount like 50% to be able to sell combined alpha card.
In my opinion, still number 1 priority is new players. On the other hand, this game can not absorb too many players because amount of cards are limited. Like there is only 10000 (actually even less) Lord Arianthuses so only 909 could be maxed if they were all leveled to max. So if SplinterLands will have 10000 players, most of the players simply won’t be able to have this card. And cost of the cards is big barrier for new players. Someone with $10000 collection is happy that his cards value is 2x higher than 1 year before, but on the other hand it prevents new players from joining this game. So it’s two two-edged sword.
I hope that mobile app will bring new players. Integrations with other blockchains, OpenSeas are great but they are not too much players because of this.
All of that said, Splinterlands has a future
It can go boom and it can get worse, but it certainly isn't going to die soon.