The Splinterlands: A Gaming Review

Hi, fellow gamers, blockchain enthusiasts, investors, and intrigued researchers. Here I’ll be sharing my experience with you guys about the Splinterlands. I come from a background of many popular trading card games like the Pokémon TCG, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Hearthstone, and Legends of Runeterra.

In addition to that, I have over 20 titles under my portfolio in the blockchain gaming space, including Axie Infinity, Decentraland, Gods Unchained, Alien Worlds, and of course, Splinterlands.

Without a doubt, the last couple of years have been life-changing for many of us, if not all, especially due to the virus that popularized Zoom and online classes. One of the biggest changes in my life that came about in the aforementioned years was that I got the chance to financially get into the blockchain space. It was just before when the hype about cryptocurrencies and NFTs actually started to take off.

A few massive gains and similarly large losses later, here I am, full of different experiences. And on my way to start my own blockchain gaming guild, spreading the word and educating people about the revolutionary feat that blockchain technology is. However, that’s a story for another day. Now without further ado, let’s get started with my Splinterlands review.

(The Vision Behind the Game)

The Splinterlands

So What is Splinterlands?

Splinterlands is a blockchain-based, free-to-try, pay-to-play, win-to-earn trading card NFT game. The game operates on the HIVE Blockchain but also features intractability with the Ethereum, Wax, and Binance Smart Chain (BSC). Splinterlands aims to be a decentralized trading card game that makes in-game assets own-able, playable, and tradable.

Decentralization: Bringing back the ‘T’ in the ‘Trading Card Games’

One of the key aspects of Trading Card Games has always been the element of collectability. I still remember when I used to save my lunch money just to buy Pokémon cards, and before I knew it, I had a massive collection of over half a thousand cards.

The popularity of this concept can be linked to the extremely high auction prices of certain cards like the “Holographic Shadowless Charizard” going for as high as $500,000 in auction houses. In contrast, many others sell for upwards of $1000 as well. Considering these cards were originally obtained from a pack or deck of cards worth hardly a couple of bucks back in the days, it’s quite a notable gain.

With the advent of cloud computing, the digitization of trading card games, and the adoption of the internet as an integral part of social interaction, these games became available for a large audience across the globe. However, in doing so, the trading card games lost the collectability feature, the trading from the TCGs was gone.

But by adding the features of blockchain into the mix, suddenly, it became possible to trade digital cards just like it was possible to own, collect, and trade tangible cards before. Decentralization of trading card games via blockchain technology brought back the ‘T’ in the new generation of digital ‘Trading Card Games’.

Splinterlands is one such example of a decentralized digital trading card game, where along with enjoying the unique gameplay, players can truly own, collect, and trade their favourite cards with each other.

Gameplay and Narrative: Summoners, Monsters, and Dragons

The Splinterlands

Now let’s speak about some gameplay. Splinterlands has managed to combine auto battler and TCGs together, creating a fast-paced experience that requires the strategy of implementing aspects of TCGs and benefits from the relaxed gameplay of auto-battlers.

Personally, I appreciate this innovation. However, this might not be the game if you are looking for some intense, hardcore, and strategic Trading Card Gaming experience. Speaking of traditional TCGs, Splinterlands lacks a solid narrative at the moment. However, it might still be too soon to judge the game’s narrative as it’s still a relatively young universe.

They have managed to come up with a pretty generic distributed regions, factions, summoners, and monsters narrative; however, it is still far from being something enjoyable as lore.

The 6 Factions of Splinterlands: The Splinters

In the world of Splinterlands, there exist six factions called Splinters, to whom almost every card belongs. These Splinters identify as:

  • The Earth Splinter of Anumün
  • The Fire Splinter of the Burning Lands
  • The Water Splinter of ΛZMΛRÉ
  • The Life Splinter of Khymeria
  • The Death Splinter of Mortis
  • The Dragon Splinter of Draykh-Nahka

The cards that don’t belong to any splinter are called neutral cards. By the way, what happened to their imagination when they were naming the fire splinter? I mean there’s Anumün, ΛZMΛRÉ, Khymeria, Mortis, Draykh-Nahka and then there’s the poor Fire Splinter, the Burning Lands. I just feel sad about it, to be honest.

Visuals and Art Style

The art style is one of the defining features of any trading card game. Being passionate about art myself to a certain extent, I would say I have seen better and expected better art quality from the game.

However, I may have quite a high standard coming from the likes of Legends of Runeterra. The other thing that can use some creativity is the naming. Personally, I find the names quite unimaginative.

I don’t dislike the cartoony art style; it’s just not anything special. Traditionally, a strong narrative and book loads of lore are built around the cards in such games. I believe the Splinterlands art style lacks that uniqueness, which makes it relatively hard to feel awesome about your cards. 

I mean the art matters a lot to me, and I believe it should be better. I should at the very least feel amazing about showing off my cool monster card that I sunk all my pocket money into after saving for months!

User-Interface: How Interactive and Easy-to-Use is it?

The Splinterlands

The Splinterlands UI would comprise the whole Splinterlands.com website. The game, the marketplace, inventory, and everything else as well. I would say I have seen my fair share of browser-based games and hence have tested lots of different user interfaces.

From my experience, I would say Splinterlands have got it right and done a commendable job on keeping their UI clean and user-friendly. The game has pretty defined clicks, and despite my lack of passion for their art style, the UI is decently good.

How Often Can You Play It Before You Start Feeling Bored?

In my opinion, Splinterlands features a great level of replayability. This is due to the unique, fast-paced design of the game’s battle mechanics. A typical game of Splinterlands lasts 2 to 4 minutes, which makes it highly addictive and convenient.

You could be on your daily commute and knock four-five matches of Splinterlands off without ever feeling tired. Besides the gameplay itself, the idea of exploring the market for golden deals on some hidden gems is part of what makes Splinterlands, Splinterlands.

With so many cards in the mix, the game has quite a lot in terms of content to keep players want to keep coming back to try new unique line-ups and combos.

Tokenomics: Credits, DEC, and SPS

The game has three kinds of trading tokens in the game, which can be used to purchase items from the marketplace. These are:

  • Credits
  • Dark Energy Crystals (DEC)
  • Splinterlands Shards (SPS)

Credits are purchased at a preset rate of “1000 Credits = $1”, Credits were introduced in the game after its launch on Google Playstore and Apple’s Appstore for mobile devices as it was a legal requirement for fiat currency transactions to be non-transferable. It is similar to the premium in-game currencies in many traditional games that we all are familiar with.

Dark Energy Crystals (DEC) are the main in-game currency tokens of the game, with which you can do it all. These are rewarded to players for completing daily quests and winning ranked matches. If you are familiar with Axie Infinity, then you can think of DEC as the SLP of the Splinterlands. However, unlike SLP, the Splinterlands have a lot of use-cases and purchasable options as DEC burning mechanisms, which is a great change to experience if you are coming from Axie Infinity!

Splinterlands Shards (SPS) are the main governing token of the game, similar to AXS of Axie Infinity. Owning SPS grants you the right to vote on certain development decisions that determine the future of the game. This can be thought of as owning a part of the game and earning the right to make decisions and have your opinion valued. This is a step towards the decentralization of the Splinterlands, which is a concept at its core.

You can read more about the tokenomics of the game in their litepaper here.

Play-to-Earn Features

The Splinterlands Play-to-Earn Features

Being a blockchain-based NFT game, the Splinterlands has built-in Play-to-Earn features. The game rewards players for winning ranked games, completing daily quests and grinding to learn, play, and climb the ladder. This is incentivized by the rewards being in the form of Dark Energy Crystals (DEC), the native crypto-token of the game, which can be traded and converted into fiat currency on decentralized and centralized P2P exchanges.

The entry barrier for the game is also quite low, with the Spellbook being only $10 and card packs being available for as low as $4 to $5. Furthermore, these cards can be purchased with DEC, which makes for a great burning mechanism and use-case for the token.

The cards are NFTs, and being on the HIVE blockchain has a convenient lending feature as well. Are you reading this, Axie managers and scholars? I believe from a monetary policy point of view, Splinterlands have quite some thought put into it, which is always appreciable.

Overall Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Unique, fast-paced gameplay.
  • Decently popular with over 260,000 daily active users. Quick to find a PVP match.
  • Cross-chain compatibility with ETH, TRX, STEEM, and HIVE.
  • It has a Free-to-Play option, so you can try it before investing.
  • Considerably low amount of initial investment required to get started. It’s $10 only!
  • Play-to-Earn Features. Allowing you to earn cryptocurrencies and NFTs from Tournaments, Ranked play, and Quests.
  • New Players Friendly. Easy to learn, difficult to master.
  • Available on PC and Android. Supports cross-platform compatibility.

Cons

  • Quite unimaginative art style. It’s good but could be better.
  • Not for you if you are looking for a traditional TCG, where you can sink long hours into.
  • Relatively limited and non-interactive gameplay than many traditional TCGs.

Similar Games like The Splinterlands

Gods Unchained

For me, Splinterlands is all about some quick fun on the side. I consider it a good option if I’m looking for some fast-paced TCG experience. However, sometimes I do crave the long, intense duelling and strategic deck building that are part of traditional TCGs.

To fulfil those cravings, I usually go for one of the following NFT TCG games, though I admit Gods Unchained is my favourite:

  • Gods Unchained
  • Cryptic Legends
  • Contract Servant
  • Crypto Spells
  • Skyweaver
  • Berserk

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

People are often intrigued by some specific questions regarding the topics that I write about. So here are some frequently asked questions about the Splinterlands and my answers to them.

Question: Is Splinterlands Legit?

Answer: Yes, Splinterlands, or Steem Monsters as it was previously known, is a legit blockchain-based Trading Card NFT Game. The game has been running for more than three years now and has over 260,000 daily active users.

Question: Can You Play Splinterlands on Mobile?

Answer: Yes, you can play Splinterlands on a smartphone. Splinterlands is available for computers, Android devices, and iPhones as well.

Question: Can you Make Money Playing Splinterlands?

Answer: Yes, you can certainly make money playing Splinterlands as trading and Play to Earn are at the core of the game’s concept. Players will need to upgrade their accounts by purchasing a spellbook which will enable them to earn Dark Energy Crystals (DEC) as a reward for winning ranked games and performing daily quests.
Depending on various factors like League, Rank, ECR, the cards in your collection, etc., you can earn anywhere from $20 – $200 per month from playing Splinterlands. This figure can rise significantly if you win some specific tournaments as well.

Question: Which Cryptocurrencies Can I Use to Purchase a Spellbook?

Answer: The Spellbook can be purchased with fiat currency as well as several supported cryptocurrencies. Currently, the spellbook costs $10 in fiat currency and an equivalent amount in the following cryptocurrencies:
 • HIVE
 • STEEM
 • TRON (TRX)
 • Bitcoin (BTC)
 • Litecoin (LTC)
 • Ether (ETH)
 • Dai Stablecoin (DAI)
 • WAX (WAXP)
 • EOS (EOS)
 • Basic Attention Token (BAT)
 • Enjin Coin (ENJ)
 • Uniswap (UNI)
 • SAND (SAND)
 • GALA (GALA)
 • GAME (GAME)
 • LeoFinance (LEO)
 • Electroneum (ETN)
 • Steem Dollars (SBD)
 • Hive Dollars (HBD)
 • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
 • KuCoin Shares (KCS)

Question: What is DEC Energy Capture Rate, and How Long Does it Take to Regenerate?

Answer: DEC Energy Capture Rate (ECR) is one of the limiting mechanisms in the game that determines how much DEC you can earn as a reward per ranked match win. You can use this Capture Rate percentage as the last multiplier to determine how much DEC you will gain after accounting for all other factors.
This means that at 50% ECR, you will earn exactly 50% of DEC compared to what you earned at 100% ECR. This capture rate refills at the rate of 25% per day or 1.04% per hour. Every ranked match that you play reduces your ECR by almost 1% as well; due to this reason, it is recommended to play no more than 25 ranked matches per day to maximize earnings.

Final Verdict and Score: Is it Bussin’ or Disgustin’?

Verdict Score: 7.5/10

I have been playing Splinterlands for over six months now. Overall, I believe the fast-paced gameplay added some much-needed flavour to the TCG genre in general. In addition to that, the game does require some Light Yagami and L. level of thought put into building the right lineups.

With over 50 effects and four basic stats with additional layers of complexity, even in those, I believe the game has gone a bit overboard with the things to keep track of. However, it is still fairly easy to pick up for newcomers and TCG veterans alike.

The future of the game also looks exciting, with spells and items crafting features planned alongside the land expansion of the game, which at this point has become a trend for all NFT games, I believe. Overall, I would say Splinterlands is among the better NFT games out there. So yeah, it’s Bussin’! 🙂

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