DrugWars – A Ponzi Scheme Mafia Game (DO NOT INVEST)

in #drugwars5 years ago (edited)

Most blockchain implementations potentially increase happiness of users because they increase possibilities how to access STEEM and, of course, increase possibilities how to actually use the blockchain. I really appreciate your enthusiasm when a new one appears. However… in this case, shouldn’t we be more skeptical?

How does DrugWars work?

Where do the rewards for drug producers come from?
This is undoubtedly a very important question for discussing this issue further. Rewards, of course, come from players who invest money in upgrading the buildings.

Why do users invest?
In short, they invest because they would also like to be able to receive a share of rewards coming from investing in the game.

Who gets the highest rewards?
Of course, the oldest investors get the highest rewards, because they already got a part of the investment back (because they were receiving rewards in times when the new players did not even know about the game) and they were also upgrading their buildings by spending Drugs, Weapons and Alcohol.

Doesn’t it remind you of something? I personally have some experience with Ponzi sites and DrugWars at least look like one.

Motivation to Play

The motivation to invest and upgrade in this game is fairly decent today. Earnings are still quite high and the potential ROI is very beautiful. However, in order for everything to work, investments are needed. And these investments cannot stop. It is important to say that the motivation to upgrade buildings for STEEMs will be decreasing rapidly. Many old players will upgrade just by clicking (spending Drugs, Alcohol and Weapons) and thus the rewards for new players will be gradually decreasing. The potential ROI will go down and thus there will also be fewer investments, because others will be less and less motivated to join the game.

It could be argued that players will be constantly motivated to reinvest. But so can be those who invest in Ponzi sites.


Finally, I would recapitulate that in my opinion the game DrugWars is potentially very unstable. The rewards will decrease and so the investments will, which will eventually lead to the collapse of the game. And I do not necessarily mean that the game would cease to exist, but rather that it would not serve as an investment opportunity anymore. However, it is possible that some may still play it for fun. Personally, I think that today players are not attracted for fun, but for profit. And they just redistribute money, they do not make STEEMs out of thin air… so somebody will have to lose – probably those who join the game as the last ones. Before there will be some collapse, we could, however, wait a long time for it (after all, @drugwars has now more than 80 000 STEEMs). I do not say that the game developers must have some bad intentions (but even that is possible; when users send so much STEEMs to them, they give them an incredible power). Even if DrugWars will not end up as a scam, we cannot win all in this game and many (probably most) investors will have to lose - those who invest as the last ones. That is why I do not recommend investing in DrugWars at this moment.


Nothing promote blockchain better than a good roaring ponzi scheme.
Let them play

It does not have to be scam, however the system of DrugWars favors those who invest earlier and is actually unsustainable as the STEEM rewards will slowly decrease to zero.

!bookkeeping moonsteem drugwars magicdice

!bookkeeping minnowbooster smartsteem

Hi @samotonakatoshi!

smartsteem / smartmarket


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I dont think it is a ponzi scheme.

Posted using Partiko Android

It depends how you define it. I do not say it is a scam, but that the system heavily favors those who invested early. And because DrugWars just redistribute the STEEMs they get (they do not create any in the process), somebody has to pay their profit - new players. In my opinion, this is unsustainable.

Play it for fun. But I think that it is not a good idea to take it as an investment opportunity.

I agree with you on this

Posted using Partiko Android

Funny how you claim things without knowing anything about me, about drugwars and about the team behind the game. Writing a post like this should need some investigation no?

First of all DrugWars is a game, it's not an investment by any way WE HAVE NEVER SAID THAT YOU CAN MAKE ROI WITH DRUGWARS, WE ALLWAYS CLAIMED THAT THE GAME IS IN EARLY ACCESS. For the investment I said it many times to our community and I give also the same answer when I see people asking if they can make money with our game. If someone want to invest, he can do it with lands or grounds, not with drugwars, nor with DOGE coin.

You havent understood how the reward mechanism works, it's totally the opposite of a ponzi (so it's dumb to put that title no? isn't it?). So again your vision and your post are totally biased. But let say that you are not able to think deep as others and I can't be angry for that. The fact is that some of the biggest players on our platform are paying the others for now ;) They are also helping the game to be developped and consider it as a game on Steem not a way to make profit. At least for those who I know their identity. If our community have any problem with anything in game, we are allways present to listen them and to talk about their idea.

For advertising people and explaining them that they shouldnt see DrugWars as an investment I dont see any problem. But how does drugwars works? You have no idea about that, and you have no idea about the next features which will tend to reward people for they strategical plays. But ofc I can't ask you to follow us if when I say red you heard yellow. Sorry if you are not this type of person, but let me tell you that I have some doubts.

The reward will decrease, if we decide to decrease it. Do you think that you have seen 30% of what we are preparing for DrugWars? Nop again you know nothing about that game ;)

Bad intention? You seems to be the only one here with bad intentions ;) Ask about me or any of my team member on the whole steem blockchain and consider what we made for this blockchain. If you find something wrong about me, or any of them, make a post and I will bidbot 300 STEEM on it instantly! If not, consider to edit your post, or maybe bidbot 300 STEEM on our next update :) Or stay with your shame :D as you want!

And the last but not the least, you are totally wrong when you say that players are only interested by profit. The big majority of them are on DrugWars for the fun! Why? because they will be able to fight with other players and show their strategist talent and YEAH maybe even getting rewarded for it! Funny no? as a game should be! Anyway with the number of positive comments you should think by yourself that something seems wrong in your judgement.

By the way, many people are saying, the cost of buildings are too much expensive... why they say that? Because I wanted it to be a free to play. For reminder I started the game with 240 STEEM from my pocket and we are now reaching 90K. Even Nostradamus couldnt see that.

Ah you are a part of Magic Dice? that could explain everything. Go back to play with your dice @samotonakatoshi and let people work on real things :D

To be fair, the game looks a lot a like a ponzi, when playing I have asked myself that same question.

What you did not do in your response is explain why it is not a ponzi, or how it is sustainable. I am not sure a ponzi is a problem here, since it is just a game.

Great job on making such a successful game by the way.

My understanding so far is that since resources become more and more expensive, it actually works the other way around in that the big players pay the little ones....

It may be a pyramid scheme but it's fun. I don't know that it has to be a pyramid scheme as that is really up to the developers to decide. Do they want to make big money for a longer period of time or see DrugWars replaced by a sustainable copycat project?

Why it is not a ponzi?
A ponzi scheme is a form of fraud which lures investors and pays profits to earlier investors by using funds obtained from more recent investors. [wikipedia]
As we mentionned DrugWars is a game, not an investment scheme, and since its free to play game, it is by essence the total opposite of a ponzi scheme because it will allways dilutes the benefits of the game to all players...

Each time that you buy something in game, you accept automatically the fact that someone can have the same thing for free, just with some patience. Pretty same when you play any other free to play game right?
The big difference here is obviously the rewards and some people are focusing too much on this. Fortunately, they don't represent the majority of our community and we have plan to give a greater focus on the strategy.

How it is sustainable?
With a competitive gameplay and different revenue stream. But also with different adjustement to the rewarding mechanism, to make the game more attractive for competition and maybe less for investment. We already made an adjustment some days ago and will do it each time that is necessary.

Let be honest games which are played by tons of players are in majority pretty good games. Just to give one name, clash of clan. It is highliy detailled and well made, we cant compare it with DrugWars ofc. But do you think the company behind this game (Supercell) started with clash of clan or with those amazing graphics that you can see in most of their games? I believe that they made many games before that.
Good things takes time, like a good wine ;) and the fact is that you have 2 of the most talented devs of this ecosystem backed by a strong team (in my opinion ofc), working on this project to make it great.

Don't hesitate to join our discord and give your suggestions or feedbacks about the game : https://discord.me/drugwars

Thank you hightouch.

I certainly do not understand the mechanics, but competition makes a lot of sense. I guess when the battles come in this will bring more of that into the mix, i would think.

I am very excited to see a game take off like this on

The game is clever and fun, but I suggest you work on the economics to make sure you can grow to millions of users without the economy collapsing. If you do that then you could do well. Perhaps consider making an SMT of some sort or leverage upvoting?

You could also leverage advertisements to create a profit engine for the game as well. How many people have thought of that?


Im not sure why people think playing a blochchain game = investment. Games are fun and a viable business for developers. There are many tycoon games like this available not on blockchain that people spend on every day. Sorry but i disagree

Posted using Partiko Android

ponzi is fun

Yeah, the developers probably did not want to create just a Ponzi scheme. But look at the articles that are written every day with #drugwars tag. The overwhelming majority talks about profit and ROI.

In my opinion, it is OK to play the game for fun. Fun is subjective and if you want to, invest as much time and money as you like. But if you want to use it as an investment opportunity, there is a significant pattern that is common for Ponzis as it is for DrugWars - early investors are being paid by investments of those who came after them. Many people prooved that the whole system is not sustainable and it requires heavy changes. Currently, it favors those who came early and those who invested less money (or did spread bigger investment into many accounts). If you want to have the same profit for the same amount of produced drugs, bigger and bigger investments will be needed (also typical for Ponzis) → so rewards will be getting smaller making the potential players less motivated to join. So in some time, new players can get so little percentage per day that the game would not have the investment potential so only those who like the game would remain.

I think @cryptoeater explains it better in his article https://steemit.com/drugwars/@cryptoeater/analysis-on-drug-wars-economy-response-from-hightouch. Although he is a fan of this new game, he agrees that the system is unsustainable if it is based only on investments of players.

I hope that the developers will solve this problem. Unfortunately, now majority of the players are in the game because of the profit potential, not for the fun.

And I have to add, that it is not good to centralize about 100k SP to few persons. The risk of scam is there and no words can exclude it. Although this is only speculation (nobody can have a proof that it is a scam, when the exit scam has not yet been done), the risk is evident. But their 20% share is probably enough for them.

being sustanable or not, doesnt make it a ponzi, people being money hungry on steem is more likely the problem. As for centralizing 100K to a few, lol 100K is nothing compared to the bot ownes lol

I hope that the developers did not want to make a Ponzi out of the game, but the majority of players use it like one. That is why I warn those who want to invest in it.
The problem is that those 100k are in a liquid form. They can just transfer and that is it. Bot owners does not have such power as they receive delegations, not STEEMs. And ... most of them do not take 20% for themselves.

Drugwars is a business and take a look at the database, there are plenty holding more than that in liquid. Its theirs, the made it fair and sqaure.

Being in contact with hightouch and trying the game before most, i know ponzi is not his intentions

Posted using Partiko Android

People talk about profit because people want to earn crypto. I think a well made game allows people to earn crypto else why use crypto tokens at all?

At the same time if it does not allow people to earn crypto in a fair way then people can play a game that does.

You just described the free market. I have nothing against it as I would call myself a libertarian. ;)

I can just hope that their reward system will be improved, because now it really looks like Ponzi (probably without the scam part).

cant people just play a game ans pay any longer cos they enjoy the game? does everything have to be roi since blockchain started? people have different reasons for playing games. same as people are on steem for many reasons, roi beinh only one. why not create a game and see how tough it is.

I have nothing against those players who play it for fun. Fun is subjective. So if you want to play it because of entertainment, do just that. I do not care about that... However, look at the #drugwars tag. Many people talk about the rewards they distribute, ROI and how it is great to invest in it. My article is a response to that. The system at least reminds Ponzi scheme (How the investors get paid... I am definitely not saying that it is a scam - although it can be when so much money is centralized into one anonymous point). Old investors are being paid for a longer time and they are also being paid by investments of new players. In addition, the ROI, reward per some amount of drugs and motivation to invest are decreasing (at least in the longterm). That is why I am saying that the current system is unsustainable and to maintain the current ROI, more and more money have to flow into the system, but the invested money cannot grow into infinity. Play it for fun, but do not tell others that it is the best investment and that you cannot lose. Because you actually can lose, and you probably will (if you invest now). I know it is very difficult to design a perfectly balanced system, but I hope they will manage to do that in the future.

I play the game a bit on my test account and I think that it is almost impossible for new players (even if they are actually better in these games) to become "bigger mafians" (without bigger investment) than those who came before them. Now it is mostly about upgrading buildings and that is the game. But this problem can be fixed by gradual developing of the game.

If you want to have fun, do whatever you want. However, do not scream that this is the best investment opportunity when the current system favors those who invested early.

if it was just pay to play it would sure be a Ponzi scheme. and yes many try to sell it as an investment. we well see how much fun factor will it have when everything is on.

Posted using Partiko Android

I had the same concerns as you, here's my article explaining it. It also includes an interview with @hightouch.

Thank you for sharing it. I can just agree, although it did not change my opinion on the game.

Anyone who played it smart has already recovered their investment and thus taken some profits out of whale pockets... and anyone else can still start playing for free just to get faucet-site-like payouts. I'd even argue that paying for level 1 drug-production upgrades will still recover the investment in about a week.

But... I fully agree that the game will not be sustainable unless some groundbreaking new features are invented. I say invented because nothing in the original mafia-wars-like structure allows for a sustainable economy nor compelling gameplay...

The biggest flaw of this game... if you really think of it as a cash-cow... don't sign up and buy upgrades... just reactivate 1000 dead alt-accounts and reap the benefits... I wonder how many of those proclaimed 5000 players are actually real ;)

Drugwars is a game, not an investment strategy. If even 5% to 10% of players can make money this is quite an accomplishment, on par with Professional poker playing.

In Poker, those who play well win. In DrugWars, who comes as the first one wins. That is Ponzi. And most people come into DrugWars for the potential profit. Not for the fun. If there were no STEEM rewards, nobody would care about the game. MMO browser games are not attractive these days.

This is not true I figured out the best roi you receive if you spend less steem the more you spend the worse your roi gets so i think you should inform yourself better before talking shit.

Posted using Partiko iOS

Yes, you are right. The more upgrades you get the less profitable it becomes (in %). However, that does not dispute the claim that the ROI will go down together with the motivation of new players. The current system is unsustainable and the rewards will slowly decrease to zero. And those who invested early win more than those who invested after them. Plus those who invested less have better ROI.

And the fact that smaller investments get better ROI can favor bots distributing a big investment into many accounts. Maybe this is already happening and many of Drugwars players are actually bots.

I am OK if people play it for fun. But majority of articles about it are just screaming it is the best investment ever.

lol what am I even talking about.... It's the Drugwars whales that are giving me ROI in the first place. Tell me, how does that fit the definition of a pyramid scam? The people who spend the most money lose the most. You haven't thought this through or looked at the numbers or accounted for the evolution of a game that's only been in development four weeks.

you have been found wanting.

You are correct

Posted using Partiko iOS

Yeah. Those that put in the most money will lose the most and after time all the STEEM will end up in the pockets of the dev. Its still early in the game life to be noticeable but once folks realize they are losing quite a bit of money, upgrades will stop and the game will collapse.
The game itself isnt a ponzi but the economy of the game is set up as such. There is no fraud here, only dumb people not understanding how the game works.
Its a simple token redistribution game. 100 STEEM goes in, 89 STEEM (or whatever it is now) comes out.

If you want to play it for fun, thats great, there is no problem with that. But if you are playing it because you think its a good investment, then you are pretty much wrong.
And just wait once the bot accounts start showing up.

I made money, you can too. Is the typical ponzi hook that obscures what is actually going on.
I predict major backlash and drama over this game in the next few months simply because folks dont understand how it all works.

It's interesting because just as many people are making the argument that crypto is a scam for exactly the same reasons. Yet here I am buying Steem three years later.

Hehe.. Im pretty sure that if you buy Bitcoin a fraction of your investment doesnt go into Satoshis wallet.

Um... yeah... it does. The more demand crypto has liquidity slides up. Then the whales with all the coins are filthy rich. The money flows from the people buying coins today to the ones who had coins years ago. It is exactly the same thing.

Haha. Um no..
Youre comparing apples and airplanes.

You are comparing something of demonstrable value and application to a game that has a value proposition of forever diminishing returns due to the dev take...
Drugwars falls apart as an investment the second folks stop spending money on it.

I have put in 31 steem....and received 18 back so where....a week from now I will not have any lost investment going forward...it's possible that it is a ponzi...but I will not be losing anything now...and the fact the STEEM is being printed and they received SP based on their steem and votes...I think it will last much longer than people think.

The inflation will extend it a bit but all inflation does is add liquidity to the players. Doesnt have much to do with the redistribution.
Someone is losing money and is yet to realize it due to diminishing returns never turning into 0.

Posted using Partiko Android

then the game should die in a month or two,
which isn't going to happen because this game is evolving faster than any project we've seen here.

They can change the way funds are paid out with a flick of the wrist.

A Ponzi scheme is a form of fraud which lures investors and pays profits to earlier investors by using funds obtained from more recent investors. The victims are led to believe that the profits are coming from product sales or other means, and they remain unaware that other investors are the source of profits.

Obviously a game can't be a Ponzi scheme. You're trying to say this game is illegal. It's not. In fact, it's not even gambling because there is no chance involved in the payout.

I am not talking about legality, i do not care about that.

However, the game has many similar properties as Ponzi schemes sites. Although it is a game, most people come into the system purely because of the possibility of profit. If you open https://steemit.com/created/drugwars almost everybody talk about ROI and STEEM rewards. If players want just to play the game, they should play it. But if they want just to invest and make a profit, I say that they should not hop into this game.

I have upgraded some buildings on my test account about 2 days ago. I have about 10% of the investment back, meanwhile you are already in profit. And that is simply a feature of Ponzi scheme. Even if I was a better player, you have a significant advantage of coming in first.

You cannot deny that. Current system of the game at least remind Ponzi scheme. I only wish they change it, so it would become an honest game.

So... almost everybody take part in Drugwars for profit, not for the fun. As older investors have a significant advantage, new players cannot make a profit out of the game so easily.

Yes yes, sure whatever.
But you have to look at the big picture.
The popularity of this game is bound to spawn 1000 others.
Each one a little less scammy than the last.

From where I am standing no one is making the claim you'll make money playing this game. That ship has already sailed. The mechanics of these pay to win resources per day games are well documented.

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