We hope everyone is staying safe and healthy and getting through the various forms of lockdown in effect all around the world. We want to ensure our community that work on Splinterlands is continuing and has not slowed down in the slightest during this pandemic. If anything it seems like the pace of work has been increasing, and we are excited to share some of the upcoming new features and changes with you!
Player Titles & Profile Updates
First, we are adding custom player "titles" that will be shown after the player's account name everywhere in the game. The first titles will be "the Untamed" which was included in the $1000 and higher contribution tiers from our recent crowdfunding campaign, as well as the custom titles from the $10k packages. In the future we will also be adding additional titles for players to earn in various ways as well.
Adding titles to the game required design updates to every part of the game where a player's account name is shown - which is a lot! You can see some examples of the changes below. Additionally please note that for the moment the titles will be purely vanity items and do not give any advantages or benefits in the game. In the future, particularly with the previously announced expansion, we plan to give tangible benefits to the different titles.
If you have a title, it will not be automatically applied to your account. To apply a title (as well as other profile changes), you can click on your account name on the top right of the game and choose the new "Profile" option to bring up your player profile popup. This will now have an edit button which will allow you to choose from any available titles you own to apply to your account. You can apply or unapply a title at any time.
Titles will also be transferrable in the near future. We are working on an inventory screen in game for players to manage all of their non-card NFTs, which includes titles, skins, and some new items that will be added in the future. We also plan to create a market for these non-card NFTs as well so they can be easily bought and sold just like cards.
You may have also noticed that the avatar images have changed as well. We will no longer be using the Steem account profile pictures for a number of reasons. Going forward players will be able to choose from a set of 20 avatar images and we will be adding additional special avatar image NFTs that players will be able to earn, trade, buy and sell.
Those of you who have tried the mobile web app at https://m.splinterlands.io should already be familiar with the new avatars as they have been used there since its launch.
These changes are scheduled to go live on Monday, April 13th at around 10 AM ET / 14:00 UTC. The Untamed titles from the crowdfunding campaign will also be given out to eligible players on or before that date.
While these changes are purely UI related, a number of back-end API calls were updated to add additional information around the player titles and avatar choices. The API changes should be fully backwards compatible and should not include any breaking changes. Any third-party developers who would like to utilize this new information or test anything out before the release can contact @yabapmatt on Discord for access to the testnet site where these changes are already live.
Price Feed Average Time Change
In the past the game used a 12-hour average for the market prices of the various cryptocurrencies accepted in the game. This was changed in an emergency update to a 3-hour average after the Hive hardfork on Friday, March 20th, 2020 as a result of the very large and quick drop in the price of STEEM.
We plan to leave it at a 3-hour average going forward as this will lead to fewer issues with fast, large movements in cryptocurrency prices. The current prices in use by the game are always available at https://api.splinterlands.io/settings.
Rating Adjustments at Champion I League
The rating system used in ranked battles in the game is based on the standard ELO rating system most commonly used in games like chess, but with a few modifications. The modifications are the win-streak bonus (which doubles the rating increase for the 3rd win in a row and onwards) and a rating increase minimum of 10 points (meaning that if you beat someone with a lower rating than you and your rating would have increased by less than 10 points, it will increase by 10 points instead).
These two modifications were made so that players' ratings will generally increase over time as they play the game, even if they are not winning more than 50% of their battles. This is quite common in games like Splinterlands and without it it would become far too difficult for players to progress in ranked play and can be very frustrating.
Things are a bit different at the top of the rankings, however, and the ELO rating system modifications are allowing some of our best players to run up very high ratings before the end of the season. Obviously the best players should have the highest rating, but it is exacerbated by the rating system modifications which are really meant for players in lower leagues.
As a result, beginning at the start of the next ranked play season (on Wednesday, April 15th, 2020 at 20:00 UTC) once players reach the Champion I league at 4700 rating points they will no longer receive a win-streak bonus or have a minimum rating increase for wins. We expect that this change will make the top spots on the leaderboard much more competitive.
As always, we will keep a close eye on the results of these changes and listen to player feedback to determine if the results have been positive and if any additional changes are necessary in the future.
Last, but not least, we have two new rulesets that we will be adding into the game! The first is:
Heavy Hitters - All Monsters have the Knock Out ability.
This ruleset should encourage the use of a lot of Monsters with the "Stun" ability, as well as the "Cleanse" ability to remove Stun from friendly Monsters.
The second new ruleset is:
Equalizer - The initial Health of all Monsters is equal to that of the Monster on either team with the highest base Health.
We think this will be a fun ruleset as it will let a lot of "squishy" Monsters with low health be able to take some hits, and it will require some additional anticipation of what your opponent might do.
These rulesets are planned to be added on Monday, April 13th along with the titles and player profile changes.
We also wanted to keep everyone up to date on what is coming up next in the development pipline. We're excited to report that we have completed the initial development of "anytime" tournaments (thanks to @cryptomancer) and are undergoing internal testing. We expect to start public testing of those within the next few weeks.
After that, @cryptomancer is also working on creating separate leaderboards for the different leagues - which is something the community has been requesting for some time. This will allow skilled players who don't have max level cards to still compete for recognition and prizes each season against other players with similar sized card collections.
Many more details about both of these will be announced when they are closer to being ready for release, so stay tuned for that and more updates from the Splinterlands!
Stay tuned for more updates from the Splinterlands!