Dreaming on Splinterlands: bringing a little Dr. Moreau
As part of my business I burn a lot of Splinterlands cards, so I probably think about the less useful ones more than just about anybody else. And I had kind of a crazy idea to make those cards, or those type of future cards, more valuable.
One of the limits on the game's card-combining mechanism is that only identical cards can be combined. Which certainly makes things simple to understand, but it isn't really necessary in any way. So I thought, what if you could merge different cards, and especially what if you could take a max version of one of the less-valued cards, combine it with any other card, and convey the lesser card's key ability to the card you're combining it into?
Part of the reason these cards are less desirable, and often really only useful for the DEC they contain, is that they only have one notable ability, and by itself that doesn't do much. But if by acquiring (and destroying) enough of the cards you could have that single ability untied to its monster, able to transfer it anywhere you want, suddenly the cards-as-items become much more interesting and valuable.
Collect 505 Rusty Androids to give any card you want Magic Reflect. Collect 115 Skeletal Warriors to pass along Shield to any monster you think would benefit from it. Between the less-wanted Reward cards there could be a lot of abilities available:
|Rusty Android||Magic Reflect|
|Divine Sorceress||Divine Shield|
|Wood Nymph||Tank Heal|
|Naga Fire Wizard||Thorns|
|Undead Minotaur||Double Strike|
You could expand it further - Harpy is a good card, but would you rather have Harpy or an Exploding Dwarf with Opportunity? Armorsmith mostly doesn't need to be maxed for itself, but would it be worth maxing one to give Repair to Silvershield Paladin, or to Crustacean King?
Not only would it drive up the prices of the cards useful for such a method, it would make the game more complex and interesting at the top levels, where almost everyone is currently playing with the same deck. There aren't enough of these cards to go around for maximizing added abilities to be a thing, and if they were restricted to one per card you'd have to make choices anyway. One of the things that bothers me about the game is there's really no card acquisition strategy besides "get them all," and this could change that.
Adding this to the game itself would be a significant addition in terms of development, but shouldn't be a huge one. You wouldn't have to change the way everything works, just add a secondary_ability field in the card data and make sure the playing engine reads it.
Where it gets sticky is the marketplace. Cards upgraded this way would really need more of an NFT showcase style of marketplace, rather than the current method which treats each type of card as a fungible token. (Which really they are.)
I'm not convinced this should really be done, but it's fun to think about. Maybe it's more appropriate for someone developing a new game that uses the card-combining mechanic, where it could be built in from the beginning.