Over time in observing the dynamics of The Splinterlands game and economy has been fascinating and for me perhaps even more fun than playing the actually already fun game in itself.
The rental market has also been an obsession to many of us due to its unique assignment of in game assets that virtually all games have yet to incorporate anywhere near the desired endgame result, moving forward in the complete market dynamics that mimic real world opportunities of quantum ownership and utility.
Viewing new players starting to crowd has definitely peaked my curiosity in how the newest entrants of the game are using this phenomenal tool in gathering rewards without the massive capital outlay but also being able to take part in rewards system from the bottom to the highest possible attainable levels in the game. Theoretically spending something like say $1.50 or more per day can net you into Champion levels depending on how far you want to spend and battle within rankings. The highest modifier is of course pack rewards that each season (twice monthly) can create a multiple of rewards of up to 24 times per calendar year.
Purchasing a single card for say $5-6 that is maybe the cheapest current common reward card does give you unconditional ownership of the card going forward and allows the player to play this card at its highest level of course assuming you have a like maxed out summoner to play this card. Multiplying this across the board one can see how expensive this can get with the idea of "feeling compelled to own all cards you play."
This creates a dilemma for those that are brand new to the game of feeling like they have a compulsion to go "all or nothing" acquiring cards like this and suddenly finding an expenditure of $1000 or more fairly quickly. I am enamored with the game and have seen no problem acquiring thousands of dollars in cards since its inception in early 2017 for many reasons but the main one being the potential upside for the game and generous rewards that have been offered to the players traditionally. Over the short history of the game rewards at any given time are always relatively high in comparison so chasing rewards at any given time have always been advantageous for newly issued gameplay options including leagues, tournaments, and soon to follow Guild Wars and eventually land production when it becomes available as well. Expired print runs of cards from the past especially Alpha, Beta, Promo, and even Reward Cards have at times created relatively solid market premiums above burn value and relative to the currently printed cards. Earning and holding rewards are the most basic way to obtain cards but can be done at a faster rate of course based on the more you spend and the better you play over time.
To the most seasoned veterans of the game everything above I have mentioned is painfully obvious. But to the new player feeling the game out in a demo like fashion these are questions that need to be addressed and explored in a deep dive fashion to help them better understand how to proceed forward.
In the end I personally view all investment with a possibilities based model mixing probability and my perceived value based on these two primary factors. First, the game is new, yes still relatively very new. The game you see today is very likely going to be very different as new features are introduced over time. Having a development staff that listens to the pros and cons of current features and having a checklist or road map based philosophy addressing a hierarchy of greatest to lowest priority needs to address respectively. At this time next year the odds are very likely that the game will be very close to having an additional crafting feature that appears to be immense and thus creating additional uses for cards. Also the Guild Wars game mode has yet to be fully implemented so the game we will be viewing in late October of 2021 is very likely different than what we see now, to put it mildly. The game having delivered at an extremely high rate of how primary objectives of game growth and additional features (league play/rewards, tournament innovations, DEC, just mention a few) has been very reliable with the only question for so much of these features being a matter of time.
After completing Guild Wars and moving forward after the game bugs and fixes much of 2021 appears to be dominated by the development of land expansion/game crafting mode that appears to be targeted for a late 2021 release at the moment. So the game that people are currently playing and are seeking down the road with time in my opinion creates a very high probability what is being earned today will likely be very favorable especially if rewards are kept or re-invested in the game as many of the game's current stalwarts have proceeded over time. Not to mention the initial much more aggressive push to begin to add more players than what the game has ever pursued. More players over time shrink the overall pie of all assets, not to mention large amounts of cards being burned to chase DEC supply to purchase land in the initial "land grab" that is soon to debut in the next few weeks.
Given all the above information I feel that newer players need to gauge their interest, time they plan to spend, and investment on a periodic sense to view their strategy on ownership and renting. If for example this is a game you might spend 20 minutes a week to play you likely are going to want to slowly build your deck through rewards. This works over time but would be the lowest level of input in time and resources nets you the slowest personal growth in the stake that you wish to own in the game going forward.
There also can be those that plan on spending a greater deal of time and effort to gain taking part in attaining the rewards the game offers. The idea of playing a pay to play game, putting $10 for a starter deck, then maybe another $10 or $20 dollars, then playing the game non-stop has puzzled me personally. The game is a combination of monetizing leisure time while earning a current and potential upside valued stake moving forward. So if you are playing the game for hours a week and not willing to spend an ongoing amount while you play is necessary to attain a desirable level or earning in the game is not possible. You must over time spend fiat, crypto, whatever currency you choose to use to operate in this game is a must, otherwise you will become frustrated quickly and wonder why so many have embraced this game and all of its economic models and options.
So this brings in the other factor... risk. How much are you comfortable to put your personal resources at risk (to have your winnings/value to go somewhere between zero and infinity) to personally measure your desired personally acceptable budget level.
It has puzzled me why more new players do not give the game "a test run" to see what kind of rewards they can earn while minimizing risk in renting cards for the period of time that they feel they will certainly play the game daily to earn rewards.
To give this a breakdown I will demonstrate the value of a single given card. The Spirit of the Forest. A very, very pivotal card that is needed without question in Champion levels if you ever want to finish a quest and get to a higher level more quickly earning more rewards in the process.
The card I rented was under the following terms:
Spirit of the Forest, Beta, Level 4
4.377 HIVE 0.04 USD 60 days 59 ($ 2.36)
That is 4.377 hive for the escrow payment (should I default on my payment I forfeit my half of the amount to the person I rented from). Just about exactly 4 cents USD for a daily cost if the card is rented through the entire term. The time term was 60 days and the total due in parentheses was $2.40.
To give you an idea of rate and utilization of the card at current market prices at 180 days (roughly 1/2 a year) it's 3x all of these rates but still at a rate of 4 cents daily. To triple that $2.40 number that puts the cost for 180 days at $7.20, which is roughly the cost to purchase a single version of this card-- this card is a Level 4 so it is 11 cards combined to make it maxed out at its Level 4 being a legendary card.
So the rough math at this point with current market conditions the cost to rent this maxed out card would be at a cost of roughly a single card to purchase. But the use of that single card would be at a level 1 until combined with more cards, making its utilization virtually worthless at a higher level of a Champion League finish that the rest of my deck warrants me to attain. Doing simple math it also gives you (again roughly at current market conditions-we have no idea what market conditions will be going forward of course) the option to rent this card spread out over 180 days at a maxed level. So if I were to not buy this card and continue to rent it and the market conditions for this card does not change, I would rent this card for roughly 5.5 years and eventually have the same invested over this time that it would've cost initially to purchase outright with all 11 cards combined and having an instant utilization exactly the same as the card I rented.
This is illustrated to show that under my desired and needed level of card to compete gainfully in higher level Champion level leagues I would need this card to compliment the rest of my collection. To purchase all of the cards outright at current market conditions to compete legitimately to reach say Champion 1 in the game's current dynamics a player will likely need to outlay more than likely at least $1500 to reach this highest level of champion at the moment. But to rent a deck of similar playable value it is of course an exponentially lower cost at least initially. You would own the cards but would actively participate at the same level of rewards distributed at the same time if you literally play your cards right based on game results.
To rent a deck that would be similar to the one that I play to reach a Champion 1 level by the end of the season, you as a player are looking at (a pure estimate-educated guess based on past experience, which guarantees nothing but illustrates the point) roughly $2.5 per day, to give you a round number.
So as a result, a new player I would be illustrating this for in spending $10 for a starter deck as a one time initial cost, then at current market conditions of spending a little more than $70/month you would be looking at earning close to what a Champion 1 earns.
That would entail 150 loot chests at two season ending rewards (assuming as mentioned before you played your cards correctly), for a total of 300 loot chests. That does not include a daily reward of DEC (roughly an average of 35 DEC per match won depending on playing your account close to 100% capture rate each match and won roughly at least a majority of your matches). If you played 24 matches daily, won an average of 13 daily, you earn a little more than 400 dec daily as well. Not to mention daily loot chests, which would be an roughly estimated 14,150 DEC per month from match payouts (assuming little to no premiums of gold cards or Alphas, or guild bonuses). Also I am guessing an average of barely reaching Champion 1, so an average of about 10 loot chests as a daily reward average, so about 300 for the month.
So in the end, on very rough estimates, with your $75 spent for the month this would net...
600 total loot chests from daily and season rewards (could net any of the available rewards in loot chests based on RNG opening odds)
14,150 DEC (from match play rewards only based on above assumptions)
0 pack end season rewards
All of this earned putting to risk $75 (+$10 for the starter pack)for the first month and giving The Splinterlands game a "full demo" seeing many of the cards, combinations needed for success most at their highest levels with likely the most basic summoners with a few more premium summoners mixed in. This is the alternative to going "all in" right away spending say $1500 as mentioned above.
This type of exercise makes a ton of sense to me for a new player that wants to see what the game is all about and how you can earn to start off. This can be adjusted based on interest and desired finish within the game while purchasing some of the more cheaper and necessary cards (mainly summoners) in the meantime. So if you were to do this over the course of say 15 months you would increase your ability to rent more cards (due to money saved on the cards you wind up purchasing) assuming the rental markets do not move. You simply buy yourself time and minimize your risk should you ever care to move on from the game. But most important of note you would be able to sell virtually all of your holdings in the game on the way out to help offset any expense.
Your speculation is money, time and diligence spent within a community of very cool people that I personally have been lucky to be associated with almost three years now, if that gives you any sense of my personal endorsement and personal sentiment of the game over a very lengthy time period.
Best of luck, leave comments I would be happy to chat with you also on discord as that is such a valuable resource really unlike any other game I have encountered. Thanks for the read!