The NFT Gaming Podcast: Featuring Splinterlands (EP08)

Album artwork for The NFT Gaming Podcast: Featuring Splinterlands <em>(EP08)</em>

Splinterlands is the next generation of collectible card games. It allows players to collect, trade, and battle with provably scarce digital collectibles with real world value. Every battle is a unique challenge that consists of dynamically created combat rules, a timed team building session, and the battle itself. 

In this podcast episode, we interview Liam, the growth manager for Splinterlands, covering how they handled scaling through millions of users, and how the coming recession will hit the NFT gaming market. 

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Disclaimer: This transcript was auto-generated using AI-powered software.

Jason: 0:01

I’m Jason with The NFT Gaming Podcast. Welcome to this episode and a quick reminder, do your own research. This is not financial advice and enjoy the show.

Jacob: 0:12

I always wondered what NFT gaming would look like. And then one day I got in

Jason: 0:25

Welcome, to a new way of gaming. One that’s owned by the players.

Jacob: 0:38

Welcome back everybody. To another episode of The NFT Gaming Podcast presented by Stocktwits and hosted by Duo the NFT card game on Cardano. Uh , I’m Jacob , one of the co-founders of Duo. I’m joined with Jason, the other founder of Duo. And this is actually our season finale for season one of The NFT Gaming Podcast. Um, it’s been a great experience getting to talk to games that are building on lots of different blockchains. We’ve had some phenomenal guests in season one and a huge shout out to Stocktwits for helping us make this all happen. But Jason, I can’t think of a better game to end season one on then a truly cross chain blockchain based game.

Jason: 1:20

Yeah, that’s really incredible to see the progression of all these different games, all the different flavors of gaming that we’ve experienced through season one and to end it on something that’s really becoming more and more popular, which is this idea of cross chain gaming. Uh , and I think that many of these gamers and these players are finding that when they can connect with a game where their tokens can be on different blockchains or they can have some kind of collaboration with other communities, there’s actually a lot more focus , uh , on the community instead of this religion that can generate within crypto

Jacob: 1:58

Communities. Yeah, for sure. So today we’re joined by Liam from Splinterlands, Liam. Thanks for joining us. Welcome to the show.

Liam: 2:05

Awesome. Thanks for having me on here. Great to be here.

Jacob: 2:08

So Liam, tell us a little bit about Splinterlands , uh, briefly just kind of describe the game itself , uh , and, and what players might expect coming into this Splinterlands community.

Liam: 2:18

Absolutely. So Splinterlands, it’s a digital trading card game , uh , way I describe it is really the love child between Pokemon cards meets kind of magic the gathering, but all powered by blockchain technology. So what’s really cool is if you think about a traditional trading card game, take Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh!, anything like that, where you own, and you can actually have those physical cards in your hand to play with, we’ve done that. We’ve shifted it to the blockchain. So instead of a more web two model where you’re buying these packs and everything’s kind of locked to your account, you actually own every single card on your account, in the form of an NFT. So what you can do is along with playing the cards and, and playing the game itself and kind of earning crypto back from playing the game, you can actually rent them. You can delegate them, you can sell them. There’s a whole open market and even third party markets that are being created for our game. So when you’re done with it, when you want to upgrade your cards or, or do anything else like that, you are the , the true owner for everything there. And you’re the true decision maker of those cards themselves.

Jason: 3:15

This certainly has been a theme for all of our season, one discovery and NFT gaming. And I think it’s what really sets apart, you know, the , the traditional gaming experiences that we’ve all had with kind of this new wave of gaming. Uh, talk to me a little bit more about that ownership level and that layer. How do you guys think about ownership? Uh , is this going all the way to kind of the extreme of assigning full IP rights of the cards and the content over to the NFT holders? Or, or is there some middle ground that you’re playing?

Liam: 3:49

Yeah, so where it works is we’re, we’re getting over full rights to , to all of our players. So what we’ll do is once the initial pack is sold to the users, those cards that they open out of their packs, or the cards that they buy off the marketplace, that’s a hundred percent theirs. We’ll take like a small market fee on some transactions, which is in the real , kinda like 5%. But even then we’ll enable third party platforms wave all of our fees and everything, and just let the third party platforms collect those rights instead. Um, but the really cool thing is, is once you own a card that’s yours, we’re not gonna govern it. We’re not gonna change it. Like even with our rollout of the cards themselves, we don’t even try and do any balances, the card stats or anything after they’re changed to make sure that those prices don’t fluctuate throughout. So really what we want to do is say, Hey, the second that this is ruled out, that’s yours to do what you want with the community can actually dictate this whole free market, which is the other cool thing on the back end , where we don’t govern cards. We don’t govern prices like everything that we do. It’s a set amount of cards, it’s a set amount rollout. So, you know, a hundred percent of the details on day one, right when you’re getting in. And then from that, you’re able to decide and kind of help govern that, that free market economy. And what’ll be really cool too, is once we really start do it’s governments is gonna go past just that kind of free market economy as to how do you actually state tokens get into the game and help kind of govern the game itself along with just like the Dow funds and, and everything else there.

Jason: 5:16

So I’m really curious, cuz you said that , uh , you guys don’t do any sort of balancing after you release ’em into the game. How does this affect the planning for the cards that are coming out, the play testing and just making sure that you don’t accidentally break your own game after releasing these cards onto the blockchain and then they’re kind of like fixed there. There’s nothing you can do about it.

Liam: 5:37

Yeah. So I mean, there’s, there’s a few things that we do just to try and kind of, I guess, keep balance as we’re doing those initial rollouts. Uh, first thing is we have a very experienced group of play testers and it’s really our community for the most part. So what we’ll do is a lot of our kind of community called the Mavericks , um , who are just kind of our long term experience players. Uh , we’ll give ’em actually all beta access to our test server. So they’re plate testing for hundreds of hours before we do any specific roll out there. So we’re making sure that before anything’s happening, everything is a hundred percent balance, but obviously with more and more collections, like we’re on “Chaos Legion” right now, which is their most recent card pack, which is their seventh collection release. And that’s gonna be 15 million packs purchasable or 9 million packs sold so far, but that’s 75 million cards that we’re injecting to the market, right? It’s, it’s , it’s a big number. Um, but what’s really cool is we’ve kind of figured out how to retroactively change that and what that’s gonna be is with our release. That’s actually coming in two weeks now. So really good timing here. Um, it’s gonna be our modern and wild rank formats. And so what that’s gonna be doing is right now, it’s just all one gameplay format where it’s all cards go and, and as you’re playing a game, you get new rule sets . So you get new kind of experiences to play into , uh , every single game. And that’s always gonna be randomized. You’re always gonna get that refreshing game play , but with ranked and or with wild and modern, sorry. Um, what it’s gonna be doing is only the first few card packs or the card pack releases are gonna be available in , um, wild or sorry, everything’s gonna be available in wild. And then only the latest three releases being kind of chaos, Legion reward cards. And , uh , a few others are gonna be playable in modern. So as those new card pack releases go out, that’s gonna be changing where it’s like only the newest of the new are gonna be played in that one game mode. And then everything goes in the other one. And as we do that, you’re gonna be one learning the meta as time goes on, like the everything goes format, but we’re also able to really kind of sit there and, and make sure that everything is balanced, which also offers a great entryway for new players to come into the game where they’re not having to necessarily learn thousands and thousands of cards and how they all interact with each other. It’s just, Hey, I need to know the latest two card packs, the latest three card packs. And then I can kind of learn that as my entry way into the game. Uh , but the really cool thing about what we’re doing here is we’re actually doubling our reward pools. So right now it’s about a million dark energy crystals that are being kind of given out on a daily basis. But what we’re gonna be doing is essentially wild is gonna have one and then modern’s gonna have its completely other , uh , reward pool too . So it’s not gonna be necessarily hindering anyone who just wants to play in the kinda limited card pool deck that they’re trying to learn , uh , which I think is gonna be really exciting.

Jason: 8:23

So I know that, you know, as you dive deeper into these new game modes and these different pools of rewards, like this is a fairly experienced , um, and well built out game at this point , uh, let’s rewind a little bit and go back to kind of the origin story. Like what was the beginning? Like how did you get to the first million cards created , um, you know, on this journey to the, you know, that 75 million that you’re gonna have available?

Liam: 8:54

Yeah. It’s , uh , it’s been a wild ride so far and I’ve been with the company for about 10 months so far. We’ve been four years onto the market and it’s been a really cool experience almost just to look back and reflect the first card pack release that we did was a hundred thousand packs. And then all of a sudden we’ve grown up from like a hundred thousand to 200,000 to 1.5 million. And now this latest card pack’s 15 million, but when we first released the packs, they weren’t even openable. Like it was just a, Hey, come buy this NFT pack with no utility. You’re not able to open it or even see the cards. And then the next phase release was being able to open it and see the cards, but they had no stats on it. And so it was this cool process. Um, and I’ve talked to a whole bunch of our community members that have been in like day one with us. And it was just like, you know, I’m gonna stay with this company. We’re gonna see how things go. And it was almost, they got to, to grow and progress along with the company. Um, and I think what’s really cool too, is we try and do like boots on the ground where reading our discord every single day, we’re hosting community town halls, every single Monday for our community to come ask us questions and do everything else with . So it’s been this kind of fluid experience, not just growing as a , a business, but growing with our community too and letting our community really have this kind of insight and , uh , almost input into to how we grow.

Jacob: 10:08

I think that’s one of the really cool things about crypto and web three gaming in general is that the players have a vested interest in really seeing these games thrive and succeed. And so they make these investments into the game and they like to be a part of that growth. They like to be a part of helping dictate the type of content and the way that content goes into the game. Talk to me a little bit about , um, just some of the things that you’ve seen from the community in terms of growing a web three gamer base and how that might different , uh , differentiate from a traditional gamer base or gamer audience.

Liam: 10:46

Absolutely. I mean, community’s really grounded in every aspect of our game. So things that I mentioned, like the Dow that’s gonna be released later on this year, I think we have about $6 million , uh , USD worth of crypto in the Dow. And I mean, they’re gonna be staking SPS, which our governance token and the weighted stake of SPS that they’re staking against our overall aggregate is really gonna determine voting weight . And then they’re gonna be able to kind of dictate how they want those funds allocated, whether it’s, Hey, we want to go spend a whole bunch on exchange listings or we just wanna burn a whole bunch and see potential deflation for the token or, or anything like that, which is really cool. But other aspects, I mean, whenever we’re doing rollouts, it’s play testing, we’re actually giving out ideas to the community ahead of time and letting them help workshop with us. And so really good example of that is we’re actually looking into creating a sister game right now and we’re still kind of exploring this idea. So it’s not a a hundred percent set thing yet, but what that’s gonna look like is potential like tower defense game , um, or something on those lines. And a lot of it is how do we send ideas to the community of, do you want interoperability of NFTs? Like, do you want to be able to exchange the Splinterlands cards and put them into the Splinterlands tower defense game and use them as like units or bunkers or towers or whatever else, the gameplay and vice versa, or how do you want the map creation to look like, how would you guys like the interface to look like? And, and all these things we can kind of pull them. And what’s really cool is we have, I think about 130 or 140,000 active users in a discord. And so it’s this like really cool echo chamber where <laugh> , you can toss out these ideas and within an hour get thousands of replies back. And so we have our own little crew of testers , um, other great examples. I mean , tournaments, we have a guy who goes by the , uh , the monocle weird beard and he’s been doing , um , a lot of stuff in our community to help with tournaments and get the eSports side of things going. But it’s one of those things where I think when he first came in, we were looking at probably about a thousand weekly users playing tournaments. And then last week it was like 7,000 users. And this is in the span of like six months. And all that is, is just saying, Hey, what type of tournaments do you want to see? Like, what game modes do you want? What are the entry requirements? How can we incorporate with other like eSports organizations, so on so forth. And we get a laundry list, like a mile long from our community. And we’re like, great. We now know what they want, how to engage them the best and who to go after, because ultimately at the end of the day, all of our activation, all of our engagement, like it’s just about making our community happy and making sure that we’re doing it and facilitating our growth in a way that really adheres to, to their experience and, and to their kind of way of wanting to do things too. So it’s been a great sounding board.

Jason: 13:29

And I think this is where, you know, community is something we often touch on , uh , within any game ecosystem. And it’s that sense of ownership that I think comes with web three , maybe a little bit deeper than kind of traditional or web two gaming, because you look at your web two games and at the end of the day, you’re really just renting access , uh , to the game and the items that you quote unquote own. Um , but to your point earlier, when you truly own these assets, when you own these cards, you know, if the community is voicing itself and asking you to build something and you decide to put that as maybe item number 10 on the roadmap , um , but not the next one. Have you seen any instances where your community goes out and maybe builds those things or augments your entire ecosystem that actually rises the tide for all ships and makes it a more robust ecosystem?

Liam: 14:21

Yeah, absolutely. And hilariously. So we have a , our own in-game card market where you can rent and sell cards. So you don’t actually have to go to kind of external chains or use like a third party wallet or anything like that to, to be able to transact all these cards, which I mean in itself is awesome. We’re built on the high blockchain and there’s been a lot of great sophistication that we’ve been able to really maneuver , um , and build the tech for in on that chain as a layer too , uh , as opposed to what we could do on like E or , or anything else there. Um, but <laugh> with that, that rental market we’ve actually seen, not one, but, but many different third party tools found in more sophisticated way of renting out cards than we initially have right now. And that’s kind of what we were going to is the whole for reward mechanism. We waived our rental fees altogether and just said, Hey, you guys take them, you guys operate this tool and we’ll use it as this way of them being able to create their own business against it. So, I mean, one it’s really cool that they’re being able to create these like micro businesses that are doing millions of dollars a year , um, as a kind of small business just based on Splinterlands itself, but the community engagement’s crazy. Like we have peak monsters , um , gonna give them a big shoutout. They’ve been super incremental and influential , um, in Splinterlands’ growth. And then, I mean, card auctions, we have spinner cards. We have all these different things. Like you can track how much SPS we’ve burned as a like validator node sales system on slender cards and , and all these other things. But I swear there’s a new , uh , community tool being built and being worked on every single week that kind of comes through my inbox. So it’s, it’s beauty awesome with this , uh , community can do.

Jacob: 15:59

It’s great to hear about the growth and I love hearing stories of communities really coming together as , uh , other community members come in to assist in that growth process. How are you guys handling just the scaling of this game? Cause it sounds like it’s scaling very, very quickly. Uh , how does, how does that look on a reward side? How are you handling that in kind of the play to earn sector , uh , infrastructure wise , all of these players coming online , uh , going seven X on the number of people in, in tournaments in six months, how are you guys handling that? Scalability?

Liam: 16:34

Yeah, it’s , uh , it’s all been taken in stride for sure. Um, <laugh> I think the, the biggest pressure test for us was around the chaos region launch where our influx of battles per day shifted from in the low millions to kind of the eight to 10 million battle per day range. And like now we’re doing 10 to 12. Okay. Um, but at that time we were on a kind of limited amount of servers and that was hitting capacity, like every single day to the point where our servers were going down for five minutes at a time doing these like small little crashes that we would have to then patch and kind of rescale back up. But I mean, thankfully we’re good now I think we’re running on like 27 different AWS servers to, to make sure our games all manage, but the team itself, I mean, even headcount as being crazy. I think when I joined the company, we were 30 or 40 strong and, and this is kind of nine, 10 month span. We’ve grown to over 150 members, including contractors and , and everything else there. And so it’s been scaling up the dev team, the design team, marketing team, finance team, like everyone’s been doing a spot on job , um, for lack of better terms. And it’s been really cool. The community’s also grown with us. So again, like, as we’re doing all these critical updates and builds and, and kind of making this infrastructure of the game, we need to make sure that everything is gonna be rolled out perfectly the first time around. Cause the other thing is like, we don’t want any experts to be able to happen, right. Especially when there’s real value associated with the game in cryptocurrencies and in these NFTs. Uh , so that was kind of our, our biggest thing was I think server is just making sure that the code and the infrastructure was all laid out correctly, but it’s been trying to scale across absolutely everything that’s been , uh , pretty awesome to see. And, and now we’re in the span where it’s not even just Splinterlands for us. Like I mentioned the sister game, but we’ve also signed like Warner music. We’re looking at some sports games potentially in the future and all those kind of big announcements will coming. So I’ll drop August is a potential date to look out for, if there’s gonna be some pretty exciting news coming then.

Jason: 18:29

That’s awesome. Well, and , and I know that, you know, while you’ve only been there for the last 10 months, you’ve certainly heard some chatter I’m sure. From the old guard or maybe some of the old employees or the founders about what it was like to build four years ago on the back end of a , of a big bull market. And now that we’re entering another crypto winter , uh , what , what is the general sense? What’s the consensus internally and within your community? I mean, you’re obviously seeing growth. There seems to be , uh , great activity there. How , how are people dealing with this , uh, this , uh , turn of the market ?

Liam: 19:04

Yeah, I mean, from a company perspective, it’s, it’s really been business as usual for us. I think there’s a bit of a , a nuance in blockchain gaming as opposed to more of like a defi or just like playing kind of crypto space there. Um, really with the accessibility of NFTs, not being tied to blockchain or , uh , Bitcoins or ether or anything like that , um, obviously it’s gonna affect potential buying capacity. It’s gonna affect some acquisition. Like people are gonna be more skeptic , uh , or like hesitant to enter the market. But that being said, just because of the market crashes, I mean, yeah, some of the prices are going down on NFTs, but it’s not gonna affect the gameplay itself at all. So it’s not really affecting our team. It’s not affecting how fast we build for us. This is really the , the best time to build. I mean, market’s low. We can use this to , to really start capitalizing and , and really start moving forward. So I think I see this as more of a , an opportunity as opposed to a , uh , a downside here. Yeah. It’s a bit of a road bump for more the marketing side of things, for sure. But I think for the , the larger scale of the game, this is , uh , really just time to build and it’s just been heads down for us. Do ,

Jason: 20:12

Do you see an impact with , uh , some of the tokens that you guys use inside of your game on the market? Or, or what does that dynamic look like? And maybe you can share just more about your tokens with, with , uh , our audience here.

Liam: 20:26

Yeah, absolutely. So we have kind of two primary , uh , tokens and one secondary one , uh , dark energy crystals are used as a form of in-game currency. So what that looks like is as you play games , uh , in Splinterlands themselves, every time that you win, you’re actually getting dark energy crystals back as reward. And same thing with tournaments, you can win dark energy crystals or SPS, which is our governance token, which I’ll get to in a sec. Um, but dark energy crystals, we have been releasing, as I said, like a ton of those every single day, just as reward pools for the rank formats. Uh , but we’re pegging those to the price of pack . So that’s gonna be like a thousand dark energy crystals is really just gonna equate to about $1 us D as time goes on. So that’s always gonna be pegged. It’s gonna be pretty stable, which is, I think a really kind of cool concept that one of our co-founders and I going back to the whole, how do we scale thing ? It was really just him building it initially. Uh that’s that’s Matt Rosen. Um, and now we scale to this huge team, but so that was kind of his idea to PE peg dark energy crystals, to the price of packs. And then we have SP which is our governor token, our Splinter Shards. And that’s more so tied to kind of utility like the Dow and to buying new card releases and , and so on and so forth there. But , uh, with that, it’s definitely seen a little bit of a hit with the, the , the bear market here and just kind of crypto winter, that’s happening. It’s still kind of seeing very close ties to the Bitcoin and the E . And I think that’s the one area that has really affected us with the kind of general market , uh , seeing some, some down trends right now. Um, it’s just kind of, as Bitcoin goes down, you’re seeing most kind of crypto tokens on the market fall, pretty similar trends . So SPS isn’t too, too much of an exception. Unfortunately , uh , we saw some resistance the past week where we’ve been having like pretty green days against some, some red days in the , the rest of the market, but overall it’s definitely seen some hits.

Jacob: 22:14

And when you have this, this token in your game, that’s kind of pegged back to , um, a U S D value, as you were talking about earlier, how do you manage rewards for all of the players coming on with giving out those dark energy crystals every single day as reward tokens?

Liam: 22:33

Yeah. So a lot of it’s built in kind of burn mechanisms or kind of how people use the tokens themselves. So most of what we’re seeing dark energy be used for, or dark energy crystals be used for are like pack sales and stuff like that. So again, the thousand dark energy crystals is equates to about $1 and chaos agent right now, each pack is $4 and you’ll get five cards out of that. So as people are going and, and spending, and again, keep in mind that 9 million of these packs have been sold already for $4 a piece , like all that deck is kind of getting burned or being removed from the ecosystem. And so it serves as this kind of way of making sure that there’s not like hyper inflation against it and making sure that we can actually hold a peg there , uh , and everything. And then for SPS, we also have kind of a staking mechanism on our back end . So as you’re staking , um, SPS, you’re actually getting like a APR return on it right now, which I think is sitting around 39, 40% APR , uh , for staking SPS. But even with that, like validator nodes of being one of our biggest burn sinks right now. So we launch our validator node system. I wanna say it was about three weeks ago and as more and more gets sold, it’s actually going through different tranches. So pre-sale for us sold out in just over 10 minutes, which was 2000 nodes at $3,000 in SPS at peace . So, so far, I think it’s almost 3000 nodes sold. And what that’s equated to is I think it’s just over 30 million SPS is being burned completely. And then , uh , about five or six millions being sent to a Dow . And so how that structure works is we’re not taking any revenue profit there it’s simply a burn mechanism for us and allowing users to, to come on and actually mint and earn tokens themselves , um , on the blockchain as a kind of validator , uh , of all the transactions that are going on. But yeah, it’s , it’s been pretty awesome to see . So 80% of what’s being bought in Val area nodes is getting burned on the spot and then the other 20% is going to the Dow , which again, eventually just be governed by players, staking SP too . So it’s kind of this full cycle utility for the , the governance token there.

Jason: 24:32

It sounds like you guys have really thought through some of the inflationary as well as deflationary aspects of, of managing this, this ingame economy. Right. And it’s, it’s more than just played earned . I mean, we’ve heard open economies used on the podcast a couple of times where it’s creating this rich ecosystem that your players actively own and actively contribute in.

Liam: 24:55

Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, even spans through NFTs as well. So I mean, if we use chaos Legion as our kind of latest pack release and , and a good example here of the 75 million cards that are gonna be released into the market, I’d say we’re only gonna be left with probably one to 5 million , um, in the next year or so. And why that happens is because as you’re playing through higher ranks, I mean, very similar and traditional to any online ranked web two games, you play league of legends or so on . So forth there. Um, you , you climb up through the ranks as you play and the amount of collection power you have, which is dictated about , uh , or around the amount of overall cards that you own , uh , kind of shows where and how far up you can climb. And then you win games to climb up to each one of those ranks. But as you climb up, you need stronger and stronger cards. And as you get stronger and stronger cards, we get to do to actually be able to achieve that is combine them. And so for take a common card, we have four different rarities, the common, epic , uh , rare and legendary, but a common card to max out to level 10. So every card that you get is just level one, one version of it , uh , to get to a level 10 common card, you have to combine 400 of them together. And so as people play to this higher level, you’re seeing thousands and thousands of cards per player getting burned on the spot. And those are never coming back. We’re never gonna resell or relaunch packs. And so that adds scarcity to ensure that, again, the NFTs are not gonna over inflate, that it’s actually over time. We’ve seen all of our NFTs increase in price, which is really cool. Um, but I mean even more kind of on top of that, just the, the system itself and all the balancing. And it’s been a huge, huge kind of achievement and, and big kudos to the , the team for being able to really achieve what they have right now, and big thanks to our community for being able to, again, play test and , and be able to back us on, on that entire movement.

Jacob: 26:43

I’m really glad you brought up that mechanic, cuz I was gonna ask how you , uh , are making sure that you’re not over inflating the NFTs with 75 million cards coming in. I was thinking, oh my goodness, that’s a lot of cards. Uh , but that burn mechanic seems to really be doing , uh , a lot for helping make sure that scarcity is maintained. Uh , I’m really curious though, as people are burning these cards and buying these cards, how are you managing the cross chain , uh , connections there and making sure that your game is truly cross chain compatible with , uh , all of these different assets and the mechanics of having to collect and burn these assets and merge them together.

Liam: 27:22

Yeah. So a lot of it is just done through bridging systems, which is really cool. So wax is a huge , uh , landing spot for us. Like all of our land sale initially was actually launched through wax. And so if you’re gonna go sell land plots or buy land plots, you have to actually use that bridging system. But we built it in a way where it’s really just like a one click solution. I mean, even for purchasing SP on our website right now, so users who are outside the us can actually just like one click press. It goes through PayPal for like a , a Fiat on ramping, but what’s really cool is we’ll use a , a company called trans , um, for, for all that processing right now, they’ll go and fetch it from whatever chain essentially is the lowest price, bring it back onto , uh , the bin smart chain, which is where our , uh , SPS token is minted and then bring it into the game for you without having to even look at other wallets. So what we’ve tried to introduce is this whole idea of kind of what our CTO has deemed frictionless crypto. Uh , and what that means is we want users to be able to, to OnRamp themselves and be everything and apologies for the , the barking in the background. My dog is running around right now. Um, <laugh> but this , this whole kind of feat onramping solution here at the , the biggest kind of premise of it is how do we get people to be able to use feed currency, to get into the game, without having to understand blockchain, without having to know how to transact between different chains or use wallets or anything else there. And so even with the kind of different chains that we’ve done, it’s really just a one click solution on the website itself. Um, and then even getting into the game initially the , the spell book, which is really your $10 access to, to staking collecting cards, doing everything else. Um, they have built the system where it’s, again, just PayPal, we’ll create your blockchain wallet for you on the high blockchain . And then we also give you $3 worth of credit. So you can like start renting and , and doing everything within the game too.

Jason: 29:15

So talk to me a little bit about , um, the fee structure, because a lot of people who are listening to probably this episode of the podcast who might be more familiar with Ethereum based games, or even even other blockchain based games, there’s generally large gas fees associated with any of these transactions. Tell us a little bit more about how you’ve leveraged tithe and also cross chain compatibility to , to keep those fees low so that if I’m buying a pack of, of five cards for $4, you know, the majority of that , uh , that cost one is, is in being brought into the game. But also I don’t have super large gas fees on top of that.

Liam: 29:56

Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s kind of where hives been our biggest blessing. I mean speed for actually any of the , the transactions itself super quick, but there’s very like pretty much no gas fees on the , the chain itself. And so I actually did a test the other day where I tried to, to buy SP off a , uh , kinda centralized exchange being Binance. Uh , so I bought in hive, swap it over to , uh , our kind of sister wrapping , um , token site called hive engine and then transferred that to SPS and into the game. And I think within a like thousand dollars transaction, I lost like two bucks kind of thing in that entire merge. And that was actually on hive engine itself. It wasn’t even in the , the gas fees for hive . So it’s a really cool process. It’s super quick , um , to be able to, to transact, but as we kind of bridge onto to other chains as well. So the Ethan and all that stuff , uh , it’s always gonna be a bit of a , a mission trying to balance out all the, the fees and , and everything else there. But we’re kind of tackling that as we venture into each one of these different chains and figuring out the best way of kind of processing all that too,

Jacob: 31:00

For sure. And I do wanna touch on one of the questions that I just love to talk about, which is , uh , why NFTs, right, and why sh gamers should actually be , uh , really incentivized to join web three gaming and purchase NFTs and play NFTs and , uh , play with NFTs and be a part of this new movement. So talk to me a little bit about some of the philosophy , uh , and mission around the team and why they decided in , on NFT game in the first place and what that means for the player base.

Liam: 31:37

Yeah, I , I think my answer here is kind of twofold. So as a very kind of traditional lifelong gamer myself, I think the kind of premise of guilt free gaming is, is what we deemed it as is super compelling. Where similar to what you were just saying with like all the , the web two games, it’s almost like a rental for, for all these assets, but you don’t get them back at the end of the day. If I go spend hundreds of dollars on RP on league and buy a whole bunch of skins at the end of the day, once I’m done playing a league of legends, that’s it like my account’s locked. I can’t do anything with it other than maybe try and sell it in like a third party market, which isn’t deemed to be a politically correct thing for the company. Um, whereas with, with NFT gaming, like you’re gonna be able to, to buy and actually own these NFTs. So at the end of the day, once you’re done, you can go and sell them. You can do whatever you want with them, but what’s even cooler to see is we’re, we’re finding that players are coming in, that aren’t even super interested in gaming as well. And they’re just like renting out cards and, and doing everything else there too. And so their entire profit mechanism is just through the rental system, which is awesome to see. Um, the other thing though, too, is, as we are kind of looking at more of the , the company vision, the company motto and , and why we’re doing this is it comes down to peace , prosperity and freedom. It’s how do we move away from this kind of traditional financial system that the governments have really in place on economies? And, and how do we take this into more of like a whole deconstructed and , and defi space where there isn’t a whole bunch of control placed on all of your assets. You’re able to, to really act as your own actor in all this and , and control your own assets. So I think that’s gonna be really a evolving theme over the next few years is how do we use crypto as this like whole defi mechanism to, to escape the traditional kind of ebbs and flows of , uh , governance and , and control in the, the traditional kind of sense of things.

Jason: 33:30

What do you think is, is the biggest risk that we face as an industry when we’re building out web three games when we’re trying to drive forward , uh , this new sense of ownership within gamers and, and kind of pull back the veil on what traditional games have in game studios have been doing for the last , uh , several decades.

Liam: 33:51

Yeah. So it’s a great question. Um, there’s so many different ways of kind of reading into that. Um, oh man, I think as we look through the biggest risk right now, I mean, one just the , the engagement and adoption of web three is gonna be a , a huge factor. So I think the, and I was actually just talking to, to a few of my friends about this, where the whole decentralized mechanisms behind crypto and behind kinda GameFi and , and everything else are so strong, but to be able to, to really facilitate it to the , the largest degree or the highest level is we need everyone to engage with it. We need actual adoption, and we need people to not be skeptic around it. Uh, but what comes with that too, is we need to eliminate like the rug poles from the ecosystem. We need to eliminate kind of all the, the big road bumps that we’re finding right now. And I think it’s still very early days. Like if you look at the trend curve of engagement from web two and , and web three , it falls almost the exact same trend line in terms of numbers of engaged users over a set time span. Like it is uncanny, how spot on , uh , those different points are every single quarter here. So I think as time goes, there’s definitely gonna be some booms. There’s gonna be some bust with the web three community, but the players and the , the games and the , the projects that are really standing at the end of it are gonna help strengthen the economy of saying, Hey, these are really the strong projects out there. They’re very sophisticated, they’re legitimate. So on , so forth. And then from that grounding, we can kind of really keep building , um, and progressing onwards. So that’s kind of why I was saying this crypto winter is gonna be actually almost a blessing for a lot of projects because it’s gonna help eliminate a lot of the kind of kerfuffle , uh , in the back end and a lot of these kind of rug poles, or there anything else there. But moreover, I think it’s gonna help establish this kind of sense of community building together. Um , every game, if we’re not learning with each other, if we’re not being able to grow with other companies, it’s, it’s gonna collapse eventually, like we need competitors in this space, we need to be able to play off each other. We actually, I mean, as a Splinterlands company itself, we kind of see new games like Illuvium and , and everything getting into the market. And we get excited about it too. Cause it’s like, Hey, this is another way to bring players into the space is another thing for web two gamers or other investors or whatever else to get excited about. And eventually those kind of circles will all start meshing together. Like if you think about a traditional web two gamer, you’re not playing one game and sticking with that for 30 years of your life, like I’ll go from Counterstrike to league of legends to whatever else. And then you can even talk about how marketplaces are, are being built. So, and steam is a great example of that in the web two market. And then there’s now actually one of the creators of the steam marketplace has actually jumped into the web three market and he’s creating this whole , uh , application called flame. And that’s eventually gonna be this overall web three market. So as time goes on, as officiation goes on, it’s gonna become a much more legitimate space and it’s gonna be much more accessible to the greater community too.

Jacob: 36:57

I think that you’re exactly spot on, on that with just the general need for, you know, more users to come on and that’s gonna build credibility and then that’s gonna kind of take its own. Uh, it’s gonna have its own effect on rug poles and the ability of , uh , founders to, to do that, which is one of the missions of The NFT Gaming Podcast was to get people on, to talk about these games and try to start building , uh , a little bit of a platform where people could learn more about games that are building on web three and why it’s important. So , uh , I really appreciate you, you being on here , uh , today and talking a little bit about Splinterlands and, and we’re excited too. I think that the more these games come uh , into the marketplace and we can, you know, get to interview awesome. People like yourself, that’s gonna just help build credibility for this entire movement. Um, so we’re always excited when we see new games coming onto the blockchain, no matter what the blockchain is. I think that ultimately a lot of that is just gonna be something in the background players aren’t even gonna know necessarily what blockchain they’re playing on. So it’s very exciting to see this space evolving from such infancy where we are right now.

Jason: 38:04

Absolutely. Well, I , I think the last thing that we really wanna cover with you , Liam , is if we wanna get into Splinterlands and learn more about the game, maybe, maybe it’s, it’s something that’s just right up of the alley of any of the people listening today to this podcast. How do we get involved? What, what’s the best way to start exploring that game and learning more about how to play it as, as a traditional gamer?

Liam: 38:32

Yeah, absolutely. So website is Splinterlands .com . Uh , you can create a free account and actually start playing with some free cards and practice tools and everything. If you want to kind of just dip your toe in before you even think about any kind of financial aspect of it. Uh , and then, yeah, again, it’s, it’s a $10 spell book to, to really jump into it , um, that will unlock and build your hive, blockchain wallet for you. It’ll give you some credit. So you can really start getting going without even needing to understand blockchain, which is the , the biggest thing you don’t need to go anywhere else outside of our site to , to play the game. Um, but otherwise I would really suggest kind of getting on our socials discord, being the primary one, which is just , uh , discord Um , all of our socials are just @splinterlands other than twitch .tv . Uh , if you wanna come watch some gameplay on Twitch, it’s @SplinterlandsOfficial. And then we actually also have a 24 hour streaming platform as well, where we’re bringing community members into to stream and we’re helping kind of pay that way and do everything else there. And that’s just , uh , Splinterlands TV on, on Twitch as well.

Jacob: 39:32

Well, thank you Liam so much for joining us. Uh , I’ll go ahead and link all of those links in the description down below. So you can go ahead and check out their website and find everything there. Uh , if you’re listening, wherever descriptions are available, and I do wanna just say thank you again to our season one sponsor Stocktwits, which is , uh , the top social platform for investors and they are building out a lot of cool NFT features. So you definitely wanna check that out. We wanna thank them for making season one possible. Jason, we’ve had some phenomenal guests this season, some great interviews. Um , what are kind of some of the takeaways from season one of The NFT Gaming Podcast, as we wrap up this final episode in season one, and what are you looking forward to in the rumored season two of The NFT Gaming Podcast?

Jason: 40:21

Yeah. Well, first of all, it’s been so exciting to be on this journey and see the deep conversations from all of these games and the founders and leaders within this new NFT , uh , gaming ecosystem. I think there’s a lot of thought that goes on behind the scenes beyond just fun game mechanics, but how do we actually connect with people and help transition them into more , more sovereignty, more ownership over the assets or the things that they enjoy, whether that’s a community or assets within a game and, and be able to maintain and , and have some value over time , uh , from that ecosystem. Uh, I , I think it’s been really fun to meet all of these , uh , different games. It’s certainly taught us a lot , uh , in terms of what should be thought about when building a game, what should be thought about when engaging with a community in a way that is robust and not rug pully . Um , it’s fun to hear the individual stories of the founders, and I’m very excited for some of the lineup that we’ve already got booked for season two , uh , so called rumored season two, <laugh> halfway booked and, and ready to shoot that. Um, but I think for, for , for me, it’s, it’s been very humbling to see , um, that there’s a lot of , uh , a lot of young people , uh , as well as seasoned experts who are tackling this together. And I think that’s , uh , a great way to build something that’s long term and robust for, for gamers and as a gamer. I love

Jacob: 41:53

That. Yeah, this has been really fun for me to kind of see these people that are building the forefront of a new generation of gaming . And as a gamer myself, it gets me very excited, obviously building our own game and seeing the progression there, but then hearing about how each person is tackling similar problems in very different ways. And I think one of the highlights that I saw in season one was that we had a lot of different types of games from card games to shooter games, to , uh, even some move, to earn games, right. That are incentivizing people to go out and work out . So , uh , you definitely wanna go check out each episode because every episode has a game that’s completely unique and a different story and a different way that they came into web three gaming and a different inspiration for how they wanted to build their game and what things they thought were important. And so hearing all of these different stories , uh , everybody has this unique, you know, path that they’ve taken yet. We are all focused around the same ideals of making sure that players have ownership, like you said, in their games and actually have these assets, the open economies that we’ve been talking about. And so just seeing kind of the difference in how these games are approaching some of the same problems. It’s been really fascinating and I’m really looking forward. Like you said, to season two of The NFT Gaming Podcast, make sure that you go , uh , follow our sponsor for season one, @Stocktwits on Twitter , um , and @StocktwitsNFTs, and then also , uh , @Duo_NFT on Twitter so that you can stay tuned for an up updates on this season and then also on season two guests and when that’s gonna be coming out. So make sure you go check that out. All the links are in the description. Thank you for joining us for the season. One of The NFT Gaming Podcast. And I look forward to seeing all of you again in season two.

About The NFT Gaming Podcast

The NFT Gaming Podcast features developers building the next generation of gaming: play-to-earn NFT games. In this podcast, the team from Duo interviews key contributors to the NFT gaming movement across a multitude of blockchains. Our goal is to help bring clarity to the topic of NFT gaming, build credibility for new and existing projects, and help gamers across different blockchains find new NFT games to play. Season 1 presented by Stocktwits.

Hosted By:

Duo is the an NFT game built on Cardano where you match funny prompts & punchlines to earn crypto & NFTs!

Check out their Youtube channel for more!

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