Steemmonsters - The Current state of affairs: bots, season rewards, and enhancements that I'd love to see

2년 전

Steemmonsters, a blockchain, crypto-collectable digital trading card game, is now in its second season. If you don't know what Steemmonsters is, you've clearly not been the unfortunate victim of any of my recent posts.

This one, I am afraid, will be rather lengthy, examining some of the issues raised by the playing community, and some of my personal suggestions for resolving these.

Allow me to first start with one key statement, which I will argue for.

In its current state, it is too easy to farm almost countless packs if you have a max level deck and some reasonable amount of Steem power.

Compared to some people, I got into Steemmonsters quite late. I didn't catch pack fever until very late in the piece. I was pretty lucky, and obtained a few gold foils. I traded, and obtained a maximum level alpha deck. I purchased some cards off the market, and still don't yet have a maximum level card for all of the beta exclusive cards. None of that matters.

What matters is this.

In the past forty eight hours, I have played "pass the parcel" with a particular set of cards through a number of alternative STEEM accounts. As a result, I now have 7 (yes, seven) accounts that have obtained Champion I ranking, which means, at the end of this season, each will obtain a reward of thirty booster packs.

Many of these accounts had starter packs purchased already, but that's a total of $60 that's gone to Steem Monsters, in exchange for 180 packs. That values those packs at an effective price of 33 cents each.

The shortest period of time it took me to go from a ranking of zero, to a ranking of 4700 was three hours. It only took my about 8 cards to do this in the previous conflict.

Let's do the maths.

30 boosters x $2 = $60 - $10 = $50.
$50 / 3 hours = $16.67 per hour.

If, through automation (and @holger80's) Steemmonsters python command line interface, you could optimise this further, you start to see the true value that holding a max deck has in the current state of play.

I object to the ability to be able to do the above, with the any limitation being a) your pockets (how much Steem Power and resource credits do you have access to be able to pull something like this off?) and b) how does this impact the sale of booster packs, leading to future tournament prize pools, of which 33% of proceeds go to?

If I can do this with seven accounts in 48 hours (while paying close attention to sleep, my full time job, and other requirements of continuing to exist, like eating!) - what sort of damage could someone do with a single max set to the current supply of beta booster packs, which are limited in supply?

First, let's see how many fights it took to get to Champion 1 on various accounts.

Ranking PointsGamesWinsStreakWin Rate
47201521386690.79%
48122021636080.69%
47342151737180.47%
47043352532475.52%
47161381022673.91%
47002621855370.61%

I've sorted this by win-rate, but the least amount of games it took me to get to Champion 1 was a mere 138. This was from an account that was high-ranked from last season. The majority of the accounts in the table above started in Bronze league. All of them have a respectable win rate, if we were to look at this from any other sort of context.

Each of these accounts had about 75 delegated STEEM power assigned to them for the duration of their climb, and there was no problem with regards to resource credits. I probably could have gotten away with a delegation of about half that, as they did not get below 50% resource credits during their ascent.

So let's say you have a bunch of Steem Power, and a bunch of funds. What sort of stuff could you do in a 24 hour time frame? Here's a calculation, and let's assume that it takes 4 hours to get a team from 0 to champion 1.

Let's assume you have a single maxed deck, and have a team combination from each splinter (excluding Dragons) - so you could run 5 accounts at a time through this, one water, one fire, one earth, one life, and one death.

There's 24 hours in a day. That means in a single day, if you automated the creation, delegation, and transfer of cards, you could:

24 (hours of day) / (4 hours to Champion 1) * 5 (Splinters) = 30.

You could get thirty accounts to Champion 1 in just a day. That means that you would get... how many booster packs?

900

In a day. How much is that worth? $1800. What's your cost basis? $300. What's your revenue, at the market value? $1500. What if you sell those booster packs at just a $1 each?

You've still made $600.(This assumes you have enough Steem power at your disposal without the need to purchase an external delegation).

With a Gold Foil Legendary seeming to appear in about every ~700 packs, you'd also be able to obtain one gold foil legendary a day (once the season rewards land) - if we look at it from a probability aspect.

If you did this for the last 7 days of the season that remain? You'd walk away with 5,400 packs, or in very real terms, $10,800.

This is the power of automation. I am not suggesting that anyone do this on such an industrial scale, but the mathematics works out.

Even if you liken this to cryptocurrency mining, if you were to increase the difficulty by competing against other additional "bot-armies" doing the same, you time to reach Champion 1 with a maxed deck would increase as more competitors are in the field.

I present here the numbers, and numbers alone. But, it isn't hard to extrapolate this out, and quickly realise that it only takes an investment of around $32,000 in Starter Packs to exhaust the remaining Beta Card supply through end of Season Rewards and pass the parcel with one's cards. A cartel of coordinated players with maxed decks could engage in what would be a greater than 51% attack on the beta supply, and ruin the game for everyone.

I don't want to see this happen.

What is your proposed solution?

Option 1)

Start each season with "Sealed Boosters". At the start of each Season, you have the option to either pay an entry fee, or burn a prescribed number of cards to enter.

The number of boosters you are provided with could 25, could be 50. But, all players would need an equal number of boosters in order to compete on a level playing field.

Once these boosters are opened, for the duration of the season, the cards are "MAX LEVEL". Everyone starts at a rating of zero.

This means that the card will be scaled down the league, and everyone starts off on the same playing level. As you advance in leagues, you unlock the additional abilities and levels of that card.

At the end of the season, the cards you have obtained, and battled with become part of your regular collection. Each season, for instance, could have exclusive cards available, where it is the ONLY way to obtain a particular card, which rewards consistent players, and is a familiar concept with many trading card games, which reward promo or seasonal cards based on participation at certain events or contests / tournaments.

These don't need to be monsters. These could be the forthcoming items or spells.

Option 2)

If a card is transferred from one account to another during a single season, it cannot be used in ranked play. This prevents a single card being used to boost multiple accounts to the stratospheric bounds of Champion I.

In addition, it stops the ability to farm cards easily and freely.

Option 3)

Limit the number of battles any single account can compete in in a single tournament or season to a particular number, with the final rating after this number of battles being the score upon everyone is ranked.

Option 4)

Battle Royale, because one loves Fortnite. Its a sudden death tournament. The moment you lose, you're out. Last man standing. This, in combination with option 1, would be a very interesting format.

Some of the Proposals above seek to solve the current problem in Diamond III or above

When you hit Diamond III, you are in a completely different, entirely un-shielded play arena, where you can be exposed to the most powerful and highest levelled monsters. Level 3 common cards perish in the face of a single breath from a Level 4 Gold Dragon. There's no chance to be competitive, unless you level up your cards.

A suggestion to increase the likelyhood of players in this ranking to have consistently more enjoyable and winnable games is a blend of the balancing from the last season, whereby summoner ranks determine your match making in addition to your league.

Steemmonsters is still in beta. There's a lot of development work that is ongoing.

There's a lot of mechanics that @aggroed and @yabapmatt are working on that we probably don't have a single fucking clue at all about! They have created a game that has a thousand or more daily players, and one that has a market cap of over a million dollars. They've done this all in less than 6 months of the game going live (of course, the development cycle for a project of this magnitude would include incomprehensible hours of art, programming, design, and thought.

This article is not intended to be an attack or ambush upon the Steem Monsters franchise. I have a sizeable stake in the Steem Monsters world, with a large collection of cards. I enjoy playing the game, and I enjoy analysing the game. There's incredible tactical depth available even with the relatively small number of cards currently available.

Again, we have no idea of what is yet to come.

One of the key components of the STEEM blockchain is that of community, and the Steemmonsters game has definitely developed one of the strongest communities that I have ever been a part of. We may not yet know this, but its likely that all of us involved in the Steemmonsters community have likely made life-long friends from a game on the Internet.

We haven't started daily tournaments. We haven't started promoting this game. We haven't seen what it is going to be like at a reasonable scale. We haven't seen any mainstream media pick up the title.

I believe that Steem Monsters has a bright future, and have faith that we're all going to the same moon.

See you there! :)

If you don't know what this is all about, go check it out.

Keen to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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Thank you for this constructive feedback! We are definitely aware of these issues and we plan to address them asap. We hope to have some quick adjustments, similar to one of the ideas you described, implemented before the start of season 3 and additional changes which we feel will both address these problems and improve the overall game for season 4.

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I've got faith in everything that you're doing :) We're a pretty impatient bunch, us gamers! Enjoy steemfest, and I hope that you form some great, genuine bonds with the community there! :)

As much as you're here for us to support this, we're all here for you to support with constructive feedback.

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I'm so glad to see an official statement on this issue and it's exactly the kind of answer I was hoping to see. :)

Hi, @holoz0r!

I'am here since day 7.

I have already mentioned the real problem in various places. The real problem are the bots. I do not use a bot. I would rather stop playing than use a bot.

I don't like your solutions. Your solutions only fights the symptoms, not the homemade problem. As long as Steem Monsters is knitted so simple, there will be bots. It's that simple. I'm not attacking the bots either, 'cause actually, the bots show the gap in the game.

The solution is what aggroed already has in its sights: round by round plays (Hearthstone).

The game is currently highly boring and it's about to tip over. I've read frustration about matching from a good quarter of German-speaking users (small users).

As long as the game doesn't reflect the skill of a player, it will go downhill. Only a real card game with round by round plays will solve this problem. That takes a little time, though.

I respect you.
Thanks for this article.

Greetings
Oli

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Yep totally agreed. The complexity needs to rise and turning this into a round based not easily predictable game would exactly cover that need and would have the nice side effect that botting would be much harder.
The current mode is at best boring.
And the chase that the top players are doing there is giving me the creeps.
Kind regards
Jan

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What is your opinion on matching with the current leagues and matching within the summoner level at the same time?

Thanks for your considered reply :)

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Let me answer it this way: If there were no max cards, there would be no matching problem. But if there were no max cards, there would be less money in the till. But a lot of money is needed. This is an inherent problem for which there is no perfect solution.

If we have more true players, we don't have a matching problem. So my focus is not on small solutions for homemade problems where we go in circles, but on the meta level: We need more players.

The solutions for this are already on the way. You know the roadmap.

btw: I've been writing about Steem Monsters since I know Steem Monsters and I'm helping the growing German Steem Monsters community wherever I can. I've even thought about making @aggroed an offer to support marketing, that's my profession.

The solution against inflation would be very simple: Fewer free booster packs.

This is why I like the SM community, a genuine, interesting and honest article to try and improve things. We were talking about this on discord yesterday and I am super happy you wrote this. I personally think you don't want to block the transfer of cards, because that would be bad for the market. I think limiting the max number of battles you can play would be a good solution. You would be more conscious about picking your teams and it is more fair towards people who actually want to play. Maybe reduce the time frame of two weeks and reduce the awards accordingly? I will def talk about this today here at Steemfest. Cheers

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Thanks for being an informal ambassador for my ramblings! :D

I'd love to hear a summary of any discussion this post sparks among the Steem Monster players at Steemfest!

Have a great time meeting everyone!

I haven't done the specific math but I'm pretty sure it's possible to do the same thing with similar profits if you have a lot of first-level cards and are aiming for daily quest packs and Gold II or so, and you only need to move the cards around once.

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That could be an even more efficient way of farming packs. Especially given the startup capital is much smaller. You only need a few seasons to break even on the starterpack that way.

Thanks for your thoughtful comment!

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yep aiming at the quests in the first days of the season and doing a late run into the high leagues is currently maximizing returns.

Hey there @holoz0r, this is a great analysis that you've done. I was happy to be your "guinea pig" a lot during the testing phase of your investigations. In fact, I got the opportunity to play both the victim  and the villain  as part of your testing here, haha. It was a lot of fun, and gave me a very different perspective than what I started out with. I'm also even more keen than ever now to see the "card delegation" and the "guilds" features being built into the main SteemMonsters game interface, and how that will all work. I firmly believe that the social aspects of this game can really help to counteract the "pay-to-win" myth here. I am living proof that, even with very little stake in the game, you can still get to the top of the leaderboard if you have the right connections! That is where the strength of the guilds will be, especially when card delegation starts.

Any solution to the issues raised in this post should bear in mind the social aspect of the game, and the impending guild and card delegation implementations that the devs have already hinted at. I'm sure there are many here who are opposed to your bot use here, but who haven't fully thought through the ramifications of limiting them, such as with the potential for in-house (unranked or guild-only-ranked) guild battles, which would also be stymied if bots were completely restricted. And those who HODL and intend to delegate their cards out for further revenue streams might also be impacted by some of the suggested remedies in this post.

There is a lot to think about here, and I do believe that a rash decision based on emotion will not help in the long run. I like the devs suggested solution of incremental tweaks until we get the balance right, rather than blanket bans on bot accounts and a load of new half-thought-out rules.


🙚   SteemMonsters:Site   • Discord   • Contest Kings Guild!   |  Steempunk.net:Site   • Discord   |   Chibera:   • Site   • Discord   🙘

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From a purely playability standpoint, the glass ceiling that comes into play when you hit Diamond III is a big demotivator. There's nothing fun about constantly coming up against Maxed Out decks and opponents sitting 10K+ ranking points when you have 3K at best and minimal chance of improving on that.

Once you hit Diamond III, unless you're maxed out you may as well do the daily quest each day and then switch off til the quest resets.

I am only now understanding this game @toocurious explained a lot to me last night at the Steemfest3 drinks.

Glad to have received a free card in my goody bag! :-)

Cg

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Great news. I wish I could be there with all you folk! Putting faces to names and meeting in real life makes it even more exciting. Especially when you see the passion for something in each other's eyes!

So many holes atm, not good, not good.

"If a card is transferred from one account to another during a single season, it cannot be used in ranked play."

This is a must, if nothing can be done to stop the alt accounts farming with maxed out cards than this game is gonna fail and become a waste of everyone's time. It is frustrating to fight on rank 2800 with my lvl 5 summoners and meet max level monsters that are farming packs.

Because it is too easy to exploit the game in this season, I would reduce the season pack rewards to every alt account with maxed cards.

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It's just so easy to pass those cards around at the moment - we'll have to wait and see what the next season brings.

It's a very rapid development cycle that we're following at the moment!

I enjoyed the read and I do feel the owners know what they are doing. Any type of unbalanced unsustainable thing won’t go on for long. They may be interested in peaking player interest and getting cards out right now. But hey you are the analytical Holo and you’re valuable to the games future.

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I am not going anywhere anytime soon!

Great post and analysis of pack farming. I don't think it would be a simple matter to automate farming to the extreme that you describe, but with a bit of dedicated manual work it's not inconceivable that someone could farm 1000+ packs in a season this way.

I like your option 2, making it so that card transfers "freeze" those cards from being used until the next season. This would not entirely eliminate pack farming, but would make it prohibitively expensive to do it on an industrial scale (as you'd need to have multiple maxed teams available to spread between accounts).

But there's a big downside: the potential impact to card sales & trading. Imagine the disappointment of someone who wants to buy a certain card so they can be competitive against a particular deck, only to discover they can't play with their shiny new card until next season... not too sure how to get around this issue.

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Thank you for your thoughts. I really like hte option I pur forth above with "sealed boosters" for Season / Competitive / Ranked" play - in addition to the "all out" play using your own cards.

The cooldown could be reduced to each conflict, or perhaps it has "summoning sickness", or is reduced to a lower level.

I'm not sure what that solution is, but as I've stated multiple times on discord, a star basketball / baseball / soccer / formula 1 whatever athlete we're talking about can't play for multiple teams in the one season.

There's got to be some compromise.

SEALED DECK TOURNAMENTS! No matter what goes on, this should happen in some form. Amazing post with such great numbers laid out, going to re-read now.

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I love the idea of the Sealed Deck stuff. Even if it isn't an official game mode, we can make it happen. @mattclarke and I discussed this option quite some time ago as an idea for an independent contest.

Hopefully we can talk about that more soon - and see what the future holds!

Option 2)

If a card is transferred from one account to another during a single season, it cannot be used in ranked play. This prevents a single card being used to boost multiple accounts to the stratospheric bounds of Champion I.

In addition, it stops the ability to farm cards easily and freely.

I would say this option is best imo, annoying for genuine trades but its a small wait to take for the stability of the game. Option 1 would work well but make it far to expensive for many people.

I agree its too easy to farm cards. I come from a poker back ground where its frowned upon to have two accounts on the same online platform. If caught you run the chance of losing both accounts and what was inside them. Once I found out its not frowned upon and to an extent expected to do in the SM game types I easily seen the loop whole you have addressed in this topic.

I have two accounts I currently play on. One was originally for introducing new people to the game and I still do use it for that but I am now also using it to get more free booster packs. It is almost a necessary to offset and protect the value of what I already spent in Beta Booster Packs.

Thousands of packs are giving out weekly. If the game completely moons and becomes one of the top games of its kind then this won't be a problem but the future is unknown and all these free packs have the potential to hurt the value of what we paid for.

If I was new to SM I wouldn't buy a single pack. I would buy the $10 starter and mine the daily booster playing level 1. Open those and upgrade my monsters on the last day of the league to make a run up the league standings.

$10 booster pack ......... A season is 14 days ..... that's 14 free booster packs for the daily with a face value of $28. ... $18 profit + with some luck you could get another 10 free boosters from league standings with that same account for another $20 value. Rince and repeat with as many accounts as you want. Your cost is very small and the min rewards I pointed out here are gntd. You could make allot more depending on what cards you hit in those booster packs.

I don't want to see a burn card(s) to enter in all games. I think its ok in some as a " buy in " such as a private game or special / one off game but the daily frees should not have any burn card requirements or any other requirements other then having the cards that are needed to enter them.

I think the league should be treated as a game that has an end. Not just buy the time limit of 14 days but an end as in once you get to a certain level the game is over ... you beat it. In other words .... once you become Champion 1 there is no need for you to be playing anymore. Your team gets " froze " unable to be used again until the league ends. This would help with multiple issues like "

  1. People will not be able to transfer their winning team to a secondary / third or fourth account.

  2. Less unbalanced matches will be made

I get it people at the top want to keep playing for the fun value but the people at the top also have multiple accounts. Play again if you want on one of the alternate accounts you own. There needs to be an " end stage ". Once you hit Champion one that should be the End Stage and the game is over for you on that account.

One and done is a great idea for game play. But won't work in the current league format. How-ever it would be the perfect way to go with tournaments once they are ready to be played.

And as you pointed out for yourself ... I also am not attacking the game ... I like the game and its amazing how far its come in a short period of time. The game is still very young and I expect lots of changes before we are playing a finished product. I am sure some of this is a learning experience for the creators of the game as well.

I also believe that multi account is a necessity at this point for the game itself. It makes sure there are always battles for those wanting to play. No-one wants to sit and wait for a match. If every secondary account was moved from the game ..... it may have a negative affect on finding a match. So multi accounting is a double edge sword that will be hard to find a balanced solution for.

There is more I could say but I will stop there. Great topic that I am sure will spawn many ideas and suggestions from the community to further help push SM in the right direction. The creators have done a great job thus far and I have no reason to expect any different going into the future.

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I forgot about the extra rewards for the top 10 .... so how about once you reach champion 1 .... you can only play against other champion 1 players. This will allow those who reached the top to continue to fight over the top 10 spot and bragging rights while also stopping the issue of those with 2800 points being matched against those with 7000 points.

LOL. When you said you were doing this as an experiment I thought, for sure you'd just be donating or giving away the packs. 7 accounts might be a little stretch to say it was an 'experiment'

And yes we know it's broken but the bot development continues so this problem is not going away anytime soon.

Option 1) I'm totally against an 'entry fee' as this game needs to get closer to free rather than make it 'pay to play'
I'd prefer the original incentive of XP rather than boosters if it comes down to that.

Sealed Booster events sound interesting but I wouldn't want this to be the standard season format.

Option 2) So what you propose could mean the market is dead in the water during these events. As if you can't play the cards then why bother buying them to level up.

Option 3) Limited play means less activity in the small pool of players from across the many time zones we cover. And if I had a limited amount of games I could play in a season I'd just play the ones I have maxed decks for, crushing the noobs along the way.

Option 4 ) I expect a round robin format, with seedings for the tournaments but a knock out based on a random draw could be interesting.

Personally, I don't have a problem with bots as they can provide match-ups during these early seasons and growth phase.

And even if you could restrict cards, building reasonably competitive decks with a starter pack plus $5 is totally possible. Although they might not reach champion level, reaching Diamond (10 packs) would be super easy. So maybe I should 'experiment' with 30 of these low budget decks next season ;-P

So there is that.

Really the only option that maintains the status quo (minus bots) is the dreaded capatcha, or better still the 'I'm not a bot' checkbox which would be a lot easier to manage.

And if you match players with similar level summoners, people won't feel like they are being beaten down by more expensive decks.

If there aren't enough match-ups. Then you should be able to submit a team and then come back sometime later to check the results instead of waiting for the timeout message to occur.

Anyway, it's only early days yet, and the SM crew are doing the best they can to provide a fun game and grow the player base at the same time. If some people want to exploit the game, then that's totally on them.

But I don't think we need anymore experiments to prove what we already know.

After-all, we are all heading to the same moon...

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There's advantages and disadvantages to each and every approach. I've put a bunch of options on the table, and I love that there are even more that I can't think of.

Regarding doing it with 7 accounts - I need to get some baseline data :P

You can't do science with an incredibly small sample size!

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Hi @just2random, that's a very thought-provoking response you've made here. Can I ask (and this is not specifically targeted at you, there are others here who share your sentiments, and I'd love to get their feedback too) further about this objection to bots. Is it bots in general in @SteemMonsters that you object to, or just bots that help Gamers to win? For instance, what are your thoughts on the market bots, which go around buying up cards from the SteemMonsters market automatically, and resell them at higher prices? I'm just curious about the wider perception of bots as they relate to SteemMonsters. Thanks.

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Since you said your question wasn't directed at anyone specific I will put my opinion in. Remove all user bots. No user bots in the game itself or in the market. Bots are an unfair advantage the few have over the many. The only bot use I support ( and should be used ) are house bots that are nothing more then a filler at each level to make sure players can find a game.

I remember back in 2016 when Steemit first launched and was giving like 30 STEEM to anyone that created a new account.. So many people were creating like 100 accounts just to get free STEEM!

I really thought that was going to ruin the platform, but years later here we are and everything is okay.

However, I do not have a maxed out deck, and I do not have the funds to buy them either.. So like you said with Diamond III once I reach 2800 ranking I basically can play 100+ battles and still be at rank 2800 with my best cards!

I really wish there was just an option to battle like "Diamond Only" or Diamond - Max Level..

I would rather wait 10 minutes to battle a Diamond player then keep playing Champions who are 10,000+ ranked back to back and wasting all of my Resource Credits to still NOT get to Diamond II or Diamond I..

I cannot get to Diamond II or I for the love of my life.. I run out of RC and then end up going to bed and trying the next day all day long, but still not have any luck!

So I do like all of your suggestions, but really I just wish we had an option of which "levels" we battled.. So we'll see how it all plays out.

Good post though! Thank you for the ideas, and hopefully this helps!! Resteemed.

Great article! I agree with some of these issues as well. But wow....@yabapmatt , @aggroed and team are doing some awesome stuff. I feel like they have so much they want to do but their isn't enough time in the day lol. Great job guys!

I will loop around to read in detail but you made some great points. I started early myself but did not invest heavily in alphas. Now that we are beta, I started purchasing booster packs but stopped when individuals with maxed cards started gaming the system and winning the packs in the hundreds.

I saw Matt stopped by and think it's great they will be addressing this issue. I am all for the smaller accounts trying to win many booster packs to grow, but there is no reason for me to continue buying more beta packs until it's not easily gamified.

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this is a fascinating post @holozOr . following your posts closely. wish i had more knowledge of github and accessing your bot work. re steemed. thanks for raising awareness of the ability to farm card and potential weaknesses in the system. having a hard time pushing the buttons as fast as the bots lol! cheers! -jake

I'm still confused with this game. I'm gonna take a late night bike ride and maybe get a few photos worthy to post on Steemit. Good luck, hope you score something big.