Steem Monsters is a fully decentralized, digital collectible trading card game built on the Steem blockchain. We invited the Steem Monsters’ Founder & CTO, Matt Rosen, to tell Dapp.com Community how running a dapp on Steem is faster.
In most cases I don’t feel that dapps provide much benefit over traditional centralized applications, or at least benefits that the average user cares about and values, and they definitely have significant disadvantages. I believe that gaming is an exception in which a distributed application does provide significant advantages that the gaming community values highly. As a result, I think that gaming will be one of the first major, mainstream uses of blockchain technology, which is why, I want to be a part of that and have confidence in what we’re doing.
I played Magic a lot when I was a kid, and played games like Hearthstone and Clash Royale more recently. I spent a good bit of money in Hearthstone and Clash Royale and now that I don’t play them anymore that money is gone, and my cards and other digital assets are just sitting in my account, unable to be sold or transferred.
As soon as I learned about digital assets on the blockchain and concepts like true digital ownership and provable digital scarcity, I instantly knew I wanted to make a trading card game which took advantage of that.
There are a number of reasons for building on the Steem blockchain. First and foremost, I wanted every action in the game to be recorded and verified on the blockchain. Many other blockchain-based games just have their assets on the blockchain, but all of the actual gameplay still takes place off-chain on centralized servers. In order to build a game where everything happens on-chain, we needed fast and free transactions which the Steem blockchain offers.
Then there is the Steem community. The true value behind the Steem token is the ability to get the attention of the amazing Steem community and incentivize them to help do whatever your project needs. By building on Steem we were able to tap into that community to get a large number of players very quickly, and also get lots of people promoting, streaming, blogging, and more about our game.
Definitely no regrets so far. I don’t think we would have been nearly as successful as we have been if we had developed on another platform. I have no plans to work on any other blockchains in the future.
There are currently 78 different cards in the game and there are about 1.5M total cards of those 78 different types in circulation right now. As more packs are purchased or earned in the game more cards are added to circulation, but also cards of the same type can be combined together which reduces the circulating supply. There is a hard cap of 900,000 of the currently available Beta edition booster packs that will be sold so the total supply is limited.
We definitely plan to release new sets of cards in the future as the Beta edition packs get closer to selling out.
The other two serious blockchain-based trading card games that I’m aware of are pretty much Hearthstone clones with a few new mechanics and tweaks. While Hearthstone is a great game, and I’m sure making a clone of it will do well, Steem Monsters offers something new and different.
It is strictly a deck building game. In Hearthstone and Magic I didn’t like how there were always a few “best” decks and you pretty much had to play them to be competitive. I got bored quickly playing the same decks over and over to climb the ladder.
In Steem Monsters, the entire game is about building your deck (which we call a “Team”) and the rules change for every single battle, so you can’t just copy the best teams, you have to understand the rules and the cards well enough to build a better team than your opponent on the fly each match.
To build a good Team in Steem Monsters, you have to really understand all of the different types of stats and abilities and how they work. There’s a lot of them, which is on purpose to make the game challenging and separate more skilled players from less skilled.
Then you have to really understand the ruleset for each match and be able to understand which sets of stats and abilities will work best under that specific set of rules. As an example, in the “Super Sneak” ruleset, where all Melee attack Monsters have the “Sneak” ability, you’ll probably want to put a Monster with the Retaliate or Thorns ability in the last position on your team to defend against that.
There’s a pretty steep learning curve right now, but we hope to add more help and tutorials along the way to ease new players into the game. For players familiar with other TCGs I think it will be easier to pick up. We have a lengthy “how to play” page which details how all of the game mechanics work, so that’s always a good reference to understand what’s happening and how to improve your game.
We have already added a bunch of new features and made some significant changes to the game due to community feedback. We listen to the player base very closely and we act quickly when there’s consistent feedback about something that needs to be added or changed.
While the cards being sold are called the “Beta” edition, the game itself is not in beta and is already officially released. That being said, we have a TON of new features coming over the next few months that will really take the game to the next level.
The next feature we are adding will be tournaments, where players can participate in organized events to compete for prizes. We are planning to put up some very large tournament prizes every week, but also since the entire game is decentralized anyone can run their own tournaments and sponsor their own prizes, or even have an entry fee for participants as a method of raising money.