Over the last year, the NFT trading card game Splinterlands emerged as the most popular blockchain game in the world. With a massive expansion of its in-game universe and the realization of its governance model on next year’s roadmap, it’s poised for even more incredible growth as we head into 2022. 

Splinterlands is a Hive blockchain-based, play-to-earn NFT card trading game that allows players to combat monsters in return for Dark Energy Crystal (DEC) rewards. Gamers can also trade their cards and participate in other game activities. Moreover, they can also level up their prizes by combining multiple cards to achieve even greater rewards. 

Splinterlands game

$DEC is Splinterlands’ native cryptocurrency token, which can be transferred to the Ethereum blockchain or Binance Smart Chain and exchanged for other cryptocurrencies. Splinterlands has also built a bridge to the Wax blockchain, allowing players to wrap their NFTs and sell them on alternative marketplaces. 

Splinterlands’ CEO Aggroed says the game is designed as an easy introduction to the world of crypto, and claims that some of the game’s players based in developing countries are able to earn more than doctors’ salaries. It’s this incredible earnings potential that has helped Splinterlands to explode in popularity, claiming pole position on DappRadar’s list of most-played blockchain games with over 400,000 daily active users in September, a position it is yet to relinquish. 

A Breakout Year

The last year saw Splinterlands hit a number of major milestones, with over one billion battles on its platform over the last six months, equating to 10 million daily battles, up 60-times from a year ago. The in-game economy is booming too – last month, a Level 4 Prince Julian card sold for an incredible $49,999, becoming the single-most expensive card purchase in the game’s history. A land region meanwhile sold for over $700,000 in October, the game’s biggest single purchase to date. Altogether, more than 5.88 million cards were sold in the last six months, at an average of approximately 80,000 cards per day. 

As we move into 2022, Splinterlands is poised to hit yet more key milestones. The coming year may well be the most important since the game’s launch in 2018, as Splinterlands will finally launch its validator node software in the first quarter and enable full community governance. 

Community-led Governance

The key to Splinterlands’ future in more ways than one is its second crypto token, Splintershards (SPS). $SPS was launched earlier this year and is designed to be the game’s governance and utility token, giving players the opportunity to buy unique cards and more importantly, vote on its future direction. The game’s governance features are set to become available once the validator software is up and running, which is when staked $SPS token holders will finally be able to submit proposals and vote on them. Through this mechanism, the Spinterlands community will be able to decide how to spend the $SPS tokens held by the SPS Foundation, whether it’s through providing liquidity to automated market maker pools to generate more revenue, paying for products and services, burning tokens or distributing funds back to token holders. 

Splinterland’s open-source validator node software can be used by anyone to independently track and verify $SPS transactions on the Hive blockchain. Community members will also be able to register as validators, with the top 10 becoming signatories on the multi-sig wallets controlled by the SPS Foundation.

Land Expansion

As its community-led governance model comes into being, the Splinterlands universe will evolve with a massive Land Expansion that promises to transform the game. It’s billed as the biggest update ever and will add new types of cards, add more depth to its existing battle system and introduce a brand new “game within the game” to allow players to mint those new cards. 

Splinterlands further plans to debut a new mini-edition of cards called “Riftwatchers” sometime in the second quarter that can only be purchased with $SPS tokens, with all proceeds going to the SPS Foundation’s treasury. It’s anticipated the sale will generate roughly $12 million. Those funds will come in useful, as Splinterlands will hold its final private sale investor distribution of $SPS at the end of April, and its final $SPS airdrop in July. 

Another key development players have been eagerly anticipating refers to the implementation of the $SPS reward pool for ranked battles, scheduled to take place around the time of that final airdrop. This will enable players to continue earning $SPS via battles. The team is also working on implementing a similar reward pool for guild brawls though there’s no launch date at present. Last but not least, a new feature set to arrive in the first quarter will allow users to delegate stake $SPS to other accounts. 

While 2021 was undoubtedly the breakout year for Splinterlands, its packed roadmap for 2022 suggests its journey is only just beginning.