Our thoughts on the new Sorare dynamic rewards – a joint blog with McBrideAce

On Thursday, Sorare made a long awaited announcement about a shake-up to the SO5 reward structure. There was quite a lot to digest (read it all here), but hopefully you’ve all had a bit of time to formulate your own thoughts on it by now.

Below are some initial thoughts from McBrideAce and myself.


McBrideAce

The new system is scalable

They have mentioned this first. I can see their point. Sorare take their profit in fiat (Euros). The ETH rate has risen a lot. The thresholds were brought in at a time where they had to increase rewards as supply was an issue

Initially the rewards were, I think, 0.001 and 0.002. They were intended to be really small and the team increased them due to feedback.

Scalability is key. The userbase will increase, no marketing has been done yet and lots of clubs are to come.

Size of gameweek

I like this for the big weekends. I have to be honest, I’m a tad worried that the ones where there are hardly any teams playing will be impossible to win. I think if there is no threshold they would have to look at ETH payments for places, as a few cards awarded in a division is not good enough.

The flipside though is more clubs playing = lots more cards. Also more divisions opened. The biggest recent issue for me was folk hitting 340s etc in the challenger and getting nothing at all.

Cap on thresholds to dollar

Makes sense. ETH is projected to go up. The team don’t gamble on ETH, they operate in fiat. As they operate in fiat, as ETH goes up then earn less ETH from auctions

The top 3 payouts are also capped. I don’t mind this. If I were running it I would pay out the top 5 or top 10 though in the big gameweeks ETH-wise

Progression

I have been thinking about this. One of the issues of the threshold is it encourages folk to buy average scorers and collect ETH for ‘passing go’ every week.

I think something which rewards points accumulating (like XP) would be better. Why not give people access to some ETH or a higher tier of card based on a tourney progression point or something like that? Or reward people for multiple buys at auction (like a loyalty program).

The bit I don’t like is removing the ETH or giving notice and not releasing the replacements. That’s a mistake.

Reward drops

Gimmicky, don’t like it. Why are they introducing a gamble to the rewards? Get it in the bin.

Extra special weeklies

Good idea. Could add in things like real life experiences. I really like the signed jerseys and limited edition cards. These will be needed to plug some gaps as the rewards will be much less on quieter gameweeks until more clubs are onboarded.

My overall thoughts

This had to be done. The ETH threshold payments couldn’t keep going up. You could say it kills the bottom end, or you could say it addresses the barrier to entry being too high.

People wrongly associate average 50 scorers with duds – that’s the phrase I have seen. Guys who average above 50 are usually good players and have good utility.

Again people cant get their head around cards winning cards. There are still top end ETH rewards and top end cards to be won. The aim should be to win, not to hit an average score and somehow be rewarded for turning up.

I think it is the correct move. I think with the new MLS cards, new Japanese cards and Euro leagues drawing to a close the market will stagnate a bit.

It’s time, therefore, I think to push on with other key deliverables:

  1. Staffing and site service
  2. An app
  3. Marketing – particularly in areas like Asia where clubs are keen to grow

I can see why some aren’t happy. But, to put it simply, dud tier 3s shouldn’t be overly valuable.

Those who are top youth or prospects, back up goalies etc for me aren’t duds. The duds are the ones who struggle to hit any form of peak score and aren’t playing for well known clubs. Those tier 3s, given the free entry, should I think start at about 20 euro and not 60-80 euros.


MDJ

The new ‘dynamic rewards’

A lot of people have asked for rewards to flex in line with a growing number of managers entering gameweeks. Obviously that can’t happen within the current scarcity limits but this seems about as close to that as they can get and looks an interesting, and scalable, solution.

Having all leagues open, providing at least one team is playing, immediately removes all of the confusion around opening requirements. It’s also likely to bring new tactics into play as managers will have more choice of where to put their players each gameweek. Could be interesting.

After such a huge period of growth, it’s great to see so many more card rewards being allocated to SO5. Of course, what’s lacking at the moment is the finer detail about how the rewards break down across each division. Until we see that, it’s hard to draw too many conclusions about how this will help manager progression but the increase in card rewards can only be a good thing.

Pinning the threshold rewards to fiat, not ETH

I said in a previous blog that this looked to be on the cards. The growth in Etherium since the thresholds were introduced late last year had pushed the rewards to unsustainable levels and was helping to drive card prices ever higher. Linking the rewards to a flat fiat value helps to cushion things a bit against rises (and falls) and still means that managers have something good to aim for. I think it’s the right thing to do.

‘Beat the game’ / progression rewards instead of ETH thresholds

It’s never a great move to announce that something is being taken away without clarifying what the replacement will be, so I’m not surprised that this has caused the most discussion and concern since the announcement. There’s really not a lot to go on but it sounds like they want to add a more ‘gamified’ reward that stretches over multiple gameweeks, rather than simply ‘hit this target’ to win. In principle, that sounds fine.

But removing the opportunity for managers to aim for small, regular ETH rewards isn’t something I’d support. The ETH rewards help to underpin card values and, in a game that’s already tough to ‘win’, this can only make it harder. I can see the issue at the moment is that there’s no cap on the payout so as Sorare continues to grow, so does their liability. I’d guess that a lot of the ETH rewards get reinvested anyway so hopefully, Sorare just need to work out a way to make this more predictable for them, rather than remove it altogether.

Reward drops

I can see the desire here to give more managers a shot at a card but it adds an unnecessary layer of complexity for me (another formula!). Why not just randomly extend the reward places on some gameweeks instead?

Extra Special Weeklies

Very pleased with this. There’s not been much incentive to enter the Special Weeklies with so few places paid out. This sounds like it will begin to live up to it’s name and I’m interested to see what they do with it beyond the obvious card rewards. I’d like to see them do a low-scorers event at least once a month as that’s always a good way to add a bit more utility to otherwise pretty poor cards.

Overall

I’d say this is a broadly positive update. It feels that perhaps they rushed it out this week rather than giving themselves a few more days to nail down some of the detail, which they probably regret in hindsight.

It seems like the team are putting sustainability first which is reassuring to me. I’ve been involved with two similar platforms that have suffered after periods of growth because they gave too much away and didn’t plan effectively for the impact of that. I think they’re also somewhat between a rock and a hard place – existing managers want their card values to go up exponentially, while new managers are turned off the platform because they can’t build a team for less than £500. These changes may temporarily depress prices a little but, if so, I think that’s for the longer term good of the game, so I can live with that.

The other important thing for me is that this feels like it’s going to inject a bit more fun back into the game. It’s been really hard to win cards lately and that was something that certainly attracted me in the early days. I think the managers who are worried about the reduction/loss of ETH rewards perhaps haven’t fully factored in the joy of pulling a card you never expected to receive.

Having said that, I’m never a fan of putting something in place just to take it away again and they really should think carefully before removing the ETH threshold rewards altogether. I hope they can find a way to maintain small ETH rewards at the lower end to help managers find their feet in the game (and to keep money flowing through the market from top to bottom). The team have listened to community feedback before and I’m confident they will again.

After that’s sorted, they’ve got a lot of other stuff to be getting on with. Let’s not forget that we’re all early adopters here and the platform is still a little rough around the edges. We need to be patient with them as they make incremental improvements, accepting they might not get it all right first time. Once this is settled, let’s leave it alone for a bit and encourage them to focus on some other important stuff – improving customer service being the main one for me at the moment.


What do you think? Let us know on Twitter or on the Discord channel.

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