As we head into June, it feels like we’re moving into a new phase on Sorare.
After much debate and discussion (and waiting!) we finally have the new reward structure in place. Whether by accident or by design, we’ve had to wait until the end of the European season for this meaning that some managers will now be looking at this from the sidelines only, or will be quickly trying to build some summer teams by diving into the new MLS card auctions.
As well as the focus switching to the MLS for the summer, the Asian leagues are in full swing and we’ve got the new addition of the Global Nations to look forward to, encompassing the Euro 2020 games and the U21 Euros, plus the World Cup qualifiers and Copa America. You can read more on that change here.
After the boom period in February and March, I think the last couple of months have been the most challenging for me on Sorare. The old reward structure simply couldn’t cope with such an influx of new users and the steep rise in card prices and ETH made things feel a little stale if I’m honest. I’ve been looking forward to this announcement to put another rocket under the platform and it doesn’t disappoint.
The new structure will take a bit of time to understand as it’s designed to flex depending on how many licenced clubs are in action each gameweek. I’ve had a quick look at the divisions I tend to play in and the push to get more cards distributed in Division 4 is evident. For example, look at the change in Global All Stars for the next gameweek (and compare it to the change to Division 3):
309 cards given away in Division 4, in a fairly quiet gameweek, looks like a big improvement to me. More card rewards means more managers experiencing ‘success’ and this helps to keep people engaged.
Obviously it’s not looking quite so good in Division 3 (and I’ve heard similar concerns about Division 2) but I don’t think we can judge things fully until we’re properly up and running with this as the new structure is designed to be dynamic (so comparing GW168 with GW170 isn’t comparing like with like). We also have to remember that Sorare is based on scarcity so the team can’t just magic cards out of thin air – ultimately the upper divisions may have to suffer a bit to rebalance things at the lower end.
Champion America looks improved at Division 4 level too:
But the real big change is to the Special Weekly, which finally looks like it might live up to its name:
Much better rewards and no power bonuses – meaning that the Special Weekly becomes the league to target if you want to win a Super Rare to help you progress up the divisions.
I’m happy with the changes they’ve made to the reward structure but even happier that they aren’t stopping there and are already talking to us about further changes to take place after the summer. The ETH threshold reward has been a great addition to Sorare, giving managers on smaller budgets something to aim for and a leg-up as they start to develop their gallery, but it’s clearly not sustainable for the platform in it’s current form, and also not the most exciting sort of reward. I’m pleased that they’ve decided to leave it alone for now and that future changes will continue to involve ETH but with a greater level of ‘gamification’ to keep us engaged (and to make us work a bit harder!).
Personally, as nice as it is to win money, I’m more excited about the prospect of being able to win some cards again and I’ve been developing my Champion America squad to put me in the best possible position for that. Buying in early (I purchased most cards last year) has allowed me to train them up to a reasonable XP so that they should remain competitive even with the new cards now rocking up with their 5% bonuses.
How you play Sorare is up to you. I guess the smart move right now is to buy in European players ready for next season as you’ll be paying a premium for MLS/Asian cards at the moment. There are some real bargains around too, compared to earlier this year. Having said that, we’re still a long way from the days when it was possible to put a good team together for £500 – I’d say you need at least £1,500 to get properly started now, which puts the game out of the reach of some people and perhaps means we’re in a bit of a holding pattern until a new scarcity comes in.
That also leads to some interesting discussions about who the game is (or should be) aimed at. I’ve always been clear that SO5 is essentially a pay-to-win game, to a large extent. More money buys better cards, means better rewards and the whole cycle just feeds itself. It goes without saying that the best/most expensive cards don’t win SO5 every single week – but holding those cards certainly puts you in pole position.
Even with that, Sorare can continue to grow organically so long as there is always some prospect of progression for newer managers in SO5 and the chance of a lucky break from time to time. As long as managers on smaller budgets have some chance of moving up the divisions and the opportunity to pull a superstar card that they weren’t expecting, there’s always a reason to play. There also needs to be something to grind for, whether that’s ETH rewards or something else, so that you can work your way up more slowly if you don’t ever catch a lucky break.
I think the new reward structure hits most of those notes by turning the Special Weekly into somewhere you can bag a Super Rare card with Commons and Rares, vastly increasing the card rewards at the Division 4 level and leaving the ETH thresholds alone. We’ve also got the Reward Drops still to come as an additional ‘lucky break’ for managers to look out for.
Thinking back to the earlier announcements from Sorare about the proposed reward changes, we need to remember that this still isn’t the finished article and that there’s more to come. There’s clearly more work to be done to rebalance things and encourage organic progression but I suspect that needs a lot more work (and perhaps more divisions and more card tiers) so we need to be patient (and remember we’re still in new, uncharted territory here!).
I hope that we can give the new reward structure a bit of time to bed in before we ask for more changes. Sorare has grown exponentially since I joined so if we need a quieter period to allow the team to catch up a bit, that’s fine by me. Hopefully now this is out of the way, we can allow the team some time to work on smoothing out some of the rougher edges on the platform, recruiting some more staff and nailing the next set of changes.
At the same time, this is a great chance for existing managers to reshape our teams, hunt out some summer bargains and generally get ourselves ready for the next wave of managers coming in – because that will happen, I’ve no doubt. And let’s not forget how ambitious the team are either:
I think it’s going to be a great summer on Sorare.
If you’re reading this and haven’t joined Sorare yet, now is a great time to join so you can get yourself set up ahead of that next wave. Find out everything you need to know to get started on Sorare.