by Max Barry

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by The Second Best of Noahs Second Country. . 183 reads.

Testlandia Inflation, Pumpty Dumpty, and more! Card News, edition 2

[background-block=#b01212][floatleft][img][/img][/floatleft][size=425][center][color=#FFFFFF]Testlandia Inflation, Pumpty Dumpty, and more![/color][/center][/size][hr][color=gray][center][size=200]May 17, 2020[/size][/center][/color][hr]
[center][size=150][i][color=white] Card News, edition 2[/i][/size][/color][/center][hr]
[color=gray][size=200][b][i][u][center]Join the cards discord at this [url=]link[/url] to stay in the know and keep up with all of the action![/b][/u][/i][/center][/size][/color]
If you have news that I missed, news of your own, suggestions, or questions, feel free to TG me for a quick response! Also, if you want to advertise your card farms, events, etc. make sure to let me know! If you want to be added to the subscriber list, please let me know as well!

Terminology for the unaware:

[i]Pull Event[/i] - An event where people open packs when a card is on the market, in order to abuse what’s known on the as ‘The Cards Anti-Laundering System’(TCALS), which is designed to prevent excessive and easy transfers. In this system, the probability of pulling a card is higher when it is on the market, and new bids/matches trigger a higher chance of pulling as well. Typically, cards will be found immediately after a bid or new match.

[i]Cards Discord[/i] - A great way to increase your farming efficiency, talk to the top farmers, make trades, acquire cards, and have fun! 


[size=200][b]Leto's Next Move: Pumpty Dumpty[/b][/size]
[i]The only deflation attempt this week[/i][/center]
[nation]Leto II Atreides[/nation] has confirmed their intentions to crash high value cards via the actions of [nation]Pumpty Dumpty[/nation]. The nation sports the discord trend downwards emoji, as well as [url=]6 cards[/url], all of which have been pull event victims in the past. None of the cards were deflated this week, but there was an attempt on Mindless Contempt. However, only one seller took the bait, meaning the Mindless Contempt is still riding high... for now. Many MC owners are at the edge of their seats, waiting for an event to catalyze a crash. 

[size=200][b]The TCALS debate[/b][/size]
[no image available]
Of course, [nation]Pumpty Dumpty[/nation] is just another element in play of the growing tensions over the state of The Cards Anti-Laundering System. To avoid bias, here's a link to the thread posted in Technical:
As of right now, no changes have been made to the system. 
Here's the stance from all sides of the debate:
[nation]The Northern Light[/nation]: [box]Ever since the bid mechanic was discovered, the anti-laundering system has become completely exploitable. 

What is worse is that this is an exploit that primarily favors players with big card farms, who can trivially stock up large amounts of decks and open them during self-created "pull events". Additionally, the competitive way in which the anti-laundering system works (a card pulled by one player is a card that all other players can no longer pull until new bids are placed) leads to an arms race of scripts, browser plugins, and so on, that are meant to accelerate pack opening during the pull events. This makes it even more difficult for casual players to benefit from this exploit, and it further concentrates power in the biggest farmers. (I say all these as a person that is in this category, and benefits from the exploit.) 

Another problem with this exploit is that it comes essentially free of risk. Given that you can increase your bids by 0.01, you can have a card on the market for hours upon hours without spending more than 4-5 bank (an amount negligible given that the bids themselves are typically more than 500 bank). One could argue that the fact that the auction lasts longer means your bank is at greater risk of being heisted. But this is typically counterbalanced by the fact that, given that the bidding player pulls [i]so[/i] many cards, they can use these copies to easily defend against heists. Even if some bank is lost, the pulled cards more than make up for it. (I am once again speaking from personal experience here.) And of course, players can always do their pull events at times when there is not much market activity (e.g., early morning ET), further reducing the risk. All these combined make the exploit essentially free of risk.

The argument that the price will adjust accordingly is not very convincing, as it generally does not happen in practice. For example, we recently held a pull event for the [url=]Soops season 1[/url] card. The card remains the most valuable in the game, despite the fact that 40 copies of it were spawned. The reason why price adjustment does not work goes back to what I said above: the new copies are generally owned by a small group of players, corresponding to systematic farmers. These players can choose to just keep the cards in their deck for their market value, and never trade them. With no trades, the value never changes. And as the copies are concentrated on so few players, nobody can do anything about it.

Finally, as Ransium stated, the system is simply not an effective deterrent against large transfer. I'll add my own testimonial of transferring [url=]875 bank[/url] in one go, with a single card, fully aware of this exploit. I also routinely (about twice per month) transfer around 2000 bank split over many cards, losing no more than 10 bank in the process. In unsuccessfully trying to fix transfers, the system has created an awful exploit that is leading to enormous gains by select few players.

I think the best solution is to introduce (or reinstate? unclear) a system where a card that is at auction simply has increased odds of being pulled for the duration of the auction. There can be modifiers (if these aren't already in place), e.g., the pulling odds can increase as a function of the number of copies at auction or the price/junk value ratio. But it should definitely not be dependent on new bids, or any other such easily manipulated mechanic. This is similar to what Ransium and Noah are also suggesting above. It is also how most players assumed the anti-laundering system worked, at least up until the beginning of season 2.[/box]
[box]I think it's a great mechanic that the community has found creative uses for and I'd be happy for it, or something resembling it, to stay. As far as I can tell, there's two main reasons people don't like it. The first is that a few people can use it to get very rich very quickly, but the trading card game already has lots of wealth disparity and some people complain but in general we seem fine with it. Anyone who knows how it works can use TCALS just like anyone who can figure out how a transfer works can farm using puppets. This is another case where people have equal opportunity but unequal results. Trying to 'fix' that seems like trying to 'fix' the fact that some people are richer because they've spent more time farming. If people are jealous that others are too rich, then it's the mindset that's the issue.

On the other hand, the fact that this is being brought up by those who have already benefited from TCALS makes me wonder if the real, unspoken concern is that this is "ruining" the value of some of these cards that used to be worth thousands of bank. Higher up someone was complaining about how the market value of the Pergamon card crashed. So really, if this mechanic were removed, it would [i]help[/i] the big farmers by assuring that their high-value cards won't drop in value. Prices dropping helps the little guy and also makes the game a lot more interesting since it's a change from the usual status quo which is just endless inflation. Having a market that goes both ways is a lot more exciting, and if it's a result of people creating too many copies of valuable cards, then they're suffering from their own success.

Going back to how I have benefited from TCALS: I did pull an Old Tyrannia card during one of TNL's publicized pull events, which I was able to trade for a Pergamon card (at that time worth about a thousand bank) to finish my collection of cards with gif flags. But that wasn't the only time TCALS helped me with the collection. With the help of Big Shot, another gif collector, we were able to produce more copies of Akavet, a card of which only one copy existed (before that it had been a cte'd 0-owner). That was probably my favorite moment in the trading card game: just me and a friend, independent farmers, producing more copies of a card not for its market value but just because it was a cool card we wanted. The TNL pull events have also always been very fun as well: in a minigame that is mostly mindless farming by yourself for literal hours, the pull events provide an opportunity for the community to come together, be online at the same time, get excited over something, and gossip about who's pulled what. Past changes to card mechanics have pleasantly surprised me, even after I argued against them, and I think the admins have done a great job creating and maintaining a game based on the philosophy that a few simple mechanics can go a long way with a great community, so I trust that whatever response they give will work out. But I'd hate to see TCALS go away entirely.[/box]
[box]If the cards game is about collecting cards themselves, and/or creating collections of specific types of cards with badges/flags/regions, then TCALS is a benefit. It allows players to spawn more copies of rare, hard to find cards — more people will be able to complete their collections.

If the cards game is about collecting MV/DV, and we're complaining about the unfairness the current system creates, changing the rules without giving players an equal start will only cement existing inequalities. Keeping TCALS allows everyone to challenge those inequalities in the same way, with the same techniques with which they were created. Potentially, someone can use TCALS to create their own monopoly on a high MV card they've boosted or will boost. Hence, fairness is preserved better than by changing TCALS without giving players an equal start.
Someone without a large farming setup wouldn't be able to get these high MV cards in the first place: the exploit favouring Big Farma is a red herring. A small(er) farmer can abuse the system just as well by creating multiple copies of a card they can afford.

If the cards game is about collecting MV/DV, and we're not complaining about the unfairness... Then what are we complaining about? Highly volatile decks crashing? Others having the same opportunities, playing by the same rules, now that they are publicly known?[/box]
[box]The problem I have with Pull Events is the manipulation of the clock to produce more copies. If the mechanism could be adjusted to stop producing cards 60 minutes after he initial bid I would be in favor of such a mechanism.[/box]

[size=200][b]0.00 Bug Fixed[/b][/size]
[i][nation]9003[/nation]'s collection of bugged cards reached over 1000 cards[/i][/center]
[nation]Ballotonia[/nation] announced that cards with the '0.00' market value will slowly resolve themselves over time. Basically, the game tries to round the MV to the nearest 0.05 on lower value cards. If the average is 0.02 or 0.01, it rounds down to 0.00. See 9003's collection here:

[size=200][b]Testlandia inflation![/b][/size]
[i]A record 7 transactions in quick succession[/i][/center]
[nation]Testlandia[/nation], after very few non-transfer trades this season, has finally experienced a good amount of trading. After [nation]Refuge Isle[/nation] sold 3 of their copies to [nation]Noahs Second Country[/nation] for a quick profit, [nation]Mikeswill[/nation] bought the card for a 500, which was well above MV at the time. However, with [nation]Ransium[/nation] buying the card at 542.22 to complete their collection, it seems like the MV is going to now stay around an impressive 500. 

[size=200][b]Card Hunger Games 2[/b][/size]
[i]The participating members[/i][/center]
[nation]Harmonic Empire[/nation] yet another ran a hunger games simulation with many active members of the cards discord, as well as some others. [nation]The Bigtopia[/nation] won this round! See the dispatch here:

[size=200][b]Card Olympics Leaderboard[/b][/size]
[i]Presented by [nation]Racoda[/nation], sorted by [nation]Noahs Second Country[/nation][/i]
For more information, and a chance to win some great prizes, see this thread:
9003 runs a new set of games every month, so keep an eye on the forums and discord if you feel like it's too late to join now! The market watching of [nation]Evrigenis[/nation] seems like it is paying off, as they are getting away with flipping cards from .02 to 1.7! 

[size=200][b]Collection Spotlight[/b][/size]
[i]See [nation]Giovanniland[/nation]'s [url=]forum thread[/url][/i]

A few notable collections were have come to attention over the past week. Check them out!

[i][url=]Staff + Retired Mod Badge Holders - Season 2[/i][/url]: This is an impressive (and expensive!) collection put together by [nation]Ransium[/nation]. It is the first of its kind and Ransium has invested a commendable amount of time into putting it together!

[i][url=]Chuck's Gun Cabinet[/i][/url]: With the inevitable rarity-based card clash coming, [nation]The Chuck[/nation] is armed and ready! While still a small collection, we hope to see it quickly grow in the future.

[i][url=]Season 2 Epics [1323/1681] (78.70%) by Mediobogdum II[/i][/url]: This is currently the largest collection of unique season 2 epics! [nation]Mediobogdum[/nation] is making good, consistent progress! 

Also, congratulations to [nation]Koem Kab[/nation] and [nation]Noahs Second Country[/nation] for finalizing their season 2 legendary sets. 

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