Posted: August 23 2022
Created by: Danjo
Sunflower Land: From Flowers To Gold
I joined Sunflower Farmers (now Sunflower Land) in early October, 2021 when I stumbled upon their website. The game was live and it only costed .1 MATIC to join the fun. At the time, most games I was looking at playing or investing in were either a long ways from being released, or required way too big of an initial investment. The Sunflower-verse was quiet back then, less than 200 simple farmers planting their crops and patiently awaiting new updates. There were no rare NFTs, mining/gathering, or even a liquidity pool for $SFF (now $SFL). Players were hardly even speculating on the eventual price of the token. We were playing a game just for the shear fun of it and that was fine. Even the developers were players, experiencing the game the same way we were. They started Sunflower Farmers with a donation to charity and a level 1 farm, like the rest of us.
By the next month, gathering was opened and the team started to release rare NFTs. They encouraged the community to contribute and create their own in-game assets as well. The first NFTs were the Scarecrow, Sunflower Statue, and the notorious Christmas tree (which notified Santa to drop presents off at each holder’s farm on xmas day). The Christmas trees sold out in days and players started to speculate what the airdrop would be. By this time, the community had grown a bit, totaling about 400 wallets playing the game.
The excitement was rising in early December as a large group of new players streamed in from another discord server. The Cryptomonkeys had arrived, and with them came questions about where they could buy $SFF. Up until now, there was no liquidity pool and it was rarely talked about by the folks who had already been playing for a while. A few of the Cryptomonkeys immediately set up a pool on Quickswap and the price was hilariously volatile. There was such low liquidity that when buying about $20 of $SFF at $0.10, it spiked up 50%. By now, the player count was reaching into the thousands and newcomers wanted to buy $SFF.
Christmas came and Santa dropped off a bunch of gold and eggs to each xmas tree holder. Along with the airdrop came an update that opened gold mining and more NFTs, one of which being the most coveted NFT in the game, the Golden Egg. What does it do? We didn’t know yet, but most of the players who had a Christmas tree found themselves in a great position to snatch up one of the most expensive NFTs this game has seen yet.
Sunflower Farmers was snowballing. By December 29th, the game exceeded its rate limits on Alchemy, a sign that they needed to think about scalability. Meanwhile, the price of SFF was reaching an all-time high of $6, the total supply surpassed halvings in days, the member count was up in the tens of thousands and the game was quickly rising to eventually become #1 in rankings on DappRadar.
However, there was a problem. The intended openness of the game allowed anyone to make as many farms as they wanted, and once the botters got wind of this, they made thousands of farms and wrote scripts to play for them. The total addresses on Polygon went up by 60%. This is where the entire Polygon community started to hear about the tiny little farming simulation game. These bots were making so many transactions that they hiked the gas price from ~30-50 gwei all the way up to over 2000 and completely bogged down the entire network. This was essentially an unintended distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack. People were outraged. FUD was all over the discord server, the token was dumping and no one wanted to pay exorbitant gas fees to play. I remember my feeling of hope die away as I started to understand that there was no simple way for the team to fix the bot issue. What could be done? They were talking with the Polygon team, but it seemed like it wasn’t getting anywhere. The community was shaken.
By this time, part of my morning routine was to check my farm, gas prices, and harvest the cauliflowers that I planted the night before. Somewhere around January 7 of this year, I woke up to pandemonium in the discord server. Gold prices tanked from around 20SFL/SLG (gold) down to 3SFL/SLG. I had been gathering as much gold as I could in speculation that it would become a very important currency in the future, so one can imagine my despair when seeing the price bottomed out. I quickly turned to the discord server to see what was going on and it turned out that someone found an exploit to create an infinite amount of iron pickaxes, the ones used to mine gold. A complete disaster for the economy. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. There was no way out of this one for the team besides a full shutdown and rebuild of the game. My farm went untended for the next 6 weeks. Victoria the cat and the farm dog would be all alone.
What seemed like a curse at the time may have proven to be a blessing in disguise as the response from contributors and the community was astounding. Artists and developers jumped in to help the small team rebuild what was once a great game into an even better one while the community patiently waited, active as ever in discord. This gave the team both time and resources to fix the issues regarding the bots that destroyed the game. But how long would it take? Would our NFTs be stuck in a broken game forever?
No, it was only about 6 weeks later that they were ready for a closed beta test of the new Sunflower Land, and 6 weeks after that, an open beta with 100k players. The game completely rebuilt with past mistakes as lessons learnt. The promises made by the team upon shutdown were not only met, but far surpassed and the game looks better than ever. From creating a whole new backend which allows users to play for longer periods of time without needing to pay gas, to adding tons more features, these folks have proven themselves to be a powerhouse team with an amazing community to back them up. I have never seen this amount of support and dedication towards a project from both the team and community and am crazy excited to see where it goes. See you in the fields!
Enjoy some V2 goodies below!
Open beta starts on April 7th, so join their discord and get your spot.
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