After being stuck in a groove for a while Zed Run have announced a plethora of changes over the past couple of weeks.
The reduction of racing rake, the rebalancing of classes 1 and 6, breeding adjustments that allow for foals to be born better than their parents, the removal of evo, the revival of distance preference as an important trait, a switch to Zed token in paid racing and more.

In essence it feels as though these changes move the game more toward the original version of Zed we fell in love with.
Perhaps Nir is gaining a true understanding of what the player base wants in the game? This could be seen as a positive sign of things to come as we wait for the official product direction announcement that is coming in Q2 2024.

In the meantime, I think these changes will enhance the game we are playing while we wait for the final vision.
I wanted to share my thoughts on some of these changes.
These are; making class one the pinnacle of Zed Run which factors in a large portion of what’s changing this week and the use of Zed Token as the official in game currency.

1) Making Class 1 the pinnacle of Zed Run.

Class one should be the pinnacle of racing and the rewards for making it to the top should reflect that.
Zed Run is a competitive game and I think the ultimate challenge should be to breed a champion, take it to the top of the mountain, beat the best and reap the biggest prizes for doing so.

When remembering previous versions of Zed, this has never been what we’ve had but has always been what we needed.

We had downclassing upending the system in racing 1.0 and that had to go.
Racing 2.0 was better but the talent gap in class 1 made rising to the top almost impossible.
This led to the odd scenario of class 2 having larger rewards.
Then the 3.0 breeding issue of being unable to breed “the best horse in the game” just compounded the problem.

Looking at the majority of the recent changes, it appears as though most of them are geared toward making rising through the ranks a reality.
Through breeding or racing skill a player can take a horse to glory and riches and that is how the game should be.

Let’s look at how some of these changes make this a reality.

– The removal of EVO.
If a horse is good enough you can take it to the top of class 1 and challenge the best horses in the game.

– The rebalance of class 1 levels.
Right now your level 520 horse will get obliterated by a field of level 650 plus horses 100% of the time and so it ends up on the bench.
With the new changes, if you have a good enough horse it will be at least competitive in class one once it arrives there.
We see good lower-level horses competing with the top of class horses in C2 and below and now C1 should be just the same.

– Breeding changes.
These are huge for the game.
Firstly, the opportunity to breed a horse that is better than its parents gives us a chance to breed up instead of down only.
Take in to account the chance of increased VAR and DP ranges and reduced negative impact of DP and we again have the chance to breed the best horse in the game.
Whether it’s through careful choice of parents, stacking traits down the line (and racing up the ranks) or nailing a higher-level Super Breed the opportunity is there.

On top of this we can now breed class one horses from non-Genesis parents at a higher rate, with parents starting levels playing a more important role in the starting level of foals.
Class one is open for business.

In fact, with all that in mind I recently purchased former Zed track legend “Solid” for our stable.
He is a Z2 Legendary stallion with some great DP, good VAR and 552 starting level.
I think he is exactly the type of horse that will benefit from these changes and can’t wait to get him in the stud barn.

– Highest prize pools to class one.
Though we only have a small handful of competitive class one horses in our stable this change really excites me.
In fact I hope at least 40% of the overall Zed pool goes to class one prizes.

Sure in the early days it will likely be scooped up by the largest stables but there needs to be aspirations in a competitive game and with the changes I already mentioned all stables will have the ability to try to achieve those aspirations.

Through breeding skill over time, racing skill over time or just plain luck there will be a path to glory and the rewards to go along with it.
Unless we get lucky with a level 700 Super Breed most of us will either have to race through the ranks or breed strategically to have a chance in the big leagues but isn’t that what makes a game like this fun?

2) Zed Token as the official in game currency.

From the launch of the Zed Token it was always slated as eventually being the in-game currency.
That day seems to be arriving and for some it seems a scary proposition.
I too have some concerns but overall I think it is something that has to happen otherwise what is the point of having the token?

One of the main concerns I have seen online is that there will be downward pressure on the token price when people win tokens and sell them for ETH.
Zed have made changes to accompany the switch that will negate that issue.
With all prize pools being funded by racing rake only there will be a neutral balance.
IE the prize pool will be tokens that were purchased to use by players to enter the tournament and not newly issued tokens, so it won’t have a downward effect on the price of the token overall when the winners sell.

I do agree it’s a tricky proposition using our own token as there are outside forces such as crypto speculators and Zed staff selling that can and will add volatility to the price of the token and that won’t be a good thing especially for those players not used to crypto fluctuations.
However using their own token does also give the team more control over market forces and levers to pull when they need to.

For example, they can implement deflationary measures such as token burning.
There are many creative ways this can be done.
Perhaps once the marketplace is complete, they burn a percentage of the tokens collected in sale fees?
Perhaps they implement horse burning in exchange for breeding catalysts with a token cost to do so and they burn those tokens.
Maybe they offer tracks for sale and players receive a percentage of rake charged on their track then Zed burn 50% of the tokens received for the initial track purchase.
Selling custom skins and burning 50% or 75% of the proceeds would be another option but as I said there are so many ways this can be done to ensure the price of Zed Token doesn’t collapse.

We already have a functioning economy here, and with the token having utility a balance can be achieved, though it is still a crypto coin and so volatility is inevitable at times.

If levers can be pulled effectively and the in-game economy kept in balance then we do have the flipside of those concerns.
That being the prize pool treasury which from memory was 34% of the 1 billion Zed Tokens minted.
At current prices that’s over $13,000,000 dollars available for prizes.
With a gradual increase on the demand side it could be much more.
As long as the deflationary measures outweigh the extra juice we can have some real fun with that and help grow the game.

Of course, I think for all this to really balance out, we need breeding fees to also transfer from ETH as the currency to Zed Token and I hope that is on the cards soon.
For this token economy to really work the sales market, breed fees, race fees and everything need to be in Zed token and denominated in USD.

We also need a simple in game system that allows for not just the purchase of Zed Token via fiat or crypto but also a simple way for players to swap their winnings for fiat or crypto on the way out.
New players need to be able to log in and buy Zed Token and if they win easily swap it back out to their bank account in fiat or wallet in ETH/USDT.

Another item that I think needs to be looked at to help with balance and stability of the token price is staking.
Like the burning of tokens there are many ways that staking could be implemented and it is only limited by imagination.
It should certainly be included as another control mechanism as soon as possible.

All in all, we are entering a whole new economy by switching from Eth to Zed Token and I hope modelling and effective planning have and is being undertaken by the team.
If so, I see no reason why this switch can’t be a success and major positive for the future of the game.

Get ready for a brave new world guys!