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Bringing New Utility to Top Shot: An Interview with the Creator of MomentRanks Play

If you are a Top Shot collector, there is a great chance you are already familiar with MomentRanks. Between the customizable real-time price alerts, marketplace “Explorer” tool, and social “Wall” for transaction commentary, it’s an ever-growing hub for engaging with Top Shot data and activity.

Their team moves fast, weaving Collector Score data into their Leaderboard section within days of the new wrinkle being formally introduced by Top Shot. Literally as I am editing this they introduced another new feature, called “Market,” which provides charts and data on transactions, sales volume, market cap, trending Moments, and trending sets.

MomentRanks is one of the many incredible tools and resources created by the community, for the community. On May 10, they dropped a surprise on Twitter that captured the attention of Top Shot collectors.

They introduced a new fantasy-style game called MomentRanks Play (currently in beta) that adds utility to our Top Shot collections.

Every day, you can build lineups using five players from your collection and pit them against other members of the community in different contests. Depending on when you are reading this, it’s probably live. There’s a good chance you’ve seen chatter about it on Twitter and Discord. I received access earlier this week and have played multiple matchups every night. The design is clean and intuitive. Point bonuses are available depending on the position and tier of each Moment you have, as well as player performance. It’s free to play, and easy to find people to play with.

Enthralled by this new, fun way to engage with Top Shot, and curious what was coming next, I reached out to their team via Twitter and asked for an interview. They said yes.

Below is our conversation, edited for clarity.

On the afternoon of Thursday, May 13, 2021, I spoke with Will Hay, co-founder of MomentRanks, to talk about Top Shot and the MomentRanks team’s new game, MomentRanks Play, currently in Beta.

So, Will, when did you first get into Top Shot?

I heard about it in early January when one of my buddies texted me and said we had to get into it. I waited a week. The prices went up, so I missed that initial boom, and opened my account on January 14.

That’s still pretty early! My friends and I didn’t get in until mid-February. When did you first start building MomentRanks, and when did you decide to make a game that incorporates Moments from Top Shot?

We launched MomentRanks on February 22, but started working on it during the third week of January. In terms of the game, “Play,” I had the idea back in March and was thinking about it for a couple of weeks, then finally started working on it over the past month. So I guess we started on this (MomentRanks Play) in mid-April.

It sounds like you’ve had a hell of a month. What’s been the biggest challenge as you bring MomentRanks Play from idea to concept to beta to launch, other than writing a ton of code?

The code hasn’t been too technically deep or complicated, but in terms of the biggest challenges, half of the time was spent ideating and thinking about what game modes to put out first and what would be most engaging and fun for people.

We didn’t just want to create another DFS game that already exists.

You’re using your Moments, so the game should reflect that fact and consider different attributes of the Moments that are unique. We wanted it to be fun and based on what you actually own instead of just picking a player and getting a score. So it was hard to think through the game mechanics, from scoring to the most critical attributes for each player, position, or Moment tier.

It’s still a work in progress, but I think we’ve settled on a general formula for the scoring that a lot of people like.

Are you thinking about incorporating a salary cap or any other constraints or limitations around the Moments a player might have in their Top Shot collection?

If someone plays 5 Legendary Moments, will they just always have a slight edge over someone with 5 Commons?

So that’s something we thought a lot about. The salary cap makes less sense because it’s hard to incorporate while also accounting for each individual’s collection versus a traditional DFS game.

There’s definitely a little bit of an advantage with Legendary Moments, but we are trying not to make it too huge.

From a scoring and bonus perspective, we’re giving Common Moments a 5 point boost if a player goes over their 10 game average performance. Rare Moments get an 8 point boost, and Legendary Moments get a 12 point boost.

We’re going to try and create different leagues, which we think will be huge, and rank people using an ELO-style scoring system. Basically, tiering them and their collections, so they aren’t going H2H with Whalevault and constantly losing.

We ideally want to match people up with a similar skill level or collection size.

What you’ve been able to do so far is really impressive. I like the idea of trying to create more equitable matchups down the line based on Collector Score or whatever other metrics. I noticed that today (May 13, 2021), you’re running your first larger tournament as an alternative to H2H matchups, with a few different Moments available as prizes to the top three finishers.

What kind of prizes do you expect to give away as this grows and builds steam? Are these prizes given to you in some type of partnership with Top Shot, or are they from your personal collections?

We’re exploring different ways to do prizes. We’re a startup, so we don’t want to burn a ton of money on prizes off the bat until we really figure out the game mechanics and the best way to do a lot of this.

Our current plan is to give away a few Moments every day and then potentially give away a Rare Moment or something significant once a week. That’s what we’re trying to achieve in the Playoffs.

We’re looking into partnerships and sponsorships with some of the more prominent names in the space, where they can provide a few Moments as prizes and have their name or brand on the contest for the week.

We think it will be a cool opportunity for branding and exposure, and help us get more Moments to give out to the community.

I think that’s a really clever idea and way to ease the burden on your end. I’ll be curious if and when we see that kind of behavior from Top Shot, whether it be a branded challenge, set, or pack drop. I feel like that’s coming, but not yet.

I can give you a little teaser that we’re going to have a contest next week that is sponsored by (name redacted to preserve the surprise), so we’ve been talking to them, and that’ll be fun.

That’s exciting! I wonder what they’ll offer up. It seems like you are moving fast despite it being new and in beta, and it’s getting a lot of attention on Twitter. I think we’ve all been sitting up at night watching our Moments and browsing the marketplace for a while…

I was sitting there back in March, looking at all these Moments I had in my collection, admiring how cool they were, but I reached a point where I was like, okay, now what? I want to do something with them.

We’re just trying to provide utility to the space.

But the good thing is that a lot of people are working on projects like this now, so I think there is going to be a ton of stuff to do with our Moments in the future.

As this evolves and you prepare for the formal launch, what plans do you have for different formats or styles of gameplay?

Do you envision a world where we can bet Moments from our games in H2H matchups?

I don’t want to give away too much. We’re definitely exploring all the different directions we can take MomentRanks Play and the fun social utility that Top Shot Moments have.

One thing I can mention that I’m personally excited about is the ability to create teams with your friends.

Like a head-to-head matchup, but now you can invite a friend or two from Top Shot to build the lineup with you. You’ll be able to combine Moments from your collections to collaborate on the best lineup. We think that’s a new way to bring people together around the games and create different lineup combinations.

Beyond that, we’re exploring a lot of ideas to see what works but haven’t solidified anything else I can share.

As far as you’re comfortable revealing, are there any features or ideas for the roadmap that you can share or tease out?

It gets tricky because the NBA season will end Mid-July, so we’re definitely planning a ton for next season. From a short-term perspective, and I don’t know if we’re doing this for sure yet, but we’d like to run a tournament that goes over the length of the NBA Finals. Beyond one game. Some type of a tournament-style play that runs for an extended period.

If you’re interested in trying MomentRanks Play, I suggest visit the site and following their Twitter for updates on the full launch and community access.

When you’re in, I welcome you to challenge me head-to-head for as many matches as you’d like. I look forward to it, and look forward to seeing what else is coming down the road. Happy collecting!

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