From the desk of NBA Top Shot’s Economist

Today marks the first test of our experimental multi-queue drop system

We set out to explore the question of “how to reward ardent collectors with better access to some of the most coveted collectibles on Top Shot, rare and legendary packs?”

We know that these packs are ultra scarce and that demand will exceed supply. So, we wanted to create a path to higher success rates for the largest and most loyal collectors of Moments while not excluding newer Top Shot collectors from the thrill of the pack drop and the opportunity to score a highly coveted limited edition pack. With Collector Score in mind and individual drop bonuses as additional ammo, we created a system that allows collectors to “level up” into priority queues and have a better shot and multiple chances to land rare and legendary packs going forward.


The Value Proposition

The value proposition in this approach is that diligent collectors can set their sights on building a collection through pack drops and patient buys to level up to a position where access to rare and legendary packs is more likely. 

An additional layer of value is built in for fervent collectors who want to rush to the marketplace to fill their collection with the team they love, Moments they saw live, and the players they idolize. Likewise, collectors who already have substantial collections can rest assured that their existing collection will qualify them for the best shot at these coveted packs. 

While everyone starts their collection at the same place, one of the stand-out aspects of Top Shot remains the ability to create and build a collection of what you love at price points you are comfortable with to create a carefully curated collection that meets your own goals. 

We, the Top Shot economy team, strive to create an ecosystem where rare Moments and especially legendary Moments are the pinnacle of the Top Shot journey. 

These rare, curated Moments will serve as verifiable credentials of fandom and over time will unlock utility throughout the ecosystem, both virtually and IRL. This requirement of scarcity is the driver for creating a system where distribution of these Moments is not spread evenly throughout the economy via the primary pack drop --  given it’s only fair that the most steadfast collectors have a better chance at access to these packs.    

How The Queues Work, And Where They’re Different

The General Queue provides access to collectors who have just started their collection as well as those who are more seasoned but are still actively building towards a more complete collection. These collectors will have very long odds at scoring a pack as the access to this queue is meant to be very inclusive and accessible to everyone who wants to experience all that Top Shot has to offer. 

If you’re new to NBA Top Shot, there are still great ways for you to secure other packs -- including the new, instant Starter Packs.

Beyond that, we have a mid-level Priority Queue (or middle levels -- in the future there may be more or fewer than the three levels in this first drop). These levels are meant to provide a better shot at packs for collectors who have shown commitment through building out their collection and participating in actions relevant to achieving high levels of drop specific bonuses. These queues will provide collectors with select opportunities to score a pack as they contend with a much smaller cohort of collectors for the limited supply. 

At the very top we have Priority Queue 1 (PQ1) where only a handful of collectors who have reached significant Collector Scores have access to the queue. Access to this level is exclusive and is intended for a very small subset of collectors with robust collections. Here collectors will find they have a relatively decent chance of getting a queue spot that gives them the right to purchase a pack. This is Top Shot’s fast track, no frills, VIP line into the club.  

Future Pack Breakdowns

By segmenting queues into multiple levels, we can designate specific amounts of packs for subsets of the population and allow everyone the opportunity to collect enough Moments to become eligible for any queue before a drop. 

Going forward, variable amounts of packs may be available for each queue. This allows us to drill down on the limited supply of rare and legendary drops and assure that PQ1 members have as viable of a chance at a pack as is reasonably possible while also maintaining a puncher’s chance for those in the GQ. 

We've been listening to your feedback and strongly encourage you to share your thoughts and experiences after this drop as well.

Next Steps

As always, we will continue to analyze the pros and cons of these developments and others to continue to create more optimal ways to distribute packs. What balance of packs should go to PQ1 and what to set aside for the GQ? Should collectors be able to buy multiple packs when others don’t get any? How many levels should specific drops have? How much of a drop requirement should be base Collector Score vs. the max drop bonus? How far apart should PQ1 be from middle tiers? What is a fair limit for the GQ which is inclusive of new collectors, but fair to more seasoned collectors with modest Collector Scores? 

Stay tuned for more articles like this and please reach out to @TopShotEcon on Twitter with suggestions for future articles.