Video Game Tuesday: Gacha Games Aren’t Evil

Michael Blaker
Game Industry News is running the best blog posts from people writing about the game industry. Articles here may originally appear on Michael's blog, Windborne's Story Eatery.
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This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m back with a follow-up to last week’s post. It’s all about why Gacha Games Aren’t Evil!

Gacha?: In these games, there are usually numerous characters, cards, or other items that players can obtain, and most of them are only obtainable via the “gacha” mechanism. The “gacha” mechanism would allow players to “spin” the gacha using a specific amount of in-game currency, which would give player a randomized character or item. Sometimes, these gacha would be limited, such that those characters and items can only be obtained within a specific event time frame. Because some of these items or characters would be given less chance to appear, typically players would need to spin the gacha many times before they can get the most desired outcome.

Isn’t that just the same thing as Loot Boxes in last week’s post?: Well let me make a distinction, what I think of as a proper “Gacha Game” doesn’t actually include all the games that utilize the Gacha mechanic. Many are pretty popular in Japan and the more successful ones are ones that don’t include a PvP component. This removes the need to get the highest tier characters to do well against players who will spend loads of money on the game. They are often called Whales because they are essentially just like the Vegas equivalent.  Games like Battlefront II included loot boxes that had actual gameplay advantages like getting Heroes which offer a significant power boost over the regular player. That goes into the Pay to Win category, and should never be put into any game. The fact that EA thought they could get away with doing something so monumentally sleazy is just further proof that they are run by greedy jerks.

What’s a good example?: Fate/Grand Order is a perfect example of a proper Gacha Game.  The game is highly popular in Japan and while you are highly encouraged to re-roll an account to get a desired rare servant like Artoria from the Stay Night sub-franchise, this isn’t absolutely necessary to succeed in the game. Although it will help you out greatly if you aim for a top tier servant like Jeanne D’Arc or Waver Velvet who were Servants available at launch. I enjoy playing Fate/Grand Order quite a bit, mostly because the story is excellent. I ended up re-rolling about a hundred times to get a Jeanne for myself. That single character has probably saved my butt more times than I can count. I consider the time I spent re-doing the intro over and over again well worth it since I got a top tier Servant that will last me the entire game’s life no matter what comes along in the future.

And before people ask whether I’m a “Whale” let me answer you. No, I don’t have anywhere near the amount of spending money needed to do that sort of thing. If I had the money to do so would I? Maybe, the story of Fate/Grand Order is quite good, and I’d love to make a top tier team with my Jeanne as a highlight. The game earns tons of money because people want their favorite characters and people end up sketching or creating various things to “summon” their desired servants as a weird form of superstition. Sometimes it works for them, other’s not so much.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday, next week I’ll go back to my favorite topic for this column, bashing Destiny!

P.S.: For those wondering how my luck is in Fate/Grand Order, It’s definitely E Rank or lower. RNGs and I have always had a poor relationship. That might end up being a topic for a later column.

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