Over the years, I have been playing a genre of apps called Gacha games. However, some may not know what the term Gacha is or how it’s implemented. This week, I want to cover these two subjects and share the joys of playing Gacha.
First, what is Gacha? In short, it is essentially gambling. However, instead of wagering money, players instead wager time for tickets to potentially collect better units, cards, etc. It is at this point I should mention Gacha games don’t solely revolve around the gambling aspect. Just like real casinos, you can’t get your money without playing the slots, blackjacks, or whatever games are there. Most of the time, Gachas are seen in games where you have to have amass X amount of unit, card, etc. The purpose of playing the Gacha can range from collecting new units or enhancing units in your possession. Regardless, players will need the Gacha to progress and many don’t like this. The rarer more powerful units can range from having a one to six percent drop rate. Of course, this can be subverted by spending more time to collect in game tickets. However, like all games of chance, this can still be quite the frustrating reality, especially if you just want to play the game.
To remedy this immediate urge to play the game, there is what’s called the first roll Gacha, beginner Gacha, or Per Risemara. Essentially, in most games the developers will give you a free ten units, one of these units being a guaranteed rare one. The Per Risemara is seen by most as a life raft to those few unlucky people, to keep them playing the game until they can actually pull a rare unit. However, there are also people who try and abuse this system. Because the Per Risemara happens so early in the game, just after the tutorial most of the time, it isn’t hard to just delete and re-download the game. The benefits of doing so can range from getting more than one rare unit to getting the unit you personally desire. This is called Re-rolling, and is so widely know at this point that some developers just accept it, making Re-rolling possible with a tap of a button.
Unfortunately, sometimes even after playing a game for a good while, you still can’t get any rare units. It is at this point the dark side of Gacha rears its ugly head. In almost all Gacha games, it is possible to buy the tickets I mentioned previously with real money, allowing players to collect vast amounts of rare units without playing the game. In the community, we call these people whales. It is an action looked down upon, and highlights the similarities between Gacha and gambling. The reason why it’s looked down upon is one of fairness. In some games, it’s almost a necessity to have rare powerful units to play the story or participate in PvP, an almost invisible paywall. In certain circumstances, these people can ruin a game’s experience and drive players away. However, some developer don’t care as these whales are what is keeping the game afloat, making everyone else a second priority.
To have whales spend their money faster, the developer will have banners. These banners are separate from the main Gacha, and can be used to introduce new units or give old ones an increased chance of being drawn. Banners add an element of freshness, and gives the steady flow of newcomers a constantly changing pool of units to draw from. While relatively harmless, it can also be used as a tactic to squeeze money out of the player base. An example of this is in a game called Fire Emblem Hero’s (FEH). In the past, Nintendo the people behind FEH launched two really popular banner consecutively, giving the players no time to recover their tickets. If players wanted the featured units from the second banner, they would likely need to spend money. It was a real surprise, because Nintendo had never pulled something like this before. No one knew the second banner was coming, and nobody saved their tickets. Suffice to say, Nintendo received a lot of backlash for this.
Overall, this was a general overview of Gacha and how it’s used. It’s just a shame the term has a negative connotation, as a result of poor luck, having their day ruin by a whale, or just by greedy developers. However, I also believe it’s one of the fairest ways of acquiring new units. There is no bias and it’s hard to gain an edge over other players, besides paying real money. It’s always fun to see a new unit you’ve never drawn before, and it’s an experience that is hard to replicate. In the end, Gachas can be exhilarating but must be done with restraint, and as I hate to say it, it’s very similar to gambling.