Gacha Games Aren’t Perfect, but Can Be Improved

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Gacha games are a phenomenon in Asian countries such as Japan, China and South Korea, and most recently they have gained traction in the western world as well. Despite their fame, they also have a claim to infamy: the games’ model is very similar to gambling, and many players have developed gambling addiction and ruined themselves after an unhealthy amount of involvement with such games.

Not to say that you shouldn’t play them, but it’s important to be aware of what their deal is and to play them responsibly. Here are three of the things that can make gacha games a hurdle to play that could be improved!

 

Pity system

A pity system is a safety net that guarantees receiving a certain unit after a set amount of pulls. The game literally takes pity on you and offers you the unit you wanted, so to speak, hence the name. However, this is not standard. Some games can do away with the system altogether, other adopt an absurd one that most player are unlikely to ever be able to use, and some may require you do lots and lots of pulls before you hit pity.

An unforgiving pity system is especially annoying if collecting pull currency is particularly hard, or there are no bonuses provided by the game. If that is the case, it is all the more important than a proper pity system be put in place. Not just for appearance’s sake, but one that actually helps the players out instead of active as an incentive for spending money on the game in order to manage to reach pity.

 

The amount of limited gacha units

Another problem is how often gacha games release limited units, available for a short period of time before either not being available ever again or only after a long period of time. Not only are newer players unable to get their hands on one of these rare units unless they have another rate up any time soon, but those that do have the chance may feel that they have to spend a lot of money to secure the unit, as otherwise they’ll miss their chance.

It is even worse if the limited unit released is the harbinger of a whole new meta, because even players who may not have had any interest in pulling for it will feel compelled to do so least they are left behind and have a hard time playing the game as a result.

The concept of limited units cannot and will not disappear, it’s an important part of gacha games, but that doesn’t mean that it’s something that should not be addressed. Less limited units, or at least giving the players a better shot at obtaining them, would be a fairer course of action.

 

Abysmal pull rates

It is often the case that the highest rarity units, the SSRs (or Super Super Rare) units in gacha games have low pull rates. Depending on the game, it can vary from as high as 10% to the extremely low 1% and under.

This is not a bad thing in itself, nor is it shady in any capacity, as their rarity is advertised in the units’ rarity level’s name. Problems arise when other aspects of the game, such as a hard to obtain pull currency, the lack of a reliable pity system, power creep and hard to clear levels that force you to use higher rarity units that you may not have are too noticeable. At that point the low pull rate becomes a problem.

 

Of course, the games can’t be made too easy for two main reasons. One is that making the characters too easy to get will inevitably hurt the company’s revenue. Maintaining a game and actively working to expand it is no cheap task, and without the necessary funds the game may need to shut down. The other is that players may lose interests if they get everything handed on a silver platter to them, as it is often not only the character itself that makes the player happy, but also the fact that they succeeded in securing it despite all odds. This doesn’t excuse a gacha game treating its playerbase like trash, however.

 

For comparison’s sake, let’s look over two successful gacha games and see where they stand all things considered. A gacha game such as Arknights is extremely free-two-play friendly. Despite the 2% pull rate for its SSR equivalent, there is a solid pity system in place, players receive free pulls on limited and anniversary banners, the pull currency is not hard to obtain and the game is not so hard that lower rarity units become obsolete.

On the other hand, Fate/Grand Order has a 1% pull rate for SSRs, but there is no real pity system in place, the concept of free pulls did not exist until its 4th anniversary (1 free pull every 10 pulls), and while the pull currency is not objectively hard to get and players receiver bonuses once in a while, the fact that you can spend all of it without getting a single SSR is disheartening.

 

A balance must exist to keep both players and the company alike happy, and for that balance to exist at least some, if not all, aspects that make a gacha game gambling-lite should be improved. Being too lenient may hurt gacha games, but being too harsh will also hurt them in the long run: players may simply drop the games when they don’t meet a certain standard.

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