About a year and a half ago I was sitting at lunch with some friends at work. Shooting the breeze one of them mentioned a new phone game that their boyfriend was playing. A Chinese gacha game that’s concept was so hilarious to me I had to download just for the memes. To think at some point at someplace on this planet someone had the idea to Fate Stay the ship universe? Take every major warship from the 1900s and transform them into cute anime girls. Then someone, who had power at a company known as Yostar looked at this man and was like “Son of a bitch I’m in” creating hit gacha turn-flopped anime Azur Lane.
But of course, I only downloaded it for the memes, there is no way I would actually get caught up in such a degenerate system, right? RIGHT!?
So here I am, my name is Johnathan, I am 26 years old and I currently reside in gacha hell. A place where there is no concept of a smart purchase and if you are telling me there is a 0.5% chance to roll my next shipfu. Bet your ass I am going to be dropping 30 dollars for those lucky boxes. In this plane of existence logic no longer applies, there is no sane or rational that comes with the mindless mad dash of cube rolling. Where money no longer matters nor does any responsibility because there are events to farm and Id be damn if I miss out on Jean Bart a second time. A place that has me checking Reddit daily waiting for Usagi Sensei’s wise wisdom of which ship girl is actually best girl.
So without further ado allow me to explain and show you a world that has recently taken the gaming universe by storm, and has allowed those with control issues to roll it all for a JPEG.
Before I go into different types of gacha games and how they work I believe the best place to start is what an actual gacha machine is. Full of different types of figures, gacha machines are machines in which you put in money for a chance to get the figure (gachapon) you want. Each gachapon has a certain rarity, the rarer it is the less chance you have to get it, the less chance you have the more money you have to put into the machine. So in a nutshell it works as a system where some gachapons maybe a 5% drop, others 25% and so on. As you put more money into the machine the odds don’t change so the chance of getting multiple 25% drops before you get the 5% is not only possible but likely.
Taking this concept some madman decided to put this system into a phone game setting. A lot like loot boxes the gacha is based on a “pull” which usually requires items you can get in the game matched with the game’s currency to have a chance to get the character you want. For example, Azur Lane has cubes, for light ships, it’s one cube for one ship, however, for Heavy, Special, Or Event ships it’s 2 matched with 1500 coins. Now in the start, a lot of new players will find themselves overburdened with these resources. Most gacha games start by being very liberal with the resources, and you usually don’t think much of it until there is an item you want but is a little harder to get. When this happens it requires the player to farm levels for resources or possibly even a ship that can only be obtained through the said level. Personally, this part of the game is a bit of a wall, I think a lot of players fall out of favor of said games when the game stops giving them everything they want, forcing them to either farm or pull out the wallet for things they might want.
This system is at its most aggressive when there are “events” going on. Like I said early most gacha systems you can get pull resources within the game without spending any money. The way they get around this is simple, have limited drops available for 3 or so weeks. This forces players to look at the event and realize that if they want this new ship, they are going to have to build Event ships with a 1.5% roughly drop rate for the SSR. Added most events bring 3-4 SSRs, the amount of cubes being used adds up quick. Suddenly out of the resource and running out of time, some have to think about how bad they want the new ship. Now assuming one gets past the wall, there is a way to avoid this. There is always downtime between events, and veterans players doing dailies every day save cubes for the next event, going into it with 300+ cubes chances are what money you will be spending won’t be on those resources.
Though aggressive and abusing people who have gambling/ control issues. This overall isn’t the biggest thing that creates profits for these games, because money isn’t going to be the resource most players will put into these games, it’s time. Riding the high of events one could easily find themselves playing anywhere from 30 minutes to hours. Finding things to farm outright when the event starts and resources filled. It can take a surprisingly long time to deplete them, forcing one to either wait until they refill or paying fat cash to get to playing again. Added with dailies even without events there is always something to do, I play at least 20 minutes as day nonevent and upwards to 2-3 hours during one.
So this may lead to one asking, alright so resources aren’t really worth spending money on, neither are pulls, if you plan accordingly. So what exactly does one spend money on? Simple, sexy ass anime ship skins.
How about Zuikaku, that Auspicious crane a race girl?
Or, Akagi as a bride or plastered?
Her dear sister Kaga dressed up for a ball or preparing for her own wedding?
Warspire or Queen Elizabeth as Jpop stars?
Or we can just settle Naganami playing the part of maid poorly.
The things I would do for a cute anime girl.
Honestly, a lot of it comes down to the fact you watch for hours these JPEGS do different tasks, defeat different levels, and rotate across the home screen. And if you see them enough it comes down to a point that, this really adorable skin, would be a nice change of pace.
Azur Lane is just one gacha cancer in a world of Genshin Impact, Arknights, Fate Grand Order, and Fire Emblem Heroes just to name a few. It just happens to be the only one I caught. Staying clear of any of the others I have settled on the fact the hundreds of dollars that have been spent and more than likely will be spent is going to be on boat wifes.
What started as a meme among friends turned into an obsession, reminding me of how much influence anime girls have on me, matched with the fact it is historical It was a dangerous combo I should have been more aware of. Though I don’t regret it, Azur Lane is a fun game, with fair pulls and always something to farm. Fortunately, I am very fiscally tight with money, the 3 or so hundred dollars I have spent on it is over the year and a half I’ve been playing, isn’t technically that much. Though in retrospect still seems like a lot. Gacha games can be dangerous and around the world are drawing the attention of states, being borderline gambling people are finding themselves in rough situations, unable to stop the urge to pull just one more.
My opinions of these are irrelevant but I will leave with this. If you are someone that can’t draw a line and stop, then never pick one up. I am just one man in gacha hell, I’m not a whale, if anything I’m a meager clownfish. But if you are anything like me, a fan of history and anime, able to stop but are wanting to lose yourself in a world of self-deprecation, Azur La. No, nevermind, I am not doing this, never install any of these games it’s not worth it. Run, run far away.
How will I ever get out of here?