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What are your thoughts on Gacha games?

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For those that may not know, Pokemon Masters is a title that is classified as a "Gacha" game. These are usually mobile titles that are "free-to-play" (in actuality they're classed as "free-to-start"), and the name stems from the Japanese capsule vending machines. A few well-known examples would be Kingdom Hearts UnionX, Fire Emblem Heroes, and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp.

How do you feel about these games? Do you regularly spend money on them? Do you avoid them like the plague? Or do you instead try to get through them without spending any money?
 
mischievous
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Fire Emblem Heroes is the only gacha (and mobile) game I'm very heavily invested in, I'm also into Dawn of the Breakers (I play the Switch version) but FEH has more of my time sunk into it, so I only get around to it every once in a while now. Otherwise most gacha don't really catch my eye, but Pokémon Masters looks to be fun at least and I'm willing to give it a try. I'll have to see if I put in the effort to build the perfect teams like I do in FEH.
 
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I've never played one before. The good thing about Masters is that you only need gacha to scout for optional trainers you can do without. It obviously still sucks having to wait weeks for your favorite character, rather like hunting a shiny Pokemon (which I've never done) or an elusive card (this I used to do way back when).
 
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Not really fond of them, but then again my only real experience with a gacha has been early Pokemon Duel. I heavily disliked the lootboxes Duel had during its early release, and it felt deeply unfair that, if you had a deep enough pocket, you can basically shell out as much as you want to get as many rare figures as you want.

So yeah, I'm approaching Masters with caution here because I do want to know how much of an advantage paying players would get. It's going to really dent my interest if it's going to end up being essentially p2w by paying to have the best trainers with the best sync pairs. ._.
 
リーリエの為に戦ってるトレーナー
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I have a love-hate relationship with them. The hate part of the relationship comes from the get rates and being nudged to do micro-transactions to get what I want. Luckily, I have enough self-control not to spend money on mobages, so I never, ever whale. As a Type-Moon fan, Fate/Grand Order intrigues me because of the storyline written by Kinoko Nasu, the only thing that takes me out of the game is well... playing the game. I love video games, but mobile games are a different story - sometimes mobage battle systems with RPG mechanics are, well, boring touch stuff compared to a PC or console RPG. It's alright but there's no real depth to it - for Fate/GO, a few taps here and there and I'm done, so it feels like playing a bad game just to read a good story. I like collecting my favorite Servants and doing their Noble Phantasms, but that's about it, but going through low summon rates means I barely have any Servants I actually care about that's above 3 star rarity. And then there's the various THE [email protected] gacha mobages... oh boy, the tempting microtransactions, Scamco Bandai! I do enjoy Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, but I barely consider that to be a pure gacha game. Really don't need the Fortune Cookies, and they practically give away Bells.

I cringed when they added a gacha mechanic to Xenoblade Chronicles 2, only because it was a pain in the ass to get blades I wanted because the rates are so shit and I don't generally expect that short of mechanic when I'm not even playing a mobile game. Honestly, the only gacha (in general, not just mobages) I completely love are the ones you get to play when you finish a certain amount of plates at a Kaitenzushi. And even if you miss, you still spent money on some delicious fucking sushi and uni even if you don't get the cool One Piece magnets from the gacha. Or actual capsule toy machines, the nostalgic bane of my childhood.

Regardless, a lot of gacha games on mobile offer a lot of nice character fanservice for popular franchises and I look forward to Pokemon Masters for the same reasons. I'll just never whale, because I'd rather spend that money on recovering my health, on food, on dating, and on travel to Japan.
 
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the bells of joy are ringing
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For me, it goes on a case by case basis. Gacha games that make it obvious that you'll never have a chance at a good run unless you spend money despise me. It's obvious then that that game is not one full of quality or thoughtfully created characters/cards/monsters/whatever that is worth spending money nor time on. Rather, it is a cash grab for the company to make a quick buck. Now I am not saying that every gacha game should be giving out SSR or Gold or Platinum characters too. Companies need to make money, duh. But here are some signs from my personal experience that deter me from gacha games:
  • Releasing new characters/cards/whatever at an extremely fast basis. Unless this is some kind of company that does not sleep 24/7, seems like hastily created assets meant to grab money, not something filled with thought

  • Lack of premium currency that can be earned for free, whether it is through watching ads or through in-game quests. I think a better model for purchases is not to completely LOCK a player (even f2p) out of it, but to rather SLOW DOWN, such that the incentive for spending real currency would be to accelerate the process

  • The name of the game is Summoner Warsjust kidding I just have really bad luck in this game URGHHHH
 
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I never spent money on those games. I usually don't play those games for very long.

For me, gacha games that included co-op as a major feature were annoying because it created a toxic environment among players. One of the games that I played before had four people team up for raids, and if you didn't have good cards (usually ones that are only obtainable through paying for gacha... and not even 100% guaranteed), you'd get kicked out of the team or the team will leave in the middle of the raid and you'd be stuck with a group of AIs for your team and most likely lose.

The Pokemon mobile games have usually been generous enough that micro-transactions were literally optional, so I'm hopeful about Pokemon Masters being reasonable with the gacha system.
 
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They're basically gambling in a colorful, kid friendly package. I love certain gacha games, I'm going to play this one, but I think it's important to acknowledge that there IS something exploitative about the format as a whole. The fact that gacha games are all so similar to each other sort of reinforces that point to me - it shows that developers feel like they've honed in on some sweet spot in the human psyche.
 
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They should be called 'gotcha' games instead since they're basically a scam. Sure it's free to begin playing them, but alot of these kinds of games pretty much require you to spend money at some point if you want to make quick progress. Otherwise you usually have to do things the hard way.
 
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For me, gacha games that included co-op as a major feature were annoying because it created a toxic environment among players. One of the games that I played before had four people team up for raids, and if you didn't have good cards (usually ones that are only obtainable through paying for gacha... and not even 100% guaranteed), you'd get kicked out of the team or the team will leave in the middle of the raid and you'd be stuck with a group of AIs for your team and most likely lose.

The Pokemon mobile games have usually been generous enough that micro-transactions were literally optional, so I'm hopeful about Pokemon Masters being reasonable with the gacha system.
The default characters from the story chapters (there will be over 20 of them) can get you through the main story. Even the 3 or 4-star ones can have their potential raised, so I wouldn't worry about co-op battles which are optional to begin with. If your friends (no random pairing has been mentioned) are going to kick you out of a battle, the problem isn't with this (relatively casual) game.

You can enjoy the game if you aren't fixated on summoning your favorite character(s). That may not be easy because the game wants to get your hopes up every time you get 300 gems, but it's possible.
 
the shrine maiden
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Gacha games have never really bothered me. I've never felt the strong desire to spend my own money on them. I have spent money on them, but it's been through the money I've earned through Google Rewards surveys, which is my primary use for that money anyways. Even then though, I haven't really spent too much money on it. Probably the top two games I've spent money from it on would be Pokemon Go and this other game called WordScapes (and I'm probably going to drop that soon because I'm kinda getting disinterested in it). I usually just don't focus too much on the aspect of getting characters I want or whatever, and instead, I just focus more on enjoying the game as much as I can until I burn out and move onto the next game.
 
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Before Pokemon Masters I've played Fire Emblem Heroes and Yugioh Duel Links. Out of the three, the latter seems the best in terms of giving you in-game currency to get pulls but that's probably because you need a whole lot more pulls to make a decent deck in Duel Links than you would to make a decent team in FEH and Pokemon Masters.

Pokemon Masters has the worst exchange in terms of currency and pulls out of the three I've played, but is pretty generous in terms of freebies, giving you Rosa & Serperior which is probably the best support Pokemon in the game, and Hau who is a top-tier single-player Pokemon. Duel Links still beats it out in terms of freebies and events though (if the Blue event is anything to go by)

For me, gacha games that included co-op as a major feature were annoying because it created a toxic environment among players. One of the games that I played before had four people team up for raids, and if you didn't have good cards (usually ones that are only obtainable through paying for gacha... and not even 100% guaranteed), you'd get kicked out of the team or the team will leave in the middle of the raid and you'd be stuck with a group of AIs for your team and most likely lose.
Apparently this is a thing that already happens at the most difficult co-op levels (the EX battles unlocked after beating Chapter 18 Co-op on hard). I'm kind of worried about the game because of the difficulty spike this early in its release. It doesn't seem like it was created for longevity and the game isn't nearly strategy-based enough to make new Pokemon worth it without significant power creep.
 
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Bringing the Thunder
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I don't think I've ever played a real gacha game, I tend to avoid F2P games in general. They all just give you little bang for big buck, the whole business model is anti-consumer so I'm turned off by just about any game that follows that business model (I played Rumble World back when I was broke and I beat it without paying one cent, but it literally took me a year, that's pretty much the only F2P game I've been able to stomach for more than 5 minutes). Hard pass on all of that noise.
 
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I have a love/hate relationship with gacha games. I love them cause they often have beautiful art and fun characters and I love being excited when I pull for a character and the sheer happiness it gives when you get what you want. Then again, I also have actually cried at times because of how incredibly unfair this whole practice can be, I do strongly dislike the whole concept and the dirty tricks these games pull to make you spend money. Though this is mostly because I mainly play Fire Emblem Heroes, which must be the absolute worst example of this practice.

Fire Emblem Heroes (a bad example)
Why FEH is disgusting:
  1. There's never any guarantee you get what you want, no matter how much you spend.
  2. All characters have IVs, so even if you do get the character you want it could be -atk or -spd and those stats will be lowered by 3 or 4 points.
  3. You can fix a bad IV, but only by pulling another copy of said character to merge with the first one. A bad gacha practice fixed by more gacha, great.
  4. Every time you pull, the chance you get a 5* unit goes up, which is actually one of the things I like about this game, if it wasn't for the fact that this chance goes back to 0 once you pull any 5* unit. So if your chance went up from 3 to 5% after about 100-200 orbs, and you get some off-banner unit you couldn't care less about, you're back at 3% again.
  5. Seasonal units are always the most OP and have the most OP skills you can inherit to other units. These units also only appear once a year so the itch to spend money to get them is huge.
  6. Their biggest mode right now is Aether Raids. In this the points you get go up if you use very specific Mythic units. Your points go up even more if you use two of these very specific Mythic units. And your points go up even more if you have these units merged by 10. Summary: you need 22 copies of a certain specific unit you can only get once every three months to get the best score in the main mode of this game. This mode is also the only way to get more copies of a huge selection of characters that you can't get in any other way. If you want to build any of those characters, you're practically forced to get more copies of these Mythic units even if you couldn't care less about them.
I could make many many more points, but these already sum up pretty well how hard they try to get money off you. A very good example I can give is a recent situation of mine: I pulled a character I wanted in 30 orbs, which is extremely lucky but she was -atk. She is also a seasonal unit which means she only appears once a year and you can't get her any other way. Having saved a bunch of orbs, I decided to try for a second one so I could fix her IV. 400 orbs later I got 4 off-banner units I couldn't care less about and never got her again. Luckily in my case I didn't spend any money, but imagine if I had: 400 orbs costs € 240. I could've payed € 240 without getting anything I wanted.

Alchemist Code and Knights of Chronicle (good examples)
Now there's also good examples. I've also played Alchemist Code and Knights of Chronicle and I like these a lot better for the following reasons:
  1. You get a guaranteed character after you've pulled a certain amount of times. This character is known beforehand or in the case of Knights, you can even choose which one you want out of 3 or 4 units. So eventually there's a guarantee to get what you want and it can be done without paying a dime (at least in the case of Knights, not 100% sure how much you needed in Alchemist).
  2. No IVs, so far FEH is the only gacha game I've seen that uses this disgusting practice.
  3. Dupes are always useful to make the characters you like stronger. In FEH most dupes are useless units with useless skills and all you can get off them if a sad amount of feathers, which is not a rare currency anyway.
  4. Free pull(s) every day, so you get characters or recources every single day. While in FEH it mostly takes multiple days before you have enough orbs to do a single full pull (each pull consists of 5 colored orbs to pick from and you can pick all 5 with 20 orbs, so it's always a waste to go in without having 20).
Pokémon Masters (mixed feelings)
So far I have mixed feelings about Masters.

The good:
  1. No IVs, so when I get a character I want I can just be happy with it.
  2. I love most of these characters so when I pull there's a 50% chance I'll get something I like.
  3. Loads of free characters and there's some really good units in there. Lyra and Skyla are some of the best units in the game and Flannery is a huge fan favourite, I'm pleasantly surprised they made her free.
  4. Dupes are useful for building the characters you like, at least once you've gotten 5 of them. After that they turn into vouchers you can use to power up other characters (at least that's how I understood it, or can it only be used to power up that specific character?).
  5. You get a guaranteed sync pair of choice after you've pulled a certain amount of times. Though the cost for this seems higher than any F2P player can reach, but at least the paying players get something even after spending a huge amount.
The bad:
  1. Huge bias towards paying players. Not only do you get a guaranteed 5* unit if you pay 20 bucks, you also only have to pay 100 gems instead of 300 for a single pull if you pay for these gems. Also, the amount of scout points you need to get a sync pair of choice is so insanely high that I don't think you can ever reach that as a F2P player (except if you save up a lot of gems I guess), so again mostly a bonus for paying players.
  2. Getting a guaranteed random 5* unit for 20 bucks. This would be way more forgivable if you either 1) only had to pay the 3 bucks for a single pull or 2) the guaranteed unit wasn't random. No way in hell am I paying 20 for a 50% chance to get something I don't even want.
  3. Gems are probably going to be rare as hell soon. For now it's fine, there's the daily 200 gems and there's loads of maps to get gems from (story chapters, co-op battles, training courses) but once you've played through all of these I worry you'll have to wait a whole week before you can pull each time.
Tl;dr: There's disgusting gacha games like FEH, there's okay gacha games like Alchemist Code and Knights of Chronicle. Pokémon Masters seems to be inbetween now, mostly because they're favouring paying players a lot already right now, but they do give a lot of good characters for free too so as a gacha not too terrible so far.
 
ᴡᴀɴᴅᴇʀᴇʀ ʟɪᴋᴇ ᴍᴇ
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Not really fond of them, but then again my only real experience with a gacha has been early Pokemon Duel. I heavily disliked the lootboxes Duel had during its early release, and it felt deeply unfair that, if you had a deep enough pocket, you can basically shell out as much as you want to get as many rare figures as you want.

So yeah, I'm approaching Masters with caution here because I do want to know how much of an advantage paying players would get. It's going to really dent my interest if it's going to end up being essentially p2w by paying to have the best trainers with the best sync pairs. ._.
So, an addendum: I am knee deep in gacha. Moreso Dragalia Lost than Pokemon Masters, but I'll get to that in a moment.

As a new gacha player, I'm starting to understand the excitement and the high of getting your first five-star unit, and to keep trying again and again to roll more and more five-stars. That said, I try to keep my f2p spending habits in check because after I get a certain unit from a certain banner, I feel like there's no real need to keep re-rolling anymore, no matter how much deep down inside I really want to, so there's that.

That said though, there are some reservations that I have, comparing the two. Granted, Masters is in its infancy as we all know, so it isn't really that fair to compare it to something that has had time to be refined like Dragalia Lost, but still something to note, nonetheless.
  • The Gems: I agree with Soki in that... Masters isn't very generous when it comes to free gems. This has slipped my mind, but maybe this changes when it comes to the supercourses? But once you're done with the supercourses, that's that. It bums me out because I feel like while you aren't required to pay any real money for gems, you're essentially incentivised into doing so because the story units (besides Rosa) would only get you so far in harder difficulties, especially as you progress later on in the story. The PML Chapters, for example, without any good four or five star units, are going to be quite rough.

  • The pull rates: The TLDR from my concern here is that I feel like players are kind of lulled into somewhat of a false sense of... comfort (?) in knowing that just because you're perhaps statistically more likely to pull a 5* compared to maybe other gachas, that it means that every other pull you should get results in a 5*. I have read countless posts on the r/PokemonMasters subreddit of people spending upwards of 10K gems only to receive no 5-star units at all. I'm honestly lucky being in the position that I have several good four star units and some five star units, but that's really what it boils down to: luck. 7% means 7%, not 80% as some people might seem to believe.

  • Punishing Difficulty: While I'm sure there are players that welcome a challenge, I feel like Pokemon Masters crosses a line here. At first, it was thrilling to actually experience a rather difficult game! Real-time battle offers a sense of urgency that turn-based battles do not in the main series games and I'm happy for that. My big concern though, is that the farther you go in difficulty, the more it just boils down to "how fast can you click your buffs/moves" because even doing so a second late could mean your opponent moving before you and costing you the whole match.

  • Aaand... the powercreep: Speaking to my other friends who are more familiar with gachas that I am, it seems that while the best units seem to be Olivia and Brendan at the moment, that can very well change a few months from now. My biggest concern is how DeNA is going to handle powercreep, and whether or not strong four-star units like Will/Xatu, Agatha/Gengar among other swill be shafted in favour of newer units in the future. This is kind of the way of things in gacha from my understanding, but I can imagine it really bumming people out who have farmed Gym Leader Notes and all the other materials to level up their five-star units only to have them not be as good when say, Cynthia or Wallace or Red comes out.

  • In-game currency is basically useless: After you get your fifth move gauge (30K isn't that hard to get if you play the Coin supercourses) there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of value to them anymore. The exchange rates in the shop are nothing short of ridiculous, and I'm not quite sure what DeNA is getting at when designing the shop. Why in the world, for example, would I trade 50 of my Great Buff Blend for an Ultra when I can just... complete a supercourse that gives me that reward for less grueling effort? There's a lot more examples, but the shop is more or less self-explanatory in how terrible it's designed.
Overall, I'd say this is an okay game, but there most certainly could be better rewards. It's... kind of worrying when there's dead silence over the 10 million download celebration. You'd think a milestone of that nature would warrant some gratitude towards the playerbase. A free 10-pull certainly isn't too much to ask for (heck, Dragalia does it during special events to my knowledge). But nope, complete radio silence.

We'll see how Masters develops in the coming months. I've heard Dragalia wasn't perfect either at launch, and neither was FEH. Perhaps companies take time to get these kind of things right, so maybe there's hope that DeNA may refine Masters to be a bit more generous in gems so people might enjoy rolling for units more, as well as making things slightly less... timing-based, I guess. There's potential for this to be good, but the rewards are seriously lacking. I think Masters would do well with something similar to free summon tickets as an accomplishment for beating Very Hard supercourses (especially in co-op). I don't think this would be a whole lot to ask either, but... eh.
 
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Depends on the game we're talking about. I've only played five (Puzzle and Dragons, Pokémon Duel, Digimon Linkz, Fire Emblem Heroes, and Dragalia Lost), and I'd say I had any good experience with three of them. To summarize:

  • I didn't like Linkz as it was lacking in content and summoning felt like a chore since getting materials to summon wasn't easy and summon prices were high.

  • Heroes was a lot better, at least for a good while since they're more willing to give materials for summoning and content was steady, but as said above it has fallen into many issues with powercreep being rampant, character progression being increasingly gated by the gacha (you can improve your character without it, but if you need a certain skill then a lot of the good ones are 5 star only, and that's not getting into the IV/unlocking potential mechanics) and content becoming stagnant. It's not without its improvements of course, the story is actually interesting this year compared to the first where it was an excuse plot, but it does feel less fun to play then it did before.

  • Dragalia Lost I would best describe as a passion project in the guise of a gacha, as the game went on it became clear that the developers had every intent to take their game and improve it so that it's actually enjoyable to play. Offhand, they improved summoning (no more Wyrmprints and they slashed the prices), they have free summons at events (the anniversary had 100 free summons for players, and new players can get the same if they start now), summon material is plentiful, raids have been steadily improved, the auto feature was added and improved, powercreep is very controlled with only one major exception across the year, and the general gameplay has been steadily improved. The developers actually listen to their audience and I feel that makes the game the better for it, which is probably one of the reasons why I see a lot of loyalty to its fanbase.
Now I can't speak for Masters as I've only been watching from afar, but I am hoping that it does improve. The concept it has is very solid and I think its gameplay does have potential, it's just that it's in its early days and they haven't made the most of what they have yet. So if they go about building on the game like what happened with Dragalia Lost then I can see a great game come out of it, it just depends on how DeNA tries to build upon it.
 
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PK.......
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I've only invested time into 2 gatcha games, Heroes and Masters.

For Heroes, orbs aren't much of a problem to me since I save mine up for the ones I want, plus with how much materials I have right now, including over 400K feathers, I don't need to worry about getting 5-stars for use in the more competitive modes of the game (plus I have 100+ Level 40 5-stars anyways). I'm also a casual, so Arena and Aether Raids don't matter to me much and I don't care much about the power creep. They're still adding more content, which I find to be hit-or-miss sometimes, but I do appreciate that they put some effort into more content for the game.

I've only played Masters for a month, and currently I haven't finished the main story mode yet. Once again, I only target the scouting pairs that I want, so I try and save up gems instead of spending them. My biggest problem with the game is how they handle leveling up and the like; the items take forever to get the higher the level, and some stuff are locked behind co-op, which my phone doesn't take very well. Finally, grinding is significantly more tedious than in Heroes because of the level caps and stuff, and I haven't invested much into leveling all my sync pairs up. Overall, though, it's still enjoyable, just less than Heroes.

For both games, I also happen to have very good RNG, which probably enhances my enjoyment for both games. For example, I was able to summon Hilda after about 20 sync pair summons, and also happened to get two other 5-stars before. I don't know, I'm good at beating the odds.
 
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