Mobility: Knights Chronicles, Or How I Played the Gacha Game

This week I played Knights Chronicle.

I’m not entirely sure how to go about this week’s Mobility impressions piece, because it wasn’t presented to me in the normal way that I usually look at game updates. Normally when a developer/publisher reaches out to someone like myself to cover new content, what usually happens is they’ll provide a press account or provide access to a beta/PTS version of the game in order to preview said content. That didn’t happen here.

Knights Chronicle just dropped the RWBY collaboration event a few days ago, and the update introduces five new playable characters from the Rooster Teeth anime series:

  • Ruby Rose
  • Weiss Schnee
  • Blake
  • Yang Xiao Long
  • Cinder Fall

As part of the update, Cinder Fall is easily obtainable through the in-game event dungeon. The rest are held behind loot boxes.

And that’s where we get to the meat of this impressions piece: Knights Chronicle is a gacha game, so in addition to my crystals earned in-game, I was given a small stipend of (premium currency) to draw heroes and hopefully, MAYBE, get something from the event. Each draw costs 200 crystals, roughly $20 in currency, and pulls 11 random heroes from the giant pile with a few guaranteed to be rare quality. I might have the opportunity to talk to you about things related to the event that I’m supposed to be talking about. Maybe.

Yang Xiao Long is also free, which makes three locked behind loot boxes. Pretty good, all things considered. Unfortunately my luck didn’t quite stick and after roughly $160 worth of hero summons, I had yet to obtain another hero. Roll another set and boom! There is Ruby Rose! So at this point I have yet to unlock Blake or Weiss Schnee, and who is to say that I ever will within the next couple of weeks? Obviously that assumes that my drive to continue grinding crystals holds up. I’ve spent some time reading the Reddit for Knights Chronicle and found people who have spent 4,000+ crystals (over $300 worth) in order to get the whole set of five. I’m not going to do that.

The characters themselves are quite powerful, so if you are a heavily invested fan of Knights Chronicle, you’re going to want to get in on this action. Cinder Fall’s leader skill increases fire allies’ attack by 40%, and her passive gives heavy bonuses to heroes with Fall Maiden(s) and at level 60 gains the ability to resurrect. Yang has a 60% chance to assume a stance that will let her counterattack, inflicting 200% additional damage if the caster was also counter attacking. Ruby Rose also has an ability to avoid fatal damage, while Blake summons ghosts to mitigate damage and Weiss Schnee stacks damage on damage.

You may notice that I haven’t actually talked about the gameplay of Knights Chronicle, and that’s because this game doesn’t have a whole lot going for it. The goal in the game is the same as it is with any gacha game: Collect heroes, pay money to get better heroes, and then look at your cute anime heroes. The gameplay portion where you set your team of five heroes through multi-tier encounters where you gradually level up their ability to do more damage and take more damage, to beat monsters that can also do more damage and take more damage, is ancillary, and only serves to reward you with more cute anime heroes and heroines for your collection to look at and reminisce about that time you spent $100 to get the shiny version. It’s like video game baseball cards, but you probably won’t be showing them to your kids in 20 years.

It would have been nice if Knights Chronicle had offered players some method of obtaining the whole set of RWBY by playing the event, because to players outside of the whales this whole thing is likely to come off as another example of the exploitative mobile market. This isn’t to say that Netmarble shouldn’t be able to monetize the games as it wishes, but the characters are the whole point of this events, and the whole notion of having a light at the tunnel where players can take part in the event, put in some cash of their own, and if they are dedicated enough come out with all of the heroes even if the ridiculously low odds don’t work out, which is the purpose of the event. Rather, when you have an event where you can spend hundreds of dollars worth of currency on a limited pull and the game still sticks its middle finger up and says “no you can’t have this,” and then graciously holds out its hand for more money.

That seems more likely to just convince people to quit. In fact, the longer this event goes on and the more obvious it is that the remaining characters are out of reach, I can feel my enthusiasm dropping like a stone. It’s cynical and it knows it, for a game that is deeply focused on that small minority who will pay hundreds to thousands of dollars on singular events so they can build a collection of .gif files of their favorite waifus and husbandos. Who needs to care about what I think when these whales will gleefully troll users out of the customer base in order to feel like their SSR-ranked Weiss Schnee is more exclusive and thus makes them a more special person, even though they put $500 of their real money for the third time this year into something that will probably be gone by 2022.

Nothing I say in this article is going to convince people to pull in one direction or another. The person who refuses to play these games because they view the gacha mechanics as manipulative and built by companies that will gladly ring you dry for nearly nothing in value and then hold out their hand for more, they aren’t going to suddenly start playing because I said the RWBY models are better quality than they are in the anime. On the other hand, the guys who could have put a down payment on a new car with all the money they’ve sunk into gacha games aren’t going to have a change of heart because I pointed out how alienating the event is.

I have no idea how to end this impressions piece, so I will leave you with a word of wisdom: Don’t pre-order games.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
? Top MMORPG Blogs to Follow