What exactly is a Gacha? (Read before posting things about "unfair pulls")

So, the post below was written for the FEH Reddit by user GarlyleWilds when the game was released, and I really believe people here should read. Even though I’m a new player here, I’m an experienced Gacha Player, and I believe most people here, even if they have played for a long time, still don’t understand exactly what a Gacha is, and how it affect pulls. I’ll edit some parts of it to make it fit our game.


Hey there, I figured I’d post this up. Before anyone thinks this is “hey don’t spend”… it’s not that. I know a lot of people are excited about the game and excited about the possibilities that come with it. But I just want to help prevent Empires & Puzzles from inspiring immediate horror stories of people spending thousands of dollars they don’t have.

First, what is Gacha?

The term Gacha originates from “Gachapon”, which are these. You’ve likely seen these before even in the west - the little machines where you put in a coin, turn the dial, and get a little capsule containing a figure, or maybe some candy, or whatever. “Gacha” is the name of the company that made these originally, but it has come to be a term used for any microtransaction system that functions in a similar manner: You pay a small amount, and receive a random item

With regards to E&P, this is present in the Summoning system that enables you to get more units. Using Gems (A currency obtained either through in-game progress or bought with real world $$$), you can play. Your reward is new heroes to use, yay!

Through this system, players are convinced to take a shot at buying something perceived as valuable - and this becomes the central way the game brings in money. It is believed that for this kind of game, a tiny percentile of the players is responsible for the massive majority of the spending. These thousands-of-dollars players are called “Whales”, and by hooking them on the game and into a Gacha system, the game is able to fund itself. The advantage, of course, is that there doesn’t have to be a financial barrier just to start playing - so tons of people can also enjoy the game for free. In theory, it’s a win-win situation.

What’s this got to do with gambling?

If it wasn’t clear: Even though you pay, what you get in return isn’t fixed. Although you always get something from this system, whether or not what you get is what you want is… well, yeah. The results of summoning are random - and you need to fully understand this. We have the Elemental pulls, which say exactly the types of heroes we can get from each portal, which is incredibly important to make informed decisions - but making informed decisions means not falling prey to the same mistakes gamblers make.

What should I know when I pull?

Know the realistic rates of pulling the characters you’re interested in.

Know how probability works, and that nothing is guaranteed. Does that hero have a 3% appearance rate? Fantastic! Here’s the thing - that doesn’t mean you get it after 30 pulls. You might get her after 1… or it could take you 300. Is 300 pulls to get a 3% unit a statistical improbability? Yup! But guess what? That’s improbability, not impossibility. Theory’s cool and all, but in practice random chance is just that. With how many people are going to be playing, statistical outliers are going to happen… both good and bad.

Know that the game owes you nothing. Most importantly, no such system exists for who you pull. Just because you’ve drawn 50 times before, doesn’t mean the game is “going to give you it finally” or “has to” or anything. These thoughts are gambler’s traps. RNG gonna RNG, and you need to make peace with that.

Know that you won’t get what you want. Okay, yes, occasionally you will. But unless you’re going to be a whale, there’s never enough to guarantee you can just buy your desired outcome. Make peace with that now, and accept that sometimes you will just need to walk away. Sometimes you will need to make the best out of getting other heroes that are new but maybe not what you really wanted. Sometimes you’ll walk away feeling like you got even less. The disappointment will sting, but the more you’re ready for it, the more you can learn to shrug it off and move back to the game.

Know that you don’t need it. If E&P is even remotely well designed, getting perfect units with perfect starting ranks won’t be mandatory in order to succeed. You can play the game just fine without these things, even if you’d like to have them. If that’s ever not the case, and you’d actually need specific characters at high ranks to clear content… then that’s the sign of a game that’s gone to ■■■■.

Financial Responsibility and You

Gacha can be played responsibility, but it is also a system that is designed to entrap players. It is, after all, Gambling. Gacha is designed to pull from expendable incomes (especially from those with huge incomes)… but it is designed to exploit. The rich. The gambling addicted. The intoxicated. The emotional. The foolish. There are countless stories from even the most generous of Gacha games of players who have gone absolutely ham and walked out without what they came for - and spent hundreds in the process, only to get nothing. Before you buy gems, consider the following:

Do you have the money to throw away? Everyone’s got a different wallet. This game is not worth losing food or financial security over, no matter how much you end up loving it. Ask yourself, “If I don’t get what I was after, am I comfortable having spent this?”. You’re not getting that money back.

Is it your money you’re spending? If you have a joint account with a significant other, or are using a parent’s card or something, think doubly so about spending. If you’re spending your parents’ money, always ask. I shouldn’t even have to get into this, but don’t cause problems for other people!

Are you of a level head? If you’re getting frustrated that you’re not getting what you wanted and are about to spend more, stop and recenter yourself; maybe come back in half an hour and see how you feel. It’s very easy to ‘rage pull’… and not only will it feel terrible if you don’t get lucky this time, it feels worse when you look at the expenses after. Similarly, don’t try to pull to ‘cure’ a bad mood.

Are you intoxicated? Don’t buy when drunk. Just don’t do it. I’ve heard plenty of stories of people waking up with a hangover and a couple hundred dollars missing off their credit card to these games. Not everyone can afford that.

Do you know how much you’ve spent? I’ve seen a few people in gacha games go “I don’t want to know how much I spent!”. This is dangerous, because you can end up spending more than you think very fast if you start chaining purchases on a pulling spree. Always know how much you’re spending!

Consider a limit, and then play within it. If you’re not a whale who can sink thousands without a thought, it is a very healthy thing to do in Gacha to play within a limit. Maybe every new Elemental Banner you’ll sink 3$ for a single pull, just for fun. Maybe at the start of the month you’ll sink down 20$ for gems, like a subscription fee to an MMO. Maybe once a month you’ll throw down up to 50$ on things you want to chase. Setting hard limits on things and sticking to them is extremely advisable to have a healthy Gacha experience.

That’s all.

Don’t let this discourage you from paying into this game. But go into this game - and any gacha game - with realistic expectations, a level head, and financial responsibility. I’ve seen far too many horror stories in the over a decade since Gacha microtransactions first appeared; and I know for a fact that E&P has people who’ve never played one before. Please enjoy the game, and don’t become the story.


So, I really hope this helps you all. I loved this game at first sight, and I do believe Small Giant could be more transparent with pulls and even increase the odds of a 4/5 stars after some pull sessions without one (Like FEH) but that doen’t take away from the fun of the game.

Play responsibly.

287 Likes
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Only problem I see with this is the game doesn’t tell you what the chance of getting a specific thing is. So you can’t manage your expectations if there’s nothing to base them on.

27 Likes

Thank you for this post. It is both very interesting and full of common sense. A must read before spending any money in the game. It should be pinned in this forum.

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This is something @EmpiresPuzzles should actually inform, the pull rate. They should be more transparent with that, that’s true.

Actually, I created a thread in the Ideas and Feature Requests. Let’s see how many people like this.

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==My RNG lesson==
This is my first game were you can pay for units.

But my RNG horror story involves Pokemon GO. There are are five evolution items ( think ascension items ). You get one randomly every 7 consecutive days of play or a really, really, really low chance of one every time you get loot.

For 16 month, 68 weeks, 45 guaranteed + a small chance every loot drop ( yes there was some rage quitting in there ), I did not get a single Sun stone, but I got 54 of the other four items. In the last four months, I have gotten 13 Sun stones out of 74 items ( includes the previous 54 ).

==My RNG Budget==
1- 3 event summons. Depending on my first summons, really good or really bad, I stop there. If I get an okay summons, I will continue to the second summons. Repeat the previous for a third time.

MY PERSONAL OPINION
I like modified gacha games, were the player can grind for an item, pay to speed up the grind, or get lucky with a gacha mechanic.

The closest I have experienced to this was Magic The Gathering Collectible Card Game

Example:
Collectible card games let you buy unopened packs ( a Gacha )
Purchase a card from a store ( I used to buy a lot of dual lands when they were introduced ),
Sell some of your cards to a store to get money to buy the card you want ( Sold a version 2 Black Lotus for $300 USD ),
Trade some of your cards to another player, for cards you want ( Dual lands were my weakens like my weakens for healers in Empires. I got taken a few times with fake cards ),
Trade some of your cards to another player for cards you can sell to a store to get money to buy the cards you want ( once dual lands were phased out, you could get a nice price by trading for dual lands then selling to a store ).

10 Likes

Very, very insightful @Almeida, and clearly and concisely written.

8 Likes

Whenever I hear a term “Gacha” I hear “got you” and I see it as the devs speaking to the players who pay and get garbage “Hahaha, got you!” :grimacing:

27 Likes

From what i know apps that are supported by apple should be forced by them to give odds to their customers.

But there’s not much control on it, as it seems.

6 Likes

This. ^^

Very well-written! I also thought “Gacha” was “Gotcha”. I’m bookmarking this!

P.S. There are players who have counted numerous pulls on the TC20 to determine it’s rough percentage rate. We just need to start a new project together on the Summon gate(s).

17 Likes

One of the best topics I read here…

Well done…

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According to their updated App Store Guidelines, developers that utilize loot boxes must now disclose the odds of obtaining each type of item. It’s right there in section 3.1, under the In-App-Purchase section of Payments:

Apps offering “loot boxes” or other mechanisms that provide randomized virtual items for purchase must disclose the odds of receiving each type of item to customers prior to purchase.

17 Likes

Not posting odds is part of deceptive advertising. If more people would know the odds, some would not spend the money. Devs do have mouths to feed and families to support and i am not against paying and supporting these kind of games. The problem is the lack of transparancy.

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I think they get around it because the gems aren’t random. You always get the gems with your money. It’s just that those gems are used to purchase random draws at heroes.

7 Likes

So in a casino you’re not gambling because you get 100% chips for 100% money.

10 Likes

Do chips have a specific cash value? Whereas a pull has a variable value (if any at all!)

So buying chips is risk free if you can ‘cash out’ for the same value, whereas gems can only be ‘cashed out’ for a random pull.

Either way, knowing the odds would be fascinating… and probably put a good few people off.

3 Likes

Excellent post @Almeida . I agree wholeheartedly with your attitude towards playing this game. Well written.

E&P -is- well designed. You -are- relevant even if you don’t have the best of the best. In titan fights, alliances need every single alliance member, and it’s actually the contribution and growth of the alliance’s weaker players that is determinant of titan success! (this is because the big hitters will reliably hit regardless, it’s the rest that makes the difference). Raiding is designed to challenge you no matter your team strength. And for the free player/small spender, there are the training camps where you have a fighting chance at summoning 4* (lvl 13) and 5* (lvl 20) heroes. All that takes is perseverance and patience. It is also well designed in how it’s a great gacha. It’s pull is strong.

E&P has a massive player population. Sure enough there are whales among it, but also hordes and hordes of little sardines. A feature like purchasable VIP shows that SG is well aware of it’s sardines and actively fishing for them. I’d not be amazed if the financial mass of the sardines outweighs that of the whales. I think that’s the case.

I love your explanation of how random pulls work, and how the human mind tricks us into expecting things that are, statistically and realistically speaking, totally incorrect.

I also hope SG will be more open about the odds for summons. I’m afraid it’ll take regulatory pressure to do so though.

9 Likes

This kind of contradicts with what people on the forum have been saying all the time. I constantly read here that every pull is random. But when they use a system as described by you, it’s not because then my chance of getting the hero I want would decrease if the person before me also got that hero.

I’m really hoping the dev’s can shed some light on this …
(Don’t worry, I know they won’t :wink: )

EDIT: Is the picture just to clarify the name or is it to symbolize how the pulling system works?

I’m I missing something? Where does this post indicate that not every pull is random and/or your chance of pulling certain hero decreases if someone else pulls that hero before you?

2 Likes

Seen the device at the pic he links to? If you compare that to the pulling system, that would indicate that once someone else pulled (for example) Renfield, there are less Renfields in the bunch and your chance of recieving Renfield decreases.

So either I misunderstand because the device in the picture is just there to clearify the name and has nothing to do with how pulling the heroes works, or there is most certainly a relation between de heroes other people pull, and the hero that I get.

Nice article.

Problem with random is that there is no perfect algorithm for it. Sometimes it kind of “freezes”. If you are lucky to get pulls on positive side then you can get many good things and same can happen with negative side.

Real examples…

I was buying ascention items (not anymore). From 12 pulls I got 10 (4 + 6) unfarmable items. Later from 12 pulls I got just 1 item.

I was pulling some troops (not anymore). From 20 pulls got just 1 4* troops. Some other time I did 10 pulls and got 3 4* troops. Straight away did another 10 ang got 2 more. Did again and got 3 more. Did again and got nothing. Course in that moment I stopped.

I believe you all have experience with boards. Sometimes there are many good boards in row but sometimes many very bad in row.

Same with farming. Sometimes 8-7 gives me backpacks and heroes/troops 10 times in row, sometimes nothing in long term.

Random is not perfect. Sometimes it works ok, sometimes not (good way or bad way). Maybe developers are manipulating numbers, maybe not. Definitely not accusing anybody. Even if they are doing something, we all have same conditions.

3 Likes

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