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My First Experience with a Gacha Game

My First Experience with a Gacha Game

Recently, there were several  articles about loot boxes and how it can be addictive to players:

“What exactly are loot boxes?” 

Loot boxes are in-game mystery boxes which may contain desirable in-game items such as strong weapons, beautiful costumes and rare characters. It is usually not possible to buy or trade these items directly. The only way to earn them is to try your luck in these loot boxes, which can be exchanged with in-game currency earned while playing or purchased with real cash. Despite the probability of getting the desired item is less than 1 percent, the players are still motivated to increase their chances by getting more loot boxes.  

Games of such nature are also known as gacha games, which stems from the Japanese capsule toy-vending machines called Gashapon or Gachapon. Amongst the gaming community in Singapore or even Asia, we tend to use the term gacha instead. 

So how exactly are these gacha games so attractive? In order to explain, I thought it would be better to share my personal experience from my first gacha game.

My First Experience with a Gacha Game

I have always avoided Gacha games as I hate games which requires me to pay to win. Also, as an explorer player type, I like to collect every single character at least once and I cannot do this in a gacha game without paying a huge amount of money. If you would like to find out what player type you are, you can try the player type test here: https://www.comeback.world/test/gamer-player-types-test/ 

Figure 1 Genshin Impact Advertisement in Serangoon MRT Station

Just before free-to-play role-playing game (RPG) Genshin Impact was released, my friend shared with me about the game and was excited about its launch. Out of curiosity, I asked him to explain what kind of game it is so that I could decide if it was something I wanted to try. Interestingly, the first response I received was “Do you play gacha games? Be prepared because this is a gacha game.”

With my gaming knowledge and prior experience with game addiction, I thought that I would be more resistant to the lure of gacha considering the fact that I hate playing with real cash. Thinking back, I was naïve to think so and the struggle not to think about unlocking a character in Genshin Impact is real.

Figure 2 In-game screen capture

The game as a whole was enticing with fun gameplay, beautiful anime-styled characters and interesting quests to complete. It felt like a full-fledged RPG that I could play for free. Before reaching Adventure Rank 5, there was no mention about spending or in-game currency, which allowed me to experience the world and interact with the characters without much consideration. As the interaction increases, so is my attachment to the characters.

Once Adventure Rank reaches 5, the tutorial guides you on how to exchange the in-game currency for an in-game item. A flashy animation will play while waiting for the item and/or character to appear, making me anticipate for my reward. A common term for this exchange process is called rolling, like how one rolls the dice. 

In a gacha game, the player has no influence on what rewards we receive, and for Genshin Impact, the odds of getting a highly-ranked character is 0.6 percent as informed by the game itself. After completing the tutorial and upon reaching Adventure Rank 7, the players are provided 45 rolls.

After receiving my rewards, I plan to move on with the game. However, after sharing my roll results and watching livestreams , I started to compare and ended up being discontented with what I had. As I progressed with the story, I realized there were characters that I want in my party.

In order to get a specific character without spending initially, the only way was to create a new account, go through the whole tutorial and hope that I get my character within 45 rolls. This process of creating a new account is called a reroll. The time spent to reroll is about 30 to 45 minutes. What happens if the desired character isn’t attained? Repeat.

Although logically 0.6 percent is a really low possibility, the fact that my friends attained the characters made me feel as if I could also get it. Some received theirs in the first few rolls. Despite rolling eighteen times for a certain character, I remembered screaming over the Discord chat with excitement.

I thought that I could stop rolling after this and realized how naïve I was. In order to strengthen this character, I needed to get duplicates of the same character. There was also a character that I wanted which is not available yet, and I was already discussing with my friends if I should start buying the in-game currency to increase my chances. This is before I started on collecting the right weapons and equipment for each character. 

Figure 3 The locks on the right indicates that 6 duplicates of the character are required to unlock it to its fullest potential

At the end of the first week into the game, I have rolled forty accounts and none with my desired lineup. By this time, my friend intervened, and reminded me of our first conversation about the game. That I was losing myself to the temptation of the gacha, becoming one of the others, playing to collect everything instead of simply enjoying and appreciating what I already have. The reason why it was tempting to spend on my characters is that I have already invested so much time to reroll. I felt that it was a waste to not strengthen my favourite character as irrational as it sounds.

How much does it cost to maximise a character?

The calculation below is based on what I want to get and calculation can vary for others.

Figure 4: Cost of Genesis Crystals in Genshin Impact

For Genshin Impact, there are 3 tiers of rarity: 5-star, 4-star and normal. There are also two types of reward: weapons and characters. 

I want to get a highly-ranked 5-star character like most  players  and the probability of obtaining it is 0.6 percent. However, if you have used up 89 rolls without obtaining a 5-star character, the game will give you a free 5-star character on the 90th roll. This is known as a pity roll where you are compensated for your bad rolls. The player is also guaranteed a 4-star or above item/character once per 10 rolls.

During a time-limited event, a promotional 5-star character will be made available. The first time you attain a 5-star character, there is a 50 percent chance that it will be that promotional character. Else, the next character is guaranteed the promotional character. Assuming that I only get a 5-star character through pity rolls, I must perform two pity rolls minimally in order to have a chance at getting the character I want who is not a promotional character.

You would need 160 primogems, an in-game currency, to exchange for 1 roll. The calculation below is based on the smallest package which provides 60 Genesis Crystals for SGD1.48. These Genesis Crystals can be converted to primogems at a 1:1 ratio. Take note that the calculation is an estimate and does not take into consideration the gems you can earn through the game or attain from duplicates.

ResultRolls RequiredPrimogems Required
(160 per roll)
Cost in SGDNotes
1 x 5-star character9014 400$355.20Worst-case scenario
1 x 5-star promotional character guaranteed18028 800$710.40Worst-case scenario
Unlocking maximum constellation on a character which is not a promotional character
(rolling the same 5-star character 7 times)
720
115 200$2 841.60Based on minimum number of pity rolls

After finding out that the entry point to  maximize my character is $ 2841.60 with no guarantees, I decided not to spend this amount of money to keep my false hopes up. 

It took me some days to consider before making the hard decision even though I have not spent on the game. The tempting thought of getting everything through spending lingers. My plan now is to save 180 rolls for a character when he appears as a promotional character, without paying. 

How to self-regulate?

Even with all the prior experiences and knowledge, it is still easy to fall prey into gacha games especially with the influence from other fellow gamers who have spent thousands of dollars to get their desired characters and weapons.

If you are already playing similar gacha games and looking for tips to self-regulate, you can consider the following suggestions:

  1. Constantly remind yourself that you are playing a gacha game. The goal of a gacha game is to get you so immersed that you will spend in order to keep up and maintain your characters. You will never be able to finish collecting as there will be more added into the collection.
  2. Are there ways to find fulfilment with whatever you have in your account? Do you really need all the characters and weapons in order to enjoy the game? Be in control of the game and redefine how you want to play to make it fun. Remember that games are meant to be part of leisure, not a contribution to your stress.
  3. Know your weakness and flee from temptation.  If being easily influenced is one of your weaknesses, avoid watching videos that emphasizes on in-game spending. This includes reaction video on players performing a successful roll. It is encouraging to see streamers like Mtashed taking up the social responsibility not to encourage viewers to roll. https://youtu.be/TsjEIuwywuc 

If you have tried many times to reduce your gacha spending but failed, and it is causing you and/or your family/friends a lot of stress, you can contact us at COMEBACK for help.  

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Game Time Limits and Boundaries

Game Time Limits and Boundaries

One question that we often received from parents is how much gaming time is enough. For gamers who are trying to control your gaming, you can try out our suggestion here too. There is no magic number of hours as much as we also hope to have as it makes our own game time scheduling a lot easier. The reason being is each person has different commitments in different areas in life at different time in life.

Our recommendation is to use the number of games instead of a definite time e.g., 2 hours to set play time limits. Having to stop in the middle of a game is very frustrating to a gamer and also to other gamers in the same game. To get around this, it is reasonable to measure limits by the number of games so that the chances of having to abandon other players mid game or suffer in-game consequences that will disadvantage them is avoided. A gamer can use the time after a game ends to choose to leave the game. Not an easy decision, just like how k-drama fans find it hard to not play the next episode when one ends. WIth a deliberate exercise of will power, it can be done relatively easier than when the game is going on.

Working backwards, there is also a need to understand the duration of each game to set suitable play limits. Games within a genre have a general time duration of each game. This is information is useful for setting the number of games based on the estimated time a gamer has for gaming.

A note to parents: playing only one game is usually undesirable as it is liken to a warm up round.

Here are the top 5 popular genres played and their game durations that can help gamers manage play time.

Battle Royale

Game Time Limits and Boundaries

In the battle royale (BR) genre, there can be up to 100 players within a game. The goal is to be the last man standing. A game can last for up to 30 minutes.

Once the player is killed in the game, the player can choose to start the next game without waiting for the current game to end. This entices the player to keep going on and try to win.

First-Person Shooter

Game Time Limits and Boundaries

Most first-person shooter (FPS) games are team-based and the winning team is determined by winning a particular number of rounds. The duration of the game can vary depending on how fast a team reaches the number of wins. The player cannot leave the game unless it is completed.

E.g. In Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), a game consists of 30 rounds. The winning team is the one that wins 16 rounds. If the team wins consecutive rounds, the game ends quickly. When both teams play neck-to-neck, it will take the whole duration of 30 rounds to determine the winner.  In such a case, the maximum time of a game is approximately 45 minutes.

Multiplayer Online Battle Arena

Game Time Limits and Boundaries

In Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games, the players are required to work closely in order to take down the opponent’s main structure. Compared to BR and FPS, MOBA is slower in pace as one game can take up to 45 minutes minimally.

Thankfully, MOBA games on mobile phones are designed to be completed quickly, thus shortening each game’s duration significantly. Each game play is expected to last an average of 15 minutes, excluding the matchmaking waiting time.

Fighting Games

Game Time Limits and Boundaries

The first player to win 2 out of 3 rounds wins the match. Each round is limited to 90 seconds and a winner is determined no matter what. If the player wins, they will be matched against other players and the cycle repeats until the player loses.

A game takes about 1 hour, including waiting time and considering that it is likely that they can win up to 5 players consecutively.

Sandbox Games

Game Time Limits and Boundaries

Instead of using rounds to determine the game duration, we use game modes to determine instead. The player could even be playing BR, FPS or even MOBA in a sandbox game. The player can also design and create their own game mode and world. The top two popular games mode would be Survival and Creative.

Survival:  Survive each in-game day by building, exploring and doing activities.

Creative: Building structures according to the player’s desire, which may require the player to collect in-game materials before doing so.

For sandbox games, due to the tendency of players surfing and loading different game modes, it would take 45 minutes approximately for each game.

Summary

We hope the short explanation helps you to have some information to make informed decisions. We have summarised what is discussed in a simple table below.

GenreNo. of PlayersDurationSkills required
Battle Royale (BR)100 Players30 Minutes Maximum
Player can leave the moment they are dead
Patience
Good reaction time
Split-decision making
First-Person Shooter (FPS)10-12 Players
(Two teams of 5-6 players)
Average 30-45 minutes
Player can only leave after a game.
Good reaction time
Planning
Teamwork
Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA)10 Players
(Two teams of 5 players)
Mobile: 15-20 minutes
Computer: Minimum 45 minutes
Strategic Thinking
Teamwork
Communication
Fighting2
(1 vs 1)
Each round: < 2 minutes
Gameplay: ~1h
Speed of Reasoning
Problem Sensitivity
Self-Confidence
SandboxManyDepending on game mode
~45 minutes
CreativityPlanning
Curiosity
Summary Table of Games duration According to Game Genre
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Board Games for the Family

Boardgames for the family

With the rise of online video games, many forget how fun it is to spend time with loved ones offline.   In this article, we will be introducing board games that the family can have fun and bond together while developing soft skills.

1. Sushi Go Party

Board Games for the Family

Genre: Party Card Game
Play Time: 20 minutes
Players: Up to 8 players

Sushi Go Party is a fun, sushi-themed card game that engages everyone, from the young to the mature.  The goal is to earn as many points as possible with the combination of cards, based on the “menu”. These “menus” can be customized and represent the cards which will be played. The game ends after three rounds and points will be calculated.

Despite its cute appearance, rounds of Sushi Go Party can reinforce strategic thinking and visual discrimination. It also introduces the idea of investing as “dessert” cards will only take effect at the end of the game. We suggest that parents find out how your child values each card and take this opportunity to discuss planning after each game.

Watch how to play Sushi Go Party: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHa7TDkZ9Hc

2. Codenames

 

Board Games for FamiliesGenre: Social Deduction/ Word Game
Play Time: 10 to 15 minutes
Players: Up to 8 players

Codenames is a party game based on communication. Players are separated into two teams, representing the blue and red agents. Teams nominate a “spymaster”, who will try to give a word that will provide a hint on where the spies are. Players attempt to guess where their agents are while avoiding the opposing agents, bystanders and assassins. The game ends when a team identifies all their agents or when one team identifies an assassin.

Players get to improve in their language skills and concept identification as they are required to group similar words together. They also experience the impact of clear communication without assumptions. Throughout the game, parents can get to understand their children better.

For smaller families with two or three players who want to try Codenames, you can play “spymaster” instead.

Watch how to play Codenames: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8RWBooJivg

3. Cluedo

Board Games for Families

Genre: Murder-Mystery Board Game
Play Time: 10 to 60 minutes
Players: 3 to 6 players

When it comes to murder-mystery board games, Cluedo is a classic detective game that never fails to bring hours of suspense. The goal is to determine three key information: the murderer, the murder weapon and the place where the murder took place. Each player plays as a suspect and guess the right answer, while moving (or moving others) around the board.

With its slow pace, families can have small talks over the board game while encouraging children to think through what they need to consider in order to solve the mystery. Take this opportunity to start a conversation with your children by sharing the games from your childhood days.

Watch how to play Cluedo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sg_57S4l5Ng

4. Dixit

Board Games for Families

Genre: Storytelling Card Game
Play Time: 30 minutes
Players: 3 to 6 players

Let your creativity flow in Dixit, a storytelling card game. In Dixit, the goal is to be the first to reach 30 points or most points when the card runs out. In order to gain points, players have to guess the right cards chosen or describe the cards if they are the storytellers. Players then vote on which card they think is the storyteller’s and are awarded accordingly. Points are only awarded to the storyteller only if some players guessed the right card, so it is important to describe subtly and not make it obvious.

Playing Dixit is a good way to express and get to know each other through the cards. Find opportunities to connect with your child by finding out why they have described the card in an interesting way.

Watch how to play Dixit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qi4MoW6NuaQ

5. Spot It!

Board Games for Families

Genre: Pattern Recognition Card Game
Play Time: 5 to 10 minutes
Players: Up to 8 players

As the name suggest, Spot it! is a simple game of finding the common image shown in two cards. Whenever the player identifies the common image, the card is collected and the next card is revealed. These images usually differ in size, making it challenging to spot. The game ends when the card runs out and the winner is determined by the player who has the most cards.

Despite its simple rules and gameplay, Spot it! is fun and exciting for all ages. There are also different ways to play the game: https://www.ultraboardgames.com/spot-it/mini-games.php. Playing time can also be adapted to your schedule, for example, the first player who reaches 10 cards wins.

Watch how to play Spot it!: https://youtu.be/ARj2mv6xoTs

 

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How to Engage your Child in Their Games

How to Engage your Child in Their Games

It is a never-ending struggle to get children out of the game they play, so why not get into their world and understand what they are doing?

Intimidating as it sounds, it is not too difficult to connect with your gaming children. Here are three tips to help you get started:

1. Read up on your own about the games your child is playing

Before asking your child about the game, try finding out more information about the game that they are playing on Google first. Gamers appreciate the efforts parents take to understand the games they like, although they might not show it.  

For a start, you can try finding out:

  • Introduction of the game in the form of YouTube videos. Game developers usually upload short videos to explain simply what the game is about.
  • The goal of the game.
  • Top teams/ famous streamer for that game title.

2. Talk to your child about what you learnt about the games they are playing

Find an opportunity to start a conversation with your child by talking about what you learnt about their games. Your care for them is shown through your interest in finding out more about the games that are important to them. As they start to open up, they might end up sharing a lot about the game and what they do in it. Don’t worry if you can’t keep up with the new gaming information, gamers don’t expect you to know everything. To have someone who is willing listen to them share about the games they love is important to them. 

Warning: Avoid having this conversation while they are playing their games. They are too focused in the game to spare you any attention as you are a distraction to the game. This is similar to a child asking you questions to start a conversation about your favourite movie while you are watching it.

3. Ask your child to teach you how to play their game

Another way to engage your child effectively is to ask them to teach you how to play their game. Persist when they try to talk you out of it. Don’t worry about getting it wrong or not being good at it. The key is to have fun with your child!

Try them out!

We hope these three simple suggestions can help improve relationship between parent and child. Instead of allowing games to create a gap or topic of tension, use games to close up the gap to have interesting conversations and even fun. 

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#PlayApartTogether Family Gaming Fun During COVID-19

PlayApartTogether Family Gaming Fun During COVID-19

WHO recommends video games as an effective way of stop the spread of COVID-19 and working with the gaming industry to launch the #PlayApartTogether campaign. Below are a few links to the news releases:

In response to this campaign, our Esports Coach Ruth Lim picked a few games that can provide great family fun when we need to #stayhome. The list of games is of course extensive, but if you are unsure where to start, here are four games to kickstart your #PlayApartTogether at home. 

Game 1: Ring Fit Adventure

Ring Fit Adventure from The Verge

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Genre: Exercising Action-RPG
Players: One
YouTube Review: https://youtu.be/VUav7aLMP40
About the Game:
Too much gaming can transform your children into couch potatoes, but not with Ring Fit Adventure. 

This single-player Role-Playing Game (RPG) packs both both fun and fitness. In order to move and battle, the player is required to perform exercises which will translate to movement in the game. Imagine your children jogging on the spot to move their character and doing reps of exercises to inflict damage to their enemies. 

Recommended Family Play:
A fun way to play Ring Fit Adventure as a family is to rotate the players every 15 minutes and have everyone watch the progress of the game together. 

Another suggestion is to have 2 players per turn, one controlling the resistance ring while the other control with the leg strap. Coordinating the movements could bring lots of fun and laughter.

Game 2: Overcooked! 2

Platform: Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC
Genre: Cooperative Cooking Simulation
Players: Up to Four Players
YouTube Gameplay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gu_9bRyjBU&t=4s 
About the Game:
In Overcooked 2, the goal is to prepare and serve as many orders as possible. The challenge comes when the players have to coordinate the preparation without bumping into each other. Imagine Hell’s Kitchen, but more fun and without Gordan Ramsay’s signature shouting.

Controls are simple with just moving, picking up and throwing so parents who are new to games can pick it up easily. Players can choose to play co-op (playing as a team) or play against each other in the versus mode.

 

Recommended Family Play:
What is a fun way to get your children opening up to you? Try playing a game of Overcooked 2 together!

We suggest the family to play the co-op mode and have fun trying to reach the 3-star achievement together. For children who like competition, parents can try pairing with a child and play the versus mode together.

Game 3: Drawful 2

Drawful 2 from Steam

Note: Available free on Epic Games client till 9 April 2020, 11pm
Platform
: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Genre: Party
Players: Up to 8 players
YouTube Gameplay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxkGn29x8iE 
About the Game:
Looking for a creative and engaging game for the family? Try Drawful 2, where the goal of the game is to guess the original phrase based on a drawing.

Players are all presented a silly phrase which they have to draw out. At every round, players will be shown a drawing and they can suggest alternate phrases that looks like the right answer. At the end of the turn, points awarded to players who guess the original phrase, and to players whose suggestions were selected by other players.

Recommended Family Play:
It is a great party game to play in family gatherings, where the young and old can bond over hilarious drawings and phrases. Not to worry about the controllers as the game only require one person to own and launch the game. Players can join the game with their mobile phones via the website with a room code.

Game 4: King of Opera

Platform: Mobile Phone (iOS/ Android)
Genre: Party
Players: Up to 4 players
YouTube Gameplay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sFB5uWeyVs
About the Game:
King of Opera is a party game where all players share controls on the same device. Each player controls a tenor and the goal is to have as much solo stage time as possible. Imagine bumper cars, but a button instead of a pedal to move forward.

The controls are kept simple with only one button, which is to get the tenor moving. The player will not be able to control the direction, so timing the direction while the tenor is spinning and trying to bump another off the stage and be challenging yet fun.

Recommended Family Play:
As most of the players’ fingers might end up blocking the screen, it is suggested to be played on an iPad/tablet. There are up to 6 game modes and each round last for 90 seconds. With the short gameplay time, the family can try many rounds together without spending too much time.