Healthier Gachapon Habits for 2019

Sisi Jiang
Jan 4 · 7 min read
Oh, Caligula.

Playing the finale of Fate Grand Order was the perfect way to wrap up 2018. If you’re like me, then you’re already thinking about all the cool characters that are coming up this year. Personally, I’m looking forward to new servants such as Ereshkigal, King Hassan, and Arthur Pendragon.

I can’t believe Babylonia gave us canonical bisexuals but I love it

Listen, I’m not going to make a big secret out of this: I love gachapon games. I don’t like that most of the coverage on gachapon games are about the people who spend thousands of dollars on them. More power to them, but the average player is certainly not spending hundreds of dollars a month on gacha. In this economy, who could? These players feature in games articles because they are the exception, not the rule.

Despite what you might read on the internet, gacha games don’t have to become a gambling problem. Anyone can enjoy them without spending large sums of money. To be clear, I don’t intend to shame people who do spend hundreds of dollars on gacha games. The money goes towards providing the developers with job security, and maybe a better shot of rolling for Fjorm is worth $200 to you. This article is directed at the players out there who would like to spend less money on gacha games. How’s that for a 2019 resolution?

The average player is not selling their houses for gachapon rolls

It’s easy to justify spending big if everyone else looks like they’re spending huge sums of money. The reality is, most people don’t spend that much money on gachapon games.

None of my friends have spent money on Fire Emblem Heroes, Animal Crossing, or Dragalia Lost. Nintendo is generally good about giving players enough free content. One of my friends has been playing Fate Grand Order since it came out two years ago, and he spent a total of $70. His girlfriend spends $40 a month, which I consider to be on the high end. I play anywhere from three to five gacha games daily, and I’ve never spent money on a single game.

You don’t need every character you like

You want your own copy of your favorite character, and I get it. I spent 90 free Saint Quartz to get Scathach. I’m one of you!

Let’s get to the core reason why some people spend big money on these games: envy. Most gacha games like Fire Emblem Heroes, Fate Grand Order, and Granblue Fantasy already have some element of being able to borrow your friends’ characters. Functionally, you don’t need any strong characters.

Yeah, you’ve already read all those articles about how you don’t need the special SSR character to play the story mode. Chances are, the game has provided you with enough free rolls to build a solid roster of mid-range characters and maybe the occasional SSR character. Invest in those. Instead of saving all your rank-up items for the rares that you might never obtain, give your items to your decent common characters. Focus on enjoying yourself instead of stockpiling.

Jagen is known as one of the most underwhelming Fire Emblem characters, but anyone who plays Heroes will understand exactly how terrifying this is. Credits to Saggy for their impenetrable Jagen build.

If your friends try to embarrass you for not having the rarest characters, then you need new gachapon friends. The best gacha experience comes from having friends who don’t peer pressure you to spend.

Did your friend roll your favorite character? Congratulate them instead of feeling bad about yourself! Lucky rolls happen to us all.

Let rare rolls become a happy surprise, rather than an expectation

When you don’t have the money to min-max your teams, you learn unique combinations and strategies to overcome difficult teams. I think gacha games have something very valuable to teach us about being thankful for what we have. While I was trying to roll for Ozymandias, I accidentally rolled Assassin Emiya. He’s not the best assassin, but he’s a decent single-target unit for Quick teams. I grew to love him, and to build unique teams to compensate for his faults.

Similarly, I got Tamano Cat instead of Hercules for my free roll. She’s made farming much faster, and Hercules is more of a boss killer. I mow through more mobs than I fight single bosses. Now, I would protect my catgirl maid with my life.

I used to save a lot of quartz for the special Jeanne Alter banner. Then my phone cracked, and I sent it to the repair shop for a month (long story). I ended up not being able to roll for that banner at all, despite the 200 free quartz that I had saved. The game got a lot more fun once I spent all that quartz instead of hoarding them for a character that I had a low chance of rolling to begin with.

Here’s the harsh truth of Fate Grand Order: your odds of rolling for your favorite character is so low that you might as well give up and enjoy the game. Whenever I make a single-roll, I always expect that roll to be a 3-star character. That way, I can feel special when a powerful unit shows up. That’s certainly how I felt when I received two Mordreds in one ten-roll. I can tell myself that he’s here because he wants to help me, and not because I have a lot of money.

This is what love looks like.

Pace yourself on content

Gacha games often have a story mode, and these story modes will require very little resource (action points) in the beginning stages, all so that they can hook you in. When you first start a mobile gacha game, make sure that you have cleared enough time in your schedule to consume several hours of content.

At some point, you’re going to notice that you’re going to need action refills in order to complete the same amount of quests as before. Accept that you’re at the plateau in terms of content. Make peace with it, and slow down on your grinding.

Don’t do all the daily tasks

Try to figure out what the minimum number of tasks that you want to complete every day. Then stick to those tasks as much as possible, rather than being a completionist. I recommend not collecting dailies for lower-level tasks. Those are a time sink, and you don’t want a game to become a chore. Also, save your action refill items for seasonal events.

Don’t feel too bad if you don’t have spare time to collect the other less meaningful dailies. Also, missing a day is okay. You’re allowed to take time off if your luck’s been disappointing.

Keep a list

Here is my daily farm list. Keep in mind that I don’t always complete every task. Sometimes I only have the time and energy to finish a third of the list, and that’s okay.

Fate Grand Order

- Collect log-in dailies (automatic)

- Collect Embers (level-up items) for the Expert and Advanced tiers only

- Collect Rank up items on the Expert and Advanced tiers only

- Complete seasonal events, limit to (3) action refills a day

- Complete Master Missions indirectly with the other dailies

- Accept friend requests

Fire Emblem Heroes

- Collect log-in dailies

- Complete Arena maps (3) times per day and stop when I’ve maintained my Arena rank

- Complete Rival Domains map (Normal) for a summon orb

- Complete Tempest Trials (2) times a day if applicable

- Complete Voting Gauntlet up to (5) times over the course of (48) hours

- Complete Aether Raids (2) times a day

- Accept friend requests

Dragalia Lost

- Collect log-in dailies

- Complete the daily tasks (Fortune map, Power map, Co-op raid, item summon)

- Complete the daily tasks for the seasonal events

- Collect coins and Dragonfruit from the halidom

- Feed dragons

- Accept friend requests

Why is it important to keep a to-do list if mobile games are not a job? Because I don’t complete everything on my list. It’s just to prevent me from trying to finish every game quest. I think a lot of people get burned out quickly or end up spending money on action refills if they feel obligated to finish everything. Lists help to rein my impulse in. Lists remind me that I’ve accomplished something.


Monetization remains a testy issue for F2P games, but you don’t have to spend money to enjoy them. Don’t let jealousy, guilt, or any other bad feelings get in the way of enjoying mobile gacha games. Celebrate the good characters that you do have. Instead of neglecting common characters, try to find unique ways of playing with them.

Whether or not you roll any rare characters this year, I wish you a lucky 2019!

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