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How to enjoy Gacha games


Bite_size

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Hello,

i have started playing genshin impact over 2 years back and really enjoyed exploring the world, also collecting new characters and thats where i got sucked into the wonders of gacha system. That point it wasnt an issue because i wasnt chasing for meta as there wasnt a point. Until i tried Tower of Fantasy.

Tower of Fantasy is a lot of fun. i enjoyed the combat style but heres the problem. with difficult content i started chasing meta and high dmg. To date i spend almost 10k aud around 6k usd. 

I thought about cold turkey and stop playing but i have invested so much that i felt i need to keep going which is a huge red flag to me. Though there are alot of things to enjoy such as connecting with friends and exploring the world anf mini events. Game itself is actually fun.  I wonder how can u enjoy gacha game without feeling the need to pull the shinny new characters.

 

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  • 2 months later...

Hi Bite_size, this is a late reply, but I want to share my story as it may help you and others struggling with Gacha addiction. In my own experience as a former Gacha game addict, the best way to enjoy Gacha games is to not play them.

For me, the game I got addicted to until I detoxed myself 2 years ago was Empires & Puzzles. I would play this game on my phone every day, ignoring my friends, my family (including my wife and baby boy at the time), I would schedule my life around the in-game events and daily login rewards, staying up way past midnight doing these events and quests. My attention at best was split between the game auto-battling and what I was supposed to be doing. I even pushed away my friends who are gamers themselves, I remember getting mad at one of them because they wanted to play Smash Bros with me and I didn't feel like it, I just wanted to play my phone game. Imagine that! Rejecting offers to play other video games! That's how addicted I was; if I had taken the Game Quitters quiz then, I would've easily scored on everything.

I didn't spend a lot of money thankfully; over ~3 years I only spent around $300 CAD, which is still a lot of money but sadly impressive compared to other horror stories I'd hear. I did however, spend a ton of time grinding out resources, 8h a day at least to be specific; that's how gacha games work, you either pay up to skip the grind or you spend your time grinding.

And it wasn't a bad game either, the core gameplay loop (flow state) is very well designed. It's a match 3 puzzle game with RPG elements, where your color matches correspond to specific colored heroes damage values, so there's strategy and skill elements there too. I also felt at the time that I had a responsibility to the game, to my alliance members in game, and to my base. So I know how you feel when you talk about investing a lot and feeling the need to keep going, as well as connecting with friends in game.

But if you are feeling the way you are feeling, it sounds like you are on your way to making this Gacha game part of your routine, if it already isn't. A video game is entertainment media, plain and simple, something you play for fun; not something you should feel responsibility towards. When seeking to consume video games (and media in general), I am of the opinion that they should entertain AND engage you by providing an immersive experience. What I mean by that with video games specifically (and this is just my opinion too):

  1. Narrative - stimulating your mind and inducing emotions. Playing the game to find out what happens at the end, or learn more about its fictional world and themes, or find out what will happen to the characters you like or relate to.
  2. Challenge - skill or intelligence to conquer a task or logic puzzle. Whether through developing your character with knowledge and resources to triumph over adversity, or developing your reflexes and muscle memory and get skillful enough to overcome the challenge.
  3. Sensory satisfaction - the visual and auditory appeal. Audio cues like opening a chest in Zelda games, or the level up effect in RPGs. Or game mechanics that are simply fun, like swinging on a hookshot. This is where Skinner's Box operant conditioning also falls under; opening a lootbox, grinding up big numbers, predetermined action setpieces with a lot of spectacle... all these simply exist for the sake of appeal, which is fine when it's balanced with the other two points above, but not fine when it's the sole or major focus.

Gacha games - and a majority of modern big budget AAA games too in fact - are fully concerned with solely providing entertainment, primarily through sensory satisfaction; the cathartic feeling you get when opening a lootbox, summoning a hero, grinding up big stat numbers and resources... all these simply exist for the sake of entertainment, not for engagement. They might have a narrative and they might present some kind of challenge (or the illusion of challenge at least), but they are simply means to an end for them. Because at the end of the day, they want to pull you in so that you eventually spend money or at least spend every day with them generating ad-revenue (or similar).

Quitting was very hard for me. At the time I did not know about Game Quitters, I have just recently discovered them in fact. I did get help though; encouragement from my wife, and a professional behavioral psychologist.

My wife is amazing, bless her I'm very lucky, she really stuck with me and supported me through that awful time. On her advice, I enabled the screen time tracking app on my phone to really get an idea of how much I play. That's when I realized just how many hours I would spend on my phone; 8h a day at least. So I enabled a time limit, starting with 5h a day. Then when that worked, I went down to 3h a day. If the gacha game you play has an alliance with teammates, I recommend you let them know that you are cutting back on the time you play if this is how you'd rather start.

This was only step 1 for me though, as I got really bad cravings as the time I could play got shorter and shorter. This is when I looked for professional help, and landed with a behavioral psychologist. She helped me with a 90-day detox plan; I developed strategies to keep my focus on what I was doing at the time, and tried other activities to fill the time with. Ultimately she got me to the point where I quit for good.

During my 90-day detox, I evaluated whether I really wanted to keep playing E&P. As soon as I quit, I felt like I had a lot more free time. I started reading again, I piled up a list of books for those past 3 years that I started tackling. I applied to a new job, one which filled me with much more satisfaction than the one I had during that dark time. I did my best to apologize and connect again with friends that I had pushed away; some were more forgiving than others. Most importantly, I started spending more time with my family; I really missed out on the infant stage for my first-born, something I will forever regret for the rest of my life, but I got a 2nd chance with my younger kid and now will get a 3rd chance with a new one on the way. And I can be there for all the special moments of all my kids now, present without worrying about missing a daily quest log or an alliance war.

In case you are curious, I do still play video games myself in moderation. That's something I worked on after my detox, as I found I can enjoy single player games and couch multiplayer games with friends as a hobby and as a social activity. The main difference is I find myself having fun playing those games on my own terms and schedule, rather than feeling a sense of responsibility to play them. I do stay away from Gacha games, or games as a service, grindathons, or any game that emphasizes sensory satisfaction over story and gameplay; in my case, it's those games that I found myself prone to being addicted to. That's my personal situation though, yours might differ.

In conclusion; quitting that Gacha game was the best thing I did for myself, and I do not seek out or miss playing them at all.

Edited by D_Cozy
grammar fixes, added my own opined list for engagement
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