Natalie Rambles About Dragalia Lost: 2021 Remix – Ch 4: Summoning, Monetization, and Gacha

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‘Cos in this capitalist world, you gotta gacha!

This post is part of a series on the mobile action RPG by Nintendo and Cygames, Dragalia Lost
Natalie Rambles About Dragalia Lost – 2021 Remix
Chapter 1: Story and Aesthetics
Chapter 2: Play and Progression
Chapter 3: Quests, Events, Modes, and Endgame
Chapter 4: Summoning, Monetization, and Gacha
Chapter 5: Petty Quibbles and Miscellaneous Desires

Chapter 4-1: Bang! Bang! Bang! Love and Buy!

So, in describing all of this gameplay, mechanics, and player-based progression systems, you might have forgotten that Dragalia Lost is technically a gacha game. Well, it is. While there are a few dozen adventurers and dragons that could be obtained freely, most of them can only be obtained by summoning. And in order to summon players need to spend summon vouchers, the freemium currency wyrmite, or the premium currency diamantium, to test their luck on summon showcases to expand their teams with laterally different, or directly superior, adventurers and dragons. Who I’m just going to call units for the sake of simplicity.

As is customary for the genre, what units one receives via summoning, also known as pulling or drawing, is determined by a probability table that divides characters based on rarity, with rarity being denoted as 3-stars, 4-stars, or 5-stars. Where are the 1-stars and 2-stars? Nowhere, because rarity starts at 3. By default, players have a 80% chance of summoning a 3-star, 16% chance of summoning a 4-star, and a 4% chance of summoning a 5-star. All of which fluctuates and increases in accordance to a “pity rate,” where the chance of summoning a 5-star increases by 0.5% for every 10 times the player fails to summon a 5-star. 

New adventurers are added to the player’s collection, where they can be used and developed as the player sees fit, but duplicate adventurers are exchanged for eldwater, a valuable resource in unlocking adventurer mana circles, promoting 3-star and 4-star adventurers, and upgrading wyrmprints. 3-stars give 150 eldwater, 4-stars give 2,200 eldwater, and 5-stars give 8,500 eldwater. Dragons meanwhile are simply added to the player’s collection, where they can be leveled up, unbound, or sold for eldwater, with the rate being identical to that of adventurers. 

In order to summon, players need to select from an available showcase, also known as a banner, which has their own distribution of characters. Sometimes the showcase has a limited pool of characters, most often as part of an Elemental Focus. Sometimes they contain limited or seasonal characters that are not normally available, such as the Gala or Holiday-themed showcases. And all of them have featured (or focus) 5-star adventurers and dragons who have a higher rate of appearing, which are THE things that players typically summon for.

You see, 3-star summons are so common and their numbers are so small, boasting 19 permanent adventurers and 15 dragons, that players should be able to complete their collection very quickly. 4-star summons, while rarer, still have a fairly modest roster of only 10 permanent dragons and 44 permanent adventurers, who players should obtain all of within a few months of regular summoning. 5-stars, however, as of 10/15/2021, feature a pool of over 104 permanent adventurers and 51 permanent dragons. Combine this with the default 4% appearance rate, and the fact that only 5-star adventurers and dragons are added to the game every month, and it becomes increasingly difficult for players to summon any specific “off-focus” 5-star unit.

The low odds of summoning non-featured 5-star units and the fact each banner only runs for a limited amount of time, goes to create a sense of FOMO. And while Dragalia (generally) does a good job of not locking content behind characters or dragons, there are a lot of reasons why one would want to summon a specific character: 

  • They have an aesthetic appeal in their artwork, 3D model, voice clips, and general personality. 
  • They have a mechanical appeal, with certain units being meta defining or crafted to efficiently tackle specific content, or just being fun to play in general. 
  • They have a narrative appeal, as each new unit brings with them an unlockable story. 
  • And of course, each new unit goes to further flesh out and develop one’s collection, so there is also a completionist appeal.

These appeals are what drive people to summon, and so long as users exercise some restraint, they should be able to manage ways to get some, if not all, the units they want. Dragalia Lost is considerably generous with its free summoning currencies (wyrmite and vouchers), and after the the introduction of wyrmsigils, it is possible for players to summon a unit of their choice upon investing 300 summons into a showcase. Meaning that if a player summons enough on a showcase, they can always get the unit they desire.

As a whole, and in the often hostile world of gacha gaming, Dragalia is one of the most free-to-play friendly titles around. Despite this however, some players will inevitably spend money on the game by purchasing diamantium for additional summons. This is how the gacha game genre has been persisting for well over a decade, and most games make the process of simply buying into the game’s economy very clear and seamless to spur impulsive spending decisions. But Dragalia Lost… doesn’t.

Chapter 4-2: Dollars and Diamantium

In gacha games, you typically purchase premium in-game currency in exchange for government-issued legal tender (real money) where there exists an exact exchange rate for the financially savvy player to calculate what the exchange rate is, and realistically how much money it costs per summon. This is typically indicated by a simple screen where the player can easily calculate the dollar per premium currency rate, and where buying the most expensive option is the best bang for their buck.

Dragalia Lost, however, lacks any such screen and instead offers players the ability to buy its premium currency, diamantium, either directly or as part of a pack, where diamantium is bundled with other materials. This might sound simple, but the game currently features 34 different permanent purchase options, 22 of which are packs. Some of which can only be purchased a set number of times, and others operate on a weekly or monthly cycle. This instantly makes it confusing as to what the player should buy if they want premium currency, and damn near necessitates a spreadsheet in order to make an informed purchasing decision… that also highlights just how bad many of these packs are.

Now, you can find the full data on what the shop offers on the Dragalia Lost wiki, but for the sake of this analysis, I’m just going to whip together a spreadsheet listing the truly valuable materials.

Let’s go over some immediate takeaways I have looking at this data:

  • None of the weekly Booster Packs offer valuable materials that cannot be readily accumulated by players within their first few days of playing Dragalia Lost.
  • The monthly Unbind Packs offer some valuable tools for progression, but only the Mana Circle and Dragon packs are worth considering, as they offer materials that players cannot accumulate freely and outside of events. 
  • Purchasing diamantium directly and in bulk offers one of the worst diamantium per US Dollar ratios of any purchases available to the player.
  • Many of these packs offer materials that are readily farmable for players, and that have become more common over the course of this game’s life, making their placement in the shop bizarre, as no informed customer should ever purchase them.

This all begs the question of how players are supposed to monetarily engage with the game, and after staring at these numbers trying to make sense of them, I think the general logic here is this: The developers of Dragalia Lost want players to spend SOME money on their game, but NOT TOO MUCH money, and they want that money to be spent REGULARLY. That is why the two best recurring ways of gaining diamantium, the 7-Day Pack (Resources) and “featured” diamantium weekly deals (amounting to 1,355 diamantium for $16.96). While other options exist, they are mostly there in case players want to be big spenders. Or in cynical terms, I think Dragalia Lost does not want to be a game for ‘whales’ who buy huge stashes of in-game resources, but rather ‘dolphins’ who make small regular purchases.

Assuming this is indeed the intention, I respect this approach, as the absolute worst thing about the gacha game genre is how it financially DESTROYS so many people. On the other hand… The shop is in no way designed around this and is this horribly segmented mesh of options that make it hard for players to monetarily engage with the game, rather than allowing them the simple option of buying premium currency and then allowing them to spend the premium currency.

I don’t think the ideas behind the shop are terrible, they just need to be culled, reorganized, and redistributed to be more approachable to players by limiting their options and making the exchange more beneficial to the player. Weekly and monthly packs ought to be removed, the direct diamantium per dollar exchange rate ought to be adjusted to better incentivize players who want to spend a lot, and overall it should be easier for players to enter the premium ecosystem of Dragalia Lost, instead of needing to weigh and compare so many options. 

I say limit the monetary transactions to the Starter Packs, the 7-Day Pack (Resources), the featured weekly diamantium deals, the ability to buy diamantium in bulk at a better rate (perhaps 60 diamantium per dollar instead of ~50), and whatever limited packs are ongoing. This would nearly half the amount of transactions presented to the player and make it easier for players to assign a dollar value to the things they purchase. Plus, you would not need to split things up between four screens, and could pretty much keep them all contained in one main screen, with the Limited Packs, Starter Packs, and 7-Day Pack (Resources), all presented on top before the diamantium, as they are typically the better deals with regards to diamantium per dollar. 

Chapter 4-3: Diamantium and Summoning

Okay, so you bought the diamantium, you have the premium currency, and now the question is how one should use it… which is not as simple as just summoning, as Dragalia Lost presents a plethora of fragmented and eclectic options on how players can spend diamantium. But let’s start with just summoning.

At its basic level, diamantium is a 1:1 replacement for wyrmite. Like with wyrmite, players can spend 120 on a single summon, or 1,200 on a tenfold summon. The only meaningful differences are that players can spend 30 diamantium to perform one Daily Deal summon (which I don’t think anybody actually does) and that summons using diamantium grant players twice as many wyrmsigils.

These two factors help incentivize players to use diamantium for summoning, and I recognize them as such, but generally speaking, I think the idea of spending diamantium on summoning is… just the worst. It is the act of spending a converted version of legal tender on the CHANCE of getting a rare and useful unit in a video game. While you always get SOMETHING from this investment, there is no CERTAINTY, there is always a RISK that what you spent your money on will not be wanted. 

Maybe it’s because I am a risk-averse accountant who has been maintaining a spreadsheet for her finances since she was 16, but I cannot condone anybody to actually spend diamantium for summoning unless they think it is worth the worst possible outcome. Which would be spending increments of 120 (or 30) diamantium on increments of 150 eldwater. However, those are merely the permanent ways one can use diamantium for summoning. 

Platinum Showcases are promotional showcases held once or twice a month where players can spend 1,200 diamantium on a tenfold summon with one guaranteed 5-star unit from a predetermined list. 

Platinum Showcases, like regular summoning, represent a risk of getting something the player did not want. But at least Platinum Showcases has a guarantee and a worst-case Scenario of spending 1,200 diamantium on 9,850 eldwater. Unless the player doesn’t have any of the featured 5-star units, in which case they are a guaranteed new unit, which might be worth 1,200 diamantium. But there is still a risk of an unfavorable outcome for most.

I would argue that the only way summoning and diamantium could work well together would be if players could guarantee what unit they are getting for their premium currency. And, thankfully, Dragalia does just that. 

Platinum Showcase Deluxe was introduced in October 2021, as a Platinum Showcase, but with a catch. In these showcases, players are guaranteed one of a specified list of adventurers or dragons, but they have the option to exclude adventurers/dragons they previously obtained. This means that, while players cannot necessarily guarantee which adventurers they get from these showcases, they can guarantee that they will not get any duplicates. 

Platinum Showcase Deluxe functions as a way for players to spend diamantium to expand their roster. And while I would have liked to see these showcases enable players to choose which adventurer/dragon they wanted, this is a good deal in my book, and I happily spent diamantium on this showcase. They are a good way to use diamantium to summon. However, the best use for diamantium is, without question, the Dream Summon Specials.  

Dream Summon Specials are showcases held about twice a year where players can spend 1,200 diamantium on any permanent unit of their choosing, along with a bonus tenfold summon voucher. This is a wonderful deal, as it lets players get exactly what they want, and allows them to address the billowing sense of wanting they might feel when they miss a featured 5-star unit. If anything, I think the game should be filled with these specials because they are so much more pro-player than anything else in the game. But instead, they are only hosted as part of anniversaries and half anniversaries, which is kinda lame.

I had suggestions to make these promotions more common, or introduce ‘lesser’ Dream Summon Specials with fewer units available. However, it looks like Dragalia Lost is instead combating this desire with Platinum Showcase Deluxe. Which, while good, is not quite what I wanted, but it at least lets me buy a specified adventurer/dragon.

Chapter 4-4: Diamantium and Resources

Aside from summoning, you can spend diamantium on quite a lot in Dragalia Lost, but most of the things you can spend diamantium on are things you never should spend diamantium on. It is a waste to spend it on anything that wyrmite or something else can do, such as completing a facility, restoring stamina, or reviving during a quest. But there are things in the shop that only diamantium can buy, so let’s discuss those.

Elemental Tomes: These are used to unlock shared skills for adventurers and are occasionally distributed as part of events and endeavors. While shared skills are a handy mechanic, many players in the community have ample sums of these Elemental Tomes gathering dust. Though, for those who missed certain events, or if Dragalia stops giving these away, I could see them becoming a quality investment. 

Talonstones: These materials are used to upgrade various dragon-related facilities and are rather hard to grind for, so it makes sense for these to be sold via the shop like this, as players are constantly running low on Talonstones. However, you ultimately need 8,932 of these things to upgrade every facility, 1 Talonstone costs 30 diamantium, and you can get a wide variety of them for free just by being patient, waiting until they are distributed as part of various events, playing High Dragon Trials, and by boosting bonds with dragons. Speaking of which… 

Four-Leaf Clovers: These items are used to boost the player’s bond with various dragons in exchange for extended shapeshift time and various materials offered as rewards, most notably Talonstones. However, every single day players have the ability to boost their dragon bonds by 3,800 or 4,000 points in exchange for a paltry sum of Rupies. Meanwhile, each Four-Leaf Clover only boosts the bond by 1,000 points. They also are priced at 30 diamantium a pop, can be found as random drops, and are commonly event rewards.

Skip Tickets: These are a gacha genre staple that curbs the grind and tedium of daily and repeat quests by letting players skip through them and get all associated rewards. They are ultimately time savers, and players are provided with six of them upon logging in each day. As such, there really is no good reason to ever purchase them, even if they only cost 10 diamantium per ticket.

Astral Pieces: These items are normally earned just by completing quests and are used to partake in Astral Raids held during weeks where there are no ongoing raid events. Players can only hold a maximum of 300 of these things, and they can be converted into 50 wyrmprint augments and 50 adventurer augments by defeating the Master difficulty of the respective Astral Raid boss. 

Or in other words, buying Astral Pieces is basically buying augments, which most experienced players can accumulate just by battling High Dragons, Agito, Void Dragons, and Chimeras. And when you break down the math further… The pricing on these things are just absurd. Every week, you can buy 300 Pieces for 300 diamantium, 120 Pieces for 1,000 diamantium, and 60 Pieces for 100 diamantium. Literally none of which are worth the asking price. 30 diamantium is worth 120 stamina, 120 stamina can get at least 20 weapon/wyrmprint augments, along with a bunch of rupies and other valuable materials.

7-Day Pack (Double Bonus): In Dragalia Lost, players are given daily and weekly bonuses for tackling certain content. This is done to incentivize regular play and keep players coming back to the game day after day. This pack simply takes this existing bonus and gives you twice as many of the resources you would normally receive. This was not a big deal when the pack was first introduced. But throughout 2021, the developers have been putting more and more non-farmable, or difficult-to-farm, resources behind weekly or daily bonuses for certain quests. This includes the dragon augments introduced with Morsayati Reckoning, the drops from The Agito Uprising: Legend Difficulty, and most notably, the convictions and devotions of TotM.

It honestly makes this 500 diamantium pack worth it for me. I have purchased it several times over the past year. In return, it helped me amass more dragon augments than I know what to do with and helped me expedite the growth of many adventurers. I think it is worth a purchase, as after buying this pack repeatedly, it improved the quality of my time with Dragalia by helping me reach my goals faster.

30-Day Pack (Recovery): This pack grants the player the ability to collect 120 stamina and 12 getherwings on a daily basis, allowing them to take on more content in a day for a whole 30 days, all for $10. This is not a bad deal, but a similar effect could be achieved by simply using items like Honey and Ethon Ashes, which players can obtain a surplus of during certain events. Still, you are getting quite a lot when you do the math, and if you are trying to tackle a bunch of content and expedite your progress throughout the game, or just get extra grinding in, this is a pretty solid investment.

After all, stamina is arguably the most valuable resource in the game, as it can be used to gather and accumulate most other resources. Agito materials, HDT materials, Tier 4 orbs, augments, Draconic Essences, and the laundry list of resources needed to upgrade facilities. And if materials can be obtained in this manner, I honestly see little reason why the developers should even bother making them available for sale. Because so long as players have the Might and stamina, then they can get as many of these materials as they want. 

In highlighting this, I am broaching the question of what players cannot reliably and readily farm by repeating existing quests, and the answer is pretty simple: Eldwater, 5-star unbinding items, and Rainbow Orbs. Technically, players can grind for these items through certain means, but they are resources that I see players routinely mention having a shortage of. I don’t remember much from my three economics college courses, but I do remember this: When there is a shortage, there is a demand, and when there is a demand, it makes sense to supply and sell something to fit that demand. 

As such, I think all the diamantium shop really needs, aside from a redesign, is the introduction of ways to buy these elusive materials. I could easily see the developers introducing the option to purchase all of these for, say, 500 diamantium, as that is a nice even number, and making them available as part of weekly deals. So that players who want to max out their brand new 5-star dragon can do so relatively quickly, and can get all the elusive materials they need to max out a new character’s Mana Spiral within a 7-day period.

Now, I am just playing armchair monetization designer as I make these suggestions. But even if my suggestions are a bit out of line or overly optimistic, I think it is inarguable that the developers could do a better job of profiting from their playerbase while giving them exactly what they want. And as somebody who peeked over into the community, diving into the subreddit, watching a couple of YouTubers, and sticking my head in a Discord or two, I think I have a decent idea of what people might want.

I look at this and think “Damn, Johnson, this is how we can turn those players into payers.” Because this chart features several things I would consider to be good deals. Hell, even if the price for most of these doubled, I think that more people would buy them over the confusing mess of monetization that’s currently in the game.

Chapter 4-5: Summoning Solutions

So, where was I? Right, I just went on a tirade about how this game is monetized, but that was inspired by the… summoning system! Okay, so the summoning system in Dragalia Lost is honestly pretty standard. What with its rarity rates, distribution, pity system, and sparking system for guaranteed units. However, it is also running into the same problems that many other long-running gacha games encounter with their summoning pool. But rather than just describe the problems wholesale, I have been thinking about this subject in-depth for a while now and came up with some solutions to Dragalia’s summoning-related problems that I consider to be quite reasonable.

Problem: 5-Star adventurers are so plentiful in the current summoning rotation (104 permanent, 45 Limited, and 12 collab) that it can be difficult for players to obtain non-featured adventurers via summoning.

Solution: The 5-star adventurer roster is growing every month, and it will only become harder and harder to obtain off-focus units going forward unless the pool is limited. The Elemental Focus Showcases have attempted to address this problem, featuring roughly a fifth of the full 5-star roster, but this does not truly address the problem. 

Now, I would look to other examples to see how other gacha games are handling this dilemma. Unfortunately, I do not know if there are any other examples to look at, given how fringe and fragmented a lot of this information is, and how I don’t want to ask gacha enthusiasts about something like this. So, with no idea of how other games are coping with this inevitable problem, I’ll just recite my solution from last time.

If there are too many 5-star adventurers in this game then, perhaps, consider making some of these 5-stars into 4-stars. While there is some difference in how these adventurers are upgraded, there is little that functionally seperates a 4-star from a 5-star, or a 3-star for that matter, other than the exact spectrum of materials used to upgrade their Mana Circles.

Dragalia also has a built-in system for characters becoming 5-stars, the promotion system detailed in Chapter 2-3, so it would be fully possible for these ‘demoted’ 5-star adventurers to become 5-stars yet again. And while this might mean that you can no longer get a 5-star version of this character via summoning, I consider this a win-win scenario for both parties. 

For players who do not have the ‘demoted’ adventurers, they will have a better chance of obtaining them as their 4-star renditions, and can simply promote them to 5-stars if they so desire. And for players who already have these demoted adventurers, this changes nothing about their collection, and only increases their odds of summoning new adventurers from a smaller pool of 5-star adventurers. 

As for which 5-star adventurers should be demoted to 4-stars, I have no preferences. Though, I suppose it would make the most sense for launch and year one adventurers to be demoted first, as the playerbase is most likely to have them, but any random grab bag of 5-star adventurers would be similarly effective.

Problem: The summoning probability rate in Dragalia Lost weighs 3-stars above all others at a rate that is higher than certain other gacha games. This limits the amount of eldwater players get by summoning, makes the process of diversifying one’s team early on more difficult, and just makes summoning less interesting, as 80% of the time, you are going to see the same 34 units.

Solution: The current base summoning rates for Dragalia Lost are 80% for 3-stars, 16% for 4-stars, and 4% for 5-stars. And while I would LOVE to see the base 5-star rate increased, it is far more reasonable, and cost-effective, for the 4-star rate to increase to a higher percentage, while the 3-star rate decreases accordingly. I propose that the appearance rates for 3-stars be lowered to 70% while the appearance rates for 4-stars be raised to 26%. 

Doing so would make it easier for new players to obtain 4-star adventurers and dragons, make it easier for all players to accumulate eldwater, and overall improve the summoning experience, as players feel like they are getting more value with each summon. Because, statistically speaking, they definitely will be.

The only issue I foresee with a change such as this is that tenfold summons will become less valuable, as tenfold summons offer one guaranteed 4-star unit. I would argue that does not really matter, because players do not summon for 4-stars in the vast majority of cases, and that is not why they prefer tenfold summons. They prefer those because of how the pity system works. Because whatever your appearance rate was at the start of the tenfold carries over for the entire tenfold. As opposed to resetting with every summon, like when summoning singles.

Problem: The developers of Dragalia Lost have not added a new non-5-star dragon to the game since Halloween Silke on October 17, 2018. This makes the pool of 4-star dragons limited and generally uninteresting.

Solution: The reason why more 4-star dragons are not added to Dragalia is because players are supposed to move past them quickly and onto 5-stars. And unlike adventurers, 5-star dragons are universally better than 4-stars… at least once they are unbound. As such, while it is weird how disorganized and incomplete the 4-star dragon pool is, lacking 20% HP/Strength dragons for flame, wind, and shadow, and a 45% HP dragon for water, I do not consider this to be a major loss.

Problem: Since Dragalia Lost has launched, it has introduced 34 units, along with several valuable wyrmprints, that are only available on a seasonal basis. This creates an economy of haves and have nots, as players who failed to obtain these units and items outside of predetermined intervals, some of which only happens annually.

Solution: The developers actually addressed this issue once before by making Valentine’s themed variants for Hildegarde, Ezelith, and Orion permanent units one year after their February 14, 2019 debut. However, this remains the only time the developers have done such a thing, which I think is a mistake. 

There are many useful units who have been released as part of these events, and while it makes sense to make them limited for the sake of inducing FOMO, after a while, it just becomes frustrating that certain units are so darn hard to obtain, when they have so many uses. Halloween Lowen is the best flame healer, but he is only available during the spooky season. Dragonyule Xainfried is a stellar support unit for wind, but he only comes around during the solstice. And units like Sazanka, Halloween Elisanne, and Dragonyule Xander are so old and not-great that the game is gaining nothing by stashing them behind a seasonal wall. 

Instead, the most the devs do is host reprisal showcases for some of these limited characters twice a year. Which… is better than once a year, so… thanks?

Now, there are other things I want to see improved or addressed, but those are a bit beyond the world of summoning, so I’ll save that for in Chapter 5!

Also, for the record, and since I am talking about monetization a bunch, here are the following purchases I made in Dragalia Lost over the past two years:

  • 10/18/21 – 7-Day Pack (Resources) for $10.61
  • 9/27/21 –  Facility Upgrade Special for $10.61
  • 8/06/21 – Jumpstart Pack for $8.49
  • 5/26/21 – Story Pack (Hard) for $10.61
  • 5/16/21 – 7-Day Pack (Resources) for $10.61
  • 4/26/21 – 7-Day Pack (Resources) for $10.61
  • 3/27/21 – Facility Upgrade Special for $10.61
  • 2/12/21 – 7-Day Pack (Resources) for $10.61
  • 10/05/20 –  Facility Upgrade Special for $10.61
  • 9/12/20 – Trials Pack for $21.24
  • 5/09/20 – Beginner’s Pack for $8.49

So $123.10. A figure that both is and is not a lot, as I have gotten more hours of enjoyment out of Dragalia than any other game I ever played in my life. And based on these purchases, you can plainly tell that I practice what I preach when it comes to wise spending.

Chapter 4-6: The Unreasonable Assumption

Now, I wanted to cap off this section on that note. But I cannot in good conscience bring up monetization and Dragalia Lost without bringing what pretty much needs to be a blanket warning to neurodivergent or otherwise monetarily impulsive individuals when it comes to games like Dragalia Lost

As I regularly mention on Natalie.TF, I’m autistic, and I’m the type of autistic person who loves spreadsheets, math, and organizing things into nice little buckets. This also means I am fairly meticulous with my finances and put a great deal of thought into my purchases. I often forget that other people are not this mindful about their finances, and while it is a comforting defense to claim that those with a looser grip on their finances are simply wealthy or foolish, that is not true. Many of them are neurodivergent, are overwhelmed by complex monetary systems, and are prone to throw money into something without truly taking in what they are doing.

This is obviously not their fault, and is the result of how their brains are wired, making them more susceptible to things than the baseline ‘normal’ person. And while I personally do not know of anyone who has unwillingly spent large sums of money in Dragalia Lost, I am sure that someone has gotten themselves into an unfavorable financial situation thanks to this game. And while the wyrmsigil system does help put a $300 cap of how much any one person would wind up spending when summoning for a specific featured unit, this is not an insignificant amount of money to some individuals.

I would actually say that Dragalia Lost is probably one of the best games of this sort for someone with these tendencies, as there are clear limits to how much one can spend in this game, and it is quite free-to-play friendly. But there is an argument to be made that all games that rely on this monetization system are inherently abusive to neurodivergent individuals, and this entire system is flawed. And… I do not have a retort to that.

The gacha game genre inherently preys on those with weakness to characters, collections, or FOMO in general, and there is no good argument to the fact that people have been financially ruined due to how they were pressured by these games. People have been pressured into spending copious amounts of money on something digital, ethereal, and that one can never truly own due to the genre’s reliance on a central server. 

You could argue that gacha games are destructive, abusive, ethically dubious, and so forth. And for as much as I want to defend them, that is true. However, saying that is more akin to identifying a symptom instead of realizing that it merely part of a greater societal issue. 

I could use as a prompt to spin this off into some spiel about how capitalism is bad as it urges people and those in power to put profit above the betterment of society. How capitalism thrusts humanity into increasingly disproportionate hierarchies where the middle gets more and more narrow as time passes. How, despite multiple warnings, those in power have more or less decided on this being the future of humanity. And how democracy is merely an illusion that will do nothing to sway the decision making power of the true leaders of the world (the rich), who exist on a plane above any governance.

…But I would rather just put a knife in this issue and veer into the final chapter.

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  1. Dswitch

    Used to love the game but didn’t care for the reward reduction that happened last year. Felt like a bait and switch. People assumed that it was for spark but I don’t remember Cygames other franchise Granblue reducing their rewards while adding spark. Just seems very greedy. This current holiday had a split limited banner, a gala banner which had older limited units which weren’t rated up. The way Cygames have been conducting themselves recently screams scumlord. The sigils that you get from summoning are worthless if you pulled the unit before sparking. They could at least put some units in the sigil trade so you can use your sigils on. The fact that some higher clears require certain team comps or dragons to clear high difficulties is horrible. Morsayati still uses the same Mym comp to get consistent clears. The game no longer feels fun, just feels like a huge chore. The fanbase is no better. If you speak ill of the game you are met with huge vitriol. So many of my friends have quit. This is my 4th alliance. Co-op is dead. Auto is king. Having a certain unit and dragon can make this game a breeze or a chore. And that just shouldn’t be.

    1. Natalie Neumann

      Eh, fair enough. Everyone is entitled to have their own opinions of the game.

      The reward reduction really never struck me as a major drawback. Although, I could just be lucky as, through a mixture of luck, careful summoning, and dream summons, I managed to get just about every unit I wanted without resorting to using premium currency for summoning.

      The split banners makes sense from a business perspective, as the game is monetized largely from people doing premium summons. I do not like this approach and prefer the approach of having two or three new units on a Gala banner, but it is also done for monetization reasons, as Dragalia needs to make money somehow. Though, yes, the older 4-star units should have been rate up. That was an odd omission.

      Wyrmsigils can be used in the treasure trade, and while getting something seemed like a reward at first, I would like to see, say, a Dream Summon ticket for a large amount of wyrmsigils. Perhaps 300.

      Requiring newer or specific comps to clear content is kind of a staple of the genre, I hate to say. And while things like the recent Legend Jaldabaoth represent Dragalia at its worst, content gets easier as time goes on, and you should not feel pressured to clear permanent content ASAP.

      People use the Mym clears for Morsayati because it worked when the mode launched, and it’s still plenty effective. If people push you away in co-op, then they’re probably just paranoid. With steady power creep, new mechanics, and new wyrmprints, it is far easier to clear Morsayati with a wide variety of different comps.

      I think the game is plenty of fun, and if it feels like a chore to you, then you are free to stop playing it. Maybe take a break and wait a while for the game to feel fresh again.

      Most fans seem pretty chill based on what I have seen. I’m sure there are some bad apples, but that’s true for any fanbase, as fanbases are made of people.

      Alliances are not really a major part of the game. I never used the alliance much feature to be honest.

      Co-op is not dead, and it pretty much won’t ever truly be, as players always amass getherwings. Sure, it takes longer to find rooms, but it is pretty easy to find a room just by using the co-op button in the quest menu. Auto is king because auto is always king, as players want to get rewards without spending oodles of time doing the same thing over and over again.

      There are indeed bouts of power creep with certain new units, but there are alternatives, and there always has been. Outside of Legend difficulty, which are basically only for diehard players, you can clear content with a degree of leniency… generally speaking. Iblis is a pain without good stormlash, Jaldabaoth is tricky without good AOE, and Surtr requires afflictions and dispel to defeat in a reasonable timeframe. This is part of why I criticized ROTSD in Part 3.