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How to prevent powercreep in gacha games?

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gacha : any game involve in pulling items, units

powercreep: Newer release units keep stronger and stronger than older units

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If you are a producer, how would you prevent powercreep & maintain balance in gacha games. But you still find a way to make money from it

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5 minutes ago, Hasechi said:

If you are a producer, how would you prevent powercreep & maintain balance in gacha games.

I wouldn't. Putting in shiny new units who powercreeps everything that came before with leaps and bounds is exactly the thing you need to attract whales. 

So If I was a soulless producer with even more soulless executives to keep happy I wouldn't prevent powercreep. 

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I don’t think you can prevent it, however you can  mitigate it kinda like Fate/GO does by buffing older units to prevent them from becoming to weak.

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You can't and should't prevent it completely. Giving your old units ways to catch up is a good idea, but I also think its best to create better stuff, but not always create bigger numbers.

I think Feh did a good job at that in the beginning. Ploys for example where much better then threatens as a way of debuffing, but there where still situations/units that could make use of those old skills.

Swift sparrow is generally better then death blow/darting blow, but there might be one or two instances where you need that slight extra power/speed boost.

The newer skills where generally better, but they did't replace the old ones 100% of the time. That only started happening with the tier 4 skills.

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7 minutes ago, Sasori said:

You can't and should't prevent it completely. Giving your old units ways to catch up is a good idea, but I also think its best to create better stuff, but not always create bigger numbers.

I think Feh did a good job at that in the beginning. Ploys for example where much better then threatens as a way of debuffing, but there where still situations/units that could make use of those old skills.

Swift sparrow is generally better then death blow/darting blow, but there might be one or two instances where you need that slight extra power/speed boost.

The newer skills where generally better, but they did't replace the old ones 100% of the time. That only started happening with the tier 4 skills.

The bigger issue in FEH is stat creep. We have ranged cavalry units now who have more BST than starting melee infantry units. In what universe is that reasonable? And it is only going to get worse and more insurmountable at a faster rate.

Edited by Fabulously Olivier

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If I were producing a gacha game, I can't imagine being the sort of person too torn up about "ethical powercreep". The predation is the point. And slowing down the powercreep keeps engagement and whaling over a longer time period. If anything, powercreeping harder and faster is more "ethical". Stupid is probably another word for it.

Edited by Glennstavos

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Outright prevent it: Not happening, because the developers need to give the players an incentive to pull, and favoritism only goes so far.

Keep it sane: Let's look at Dissidia (the mobile game).  Old characters get reworks, weapon tiers occasionally get added, and certain older weapons get buffed (said older weapons are a specific tier, which is available to everyone).  Character boards get reworked occasionally, too.  The result is that a "useless" character can find their time to shine.  Furthermore, while the numbers have generally increased, the mechanics are such that you want a team that can work around the boss gimmick, which doesn't necessarily have to be the people on the banner (one of the current events uses a fun little exploit for a character who was considered bad on arrival).  Lastly, everyone has something that they're good at.

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umm.... So how about just pulling for better skins/artworks..... like League Of Leagend, Audition, v..v.... Example :

Free Eliwood:

Spoiler

Full_Portrait_Eliwood.png

Purchase version Eliwood by orbs ( game currency in Fire Embliem Heroes which can gain through events or spending money ) :

Spoiler

Face.png

 

Edited by Hasechi

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8 minutes ago, eclipse said:

Er, that's a one-time purchase?

umm..... what do you mean...? I guess yes .... But for free to play players, they have to spam & collect sth, which cost more time than 1-click purchase players

I think they could first release a charater with bad-decent art/outfit. Then later release skins with good-best art/outfit for that charater. So if players in love with that charater they might buy them. Or release an alternate version of that charater with good-best art/outfit. Do the same with other charaters too. I think there are a lot of charaters in the game & they can add/create more. So that's possible for producers  to still gain money & maintain balance in the game.

But yes..... I think release more powerful units time to time more effectively to earn bigger money.

Edited by Hasechi

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But through your comment, I just realise that there are many kind of players.

Some players like me more important about the look of charaters. Pick charaters on their looks is my main focus. Win & lose not so important. 

Other players care about win or lose. I think this is what producers aimed to. And keep power up units time to time.

Or.... both their look & power.  I guess...

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14 minutes ago, Hasechi said:

umm..... what do you mean...? I guess yes .... But for free to play players, they have to spam & collect sth, which cost more time than 1-click purchase players

I think they could first release a charater with bad-decent art/outfit. Then later release skins with good-best art/outfit for that charater. So if players in love with that charater they might buy them. Or release an alternate version of that charater with good-best art/outfit. Do the same with other charaters too. I think there are a lot of charaters in the game & they can add/create more. So that's possible for producers  to still gain money & maintain balance in the game.

But yes..... I think release more powerful units time to time more effectively to earn bigger money.

As in, once you get the skin, you're set.  Unless you're playing some game with randomized skins.

Meanwhile, if you want to Actually Fight, you'll need to keep up with the gacha pulls.  That is less predictable because RNG determines if you'll get what you're looking for.  Even with pity pulls, you've sunk X amount of resources into a given gacha.

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24 minutes ago, eclipse said:

As in, once you get the skin, you're set.  Unless you're playing some game with randomized skins.

Meanwhile, if you want to Actually Fight, you'll need to keep up with the gacha pulls.  That is less predictable because RNG determines if you'll get what you're looking for.  Even with pity pulls, you've sunk X amount of resources into a given gacha.

Thank you. I get it now., I guess there is no other way

Edited by Hasechi

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Powercreep in Gacha Games is the same in Pokemon. You cannot possibly have a game with over 500 characters/variations to be equally viable. There will always be units better than others. Look at this hypothetical: Shigure is statically better than Catria, so she's outclassed. Give Catria a weapon refine? Great! Now Shigure is outclassed. 

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What if units get weaker over time as you use them? You can refresh them either by pulling new copies, or by paying for a refreshment. The higher-level the unit, the more the refreshment costs (so, a C-rank unit could cost something like $1 or $2 while an S-Rank unit could cost $10). It might be a good idea to have the units slowly refresh over time as well, or have the refresh option automatically become available after a certain amount of time, basing the length on rank (C rank could be refreshed every few hours, while S-rank could be refreshed every few days).

Additionally, you can have challenges that incentivize using different kinds of units on Daily, Weekly, and Monthly bases. Stuff like "Use ten different B-Rank characters this week". As a reward for meeting such challenges, you can gain currency used to pull more units.

To put this in perspective, let's say you have a Zelda gacha game where you take on randomized Dungeons using a hero who you can equip with different weapons. The hero has stamina that depletes each time you play a dungeon with them, and their weapons have durability that wears down as you use the weapon. When the hero's stamina is depleted, they become slower and weaker until their stamina is able to recover. When weapons run out of durability, they become dull and need to be repaired. Heroes regain stamina over time, but you can refill their stamina instantly with an Energizing Elixir which can be brewed using ingredients found in the dungeons or purchased from the store. Weapons don't regain durability on their own, and must be repaired at the Blacksmith who has their own stamina. The stronger the weapon and the more repairing that needs to be done, the more stamina the Blacksmith expends, which means it will take longer before they can repair another weapon unless you're willing to give them one of your Energizing Elixirs to reenergize them.

So, while better heroes and weapons would be released over time, they will wear down and become weaker than your lower-grade heroes and weapons with repeated use, prompting you to switch to other heroes and weapons unless you're willing to pay for Energizing Elixirs.

Edited by Lord_Brand

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On 4/17/2021 at 9:00 AM, Hasechi said:

powercreep: Newer release units keep stronger and stronger than older units

I have a personal issue with this 'definition' because it oversimplify what the word 'used' to mean, by only looking at one potential result of power-creep and not the whole thing. What I am about to say is rather 'political', but in my view, it's like saying a person is only racist when they use the N-word. (I realize your written definition does not exclude other possible interpretation, but it only focuses on one aspect, which is my issue). Power-creep used to describe when the power-level of the game increases. Power in itself is rather vague word, but it tends to be focused around: "What is the best tactics/combinations/heroes to play with to get the best results".

Most of the 'solutions' above isn't about addressing 'Powercreep'. They are more about just making the potential problems of powercreep less severe. If older heroes/skills needs buffs/reworks/retrains (retrains = something that is also the same to something old, but now better to keep up with the current power level) or new game content, there is a very high chance the game already suffered from powercreep and this is just the steps being taken to reduce the negative impact of powercreep.

Powercreep is a rather neutral term. It is neither good or bad. It depends on how it is implemented and managed within the game. Increasing the 'power-level' should allow more room to expand on new & unique mechanics/concepts which I think most people will agree is a general positive to the game. Even a straight buff/rework on an already existing unit can cause powercreep if it pushes the power level upward.

Regardless of my rant, to answer the question you laid out with your definitions, because gacha games want money and 'stronger' stuff sells better than 'weaker/neutral' stuff, it will  typically happen & then keep on happening & then again, again, and again. The only way to not make it an issue (though powercreep will still occur) is if the company is willing the buff older content and/or nerf newer content. If a company isn't willing to do post-patch to content after release, then all it takes is one mistake by releasing something that is a lot stronger than it was intended (like when Ayra & Regnal Astra was released), that will force the designers to perform a power spike on all future content.

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Preventing it outright is impossible. Case in point: Pokemon (it's not a gacha game, but still). Some entities are bound to be better than others. However, it CAN be mitigated by periodically buffing older units. Going back to Pokemon, Blaziken was initially outclassed by Infernape when the latter was released. Then Gen 5 happened, and Blaziken got Speed Boost. The result? Infernape was the one to be outclassed (and Blaziken wound up so overpowered it was banned by Smogon. And that's not even getting into the fact that it got a Mega Evolution in Gen 6, which was also banned). And then we have stuff like Mega Rayquaza, and now Dynamax and Zacian-Crowned, all of which were so oppressive that they were banned from Ubers. 

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A temporary buffing system could work well. To use my Zelda example, there could be Elixirs you can purchase that temporarily buff your units, allowing them to compete with higher-rank units. Goron hero moving like a rock? Use a Speedy Elixir and make him fast as a boulder rolling downhill! Zora hero hitting like a limp fish? Use a Mighty Elixir and watch your spear rip through enemies like a school of ravenous piranha.

And, as I suggested, you can also have a built-in weakening system that causes units to wear down over time. So even the new, shiny units will lose their edge until they are refreshed. This encourages using different units, even ones that may be weaker and thus wouldn't normally see use at all. Plus you can have challenges that encourage using weaker units to help gain currency that can be used to pull new batches, hopefully with rarer units. Units don't have to be perfectly balanced to be useful.

In addition to powercreep, you also have rarity creep to keep an eye out for. CBAS rarity systems usually work pretty well, but when you start pushing into Ten-star Hyper-Mega-Ultra-Legendary-Mythic Rares, it starts getting ridiculous. Every level of rarity you add makes each level before it feel that much less meaningful and exciting. "Oh, a Mega-Rare? That's cool, but I was hoping for an Ultra-Rare". It's like when they introduced different levels of Super Saiyan in DBZ versus when Goku was the Super Saiyan. Less is more, as they say.

Edited by Lord_Brand

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21 hours ago, Shadow Mir said:

Preventing it outright is impossible. Case in point: Pokemon (it's not a gacha game, but still). Some entities are bound to be better than others.

It's not impossible to prevent it, especially for the purely digital games. It's just that businesses are incentivized to have power creep occur (both for monetary reasons & expanding gameplay options), so they don't really care to prevent it. 

Pointing out the obvious but:

- Games that don't see constant additional content being added can avoid suffering from power creep.

- Games that are both willing & does nerf new content will greatly reduce the level of power creep that occurs, and maybe even outright prevent it.

For example, let's consider the RTS genre and the game Age of Empire 2. This game was released back in 1999, has seem a fair amount of additional expansion being added to the game that includes many new civilizations (that also sometime incudes new mechanics being added as well), but because balance is a huge concern and they are willing to nerf newer content if needed, the general power level in that game hasn't seem much of an increase since its release.

Edited by Clear World

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On 4/21/2021 at 2:07 AM, Clear World said:

I have a personal issue with this 'definition' because it oversimplify what the word 'used' to mean, by only looking at one potential result of power-creep and not the whole thing. What I am about to say is rather 'political', but in my view, it's like saying a person is only racist when they use the N-word. (I realize your written definition does not exclude other possible interpretation, but it only focuses on one aspect, which is my issue). Power-creep used to describe when the power-level of the game increases. Power in itself is rather vague word, but it tends to be focused around: "What is the best tactics/combinations/heroes to play with to get the best results".

Most of the 'solutions' above isn't about addressing 'Powercreep'. They are more about just making the potential problems of powercreep less severe. If older heroes/skills needs buffs/reworks/retrains (retrains = something that is also the same to something old, but now better to keep up with the current power level) or new game content, there is a very high chance the game already suffered from powercreep and this is just the steps being taken to reduce the negative impact of powercreep.

Powercreep is a rather neutral term. It is neither good or bad. It depends on how it is implemented and managed within the game. Increasing the 'power-level' should allow more room to expand on new & unique mechanics/concepts which I think most people will agree is a general positive to the game. Even a straight buff/rework on an already existing unit can cause powercreep if it pushes the power level upward.

Regardless of my rant, to answer the question you laid out with your definitions, because gacha games want money and 'stronger' stuff sells better than 'weaker/neutral' stuff, it will  typically happen & then keep on happening & then again, again, and again. The only way to not make it an issue (though powercreep will still occur) is if the company is willing the buff older content and/or nerf newer content. If a company isn't willing to do post-patch to content after release, then all it takes is one mistake by releasing something that is a lot stronger than it was intended (like when Ayra & Regnal Astra was released), that will force the designers to perform a power spike on all future content.

Cool! Thank for your explanation, my knowledge has been increase. Note that I'm not good in english. so I have a lot of problem with define a word.(U can see in my signature)

So what's the right word to use for "Newer release units keep stronger and stronger than older units"?I'll fix that. Please no hard feeling about it. As a wise man Big Smoke said:"Relax"

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQp_OFgRNZ_tggh4uDi_zl

Edited by Hasechi

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8 hours ago, Hasechi said:

Cool! Thank for your explanation, my knowledge has been increase. Note that I'm not good in english. so I have a lot of problem with define a word.(U can see in my signature)

So what's the right word to use for "Newer release units keep stronger and stronger than older units"?I'll fix that.

Excluding the times when people oversimplify the term Power Creep (to the point it is used for situations that actually doesn't cause powercreep), there really isn't a specific term that is agreed upon by the masses that means that.

If you're looking for a different term, then here is a completely made-up term I just created: Power Escalation - The act of increasing the power level of the game, and can be done either intentional or unintentional. Power level refers to the idea of what are the best options 'known' to get the best results within the game, and something with a higher power level will generally do better than something of a lower power level.

Though similar, Power Escalation should not to be confused with Power Creep, as Power Creep is more about the long term process of a game increasing its overall power level over the course of its life time.

For example, if something is released that is much stronger that the current top power level before its release, that would be considered Power Escalation. Power Creep would then include the moment power escalation occurred plus the process in which the designers attempt to rebalance the game around the new power level, thereby either forcing all previous content to be buff in some manner to stay relevant and/or releasing new content at the new power level. It maybe hard at times to pinpoint exactly when Power Escalation occurred, but if power creep is occurring, than power escalation had happened at some point prior.

...Oh, wow. I actually like my new term & definition... Go me!

EDIT NOTE: I'm aware that the phrase Power Escalation isn't brand new, such as how it is used to describe things within storytelling such as Dragon Ball Z. Instead, I'm more like reconfiguring that phrase for gaming.

Edited by Clear World

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I'd draw inspiration from CCGs. Magic: the Gathering has been around for almost 30 years and is still a juggernaut, so they're obviously doing something right. Their solution is to have a constantly rotating set of legal cards, with every year seeing new sets released and older sets rotating out. That way, they can potentially lower power level if they want to, just by letting the most powerful cards rotate out. At the same time, they also have a bunch of different formats, with old cards being legal in some of them, so people don't ever have to feel that their old cards are now completely worthless. And, well, the proof of the pudding's in the eating. It's worked for them. They've remained culturally relevant since the 1990s, and sold tens of billions of cards.

On 4/17/2021 at 11:21 PM, ZeManaphy said:

Powercreep in Gacha Games is the same in Pokemon. You cannot possibly have a game with over 500 characters/variations to be equally viable.

Unpopular opinion alert! This is why I really wish that they would completely get rid of the National Dex from Pokémon. The more different pokémon that get added to the game, the less and less likely it is that they'll be able to retain anything that remotely resembles balance.

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