Gamer

Dear FFBE, After 1,009 Days Of Mobile Gaming, We're Over—And It's Not You, It's Me

Mobile games are something that most of us are exposed to in this day and age⁠—be it Candy Crush, Plants VS Zombies, Clash of Clans or PUBG Mobile.

Most gamers, especially console gamers (PC gamers included, no fighting.) detest the idea of mobile gaming because it introduced micro-transactions to the AAA gaming scene.

Context: AAA games are usually games that cost a lot to develop, think GTA5, Assassin’s Creed and the like.

My friend is one such gamer and he constantly persecutes me for playing mobile games.

If you’ve been playing games, you’d definitely have noticed the increasing aggressiveness of micro-transactions in recent games.

Despite that, there are still millions, if not billions of mobile gamers all around the world.

Ah, microtransactions, a lazy gamer’s best friend.

I’m sure you’ve seen instances of your ah-gong or aunty playing Candy Crush at dinner.

I’ve been a gamer for as long as I can remember and I’ll game on whatever I can get my hands on. Mobile gaming helps scratch that itch just right when I’m outside the comfort of my home.

The number of mobile games released daily is shocking, to say the least, and this means that most players probably don’t stick to a single game for long.

New things are always exciting and coupled with our short attention spans, moving from game to game seems unavoidable.

According to Andrew Chen, apps usually lose 77% of their Daily Active Users (DAU) within the first 3 days of installing the app, and within 7 days will lose about 90% of their DAUs.

The Mobile Love Of My Life

However, there are some standouts, and this piece is about the one game that I got stuck playing: Final Fantasy Brave Exvius (FFBE).

By stuck, I mean that I’ve been playing the game for 1009 days now in a row. It honestly feels like a long term relationship to me.

While it’s nothing much to boast about, I’m still playing the game even though my friends who first got me into it have long abandoned it.

Inching closer to 3 years of play now.

For the uninitiated, FFBE offers original stories and characters in the game and allows you to summon characters from other FF games.

This means that your favourite characters such as Cloud, Lightning, Garnet and so on can be summoned in the game.

FFBE allows you to build a team around your favourite main characters.

Those Who Have Fallen Before Me

For those unfamiliar with gacha/gachapon type games, they are usually character collector-type games with some form of gambling. I’ve seen stories of people gambling away their money with reckless abandon.

Summon rates in the game are not very kind.

There’s a post on the FFBE subreddit of how a guy unloaded over $16,000 in the game (that’s about RM65,000!!!).

It took his family falling apart and him facing a mountain of debt before he made the drastic decision to stop playing the game. Luckily, there was somewhat of a happy ending in his update.

While I’m not a whale (someone who spends a lot of money in games) by any means, I’ve actually dumped some dosh in the game to chase after a unit that I want.

Squall, the main character of FF8.

There’s no better feeling than having the character you’re chasing after pop-up in a summon. It’s exhilarating.

Making The Relationship Work

As mentioned earlier, I’m no stranger to spending money in-game.

But more than money, I’ve invested a hell of a lot of time into playing FFBE.

I played the game during my trips to Japan, Venice, Milan, and Hong Kong to just name a few. The screen of my phone even has a visible burn-in mark on a white background.

That is how dedicated I am to this particular relationship, bringing it along trips to see if we can make it work.

If you’re wondering why I’ve bothered playing FFBE for almost 3 years now, it’s because it’s a very low-commitment game and the pixels in the game are pretty.

It also helps when you can show off a strong unit—it’s a comforting stroke to my fragile man-ego.

The daily tasks in it can be completed in under 10 minutes, but for some reason I still found myself wasting even more time in-game on other things.

Challenges such as setting up a proper team to fight bosses are very time-consuming as it requires you to do your research beforehand.

Finding Friends In Unlikely Places

The game was originally introduced to me by my housemates who played the game long before I did.

They don’t play it anymore and that leaves me as the last man standing within my circle of friends.

A player I met on Reddit, whose message alone kept me going.

While the game is popular, it wasn’t a mainstream game along the lines of Pokemon Go or Candy Crush.

I never really expected to find anyone else who played the game after my friends.

So, imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon a guy playing FFBE while smoking. I practically screeched to a halt and walked back to talk to him.

We chatted for a bit and he revealed that he was quite new to the game.

Glad to finally find another FFBE player in Malaysia, I suggested we trade friend codes then guided him to the subreddit which was pretty much our best source of information for the game.

While I was writing this piece, I decided to check if he was playing the game. To my disappointment, he stopped playing about three weeks ago.

Once again, I’m all alone on what feels like a sinking ship.

Resisting The Sunk Cost Fallacy

This is a term that can apply to a few things in our daily lives. Since we allocated X amount of hours to do a certain thing, we expect that our investment, be it in time or money will be rewarded later on.

Since I invested this much into the game—what kind of return am I expecting from it?

To be fair to the game, the enjoyment I take away from it is good enough to keep me playing.

However, as time goes on, it feels more like a slog to get through.

With stronger units getting released fortnightly, the trials and challenges get harder as well. And as mentioned earlier, you’ll need to do your research otherwise trying to win against the boss is pointless.

Settling The Divorce Papers

While I have slowly reduced my playtime with the game, I still log in on the daily and try to do as much as I can but I’ve realised that I’m just not that addicted to the game anymore.

FFBE, it’s not you, it’s me. I’m just not so into you anymore.

For those struggling to quit a game, I’d suggest you try and make a list of the pros and cons.

Once you list them down and realise playing the game is more of a hassle instead of something fun, it might change how you view it.

Slowly learning to let go, leaving the energy full.

As for myself, I believe I’ll eventually stop with the game. It was a fun ride while it lasted but the game has devoured too much of my time.

I have started to draft the divorce papers and when I have truly given up, the papers will be signed and I’ll be uninstalling the game.

But who knows, I’m a fickle man after all. It won’t take much to tempt me back into this relationship.

 

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