The global version of Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius has largely adhered to the Japanese version’s schedule. While the game does have its share of global-exclusive content and events, Gumi and Square Enix use the Japanese release as a baseline. However, one key difference has stuck out in recent days: the drop rates for limited-time units.
Limited-time units usually see release as part of a collaboration with an outside game or as part of a holiday celebration. Unlike original units or Final Fantasy-based units, they cannot be acquired from Select Tickets. After a collaboration event ends in two weeks, limited-time units disappear from the pool until a reissue of the event. A rerun is never guaranteed due to licensing issues, profitability, or, in the case of King’s Knight, the game shutting down. Players have had a problem with acquiring limited-time rainbows, or 5-star base units, due to the new 7-star upgrade system.
The game requires two copies of a 5-star base to awaken it to 7-star. However, pulling just one can be daunting. According to the game’s individual rates, the probability of pulling a rainbow is 3 percent, while the probability of getting any advertised banner rainbow is 1 percent. Claic Yuzolt, a popular streamer, failed to get Fayt, a limited unit from the Star Ocean: Anamnesis collab, with 405,000 Lapis. In terms of real-world money, he spent $2,250 and lost.
As a reaction to the new 7-star system, Gumi and Square Enix saw a problem with how hard it would be to acquire these units. Starting with the Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth collaboration event, the Japanese version implemented key changes to facilitate acquiring limited 5-star bases. The upgrades included rotating single-unit banners (in addition to the step-up banners), on-banner rainbow rate increases, and limiting off-banner units to other units from that franchise.
As the banner news began to trickle out, Global players received a rude awakening. First, the developers removed the individual, rotating banners from the Global version of the event. This forces unlucky players who miss out on the step-up to spend on a more expensive, less effective step-up or try on the 3-rainbow banner. Second, they withheld the on-banner rate increase from 1 percent to 2 percent. Finally, the team added off-banner units to every banner.
These changes have tremendous negative effects on drop rates compared to the Japanese version. Global’s version of the step-ups are only half as effective at pulling the featured unit, while the actual banner itself is a third as effective for pulling any Valkyrie Profile unit. Even with the extra 25k step-up banner, Global players’ chances of acquiring a 7-star unit are 20% lower than Japan’s version, and the chances of pulling a Super Trust Mastery Reward are 15% lower.
While the collaboration excited fans of Valkyrie Profile, big spenders’ mouths watered over Arngrim’s Super Trust Mastery Reward, Bahamut Tear. This sword is tailor-made for Hyoh, one of the best units in the game. The hype around his release made Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius the Google Play Store’s highest-grossing RPG (From AppAnnie) when he dropped. However, getting a Bahamut Tear requires pulling four copies of Arngrim. With Japan’s rates, acquiring four was difficult but manageable. In Global, it becomes an expensive task that will even test the wallets of top spenders.
The single 3-rainbow banner is a particular sore spot for players of the Global version. The chance of getting any on-banner rainbow rate is 1 percent, meaning that with the three-way split, players only have a 0.33 percent chance of getting a certain unit. The second Halloween banner from the previous week had the same structure as well. To add insult to injury, ElytraXP, Square Enix’s community liaison for the game, claims to have told the development team how unpopular it is. Instead of implementing a solution, the Brave Exvius team not only kept the same rates, but went out of their way to do so.
The community is furious. Some are calling for spending boycotts, while others are outright quitting. Others, however, aren’t spending because the new rates are so low. On the 11k step-up, players have a 40% chance of not getting Arngrim, and a 25% chance of getting no 5-star unit at all. As a player, I wanted an Arngrim because future upgrades and features made Bahamut Tear easier to get nine months down the road. Instead, I’m not pulling because I don’t want to take the risk.
Howl, a popular streamer and content creator, said on his YouTube video, “It’s not that Global needs to get what the Japanese version got. It’s that Japan realized that there was a situation with how the banners weren’t working out, and implemented some sort of a solution. Global needs to realize that split limited-time banners don’t really work and need a solution as well.”
SilvosForever said on Reddit, “It never bothered me that the Global and Japanese versions of Brave Exvius were different. What does really bother me is when we get a steady, constant stream of the same content, except less consumer friendly. It’s becoming not a statement of Global being different from JP, but that Global is simply worse than JP.”
Caliber, a user from the Brave Exvius forums, opined, “We could half get behind this banner if the ONLY rainbows one got were from this collab. But with what we assume is the standard 1%/2% featured/offbanner thing, it’s just gross and truly a horrible attempt to cash in on making Hyoh the best he can be.”
Gumi and Square Enix’s main defense was that “Global and Japan should be considered two different versions.” This has largely rung hollow in the community. The content of events is mostly the same, and the units are usually unaltered regardless of power level. While players generally accept that Global and Japan are two different games, they take issue with the Global version being less consumer-friendly as the main difference.
Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius is no stranger to accusations of cash grabs. In September of 2018, the community rioted over the initial changes to the 5-Star Select system. Gumi and Square Enix delayed the release of Select Tickets for two months and removed a second, substantially cheaper Select Ticket from Global’s version of the Final Fantasy XI Mog King event. An advertisement for a scrapped paid bundle with a Select Ticket led people to believe that the developers intentionally removed it for profit.
Discussion about the missing Select Ticket consumed debate about the game for two weeks. The backlash was so strong that content creators and big spenders temporarily stopped spending money until the missing ticket was announced. Two weeks later, Gumi added a Select Ticket to Hyoh’s story event, placating the players in time for their quarterly splash.
The accusations go as far back as August of 2016, when the team released a bundle of easily-acquirable materials for $6.99. In September of 2017, Gumi and Square Enix added Eve to Global’s version of the paid NieR: Automata banner. Eve has a similar kit to Adam, who the game gave out for free. Coincidentally, 9S, the other gold unit on the paid banner, was the most hyped unit due to his top-tier Trust Mastery Reward and utility as a support. Eventually, Gumi’s document leak confirmed that Eve was designed to be given out for free as well. Players were furious, accusing the team of creating Eve to dilute the drop rates for 9S.
Square Enix has a long history of making cash grabs with other intellectual properties as well. In Kingdom Hearts: Unchained X, they delayed the implementation of Mickey and Brooms for almost an entire year in the Global version, forcing players to spend more money to power their medals to their full potential.
The main concern is the future. Along with some of Japan’s collaborations, the Christmas and Chinese New Year events will most likely have a similar structure, with 3 featured rainbows for each old unit. Other players are saving up for Randi, a limited-time unit who represents the next level of power creep. The most hyped collaboration is the Xenogears event. This banner, which will feature three meta-warping rainbow units, will also introduce a modified version of the Select system for limited units. If they withhold more upgrades from the Japanese version, it may be the final straw for a community that increasingly believes it is being exploited for profit.
This article was written by Informed Pixel reader Ben Smith and does not include any paid promotion