We are approaching six months since Fire Emblem Heroes was released on mobile platforms on 2 February, 2017. And one of my biggest concerns back then has been completely addressed by the recent live channel update by Nintendo:
Like many Japanese mobage, Heroes uses a “gacha” system where you have to spend in-game currency (orbs) to try and summon the characters that you want. On the game’s release, it was easy to obtain lots of orbs just by completing the story campaign and paralogues. However, those orbs can only be obtained once. My concern back then was: How are non-paying players going to obtain more orbs at a consistent rate after that?
The solution so far for the past few months in Heroes was simple: Quests and events. Lots of them. The Tempest Trials (just added two months ago) and Voting Gauntlet are a good source of orbs. You can also earn orbs just by participating in the Arena — you don’t even have to win or get a high score, you’ll just get those orbs automatically every week (although you’ll lose out on obtaining extra Hero Feathers, another important currency that’s used for upgrading your heroes).
Nintendo and Intelligent Systems have also been very generous with orbs, sometimes they’ll dole out free orbs to players just for logging in daily. Sometimes they’ll even give big batches of 10-20 orbs for special occasions. And even more orbs are coming in August, which is a great way to lure back returning players. Just log in, get a stash of orbs, and go summon your favourite characters. You don’t need to spend a single cent if you learn to conserve your orbs, using them only for the banner events that you really want.
Fire Emblem Heroes isn’t really a “pay to win” game. Spending money on the game is no guarantee that you’ll get the best characters. And even if you do, you still need to put in your own extra work to level them up and inherit the right skills. You also need to practice basic, common-sense tactics and mathematical calculations to win high-level battles and Arena matches, something that money cannot buy.
I hope other mobile developers are paying attention to Heroes, because this is a perfect example of how to do a mobage right: Keep putting out fresh content and updates, and most of all, be generous to your player base. And they’ll keep coming back to play.