It Looks Like We’re Gonna Get That Free Py, Afterall

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There’s about 16 hours until the stream as I’m writing this post; I think NA can manage two likes in that time span. Anyways, this py giveaway highlights a few problems I have with NA.

First are the conditions to receive certain py rewards. GungHo should not put its user base in a position to fail to receive any game-wide reward. Many likely remember the feel bad moment of not hitting the requisite 30k (or whatever ridiculous number it was) stream viewers to get a free py a while back. It personally made me feel even more unappreciated than before since it revealed that GungHo has no idea how livestreams or their own user base works. The only thing that softened the blow was that the condition was so ridiculous that it was hard to take seriously. 200k likes was a much easier condition, but why, once again, give us the possibility of failing? It would’ve been so much better if they had just waited for whenever 200k rolled around naturally, then revealed the py giveaway. It would’ve felt great and exciting, instead we were put in the horrible position of questioning if our fellow players even cared enough. That’s obviously not the greatest way to hype your game.

As for JP also having the possibility of failing to get rewards, the difference is that’s a failure on part of a single player and not the entire user base. It would still feel bad, but at least it wouldn’t sour your feelings to your peers. And JP would still get rewards even if the player failed, just not on the scale of the five or more pys and stones they’ve been getting.

Second is the contradiction that GungHo wants its player base to mature before releasing more advanced content. We’ve been getting all these neat awoken uveos to take on harder content, but for more casual players, how in the hell are they supposed to skill them up without py giveaways? Most players don’t have the commitment to endlessly farm pys in coin dungeons nor can they complete Challenge Dungeons Lv9 or 10, let alone 7 or 8, for the py rewards. Descended Challenges are nice, but are few and far between. Skill ups are a critical — and frustrating — part of the game; GungHo should make it easier for everyone to get them once in a while.

My last problem is with the GungHo apologists. Arguments about not getting more freebies along the lines of “NA isn’t as big as JP nor spends nearly as much money so we don’t deserve it” annoy me to no end. If anything, the reverse should be true. NA, the region with the significantly smaller player base, should have MORE freebies to encourage growth. I could go on forever on this point, but I’ll just stop the salt here.

Sigh. I have a JP account that isn’t even rank 20 yet that I’ve been “playing” for only a few months now. I have a max skilled Verdandi and Kite and at this rate I wouldn’t be surprised if my newly acquired Baggi was max skilled by the end of the year. I don’t expect NA to ever be like that, but we should get some cool rewards once in a while, too.

21 thoughts on “It Looks Like We’re Gonna Get That Free Py, Afterall

    • Yes and no. I’ll leave it at that since it’s a pretty deep subject that I don’t really want to get into right now. I will say, though, that JP’s giveaways are almost certainly a calculated part of that region’s progression, it’s just delivered in a way to generate more excitement.

      My problem is more with GungHo expecting NA’s player base to “mature”, but how are we supposed to even keep up with JP’s player base when our freebies are so much worse? Their solution seems to be to delaying endgame content while still keeping up with the uevo schedule, giving us a power creep advantage that JP never had; we’re only two months behind on uevos, but we’re five months behind on Challenge Dungeons. Which I guess is fine, but it just seems silly to me to keep releasing more monsters and the average player can barely skill up one of them. Hey, I guess there’s always the MP Shop!

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  1. Excluding inbox py’s, I have 7 fire, 4 water, 7 wood, 7 light, and 8 dark py’s from freebies.
    Those are all the gifts from the live streams…

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  2. I’d be curious to see some raw numbers like player growth over the last two years. NA will probably never be the phenomena JP is, but my impression is the number of players isn’t insignificant either.

    Starting streams was a step in the right direction (the quality of said streams is a whole other conversation), but I think it’s coming time the NA branch step up their game before they bleed a lot players. As I see it, there’s no reason for the discrepancy and the logistics behind fixing it should be well within the reason and interest of all involved. I shouldn’t think pushing the button to give us more digital goodies is like reinventing the wheel.

    I don’t know, shouldn’t we raising more of a racket about this? GH NA is clearly tone-deaf but every time this comes up I just see NA players be passive aggressive and ultimately accept it while JP mains continue to make NA hard mode and JP racism jokes forever.

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    • > I think it’s coming time the NA branch step up their game before they bleed a lot players.

      This is one of my fears; I don’t know why it isn’t one of GungHo’s There are so many issues I have with the game, but feel like more generous freebies are one of the simplest fixes. Most veteran players know damned well that JP gets much better rewards and the inferiority and envy just breeds discontent. That may not directly lead to losing players, but when you have a problem with a game and also feel like a second-class citizen, that’s when you quit the game. To be honest, I don’t see why all regions just don’t get the same rewards as JP. It doesn’t directly cost anything for them to give out digital freebies and would go a long way toward relieving the tensions between regions.

      I’d guess many players aren’t that vocal because the game is still fundamentally fun and rewarding to play, despite its flaws. GungHo does just enough to keep players happy. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t improve the game and the experience more, though.

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    • Thinkgaming has NA PAD’s user base at 182k daily users for iphone only. Estimates for ipad and Android are behind the paywall, as are historical numbers.

      Appannie is a little better, but their free stuff only shows download ranks. Here’s the alltime graph for iphone: http://screencast.com/t/usRVdikD. And here’s the one for Android: http://screencast.com/t/Gt6f0ZrMQzx

      Keeping in mind that a) these are ranks, not absolute numbers, so even if rank is going down player growth might be going up, if the overall market size is increasing, and b) download rank is only a proxy for player base size, since apps tend to have wildly disparate retention rates, the picture I’m seeing here is that of a solidly successful app that’s seeing little if any playerbase growth.*

      * to be fair, most games do not see much user base growth after initial launch except for paid acquisition (e.g. ads) — most games would be more than happy to just have user base stay steady over time.

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  3. Also Japan has this urgent dungeon: http://puzzledragonx.com/en/mission.asp?m=1307

    I definitely wouldn’t recommend it to farm a particular monster (most of them have such a slim chance to appear…), but it makes getting jewels way less painful for non-IAP players in my opinion. ALSO you get a chance at things like pys, skill up monsters… It’s a very nice idea and it usually gets x1,5 drop rate in events.

    I really feel that JP Gungho is trying to make certain things easier to get as the game evolves, as they become more relevant. I also feel, from what I read, that NA simply isn’t getting even half of those improvements… Hopefully that will change soon.

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    • That dungeon is just one of the things where I don’t understand why NA doesn’t have it yet. We’ve been getting system updates and uevos at a good rate recently, but updates that make drops more accessible to everyone should also be a top priority. At least it looks like we’re getting Super King Carnival soon.

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  4. 200,000 is a pretty huge benchmark for NA. I just don’t understand the logic. Let’s compare this upcoming stream (which happens in 20 minutes) to last stream. Last stream, we received a Py even though some of the descend runs weren’t so polished. This stream, we’re celebrating a really cool benchmark, and what do we get?

    Oh. The exact same thing we got last stream for doing NOTHING. This basically has given me no incentive whatsoever to participate in the events NA attempts to hold outside of the game. Comparing this stream to last stream, we’re CELEBRATING. One of each Py is what we deserve for hitting 200,000. That’s a big number, and we certainly weren’t there last stream.

    And GungHo wonders what’s wrong with its streams! But like they’ll ever listen to us. And if NA players migrate to JP and still IAP, then it’s not like GungHo cares. They’re still making money. I play a few other RPGs with a similar pay-for-magic-stones and do a giant RNG-fest for units to clear dungeons and almost universally JP is better than NA/global. Nobody cares about NA, JP is what rakes in the cash.

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  5. Apologists and over zealous fans are a detriment to us all. Instead of promoting positive change and coming together as a community in a productive way. We get a great deal of inflammatory rhetoric about how we should be so grateful that we are even allowed to play the game at all and to either take it or quit playing. Which is naturally the most reasonable conclusion to draw, of course. It absolutely doesn’t make sense to enjoy something and want to improve upon it for the better. That would be illogical.

    Good post as always, Setsu

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  6. Setsu,

    I love your blog. English is not my native language so please bear with me.

    As a game designer, I have dealt with many mobile game companies in Japan. They have a very specific way of doing business.

    Maybe you were not playing PAD back in 2012-2013, there was only the NA version. For a longtime EU and other regions kept pushing to get their own version. GungHo CEO gave an interview where he was specifically asked the reason for not expanding PAD to other markets. He replied that they wanted to take it slow and were waiting for 5 stars reviews in NA app store before moving on ! A load of crap since the game was already massively popular. (I’ll try to find you the article if you’re interested).

    All I’m trying to say is that japanese games wherever they are are still managed out of Japan. PAD NA staff have little say in what gets released or not. It’s much more complicated than that. The content we have in NA is because of NA staff pushing real hard. Is there a room for improvement ? Yes but complaining about how things are handled without acknowledging the japanese management and the issues that come with it is wrong if you ask me.

    Keep up the good stuff man !

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    • I appreciate the input, but I’m not singling out NA staff in particular. When I refer to NA or JP, I refer to the game region, not necessarily the staff that runs it. When I refer to GungHo, I refer to the company as a whole, including the main Japanese company and any foreign branches/affiliates/whatever as a single entity. I was already under the impression that NA staff had little control over what updates and such that we get, although that was just a broad assumption since I don’t actually know how the company operates. That’s why I don’t necessarily single out NA staff.

      I’ll admit that’s what it sounds like sometimes, though, as it’s always easy to refer to what’s closest to you when complaining.

      I won’t pretend to know how Japanese game companies typically do business, but I’ve played enough of their games to know that dealing with them is always quite frustrating. Although dealing with most game companies in general is frustrating, not just Japanese.

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  7. > “NA isn’t as big as JP nor spends nearly as much money so we don’t deserve it”

    I’m not a Gungho apologist, but I don’t think this is an accurate portrayal of what we on this side of the argument think.

    The way I see it is… Just look at how many “non-IAP” players there are in NA. They are everywhere, and many even consider it a badge of honor. (“I haven’t spent a DIME on this game!”, “I would never spend money on this game except for when they have a 5 stones for 1 dollar deal!”)

    To start, I don’t understand why so many western players seem to refuse spending money on this game. If they love the game as much as they claim, why wouldn’t they spend money on it? They get some good stuff, enjoyment, and they support the game at the same time. I think this is an epidemic that plagues western players to their own detriment.

    Now look at it from Gungho JP’s view. Let us suppose that my claims above are true. Then certainly, Gungho JP would have the numbers to show that those conjectures hold. They basically see that western players are extremely frugal about spending on a whole. Obviously, we are putting aside huge whales like you, Setsu, and even smaller spenders like me who buy 30 stones every golemfest.

    Now, I’m not saying NA doesn’t “deserve” (what does that even mean?) better rewards, but Gungho JP sees no incentive to make the game any easier for us when we, as a whole, REFUSE to spend money anyway.

    From Gungho JP’s perspective: Why give NA free rewards that would make NA spend even LESS money? As we can see from your blog post history, Setsu, whale players dedicate many stones to Pii farming and such. By making the game “harder” with fewer free rewards, they incentivize us to spend more money on stoning coin dungeons, stoning Starvault, etc.

    Finally, to your point about “giving more freebies → encourages growth”—this won’t work. Pazudora NA is already a very, very mature game with little room for growth.

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    • I agree, NA and other regions are not primary markets for GungHo. Their focus is japan for various reasons. Now if NA players were as pushy as the Japanese ones maybe we would see more content coming our way. Maybe that’s what those 200k likes were all about. GungHo NA need the players to help them show some muscles.

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  8. I appreciate your input, but I think you’re missing the point of my admittedly poorly thought out rant. I’ll try to explain myself.

    You’re saying you’re not a GungHo apologist, so obviously your argument isn’t in the nonsensical category of the text you quoted. What does “deserve” mean? It doesn’t mean anything, but that’s the sentiment many apologists uses in their “arguments” which is precisely what frustrates me.

    The argument of NA not spending money = not getting rewards doesn’t make any sense to me. It doesn’t directly cost GungHo anything to give out freebies. The costs of any secondary consequences are pure speculation on our part. While the JP and NA player bases are obviously different, would the effects of freebies be all that different between regions? As in, if freebies would change NA’s spending patterns, wouldn’t that also be true for JP to some extent? Are any differences really worth the discontent caused by the discrepancy in rewards? We don’t actually know since we don’t know if GungHo is actually applying solid business reasoning or are just being negligent. The lack of transparency only compounds the issue.

    For the speculation that freebies would cause NA to spend less, I would counter with speculation that heavy spenders would still spend the same amount of money regardless, just in different places; I know I would. I’d also counter that freebies, Pys in particular, would actually encourage light-IAPers — and maybe by some miracle, non-IAPers — to spend as they would be inclined to max skill that monster; people love completion. They’d also be more invested in their teams, maybe helping user retention. Of course, as far as I know, the exact opposites could be true, but who really knows except GungHo? Without inside information, trying to speculate what their reasoning behind things is just that. So what remains is that JP gets better freebies and the frustration in NA that comes along with it.

    In the end, my problem is less with not getting rewards, but the reasoning behind why we aren’t getting them and conditions under which GungHO gives them to NA. As someone labeled as a whale, it really doesn’t affect me if we get freebies, it maybe saves me a few hours and a few stones. What bothers me are the discrepancies between regions and feeling unappreciated as a result, regardless of any reasoning behind it. I also worry about user retention, as I don’t want to play a game no one else is; I wouldn’t have anyone to show off to if that were the case. I do think freebies would encourage the average player to keep playing.

    I do agree that NA has a strange aversion to spending money on games they enjoy. I don’t really understand why it exists. P2W hate makes sense in an actually competitive game, but even PAD’s ranking dungeon is just a ruse to get people to spend more money.

    Finally, yes I’m absolutely wrong about “giving more freebies → encourages growth”. I should’ve said freebies will encourage user retention, or at least do something to prevent the possible bleeding of players.

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    • Thanks for the response. I think your points are fair. I wanted to discuss in more depth some points. I have no intention of saying that you are wrong, as we can both see that most of our rebuttals are based on speculation.

      > The argument of NA not spending money = not getting rewards doesn’t make any sense to me. It doesn’t directly cost GungHo anything to give out freebies. The costs of any secondary consequences are pure speculation on our part.

      That argument makes sense to me because I see JP’s freebies as an act of gratitude to their playerbase—the same playerbase who are printing billions of Japanese Yen for Gungho JP annually.

      Basically, “Wow, thanks guys for making us so much damn money, here’s some piis so that you can actually keep up with all the new content we’re able to generate with the money you give us!”

      (Now, clearly this opens up an avenue for another counter-argument: JP gets piis because they have shorter notice than NA to prepare for new content…….. but I don’t think Gungho JP/NA are thinking like that.)

      This also sounds suspiciously like the “JP deserves freebies” argument, so maybe I am being nonsensical in the end and an apologist. (However, I think Gungho NA is dumb and bad, so I don’t think I’m an apologist.)

      > While the JP and NA player bases are obviously different, would the effects of freebies be all that different between regions? As in, if freebies would change NA’s spending patterns, wouldn’t that also be true for JP to some extent?

      The effects of the freebies is indeed something we can only speculate about. However, in the end I suppose that I must really belong to the “NA doesn’t deserve freebies” if I think that Gungho JP’s freebies are acts of gratitude to the playerbase.

      > The lack of transparency only compounds the issue. … What bothers me are the discrepancies between regions and feeling unappreciated as a result, regardless of any reasoning behind it.

      I feel the same way, and therefore I think that Gungho NA and JP are using the entirely wrong approach. What I CAN understand is their silence on the matter. If they said anything, then Gungho NA would basically be admitting that Pazudora US is a worse version of Pazudora JP… not exactly great for attracting and keeping existing players. But Gungho NA might be stuck in a difficult situation—I would bet money that it is Gungho JP who decides what rewards Pazudora US gets, and Gungho NA just tries to do damage control without saying anything outright—thus the lack of transparency.

      But regardless, players figure that point out after playing for a little bit.

      Obviously, we can agree that the solution is, “NA should get more free rewards”.

      pls gunghosan i just want 1 more mokupii for my +297 bastet

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      • > Thanks for the response. I think your points are fair. I wanted to discuss in more depth some points. I have no intention of saying that you are wrong, as we can both see that most of our rebuttals are based on speculation.

        I don’t think you’re wrong either. I’m sorry if I came off in such a way that I implied that you were.

        > Basically, “Wow, thanks guys for making us so much damn money, here’s some piis so that you can actually keep up with all the new content we’re able to generate with the money you give us!”

        I think this is really just a guise to engender goodwill. I think freebies are a calculated part of their progression, otherwise average players wouldn’t be able keep up with the slew of new awoken uevos. This is just a conspiracy theory on my part though, something that’s a product of my pessimism towards GungHo in general. I acknowledge that this could actually be the case.

        > If they said anything, then Gungho NA would basically be admitting that Pazudora US is a worse version of Pazudora JP

        I agree that that’s not something they can openly admit. I guess it’s more that since they aren’t transparent about the things we think they should be like uevos and new dungeons, that frustration spills over to things where we know they can’t be. They are getting a bit better with this, though, as evidenced by the past two streams and revealing future uevos.

        > I would bet money that it is Gungho JP who decides what rewards Pazudora US gets, and Gungho NA just tries to do damage control without saying anything outright

        I think this as well.

        > Obviously, we can agree that the solution is, “NA should get more free rewards”.

        Pretty much. I’m not expecting anything on the level of JP, but I think getting one Py once a month during their streams is a great start and would probably satisfy me enough. They should lose the stupid conditions to get them, though. I also think it should be a gift dungeon so players can get the one they need the most.

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