The Stargem Scratch – PostRelease

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Figured I’d be done with this but I guess this is what happens when you get invested into something made by professional disappointment merchants.

Alright so the SC Scratch is out. So how is it? Was all my ranting for nothing? No! Because it turns out it’s a complete shitshow so much of what I ranted about before remains valid. Because of that, there’s basically no need to rant again as I still feel the same way.

What we can do however is whine about the odds of getting what we want, as Sega now has to list the actual percentage chance of getting each individual item on their scratches. You can find the complete list here on the official site but here’s a summary:

  • 20.8% – Fenale Costume
  • 14.4% – Male Costume
  • 5.6% – Hair/Accessory
  • 12.8% – Music/Voice/Sticker
  • 4% – Affix item
  • 36% – Booster Item
  • 8% – 120 Casino Coins

For these numbers, I rounded up to 1 decimal place. Due to rounding issues, the total won’t be exactly 100%. Now I want to say I appreciate Sega doing this but I have a feeling that they may have been forced to do it…

Additionally, none of the costumes are recolourable. So if you get a colour you don’t want you’re stuffed. I dreaded this could be the case due to them not aligning with the known colour channel I’d seen on Persona’s outfit. That’s such a scummy limitation to place on something you can’t trade away.

What’s more, you may have noticed that they added Affixing items into the mix. This is in addition to the filler they announced before, which means they thought that the filler I was on about last time wasn’t enough!

…Anyway, it’s tempting to rant again. If you really want that rant go read my last post, cause I’m basically about to repeat what I said then.

 

The Sacrificial Whale

Over in Japan, one whale decided to take one for the team and roll 108 attempts at the scratch. These 108 attempts netted them at least one of every item and they helpfully decided to post the quantities of everything they got.

It’s er… it’s not terribly pretty. Especially when you consider that all those attempts set them back about 228 quid ($324) in StarGems. Holy shit.

Out of their 108 attempts, they got 44 filler items, 34 costumes and 30 items related to Dark Falz that I can’t be arsed to categorize. So they were on the lucky side if my odds posted above are an accurate reflection but they weren’t too far off. Also the highest count for an individual item is 12 Casino Coin tickets. Yikes.

So yeah, it seems like even for whales this system is genuinely shitty. I don’t think I’ve seen one positive reaction to this scratch, but of course the system isn’t going to change as long as whales like the above are actually willing to throw down cash on it anyway. If it turns out they’re not, then we might see a change…

In the meantime? This fucking blows. They’re taking the piss with the 80 SG cost, trade limitations, the filler items and the odds they’ve set with all this. I’m hesitant to even drop my free SG on this and I really want some of these outfits, but I know plenty of people are rolling which means things are going to remain this bad probably.

The Stargem Scratch – PreRelease

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Man I was already salty about this, but I recently found out a couple more things that just make me all the more irritated at it. Time for another rant on this subject.

If you don’t know, the Stargem Scratch is going to work just like the regular AC Scratch, only it’ll use Stargems instead. Also the items obtained through it are untradable. All sound terrible so far? Well I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that the Dark Falz costumes and accessories will be exclusively available through it. Well OK, if you didn’t want those costumes anyway you probably are pleased to hear this or at the very least neutral, in which case good for you! I feel especially bad for the Apprentice clone characters out there, though!

Costumes

Alright, so last time I brought this up I argued that maybe the scratch wouldn’t be so bad because it has a smaller pool of items to pick from, right? I mean you have 5 costumes, related accessories, hairstyles, maybe other related items. It still didn’t bode terribly well if you were a freemium player or even a premium player not willing to spend beyond the subscription fee but it was in the realms of obtainable. Throw some gems gained from Bingo Cards and stuff and you’d probably get what you want eventually.

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Well there was another factor that I didn’t anticipate and that was colour variation. Now I don’t know if the costumes are re-colourable, but I do happen to know via modding that the Falz costumes have one colour channel. These outfit variations do not seem to be limited to that channel, which is a little foreboding. This indicates that you now will also have the additional burden of having to get the costume you want AND the colour you want. It went from a pool of 5 costumes to a pool of 30, which is pretty irritating.

On the plus side, they added colour variations! Like let’s not forget that having this variety is an unexpected surprise, as I’d have been pretty OK with them just leaving them as their default colours. I’m just arguing that due to the limitations they’ve placed on the SG scratch that this inadvertently makes life rougher on those gunning for a particular look.

Filler Items

Getting an outfit at all among hairstyles and accessories getting in the way, then getting the right outfit in the right colour you want isn’t bad enough odds. So they added in a bunch of filler items in the form of drop, Meseta and EXP boosters and a Casino Coin ticket.

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At least the music disks and voices are appropriate, but the rest are blatant filler. That said, there’s a chance that these boosters might actually stack on top of other boosters so the items themselves won’t necessarily be completely useless. That’s not going to be much comfort for those who waited 1-2 months for enough Stargems to maybe get a costume they want only to end up with a goddamn Meseta booster or those who spent money on Gems only to get 120 Casino Coins… Seriously, that’s fucking terrible.

End Rant

Look, I get it. Stargems are meant to be a cash-shop currency. It seems like a bit of a un-necessary step here especially given you have to buy AC and then buy Stargems with that AC in order to play this scratch, but in spirit it’s really no different to regular AC Scratch.

I won’t deny it, good deal of my saltiness is I was waiting for these costumes to come out and that I can’t just get them like I can get literally any other cash shop costume. The main problem I have with this is the items are untradable. Why is this restriction needed? As you can’t trade away the items you don’t want, you’re at the complete mercy of RNG. So those who are whaling it are getting screwed because they can’t make Meseta off the excess and those who are throwing SG at it whenever they can have the odds seriously stacked against them due to the costume variations and filler items.

Let’s not forget that it’s 80SG a go. This is 40 days’ worth of SG if you’re Premium, 80 otherwise and this is assuming you log in every day. Worst case of course, as this isn’t taking SG gained from Bingo Cards or other sources into account. So you’re looking at 1-2 months a go unless you’re willing to throw down extra cash for the privilege, which when you’re already paying a subscription fee feels a little scummy in my opinion.

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So it’s already bad enough that they’re untradable, they’re also time-limited like all other scratches. If the screencap from the trailer above is accurate, you have until the 14th of December to get what you want, which is considerably longer than most scratches. That said, if you’re limited to just the SG you get for logging in, you will get about 4 shots at the scratch if you’re premium and maybe 2 if you’re freemium. Yeah, that many attempts for logging in every day for nearly half a year. That’s real fuckin generous of you, Phantasy Star Crew!

Incidentally, the SG scratch is actually slightly cheaper per attempt than AC Gold. Each attempt at AC gold is around 3 quid ($4.30) and each attempt at SG is roughly 2 quid ($2.89). Except AC Gold isn’t filled with filler items, You’re only getting costumes or accessories! It might be fairer to compare it to regular AC scratch at 1.29 GBP ($1.87) which would mean that SG is actually more expensive, but then its hard to gauge its relative worth given the regular AC scratch has more filler items and we don’t know the odds on each individual item. So in terms of real money value, it’s hard to say at the moment but at least you can sell the items you don’t want from either AC scratch!

Anyway, I went on longer than I intended. The tl;dr is the SG scratch is bloated a bit with some filler items and their untradability combined with slow acquisition of the currency and limited nature of the scratch makes it seem scummy to me. Cheers for reading, hopefully have something cheerier to write about in the future!