There is trouble in the land of Final Fantasy Brave Exvius. After a debacle that got players hopes up during Easter weekend, many had their hopes dashed when the new holiday characters were changed last minute. It just the latest issue in a growing history of poor communication between the company and its community.
After the Easter Debacle, Gumi Needs to Make it Right with the Final Fantasy Brave Exvius Community
The entire ordeal started in FFBE with the Global Exclusive Easter event. Unlike most events, which can be predicted and planned for months in advance, players have no knowledge of the events until just a day or so before they go live. Players hoard for powerful units like Akstar or Golbez because they are released about six months ahead of the Global version in Japan.
Content creators can use this Japanese data to create preview videos for weekly releases of new characters most of the time. Many people rely on these videos when making the tough decision to pull or not to pull on a banner.
However, with events like the Easter one, everyone is in the dark until the data is inserted into the game during the weekly maintenance. From there, data miners scour over the game’s coding to put together the kit of the new units.
In this case, one particular unit, Esther, seemed ridiculously overpowered. Her Limit Burst was crazy powerful and would allow her to outdamage most units in the current Japanese version meta. Sylvie was similarly overpowered as a support unit, easily building her limit burst up and granting 100% elemental resistance. The units almost seemed too good to be true.
Well, they were. Just about 30 minutes before their release, the units were changed–some would argue, “nerfed.”
It Gets Worse
What came from there was outrage. Players cried foul, as such a short notice felt like they were deceived. Content creators had no time to create videos to update fans on the change. Many took to social media, encouraging other players not to pull on the banner after the last-minute change. Overall, the characters are still extremely powerful. They still make the difficulty of some trials seem negligible. Still, it wasn’t necessarily that the characters’ stats were changed. It was just how it was done.
But it got worse. Initially, there was no word from Gumi even recognizing that a change had happened. Technically, there was no change at all, since the retooling happened before they were officially released. Notorious for having communication issues, most expected the company to not even acknowledge the change.
And then it got even worse. Gumi ended up issuing an announcement acknowledging the switch up. However, instead of the company admitting that they realized last minute that their new characters were just too powerful, they misplaced the blame. In a live stream on Easter Sunday, Gumi apologized for the change but said that players should not trust unofficial sources. This was basically interpreted as a declaration of war against content creators and data miners.
But the facts are, FFBE and their content creators have a symbiotic relationship. Both admit as much, though one side will not say directly. Obviously, the creators benefit. They get to play a game that they genuinely enjoy. Some of them can bring in revenue from it. People like Claic and Howl get to be at the forefront of what is generally a very good community (of course, there are always trolls anywhere there is the internet).
But the game and its developers arguably get the most benefit. Basically, content creators are free ads for the game. Youtubers and streamers hype up units. They provide strategies for tough bosses. In periods between the release of meta-changing units, Youtubers can bring attention to some of the more underrated characters, making players spend real money for the digital currency used to pull a unit they would have otherwise ignored.
Obviously, the developers can never directly endorse their content creators. However, they have shown their thanks to them at times. Claic was a guest MC at the Final Fantasy Brave Exvius Fan Festa last season. Other popular community members – Howl, Lyrgard, Dyer, and Lady Hero – were guests on a Twitch live stream after the event. Since Gumi and Square Enix knows the value of their streamers, it makes it even more surprising that they would use them as a scapegoat for their mistake.
A Source of Invaluable Data
It makes sense that a company would not like their consumers rummaging through their coding. With a game that updates content weekly and likes to make the announcements themselves, they probably view data miners as hostile intruders.
Still, data miners are as crucial to the players as they are to the company. FFBE is notorious for providing the bare minimum in terms of some of the specific numbers behind their characters. Things like damage modifiers and specific equipment percentage increases are inaccessible to the average player. This is where data miners come into play.
Though the company stated at their Fan Festa that they would program this information into the game early in 2019, they still have not done that yet. If they really don’t want people going through their data, they should make some of the information that is mined public.
Not That Hard to Say Things in a Different Way
Overall what went wrong here was the wording. The damage could have been mitigated if Gumi would have accepted some responsibility rather than deflecting the blame onto “unofficial sources.” There didn’t have to be any mention or hint towards streamers, content creators, or data miners. A simple, “We apologize, but we realized at the last moment that these characters were not properly balanced, and changed them,” would have sufficed. Heck, saying nothing would have been better than the explanation they ultimately gave.
Now, many of the people who put their blood, sweat, and tears into this game feel hurt. Gumi’s history of poor treatment of their fanbase is beginning to add up. Some are going to get tired of it. Others already have. If something doesn’t change, even the most prominent members of the community are going to move on. FFBE is a great, highly rewarding game. But it isn’t the only game of its type, and despite the investment many players have put into it, there will come a point when it might not be worth it anymore.
Last Word on Gumi, Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, and the Community
Gumi has a long history of a rocky relationship with communicating with their community. It seems to be a cycle of missteps and working to make it right for a short period, before returning to their original issues. Perhaps they can find a middle ground. Hopefully, this latest debacle is something that everyone can learn from and move past. If not, players will start looking for greener pastures.