The Six Phases Of A Limited-Time Video Game Event

The Six Phases Of A Limited-Time Video Game Event

A lot of mobile games, especially ones that rely on random drops or loot boxes, have special, limited time events. If you play those games, even if you swear you don’t care about missing an event, you kind of always do.

Today is the last day of Uta No Prince Sama‘s first event in their English release, and I’m finding myself at the same state of anxiety as I always am when I try to participate in limited run events for mobile games. The event of the moment is called Wandering Soul Blues. If I get into top 10 per cent of players participating I’ll get a rare photo of Ren, my favourite guy in the game. That’s how these events always work; they offer you the chance to win special prizes that are just good enough to make you want to try to get them.

The past few days have been a rollercoaster of emotions. It’s the same thing I go through any time I participate in an event such as this. I call this the Mobile Game Limited Event Anxiety Cycle. It goes like this:

Everything Is Going To Be OK

All I have to do is play this game I like a lot and get a prize for it? Gee, what a tragedy. This should be a breeze. It seems like the highest ranking tiers are pretty intense, but I am sure I can get to the slightly lower rank that will get me the reward I want. I play this game every day anyway! I cannot possibly imagine how this will be difficult, let alone stressful.

Oops, I Underestimated This

Holy shit this is hard. Yeah, I play this game every day, but I don’t normally grind like I’d need to in order to ace this event. What do they want me to do, play this 24 hours a day? I am having doubts about this.

I'm fucked.

I’m fucked.

This Is Impossible

I can’t see how it is humanly possible to get a high rank without losing your job and all of your friends. It’s not like I’m doing poorly, but I’m not doing well either, because doing well seems to involve emptying your bank account.

I Don’t Need This Reward

Listen, self: It’s fine. You don’t need to do well at this. It’s a video game, and one that relies on predatory loot box mechanics, at that. If you don’t get to the rank you wanted to, you’re not even going to remember a month down the line. What were the chances that you could have ranked higher? They were slim. That was a pipe dream. Those numbers were meant for more dedicated people than you. This failure to rank higher is not a reflection on some kind of moral failing, such as your general inability to commit to things. Just relax, and don’t let this game play you.

This is just one of the spreadsheets i've filled out for this event.

This is just one of the spreadsheets i’ve filled out for this event.

Never Mind, If I Don’t Get This Reward I’m Going To Die

There is no act of black magic I would not commit to win this event. I play in the bathroom, under the desk at work, during lulls in conversations when I’m with my friends. I’ve lurked on Reddit, Twitter and Tumblr for secret strats on how to maximise these last few days. If there’s a way to streamline my grinding, I have found it, and I’m doing it. I’ve broken out fan-made spreadsheets to help me calculate the drop rate percentages and I’m dutifully following my battle plan. My eyes are bleary and red because I was up until 3AM trying to nudge my rank a little higher. I will get that prize, even if it kills me – or kills someone else.

This Is My Life Now

I am currently at work, my phone is out, and I’m running event songs on Wandering Soul Blues on auto-play. I’ve filled out a couple of spreadsheets to optimise my final day of the event. I’m in the top 20 per cent. I no longer remember what life was like before this event began. Wish me luck.


    • Used to be doable in things like Marvel Puzzle Quest. When I played obsessively in its early days, I actually managed to place first in a couple of those, without paid boosters. (I did buy slots, though.)

      Utlimately, though, this kind of ‘mobile game event’ is video-gaming cancer.

      Aggressive, predatory bullshit with no redeeming value whatsoever.

  • I know this is meant to be a little exaggerated for comedic effect, but if you relate to this article: stop. Walk away. If you find that you can’t stop and walk away, reach out and get some help to do that.

    This is exploitation, and the worst kind of people are using it to get rich on not just you, but other vulnerable people.

  • Needs follow up article.

    Would love to hear how this ended.

    My own story wasn’t pretty. Rage of Bahamut pretty much killed my wallet without me knowing. A few dollars here and there I said… by the end of the year when i checked my statement, the total amounted to over 1000 bucks. Those forsaken special events with a “HIGH PERCENTAGE CHANCE OF DROP” Urgggh… that taught me a good lesson I will never forget.

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