What I’m Playing: Mitrasphere

Another of Crunchyroll’s translated gachapon games. This one’s: All PVE, mostly co-op but you can solo most things, casual/free-to-play friendly (no PVP rankings to keep up with!). The art’s very cute anime paper-doll style (like Another Eden, or Crunchyroll’s previous, DanMachi Memoria Freese), the music’s lovely. You run a single character, the gacha is just for equipment. You use a lot of equipment.

Most of the gameplay loop is:

  • Go to the next quest zone, click on whoever has (!) over their head (mostly Matilda), go thru a series of Normal (easy) story & fight stages. You can pretty much faceroll or hit Auto on these if you even slightly try to keep up your gear. If you see someone with (?) over their head, you haven’t unlocked their quest yet.
  • Go to Events, there’s currently (until 07-11) Canary Eggs (basic mid-tier armor), Pehn (progressively harder werewolf boss fight), Job Coaching (you can switch jobs any time), Skill Training (“impossible” target dummies, for seeing how your build works). At any time there may also be Guerilla (1 hour, 3x a day, progress thru a short boss grind to get gear & upgrade gems), and a Weekly mission (same thing, different gear & upgrades). WHEW!
  • Menu brings up your char, check the “Panel Missions” which are long-term goals, “Missions” which are daily and progression completion rewards, and treasure chest.
  • Now look at your Equipment & Upgrades. Limit break duplicates, upgrade gear levels (uses seeds/gems you’ll be spending the rest of your life grinding), slot anything that’s better than current, auto-slot “support” gear (just adds stats, but your old levelled gear isn’t useless!). The game will instruct you once, so pay attention. I’m constantly fiddling with new gear to add another few points to Power.
  • Repeat forever. And ever. Uh, Screen Time reports I’ve now played 28h55m, and it’s only been out 3 days. Some of that’s idle-grinding, but uh, yeah. This ate my free time, sleep, and probably cut into useful work time.

Once you’ve finished the main quest, which currently ends at a bit of a downer cliffhanger (beachcomber) on Edol Outskirts Night (huh, very much like Another Eden dumping you alone on a beach mid-game…), go back to the start and do Hard mode. This requires you to grind a lot and get your “Power” (total gear & stat scores) up, so I’m currently only about halfway thru Hard mode. Once you get thru Hard mode in a zone, you can do Expert… and currently these just demolish me even in a good co-op group. Another week and I should be capable of clearing Expert.

The boss fights are fun, all but expert are tough but doable with a smart group, or a clusterfuck with a bad group. For fuck’s sake, when you’re in Wave 1/2 of a boss fight, sitting at the “lobby” (10 HP monster that doesn’t attack), WAIT FOR FIVE PLAYERS! Half the time, some jackass pokes the lobby as soon as they get in, and then me and them get murdered by the boss before anyone else can join. OH SWEET CTHULHU I’ve never been so angry at some people. But for every one of those, there’s a group where everyone does their job, the healer heals, the tank holds aggro, the rest of us murder the boss, and there’s that sense of “this is a really good game!” It’s like every MMO wants to be in hours, but this does it in minutes. Even some of the almost-clusterfucks are fun, where there’s 1 or 2 of us last-man-standing, the boss nearly dead, and we flick between heal, attack, and just barely squeak out a victory.

Side tasks:

  • Searching: See at the bottom of the screen if you have 0 to 5/5 sparklies you can collect, they’re scattered in various overworld levels, they give you currency for the in-world shop (no gold here, they trade in pearls and souls!). There’s not much more point to exploring the small levels, jumping and walking up the side pathways is pointless, but they’re pretty.
  • Essence of Battle: Complete each of the jobs in Job Training and you unlock this, a leaderboard where you grind bosses to get trivial stat upgrades (they do add up to something, but not much). It’s mostly meters you can move to 100%, which we all love to do!
  • Social: World chat’s like any MMO public chat. Sometimes informative, sometimes nonsense memes. You can make private rooms, join pre-made groups for taking on hard bosses.
  • Fashion: You keep the appearance of every gear you’ve ever taken, and can use it as a cosmetic item over whatever you’re actually wearing. There’s only 2 genders (but you can switch if you don’t like your first choice), the face & hair options aren’t that much initially, but you can buy new options from the in-world merchant! By rank 10 or so everyone looks pretty distinct, instead of just random pickup gear.
  • Spreadsheets: I’m currently working on a big zone spreadsheet just so I can figure out where to go next, where to grind what I need. Will update this link as I finish Hard mode: Mitrasphere

Almost all of this is perfect for me. I can stat-wonk and grind all day on slightly different gear, but I like having my own unique protagonist. I would like more NPCs for personal stories; this has about 6 NPCs who matter, and they have only a couple small side-quests or personal stories to tell. Another Eden was crazy with hundreds of characters you have to level, find the one spot in the world where their personal quests trigger, etc., I’m paralyzed by choice in it; DanMachi was much more playable where the story-mode only has about two dozen characters, but there’s equally hundreds of in-game character variants you have to level, so that was annoying. A couple dozen NPCs with stories, please. No more.

There’s a big content update coming on 07-05, so now is a good time to get started, then see the update as soon as you finish main quest.