Although I don’t talk about it much on this blog, one of my favorite video games of all time is Brave Frontier. It’s a mobile game that a fellow blogger named Jun introduced me to in late 2013. I’ve been hooked ever since.
Brave Frontier is a turn-based strategy game where you play as a summoner who summons deceased heroes and villains from a war between gods and humans. The game features numerous modes, including an in-depth story mode, player versus player arena modes, cooperative raid and guild modes, and more tedious single player challenges such as trials and grand quests. Your units are largely obtained through the game’s gacha summoning system, though there are a handful of units that can be obtained for free throughout the game’s story mode or via special events. While Brave Frontier’s in-game currency can be obtained in some amount through normal game play or via special events, the currency can also be purchased via real money.
While I adore (most of) the gameplay in Brave Frontier, there are some things I’d like to see improved. One of the game’s makers, Gumi, recently announced Brave Frontier 2 with an anticipated release in winter of 2017. With that launch in the (hopefully) not so distant future, I wanted to take a look at five things that would, in my opinion, help the user experience as Brave Frontier 2 readies to launch.
1. Top-tier evolutions available for all units
In Brave Frontier, there are currently (as of October 7, 2017) 222 units that have the ability to evolve to the game’s top rarity tier, Omni evolution. While this does give the option for some team variety, unless you’re regularly summoning for new units, you’re likely not to end up with a diverse set of units capable of performing well in all game modes. Clearly you’ll need different skills for different challenges, however if all units — including legacy units that never received an Omni evolution — had full evolutions, it would allow for greater team diversity and a more engaged player base. After all, if a player can take their favorite units into battle often, they’ll play the game more. Not to say my favorite unit hasn’t received a new evolution for two years or anything.
Who can BF learn from? Fire Emblem: Heroes
Unlike Brave Frontier, every unit in Fire Emblem: Heroes can be evolved to an end stage evolution. Granted, the evolution system in Heroes isn’t nearly as good as the one in Brave Frontier, but they have every single unit available to evolve into the game’s top-tier of units. Of course, combining this idea with my second suggestion would only further allow players to use their favorite units more frequently.
2. Eliminate the gacha system
If you’re not familiar with a gacha system or a gacha machine, basically you put in your money/game currency/whatever, then you get your item/unit/prize at random from whatever is in the pool of items/units/prizes. Make sense? Brave Frontier takes that system and modifies it ever so slightly, providing some gacha pools with limited units or limited types, as well as occasional pools with unit rate ups. That said, when your game has 1700+ total units, and roughly 1200 of those could be pull from various gates, your odds of getting the unit you want aren’t great. There’s a better way…and it’s even been done by Brave Frontier before.
Who can BF learn from? My Little Pony: Magic Princess, King’s Raid, Brave Frontier Japan, and countless other games.
Many other strategy games allow unit acquisition via straight unit purchase, either via in-game currency or real money. Yes, better units require more currency. But that’s to be expected. Brave Frontier Japan actually has a unit pull system where you’re guaranteed the unit you want to get at anywhere between two to six times the cost of a random unit purchase. There’s so many ways to give players access to units to play a game besides a gacha system. I’d hope Brave Frontier 2 chooses one of those systems.
3. A better arena experience
Arena modes are Brave Frontier’s biggest player versus player modes. One of the modes — normal Arena — is a good mode, albeit a tedious grind fest. It was my favorite mode in the game until the final world of the main story came out. The other two modes — Challenge Arena and Colosseum — are loathed by much of the player base. Challenge Arena was grinding turned up to 11 before it vanished for good, while Colosseum is just as much about surviving RNG as it is constructing a good team. If only there was a game that has a good PvP arena strategy mode…
Who can BF learn from? Fire Emblem Heroes
Oh wait. There is. Though I get that the grid based game of Heroes is quite a bit different from Brave Frontier’s game style, the principles behind Heroes’ modes are good. Arena Assault in Heroes forces you to fight a chain of teams with your teams where you can’t repeat your own units. This is essentially a simpler, less time consuming version of Brave Frontier’s Challenge Arena. Heroes also has chain dungeons that force you to start every room over with the same units, though their health hasn’t regenerated. There’s a lot of potential to pull from here to improve one of Brave Frontier’s best, but most maligned, modes.
4. Reduce the number of social game features required for top-end rewards
Most of Brave Frontier’s top-tier items require you to play the game’s two social modes — raid and guild raid. As a solo player who doesn’t like the social aspect of mobile games, this is incredibly frustrating. Add in the fact that guild raid in particular is dominated by pay-to-win players and you lose the more casual player quickly. So. How do you solve this? Surprisingly, we need to turn to the console world to fix a mobile game problem.
Who can BF learn from? WWE 2K18
One of my favorite parts about any sports or fighting game is career mode. WWE 2K18’s career mode looks awesome for many reasons, but the biggest reason is that there’s no paid microtransactions in the game. There is additional DLC you can download for the game, but this is a huge step for WWE, as well as one that Brave Frontier 2 could benefit from. If you want to build a base of high level players, make the high level rewards available to everyone that puts the time into the game — not just those who burn their money to do so.
5. Improve the build customization system
One of the most interesting parts about the current iteration of Brave Frontier is the Omni unit build customization system. Omni units like this one not only have base abilities on their attacks, skills, and leader skills, but these skills can also be improved through the use of omni skill points once the units are otherwise maxed out. The problem is that there’s a lot of overlap in terms of skills unit to unit, plus resetting the unit’s skills costs in-game currency to do. So. How do we fix this?
Who can BF learn from? Brave Frontier
Oddly enough, Brave Frontier 1 may have already given Brave Frontier 2 the answer via it needs via the game’s Summoner Mode (the final mode of the main story line). In that mode, your avatar character has the ability to equip different weapons, change elements, boost specific stats, and swap freely between extra skills on the mode’s main screen. This seems like the logical next step for unit abilities within Brave Frontier 2. Not only would this type of system allow for greater customization of units, it would add more strategy to building your team for specific modes, dungeons, and challenges.