Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds launched just under a month ago for global players, but there isn’t as much fanfare as it could have gotten for fans of the critically acclaimed console games, and of the Ghibli style. Global players have had to wait over a year before this release, but not all is well in this supposed home away from home.
At time of writing, the game has dipped below a 4-star rating on Google Play. The lower-score reviews talk about how pretty the game is, with dissatisfaction expressed regarding the auto-play, character locked classes and glitches. However, the community at large is accusing Netmarble of purposely handicapping the global version of Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds through a variety of ways, namely, lowered probabilities for high rarity familiars, and the Territe material in relation to the blockchain / cryptocurrency / NFTs. As one player writes:
Great visual, sound, and lore design. However, auto play completely holds it back. Even if you manage to find all 3 options to disable it, autoplay still takes over every time you accept a new quest. It feels terrible. I’ve tried on both the pc and mobile clients. I’ve seen players say it’s all auto anyway until after level 30. If I want to watch a game play itself I will open up Twitch. This issue, as well as the game already being setup for blockchain features, is going to make this a skip.
In the game’s most recent update, the new content apparently also came with lowered drop rates for 4-star Familiars. Players are able to hatch familiars, 4-star being the highest base rarity in the game. You can select parameters to increase the odds of obtaining a 4-star Familiar, up to around 30%. However, players are claiming it has been lowered to 10%, or even 5%. The rates for a 3-star Familiar has also suffered, with the source claiming an original 74% chance dropping to 22% chance. Below is one comparison, with more community examples here.
It would appear that these lowered rates were made to match the Korean release as shown here, but nonetheless, players are not pleased with the change. To hatch these familiars, you require Territe, which brings us to what is probably the main source of ire for most players.
THE TERRITE PROBLEM
Territe is a currency that is widely utilized in Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds, and apparently only exists for the global version. Territe is supposed to be part of the Blockchain / NFT currency, as per plans to include such features into the game. There is also a 2022 roadmap you can check out here, where plans for a staking system, and eventual addition of NFTs are briefly outlined.
Players can obtain Territe without needing to pay anything, but one player shares how trying to obtain enough Territe to craft 60 items for the global server will allow them to craft 360 items on the other releases. The drop rate is apparently as low as 2 Territe in 2 hours, in addition to requiring Territe Energy to obtain the material to begin with.
A comparison of Territe use between the Korean / Japanese servers and global servers of Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds is summarized by HDHaZmY as such:
|KOREA / JAPAN||GLOBAL|
|NO TERRITE||Heavy Territe Limitations|
|Unblocked upgrading||Blocked upgrading|
|Unblocked crafting||Blocked crafting|
|No Territe Grind due to not having Territe||Time-sensitive Territe Grind|
|Free premium currency||Premium currency replaced by Territe|
|F2P friendly||Not F2P friendly|
As for the actual blockchain currency itself in the Official Territe Token (NKT) and Asterite Token (NKA), should you have an associated MBX wallet linked, you can directly purchase the best-of-the-best equipment, allowing those who opt in be able to essentially dominate the competitive player vs player game mode and “destroying any sense of progression”.
As it stands, many developers and players alike are more opposed than agreeable to NFTs. As these tokens are being included in a licensed property, namely the Ni no Kuni series, should that license be taken away, it will more than likely spell the doom of the game if players aren’t already jumping ship.
Unlike the potential justification you can provide for aggressive monetization in a free to play title, there really is just no value in the addition of blockchain. When a supposed “stable” exchange can crash and result in losses of billions of dollars, the assured value of tokens is a myth. While game updates do not touch on the existence of these systems, there are far too many players voicing their concerns and sharing their experiences that we as a whole need to pay attention to. Perhaps the worst thing is that this implementation is specifically only for the global release in its current state, when you know that Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds can function without cryptocurrency elsewhere.
One would hope it’s not too late to reverse such decisions and that Netmarble will be able to dole out appropriate compensation, but until then, we can shine the spotlight on player discussions and make informed decisions. Just see Axie Infinity, with Bloomberg covering its fall from grace with regards to the play-to-earn dream. Even discounting “play-to-earn”, the fact is that the implementation is actively making the game worse for players, with added grind, unfriendly to non-paying players, and even big spenders get affected if they don’t opt in to cryptocurrency, making for a no-win situation all round.