Fans of Fire Emblem Heroes joined together today to celebrate the game’s third anniversary, only to get some devastating news.
The game’s anniversary, like many free-to-play mobile game anniversaries, promised generous gift and big reveals. And for the most part developer Intelligent Systems delivered. Special Valentine’s Day characters were announced, a fan vote was called to decide the next big addition, and a change to gacha rarity will work in favor of the player. But at the end of the announcement video, Intelligent Systems threw in one last surprise. Fire Emblem Heroes is getting a monthly paid pass that locks stat boosts and quality-of-life changes behind a paywall.
The “Feh Pass” will cost $9.49 a month when it becomes available on February 5. Subscribers will get five benefits, all of which are detailed in video below.
For the more brief version, the Feh Pass will take old heroes from the game’s launch and update them with new art and raised stats. This is the biggest point of contention for many fans, as these upgrades are only available via the Feh Pass. It’s the first time the game has completely locked new content behind a paywall. And since this content is more powerful heroes, it verges on being pay-to-win.
Two other pass perks also seem like pay-to-win benefits. Subscribers will gain access to special quests to earn valuable currency twice a month. They’ll also be able to form stat-boosting bonds with three hero characters, whereas the non-paying player only gets one bond.
Finally, Feh Pass subscribers will gain two menu options. One will allow the player to re-do their last turn (although Intelligent Systems makes it clear this won’t apply to PvP battles). The other will be an “Auto-Start” that gives the player the power to replay a map over and over with the tap of of a button. It’ll be useful for those who like to auto-farm certain content.
The response to the Feh Pass on the Fire Emblem Heroes subreddit has been overwhelmingly negative.
Many are pointing out the fact that the pass-exclusive stat bonuses feel dirty. Others are criticizing the quality-of-life features like the Auto-Start. They compare it to other gacha games like Nintendo’s own Dragalia Lost, that recently added more auto features for free.
It’s also a big deal for this particular fandom because Fire Emblem Heroes has a history of being a generous game. Intelligent Systems gave out currency to apologize for a small bug multiple times, and often celebrated events by letting everyone have a free rare character. The sudden emergence of a monthly paid pass with exclusive content is bound to feel like a slap in the face for those who stayed loyal for three years.
One question that remains is who came up with this idea? Is Intelligent Systems looking for greater profit? Or are the higher-ups at Nintendo hearing the siren song of microtransaction cash? One Reddit user might have found the culprit…
Sources: Nintendo Mobile, Reddit
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