Most games on the Play Store are advertised as “free to play”, but only a handful can actually be experienced at a competitive level without investing real currency. Bandai Namco’s most recent Gundam Battle: Gunpla Warfare does have a number of P2W mechanics that tend to ruin the fun for F2P players, but it’s not as bad as you may think. Although, as an F2P player, you have some serious handicaps to overcome, it’s not impossible to do so.
Granted, you probably won’t top the PvP charts if you don’t fork out some real coin, but you can make it close. In addition, you have access to Gunpla builds that are powerful enough to carry you through most of the game’s PvE content, which might be enough for some players to have a blast. Here’s what we mean:
It’s All About the Parts You Can Get
In Gundam Battle: GW, you put together a team of 4 Gunpla (maximum) and take on other, similar squads for all manners of prizes. Each Gunpla is made up of 9 parts, which means that you will need a set of at least 36 great parts to succeed with your team.
Now, as we’ve discussed at length in our guide to building a Gunpla, each part is characterized by three important things – base stats, EX skills, and passive traits. As a new player, you’ll probably be most drawn to cool EX skills with powerful effects. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since a good EX skill can propel a piece of gear to the top of a tier list in certain situations. However, you have to watch out for the way base stats work in this game.
To put it broadly, if my Gunpla has 999 Melee Attack, but your Gunpla has 999 Melee Defense, I can do virtually no damage. In this particular situation, it doesn’t matter that I might have some awesome EX skills at my disposal, because these simply won’t be enough to defeat your MS when I can do no actual damage. This is basically the problem with 2- and 3- star parts, which make up the bulk of the loot you have access to as an F2P player.
Do 2- and 3-Star Parts Stand a Chance?
Let’s first clarify what we mean by 2- and 3-star parts. In Gundam Battle: GW, you can upgrade any part to 4-stars, regardless of how it starts out. However, there is a significant difference in stats between parts that are natively 2-/3-stars and those that are natively 4-stars. This is why, as we draw the comparison below, we refer to parts by the number of stars that they initially start out with prior to any upgrades.
With that in mind, 2- and 3- star parts can have EX skills and passive traits that are comparable to what you would otherwise get from 4-star parts. The major difference between the latter is that 2-/3-star parts start out with significantly weaker base stats. As you upgrade them, you can improve your overall CPWR value (your CP), but, if you’re ever up against someone with natively better parts, you might find yourself in the situation where you can only deal 1-2 damage at a time.
Why? Because if they have parts that are natively higher in quality, their basic stats are higher than yours. In other words, their DEF is higher than your ATK, which makes it virtually impossible for you to win the fight even if your opponent has a lower overall CPWR value. This basically sums up the plight of the F2P player in this game.
Yet there are a few 2- and 3-star sets that have significantly better base stats and decent EX skills. These are the parts you want to get your hands on as quickly as possible if you want to stand a chance against other players without investing real currency.
Exceptional Sets for F2P Players
There are two basic sets that you can more or less easily obtain as an F2P player and that can be used to build more powerful Gunpla. Once you get them, you should upgrade them to the best of your ability, which is to say that they are actually worth the resources and upgrade materials necessary to get them to 5-stars.
The first and most impressive of these two sets is the Code Phi, which can be obtained as rare rewards from free missions (on hard difficulty). These parts might take an arm and a leg to get since the drop rate is fairly meagre, but they are some of the best in the game even though they start out as 2- and/or 3-stars. Code Phi arms, for example, have the second highest melee attack value in the game, which is a lot for a set that is accessible to all players.
Another noteworthy set for F2P players is the Artemis Gunpla, which you can buy with Friendship Points over a relatively short period of time. These parts are significantly weaker than Code Phi, but they are nevertheless good options for those who have just started out and are eager to compete against others. The Artemis back, for instance, has enviable base stats that can easily compete with native 4-star parts.
How Do You Get More Gunpla Parts for Free?
Like with most Gacha games, you can make up for some of the handicaps of playing for free by being active on a daily basis. Gundam Battle: GW rewards its players for being involved with the game by throwing in a bunch of Haro Coins (the premium currency) for both regular missions and daily tasks.
As an F2P player, your main goal is to bank as many Haro Coins as possible per day. You’ll want to use up your EN reserves whenever they become full and, of course, complete as many daily tasks as your time allows. This will let you put together a nice sum of Coins, which you can then use to buy sets that you like from the shop. Of course, it will be a rare occurrence when you will stumble on 4-star parts given that your draws are very limited, but, still, it’s something to hope for.
All in all, Bandai Namco certainly doesn’t make it easy for F2P players to compete in their Gundam Battle: Gunpla Warfare. However, you have to appreciate the fact that, unlike with other Gacha games, you do stand a modicum of a chance if you are willing to put in the effort and the endless grind.