The heartbreaking story of how one man spent $16k on Final Fantasy and nearly lost his family Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius' combining of characters that people love with gacha-esque monetization can end up going very badly.

Everyone knows that Square Enix’s favorite activity is milking Final Fantasy. And fair enough, the fans love it too — for the most part. Personally I find the ‘extended universe’ of Final Fantasy a bit of a turn-off, and I suspect others do too, which is why Square Enix increasingly focuses on bringing its most iconic characters into any new title – such as the announcement, a few days ago, of Cloud coming to Final Fantasy Brave Exvius.

Good old nostalgia, eh? Thing is, when you combine characters that people love with a gacha-esque monetization model, which is what Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius does, it can end up going very badly indeed for the individuals involved. A reddit post was brought to my attention (cheers for the tip Cloud IX, great name) where a self-described whale for the game explains how, over time, he racked up just under $16,000 worth of IAPs on credit cards. The guy has a wife and family, making this post especially heartbreaking.

The full post, from reddit user nothing024, can be read here, and an edited version follows.

I started playing FFBE shortly after launch in July of 2016. It was a fresh take on an old classic, my favorite series of all time, Final Fantasy. When I was 11, in 1988, living in New Jersey, I went to the Nintendo CES in New York City. Nintendo had demo booths for all the upcoming games, and the original Final Fantasy was one of them. It was the coolest game I had ever seen. I got it when it was released and it remained my favorite series of games for years. FFII and FFIII on SNES, I bought a Playstation so I could get FFVII, I got a PS3, but all I wanted to play was FFXII (I personally like Vaan).

Along came married life, kids, jobs, responsibilities, and I could no longer spend time on a console. I didn’t have time to sit and play and grid out levels and complete the extra quests like defecting Ruby Weapon. Then FFBE was released. A short format game that I could play for 5 or 10 minutes and put it away. It didn’t require a console or a TV, just a few minutes to play a couple of dungeon runs or a quick exploration, then I could put it away for later. It was perfect.

Expedition into the Abyss. The first banner I spent money on. I had been playing the game for 6 weeks or so and I had not found the /r/FFBreveExvius subreddit or the Exvius Wiki, I went into the exploration blind and got wiped out. I levelled my team, I maxed my stats and I just could not win. I got to Ansel finally and beat him, but I was so low on energy. I used lapis refills just to limp past him. Then I got to the exit with the 3 bosses that kicked my but with their 10,000V attack. I was frustrated beyond belief, I had spent all my resources to pass this exploration, and I couldn’t leave it like this. I broke my F2P resolve and put down $20. That should be enough to get me out of this dungeon and replace some of the lapis I spent so I could at least do the dailies again. I was adamant that I would not spend again.

[…]

I made it to November. The Crystal Tower. The release of Luneth and Refia. The best DPS and the best Healer available at the time. I had saved my lapis, I could do a 10+1 pull, I had maybe 20 or so tickets saved. I used all my resources and was trolled by a rainbow Edge. I was enraged, incensed, insistent that I get Luneth. I put in my card number into my digital wallet and upped myself $99 of Lapis. Then I pulled and pulled and pulled, and I got nothing. So I put in another $99 and pulled and pulled and I got Luneth! I could advance and defeat all new content and share the best DPS possible to all my friends.

It was only $200. I can spare that. I haven’t bought a video game in 6 years. I deserve it, I earned it.

[…]

Then came the Big Bridge. Gilgamesh. The BEST TMR you could get. I still have a 10+1 pull left after my Luneth. I had saved the tickets from the Mog King. I pulled for Greg and failed again. It was only $200 to get Luneth. How bad would that be for the best accessory in the game? I can make my Chizuru or my Cecil so strong. I put in my money again, $99….no Greg, $99….no Greg, $99….no Greg…. I took a break for a little bit. My family had plans for the day. I was angry now. How could I have spent $300 and not gotten what I wanted. When nobody was looking, around everyone, I did it again. $99….no Greg, $99…no Greg, $99…no Greg, $99…..

Finally. I had Gilgamesh. I had maxed out all of my unit inventory. I had to spend time to fuse units, I got my first Excalibur that day as well as some other great TMRs. But I finally had the Genji Golve and I could now make Chizuru strong enough to share with others. She could DPS at 350 attack and more! I could beat all the content with ease using her and Luneth. Yeah, I spent $700, but I would stop now. I had enough. I didn’t want to be caught spending money I shouldn’t on a video game. It was enough.

[…]

It was my birthday. The Brave Frontier banner was back. The Scythe wielding Queen Elza was back. It was my birthday and I wanted Elza. This was the first double 5* banner I ever tried to pull on. This was the first banner I pulled on after the guaranteed 5* base for Rainbows was announced. It was my birthday and I had to have Elza. I have to get what I want on my birthday. I charged $1500 that day to get her.

I was sick of my actions. I de-linked my card again. I now had a balance of nearly $4000, including other non FFBE related purchases. I had to find a way to stop. I transferred the balance to a new, zero interest card. My family was going on vacation and I needed to be clear to help with expenses. I had some cash saved, I was paying down my debt slowly, I had a plan, I was still in control.

[…]

$1000, no Veritas of the Dark. I had 4 Veritas of the Flame. I was angry. How could I have spent so much and not gotten the unit I wanted! Why would Final Fantasy, Gumi, Square Enix, not give it to me? How could I spend so much and not get what I want! Another $1000. I got 2 more Veritas of the Flame, another Orlandeau, a second Freviya, Olive, Emperor, but no Dark Veritas! How! Why! Now I am stubborn. I am not putting this much money out there to not get what I want. $99…no Dark Veritas, $99…no Dark Veritas, $99…a second Emperor, I almost threw my phone against the wall. $99….Finally, Veritas of the Dark. $2500, 9 Veritas of the Flame, half a dozen other 5* base, and I finally got the Veritas of the Dark.

Wait….WTF did I just do?!?!

Did I just really spend $2500 to get a little animated piece of code? What is my wife going to think? What will my kids say? I tell them I don’t have much money to spare, I dutifully split my paycheck 3 ways, household expenses, savings and my spending money. I can do what I want with my spending money. I just won’t get anything for myself for a year or so, pay this back to my card a couple hundred at a time.

Fuck it. I have what I want. I put in another $1000 just to keep me going with energy refills and I can play whenever and however I want.

[…]

All right! Rainbow Rate is up! EX rewards are 1.5X! Cloud is coming in December! This is the best time to put some $$ in so I am guaranteed to get Cloud. Cloud is Awesome! Cloud is iconic! Cloud is the heart of Final Fantasy! I have my zero interest card at $11K, but I am paying it. I have a way of making it look like I am paying off an old debt to cover if my wife asks where the money went. I went all in. $3000 in lapis. That will last me a good long time, then I can pay off my debt and play and just let it all go away.

On December 7th, 2017, my wife asked if she could use my credit card to buy food and send it to a family member celebrating a huge accomplishment. Offhand, she asked if she could see the balance. She saw something in my response trying to dismiss it and wouldn’t let it go. I asked her to go upstairs so we could talk in private. I confessed to having a balance of $5600 on my card due to Final Fantasy. A couple days later, I told her the rest of the story.

I am currently $15,800 in debt. My wife no longer trusts me. My kids, who ask me why I am playing Final Fantasy all the time, will never understand how I selfishly spent money I should have been using for their activities. Their birthdays, their festivals, their clothes, their school events, their weekends, their movies.

I have never spent more than $1000 on my wife at one time. I spent $16,000 on digital garbage in about a year. If she decides that she will not divorce me, I owe her more that I could ever repay. I am not playing anymore. I will not get Cloud. I will leave 500K lapis in an account that will stay idle. The “friends” I have will drop me as my days since last played increases. I will not get to beat Marlboro. I will not see how Chapter 2 plays out. I will not have any 7* units. FFBE is over.

I became a gambling addict over a game where there is no return, no reward, for spending my money.

I Flushed $16,000 down the toilet over a game.

TL;DR – Don’t be a whale, the consequences WILL outweigh the investment.

TL;DR #2 – Some people are on this planet to be an example to others, don’t be that Guy.

Only a few days ago I re-downloaded Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius, and it was because Cloud was coming and I thought it might be a laugh. But this… this really hits you in the gut.

Obviously he has an addiction problem. But monetization schemes like this are designed to exploit that kind of personality, and encourage them to spend money they can’t afford on, as this guy puts it, “a little animated piece of code.” Earlier we wrote about how the UK Gambling Commission doesn’t have a clue about video games and, albeit this is an American, but examples like this show why – it has a simplistic notion that the issues with gaming are about skin betting and more obvious forms of casino-type mimicry.

Japan had big problems with gacha-style models, and acted to regulate them. They’re still a part of many mobile games released in the west and, to be fair, for many players they’re not a big issue. But a significant proportion find themselves suckered in by these things, and it’s through no fault of their own – the games are designed to play on well-known mental feedback loops. In certain cases, such as this, they can make otherwise-rational people act in irrational ways.

It’s a heartbreaking story. Hopefully ‘nothing024’ gets back on his feet, and things work out. But it’s a reminder that Kefka is only the greatest Final Fantasy villain in fictional terms. IRL, the bad guys don’t wear clown makeup and cackle.

Related: Teen secretly spent $20k of mom’s savings on Twitch celebs, and the streaming giant thinks that’s just fine

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Anonymous
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Anonymous

Kinda bums me out they’re ripping people off to the point of ruin for some shekels, not because any sort of empathy for someone else, but because I actually dropped $17 on FF7 for android since this latest version makes pirating impossible.

FFXI best FF

Anonymous
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Anonymous

I, too, am a whale. I spend thousands of dollars a year on pocket games alone. This does not include two MMO subs (WoW, FFXIV). The difference between me and people like the colossal faggot in the article is that I was taught the importance of personal accountably and that we live in a world FULL of predators who will OF COURSE prey on the weak. This is the reality of the world we live in. It has always been this way and it will always be. You/we have nobody to blame but ourselves when we squander our money on meaningless dopamine hits. Period.

The predatory industry would be a lot less successful if people weren’t raised in a fucking hug box seeing the world as they want it to be and not as it actually is!

Blowing all your cash on meaningless pixels? Your fault. Sort yourself out. The real world doesn’t coddle us and make sure we make the right decisions in life. The real world looks for every opportunity to scam the weak and turn a profit. Accept that reality and behave accordingly.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

I spent $1,000 on Pokemon cards and figures this month. I want to spend more and buy my favorite cards again. Investfags get out of my hobby and stop inflating shit. I want to buy my cardboard in peace!

james
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james

Sounds full of cope.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

He could have fucked like 80 Russian hookers
Had 80 nights out at a nice restaurant for dinner and drinks
He could have bought a really nice, relatively new used car
He could have taken his wife on 2 months of all inclusive Caribbean vacation
Most importantly, he could have bought bitcoin and had all those things.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

This is the type of poopyhole that used to get a $2000 phone bill in the 90s calling 900 numbers.
Goddamn I need to figure out how to farm these people.

The Intellectual Atheist
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The Intellectual Atheist

I will always support natural selection. Pretty lights on your phone are the new colorful poisonous flowers. If you choose to trade for poison instead of meat I won’t shed tears when you not only starve, but hasten your death.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Retards who lose all their money on gachashit never deserved having money in the first place. It’s a monetization scheme specifically designed to work its magic by targeting people with a double digit IQ. Literally Darwinism at work doing what it does best.

A fool and his money are soon parted. True thousands of years ago. Still true today. Wow.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

>I just HAD to have the new super rare characters for my team or else I’d be missing out! Other players might have more than me. Better dump my families savings because otherwise my ego and entire self identity towards 2d phone waifus might collapse
I have no fucking sympathy for these people. It is nobody else’s fault you never grew up emotionally sound. There was a guy at the manufacturing company here and he has 5 different fucking phones just to have 5 different accounts for one mobile gundam game. They even have a thing called “rise-mara” which means reset marathon. It refers to rerolling your account a million times until you get some rare shit. Why do people like pay to win or pay to feel special horseshit?

Anonymous
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Anonymous

I think it’s a symptom of the disenfranchisement some of these adults have with their lives — there’s an element of control they can have over other players by buying power and they see themselves as the icon/rolemodel the other players have to care about. Also an element of trolling – kind of like ganking southshore with an arcanite reaper in 2005

Anonymous
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Anonymous

the entirety of big tech but especially game companies have turned to exploiting people with mental conditions.
yeah some rich idiot whales spend big, and I question how they made so much money as to not give a shit about blowing it on video games (liking by also exploiting others).
but lots of poor people waste money on it. see twitch. literally paying to access chat emotes and have donation messages read.
All this will be banned in the future.

GOOD
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GOOD

HAHAHAHAHAA the absolute state of gamer manlets. natural selection at work. we must encourage this behaviour

Anonymous
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Anonymous

holy shit, how can people spend so much?!

fuck, i play at least 3-4 games and am F2P in all of them!

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Some people have a neurotransmitter deficiency, usually serotonin, and it causes compulsive behavior. There was a great illustration of this where a woman came home from the grocery store and started playing online poker. Her milk went bad two feet from the refrigerator.

I feel sadness for these folks, it sucks.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

It’s crazy when you look at the pay to win model — some 2% of gamers in these kinds of games account for something like 80% of all purchases (especially that final fantasy XV – a new empire shit)

Anonymous
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Anonymous

I worked for a company that dealt with monetization.

95%+ of spending comes from <1% of players. 90% of this spending comes from a few whales. Has anyone ever actually met a person who spent more than $20 on in game purchases besides dlc?

These games make basically ALL of their actual profit from these degenerates. For every one of these degenerates who is some kind of retard billionaires kid who can afford it, there are 100 who could not afford the thousands they spent on candycrush gems or whatever the fuck. Customer support spent all day every day dealing with third world beaners crying about how their kid spent $300 and they can't possibly ever pay it. Challenging anything less than $50 was instantly refunded because of how desperate these people were and how much time it took to deal with them.

My company was trying to figure out how to monetize these games in markets where Visa and MasterCard WOULD NOT GO BECAUSE THE COUNTRIES WERE SHITHOLES.

Burn it all down. Burn it all down.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

A fool and his money are soon parted. I’ve yet to spend more than the price of a retail game on a gacha.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

This is why you should buy physical things. Even my games I buy them digitally and with no DLCs, or with the full version when it comes in 1 disc. Collectors Edition shit are nice too. Physical is superior since you can sell it anytime you get bored of it and it carry a value with it.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Cause its Gacha, everyone knows Gacha is shit.
Also its Exvius, even Exvius fags hate their own game, even though some have massive fucking coping. OOfags and RKfags mock them as well.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

16k is nothing.
People spend 100k$ even millions on mobile games, like anything you cant blame the product on your bad choices.
You can spend 10k$ on one snowboarding season in expensive location + equipment. You can spend 10k$ on a shitty car, you can another 10k$ to mod it. Most people have a collection of something usless they spent a lot of money on.

But yet if people spent that on gaming suddenly there is a serious problem?

Anonymous
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Anonymous

>But yet if people spent that on gaming suddenly there is a serious problem?

Yes

Anonymous
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Anonymous

How?
Microtransactions in those game peak at 100$.
He had to buy most expensive packs 160 times, thats 160 separate transactions.
This isnt impulse buying, people spend this much in periods of months or years in a game, yet any drunk retard can be ripped off for 10k in a strip club in a singel night.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Because it exploits people beyond their comprehension. Just like you can’t be responsible for your action when under the influence, you can’t be responsible if you’re trapped in an addictive cycle.

All in-game-purchases should have a 1-week-return policy.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

So fanboys are the new compulsive gamblers with bad haircuts at the race tracks?

Anonymous
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Anonymous

It’s not gambling, it’s just spending.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Adrenaline/reward chasing. Same thing. A light bulb should have lit up above his head after the first thousand dollars.
These gaming companies are exploitative and evil, but it takes two to tango.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Not the same thing at all. It’s not gambling when you have literally zero chance of winning anything. Even junkies get something for their money. This isn’t even an addiction, it’s just retardation. It’s retardation in perhaps its purest form. These idiots get no sympathy from me.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

They do though. Just because the payoff isn’t material doesn’t make the dopamine dump when they finally get what they were after any less real. The dopamine dump is what people get addicted to.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

There’s no payoff at all, that’s the point. You want to pay for a new costome for your character or some gay thing like that? OK, good for you. That’s your lookout. Your money. Your choice. Don’t complain after the fact that imaginary clothes aren’t worth fuck all when you knew that all along.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Oh you’re just a brainlet. There’s no “payoff” for porn addicts, heroin addicts, or a plethora of other addictions either. Traditional gambling addicts rarely make any money. The oxytocin dopamine cycle is the addition, not the money or drug or whatever. You’re a retard though so I don’t know why I’m even bothering.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

There is a payoff, though, but it’s bad in the long run. With this there literally isn’t even a pretend payoff. Do you see the difference? If you take heroin, you do get high. If you gamble, you might win money some of the time, and you might get a buzz from the risk. Here, there’s nothing. Literally nothing. It’s like being addicted to setting fire to money. Maybe you could get a buzz out of it, and maybe it could be addictive, but no-one’s gonna veel sorry for you because you knew exactly what you were doing. You can’t say that about most other addictions. There’s a difference between not realising that taking a certain drug might end up ruining your life and not realising that giving all your money to a video game company for no reason might end up ruining your life.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Final Fantasy 9 was the last good entry in the series and that came out in the 90s. I don’t understand these people.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

IX is shit and so is your taste
FF has gotten terrible over the years, but there is no cut off for when there was a good entry. There are bad entries earlier on such as VI and IX which both have large problems with balance, narrative, and characters.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Quit complaining about chink culture. Real otakus have thousands upon thousands dollars worth of statues and pillows. Spending a shit ton of money on that crap and gotcha/games is normal for them.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Well, okay, maybe you guys have a point because I just remembered that Jim Sterling did a YouTube video on how big video game companies put out incomplete games so that players will pay for the extra characters and mods that usually would be available as unlockables like how it was on the earlier generation consoles.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Alcohol, meth, gambling, gaming. Its all the same, it will ruin you if you have poor self control and easily fall into addiction. Nothing new here.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

if they want to waste their money then let them