Launched at the start of the year, Stella Arcana, an anime-inspired mobile MMORPG, has rallied high up the iOS and Google Play charts. Pulling in over 500,000 downloads on Android alone and currently enjoying a rock-solid 4.5-star rating across 80,000 reviews, LRGame Inc's first big release is certainly off to a good start. As is the case with any F2P game, though, one major question needs ana answer: Is Stella Arcana P2W? It depends on what you want to get out of the game.
Is Stella Arcana P2W?
With gorgeously cute anime graphics and the promise of cuddly pets, Stella Arcana is certainly eye-catching. It stands out against the sea of cash-grab titles flooding the app store every other day. But mobile gamers know more than most that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Thankfully, Stella Arcana doesn't appear to be quite the shameless cash grab plenty of other similar titles have proven to be, and with a solid lead on the download charts in a relatively short period of time, it doesn't look like a rug pull that might just shut down by the end of the year, either. There's potential for a long-running mobile MMO here.
But it doesn't take long for the cracks to emerge. Although Stella Arcana might be a perfectly reasonable and oftentimes enjoyable anime MMORPG on your phone, PvP fans will want to watch out. According to user reviews, it's entirely possible to get a leg up on the competition in Stella Arcana by opening your wallet and spending big money. Though copious events are available for F2P players to complete, P2P players and whales can toss money at the game to reap increased rewards, putting F2P players at a distinct disadvantage and making Stella Arcana P2W one way or another.
Is Stella Arcana F2P Friendly?
Though it may be not the competitive MMORPG PvP players crave, Stella Arcana should still satisfy PvE MMO players just fine. There are elements of it that will entice whales to spend big and get a noticeable leg up on the leaderboards, but so long as you're only chipping away at the game's PvE content with other F2P players, Stella Arcana is F2P friendly.
If you're not averse to spending a little bit of cash, though, you might still want to ere on the side of caution. In the first six months of the game's launch, the pre-existing player base would suggest that newcomers avoid spending anything they weren't willing to lose. The reason for that boils down to servers regularly being "locked" for being too heavily populated.
With no way to re-populate a server as players move onto other games, old servers regularly stagnate and die as anyone still wanting to play re-rolls a character on another, new server, with players leaving their old characters (and paid items) behind.
Is Stella Arcana Dead?
If you were to come back to the game in May after starting earlier in the year, chances are your character would be along on your chosen server. It doesn't mean that Stella Arcana is dead, but through a series of unfortunate design choices, your character more or less is. You'd be wise to start a new one on a less populated server, as strange as that sounds.
As of June, however, Stella Arcana server merging has been introduced. Now that servers new and old can interact with each other, servers lost to the population lock should be revived, with players able to interact and team up regardless of the server they choose for their character. So no, Stella Arcana is not dead. Not yet, anyway.