Like all free-to-play games, Fire Emblem Heroes never forces players to spend any money; it just heavily encourages that they do. But the community for Nintendo’s newest mobile game has already found a way to get around the cost of buying new characters, devising a method that takes a lot of time, patience and drive to get their favorite heroes for free.
That method is known as rerolling, which involves playing through the game’s opening missions to acquire enough of the in-game currency to summon new characters.
“You need a total of 20 [orbs, Heroes’ currency] for a cost effective multi-summon,” explains a guide to the process. Players get 15 for completing the tutorial, two for logging in and three from each of the first three missions.
After taking the time to amass 20 orbs — which could take a while, since Fire Emblem Heroes has mandatory data installs when booting it up for the first time — players then head over to the summoning portion of the game, where they can pull five random characters at a time.
That these heroes are doled out at random is key. There are numerous factors in Fire Emblem Heroes’ “gachapon” mechanic, which is common in Japanese free-to-play games. Not only are the characters themselves pulled from a large pool, but they come in different quality versions. For players who desperately want the best team made up of their most beloved Fire Emblem characters, it’s not enough to get any old Marth; they want a five-star Marth, the highest possible grade of hero there is.
When that doesn’t work out on that initial round of summoning heroes, players do something that may seem drastic: They delete their data and start over from the beginning ad nauseam until they get a set they’re happy with.
HES HOME ON THE 8TH REROLL IM CRYING FDKSNNDNF pic.twitter.com/2vgYKF5JgT— zy @ FE:HEROES!!! (@n0itceffa) February 3, 2017
5th reroll is um. dang good, even if its not kid tiki pic.twitter.com/4lXPfBIhIf— Merlle (@merlle_) February 3, 2017
The reason for doing this is so that they can continue to “roll” for new heroes with those 20 orbs gifted to them at the beginning of the game. It’s a commitment that some players who just want to get through the story and don’t mind spending cash on more orbs may not comprehend, but it’s become the Heroes community’s obsession.
“Do you plan to play this game for at least a couple of months? Then reroll,” a Reddit user explained to a player who wasn’t sure if rerolling was worth it, three hours into their game. “Do you want to enjoy the game for a couple of weeks, just to play some Fire Emblem again? Go on without rerolling.”
Looking at it that way helps to make sense of a method that some may see as a waste of time. It certainly does take a while to keep restarting Fire Emblem Heroes in the hopes of earning five top-notch heroes. That’s led at least one player to start speedrunning the process, seen below, while others fire up all of their iOS and Android devices at once to run multiple copies of the game.
While every thread on the game’s Reddit includes users questioning the point of the practice, the majority of them find users sharing tips to increase their chances of a good pull, workarounds to optimize the process and, best of all, proof that all that hard work was worth it.
This is just one way to play Fire Emblem Heroes, of course. Many users, especially series newcomers, may just be content to play the game naturally or even spend money on it if they need to. Others, like this writer, may have pulled a five-star Marth on their first go, and that was enough to satisfy them for good.