A battle has been brewing ever since KanColle released to the public, something which shows complacency and arrogance the longer it drags on. More so once all those inspirational & clones based on KanColle came out showing KanColle refusing to adapt, or simply unable to with timing. Now we have Azur Lane pressing heavily on KanColle’s stern.
Disclaimer: This isn’t much of a “versus”, as it is a comparison. I’m simply comparing the two games. View everything in a comparison manner with my experiences with both games. I’m bad at naming articles.
I honestly felt I needed to make this article because of where we stand with Kantai Collection, Azur Lane, the mobile game market, Victory Belles, and such. I’ve also jumped ship from KanColle to Azur Lane with how disappointed I’ve became with how KanColle handles itself. It’s also a very weird topic to cover, yet shall try my best to cover it as properly as I’m able to and how I intended to cover it wanting to show both sides of KanColle & Azur Lane. Basically my ‘stance’ on things.
Just to get this out of the way, and to show some sort of balance or perspective to things, I’m going to use this as a semi-disclaimer to show my stance on where I stand with KanColle, Azur Lane, and such….As hypocritical this appears, I absolutely HATE, HATE, HATE mobile games. I find them to be the laziest thing game developer could do gaining the easiest amount of cash. They make the most money, they’re the cheapest things people can play, and they’re so damn convenient for when you’re on the go. Hell, you can even make mobile games using RPG Maker on Steam to convert those onto mobile. Anybody can play them, and anywhere. Even so, I still play them. Why? They have some elements of fun thanks to the realm of Anime. I’m only human and I STILL get baited in. I’m not immune to the pull from mobile games. Any popular mobage, I played it, and I play Azur Lane.
I absolutely HATE mobage games, yet am a hypocrite when it comes to them. I can vent, flail, and moan all I want, yet still play them with how convenient it is to do so. I hate myself because I’m one of those lemmings who has, or does play KanColle, Azur Lane, Pokemon GO, Fate/Grand Order, Alice Gear Aegis, and all those various sorts. Even the web variations to only fade out with how “samey” and lacking they tend to be. Thankfully though I can only play a few games at a time with how limiting space is on mobile phones, and how much time I can dedicate to each one. I’m constantly checking everything out, experimenting…. I mean, look at this picture to see why game developers much prefer making mobile games over PC games, or even VR (virtual reality) games.
It explains why we have a nasty flood of various mobile games to check out, play, and get our wallet leeched from. The mobile stores on both Android & iphones, as well as QooApp are flooded with mobile games, even ones you can play on Bluestacks on the PC. The reason I mainly despise mobile games is how they leech money from you, even to the point ONE unit/character costs around $20-40 CAD, and it’s not even guaranteed! All those nasty gachas, RNG non-sense, and such. Both Fate/Grand Order & Alice Gear Aegis have to be the worst, among the worst, when it comes to transactions. You can’t even play F/GO on Bluestacks so it becomes less welcoming while simply being an open cash grab of elitism. It doesn’t help we have ‘Whales’ feeding the mobile market so any boycotts wouldn’t really be felt.. I’M not helping because I spent a nice chunk in KanColle, as well as Azur Lane, and Pokemon GO.
There are however a few mobages with good micro-transactions to take note from, and to learn from: KanColle, Azur Lane, Pokemon GO, among other few Nintendo themed games. They’re not in your face about micro-transactions. They’re there mostly for convenience, and it’s mostly for ship slots; Weapon being another necessary thing to expand for Azur Lane.
Then there’s the whole nonsense of how much you have to grind to even complete an event. The events are carefully planned to take certain amount of time out of your life with it expecting you to play a solidified ‘X’ amount of time before you gain that specific unit. Sometimes it’s three days, somethings a week. But hey, when the game is good you’ll sacrifice a lot, right? I’m the one to speak because I wasted so much time in KanColle, F/GO, and Azur Lane side for specific units during their events.
If you don’t play mobages, then GOOD! Don’t! Save yourself from the shackles of game developer laziness. If you do join us, then “welcome to hell!”…. Enjoy your stay! Let’s play some Pokemon GO, some Azur Lane, among others. :)….. Yeah, I’m being half sarcastic and half salty. The sarcasm is strong here, in certain ways.
Kantai Collection – KanColle:
I honestly feel Kantai Collection is still the best ship girl game out there, though only by concept, music, and character design thanks to Azur Lane stealing its thunder. It even has the best submarine mechanic (so far) with how you can sortie them compared to other games. Kantai Collection (KanColle) shall now only be known as the original best game while constantly making things as ‘elitist’ as possible where only the ‘hardcore’ of gamers shall be found playing. This can be found to be true with how events are treated harshly with “threading the needle” to the very core of things with no errors in your fleet composition. Everything, and I do mean everything, has to be pixel perfect for everything you even complete anything. Even on easy and casual mode. The whole frustration of completing events is a test of patience to the point you would need to honestly see a therapist. No joke. A game is meant to be fun, not to stress you out. KanColle shall sadly be an ‘elitist’ game where those trying to flex their muscles shall play and be highly respected over those who simply enjoy playing the game naturally. This game shall only be enjoyed by those whom progressed quite far in the game with the “best” equipment, and etc. Even they’re faltering through, so there’s signs KanColle’s reign shall collapse, or is collapsing, to the point people are simply moving on. It’s sad to see something as grand as KanColle collapsing, but if you’re going to be complacent I guess it’s necessary. Granted, people can still enjoy it naturally, but with how frustrating it has become it’s no longer a “game”. It’s no longer a game about fun, but more about being salty, getting RNG-screwed, being purposely provoked, about toxic pride with how it forces people to flex in how superior they are to other players.
To make matters far more awkward is how new players outside of Japan have to enter a lottery to even be accepted in playing the game. The game is naturally locked out to outsiders, though there is a way to play it with a few tweaks. Should still be the case even now. I had to wake up 6 am just to gain a chance, even helping a friend, to then having to put a cookies thing into the browser. Android was much easier with Qooapp, but for browser version you had to basically do a work-around to even play it. Not very user friendly. It’s only meant for the Japanese, and I guess it wants the Japanese to be super “elitist”. Similar to F/GO, I assume these two games are meant to be as elitist as possible with how only Japanese are supposed to play, or something silly like that. That’s fine, as a Canadian I bow out because I do not play games to stress my self out, but to destress. If the Japanese are going to torture one another then I want no part of being tortured.
Combat works in a way you send out your main fleet of 6 into the world to then progress from one node another. With RNG in play you’ll constantly wish you went on one route, not another, hoping to reach the boss node, or not to. Everything is random, even the battles. You can order various formations, and that’s about it. Battles are influenced mainly by RNG, then by equipment, and formation. It’s a bit of a turned based mechanic with a day and night cycle. Rules change in events, where you even have LBAS (land based aircraft) to make use of, something the core game needs. The game was once fresh, now it’s painfully dated with heavy RNG usages.
Another flaw of KanColle was how each world (E-1, E-2 & etc) all required a day to tackle, something other games just won’t do. I mean, sure, you can send sorties ever so often, and such. If you wanted to do it in one sitting it will take you a day (two worlds in one day if it’s E-1 & E-2) with it simply taking a very long time. To even consider beating the event I would have to have a good chunk of time to take away from school, work, or whichever…. A good portion of your life is sapped. You couldn’t play any other game until you beat it all, and it does give you enough time. As a NEET there was enough time, but when you work everything starts becoming distant. You can’t partake, you become disconnected with the game, and etc. I hated that “paralyzed” feeling of being unable to play another game, or do anything else. RNG made it worse hunting for shipgirls for a few days during events. More immersive to think things out in the long run, but I hated that. Another part of KanColle’s events was how it only had one notable collab event being ‘Arpeggio of Blue Steel‘, and only that. They didn’t even stay, yet other mobages were found to have mutliple themed collab events with various anime & game cross overs.
I’ve enjoyed KanColle, and I’ve played it heavily to the point I’ve mastered resource hoarding. I would time expeditions to end during my “free time” allowing me to send them back out during my work breaks, and such. I loved KanColle, I miss KanColle, and respect it even though it shoved me to the side as the “baka gaijin” that I am, or so it makes me feel. The equipment has to be “perfect”, or else everything fails. Granted, I was lucky here and there, and thankful I was lucky during events… Otherwise, I failed. The hunt for Gangut was one such constant failure with me needing help from other players to even beat it. Gangut is probably the catalyst which “woke me up” to find games meant for actual fun, not for “elitism”. That’s where I finally broke away from KanColle with how salty and negative it all became. It no longer became fun, but a test of patience, something I had a fair bit of before it dried up from repetition from constantly partaking in events with crazy RNG. I felt worn out; I felt worn out. My shipgirls were indeed awesome, just that I’ve turned “stupid”, battle fatigued, and just forced out with unfair gaming mechanics. I guess I’m no longer the audience it was aiming for (probably never was) with me having to throw in my towel until it re-incarnates into something else until it reincarnates into something more with “fun” in it. Because of what Kantai Collection has done to to make everything frustrating, a salt mine, and insulting to their player base I had to jump ship to Azur Lane because of how much easier & accessible that game has become. Sure, it has its typical mobage flaws, but at least it’s it’s fun and accessible doing things we love with Kantai Collection. Granted, you can play Kantai Collection on Android which became a blessing. When it gained Android support I cheered, making heavy use of it. I loved the android version.
I even found the whole 1-HP thing neat. Sure, it’s depressing when you lose your ship girls from being either greedy or failing to pay attention, yet it was still serious. There was even a “recent” update (late 2017) preventing you from even going a sortie with a heavily damanged Kanmusu. If you were to advance a node with a 1 hp Kanmusu she would be forever sunk, lost forever with the equipment given to her.
Don’t get me wrong, I love everything about KanColle, just not the salt. I loved the feel of the menus, the quality, the music, how you would sortie. The emblems of the equipment, the serious tone, how aircraft were treated with morale & leveling, among other mini-mechanics. Best submarine mechanics, among other things. What became horrible was its complacency, unwilling to adapt with the times. Started to gain a different form of “sodium poisoning” in digital form from KanColle’s stressful gaming mechanics. Granted, they’re updating the back-end (or have), and all that. The fun part of KanColle was how the Kanmusu would gain seasonal art, changed remodel art, and such. That was fun. Other games noted this turning seasonal art into costumes which you can both earn & purchase with real money. The sad part about KanColle is how everything is decided by RNG. Even if your fleet was awesome they would still fail on maps thanks to various troll nodes; Node H & I, usually. When going into a sortie it was like playing a lottery with little to no feedback. It becomes almost like a chore to the point it just drones on, and on, and on wasting lots of time.
Azur Lane just makes everything easier, accessible, and doable in a day than what KanColle does with events taking days.
Something I’ll note briefly is how KanColle does weddings. I ringed Bismarck because she was my precious, even before I joined KanColle. I’ve constantly seen her in Pixiv art to then spoil her in game when I finally obtained her. My whole gameplay experience was influenced by gaining access to her, constructing her, and leveling her. Everything revolved around Bismarck.
By ringing your Kanmusu you allow them to gain access to level 100+, up to 150. You allow them to reach 150, various buffs, and sakura pedals to fall around them to show how special they are to you.
I feel there’s a few ways Kantai Collection could be saved. The first thing would be to open the game to a wider audience. They need to drop the cookie barrier to just accept their gaming audience. KanColle Kai (PSVita) needs to be re-booted to hold more environments, more things to do, and have an up to date roster (latest). Then there’s KanColle Arcade which needs to be placed on both PSN & PC Steam market to further saturate the market. At this rate KanColle won’t be able to adapt, nor compete with the more aggressive Azur Lane, even if they’re transferring their KanColle game from Flash to a different version. Add more variations to events which isn’t just about sorting for fish, and such. Needs more variety other than sorties. More variety helps.
KanColle boasts the web version, android version (merged with web), KanColle Arcade (above), and even KanColle Kai. A shame KanColle Kai was abandoned, and Arcade simply meant for Japanese arcades.
My last wish would be to see KanColle on VR as a proper game by commanding them, and etc. No gimmicks, but a proper game where you can guide them, join them, hang with them, and etc. A shame it won’t be made. I also wanted to see some Canadian Kanmusu for KanColle but with how I was guilt-tripped, shamed, and such I eventually lost interest moving my interest elsewhere. Americans became offended at everything I desired with only Americans able to enjoy their American ships….. Granted, I may have said harsh things here and there, but that’s just frustrating at seeing voids wanted them filled, noting how they won’t be filled. If a Canadian Kanmusu ever does reach KanColle I “may” attempt to rescue her from the event, but if the game proves to be too demanding, too salty, and such I’ll call it quits there and then. I’m not even allowed ONE Canadian Kanmusu because they’re “Canadian”, not American, and a “minor nation”.
If a Canadian Kanmusu does appear it probably may be a case of “a little too late” where I may have moved on. We’ll have to see about the timing, and where they implement them, IF they do.
To sum up the KanColle side:
Quality Ship girl designs; Quality composed music; Serious sorties requiring certain amount of attention; 1 HP death of shipgirl when advancing, sinking and losing them; Submarine mechanics; Expeditions; Quest; Furniture & room decorations; Encyclopedia; Updated & customizable UI (2017); Arpeggio of Blue-Steel event; Various little tweaks to ship girl searches & etc, the feel of shipgirl/menu/aircraft in list, & icons. Android Version paired with web. Friendly micro-transactions. The seasonal costumes were a good part of KanColle.
The original Ship Girl game with the best concept.
Dated & stale; Too salty on events & rigged RNG; A huge chunk of your time during events taken with each map mostly taking up a day, something other mobages refuse to do. Death of KanColle Kai on Vita, and no KanColle Arcade on PSN, nor PC Steam. No Canadian Kanmusu; If we ever do gain a RCN Kanmusu it may be a case of “too little, too late”.
Constantly punished for not setting equipment properly making me view this game as “elitist” and “spreadsheet” gaming with how you can only play this game in one manner, and only that one manner. Can’t switch to various Kanmusu festive seasonal art until the time rolls by again in the real calendar world. If you want to see a Halloween or Christmas outfit you would have to wait for that time to roll around. Various maps force you to sortie in various ways without changing things into a randomized manner. You’re forced to use specific fleets making things feel less free and more linear.
‘Arpeggio of Blue Steel’ being the only noteworthy collab/event of interest. I even failed to partake in it.
Too complacent allowing potato designs to run rampant, thus causing Japanese & others to DDoS KanColle’s various servers in protest. Too much complacency has caused people to vent their frustration in ways they haven’t previously done before.
As we all found out, you honestly should not underestimate Azur Lane, not even in the slightest. Azur Lane is doing everything those behind KanColle refuse to, or simply unable to, by reaching into every crack possible by taking advantage of whatever they’re able to. It may not be the best, but it does many things KanColle either unable, or refuses to do. It’s fun, it’s enjoyable. It’s far more accessible to the general public, it’s more enjoyable, and the gameplay is able to be split up to your daily needs of school, work, traveling, and etc. There’s little to no hurdles allowing those who want to enjoy it to enjoy it. You can section off battling maps in your own specific ways without needing “DAYS” off for planning, only hours. You can tackle SP1-Sp3 bit-by-bit, or you can play until your ship girls are fatigued. Everything is easy to understand, you can level up your ship girls with ease, and it’s all at your fingertips.
It takes some getting used to with the ship girl designs when you’re used to high quality ship girl designs from KanColle (98% of the time), though they grow on you fast. I’ve become attached to Illustrious, Tirpitz, among many more. The ship girls here are also awesome which has me hooked. Many people also love them, even if they’re drawn in lewd manners to appeal to a lewd anime market. The more you get to know the ship girls, the more amazing they become, similar to how they are for KanColle. This game however has flaws which KanColle does better, and that’s submarines mechanics. I was expecting submarines to be a third fleet to sortie parallel with your shipgirls, not randomly wander the map on their own. Wish they behaved the way your two main surface fleet does, or even the submarine mechanics in KanColle.
There’s an added appeal to Azur Lane with how “foxy” the ship girls are with Kaga, Akagi, Amagi, Sendai, Naka, & etc. I’m into Fox spirits, A.K.A ‘Kitsune’ with this being an added appeal to me. I love my fox girls, even cat girls (when done right) to the point I pride myself having Kaga & Akagi in my main fleet. There’s also numerous collabs with other anime series, such as ‘Utawarerumono‘, ‘Neptunia‘, ‘Votoms‘, & etc. The events aren’t just about sorties, they’re even daily gacha, themed shipyard construction, and even grabbing paint to draw pictures, & etc. There’s deep variation to these events. There are a ton of lovely ship girls to obtain to the point Azur Lane, at times, throws many your way simply to expand the ship slot via micro-transactions.
Azur Lane is as easy as it currently gets with how the mechanics are implemented. You can manually control the ship girls position, torpedo waves, battleship escort guns, and aircraft; Even manually aiming targets for battleship guns by maneuvering joystick on screen on the bottom left. If it ever becomes boring, and when you beat 1-3, you can simply grind as much as you want by allowing your girls to auto-pilot the whole thing. You can allow your ship girls and the game to beat the maps while farming for resources while you yourself can skim Youtube, Twitch, or whatever it is you do. You still control where to go on the map, and can influence how battles are fought during engagement to the point one can gain satisfaction of personally taking command. One then has to worry about how long they desire to grind a world/map for, what items they desire, among others. People desire Kaga & Akagi, thus spending days, weeks, and even up to a month obtaining either, or both of them to the point where one may simply automate the process with a few manual inputs here and there. It’s a very grindy game.
Expeditions are also randomized timers, with some standardized expeditions, with both an expected & unexpected element to them. You can guess what you’ll gain out of these expeditions, the timers will roughly match up, yet the rewards are always RNG based. The more you actually sortie the higher the chance of gaining actual randomized expeditions for you to tackle over the defaulted semi-randomized expeditions, something which makes things seem fresh. It all stays somewhat fresh with how unpredictable the rewards are for these sortie based expeditions rewards contain. Battles and expeditions are two ways to swiftly level up your ship girls. There’s also a ‘dorm’ for you to feed EXP to your girls, as well as a school to use level 100 generated exp on lower ranged ship girls, thus allowing you to swiftly level up your ship girls with ease. The focus is on maxing out your ship girls, gaining the best equipment possible, and to simply grind worlds until you can’t grind no more from fatigue, or when resources depletes.
Similar to KanColle, Azur Lane has a dorm for you to gain and spend coins to purchase various furniture types. Adding more furniture adds onto the comfort level allowing for more exp to flow into the ship girl by simply feeding them in that dorm. It’s a lovely fun part to the point you can become decorative happy, even showing off what events you’ve participated in via trophies displayed, and etc. Any morale lost, or fatigued gain can be mended in the dorm.
Azur Lane also has another fun feature, if gimmicky, being an AR function. It’s not like how it is with Pokemon GO, though you can alter various bits. You can chance the scale, expressions, certain gestures, while even taking advantage of Live2D elements. It’s not the best, yet it’s something. Such example can be found in the Tirptiz image found above.
Now, the flaws of Azur Lane. The submarine mechanic is one, the basic AR capability is another. The game forces you to sortie and grind a lot, and I do mean A LOT. Thankfully, you can grind away in chunks while watching Youtube, watching people’s streams, and such for up to 2 hours. Spend two hours in a day then you’ll be fine grinding.
Something Azur Lane does, which KanColle doesn’t, is the whole ‘Guild’ side of things. You can join a guild to simply chat away while also having access to a guild store. It’s simply there to hang out, compare, and visit other people’s dorms with no other benefit. It needs to be expended upon for map specific perks, guild specific worlds, and etc. It’s a plus, just not that much of a plus point. The main game also has chat, with Azur Lane themed emotes, something I find amusing. Even an in game messaging system, something I found to only work when the other user is online. I find it pointless. You also can’t friend others on different servers so it simply continues to fracture a playerbase that is there, making things feel more lonely. I honestly wish there was a way for even Japanese players to friend English players, and even those in the same region but different servers. I’m on a Japanese version wishing I could friend those in the English version, and etc. We need to feel united here, not divided.
Unlike F/GO, other regions are seeing ship girls and events coming sooner without waiting however long it took on native clients. You can gain ship girls sooner, rather than later when compared to other mobages.
As noted previously, Azur Lane takes heavy advantage of costumes for micro-transaction. They can be quite hefty in price, especially with currency differences between Canadian & Japanese Yen. Though, they tend to be “often” worth it, not always. It’s more up to the person’s taste than it is with the game itself. The outfits you purchase can be seen on the main screen, the dorm, formation list, and even in combat, and for others to even see during PVP for when you have those ship girls active in those areas.
Another thing Azur Lane does over KanColle is the whole level cap boost needing Awakening chips to unlock level 100 to 105>110>115>120; The actual level cap is level 120 for a ship girl, for now.
Another fun part of Azur Lane is also how you can customize weaponry to fire off customizable cosmetic goods. You can apply a skin onto planes to appear as paper airplanes, balloons, or even shoot off ninja stars from turrets. There’s many fun customizable elements to the game making it fun.
The music for Azur Lane is not as great as KanColle’s, yet it is noteworthy. One should not underestimate Azur Lane’s music ability, though it is not on par with KanColle. There are many catchy and noteworthy tracks, and more to come, to make note of with people already taken advantage of with remixes, among other variations. It’s insane how deeply Azur Lane has cemented itself in the player base with various music remixes, pixiv fan art, models, and even games.
Azur Lane is to also gain a PS4 version with ‘Azur Lane: Crosswave’ in your typical arcade shooting manner. The typical copy & paste Japanese made game, though still looking quite promising. Highly tempting, something I would play releasing for PS4, and hopefully for PC Steam, and even for Nintendo Switch. You control Ayanami (most likely others also) in third person while controlling their various ship types of releasing torpedoes, planes, and battleship turrets.
Azur Lane also boasts an anime, something KanColle also has. Shall be promising once those airs sometimes in the future, sometimes long after this article has been posted.
This simply shows how one becomes complacent allowing others to jump ahead learning from your errors, improving on them in various ways. Even if those lessons are gimmicky, they’re still being noted and taken advantage of in various ways to improve various things.
One final part to note for Azur Lane is the wedding feature (Pledge) allowing you to wed your shipgirls. Any ship girl can be ringed, though only certain ones may contain special wedding outfits. This ‘pledge’ allows you to ring a girl when their affection is raised high enough, thus allowing you to gain specific buffs & wedding outfit from them. Similar to Bismarck from KanColle, I’ve ringed Prinz Eugen here with how special she is in this game. Tirpitz shall be next once her wedding outfit becomes available.
Then there’s the whole perminent collaboration with World of Warships (Research) allowing you to build a few unique ship girls by going out of your way to grind for EXP, spend cubes, research, send in parts, and such to unlock them. Once you gain them you’ll need blueprints to strengthen them. They’re unique & special ship girls. A lot of effort is needed to even obtain them.
To sum up Azur Lane:
Easy to access in any region; Easy to play; Manual & automated modes; Outfits can change your ship girls appearances, and can be changed any time. Equipment, upgrading, and even customizing visual appearances is made easy and fun. Easy to understand. You can gain and change shipgirl outfits on the fly without waiting on the seasons; Events for different regions allowing you to gain ship girls almost in parallel, if delayed for translation, and such. The dorm is a fun feature able to customize to your style, even priding how you beat specific events. You do not have to worry about losing your ship girl forever, only morale/fatigue.
Various collaborations with various anime & game companies. It’s going all out constantly making you grind and partake in events.
Grindy; Lacking Guild features; Micro-transactions sometimes too leechy and hefty; Too simplified, at times; AR function is both a blessing and a curse with how basic it is (gimmicky); Can’t friend people in same region in different servers, let alone those outside your region. Half the ship girl designs are better in KanColle, and vice-versa.
No matter how many cubes I sent into construction I simply could not construct Taihou. REEEEEEE!~
Each to their own, even though I now prefer Azur Lane over KanColle now. Almost everybody does now, especially with with how insulting newer events have been, and continue to be. A game is supposed to be fun, not a salt mine full of frustration and misery. I already face enough hardships in reality with games needing to be made about fun, not misery and rage. I miss KanColle, even if it has become a salt-mine with rigged RNG, yet shall forever be known to have quality ship girl designs. The article may have indeed been long winded, just that I had to get this off my chest to compare the two, to show where I stand, and to see where things shall go. If you were able to understand my ramblings, thanks! If not, please do ask me to clarify in the below comments.
If you’ve read this far please do tell me which you prefer, and why. Would love to hear your thoughts.