SWGoH Mods: Grind or Gamble?

Any time spent playing GoH means committing to a daily grind. Every aspect of the game comes down to the grind. The grind for shards, the grind for gear, the grind for levels, the grind for mods. The issue with that last one is that the others allow a player to grind for something specific and see some achievement in the end, whereas mods don’t.

Every day, we all auto or sim through hundreds of regular and cantina energy in the hope of getting something to drop and we all eventually get to the point where know exactly which battle drops which shards or gear. Without looking, I know that Normal Light Side battle 7-E is the battle to play again and again to get the 50 hypo syringes needed to get Princess Leia up to Gear 8, just like I know that Cantina battle 7-G is where Jedi Knight Anakin shards drop after I’d spent a month simming only this battle.

We all can spend a full day’s energy into the same battles to grind away for the 50 stun cuffs needed to gear one character up one gear level. Everything comes down to the grind, but it’s part of the fun of this type of game and it’s what keeps us all coming back to GoH day after day since there is always so much relief in gaining syringe Number 50 to finally bump a gear to another level and more power.

Mods, however, don’t allow for the normal game grind. There are too many variables related to mods, which prohibits all normal progression.

In our current meta, speed reigns supreme. A faster character takes more turns and will mean the difference between a win and a loss in the arena. The only way to modify a character’s speed, with even gear level, is to obtain a mod that gives the character a boost in speed. But, the way the game is currently structured doesn’t allow a player to focus just on speed or any of the other eight metrics augmented by mods.

If I’m looking for a gold 5* speed primary arrow mod of any mod set, I can’t sim any specific battle and wait for that speed arrow to drop the way I can sim 7-E and wait for syringes. I have to sim or auto the same mod challenge (as challenges are the only places to get 5* mods) over and over and wait for the ~30% chance for ANY mod of ANY shape with ANY primary to drop. Then, even if I get a mod to drop, there’s no telling whether that mod will have the shape and primary desired, let alone the mod color. With mods, there is no grind; there is only a gamble.

At 16 Cantina energy a hit, I roll the dice again and again just to end up with a sea of semi-useless grey offense squares. And, as if the grey mods with frozen primary stats were not bad enough, leveling mods for the secondary stats even adds greater depth to the gamble.

Gold mods come with a primary and all four of the secondary stats visible and, each time the mods are leveled (starting at 3750 credits per 10x upgrade for a 1* mod and going up to 22,000 credits per 10x upgrade for a 5* mod), any of those four visible stats could increase as the mod is upgraded towards Level 15. Purple mods have three secondaries, blue mods have two secondaries, and green mods have one secondary visible. Grey mods come with just the primary stat visible.

Leveling any mod other than gold means gambling on what the invisible secondaries could be out of Health, Defense, Critical Damage, Critical Chance, Tenacity, Offense, Potency, or Speed, and to make the gamble go even deeper, as the mod levels increase, there is no guarantee as to which of the secondary stats could possibly see an increase.

A grey square mod will always have an offense primary stat, but it is a complete guess as to what those secondaries could be. Could one of those secondaries include the speed stat you’ve been so anxiously hoping would drop? Or, will the secondaries be 1% Health, 300 Protection, 5 Defense, and 1.26% Tenacity? There is no way to know and, under the guise of the “random number generator” (a.k.a, RNG), the game encourages us to gamble away all the longest-refreshing energy in our long journey towards the desired primary and secondary stats.

If there were any remaining question as to whether mods are a gamble, the credits to level them nails the final hammer. It can take a half million credits to take a 5* mod from Level 1 to 15. You are quite literally gambling with every single upgrade. Every hit of 22.5K and hoping for speed or potency is like placing a bet on 35 Black and hoping that roulette ball falls into the right pocket.

Adding in the deep expense for just switching the same mod around from toon to toon any satisfaction from just obtaining the desired mod melts away like learning that you have to pay your full 25% tax on your roulette winnings before you can leave the casino.

A total of 120 Cantina energy will provide 7 attempts at a Tier 3 mod which could be anything from that precious gold 5* speed arrow or a grey 3* protection circle, which seem like they are all spontaneously reproducing in your mod library. Or, even worse, that 120 Cantina energy could yield no mods at all! There is only about a 30% chance of any getting any mod to drop, and that doesn’t mean that out of 7 attempts, 2.5 of those will yield mods. A 30% drop rate means that with every sim there is a 70% chance that you will yield nothing. We’ve all gone through the agony of simming 12 mod battles with zero mod drops to show for it.

The same 120 Cantina energy could go towards grinding for definite shards that will go towards promoting Anakin to 7* greatness. That said, a slow Anakin will do you no good in the arena, so we’re left to decide: grind or gamble?

Sure, we could just buy the mods from the mod shipments for either crystals or credits, but again, everything is left up to chance. There is no way to outright purchase a speed arrow mod, even though there are ways to purchase specific shards of a character and specific gear. There is no way to buy a mod with the desired stats. The amount of variability between shape, color, and stats leaves no way to purchase what is most desired and ensures that every mod, obtained through simming or purchasing, is a gamble and that is what takes so much of the joy out of modding characters.

Perhaps we’re all missing the point entirely. Perhaps the ultimate goal of GoH IS the gamble, but honestly, if all EA and the developers wanted was a gambling game, they could have cloned any of the thousands available in the App and Play stores, slap the Star Wars IP on it, and call it day. They would probably make even more money from it given the number of casino games that regularly out-gross GoH.

There are a few ways to fix mods, but they are far from simple and would probably require the kind of massive overhaul (with little monetary return) that the developers would likely never pursue. That said, there is a simple change available that can turn the gamble back into a slightly more reasonable grind: 100% mod drop rate.

Unlike 100% gear drops, where gearing characters becomes a free-for-fall, a 100% drop rate for mod challenges allows the developers to keep their same mod primary and secondary system, while allowing the players to actually grind towards something. Sim 12 battles and end up with 12 grey squares? No biggie, because at least you’ve got something and you can spend the half-million credits to see what secondaries those grey squares will yield.

A 100% mod drop rate won’t cure the gamble of still trying to get that coveted speed arrow, but it will ease the anxiety that comes from spending expensive energy and yielding nothing. At the end of the day, the more time players spend within this game, the more likely they are to spend money.

An increased drop rate means more time leveling mods, more time changing around mods to suit different characters, more time chasing credits to level and change those mods, and more time in the game which all leads to more money for the publisher and developers once the gamble is returned to the grind.

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[…] of this notwithstanding, Mod secondary stats are entirely left up to chance. If you’ve read my previous, long-winded semi-rant about mods, you’ll understand that there are 12 possible secondary stats that could appear on mods and, […]