Azur Lane

Darin Buenaluz, Staff Writer

Azur Lane is a gacha game developed by developers Manjuu and Yongshi, and published by Yostar. The game was released on May 25, 2017 and has had over 1 million downloads since 2018. The game’s unique aspects have helped place it among some of the most popular gacha games on the market right now, including Genshin Impact and Girls: Frontline

In Azur Lane, you, the player, take on the role of a naval commander who commands a massive fleet of ships from across the early to mid-20th century. These ships have been reincarnated as anime girls, or shipgirls as they are called in-game, and include some of the most famous ships in recent naval history across several nations, such as Her Majesty’s Ship Warspite, the German Kriegsmarine’s Bismarck, and the USS Enterprise. As the commander, you form your own fleets to take on the game’s campaign of fighting mysterious alien ships known as Sirens, or challenge yourself against other players in the game’s Player vs. Player (PvP) mode. 

Each fleet can have up to six ships, split up into your Vanguard and Main Fleet. The Vanguard is composed of destroyers and cruisers, and are the section of your fleet that you have the most control over. You can manually fire your ships’ torpedoes and determine the direction they move using a joystick-type function on your screen. The Main Fleet is formed with battleships, battlecruisers and aircraft carriers. While you can’t move these ships yourself, you can determine when battleships fire their main guns and when aircraft carriers launch airstrikes. Both your Main Fleet and Vanguard have a set amount of Hit Points (HP), so it’s important to try and limit the amount of attacks they receive in battle, while also mounting equipment that mitigates damage. 

Ships in Azur Lane can be earned in a variety of ways. When completing missions, you can earn special materials called Wisdom Cubes. These Wisdom Cubes can be used to build ships in the game’s Construction aspect. A large number of ships can only be acquired through construction during special events. The rest of the ships can be earned by winning battles in campaign or purchased through the shop for a variety of in-game resources. Ships are split into five different rarities, with the hardest ships to get being Ultra Rare, and the easiest ships to get being Common. Furthermore, a small set of ships, known as Priority or PR ships, can be acquired through special Shipyard construction, which often takes months of playing and requires you to have a set amount of ships from specific nations in order to even be able to start their construction.

There are many different factors that contribute to Azur Lane’s popularity, but one of the big reasons is the variety of personalities that each shipgirl has. Ships like New Jersey and Saratoga often like to tease you as the commander, while other ships like Tallinn and Sheffield make you earn their respect. The wide range of personalities means that all players, no matter their differences, can find a character or multiple characters that they like the most. 

Another reason is the different outfits that characters can wear. Outfits can be purchased using gems that are either bought through in-game purchases or earned through a small number of rare missions, with the exception of a handful outfits being exclusive to completing a ship’s retrofit or oathing a ship, which significantly buffs its statistics. Outfits themselves are purely cosmetic and provide no benefit to the shipgirls that wear them, but add some extra personality. These outfits include school uniforms, holiday dresses, and idol suits. Similar to shipgirls themselves, there are outfits that are seasonal or event exclusive. Because Azur Lane’s in-game purchases encompass Wisdom Cubes and Gems, players can “whale” to get their favorite characters and skins. This aspect is not particularly unique to the game however, as most gacha games also have similar features.

“The game has very generous gacha rates on giving rarer ships, as well as good artwork and voice actors for the different characters,” said junior Evan Kwan.

While many gacha games require the player to constantly be playing the game manually in order to make progress, Azur Lane’s Auto Battle feature means that players can make progress and level up their shipgirls without playing the game themselves. Upon starting a battle, players can use the Auto Battle feature to have the game’s AI system play the game for them, meaning that the game itself can be left alone for a short period of time, so that when players come back the level has already been completed and earned the Experience Points (XP) and other rewards. This makes leveling up ships and earning blueprints to build equipment significantly easier. 

Overall, Azur Lane is a unique take on the gacha game concept, combining naval history with the modern trend of anime. This fusion of two entirely different worlds attracts history buffs, weebs and regular gamers alike. With a seemingly endless amount of content to be absorbed, the game will likely continue to be relevant for the coming months and years, just like it has been.