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Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom Has A Gacha Machine, But It's Not As Bad As You Think

It's hard to find terms more controversial than "lootbox" or "gacha" when it comes to video games and their monetization models. Despite forming the financial backbone of many massively popular games like "Fortnite" and "Genshin Impact," chance-based loot and reward mechanics have become a major magnet for criticism that has tanked the reputation of games like "Star Wars: Battlefront 2" and "Diablo Immortal." For good reason, many would argue: Studies have shown that lootboxes tap into the same exploitative psychology that fuels gambling addictions, and chance-based microtransactions have earned an outright ban in Belgium as well as legislative scrutiny from other countries around the world.

It's safe to say, any mention of "lootbox" or "gacha" in games tends to raise hackles, and hearing that there is indeed a gacha machine in "Tears of the Kingdom" might be somewhat alarming for "The Legend of Zelda" fans. Fortunately, it seems like the gachapon in "Tears of the Kingdom" won't be featuring any microtransactions or iconic cosmetics locked behind massive expenditures. They won't even ask for in-game currency: Your Rupee earnings will be safe from the temptation of "one more roll," as this capsule-dispensing machine will be taking an entirely new currency called "Zonai Charges" instead.

Not a money sink, but a helpful gameplay supplement

The confirmation comes from the hands-on preview from IGN: apparently, the machines are primarily used for receiving random selections of Zonai devices you can use in a new building mechanic. The list of devices includes "fans that can propel a vehicle, portable cooking pots, a flame emitter, and more," giving players tons of options to create more advanced contraptions than they'd get from gluing a stone and a stick together.

From the looks of it, these Zonai gachapons might be exclusive to the floating islands. The first-ever appearance of the machines was in the final pre-launch trailer, where it was installed inside some sort of interactive puzzle chamber. Recently, Nintendo posted a screenshot of another machine in what looks like a completely different location, calling it a "mysterious structure" found on the first Sky Island. 

The fact that there are multiple of them scattered across the islands opens up a number of possibilities. They may be intended as regularly available supplements to the player's contraption-building, or have separate pools of available devices that are tiered in rarity according to the level of the area they're in, and so on and so forth. Of course, there's no way of knowing for sure — players will have to wait until launch day to see how these gachapons will be enabling their wacky conspiracies against the game's physics engine.