Kantai Collection: A Year in Retrospect

It has been exactly a year since I decided to start delving into the world of the browser game that had been garnering considerable popularity at that time: Kantai Collection, or Kancolle for short. This time, I just want to talk a little bit about Kancolle and about myself.

I wonder if it was because a friend of mine had posted a screenshot of a floating boat with a black background, or because someone has repeatedly shared pictures of Shimakaze in my timeline. At that time, I didn’t even have any idea what kind of game Kantai Collection was besides the fact that it was a browser game. I remembered successfully entering the lottery before that day, but it was on July 27 that I started entering the game for real. Around that time, I asked some of my friends to help giving me an overview of the game.

In a sense, Kantai Collection is similar to the mobile games I had been playing before. Using shipgirls in the form of cards to combat abyssals, the so-called admirals are entrusted with the jobs of map-clearing, construction of new shipgirls, equipment development, repairs, expeditions to accumulate resources, and completion of quests & special events. After finishing the tutorial, I started off going to the Wiki and the forum (“Himeuta Channel”; still “Himeuta” at that time).

My period of learning the ropes was my first week; familiar with most of the game mechanics and done planning everything I have to do, I started moving on with trial & error. It felt pretty tedious at that time, but it was fun—the joy of knowing something new is. One thing that I really notice from Kancolle is how the game’s environment is so community-driven, since the information on the Wiki are mostly gathered and compiled by the player themselves. It makes you feel like you want to help, you want to contribute. Regarding luck, I have never really thought too much about it. Getting all the rare destroyers and essential ships in my first week playing and quickly unlocking the fourth fleet were my main concerns of that time. One would admit that the game is certainly very RNG-based, and I concur. I’d learned though, that even the clutches of RNG can be bypassed by increasing your trials and doing the proper things (e.g. effective equipment usage, adequate leveling, modernization). And before I realized, luck doesn’t become something that interferes with my Kancolle experience.

Actually, when I thought back, my timing of joining the game wasn’t really the best. I started roughly 2 weeks before the Summer 2014 event: Operation AL/MI, and before that I was in a holiday at Bali for more than a week. I realized that all I could do was to move at my own pace; in the end, I cleared the first two event maps, essentially the Operation AL. That event was pretty much my turning point, since I started making a more concrete plans which I carried out faithfully every month. Despite my limited time of playing after the holiday ended and my college life got really busy, I managed to utilize the remaining free time efficiently. If I have to put it to words, I’d say that the period of three months after this was the time when I truly enjoyed Kancolle. Completing all the second remodels and maps aside, it was the interactions with my friends who are fellow players from a lot of different circles that brought my experience to life. All the chats, jokes, theorycrafting, and even character talks felt really fresh back then that I couldn’t even think of the idea of getting bored.

My second event was smooth in comparison, as I finished it in 8 hours, farmed everything I wanted to farm, and took advantage of the farming method only possible at that event: the E-4-C of Fall’ 14. Around that time, I started feeling that my interest in Kancolle has declined. I also picked up Kai-Ri-Sei Million Arthur as a new game to play, and the fact that it was a mobile game made it easier for me to play it than Kancolle. My interests quickly waned in time, though, and I found that the complete lack of necessity to continue playing in a short period of time to enjoy the game is one of the charms of Kancolle. Sure, you might miss some minor updates like new second remodels or a small event like hishimochi, but you can simply come back at the event to satisfy your sense of challenge or come back once in a while to check on your ship girls. Even leaving your fleets only on expeditions at all times is an option.

Not long after that, I bought my first DMM point voucher; since my friend got it really cheap for me, I decided to invest in higher amounts instead to avoid constant purchases as money was not of concern. I used it solely for increasing the ship slots, and not long after I also got more free DMM points from a raffle and haven’t bought any since. Some people may question why I would invest money for a game, much less a browser game that will definitely stop its service one day. For me, the answer is simple: I am paying for the “freedom of experience”. It is the personal experience of playing the game that matters to each person playing said game, and the same thing also apply for Kancolle. The money I invested may lose its value, but all the moments I had won’t.

My third and fourth events were pretty challenging, but the feeling that came to me after clearing them would never be the same as my early days. At the same time, some of my fellow veteran players have also shown their diminishing interests in the game like me. It was normal, and it was inevitable. There are moments in life when we have to move on form one thing to another. With all my so-called “goals” that I made in the past were already far behind me, I thought back and affirmed that the process to reach those goals is the source of my enjoyment.

Talking about goals, one of the goals that a lot of Kancolle players have in mind is “marriage”. It’s pretty funny, but the marriage system of the game was one thing that I completely avoided; even then, even now. I can think of a lot of reasons, but I think it’s just me being particular about it. I do have favorite ships though: Yukikaze and Kitakami. While both have done various accomplishments in the run, I am more inclined to favor them above the other shipgirls because of their personalities, background, the general public’s perception of them, and similar traits of myself that are reflected in both of them.

What about the future? I wonder. Even if I said that the game doesn’t force one to constantly play it, it is not really strange if I completely dropped Kancolle one day. Now, I am still playing it occasionally to quickly finish the quests and leave it solely to expeditions after that; but who knows, maybe I’d drop it completely when I start studying abroad or working. However, one thing is for sure: Kantai Collection has already left its trail at one point of my life, and all the memories and friends that I made will continue to be.

Lastly, my message to all of you who is playing Kancolle, who is thinking of playing the game, who was just getting started: enjoy the game in whatever way you want it while it lasts. Do not let all the negativity, drama, circlejerking, or anything else ruin your personal Kancolle experience. And with that, I am ending this short post of mine. Thanks for reading all the way to the end. 🙂

2 thoughts on “Kantai Collection: A Year in Retrospect

  1. Freaking nuts, I enjoyed reading this freaking chill post of yours! I started playing KanColle this year, and I don’t think I’ve gone over a year in playing it yet. What got me into it are fanmade works–the fanfiction and doujin manga, especially, and because I’m a person who puts a lot of importance in checking out source materials, I decided to set up a DMM account and play the game. And I guess I was also drawn to it because of the battling, the quests, the strategizing, and the girls. My favorite girl…well, I guess it’s Shigure. Shigure and her chillness…

    As for KanColle fanfics, have you ever read some before? I don’t if you’ve read some of them, but I highly recommend “The Greatest Generation,” “War Surplus,” and “Belated Battleship”! The first and third ones have significant focus on the hypothesized American shipgirls (although I’m kinda spoiling you about the first one by mentioning that, I think?), while the second is more focused on the Japanese shipgirls. If you ask me about why I like them, it’s because I think that their scenarios are freaking realistic!

    Anyway, I hope you find freaking worthwhile things more and more in KanColle, yo! \(^o^)

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