Opinion Piece: The problem with the fortune cookies (Loot Boxes) in Pocket Camp

I promise a normal Pocket Camp entry will be coming soon, but for now, I just needed to rant a little about this because… Pocket Camp’s leaf ticket system was fine without this and if they had to make it cost Leaf Tickets, there were better ways to do it, but right now it’s just poorly implemented and this is genuinely one of the worst games to have this kind of feature in.

See, the main argument for any kind of random box is that “well, it’s just aesthetic items!! Just collectibles!! They don’t effect gameplay so who cares!!” and that’s a stupid argument because collecting tends to be a big deal in games. In fact, most of the people who put a lot into those things are for those items that may be “just for looks”. They’re “Aesthetic” items for a reason and if there’s an outfit or item you really like in that box, you’ll be pulling for ages unless you get lucky. And it’s just… Not very fun, honestly.

This becomes especially more complicated because a big core of Animal Crossing IS collecting. There’s literally a catalog that tracks every item in the game. They literally just put part of the game behind a paywall. And it’s not even a decently priced paywall.

A special/certain character-based fortune cookie costs 50 Leaf Tickets to buy. These are the [US] Prices for Leaf Tickets (rounded up–usually by just like 1 cent so):
20 for $1
45 for $2
100 for $4
200 for $8
600 for $21
1,200 for $40
2,500 for $80

At best, you’re getting them for about $1.60 each with the larger payments up to about $3 at most if you only buy the lowest amount. On average, you’ll most likely be getting them for about $2 each. There’s 3 different Fortune Cookies, each with 10 items. So 30 total so if you’re lucky and manage to get all the items you need in your first go each time, you’ll spend about $48 dollars minimum (so you’d still have some Leaf Tickets left of those $80 if you went with that)–if you were closer to the average and maybe just doing 100 every so often, then that’s $60.

That’s the price of an actual new game to get everything. And you may be thinking “Well, we can buy some fortune cookies with bells, right?”

Except what Fortune cookies stock is also random. And there is no guarantee the leaf ticket exclusive ones will show up–you could just get Clothing or Furniture (Timmy/Tommy Cookies) ones (which also have exclusive clothing and furniture respectively, by the way. At least you can sometimes get these from villager requests). The fortune cookies will switch out after 12 hours, but only if you didn’t buy both already for the day. You can only buy two cookies with bells so if you bought both immediately, there goes any chance of getting a special character one (or maybe another special character one). Turns out it’s only ever two every 24 hours. They stock once a day so whatever two you get are the two you’re stuck with so hope it’s one of the Leaf Ticket ones, but no guarantees. Pair with the fact that these are limited and at most, you’ll get about 60 tries total to get all the items from each without buying any otherwise. And reminder that there’s 30 items (10 each) so you essentially get two total chances to get all from a certain cookie (Or you can put them all towards one cookie, of course, but it’s still RNG on what even stocks and there’s a chance you could see no leaf ticket exclusive cookies at all some days).

And of course, yes, there’s fortune cookies in the actual games with the Fireworks Event. The main differences there? One, they all cost bells. Two, the amount you can buy with bells isn’t limited. And three, YOU CAN TRADE WITH YOUR FRIENDS. You can’t give or trade or sell any furniture or clothing to friends in Pocket Camp so I am stuck with all these extras and it sucks.

So, you may say “Well, what about the Stamp cards?” and honestly, the amount you need to trade in for the grand prize is ridiculous. You need 10 filled stamp cards to be able to buy the grand prize item. You get 1 stamp for every fortune cookie you buy with leaf tickets–buying with bells gets you no stamps.

That means you would need to buy 100 Fortune Cookies (5,000 Leaf Tickets) to have enough stamps for the grand prize. Similarly, “Rare” (4 star items) need 5 while the others just need 1. Slightly more manageable than the grand prize which would require spending $160. For just one of the three grand prize items.

I will say Pocket Camp is pretty good at giving Leaf Tickets and if you haven’t used any, you may have like… half that saved up, but if you have (and most people have used quite a bit), you’re likely in a bit of a rut now.

I used a total of 3,050 Leaf tickets + the 3 freebie fortune cookies + 1 bell-bought leaf ticket exclusive cookie and these were my own results (25 Marshal Cookies, 22 Rosie Cookies, 17 Filbert Cookies):
-4 Pastry-shop Table
-5 Pastry-shop Chair
-3 Pastry-shop Screen
-2 Pastry-shop Cake Case
-3 Pastry-shop Lace Hat
-3 Pastry-shop Waiter vest
-2 Pastry-shop Counter
-1 Pastry-shop Cake Tower
-2 Pastry-shop Dress
-0 Pastry-shop Kitchen
-2 Pop-star Chair
-4 Pop-star Balloons
-5 Yellow Pop-star Dress
-3 Pink Pop-star Dress
-2 Blue Pop-star Dress
-2 Pop-star Beret
-2 Blue Pop-star Stage
-0 Pink Pop-star Stage
-2 Pop-star Neon Panel
-0 Yellow pop-star stage
-4 Smoke Blaster
-3 Rocket-Launch Lights
-2 Rocket-launch button
-2 Rocket-Pilot Jacket
-2 Rocket-pilot pants
-2 Rocket-pilot boots
-1 Control-room Desk
-0 Control-room Monitor
-1 Rocket-Pilot Helmet
-0 Rocket Launchpad

No grand prizes, several of the commons, and in the case of rares, I had two left for each before managing to finally get the Cupcake tower from Marshal (which at least was one of my favorites so I’m glad I got that). And on top of that, I’m just stuck with tons of extras I don’t want. Nor do I want to give to Gulliver since I don’t find his prizes particularly great, honestly and I got all the villagers and I’m just tired of RNG at this point. I prefer the Gulliver who gave me fun travel trivia. :(

Anyway, I don’t necessarily think this couldn’t work somehow–I think if the prices were cheaper (Maybe like… 10-20 Leaf Tickets per cookie) if it stayed the same with maybe 50 Leaf Tickets or 100 or even based on the item to just buy it straight out for people who maybe just want a specific item (and/or just add the ability to give items to friends!! SERIOUSLY). Another option would be lowering the current stamp totals–4-5 for the Grand Prize and 2-3 for Rares feels better balanced to me. It just genuinely feels so overpriced to buy a cookie.

But honestly, just having this kind of feature in a game where collecting is literally a core part of the gameplay and one of the reasons people play is just genuinely poor taste. And if you really want to argue that collecting is still “optional” and the catalog is an “optional goal”, I’d like to point out that:
1. Animal Crossing doesn’t really have any true goals so yeah, that’s kind of one of the closest you get along with paying off your house and completing the museum (the latter which doesn’t exist in Pocket Camp).
2. Then, if you want a more “concrete” feature this hinges upon–the new Memory system. You need to win the grand prize from each fortune cookie in order to get the item to unlock the special memory. You can’t get the memories otherwise and these memories are the ones that even feature your villager. You can’t unlock all the memories without buying into this and hoping you get lucky.

As cute as Pocket Camp is, it kills me that I feel it’s missing nearly every core point of Animal Crossing and what attracted people to the series in the first place.