Arknights (Chinese: 明日方舟; Pinyin: Míngrì Fāngzhōu; lit. "Ark of Tomorrow") is a mobile science-fantasy tower defense gacha video game developed by Hypergryph for Android and iOS.
Arknights is currently available in five regions/servers:
- Mainland China (CN)
- Japan (JP)
- Korea (KR)
- Worldwide[note 1] (EN)
- Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau (TW)
The JP, KR, and EN servers are released and updated simultaneously; for this reason, the Arknights Wiki collectively refers to them as the Global/EN server.
|CN||May 1, 2019||Hypergryph|
|Global/EN||January 16, 2020||Yostar|
|TW||June 29, 2020||Longcheng|
Arknights takes place in the dystopian world of Terra. Terra may seem initially similar to our Earth, a modern world with a relatively similar level of technology — perhaps slightly more futuristic. However, its inhabitants, the "Ancients", sport animalistic traits. The world is constantly devastated by Catastrophes, ecological disasters of various sorts, forcing the world's inhabitants to adopt a nomadic life through nomadic cities. Along with the Catastrophes came Originium, a black crystalline mineral left behind in the aftermath of Catastrophes. Originium is widely used by the Terrans as a source of energy and engineering materials, and serves as the catalyst of magic-like powers known as Originium Arts. However, exposure to Originium leads to a "terminal disease" known as Oripathy, which has become a pandemic plaguing all of Terra. Oripathy is not easily transmissible, at least until the death and crystallization of its victims. Nevertheless, those stricken with Oripathy are known as Infected and suffer heavy oppression and marginalization across the entire world.
The game is told from the perspective of Rhodes Island, an international, non-governmental pharmaceutical corporation based in the eponymous nomadic landship, the mission of which is to aid the Infected. Rhodes Island hires many Infected and non-Infected Operators of various skills, trades, and origin; and effectively prove to be much more than a simple laboratory, boasting the paramilitary tactics and firepower of a small private military company. As they are best used to deal with the Infected, R.I. enters conflict with Reunion, a violent non-state actor consisting of radical Infected militants who intend to punish the Terrans for their plight. While Reunion is the game's initial antagonist, it has since expanded to other conflicts, including the succession conflict in Victoria, the rampant capitalism of Kazimierz, and the never-ending civil wars in Kazdel, among others. The protagonist of Arknights is an enigmatic individual known only as the Doctor. The Doctor has lost their memory from a long stasis in the mysterious Sarcophagus beneath the nomadic city of Chernobog, Ursus. They are rescued in the game's opening act by Rhodes Island, needing their tactical genius to act as their commander.
The story of Arknights heavily deals with themes of marginalization, oppression, racism, and geopolitics as a result, and the relative maturity of its storytelling will likely feel familiar to players of Girls' Frontline.
Those who have played tower defense (TD) games will be familiar with Arknights' gameplay: the player must keep enemies from reaching a certain goal by using "towers."
However, Arknights integrates a significant design difference: unique Operators act as the towers who can be deployed around the map and hold off enemies whether by attacking or blocking them, and due to its RPG-inspired progression mechanics and unique Operator skillsets, no two "towers" typically work the same. Compared to most other TD games, Arknights features rather unique mechanics, as it is designed to be a tower defense game that plays like a strategy RPG. Enemies take various uncommon paths to reach their goals, there is a wide variety of enemy types with their own unique characteristics and behaviors, some stages event completely upend the tower defense dynamic, and the gameplay tends to be significantly more challenging than average.
Arknights naturally integrates a character progression system as most gachas do, which implies some repetitive farming of stages to acquire the resources needed to enhance their Operators. For this reason, Arknights includes the Auto Deploy feature which, uniquely, stores a semi-exact recording of the player's every input, deployment order and skill activation from a previous flawless clear on that map, allowing that map to be completed on its own without any further player input and making "grinding" for resources less tedious.
Arknights includes the Rhodes Island Infrastructure Complex, a Base where Operators can be assigned to work and produce additional materials to enhance their abilities, a base building mechanic which requires the player to do some amount of management and thinking.
Being a free-to-play gacha game, Arknights features gacha mechanics in the form of headhunting to obtain Operators. While they are generally regarded as fairly generous, we shall refrain from making such assertions, and let you make your own decision for yourself with the facts:
- All players receive a 6★ Operator to start with from the Newbie Pool. See the Headhunting article. They will also receive several free Operators, including some 2★, 3★, 4★ and Amiya.
- A roll costs 600 . Ten rolls cost tenfold that amount exactly.
- The game does not advantage or incentivize doing ten-pulls. Ten rolls at once and ten individual rolls will have the same result.
- The game features a weekly farming operation called Annihilation that allows one to farm up to 1200 a week, and clearing a few of the harder operations allow increasing that cap to 1800 .
- Daily and weekly missions award up to 1200 per week if fully completed.
- Every perfect stage clear awards 1 , which can be traded for 180 . Challenge Modes for stages that have them award 1 as well.
- Character Outfits are purchased for either 15 or 18 meaning it is entirely possible to acquire skins without spending real money.
- It is possible to acquire a theoretically unlimited amount of Orundum per week by trading Originium Shard in the Trading Post. However, the yield is so low, and the production of this material in the first place is so expensive (requiring heavy amounts of Materials and LMD that all but stop any character progression) that it is hardly an efficient method of acquiring free currency and it is not advisable.
- Character duplicates are known as Potential and, up to a maximum of 5 duplicates, can provide some benefits on the Operator. Every duplicate awards some Certificates, and maximum Potential operators can see their tokens traded in for more Certificates. See the specific article on Certificates for the rules and exchange rates.
- A Commendation Certificate is rather easily acquired from duplicates of low-rarity units, and the Commendation Store features 600 and 2 Headhunting Permit in its first phase for the price of 240 and 480 respectively. The first phase of this store can and should be cleared every month.
- The second phase of the Commendation Store features 2 Headhunting Permit for 450 apiece. However, it is far less viable to acquire every month and should be reserved for extra rolls on banners you have saved up for.
- The third phase of the Commendation Store features theoretically uncapped weekly Orundum, but with diminishing returns compared to the above two, and it is hardly viable for free-to-play playing.
- A 6★ and 5★ Operator from the current Standard Pool headhunting banner can be acquired in the Distinction Store for 180 and 45 , respectively.
- Otherwise, the distinction store has 8 Headhunting Permit and 3 Ten-roll Headhunting Permit for up to 258 , up to 38 rolls, with the stock being reset every month.
- The currency is acquired rather sparsely, and acquiring this amount of currency requires quite a lot of saving it up and/or rolling, which makes it more practical to get free extra rolls to complement a banner for which you have saved up, as rolling a lot on a banner will be sure to give high amounts of Certificates. However, see Recruitment below for a better way to acquire Certificates.
- The average headhunting banner features a 2% chance for 6★, 8% chance for 5★, 50% chance for 4★ and 40% chance for 3★.
- Featured Operators have 50% chance to appear in their rarity. The rate is spread evenly between the two should two characters be featured in the same rarity. That also means there is 50% chance that a roll is not a featured character.
- Headhunting banners always guarantee a 5★ if the player has not received any in ten rolls. Acquiring a 6★ or 5★ operator will consume this guarantee.
- After 51 rolls without acquiring a 6★, the rate of 6★ operators will increase on every subsequent roll by 2%, and can increase to a 100% chance eventually. Acquiring a 6★ resets this rate bonus back to its initial 2% and 51 rolls timer.
- There is no guarantee to eventually receive a Featured operator. A player can acquire multiple 6★ and they can potentially never be a Featured operator.
- On an average of every three to four months, the game features Limited banners, of which one out of two featured 6★ will not be added to the pool of available 6★ after the banner ends, and can only be acquired on their Limited banners.
- On limited banners, the rate of Featured operators increases to 70% from 50%
- Limited banners award 1 exclusive to the banner on every roll. A shop allows to purchase all the featured 6★ and 5★ for 300 and 75 each respectively.
- After an exclusivity period has passed, these Limited operators will reappear in a lower capacity on other Limited banners of the same pool and be featured in their shops, for 300 still.
- The game features a system of Recruitment, or free gacha, of which a limited portion of the wider gacha pool is available entirely for free. However, the rates are much less generous, and it is significantly harder to get above 3★. Still, one can acquire most low rarity duplicates, and hope for the elusive Top Operator tag guaranteeing a 6★.
- All story content, as well as Contingency Level 18 of Contingency Contract, is tested with, and designed with 4★ operators in mind. All this content can, and has been cleared with the extremely easy to acquire 4★ operators, meaning that while they make the game easier, the lack of 5★ and 6★ operators certainly do not prevent one from actually playing the game and getting every reward.
Arknights was developed by Hypergryph Network Technologies, a Shanghai-based game studio comprised mostly of former MICA Team (of Girls' Frontline fame) employees. Most notably, co-founder and producer Hai Mao was previously a UI designer and character artist for the former.
The game's success in mainland China also resulted in a collaboration event with Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege on March 2021, in the form of Operation Originium Dust. A live Arknights-themed concert titled Ambience Synesthesia was held in May 2021, and a second edition of the concert was announced for 2022.
The Global/EN server version of Arknights is published (not developed, as many had mistakenly believed) by Yostar, who handles all aspects of localization, internationalization, marketing, and content publishing. Additionally, Yostar is a majority shareholder of Hypergryph.
Early in the Global/EN server's release, the contents are noticeably released on an accelerated pace in hopes that Global/EN would eventually achieve content parity with the CN server, which is about 8 months ahead in terms of content. However, this would become infeasible as CN also released later contents with shorter delays. Because of this, currently Global/EN is on a fast, but not rushed, content release schedule, and the gap between Global/EN and CN, as of November 2021, has been shortened to about 5–6 months.
The TW server version, or precisely the Traditional Chinese version, is published by Longcheng, a subsidiary of XD Inc. (Hanzi: 心动公司) in mainland China. Similar to the Global/EN server, the TW server is released much latter than the mainland Chinese server, but it has a gap of 9-10 months, even much longer than the Global version. Also, the TW server has a totally different schedule for the events. For example, when Operation Originium Dust arrived at the Global ver., the TW server was in the midst of Maria Nearl, and the said collab event came a few weeks after the end of the Maria Nearl event.
Most of the content in the TW server remains the same with the CN server with only conversion from Simplified to Traditional Chinese.
An anime adaptation of Arknights was announced on October 24, 2021.
- Arknights was originally planned to be named Archknights, but this was changed so the name would be a combination of "ark" (as in Noah's ark) and "knights".
- Includes North America, Australia, Europe, and Southeast Asia.