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Discussion: Loot Boxes in Games

Loot boxes Xbone PS4 Switch Nintendo Microsoft Sony PC Pay to win DLC

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#1 gamerman99 GameBoy

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 06:32 PM

Starting a lazily put together thread for open discussion on a hot topic in gaming nowadays: loot boxes.

While many Nintendo games don't appear to have loot boxes incoporate yet (hell, Nintendo just began its forray into season passes), loot boxes have been around for awhile on many free to play (ftp) games as a way to generate revenue for the developer. Often items include skins or voicelines, etc.

However, you may or may not be aware of the transition of loot boxes into more AAA-title games. Overwatch arguably does the loot box system very well. All characters and abilities are available from loading the game. The only items available in loot boxes in Overwatch are sprays, voicelines, player icons, highlight intros, and skins. Nothing can influence the actual gameplay yo give an advantage over another character. You can grind, as you get a loot box every time you level up which is about every hour and a half of gameplay.

While I haven't played it, the new Shadow of Mordor game has loot boxes in it, as a single player game. I'm not sure how this works really.

Major games like Cod and Battlefield have seen an increase in revenue in the loot box system compared to the season pass model, which can seperate the player base. Gears 4 was grindy as hell, but thankfully for only weapon skins or characters skins. There were abilities to unlock for character classes in Horde as well though.l, for example, to carry extra grenades as a soldier or do more turret damage as a heavy, etc. Halo 5 had the Req system in place, where once you unlock an item you won't he t it/a duplicate, again. Other games have duplicates, but you get their in game currency or credits towards "purchasing" or crafting an item you want, such as that Master Chief voiceline in Halo or playing as Raam, Skorge or Myrahh in Gears. Often, "events" incetivize consumers to grind for the chance at an unlock for a limited time (say, a weekend in Gears, or an event for 3 weeks in Overwatch), or can alternatively pay real money for a chance to unlock it. This is part of where the controversy kicks in. Paying for the chance (gambling?) to unlock your favorite character/skin.

Battlefront 2 is one of the latest additions to this. "Free DLC" has been advertised like crazy, but EA has failed to mention that the free characters will still be locked behind an in game progression system. They have plans to drop updates to have Finn or Phasma, Grievous or others in game, but can only be unlocked eith 60,000 credits (people have done the math: without completing challenges, this equates to about 40 hours of gameplay time). However, class abilities such as 30% higher defense or 25% extra samage are also available in game. This is a game-enhancing loot box, pay to win (ptw), BULLSHIT system. Many are cancelling pre-orders and boycotting the release whivh probably wont do a lot unfortunately, because Star Wars. The developers have been silent as well, ehich is shady. The reddit page is littered with complaints and objections to their method. https://www.reddit.c...arsBattlefront/

More to come, but wanted to start the discussion or debate for opinions and thoughts. For those thinking this may not pertain, what about when Nintendo incoporate this stuff into their games? Smash Bros with characters/skins/items behind loot boxes anyone? Mario Kart with the same stuff? I hate the thought of it.

Edited by gamerman99, 11 November 2017 - 06:32 PM.


#2 Ngamer01

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 02:47 PM

I dislike digital loot boxes on this premise:  You don't really own when you get as once the developer and/or publisher abandon the game for a newer sequel or a different game all together, your loot is stuck in the abandoned game and can't be moved anywhere else.  CoD is the worst offender in this case as stuff in Advanced Warfare can't be used in other CoDs, Black Ops III's loot can't be used in other CoDs, and so on down the line.  Every new game you start from scratch completely and have to obtain all new loot even if said loot are reskins of previous weapons that appear in previous CoDs.  That XMC you get in Black Ops III?  You cannot use it outside Black Ops III even if it was a reskin of Black Ops II's MSMC.

 

You're basically gambling to try obtaining temporary loot.  That's my biggest problem with this.



#3 CONKERSBADFURDAY

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 06:32 PM

I am completely fine with loot boxes in F2P games as long as they don't create pay-to-win scenarios. Devs have to make money, and games are expensive.

 

I am mostly fine with loot boxes in P2P games, but things get iffy. I get that video games are expensive to make, that dev teams are huge, and that game prices are as cheap as they have ever been and haven't gone up in conjecture with inflation. That money has to be offset somewhere, and if it's bullshit cosmetics I won't bother with, then fine.

 

But I also think it's slimy as hell at times. Games come with massive season passes, complete with DLC, skin packs, in-game currency, and a thousand other things. And then they add loot boxes on top of that. And then they do special events that last a few weeks with new loot, and you have to buy a ton of boxes in hopes of getting that loot. That's shitty.

 

Because here's the thing with multiplayer games: How you look is fucking important. You might not think it is, but it is. One of the reasons you're playing is to make yourself stand out from the rest, and devs know this. So they go, "hey throw us some money and maybe you'll be even cooler than your buds!" So you do. Or with like Destiny 2 where that ingram stuff to make you look cool comes in packs of three while armor comes in packs of four. That's fucking dirty. It's also a missing functionality from Destiny where you could reuse those things.

 

That's shitty.

 

Or in Shadow of War or whatever it is, wehre you're paying for in-game items that you'd normally unlock by playing. Now you just buy them to save time, but what does that say about the gameplay? What does that say about game balance? Grinding sucks. Add grinding, add a way to skip grinding via money, and profit off of poorly designing a game on purpose.

 

In some cases I really do get it though. Halo 5 has free updates for basically life, but there are loot box packs you can buy. I'd rather get free maps and stuff and offset it that way. That's cool. It makes sense. But a lot of these other games are doing this so you can pay and pay and pay and pay. That's a bit gross.



#4 SuperTeeter64

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 12:12 PM

I'm kinda bummed how they work in Injustice 2. It's not horrible. But it's not great either. It sucks having custom moves behind it though. I think Overwatch has done it the best so far. Short post but only because I'm on lunch break at work. I'll read and discuss more when I can. Hopefully.

#5 gamerman99 GameBoy

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 07:11 PM

Yeah, been meaning to get back here to add more. More drama surrounding the Star Wars Battlefront 2 launch. Gamers did the math based on credits earned per match, not counting challenges. Instead of 40 hours, it will now take approximately 10 hours (15000 credits) now for Vader/Luke since EA reduced the credit cost of heroes. Overall, it will take over 4200 hours to unlock everything (aka more than 6 months of in game time) or over $2500 for everything in the game. Also interesting, at 40 hours per week based on the currency system in place now, it amounts to a gamer "being paid" approximately 80 cents/hour for in game currency/rewards, if that makes sense. The EA AMA on reddit was pretty much 'we're always looking at way to improve/open to suggestions' aka pr bullshit again. Many noteworthy news and Media outlets have taken notice of 'Disney enabling gambling among kids.' Reviews could be better BECAUSE THE GAME ITSELF IS GOOD, but the microtransaction ptw BULLSHIT is hindering the scores from being higher, cited as a very common, probably the most common criticism of the game. Why pay 60 bucks for a ftp, ptw style game where people can have advantages over others?!

Several countries are now also evaluating the way in which EA has set up their microtransaction/loot box system for this game as well to determine if it is considered gambling. The argument can go either way; if you pay for the chance at some iyem, even though you dont know what it is, its not gambling? Inb4 'But it's a digital item.' Or worse, in Battlefront 2's case, star cards for boosts/advantages. Inb4 'does that mean if you play a $10 hand of blackjack at the casino and are 100% guaranteed to "*win*" 1 penny every game, is that no longer considered gambling?'

I think it's all calculated. They promised free DLC, and I just KNEW the caveat with this would be loot boxes. OK. Fine. They overpriced everything even after the beta so they could have a calculated reduction prior to launch to look like they're listening. While they are "re-evaluating" it all (supposedly), they'll keep prices and in-game currency earning the same now through the holidays at the very least. PRIME TIME FOR SALES OF THE GAME AND PURCHASES OF LOOT BOXES WILL BE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON. THE TIME FOR THEIR HIGHEST PROFIT IS NOW, ALIGNED WITH THE HOLIDAY AND NEW MOVIE COMING OUT. THERE WILL NEVER BE A MORE OPTIMAL TIME FOR GAME, OR MICROTRANSACTION, SALES THAN THERE IS NOW! And of course they fuckin know this. It's smart, to try at least. But the gaming community appears to be fed up enough to be making national/worldwide headlines and impacting review scores, canceling pre-orders and getting this evaluated by several countries to see if it's gambling or not. Truly, it will be interesting to see how it all plays out and if EA actually makes REASONABLE adjustments. At the end of the day, their current credit reward system is outrageous and there is no way in hell they didn't have this all calculated out. The system is designed help you complete lots of credit-earning challenges within the first few hours of gameplay, then to pressure you to shell out money in the worst way possible for us as consumers for their in-game items when the amount of credit drops/challenges/loot boxes earned or completed just diminishes.

All of that said, I am buying the game and excited to play it, however, am very hopeful and optimistic that the credits earned per game ratio and other things are adjusted so the game isn't and grind. Maybe I'm naive. But, I will NOT be spending money on the in-game loot. I don't do it for other games, so why would I for this one?

I'd also like to include that Respawn also did things right. All DLC is free in Titanfall 2. New maps, new titans, new game modes--all of it, free. The items available for purchases to support the developers are in-game cosmetic/skin/logo packs WHICH ALLOW YOU TO SEE THE CONTENTS OF WHAT YOU'RE PAYING FOR! :O Like the pack with that laser red skin? Buy it, $1.99, dobe deal. Not pay for a chance to maybe get a skin, but sorry probably not the one you were wanting, perhaps if you try again though? In this day and age, that's practically a unicorn, unheard of anymore! Oh but wait...EA recently bought them out...:(

EDIT: Apparently abut an hour after posting this, EA has "temporarily" shut down any ability to purchase their in-game currency with real money, making the game progression only based on time spent playing the game and earning credits as opposed to IRL spending for ptw. This is for the launch of the game, "until further noticr" after adjustments have been made to the game currency mechanics. I've heard tell that this is to throw off the investigations of accusations of gambling, and also heard the CEO of Disney spoke with the CEO of EA today on the phone but details were sparse, with lots of people on imgur and reddit who stated that they have worked with Disney in the past and they take allegations against their image extremely seriously. May need to take this with a grain of salt, or may need to still getchur popcorn.

Edited by gamerman99, 16 November 2017 - 08:42 PM.


#6 gamerman99 GameBoy

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Posted 17 November 2017 - 05:51 PM

IGN spent a hundred bucks in Battlefront 2 for currency before they were changed, got enough crafting parts to move a common card to uncommon. Pure shit. http://m.ign.com/art...c20a4296e00001c





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