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Harsin

Let's talk about Loot Boxes

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I don't hate them done right. Like Harsin says, if they give a company a steady cashflow that allows for funding extra free content for everyone else, and don't disrupt the balance of the game, then that's a good thing for everyone. The example of cosmetic outfits I have no issue with.

 

The moment they do fuck with the balance of a game and give a strong advantage to other users they do become a big problem though, and I'm very wary of that.

 

Imagine a Souls game with its whole invasion mechanic having epic equipment loot boxes. That would be the worst example of fucked. Single IT nerds with no kids and silly cashflow would just dominate.

 

Wait, actually....

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They are the latest way publishers think they can fleece some extra money from their customers. I don't have an issue with them in free to play games, the system works fine for games like Path of Exile as the devs deserve to make a living. I do however grudge giving money to a company for extra loot boxes on top of a £40+ game.

 Like all these things though people need to vote with their wallets, don't buy Shadow of War or Forza 7 and if you absolutely must own the game don't spend a penny on loot crates, despite how much better/easier/quicker it might make the game. If we as a community do this they'll go away much like horse armour micro DLC, collectable tat, store exclusive DLC,  season passes and pay to play - oh wait gamers have no self control and too much spare cash so none of these have ever really "gone away"

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I don't give a fuck about loot boxes when they're done right. Because that means that they stick to the kind of games that aren't for me anyways. But loot boxes in full price AAA single-player games annoy me even more than pre-order DLC. At least I can ignore or avoid shitty nonsensical DLC, but loot boxes actively ruin what would otherwise be damn good games. See the new Shadow of Mordor where the true ending is apparently hidden behind either 12 hours of mindless, repetitive grinding or you pay real money to get the stuff you need for the true ending right away. Or Forza 7, where the GB Quick Look points out that even if the real money microtransactions aren't switched on yet, you damn well notice that the whole balance and design of the game is heavily weighted towards the existence and use of loot boxes.

 

I can live with season passes, online passes, and even pre-order DLC. But unlike any of those loot boxes can negatively or at the very least noticeably impact an entire game, or the overall experience. So as far as I'm concerned they can fuck right off with that shit.

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There are too many amazing games being released at the moment that do not ask me for more money during play, so why would I buy one which wants to behave like a FTP game? I don't mean the cosmetic content - a fool and his money and all that. But games which want me to pay to avoid the grind are simply acknowledging a poor design choice and giving you the option to pay to get around it.

 

I loved Shadow of Mordor. To this date it is my only platinumed game. But comments like this in a review mean that the sequel is firmly off my shopping list:

Quote

When you run out of in-game money, you have two choices: Make a huge time investment by hunting down orcs in your game world and earning chests via vendetta missions, or spend some real money to get the more powerful orcs you need now. Does the game ever force you to spend money? No. I’m sure you can get to the end of Shadow Wars without spending a dime, as long as you’re patient and persistent. But locking progress through this mode (and, again, toward the game’s true ending) behind either spending more money or doing tons of tedious busywork feels at least greedy if not predatory.

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I'm not sure we've weathered the season pass era. That's still going on, cutting up games and selling them piecemeal. In fact it's worse than ever now with a lot of the season pass "content" only being loot boxes and the like anyway. 

 

It's all getting out of hand imo and just puts me off. 

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I think loot boxes are fine as long as they don't get in the way of your enjoyment of the game. Like @Harsin says, Overwatch's cosmetic items are a perfect fit for loot boxes, since you're not holding your team back if you don't get a fancy skin or whatever. However, if your only options to progress in a game are a cash grind or loot box gambling, it's a bit shit and it'll put people off playing further.

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5 minutes ago, Qazimod said:

I think loot boxes are fine as long as they don't get in the way of your enjoyment of the game. Like @Harsin says, Overwatch's cosmetic items are a perfect fit for loot boxes, since you're not holding your team back if you don't get a fancy skin or whatever. However, if your only options to progress in a game are a cash grind or loot box gambling, it's a bit shit and it'll put people off playing further.

I honestly believe these cosmetic only purchases were just put in to test the market. Give 'em an inch and they'll take a mile. 

 

It starts with cosmetic only stuff then continues with actual gameplay altering ones because they know people will buy them, and they've tested it.

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My perspective...

 

I played TF2 for years. Could school everyone. I logged back in and got kicked from two games because I didn't have a fucking cosmetic so they didn't think I could play on expert.

 

So yeah, I'd say they have created a toxic atmosphere.

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I spent plenty on madden card packs over the last few years. Im sick of it though. They make out it’s random but I’d like to see an investigation into it. If it’s fixed in any way then they need to say because it’s pretty much like gambling if you ask me.

Overwatch loot boxes are so pointless I’ve searched for a reason to buy them....but still haven’t found one.

Same with Uncharted.

yes it’s the right way to do loot boxes. (Only have cosmetic items) but let’s be honest most people want a gameplay advantage to lift money from their wallet:

 

 

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I knew they'd go to town on them in SWBFII. Singing from the rooftops about how there would be no season pass and that all content would be 'free' in future updates. That's how it should be. Your customers have already bought your game, you've had their money. Don't then boast about how fucking generous you're being by not charging them £12 for a Death Star level. FFS.

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Why should all content be free in the future though? I don't think it's unfair for the price of a game to cover development costs up until release and then charge for additional content. The main problem with that practice in multiplayer games is the player segregation due to dlc maps, which fortunately they've avoided. Less fortunate is that they seem to have created a balance problem with the crate system being tied to power. 

 

Do you also think that the Witcher 3 expansions should have been free because "your customers have already bought your game" and you've "had their money"? 

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Feel like I should expand on my first post, they can be "done right", Overwatch for example, but I still have issues with that in that it's essentially an acceptable form of gambling. If you want to sell Cosmetic shit, just let people buy it. The companies however know full well that the dopamine rush of maybe getting something amazing gets people to get their wallets out. It's super shady imo.

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In every game I've played recently with this kind of thing - Wheelspins in Forza Horizon, crates in Battlefield 4 and 1, boxes in The Division, even legendary drops in Destiny, I rarely even open the ones I get given. Too busy actually playing the game.

 

I think they only affect the game if you're really, really into it.

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The main issue in my opinion here is not whether its introduced into free to play or games which are already 60 pounds. the main issue is that video games are becoming gambling. that really sucks. I was hoping to introduce my daughter to gaming. and play like I did with my friends and with my father when I was growing up. instead it seems introducing her to gaming would be the equivalent of taking her with me to a casino. I fucking hate this. I wish regulators would get on the case. at least in Europe. 

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2 minutes ago, Radish said:

Why should all content be free in the future though? I don't think it's unfair for the price of a game to cover development costs up until release and then charge for additional content. The main problem with that practice in multiplayer games is the player segregation due to dlc maps, which fortunately they've avoided. Less fortunate is that they seem to have created a balance problem with the crate system being tied to power. 

 

Do you also think that the Witcher 3 expansions should have been free because "your customers have already bought your game" and you've "had their money"? 

In the case of BF II it's only free to ensure people continue playing the multiplayer, and therefore continue buying lootboxes. They've admitted it divided the player base in BF1 and lead to people not bothering. 

 

Battlefront 1 was also criminally short of content, so asking more for levels was a piss take. I have no problem with DLC provided the main game is delivered in a complete state and not had content held back deliberately. 

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4 minutes ago, Oz said:

The main issue in my opinion here is not whether its introduced into free to play or games which are already 60 pounds. the main issue is that video games are becoming gambling. that really sucks. I was hoping to introduce my daughter to gaming. and play like I did with my friends and with my father when I was growing up. instead it seems introducing her to gaming would be the equivalent of taking her with me to a casino. I fucking hate this. I wish regulators would get on the case. at least in Europe. 

Just introduce her to the good stuff :)

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2 minutes ago, Stanley said:

Just introduce her to the good stuff :)

yes, I agree. my fear is this is slowly permeating everything. started with free to play. then all AAA games. then all games. where the fuck are the regulators. 

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1 minute ago, Oz said:

yes, I agree. my fear is this is slowly permeating everything. started with free to play. then all AAA games. then all games. where the fuck are the regulators. 

Agreed. They leave it to us the parents to manage, and then we appear mean to our kids if we don't let them play what they want - especially when it's very easy to target kids with advertising.  I've got my daughter a kindle kids edition - you pay a yearly fee (I think it's about £80) and they curate the content to rid it of in app purchases and so on, but it doesn't always work. Some gets through and there's the occasional tantrum when she can't buy her pony a wig or whatever.

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1 hour ago, Mr. Gerbik said:

I don't give a fuck about loot boxes when they're done right.

you see so I don't think they should be in there altogether. they can never be done right. basically someone needs to tell these chaps to go and fuck themselves with their behavioral psychology gambling mechanics and manipulation. 

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2 minutes ago, Oz said:

you see so I don't think they should be in there altogether. they can never be done right. basically someone needs to tell these chaps to go and fuck themselves with their behavioral psychology gambling mechanics and manipulation. 

Is right. They are the most cynical thing in gaming I think I've ever seen. 

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I despise them, but thankfully as I don't really come across them, I've decided to turn a blind eye than really feel the need to be enraged anymore.

 

The thread I started a few years ago feels almost quaint now. Turns out Next Gen Microtransactions are called Loot Boxes:

 

At the start of this generation I thought they might permeate everything but thankfully it seems to mainly publishers and titles I have absolutely zero interest in (the usual suspects: EA, Microsoft, Activision). The nearest to me experiencing it is probably Destiny but I've even fallen disinterested in that this time around.

 

I find it slightly amusing, and depressing, that Forza is again at the centre of the controversy and they are still trying to say "oops, we will fix it this time!" and then fixing it doesn't actually result in the gambling mechanics being removed, just lessened.

 

Incidentally, I love gambling mechanics in games - playing Poker in Yakuza to try and earn more money to level up quicker, the gatcha machine in Ape Escape 2 - but it's all fake, so it's a game. As soon as you introduce any way of spending money on that mechanic it becomes far more serious.

 

It's crass and exploitative and the sooner regulation comes in the better.

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15 minutes ago, Oz said:

yes, I agree. my fear is this is slowly permeating everything. started with free to play. then all AAA games. then all games. where the fuck are the regulators. 

 

You're probably safe with Nintendo for a good while if you don't want your daughter exposed to shit like this.

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7 minutes ago, MW_Jimmy said:

It's crass and exploitative and the sooner regulation comes in the better.

this! the best way to tell when something is ultimate bullshit is that even the users cannot defend it. they are just addicted. they are using it but wish they were not. for example, even hardcore smokers agreed with banning cigarette commercials targeting kids with that fucking camel. how do corporations always seem to get to this point where commercial benefits seem to obliterate ethical behavior. even the profit arithmetic of it does not work. in that poor ethics are bad for business in the long term. sure Forza 7 might make a bit more money but this will be extremely harmful for the franchise and the long term value of the intellectual property. it is basically an own goal. 

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The Forza thing feels especially slimy. Forza (whatever the number of the one that launched with the Xbox One) got a bit of a grilling in the media. The answer to this in subsequent releases? Remove them... but only for launch, so that reviewers don't complain about microtransactions,  then patch them back in post launch once the reviews are all out so it doesn't affect their metacritic.

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2 minutes ago, Majora said:

 

You're probably safe with Nintendo for a good while if you don't want your daughter exposed to shit like this.

....

5 minutes later

.....

"Loot boxes coming to Splatoon 3!"

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