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Let's talk about Loot Boxes


Harsin
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I was surprised that they stuck loot boxes in a new high profile release given the way Europe is going on this.

 

The one silver lining is that the character designs and weapon skins in AL are so ugly I'd never be tempted to gamble for them.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Harsin said:

I was surprised that they stuck loot boxes in a new high profile erase given the way Europe is going on this.

 

The one silver lining is that the character designs and weapon skins in AL are so ugly I'd never be tempted to gamble for them.

 

 

 

It surprised me too. Especially when you factor in that Anthem isn't going to have any and it'd be a prime candidate normally.

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Apex Legends Store Prices:

 

$9.99 - 1,000 Apex Coins.

$19.99 - 2,150 Apex Coins.

$39.99 - 4,350 Apex Coins.

$59.99 - 6,700 Apex Coins.

$99.99 - 11,500 Apex Coins.

 

"But the game is FREE!"

 

"The highest store price is $100 which is the cost of 2 full price games and you still won't get anywhere near the full amount of cosmetics"

 

"buh...buh.....the game is FREE!"

 

A fool and his money etc

 

This coming from a developer who bragged about the lack of paid DLC in the last game they made. No shame.

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T2 had loads of free content drops. Yes there were some paid DLC but they were like £3.99 for a suite of Titan skins and unique executions. All maps, game modes and even additional Titans were free.

 

Those four legendary items above alone would cost you $72 in Apex Legends. That's fucking scandalous. $18 EACH to make your gun look like a fucking water pistol!

 

but of course you could always try your luck with legalised gambling loot boxes instead...

 

It's predatory. I see there are certain skins you can't unlock until you got the previous legendary skin either

 

 

 

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Obligatory "only a fool would buy those ugly items" comment, but of course I do realise there are people out there who are susceptible to this type of temptation.

18 dollar for a shitty skin, that's crazy. And that comes from someone who bought too many 25 euro mounts for WoW :hmm:

 

edit: about free content drops, Apex Legends in 1 day old, give it some time :) According to Giant Bomb, Respawn/EA are in this for the long run and openly spoke about Seasons, Packs and all that.

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42 minutes ago, Flub said:

 

It surprised me too. Especially when you factor in that Anthem isn't going to have any and it'd be a prime candidate normally.

 

Backlash and constant negative PR over that type of MTX in paid premium games stopped that, while Apex Legends is F2P so is perfectly fair game for any and all monetisation schemes, which Respawn have apparently taken as some sort of challenge to see how many different ones they can try out with it :)

 

They did say going with EA would help with live services, though it seems to be working the other way around in reality, with Respawn experimenting to see what works best.

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4 minutes ago, mushashi said:

 

 while Apex Legends is F2P so is perfectly fair game for any and all monetisation schemes

 

 

 

It's not really. The same gambling arguments for example apply no matter how much you paid for the game.

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You do quite often see people make the statement that when they start playing an F2P game that they will "throw some money" at the developers, like they have mentally budgeted for the microtransactions already based on a what a paid for game would cost. Which is fair enough as far as it goes, but I wonder if this doesn't normalise spending money for virtual tat, in a way that makes you much more likely to continue to pump money in.

 

I play Clash Royale, and I generally don't pay for MTX, but this one time they had an offer that was like ridiculously good value relative to what they normally charged. I did end up paying for that (as did a lot of others as it went to top grossing app immediately), but I wonder if that was a way to get people over the mental threshold of paying for virtual currency.

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3 hours ago, SozzlyJoe said:

You do quite often see people make the statement that when they start playing an F2P game that they will "throw some money" at the developers, like they have mentally budgeted for the microtransactions already based on a what a paid for game would cost. Which is fair enough as far as it goes, but I wonder if this doesn't normalise spending money for virtual tat, in a way that makes you much more likely to continue to pump money in.

 

I play Clash Royale, and I generally don't pay for MTX, but this one time they had an offer that was like ridiculously good value relative to what they normally charged. I did end up paying for that (as did a lot of others as it went to top grossing app immediately), but I wonder if that was a way to get people over the mental threshold of paying for virtual currency.

 

Personally, I have no problem with the concept of throwing some money at a dev, to reward them for a product. Be that to remove adds or get a gold button instead of grey, or whatever. I've done this with many games.

 

The loot box issue is all about the manipulation of the human brain in a way that is very difficult to avoid, even for those who are conscious that it is happening. Some of the responses in this thread emphasise the lack of understanding of the situation and the association with free to play isn't helpful in breaking that lack of understanding.

 

The issue has nothing to do with microtransactions or virtual tat. Assuming that those transactions are straight up simple "pay £x, get virtual tat y". There is no manipulation going on here apart from normal consumerism and capitalism. If people want to spend £100 on a virtual gun then I have no issue with them choosing to do that just like others will spend £100 on shoes or music.

 

What I do have a massive issue with is people buying 100 chances, costing £1 each, with no guarantee of getting the item and no transparency of the outcome probability. Even when the outcome probability is transparent, even the most educated people are still completely fucking terrible at really understanding what that probability means and making good decisions.

 

For example, an item has a 1% drop rate, so if I buy 100, on average, I will get one, right? Wrong. If the distribution is as described then theoretically, considering an infinite number of purchases, 1% of drops will be for the item. This theoretical probability has little relevance to the chance of getting one in 1, 10, 100 or 1000 transactions. A small percentage of people will still not have a drop after 1000 or even 5000 purchases, and that is completely normal and expected. If you are that person, you are going to be furious, but likely keep on buying, due to the gambler's fallacy.

 

TLDR: People are fucking terrible at making decisions involving probabilities, and are even worse at making decisions involving very low probabilities. This is the problem, not free to play, or buying virtual tat.

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13 hours ago, BeeJay said:

TLDR: People are fucking terrible at making decisions involving probabilities, and are even worse at making decisions involving very low probabilities. This is the problem, not free to play, or buying virtual tat.

 

Your post is a good one, but I think you are glossing over the peer pressure / showing-off issue you see in games like Fortnite. A while back we had a guy in the Fortnite thread wondering how much his nephew must have spent to get the battle pass top tier on the first day it game out (answer: well over a hundred quid). There's no probabilities involved there, you know what you are getting and you know what it costs, but it still preys on people's weaknesses.

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10 minutes ago, SozzlyJoe said:

 

Your post is a good one, but I think you are glossing over the peer pressure / showing-off issue you see in games like Fortnite. A while back we had a guy in the Fortnite thread wondering how much his nephew must have spent to get the battle pass top tier on the first day it game out (answer: well over a hundred quid). There's no probabilities involved there, you know what you are getting and you know what it costs, but it still preys on people's weaknesses.

 

And those battle passes are designed in a way that means to complete them without paying needs a very significant focus on that game for long periods. People that can't do that are encouraged to pay. I like the concept of battle passes but I think we'll be better off if they were designed in the first instance to be fun rather than to drive people to a cash shop. I think even in the case of Fortnite the battle passes are very deliberately of a certain size and investment needed because they know a lot of people will just pay for some tiers. The big publishers don't hire psychologists for nothing.

 

It might backfire on them somewhat though. The more popular these games get with kids the more likely the publishers are to see governments getting involved. Lets face it. There's nothing a politician likes more is going after a vice "For the children"

 

Very interesting times.

 

Agree totally about peer pressure/wanting to show off. Never underestimate the power of dressup. See also Fashion Frame and Space Barbie in STO.

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4 minutes ago, SozzlyJoe said:

 

Your post is a good one, but I think you are glossing over the peer pressure / showing-off issue you see in games like Fortnite. A while back we had a guy in the Fortnite thread wondering how much his nephew must have spent to get the battle pass top tier on the first day it game out (answer: well over a hundred quid). There's no probabilities involved there, you know what you are getting and you know what it costs, but it still preys on people's weaknesses.

 

Honestly, peer pressure to buy shit that you don't need is a much, much bigger societal issue that cannot be controlled or stopped by the games industry. Of course they can play their part. Out of interest does the battle pass come with guaranteed drops or do they still come with loot box unlocks depending on battle pass level. My only experience with battle passes is Dota 2 and that has the latter.

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6 minutes ago, BeeJay said:

 

Honestly, peer pressure to buy shit that you don't need is a much, much bigger societal issue that cannot be controlled or stopped by the games industry. Of course they can play their part. Out of interest does the battle pass come with guaranteed drops or do they still come with loot box unlocks depending on battle pass level. My only experience with battle passes is Dota 2 and that has the latter.

 

No random element at all, so it's one of the 'good guys'. You are right of course that you can't stop peer pressure, but it should be an obligation of these companies not to ruthlessly exploit it.

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8 minutes ago, BeeJay said:

 

Honestly, peer pressure to buy shit that you don't need is a much, much bigger societal issue that cannot be controlled or stopped by the games industry. Of course they can play their part. Out of interest does the battle pass come with guaranteed drops or do they still come with loot box unlocks depending on battle pass level. My only experience with battle passes is Dota 2 and that has the latter.

 

In Fortnite when you reach a tier you get the reward. I don't believe that game has loot crates at all.

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I'm not sure it's fair to fully lump Apex Legends into the loot box problem.  Yes, there are loot boxes in there which involves chance/the 'gambling' element, but you can also buy in-game currency to spend on whatever you want.  From what I've seen so far, every single item has its price, you can choose to spend £££ to buy the specific thing you actually want.

 

Plus after playing for a bit, I'd earned enough crafting materials to unlock a skin of my choosing anyway.  It's similar to Rainbow Six Siege IMO in how it's handling things.  Except it would have taken me far longer to get anything in Siege.

 

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3 hours ago, sprite said:

I'm not sure it's fair to fully lump Apex Legends into the loot box problem.  Yes, there are loot boxes in there which involves chance/the 'gambling' element, but you can also buy in-game currency to spend on whatever you want.  From what I've seen so far, every single item has its price, you can choose to spend £££ to buy the specific thing you actually want.

 

Plus after playing for a bit, I'd earned enough crafting materials to unlock a skin of my choosing anyway.  It's similar to Rainbow Six Siege IMO in how it's handling things.  Except it would have taken me far longer to get anything in Siege.

 

 

Everything you posted there just reinforces them not actually needing the loot crates and all the things they imply,... and put them in anyway. As you say. They're doing everything else right. Why do they need to sell loot crates too?

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1 minute ago, Flub said:

 

Everything you posted there just reinforces them not actually needing the loot crates and all the things they imply,... and put them in anyway. As you say. They're doing everything else right. Why do they need to sell loot crates too?

 

To target the people who are susceptible to such things of course! Jim Sterling always makes this point, when you say "it doesn't affect me" that's because it's not aimed at you. It's aimed at the problem gamblers.

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3 minutes ago, SozzlyJoe said:

 

To target the people who are susceptible to such things of course! Jim Sterling always makes this point, when you say "it doesn't affect me" that's because it's not aimed at you. It's aimed at the problem gamblers.

 

I know that. You know that. Some people on this forum (Not aiming at you Sprite) and in this thread don't. I was trying to make a point without directly saying the answer :) Helps stimulate discussion

 

I also never said it doesn't effect me. I know exactly what they are and what they're doing and I still buy them sometimes. They're utterly without merit as far as the player goes.

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Just now, Flub said:

 

I know that. You know that. Some people on this forum (Not aiming at you Sprite) and in this thread don't. I was trying to make a point without directly saying the answer :) Helps stimulate discussion

 

I also never said it doesn't effect me. I know exactly what they are and what they're doing and I still buy them sometimes.

 

Yeah, I was agreeing with you, I didn't mean specifically when YOU say, sorry.

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31 minutes ago, Flub said:

Why do they need to sell loot crates too?

 

Because they are figuring out the META for this particular game, it's not a one-size fits all monetisation scheme that rules them all. EA's various developers aren't that well versed in what works best for every game, as their past attempts have shown ;)

 

The trick is to appear to be fair, but find something which is super lucrative. Minimal negative press and itprintsmoney.gif like Epic have managed to do.

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1 hour ago, Flub said:

 

Everything you posted there just reinforces them not actually needing the loot crates and all the things they imply,... and put them in anyway. As you say. They're doing everything else right. Why do they need to sell loot crates too?

 

Good point.  I quite like getting something for levelling up though!

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What really grinds my fucking gears is when the arseholes hide the true cost behind fake game currency.  There's no real reason to other than stop you thinking "fuck I'm paying £2 for this gun skin" or "I'm paying £8 for this season pass that lets me level up faster (to get more cosmetics)".   

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44 minutes ago, sprite said:

 

Good point.  I quite like getting something for levelling up though!

 

Totally. They're an amazingly fun reward for levelling up. It's just when they sell them? Not so great. Especially for the more vulnerable

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4 hours ago, Flub said:

 

Totally. They're an amazingly fun reward for levelling up. It's just when they sell them? Not so great. Especially for the more vulnerable

 

Im not sure you can actually directly buy loot boxes in Apex can you?

 

You can only buy currency, which you choose to spend on whatever you want.  But yes, you can spend that currency on loot boxes.

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