Loot Boxes as Gambling

So there’s a new game that you may have heard about, called Star Wars Battlefront 2.  There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding this game for the past couple weeks talking about how content is locked behind pay walls and loot boxes.  After receiving so much backlash about this, EA decided they’d drop the requirements for accessing certain content by 75%..!  Sounds great, right?  But they also limited the currency you could earn in game by 75% as well.  Not only that, but they further limited how much you could earn in a single day while playing single player. >.<

It’s bad enough that you are paying full price for a AAA title, but then you have content behind lockboxes as well?  EA had even come to the point of giving bonuses for people to watch someone else opening lock boxes!  “LOOK AT THE NIFTY THINGS YOU CAN GET IF YOU SPEND MOAR MONEY NAO!”  I do have to say that I don’t know who got the bonuses, the person opening them in front of others? Or if others that watched got something as well.  But either way, this seems Predatory AF!

It got so bad that Disney called EA and told them to fix the problem! So EA ended up pulling loot boxes out of the game entirely, hours before launch!  (They also reserved the right to add them back into the game at a later date.)

But that’s not the end of the story.

European governments began looking at ‘Loot boxes’ and how they compared to gambling.  And as of yesterday, Belgium and Hawaii (Yes, a US state got into the action too!) have both chimed in and consider the practice to be Gambling!  Belgium is looking to introduce legislation to ban this practice in the European Union, and Hawaii Representatives say they are working with other states to do the same here in the US.  Check out this video for a better explanation:

Yong Yea Gaming News

(I happen to like this guy’s channel and he’s had a lot of coverage on this whole loot box issue, check out his other videos if you got time.)

This won’t just affect Battlefront 2, but any and all games that feature a ‘Chance’ to get something good.  This includes our Beloved SWL ‘Loot Lanterns.’  It’s that element of ‘Chance’ to get Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious gear items, or cosmetics that are ‘MUST HAVES’ that are at the root of this issue.

Cash for Cache keys..?

‘Loot Lanterns’ are a big reason SWL has done so well, and why FunCom has seen their best 3rd quarter in history.  But depending on what legislation goes through, these may change dramatically.  Or they could see only minor changes.  Again, it depends on what the legislation actually looks like when it comes down the pike.

I don’t see much issue with how our Loot Lanterns are done in game, but then again, I’m mid in my 40’s and have a stable job and know how to limit my spending (for the most part).  I’m also aware that not everyone will be as ‘well adjusted’ to this sort of thing, and it can become a slippery slope for them.

What changes would I like to see if it comes down to it?  Truth to tell, I’m not a game designer.  Nor am I actually involved in the gaming industry, outside of this blog and some IC twitter accounts.  But looking at this from an outside perspective, once you are level 15 you will be inundated with these caches!  But the way to open them is through a special key. One that while you can purchase the funds to buy a key in game and not spend a dime of real cash, the costs are prohibitive to do so.  I think last night I saw that Aurum was going for over 200 Marks each.  That’s 20K+ marks to get 1 key.  2 days worth of Challenges to get one key. How many Loot Lanterns will you acquire during that time?

I don’t know about you, but I tend to get a good dozen a day at a minimum!  And that temptation to just spend my aurum on keys to open those suckers up is REAL.  I’m a filthy casual.  My time is limited for progression.  And I have 3 50’s to feed!  With that said, these daily keys are giving me the biggest boost to my gear progression, so finding a reason to open more of these isn’t that hard to do.  Especially when I have hundreds of older Caches in my bank still!  And knowing I could just spend a little extra here and there to open more of these to get that extra distillate, or maybe the Cyber Shades for my 3rd alt… it’s a thing!

So how can we change this?  We’d have to take the element of chance out of the equation.  That seems to be the heart of the Gambling connection.  So the type and size of distillates would have to be known ahead of time.  And the cosmetics?  We’d have to go back to the old style store and just buy the item we want.

Or maybe, at least make them available that way.  So maybe we can have each size of Distillate that you can get out of the Caches available in an ingame store for a set Aurum price, along with the cosmetic items, AND still have the caches give you a chance to get them randomly?  I’m not sure of having the option to buy something outright along with the random element when opening the Caches would satisfy whatever legislation will be brought down, but it’s an idea.  And ideas are what we’ll need soon.  How soon?  Probably early next year will be when the US Government will get things in place.  I’m not sure how fast Belgium or the EU can move, but I’d also figure early next year as well.

My fingers are Crossed that SWL doesn’t get affected much and that Funcom continues to have good returns.  This is a game I’ve loved since TSW Beta and want to see the story continue for years to come.

Hopefully EA hasn’t screwed it up for everyone by getting too greedy and pushing it too far.  Time will tell.


Let me know what you think in the comments below.  Thank you for stopping by.  And as always, I hope to see you in the Secret World!

DevStream – 2017-1117

Chill and laid back stream today.  No major news.  Just Andy-Zilla getting blasted by his own grenades in the Seoul Fight Club.

Dev-Stream is available here.


Today we had TronQuiote join Andy McMan-bun and Dyno-Saur Nicole (I know it’s Spynosaur..!) as we had random Hyjinx in th Seoul Fight Club, and Nicole used Microsoft paint to show why she isn’t on the art team!


PLAYER 4 HAS ENTERED THE ARENA:

Customer Service Manager, Chris Tatem also joined for a few minutes at the beginning to let everyone know that after having some short shifts due to the Plague, his team seems to be catching up once again.  If you have any lingering issues, please feel free to let him know how terrible he is on the FunCom Discord.


ELEMENTALISM ADJUSTMENTS:

Elementalism just had some changes happen to it, and they are aware there are some issues persisting, but they are going to wait and watch for a while longer before they decide on further adjustments.  So keep playing it, and give them your feedback.


FALL SALE:

The Fall Sale is going on until the 27th!  Make sure you check out what’s on sale and Buy Aurum, and Buy Stuff!


Andy has been a Community Manager for 2 years now! Congratulations!


Paricipants of today’s ‘Lair of the Sky Cowboy’ (Andy-Zilla Fight Club Boss) received Dev-Killer T-shirts! (Meanwhile, I was stuck at work…. *sigh*)


WAIT..!  SOMETHING USEFUL TODAY?!?!

Winter Cache is being worked on currently and we were given a preview of the new Sword Skin and Outfits!

Winter Cache Preview!

I want to know if the facemask thing will be able to be equipped separately..?


And that’s about it.  I’ll close this out with Nicole’s MS Paint Art.

It’s a Smiler-Potato-Mech!
Beware the dreaded UR-POTATO!
Doggo of the Zero-Point Potato!
Potato-Demon Romance Theater with Special Guest Star, Mei Ling!
Potato-Stream-Team!
“Mr Demille….? I’m ready for my closeup!”

And that’s it!  Like i said, no major news items to worry about.  Just them being the CM-Dorks™ we all love and hold dear! <3

Thank you for stopping by!  And as always, I hope to see you in the Secret World!

DevStream – 2017-1103

Ok, yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve done a DevStream review.  Originally, my focus was on upcoming news about the game’s release and major updates, and after launch, I just got caught up in the game itself, among other things.  But I still see a lot of traffic from people looking for more information on the game, so I figured it’s time to continue my reviews of the DevStreams.

Today’s DevStream is available here:

https://go.twitch.tv/videos/187326738


First thing…. WHAT IS THIS…?!?!?!

https://twitter.com/SecretWorldLgds/status/926479102776889350

This is their 1 hour teaser on twitter earlier, and with luck we’ll see what this is all about!

“The Holy Trinity of Tank, DPS, and Heals… When in Balance can save us all!”


Andrew Riker – Lead Systems Designer joining Andy and Nicole today!  This is the guy to talk to about balance issues or things you want to see.

Things will be covered are Quality of Life Changes, Elemental changes, Looting, and then they’ll get to the big thing they teased on twitter!


This update is scheduled to come in November, but no date specified yet.


ELEMENTALISM CHANGES

Issues – Early game you tend to overhead before you use your energy, and later game, you are managing cooling more than damage.

Changes – Increasing Heat you lose in cooling abilities and decreasing the heat generated by abilities.  Also removing “Heat Bar Flip” when you transition from low heat to high heat modes.  the effects are still there, but it removes the delay that happens during that transition.

Crystallized Blaze (Passive) will stay Blaze all the time.

Other passives are getting buffs to add damage in addition to managing your cooling abilities.

Heat level damage Bonus will increase as well! the idea is that it will be harder to reach higher heat levels, so they become more powerful for you!


AR –

Grenade Cooldown reduced to 2 seconds.  Arming and detonation unchanged.  (Thanks to Discord peeps for the correction!)

AR UI crash fix coming as well!


Blood –

Changed Reap will no longer damage you on it’s own anymore.

Eldritch Scourge – something about corruption – I missed this but will review and update this later.


Q&A –

Tanking Weapon Balance – If you combine cooldowns you can forego need for healing. Looking at reducing the length of time certain abilities last so tanks don’t feel as if they don’t need heals or anyone else.  The issue is new tanks NEED these abilities.

Will DPS Checks get reduced so that tanks won’t look at the need to go sans heals? This will be something they will look at later.


LOOT – 

Currently 3 avenues for progression:

Signets – Lairs

Glyphs – Scenarios

Talismans/Weapons – Dungeons

They will be changing this up somewhat so that you can get some of these things in all three!  You will still focus on the same item progression in the above avenues, and have a lesser chance of gaining items from the other two.  So if you do scenarios, you’s still get Glyph progression things first, and possibly get a signet or distillates.

In addition, the first 5 chests in a dungeon will be the same as they are now, but the End Boss dungeon chest will be increased.

NOTE – THIS DOES NOT AFFECT STORY MODE DUNGEONS!  ELITE DUNGEONS ONLY!

Final Loot Change – New Waist Talismans – Will give new stats that give different effects based on what weapon you are using at that time.  These waist talismans will be diluted into the Loot Lantern drops!  So when you see the Loot Lanterns dropping, instead of the Cache, you may actually be getting a new Talisman instead!  It will be good to have actual GEAR dropping once again!


Empowering Items – 

We will now be able to use items that have experience in them already. They will grant 40% of the experience in that item!

Signet and Glyph removal costs based on quality level of the  item!

Red background items have had their values buffed!


Equal Footing Buff in the Seoul Fight Club so people can test things how they want.


Patron Benefits – If you log in and get your daily benefits, and THEN become a Patron, they are fixing the ability to get your key and cooldowns and other Patron Benefits


Summonable Vendor coming soon! – Summon a Vendor to your location using an item you can purchase in Agartha.


Faction City and Museum of the Occult Teleporters coming soon!  Finally!

 


The THING…

ANIMA ALLOCATION – New tab in your ability window, available once you get to level 20.  You will get the Combat Triangle, and allow you to allocate your Anima into different roles so you can have a degree of customization when you want to change roles to do anything with your friends or what have you.  this will work with the Gear Mangler, and will cost NOTHING!

The Default setting is going to be 90% DPS  and 10% survival.  Once you reach level 20, you can change this as you see fit.

Gear will have a Base scale balanced around your preferred role.  But you can then change your allocation based on your percentage you choose on the allocation tab.  This will be interesting to play with once it goes live!

Glyphs, Signets, weapons, and item effects are not affected by this.  This will only affect your base stats on your talismans.


Winter event is coming back!


Extra life tomorrow!  Check out the Funcom List for participating streamers and give some love!


Any further questions, don’t forget the FunCom Discord channel!


Congrats to Ben and Chatania (Probably got that spelling wrong! Sorry!) getting Married today!  And Happy Birthday to Chatania (And Andrew as well)!


That’s it.  hope I didn’t miss too much out of the stream.  I’ll try to review it later and update this as necessary!   thank you for stopping by and I hope to see you in the Secret World!