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 – 2017-1103

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…?!?!?!

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!

The Whispering Tide is Here..!

Something Filthy this way comes…

It’s Baaaaack!

What’s Back? The Whispering Tide is Back!

What’s ‘The Whispering Tide’?  What do you mean ‘What’s the Whispering Tide..?!?!? Oh yeah… some of you weren’t here for the original and may not be familiar with ‘The Whispering Tide’ in the Secret World Universe.

The Whispering Tide is the First of what will soon be Many Community Events in SWL.  This event will last 2 weeks from August 1st to Aug 15th (2017) where we, as Agents of Gaia will be the force that keeps the Dreamers from Infecting the World Tree any further than they already have.  Every hour will be HUGE Community Battles with the Bird of the Zero Point Pathogen (aka – Flappy) where EVERYONE can participate!  As long as your Character can reach Agartha (so somewhere around level 4, I think it is) Jack Boone in Kingsmouth (About Level 5-6, after you’ve completed your tutorials), you can join everyone in 40 man raids on the new Community Event Raid Platform!

TSWDB has a great primer for the fight, so you’ll know what to expect, here. 

Low level characters will be given the “Equal Footing” Buff so that everyone can contribute to the fight!

There are special vanity items that you can get each day just for logging in and taking part in one of the community raids!  What kinds of items?  Check out my Advent Calendar here to track what items I’ve received so far!  (This post will be updated daily so make sure you come back and check it often!)


Ok, that’s great, but what started it..?

For those of you who are new to the Secret World, or just need a refresher, remember when you rolled your character, and you went through that cut scene of a bee flying in your character’s window just before you ate it? (Yummy!)  As that Anima-Infused-Late-Night-Snack was buzzing around your dining area, you hear bits of the late night news on the TV.  The anchorman is talking about a Bomb that went off in Downtown Tokyo, and later in the tutorial, you got to partake in a Anima-Powered-Psychically-Recorded-Recreation of the initial investigation that happened in the Tokyo subway by other Agents of Gaia.  THAT BOMB is what precipitated the events unfolding now!

This doesn’t look like the Carrot festival in the Coachella Valley…

And of course it’s not just a bomb.  It’s never, ‘Just a bomb…’  If you’ve been through the Scorched Desert in Egypt, and into City of the Sun God, You’ve got a little more background on what kind of device it was.  If you haven’t been through that area yet, SPOILER ALERT!  It was a Third-Age device that Said had helped the Phoenicians acquire, and as soon as he found out what they eventually did with it, immediately regretted.

So what was this ‘Third-Age device’ anyway?  THAT…. is a very good question.  It’s never exactly explained fully, but it’s a device that when used IMPROPERLY like this (I would hope this was never their intended purpose!), has the power to rend reality and open doorways into the realm of Anti-Anima.

Anti-what…?!?!  Ok, I see we’re going to have to backtrack a little further.  The universe as we know it, is infused with Anima, or the Life Force of Gaia.  Gaia being the Earth, and Agartha being a manifestation of Gaia’s will.  There’s more though…  There is also Anti-Anima.  Also known as ‘The Blood.’  It’s kinda like Matter and Anti-matter; they don’t mix well.

The… Denizens of the realm of Anti-Anima want to EAT the stars.  ALL OF THEM!  Including ours!  Why?  That’s just what they do.  They eat everything.  Especially if there’s Anima involved.  Makes it extra tasty, I imagine.  And it just so happens that our little Gaia, happens to be the next in line, and apparently has the most Anima in our little corner of the Universe.

Thankfully, these Anti-Anima Denizens have been asleep since the end of the Last Age, and haven’t yet fully awakened to start the buffet on Gaia.

Now here we get into some supposition: We are in the middle/end of the fourth age.  How do we know it’s the fourth age? Well, we’ve been told there are artifacts of the Third Age that have been found and one of them was the cause of the Tokyo incident.  Who told us?  The Buzzing of the Bees told us.

No, I’m not “off my medication..”  Seriously… listen close… you’ll hear them too!

So what exactly is “An Age” you ask?  There are many different philosophical definitions of what constitutes an ‘Age’,  but I’m not going to get into all those discussions.  Instead, I’ll go by something else I had heard along the way.  Something mentioned by a certain, Dr Klein:

“A breakthrough in thought: What we were calling the “Ages’ is not, strictly speaking, a measure of time, at least, not in a chronologically stacked order.

Time bends.  It snaps back like a rubber band, to a fixed point.

The end of each age was a reset. A do-over.

We are on repeat, with variation, as artifacts from the previous age bleed into the next, sending out ripples, each new age compounds with more artifacts and more effected than the last, skewing the original pattern.

There is something that is supposed to happen. But the inevitable is always delayed.

How many times has this world reset? How do we reach endgame?”

Say what you will about Dr Klein, but his perception of what we are experiencing is unequaled.  We are near the end of a Fourth Age (at least) and the incursion of what we call ‘The Filth’ in Agartha heralds dark times, indeed.  And it is upon our shoulders, as agents and allies of Gaia, to fight back these Dreamers as they are also called.  The Dreamers must not awaken.  Or as Emma says: “The Lullaby must continue.  Or all that is…. won’t.”

Who knows if this time it will reset again as in the past?  The “Do-Overs” that we’ve been given may be all the Do-Overs we are going to get.  And this time, it’s for keeps!


For more information on the Lore/Legends of The Whispering Tide, you can Find it on TSWDB’s Legends page here:

The Whispering Tide

You can also refer to the Filth’s Lore section on TSWDB’s Legacy website:

The Filth LORE

(I’m sure this will be updated to SWL in the near Future.)


This post was a little different, as I wanted to give you something that I hope was a little entertaining, as well as show how all the little things you see and experience in this game is connected!  There is so much more to this whole story, but for me to get into it all would totally just be me writing down every tidbit of information that I’ve seen and heard in the game!  And that would just ruin the story for you all… (At least the newer players…)

But I also hope that I was able to spark some imagination out there on how your character would react to the events that are happening now.  This is a prime time for personal RP opportunities, and I hope to see more of your stories popping up in my timelines!

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

 

Whispering Tide Advent Calendar

The Whispering Tide event is underway,  and during this event,  there are Event Rewards for Logging in and Defeating the Filthy Threat in Agartha!

Each Day you log in, you’ll get this window asking you to Claim a Relic.  As you can see, you also get nifty other things to help you level yourself and your gear!  NOTE: THIS REWARD IS ONLY ABLE TO BE CLAIMED ONCE PER DAY PER ACCOUNT!  (More on this later.) So make sure you claim it on the character you think is going to need this the most!

So what kind of items do you get in this Relic?  Vanity items, typically.  At least that’s what’s being touted you can get.  What I want to do with this post is track the items I get, so you all can see and compare.  I will not be tracking the Drops from Flappy here, but I may set that aside for a later post.  Nor will I track the items shown behind each relic… those are set in stone, so to speak.

PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THE INDIVIDUAL RESULTS WILL VARY FROM PLAYER TO PLAYER AND DAY TO DAY!  So I may get something one day and you’ll get something else entirely.  What I don’t know is if there is a set amount of items you can get and if you claim all 14 relics you will get all of them, or if there is even more RNG involved to be able to complete certain sets.

I plan on Updating this on a Daily Basis, so make sure you come back to check it out often!


UPDATE 2.0:

OK – I had questions today and in the process of getting them answered, the process was explained to me for the Event reward bags.  There is a Master List and the system for each character.  Does this character have the first set of item?   No?  BOOM!  They do now!  Or,  if they already have them already, then the system check the next set of rewards and follows the same logic.  The list isn’t very Alt Friendly for getting the Armor set though, as only the Boots/Gloves have been issued so far and I’ve got the Day 3 Reward Already. (Since I had the Day 1 reward from TSW.)

At the end of the rotation, instead of getting any NEW shiny items, we will get Anima Shards.  I have 4 of the 5 original set items, so I’ll end up getting to the End sooner than most.  But I’ll make sure I update along the way!


UPDATE 3.0

Sooo… Andy decides to leak info in Discord… Here’s the total list in order of award:  I’ll try to add pics of each item as I can best figure it out.

Almost as bad as the White House!

I will make a Post-Mortem on this event after it’s over so I can give a full review of how I think this event was handled.  But that is a post for another day.

Anyway, without further Adieu, the List!


DAY 1 – August 1st

Carapace of the Immaculate Machine Gauntlets – Original Color
Carapace of the Immaculate Machine Boots- Original Color

DAY 2 – August 2nd

 

Military Gas Mask – Green
Night Vision Goggles – Green

Day 3 – August 3rd

Glowing Eyes – Purple
TITLE – Scout of Gaia

Day 4 – August 4th

 

 

The original award from TSW was the Black version,  but this time I got the Green set, which didn’t even appear in my Dressing Room as an option till I got them.

Turtleneck Shirt – Black

I did not get a second item, bit probably because I already had this one from the original in TSW.

 


DAY 5 – August 5th

Carapace of the Immaculate Machine – Leggings – Original Colors
Carapace of the Immaculate Machine – Chest – Original Colors

Day 6 – August 6th

Combat Boots – Green Camo
Padded Military Gloves – Green

 

(UPDATE: These will not show in your Inventory until you get the right Tier of the achievement. I am wondering if anyone that didn’t have the Black versions from TSW got the Black versions, or the Green version?  Leave a comment or poke at me on twitter if you find out!)


Day 7 – August 7th

Military Jacket with Gear – Green Camo
Military Helmet – Green Camo

(UPDATE:  Again, these don’t even show up as options unit they are awarded.)


Day 8 – August 8th

‘The Protector of Agartha’ Title
‘Vitalizing Stride ‘Sprint


Day 9 – August 9th

Carapace of the Immaculate Machine – Helmet – Original Colors

Day 10 – August 10th

Runic Automaton

Days 11 – 15th – August 11 through 15

Anima Shards.  Quantity Unknown.

Keep in mind this day may come sooner than shown here as some people have parts of the Armor set already so they will skip ahead to the next Reward until they get everything.

I guess the cat is out of the bag now!  Plan accordingly!  And let me know what you are looking forward to the most? (I want the original Helm, finally!)

Thanks for coming by and as usual, I hope to see you in the Secret World!

SWL TwitchStream!

“Hide yo kids! Hide yo wife..!”

I’m Having my first ever, true to life TwitchStream this Friday for the Secret World Legends Head Start access! Join me where I will walk through Character Creation, Item Transfers, Currencies, and maybe get to play some of the game!

This is new territory for me, and I even linked up my Amazon Prime to my twitch account in the hopes this becomes a thing for me!

Come on by to cheer me on, or at least point and laugh… I’ll be starting at 8:00PM pst (11:00PM est).

https://www.twitch.tv/animanation_

“He told me, if I truly want to understand humanity, I need only read the comment section on YouTube…”

CLOSED BETA ENDS 6/18/2017

If you are in the Beta, you should have received this email not too long ago:

“So long, and thanks for all the Filth…”

What does this mean?  It means that the Closed Beta Ends tomorrow, BUT, it does not negate the NDA.  (You are still bound by the terms of the NDA.)  It also means that there probably isn’t going to be an OPEN beta, as we originally thought there would be. ((There goes my prediction out the window!  Who saw THAT one coming?))

What this doesn’t tell us is if we will still get to post int he Beta Forums about concerns or last minute suggestions or what-have-you.  Just going to have to wait and see on that.

But they are sticking to the Head-Start schedule next Friday (June 23rd) and release on June 26.  With any luck, more of what we reported will get taken care of and more improvements made in this last week of crunch time for them!

I do want to say Thank you to FunCom for allowing me, and the rest of the community, to take part in the Beta Process.  I know you all have a lot on your collective plates, and all of this is appreciated!  I hope our feedback was valuable and our continued comments will help make this game the best it can be!

I look forward to the Head Start and the Relaunch, and can’t wait to be able to show the rest of the world the kind of community we have!

Thank you all for stopping by, and I hope to see you soon™, in the Secret World!

HEAD START ACCESS – JUNE 23!!!

Leave no Secret Worlder Behind…

Per THIS TWEET, Head Start Access for TSW players is beginning on June 23rd!  (I have doctor’s appointments that day…*crai*)  That means we’ll have access to the game through the entire weekend prior to the game’s official launch the following Monday, June 26!

What does that mean for us?  That means Account linking is going to happen that day, or maybe even earlier!  Account linking is when the vanity item transfers take place!  So Make sure if you want to have items in BOTH games, get they purchased and in your character’s Closets BEFORE you link your accounts!

If you are running any kind of contests for vanity items, make sure you keep your ears open for account linking instructions so you can adjust your giveaways and get your prizes to your followers beforehand!

And I THINK some of my giveaway items are STILL sitting in my mail awaiting pick up.  If you haven’t picked your stuff up, make sure you do so ASAP!

As for Open Beta, still no word on that.  But i’m still going by the last DevStream where they said theyw ere hoping they wouldn’t be breaking the NDA by the time the next DevStream airs! So with any kind of luck, the NDA will be lifted before next Friday! (June 16)

Thanks for stopping by! Hope to see you in the Secret World!

SWL Beta Phases

This came up on my Twitter feed, and it’s a hot topic for all of us TSW/SWL players: When will Open Beta start?

They seem to be on a specific schedule and have specific goals to reach within each phase.  And so far, each phase seems to be every 2 weeks.  So…. I’m going to go out on a limb and see how well I can predict the future…!

~*Insert Spooky Music Here*~

PHASE 1: Started around April 7 – Focus was on Character Creation, Kingsmouth, and Savage Coast.


PHASE 2: Started April 21 – Focus on Blue Mountain, and first 3 dungeons (Polaris, Hell Raised, and Darkness War) Release of the first healing Class(es?) was delayed.  Weapons were going to be Blood and Assault Rifle.


PHASE 3: Scheduled for May 5 – Promises to open Up Egypt, and I would guess the next 2 dungeons (Ankh and Hell Fallen).  With any luck, we’ll see the Blood and Assault Rifle weapons released.


PHASE 4: I would guess another 2 weeks to May 19 – And should open up Transylvania, and the next 3 dungeons (The Facility, Hell Eternal, and The Slaughter House)


PHASE 5: Again, another 2 weeks means June 2 – And with everything from the first story line opened to the closed Beta users, I would think this is where Open Beta Begins.


PHASE 6: This phase could only be game release.  I don’t know how long Open Beta will last, could be scheduled for one week, maybe two.  I’m sure they will definitely want to stress test the servers as well.  But even if they take 2 weeks here, June 16th is still technically Spring for a few more days.


Ok, so it’s not much fortune telling as it is just watching the patterns and checking a calendar.  But with so much ‘Doom And Gloom™’ out there, I figured I’d try to add a little light at the end of the tunnel. With any luck it’s not the headlamp of the oncoming train from issue 6!

Hopefully you found this somewhat helpful!  Thanks for stopping by! And I’ll see you, in The Secret World!