Loot boxes are a form of micro transaction found in many free to play games. But recently, they’ve managed to sneak their way into various triple AAA titles causing controversy and complaints among gamers.
Loot boxes made their debut with Team Fortress 2’s Mann-Conomy update. It introduced supply crates to the game containing weapons and various cosmetics for the game’s different classes. Despite that however, there were still ways for players to get those items such as through trading and crafting.
Hearthstone and Gwent take a similar approach in their micro-transactions. Players can buy card packs or use alternative methods like crafting from duplicates and earning rewards from daily quests and events.
In these examples, due to their free to play model, loot boxes are an expected feature. It’s a given that these micro-transactions will appear. But what happens when they get incorporated in triple AAA titles?
In the case of the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront 2, it resulted in an angry outcry from gamers. As beta testers found out, multiplayer progression was heavily affected by these random drops. Although they could be earned in-game players could simply buy them, giving the game an element of pay to win, something normally reserved for free to play titles. Luckily EA was quick to rectify this and reworked the multiplayer based on beta feedback.
Another couple recent releases that have seamlessly integrated loot boxes are Middle-earth: Shadow of War and Assassin’s Creed Origins. Both these games have it so that loot boxes can award players with better gear, removing the need for grind especially when it comes to building an orc army in Shadow of War. The difference however is that Assassin’s Creed restricts these loot boxes, or Heka Chests, to in-game currency. Players can only get them from a merchant while exploring Ancient Egypt.
Although these games are only singleplayer, their integration of loot boxes still have the gaming community divided. Developers state that they aren’t needed to complete the game and gamers agrue that you can simply ignore them, they’re there if you want to breeze through the story. However, others find it bad practice as players shouldn’t be paying more when buying the latest releases.
What’s your take on loot boxes? Are they a necessary evil or should they stay within the realm of free to play games? It seems that for now however, the gaming industry is fixated on incorporating some form of loot boxes within their games. Let’s just hope that when they do, all we’ll find are hats.