Why do Overwatch’s loot boxes get a free pass from fans? It’s kind of odd to see games like Alien Battlefront II and Middle-earth: Shadow of War lambasted for including loot boxes, although the game that popularized the mechanic largely skirts controversy.
In the latest interview with PCGamesN, Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan tried to explain why Overwatch’s loot boxes work, while numerous others don’t. At the most basic level, it comes to two considerations.
“There were two or three core philosophies that have been necessary for the when designing our loot box system. One was that it would have to be a really player-centric system. As players ourselves we really do not want almost any power improvement in our body. We wanted the unit to remain purely cosmetic, to make sure that was one of several core philosophies.
The second was we wanted every item that was easily obtainable in the loot boxes being included in some way that didn’t have everything to apply luck, and we all [compensated players for duplicates], and di the financial lending system, as well as unlocks. Like this, if you should felt like ‘There was that Junkrat skin that I’ve always wanted nonetheless are not appearing to ever pull it within the loot box’, you had an avenue of obtaining that that wasn’t loot box driven, or random driven.”
Kaplan stressed the necessity of paying attention to fans-
“The other explanation why our loot box system has long been successful to this point is we try to hear our players as much as possible. They’re very vocal should they be unhappy about things. One good example is the first Summer Games event, that you couldn’t receive the items for credits, and our players said ‘Hey, that’s not cool, we’d love to achieve the items for credits.’ So, once that event ended, we added the skills for the next event. Then, right after the Anniversary event, we caused it to be making sure that duplicates were far rarer inside the loot boxes. Allow me to never point out that duplicates don’t exist, because do not have infinite content, so eventually a replica will exist. But i was hearing feedback through the Anniversary event like ‘Hey, these duplicates aren’t really cool, what else can you do about this,’ so we designed a change.
So, we’re looking to show players that any of us be in the game too: we’re involved with a dialogue with them, we’re thrilled to make changes, the system’s cosmetic-only, and you’ll obtain all things the loot boxes through different methods. That’s what’s stayed crucial to us.”
Another crucial thing that Kaplan doesn’t mention, is the fact that Overwatch was developed for loot boxes through the start. Grinding for randomized goodies just sounds like an important part of the game. So, keep things cosmetic, provide non-loot box unlocking options, don’t bolt boxes onto games that won’t support them, and, above all, focus on the fans. Those are really quite simple rules. Hopefully more publishers start following them after the mess which had been 2017.
Overwatch can be acquired on PC, Xbox One, and PS4, and is currently among its Winter Wonderland 2017 event.