Loot Boxes, Microtransactions and why I think some gamers are getting very lazy

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Loot Boxes are a very hot topic at the minute – there is some controversy over the microtransaction system that requires real money to be spent after a game has been purchased and if indeed this was mandatory then it really is a calculated money grab from the Game Companies.

However in most cases this is simply not the case. You see there are two ways you can play these games. One, you can put a lot of hours into a game, progressing, becoming better and achieving status thus being rewarded or you can simply buy your way to the same results. I ask you, where is the fun in that?

I personally think that some gamers are becoming lazy. It seems that they not only want their cake and to eat it but not work for it in the process.

This article was born out of two recent pieces that caught my eye. Both to do with Star Wars Battlefront II. In it the dreaded Loot boxes or in this case Crates make an appearance. There is a progression system of acquiring in-game credit which allows you to buy the Loot Crates. You may pick up weapons or buffs for your characters and ships but there is also the Star Card system which works as a “swappable ability” trait, totally transferable to other characters or ships. You will find these in the aforementioned loot crates. Loot Crates can be purchased with in-game credit or real money and this is where the controversy lies. Buying with real money to improve your chances in the game. It’s a real bone of contention and is being used in many games lately. However in BF2 , you don’t need to spend another penny or dime of real money to get these loot crates. Everything is available in-game and this may seem alien to some but you actually acquire rewards by being better at the game. The more points you score, the more credit you earn, the more loot crates you can buy. It’s a crazy concept, I know but bear with me. You can also get everything that is in the loot crates by being good at the game. Weapons, Upgrades, Star Cards, all can be earned by playing the game. You might have to play it a lot but isn’t that the point of games? To invest the time, improve your skills and gain abilities to be better. I told you it was a crazy concept. You even get a free Loot Crate every day you log in. So you don’t even need to purchase any of the crates, with in-game credit or real money in the game at all. This however leads nicely into the second piece that caught my eye and one I feel is a completely unnecessary climbdown by EA.

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You have to play the game a long time to unlock the Heroes. Yes, I can hear you gasping. Apparently you have to sink something like 40 hours to unlock Darth Vader. This is of course unacceptable as one Reddit user put it. “I never payed $80 so I would have to unlock Vader after 40 hours.” I’m assuming they bought the Super Deluxe Version which gives you masses of credit and they felt cheated that because they spent more that they should get the Heroes for the game price. Despite this, you actually unlock the Heroes by actually playing the game. But I want to go back to his complaint about 40 hours. 40 hours? I could spend 40 hours on Frogger and never get past level 3. I shudder to think what they would have made of Pitfall or Miner 49er which gave you 3 lives and the occasional bonus one to complete it in one sitting. No Save Game here, folks. But because of the backlash of yes, angry fans (really), complaining it takes too long to unlock Han Solo or Rey and that you have to “grind” and “slog” (these are their words) in order to do so. EA have cut the time by 75% so now it only takes 10 hours to unlock the big heroes and something like 2 hours to unlock the smaller ones. I’m sorry but that is ridiculous. It’s pandering to the lazy gamer who doesn’t want to put the effort in. And yes it appears some gamers are becoming lazier.

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For example. In Grand Theft Auto V online you start with very little but you build up your cash by doing jobs and other criminal and not so criminal activities but if you have real money you can buy a Shark Card that gives you, wait for it $1.25 Million or more causing all your money problems to disappear. It’s a bit like winning the virtual lottery if the real lottery ticket cost $50. Why would you do that? Why not play the game and progress accordingly and then when you can afford that big house with the swimming pool and a fancy car, you feel like you’ve actually accomplished something. Yet some would prefer the other option and move right into the luxury house and fill the Game Company’s coffers just that bit quicker. I just don’t get it.

I recently started playing For Honor and this too has a loot box system but I find it much more satisfying to progress through the game building up my characters and purchasing the loot boxes with the in-game credit when I have earned enough.

There is very little wrong with the idea of loot boxes themselves but if that system becomes mandatory to play a game in that you will have to purchase them with real money to progress through a game then it’s time for outrage and protests. As long as you can earn in-game everything that you can also purchase with real money then that’s fine. After all a fool and their money are easily parted. A lazy fool even more so.

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Update:

EA have now backtracked further on the Microtransaction Front. Read more about it here.

Star Wars Battlefront 2: Microtransactions Currently SUSPENDED