Open For Debate: Loot Boxes

So I was being a good little Blizzard fanboy last night and doing my Heroes of the Storm dailies when it dawned on me to bring up another debate topic: loot boxes. Now some of you may be cringing at the mention of Heroes and clutching your Teemo plushes right now, yes i prefer Heroes over League, i’m a heretic i know. But that aside, with the relatively new Heroes 2.0 patch they added loot boxes to the game that drop cosmetics and boosters, but they can occasionally drop new heroes (got myself Varian of my first box :yum:) and this got me thinking, are loot boxes a good thing?

So here is my argument: It depends on how there implemented.

Now i know that’s a pretty half assed argument but hear me out on this one. My argument is based on two factors: 1) how you get your sweet box’o loot and 2) what it drops.
Now in Heroes of the Storm you get loot boxes for levelling up Heroes, which I think is fine and dandy, but you can also buy loot boxes at the expense of your wallets hurt feelings. In the cases of games like Heroes or Overwatch, that’s perfectly fine, all you get is cosmetics and the occasional hero drop is probably gonna be in free rotation anyways. I know some people will say this creates a “haves” and “have nots” playerbase that encourages buying loot boxes but i say that if it doesn’t effect how you play, you don’t have to buy it.Where i think loot boxes are bad is when they drop in game items that can affect the game. An example that sticks out to me is recent Call of Duty titles, now I haven’t payed much attention to CoD since MW3, after which it dropped off my radar never to be heard from again, but I still have friends who are into the franchise. One of my friends complained to me about how he keeps getting into matches with people who have OP guns, so i responded by saying “just level up and get better guns”, not knowing that certain better guns are random drops in loot boxes. After learning this
I can plainly see how people would want to spend money for the off chance of getting one of these OP guns. This is something that really annoys me because it means player who don’t want to spend money or are unlucky with drops or both, can fall behind for no lack of effort. This is where I believe loot boxes are harmful to the game (I’m looking at you EA).

Well that’s enough of my ranting for now, if anyone feels like giving their opinion on the matter i would be interested in seeing your take on the matter. And remember To be respectful in the matter lest the moderator smite us all with the glorious banhammer. :wink:


I don’t have a problem with loot boxes as a general concept. But no gameplay elements should be locked behind a gambling system. Even for cosmetics, there should be a way to obtain than that doesn’t involve gambling. A normal cash money shop would be acceptable to me.


I believe that you are right on the two factors that you made but I think factor number 2 is the heaviest. If lootboxes are optional and can be acquired in such a way that does not necessarily mean spending some money BUT has the most OP item in the game, then people who are willing use x amount of money won’t feel bad about it because it has literally become a Pay-2-Win thing at that point, which is really really wrong in my opinion and gamers should be smart enough not to feed the slimy greedy bellies of the devs who are doing this.

With that said, I think the main source of hate in lootboxes are as follows:

  1. Lootboxes have been crammed into a lot of games lately. Now I’m not really sure who started the whole lootbox craze but I will attribute it to Overwatch because when they did that, almost all of this just pop out. Here are some examples of where lootboxes are: [HoTS] as you’ve said, [Paladins], [Atlas Reactor], and [Onraid] just to name a few. And it feels very hamfisted like this was clearly put here just to give the player a false-sense of progression. Because let’s be real here, you play a character, then you level the character up. Why is the character leveling up? Are you really progressing your account? I believe these two questions are never answered in full detail.

  2. Content of lootboxes have always been [mehhhh] or [WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK!].

  • Now in the case of [mehhh], a good example is Paladins wherein you can get their version of lootboxes. In the lootbox, you either get cards which lets you customize the way you play the character or some skins. Now the cards are not the meh part. It’s the skins. A lot of the skins in the game are just recolors of the base model (as in this character has a green suit for the base model, the new skin is basically the same model but she has an orange suit and we’re gonna sell it for a dollar or two). It’s very shallow way of engaging the player. Can you unlock real skins in lootboxes? Yeah but its either you buy the lootbox from the store (because you know, we need some revenue) or the chance of getting a lootbox that is worth a damn is really really low.
  • I can’t personally speak for the [WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK] case since I’ve always tried my best to steer away from pay-2-win games so if someone knows a good example for this one, feel free to reply to this post of mine. But I assume this is were the OP stuff that you were talking about false under because it’s literally "but a lootbox because this lootbox has a cahnce of dropping this really really really rare yet super super super OP weapon that lets me deal insane amounts of damage.:
  1. Lootboxes are the new MOBA in terms of "the damn thing just keeps on popping up everywhere.

EDIT: You guys can disregard point three as it obviously loops back to point 1.

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I believe the first game to popularize loot boxes was CS:GO, there is a massive economy based around the skins that drop from CS:GO loot boxes that boggles the mind. But i do like that you bring up Tiered loot boxes. I don’t like the fact that games will have more expensive loot boxes with better items or exclusive drops, it bugged me a little back in ME3 multiplayer, but you earned in game cash so fast in that game it took like three games to be able to afford the best loot box. I’m of the opinion that there should only ever be one tier of loot box with the exception of maybe holiday boxes for christmas, halloween or game anniversaries.


I’m of the opinion that lootboxes are okay to an extent but you have to make everything feel justified, not hamfisted, and meaningful.

  • Justified in the sense that I as the player have earned this because I performed well in a game.
  • Not hamfisted in that I didn’t just put this lootbox system because everyone else is doing it.
  • Meaningful in that the items that I receive from here are worth a damn but not game-breaking.

I don’t mind cosmetics so much (especially considering how expensive skins in HOTS are) but most games will have a skin store that sells the skins for whats often 3X as much as the loot box the skin drops from. It’s a vicious system, but it’s very lucrative.

I’m just glad they sell or give you the whole skin.

Remember when I mentioned Paladins and its recolor skins and shit? When I said the suit sells for a dollar or two, I mean you only get the suit.

They sell skins piece by piece. So for example you have the orange suit. There is also a skin that changes the color of your tie from a green ribbon to an orange ribbon. Wtf right? I believe some of characters even have recolor shoes or masks sold off piece by piece.

What do they do to “justify” (I use the word loosely) this? Put them in a lootbox.

Yes, but I’m okay with that, to a point. If you want one skin/item/whatever, what are the odds you’ll get it with 3 lootboxes? I’m guessing close to statistically 0.

What’s the right price for a piece of DLC from a lootbox? I have no idea. Your gut reaction is that 3xbox price is too much. I’m okay with it for the right piece.

@dusty and @EMCL should weigh in. :wink:

As long as:

  1. It doesnt affect gameplay (stats/pay to win)
  2. It doesn’t make the get to a point where you essentially are forced to buy boxes to progress (like many mobile games where grinding for cards/shards to upgrade characters is so tedious that you have to buy)
  3. They don’t shove buying them in your face every 2 minutes (again mobile games) its fine by me

Overwatch gives you currency in boxes that you can use to buy the cosmetic you want. It gives you a box every level. Is this case acceptable to you?

It’s not perfect, but it is better than what some games do. You are still essentially locked to buying boxes (I’m assuming you can’t buy the special currency?), but you are also guaranteed to get everything at a certain point, (as long as all items are purchasable with the special currency). The issue then becomes how much do you have to buy to be guaranteed to get the one thing you want (the amount of currency you gain is still random, which is part of the reason I don’t care for loot boxes to begin with).

I don’t play Overwatch and don’t know the stats. I feel that locking content, even cosmetic content, behind random factors is not a good thing.

It would be much simpler to just let people buy the things that they want, rather than locking it behind a lottery ticket.

I agree. I guess the reason developers do this is because getting 500 coins as a surprise feels better than getting 1000 coins because you reached level 30. Even if you got more coins without loot boxes.

You get a lootbox every hour, and 1 per 3 wins in the arcade up to 3 boxes a weekish. even without the Arcade it takes about an hour to get a box. I have 75 hours logged, am level 196 or something, not spent a cent and while I don’t own every single emote, skin and voiceline, and I don’t care because I have a unique skin for every character that not many other people use.

That’s the thing about Overwatch, since there are so many events running and a limited time to get the skins, everyone is starting to have THEIR skin for their heroes. It’s not possible to have EVERYTHING. I argue that’s a good thing. It makes people who play more stand out in the crowd. Sure, I don’t have that Reinhardt skin from the Chinese New year that I wanted, but I do have the Bastion skin and that’s awesome. And hey, if someone wants to spend money on it, good for them. They’re crazy or obsessed, but whatever, that’s their choice.

Maybe I’m an anomaly for enjoying this and should view it as a terrible business practice, but I like it.

I believe loot boxes are cool, unless you have to buy a key to open it since that is just not worth the money in most cases (joke). The drops also tend to have champions in league, and they have no way of paying you back if you have all the champions already so that is BS in my opinion.