Loot boxes were one of the biggest hot-button issues of the last year and continue to be a concern for gamers today. Some companies are choosing to stay away from them all together but others, like Ubisoft, have decided to keep them, but modify them. Figuring out the “right” way to include loot boxes is going to be a bit of a learning curve. As such, three different games are currently going through three types of boxes.
First and foremost, it is important to know that Ubisoft does not want to be a hard sell on these types of micro-transactions. A representative has been quoted a lot recently as saying that the loot boxes “have to be the right quality for people to be interested.” Meaning that they want to make sure that no matter what is hidden behind this money wall, you will want it. However, at the same same time, he said that people “need to feel that they are really free not to buy it” which means that they don’t want a pay-to-win type situation. Wether or not they should be called greedy or given credit for trying different things remains to be seen.
Two games in particular that are already getting Ubisoft into trouble are Rainbow Six Siege and Ghost Recon: Wildlands. The reason for this is obvious. The loot found within these boxes or bags can only be purchased with cash. They may technically use in-game currency, but the only way to get said currency, is to buy it with real money. Sadly there is no way to grind to get what you want. Though that sounds terrible, the redeeming (if you can call it redeeming) quality is that the items that you get are purely cosmetic and according to Ubisoft, there will be no duplicates. So you can at least get everything, guaranteed…if you are willing to spend the money.
Assassin’s Creed: Origins approaches their loot boxes a bit differently, in that they don’t really exist. Yes, you can buy one, but you can also just buy the weapon, mount, whatever it is that you want right there in the same menu. So it basically defeats the point. More importantly, is that all of these micro-transactions are in a separate menu called “Time Savers.” Everything in that menu can be earned in the game by completing quests and challenges or spending in-game money in an in-game store which does not require real money. The important take-away from this is that, with enough time, you can ride through the desert on a unicorn with no name without having to buy it with hard earned cash.
All of this leads to the upcoming Far Cry 5. Ubisoft has said that there will be no loot boxes whatsoever, which is great. But it is important to know that micro-transactions will still be a factor. There is no information yet on what can be bought with real money. They could make everything cosmetic and therefore nothing that will change the course of the game or they could just make them time savers. Chances are they will not do anything other than that based on Ubisoft’s track record. They have not been pushing these things to hard and to start now would be suicide. There are too many people that are just too angry.
It may be unfortuante that micro-transactions and loot boxes exist at all, however they seem to be here to stay and we, as gamers might just have to accept that. If done properly however, that pill will be a slightly less bitter one to swallow. Ideally, they would be as they are in Assassin’s Creed: Origins where they can be completely ignored. If you want nothing to do with them, then be free and play, you shall not be bothered. If you don’t have the time or get bored with grinding and want to grab a perk, then go right ahead. They are there for those that want it and those that don’t will feel no pressure. It may not be a perfect situation, but it is far from the worst either.
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