The Daily Grind: Should MMO studios disclose the odds of winning lockbox prizes?

Every once in a while in an MMO, the desire to play with numbers grips me, like the time I hand-crafted a thousand drinks in Star Wars Galaxies to test whether sub-comp assembly mattered as much as theorists claimed. (It didn’t.)

I am not alone in my insanity. Massively OP reader The_Grand_Nagus tipped us off to an equally determined/nutty Star Trek Online player, who recently put his napkin math skills to work on a much more important problem than video game booze: video game gambling. He opened 10,000 lockboxes in STO to estimate the odds of pulling out a dreadnought. (It’s about 1%.)

That led The_Grand_Nagus — and me — to wonder why MMO studios don’t (and whether they should) disclose the odds of winning when you’re cracking open their gambleboxes.

Here in the US, different states have different governing rules for different categories of gambling. For example, most lotteries are required to post odds. Most casinos aren’t. Then again, would there even be a point to publishing the odds when knowing the odds doesn’t usually stop people from gambling anyway?

What do you think? Should MMO studios disclose the odds of winning prizes in lockboxes?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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124 Comments on "The Daily Grind: Should MMO studios disclose the odds of winning lockbox prizes?"

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SmithBrandy
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SmithBrandy

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MewmewGirl
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MewmewGirl

Well of course they don’t want to release the odds.  They want you to think you have a better chance of getting the item than you actually do.  They don’t want you doing the numbers and figuring out just how much you really have to spend to get certain things.

GoJammit
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GoJammit

vulpisfoxfire GoJammit I’m all for lockboxes, but that sucks.

vulpisfoxfire
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vulpisfoxfire

GoJammit Yeah…this was back with the Dominion ship, IIRC. What started getting people suspicious was that they kept broadcasting the message every few minutes…but when flying in space, even in the more crowded sectors, you’d maybe see *one* in the span of a week.

Robert80
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Robert80

sray155  I don’t think Bree was arguing that.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that statement was about how it is recognized as a problem (or at least a player beef… because I think dev teams use RNG as a content filler, since they know they need more time on average to complete things and it doesn’t ‘feel’ quite as grindy.)

GoJammit
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GoJammit

Wow! That’s for real? That’s some shady stuff. And I have to admit, when I saw so many people getting them, I kinda figured maybe it was a good rate. As far as I could tell I was seeing more pop than the Krenim ship that I had no problem getting. I don’t remember if the messages pop up in the middle of the screen anymore, but it is in the chat. Honestly I’ve tuned it out. I really wanted that carrier.

Cyroselle
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Cyroselle

XanadoX – Rift (even though I play it)

Cyroselle
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Cyroselle

Ceder And the IRS. Holy hells.

Cyroselle
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Cyroselle

The thing that annoys me the most is that some companies (I’m looking at you, Trion) names their lockboxes after the one item you probably have a 0.0000000001% of actually getting.

vulpisfoxfire
Guest
vulpisfoxfire

Styopa DCUO. You can buy keys in the store, but subbers can just immediately open the lockboxes…which often contain stronger equipment items than those you can earn through actual game play, as well as the ever-evil ‘exclusives’.