Global Chat: Get over the lockbox debate already

One of the largest and most enduring arguments of the MMO genre is the purpose, legality, and profitability of so-called lockboxes in games. We’ve certainly railed against them pretty hard here on the site.

MMO Bro takes an interesting position this week by saying that, yes, lockboxes are annoying, but we need to move on from grousing about them: “If I may play devil’s advocate here for a moment, I think the time may have come for us to take a step back and examine whether all the furor over lockboxes is really productive. It’s clear that lockboxes are here to stay, so perhaps it’s time for us to learn how to live with them.”

Agree? Disagree? That’s why we have the comments section. Now that you’re fully awake, why not check out the rest of our roundup from the MMO blogosphere, including essays on early access stumbles, costumes, multiplayer mounts, and — everyone’s favorite — geography!

Superior Realities: ESO — endgame expectations, costumes, and sandbox gameplay

“My biggest complaint about Elder Scrolls Online continues to be its lack of a wardrobe. To that end, I’ve acquired a number of costumes from the cash shop and in-game sources, but nothing is quite clicking. The problem with costumes is that they’re, well, costumes. They’re very specific outfits, and most of them are pretty clearly non-combat attire. You can try to squint and convince yourself some are decent adventuring clothes, but the fact remains these are basically town clothes. Very nice town clothes, but still.”

I Has PC: Character immersion

“I am starting to realize that more and more, I am my characters in my games; I am not playing one. I like to imagine that I am the Druid, shape shifting and saving the day. It is *me* in the game. This is very different than being able to roleplay any race or combination that may be on your whim.”

The Errant Penman: 10 early thoughts on adventures in FFXIV

“It is staggering how much there is to do in this game. It’s honestly been overwhelming learning all the different types of content available, and as I’ve started working on unlocking everything the vanilla endgame had to offer, just, damn.”

Healing the Masses: Failure to launch — issues with early access

“An early access game that releases but a husk of what it could, and is planned to be. A tide of hopeful supporters that are drawn in by the mere mention of such potential and then of course, the subsequent fall as gameplay flaws, and overwhelming issues poison that original hope. Population dwindles, thoughts of the community turn more negative and the game overwhelmingly begins to flounder – partly due to these failed expectations built on an unfinished project but also because such things were never possible to begin with.”

The Ancient Gaming Noob: Where the hell is that EverQuest successor already?

“There have been calls to return to or recreate that era… probably since that era… to bring back all sorts of things like the harsh death penalty, simple classes, spells every five levels, mandatory grouping, open world dungeons, steep level curves, travel time, contested raiding, mobs that chase you right to the zone line, and probably dozens more that I cannot think of at the moment.”

Occasional Hero: When MMOs need an overhaul

“Sooner or later, the game gets bogged down in so many things–progression systems, extra gear slots, gear augmentation, etc. that, at some point, it really starts to overwhelm new and returning players — sometimes even consistent players who don’t spend a lot of time reading forums and wikis and the like — and it really needs and overhaul.”

GamingSF: Multiplayer mounts in MMOs

“Sadly, we’ve not had much experience of similar mounts in other games. I think it’s a lovely social feature to allow couples or small groups of friends to travel around like this. I’d particularly like one in SWTOR, as I know the leveling zones better than the friends I sometimes play this with, but I couldn’t find any reference to a multiplayer mount in that game.”

Contains Moderate Peril: The geography of LOTRO part 2 — Bree and Bree-land

“Where the game differs is in scale. Bree in LOTRO has been expanded from a simple village to a more substantial centre of commerce. This adaptation allows them to encompass all the crafting and training halls, along with the vendors and sundry NPCs. The only embellishment I personally feel a little excessive, is the town hall itself. It seems a little too ambitious for such a small and insular community.”

Every day there are tons of terrific, insightful, and unusual articles posted across the MMO gaming blogosphere — and every day, Justin reads as many as he can. Global Chat is a sampling of noteworthy essays, rants, and guides from the past few weeks of MMO discourse.
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84 Comments on "Global Chat: Get over the lockbox debate already"

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Nick

Its a shame because games I like on a basic design level are ruined for me because of lockbox’s. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was when I was able to buy ‘lockbox’ items off the market that grew as I leveled and were some of the best items in NWO. For the last dozen or so levels item drops meant nothing and when I got to the cap I was already geared out. Don’t even get me started on the companions and their shop nonsense. I quit ESO for the same reason.

Now I play FF14 and they are boasting growth SPURTS without having to resort to cash bought power. But I suppose its easier just to slam lockboxes and buyable power into your game than to design a fun game people will pay a sub for.

Reader
Crowe

Disagree.

Reader
Robert Mann

I can live with lockboxes. I won’t buy them, period. If that makes the game not-fun, then I won’t play the game. If I don’t play the game, I don’t buy anything, and the developer lost a customer.

If we all do the same, then either the whales will eventually decide it isn’t fun running around with nothing but other whales, or some game developer will realize that there is this giant untapped market out there just waiting for them.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

You vote with your purse, your time, and your bandwidth (Since a game is taking at least one, if not all of those things from you). Don’t like a game? Don’t give them any of those 3 things.

Estranged
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Estranged

Yeah, that is the deal. Obviously enough people don’t dislike them to starve the companies and end the trend. They are addicting as hell.

Reader
Major Glitch

That reminds me…I need to go buy some lockboxes.

Reader
Arktouros

People complain because with the current monetization models that’s the only power players have left.

Back in the day we could quit games and not fund bad decisions and drive game design direction by voting with our wallets. Today this doesn’t work because as much as we stop spending or state we’ll never ever get into ESO’s lockboxes some one else is going to be sitting there sipping Arenthian Brandy next to their $160 Storm Atronach mount in their $60 home Lording over the peasant cat people below.

View post on imgur.com

Skoryy
Reader
Skoryy

Back in the day we could quit games and not fund bad decisions and drive game design direction by voting with our wallets.

And games went out of business, so the devs went for a more reliable method of funding. Unintended consequences happened.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Vunak

Disagree completely. Lockboxes arent necessary to create a profitable business plan as can be seen by FFXIV, BDO, and others out there. BDO is a good example of having a cash shop without lockboxes that does very well, as was seen in the recent financial report from Kakao.

I still think the Subscription model with paid expansions is the best way to go for the consumer in the long run. Nobody is on uneven terms when it comes to buying things in a cash shop nor can people p2w the game anymore than anyone else since its a flat fee.

And for the people that say 15$ a month is asking to much, I honestly don’t care about the people that can’t make the subscription cost. They either are to young to have a job themselves which I dont want to deal with xbox kiddies in my MMO’s anyway or are completely backwards on their priorities as an adult and should find a job.

Reader
Nick

Unfortunately with allowing cash items to sell for in game currency, and nearly every item worth having is buyable with in game currency, its only a few degrees away from pay-4-power

Estranged
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Estranged

I think Whales are required to keep some games afloat. Perhaps they should die naturally? That isn’t my right.

Vaeris
Reader
Vaeris

Disagree. Subscriptions and expansions have always seemed good to me. If you can’t afford $15/mo I really have zero empathy for you on this subject. There are too many easy ways to make $15 in a 30 day period.

Estranged
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Estranged

The problem is few games earn that $15 dollars.

Reader
Arktouros

Subscription MMOs went away because they are bad for everyone. They’re bad for players because the content that gets delivered in 30 day periods generally isn’t worth $15 so people quit until the next big content boom. That simultaneously doesn’t work for developers who were relying on a certain number of people sticking with the game to pay not only for the continuation of new development but also the development they initially did.

Reader
odin valhalla

Funny, all these people railing against lock boxes to the point of attacking those who are non compliant with their opinion personally (Not here, but in games Ive seen it). Ive never once seen anyone offer to pay game subscription fees or expansion fees. When you do that, then you can tell other people how to play the game. Otherwise players should have the liberty to enjoy any content they want and those who vehemently go after those either apathetic to boxes or in favor should be banned from the games as a reminder, we all get to play the way we want.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

I see people begging to pay subs and whatnot instead of cash-shop shenanigans all the time. It’s been a constant chorus since F2P went mainstream. It’s just not winning the war.

Reader
Bruno Brito

“those who vehemently go after those either apathetic to boxes or in favor should be banned from the games as a reminder”

You completely destroyed your argument about “we all play how we want” there.

Reader
Erik Heinze-Milne

“It’s clear that lockboxes are here to stay, so perhaps it’s time for us to learn how to live with them.”

Imagine if the Allies had said that about Hitler in WW2. Not saying it’s on the same level of importance, but if something bothers you, keep fighting until you win, or you can’t fight anymore.

Reader
Arktouros

Except it’s less like Hitler vs the World and more like an adult throwing a temper tantrum in the supermarket isle because the cookies they want aren’t on sale.

Reader
Robert Mann

Except it isn’t really like a temper tantrum (okay, with SOME people it is) but rather like running across a rigged game of chance at the carnival and noting it as a problem, or noting that you have enough cash to win stuff anyway and you like that you get to win that stuff.

Nobody really benefits greatly regardless.

Reader
Apollymi

Ugh. I hate lock boxes. I voice my opinion in-game with the loudest way possible. I won’t buy them.

Reader
Jeremy Barnes

Your opinion doesn’t mean as much as the people buying them though

Reader
Robert Mann

Well, that depends. It may get to the point where there’s a full out boycott of games with them (because many detest them quite heavily.) Whales won’t feel special without somebody to lord it over, so they’ll end up quitting should the boycott stick. That is when the opinion expressed will matter.

Reader
Apollymi

Yeah well, we’re doomed as a society as a whole anyway. They only opinion that counts is mine.

Also, see below for a whole slew of folks who feel the same way.

Reader
rafael12104

Well, MMO Brah. I feel ya. You know.

And the truth is if lockboxes weren’t making money they wouldn’t be using them.

But here is the real skinny. Gold sellers/farmers are wrong, right? They are a scourge for many reasons. In the same way lockboxes are wrong especially if you believe they are gambling.

So, nobody should sit back and learn to live with it if they think it is wrong. It doesn’t matter how much money they are making or how much devs and publishers want to make it the norm.

Skoryy
Reader
Skoryy

Gold sellers/farmers are wrong, right?

I still get goldspam mails in Star Trek Online. I repeat: Star Trek Online. In 2017.

That ship also sailed. In gold-plated yachts. To Shanghai. And also apparently the White House. I block and report like a good soldier, but I think its time to realize these guys aren’t going anywhere either.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Tobasco da Gama

The day I take somebody who calls themselves “MMO Bro” seriously is the day I stab an ice pick into my frontal lobe.

styopa
Reader
styopa

“…I think the time may have come for us to take a step back and examine whether all the furor over lockboxes is really productive. It’s clear that lockboxes are here to stay, so perhaps it’s time for us to learn how to live with them….”
Shut up, random internet talking head. Why would *anyone* care what you think any more than what I think or what some other person thinks?
You can stop talking about them, fine, but as long as dev’s keep insisting on including them in their business plan, I’m going to keep saying they’re stupid.

Reader
Totakeke

I feel like the ESO thing hits the nail on the head. But not just for ESO. I feel like it really applies to most MMOs out there besides maybe Wildstar, Destiny and EQ2. In WoW, most set pieces are design like the set pieces in ESO, where it’s one set. So most of the time armor just looks out of place when you mog something on that’s from a different set. ESO just seems to make it easier to notice since it’s more of a realistic style when it comes to armors. Even Guild Wars 2 has this issue where, even though you’re making this kick ass mog on your character, it’s super clear that you’re just pulling pieces from all over the place to make it look out of place.

I give EQ2 and Wildstar a pass, since there’s no limits on their systems, even LotRO didn’t have limits to what you can mog and can’t.

Lock boxes, are kind of a weird thing. I think ESO does a great job with them. Even if you get garbage that you don’t want, you can turn that garbage into the item you do want, granted you spent enough money on boxes. Say what you want with Valve’s lock boxes, but they at least tell you what’s inside each box, which is better then say, Guild Wars 2. Which is just a box that pulls from a big loot pool.

I’d love for an EQ successor. But I feel like Project: Gorgon is gonna be as close to it as we’re gonna get.

Reader
Bannex

It’s not about accepting lockboxes it’s about accepting the new reality that the society we live in has secretly become so incredibly superficial and devoid of core values that it’s virtually impossible to “rally” against this practice.
This is not meant to be a political debate. The world as we know it has become so far beyond human comprehension, our systems so complex that the average human doesn’t know what he or she wants anymore or how to get it. Lockboxes represent the human constructed guided world where we’ve come to accept that we don’t know how shit really works anymore but there’s a chance we’ll get lucky and get some fake piece of shit we for some reason want.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Archebius

So different from the old world, where you knew you would do subsistence agriculture until the day you died – which would be, on average, in your 20s.

Reader
Bannex

You’re right were much better off living until 88 consuming instant food and buying Internet lockboxes.

Estranged
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Estranged

Meds keeping us alive until we are miserable. Good times.

Reader
Doubleplusgood

deep thoughts

rafterman74
Reader
rafterman74

I’m never going to “get over” it, just like I’m never going to get over Horse Armor or paying for online on consoles or any other stupidity that gamers just accept as commonplace these days. Maybe if more people actually didn’t get over these things gaming would be in a better place that it currently is?

Gamers have no backbones, though, and will roll over for anything, which is why we have $50 season passes for $60 games now. Don’t worry MMO Bro, you’ll get your wish soon enough, and then developers and publishers will move past lockboxes and find the next, new and improved, way to take advantage of their customers.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

I wouldn’t be against a $50 season pass for a $60 game if said game offered as much content as the $60 games of old, and the season pass doubled that.

This usually isn’t the case, though.

Reader
True Valhalla

My issue with this debate is that “legality” is constantly brought into question when lockboxes are blatantly legal. Writers here seem to mistake the act of gambling with the legal definition of gambling. Additionally, not everyone who buys lockboxes is a full-blown gambling addict that can’t control their own purchasing behavior, and some of us (perhaps more than this vocal minority) actually enjoy lockboxes on their own merits.

Andrew Ross
Staff
Andrew Ross

Not going to go over the whole article, but “blatantly legal” is patently false: http://massivelyop.com/2017/01/17/__trashed-3/

There are companies that have stepped over the line. Asian countries are already attacking the mechanics, from forcing companies to reveal the odds of winning (such as in Japan) or legal action to ban certain practices (Singapore passed a law that very much could do this is tested).

Reader
True Valhalla

I’ve already read the article. Those examples are far from convincing, and absolutely don’t insinuate any form of illegality. Forcing companies to reveal odds is as mild as regulation could get, and the Singaporean law you mentioned doesn’t apply unless users can “convert in-game credits or tokens for money or real merchandise outside the game” which is a money-out scenario (ie. legally defined gambling). The law is from 2014 – where are the cases in which it has been applied to lockboxes? As I said in a comment below, this aspect of the debate is a desperate reach that undermines the validity of your argument.

I can sympathize with every argument against lockboxes except this one. It’s a gambling mechanic – not legally defined gambling – and that’s the critical difference. Lockboxes aren’t illegal & it’s deceptive to even suggest they are.

Anyone waiting for lockboxes to become illegal, under the guise of gambling, is going to be holding their breath for a long time to come. It’s only when money-out scenarios are introduced that it becomes real gambling.

wandris
Reader
wandris

They may not be illegal only because they are cleverly hidden in plain sight as something that isn’t gambling. It is gambling, and gambling is a restricted vice in most countries much like alcohol or tobacco for good reason. They should not get a pass on this or be permitted to insinuate themselves any further into people’s daily lives unbidden. These things are designed to make people compulsively and addictively spend and it is no less addictive than a slot machine. Most people will not fall into the trap and those that do will not be able to damage themselves as much as in a casino. Still it can easily open the door and lead to escalation. Unlike everywhere else with gambling there are no protections in place and it is largely not recognized as a form of gambling.

Illegal? Not yet. Wrong? Damn right it is.

These companies are taking advantage the most base of human weakness for their own profit. They are literally on a path to building online casinos around their customers who probably do not even see it for what it is. They are psychologically conditioning people to become gambling addicts. The damage might not be visible now, but give it ten or twenty years and it will only be a matter of time before people progress from lockboxes to slot machines. Even if it is 0.01% of players who get a serious problem from this that will be a huge number with 100m+ players. Then there will be everyone else in between who will simply end up spending way more than they ever should or would have otherwise.

Reader
True Valhalla

It’s a gambling act, in the sense that you’re taking a risk, but to legally call it gambling there must also be a money-out mechanic. Without this element, there is no legal position to be made, and that’s why it’s misleading when the legality of lockboxes is constantly brought up during these discussions. It’s a desperate reach that undermines the validity of the argument.

Of course, I can see why people have complaints about lockboxes, and even why they might be worth regulating. Whether lockboxes are a “gateway” to other vices is impossible to prove. It’s a convenient opinion to hold, but it’s not based in fact.

If this was a genuine concern, I would rather focus my attention on the casino apps that regularly dominate the top-grossing app charts.

wandris
Reader
wandris

There is little distinction between the value of a monetary reward and a digital only reward to people who invest thousands of hours into online games. There are infact many many gamers who put in game digital items at a higher value than money. I doubt anyone who has played these games long enough have not seen plenty of first hand examples of people who do. When it comes to rewards money is not the only thing of value.

I have personally witnessed, and experienced addiction, gambling and lockboxes. Gambling was never my thing but I have seen how it works on others and have felt the allure. I can say without any doubt that lockboxes are merely a tailored form of gambling that is in many ways even more powerful to people who place a high value on digital items.

When it comes to addictions and “gateways” it does not matter what the drug or addiction is it is a behavior that leads to other behaviors. It is a great misconception that any particular drug like marijuana is a gateway to something worse. Anything can be a gateway to addictive behavior which really has no limits to where it can lead. Lockboxes and legal gambling are so similar in function and design that there is really no reason to think that they would not be interchangeable to an addict.

It can go both ways. People who are already addicted to gambling could easily find themselves falling prey to this. That is one of the reasons this is so bad. There are no warning stickers nothing really to curb excess nor even a general awareness outside of a small % of players.

Sure it’s not recognized by the law as gambling only becasue like with most emerging technological adaptations the law is a decade or two behind. But it is gambling, and it should be legally recognized as such. The reason this hasn’t happened is probably because it is very difficult for outsiders to recognize it for what it is at this point. As time goes on the systems being employed are becoming more elaborate, more sophisticated and more pervasive.

ESO recently deployed their crown boxes. It is probably the sexiest looking lockbox I have seen yet. It is also the most insidious of them all. The shine is just dressing to take people unawares. It is just one more rung in an ongoing trend. Where will it end? They are just going to keep pushing this farther and farther. Money and game currencies are becoming more interchangeable as time goes on. Digital rewards received can be viewed as money not having to be directly spent.

I really do not understand how something needs to be legally recognized to call it for what it is. Just because a new drug is unclassified by the law does not mean it has no legal position or is unrelated to the law. Then again I know very little about law and will not try to split hairs. I am only trying to say that it should be legally recognized as gambling and regulated as such. There should be clear consequences and restrictions to companies employing these tactics.

I will also add this incase it is not obvious: The reward for winning has never been the problem with gambling or the reason people have made laws restricting it. It is the act of spending and losing that money. This is why it is absurd to try to make some distinction between lockboxes and gambling. If the laws do then the entire premise and understanding they are built on is wrong.

Reader
Shiro Madoushi

The best part of the whole lock box scheme is just looking at the hypocrisy surrounding it. A certain CEO of Trion Worlds sits around on twitter complaining about what a horrible person our president is and how g2a are crooks etc. Meanwhile his company pushes these lock boxes on people without any concern for how addictive they are. I have known several people that overspent to the point of not being able to pay their bills while trying to “win” the jackpot.

Reader
Erik Heinze-Milne

What? They are EXTREMELY concerned about the effect lock boxes have! Specifically that they should be as addictive as possible. They are concerned they might not be addictive enough.

Reader
Witches

It’s an unscrupulous business practice that is already choking itself to death, while we get used to lockboxes, we also get used to games having no budget and great difficulty finding investors. Hello lockboxes, goodbye AAA.

tethyss
Reader
tethyss

I disagree. The most enduring argument is over SWG and the NGE. They are still arguing about it to this day. Just check the latest article about Smed and the death of Hero’s Song or whatever. Time to let it go people.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Rottenrotny

Disagree. Players need to simply not buy them to let the developers know that lockboxes blow.
Unfortunately people will continue to bust out their CCs in a sad attempt to pay2win.

Reader
Ionut tv

Getting used with the problem won’t solve it.

Reader
Tulerezzer

Devs are looking forward to the day gamers give up and “get used” to lockboxes.

Line
Reader
Line

Already the case on mobile… hell, the young generation never knew anything different. I’ve seen little kids short circuiting when you tell them how much a regular game copy costs. $50 is just crazy, while spending $0.49 every other day is not… humans are bad with money, and youngins are far, far worse.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

What you described is why, despite spending more time with my tablet than with my PC, I get about a dozen new PC games for every new mobile game I get.

I don’t like microtransactions. Never have. So, when I look at a game with microtransactions, I pretend that its a B2P game instead with the price being what I would need to get every last piece of content in the game. That shows me the true cost of the game, and thus I give up on most of them before I even start playing due to them being too expensive.

Incidentally, this means I basically play on mobile either games that are truly free (as in, neither a purchase cost nor microtransactions) or more expensive ones that don’t rely on microtransactions.

Reader
Robert Mann

Yeah, I don’t have nearly enough time where I would game on any mobile device to justify spending the time to figure out which games on mobile aren’t just a microtransaction cash grab pile of steaming crud.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Xijit

Like a lonely prison cellmate: “Just let it happen and next time it won’t hurt so bad”

Reader
Wanda Clamshuckr

Oh, the lockbox debate again.

Devs listen to $$$, not forum discussion on the evils of lockboxes. When online gambling laws become inclusive to this issue, they will stop. Or, they will dress them up in a slightly different way so they can continue to make more money.

Until then, they simply don’t care. They are making fistfuls of cash off those with addictive personalities. It is an intentional predatory design whose only winner is the studio, and the game’s investors.

If Skinner only knew how his research was going to be applied..

oldandgrumpy
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
oldandgrumpy

Or government will realize how lucrative they are and ask for their share.

Reader
John Kiser

They already do so long as the company is in the US/operating here at all.

Woetoo
Reader
Woetoo

The simple answer is for people to stop buying them. The problem will solve itself.

Since the only person who I have absolute control over is myself (mostly), I do what I can to not support them by not buying a single one. I can only suggest that others do the same.

Honestly, I wouldn’t know what else to suggest, except perhaps to say that I would assume the “average” MOP visitor already has high enough standards, enough self esteem and enough self control not to be taken in by such an obvious money gouging business models. Now if only we could convince the great unwashed to follow suit.

And no, I’m not getting over it any time soon. Stupid solutions remain stupid solutions no matter how apathetic people become to them.

PurpleCopper
Reader
PurpleCopper

I remember back when I was a tiny kid, I used to purchase Pokemon booster packs that costed $10 a pack (christ, those were expensive back then).

I dreamed of the day I would get a 1st edition holographic Charizard card. After spending hundreds of dollars on Pokemon cards, I finally got dat Charizard.
But then a realization struck me, why the fuck did I spend so much money on overpriced cardboard paper?

I was a dumb fucker back then, so I sold all my Pokemans cards to my school friends at a nice discount, after that revelation.

Oh yea, lock boxes. I guess I would apply the same logic to lockboxes as well.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Jack Pipsam

I miss the sub-model, but I know that ship has sailed for the mainstream titles (even though SW:ToR seems to be swimming back to it).

Sad fact is though that if everybody is going lockboxes despite the intense unpopularity, clearly they’re working, clearly they’re being purchased and is making the developers money and of course being a business they require a steady income.

I feel like in some ways games which are too free like Planetside 2 suffered because of it in a way.

Reader
Arktouros

Planetside 2 suffered because they were basically given a blank check by Sony to develop the game so long as it worked on PS4 but when PS4 came about and PS2’s engine was horrendous on AMD cpus they had to spend better part of the first year of the game not on game balance, not on pushing game features but rather tweaking the game engine and optimization so it would work on the device they were paid to make it work on. This effectively killed off the audience of the game which simply felt ignored and really only got a worse looking game as the result.

Reader
Robert Mann

It wasn’t so much that the CPUs were AMD, as that they weren’t up to what the developers expected. They aimed mid-high on the PC side, and they didn’t get that power on the console side. Which is purely a matter of logic, consoles can’t cost under $600 and have the power of $500 CPUs.

Skoryy
Reader
Skoryy

Let’s get it out of the way: Ranting about lockboxes is all about using a moral soapbox to complain about why the devs aren’t giving you the things you want on the terms you want.

But y’all didn’t want to pay for subs. Y’all didn’t want to pay for cash shop items. Whales and farmers, however, will pay for lockboxes. Others will pay for lockbox items on the exchange. Its a proven money maker. And that’s how game devs found out how to keep the servers on.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Xijit

I would have no major issue with them if they cost $0.10 instead of $10.00 & were not the exclusive vector of everything mandatory for end game progression.

Reader
Zen Dadaist

Nope. I think lockboxes are an absolute fucking cancer on the genre and seriously diminish the enjoyment of games for a huge number of people, myself included. I’m not about to just roll over and accept it.

Reader
traja

Once you accept one sleazy scheme you are ready to start accepting the next one.

Reader
Craig Sharp

Disagree. If something is wrong, it’s wrong. Just because it sticks around it doesn’t suddenly change that. I’ll never be okay with lockboxes, and I’ll never be able to look upon developers who lean on them with anything other than disdain and disappointment.

Reader
Scrungle

I didn’t even know there was a debate nor even cared. Don’t buy em. Is this an eastern MMO issue?

Vote with your wallet.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Tandor

If you want to buy one fine, if not then that’s equally fine. No need, however, for gamers to set themselves up as guardians of the world’s morals. They’re a useful source of revenue for games and I don’t often see any of the critics saying they’d rather pay an extra £5 on their subscriptions to make up the shortfall if they succeed in getting them dropped.

wandris
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wandris

Get over it? No way. You can say it is not gambling all you want, but it is a disgusting tactic to condition customers into compulsively and addictively spend on attractive gatcha lockboxes. Who the f ever asked to have slot machines inserted into our homes or into a place most of us go to spend free time? The amount of games that do not have lockboxes are shrinking every month.

Gambling has a place, like a casino, pub or card table. Not in games. This is one of the most greedy, immoral and corrupt practices there is in the game industry. I think that it is just very well disguised and hidden in plain sight and so far has not really received the outrage it deserves.

There is not one thing in a lockbox that could not be sold at face value. Any sort of loot or prizes attached to RNG should never be connected to directly spending money. The key difference between RNG in online games and a casino is in one you spend money and another you spend time. Lockboxes are not for us, they are for the corporate bottom line and nothing else. They exist to make people spend more than they would normally and prey on weakness. Companies that resort to this should be shamed for the corrupt pricks that they have allowed themselves to become. Perhaps one day they will.

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life_isnt_just_dank_memes

I like buying stuff in games from cash shops. I don’t like buying chances. I don’t buy lockboxes because there are people with gambling addictions that play these games and it’s devs being lazy and preying upon the proclivities of addicts to make money. If they were being honest about it they’d post phone numbers for Gambler’s Anon. and they’d post odds of winning each and every item in the lockbox.

Pre-ordering, early access, lockboxes etc. It’s all so gross.

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Schmidt.Capela

I don’t see any issue pre-ordering physical products, and I actually like (properly done) early access due to liking to see how the game is being developed; if the dev is open and communicative, I often consider the backstage pass element of the early access as being, by itself, worth the money.

Regarding lockboxes, though, I’m with you. I will never purchase anything if I don’t know exactly what is inside; if I ever feel like I would need something that comes inside a lockbox I will immediately leave the game, regardless of how much time or money I have previously spent in the game.

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Shiro Madoushi

Imagine if people like Samuel Adams and Martin Luther King Jr had taken the same attitude toward unfairness as MMO Bro.

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ensignedwards

And you’ve basically made my point for me.

You’re comparing an annoyance in a video game to real world oppression that people suffered and died to fight. You’ve lost all semblance of perspective and lapsed into unintentional self-parody.

My point was never that lockboxes are fine, or even that we should give up on criticizing them entirely. It was just to take a step back realize that in the greater scheme of things this is a relatively trivial issue. It’s not so much the criticism that bothers me as it is the absurd extremism of it.

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David McD

Absurd extremism? People are ranting on the internet. It’s not like they’re organizing marches, speaking out at million man rallies or dying for it.

Perhaps you should take your own advice and take a step back. Rather than critiquing the lockboxes you are critiquing the critiquers. Which is fine, but realize it for what it is and you may find more peace.

Edit: Their -> They’re

Tizmah
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Tizmah

Nice red herring you have there ensignedwards. Shiro Madoushi is talking about the basic principle of the matter, meaning that just because something seems unlikely to change, doesn’t mean you should just accept it and deal with it. It is completely a fine comparison as it doesn’t devalue his argument, but furthers it. At no point in his comment saying that the matters of MLK and Samuel Adams are not more important. Even if he did though, it still doesn’t ruin his argument.

If something isn’t acceptable in the greater things, why should we accept them in the “trivial” things? Seems hypocritical to me, or just down right lazy.

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Mark

Ah, the old “I define what’s worth caring about or not” response. But the reality is that there is no limit to the number of things one can choose to argue about. One can be upset about the spread of lockboxes and still be upset about issues such as oppression.

But, that being said, I’m not personally concerned about them – I buy them from developers who I think deserve them or who offer interesting things, and don’t buy them from developers I don’t like or don’t offer interesting things.

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ensignedwards

Not sure how you got that from my comment. It’s fine if you want to care about more than one issue. I’m just saying it’s awful to compare the first world problem of all first world problems to something that’s actually life or death. There’s no equivalency between them.

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Schmidt.Capela

Actually, lockboxes are a way of introducing minors to gambling. Without proper oversight there is a huge issue there.

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ensignedwards

As I said in the article, I do not think minors should be gambling with real money in online games. That is, however, an issue for parents, not developers, in my opinion. It’s hardly the only thing in MMOs that children probably shouldn’t be exposed to. It’s really not a good genre for the young in general.

If there are games that are targeted specifically toward children and leaning heavily on lockboxes for monetization (which there may well be; I don’t follow kids’ games that closely), then yeah, go ahead and dig out the pitchforks for that.

Tizmah
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Tizmah

It’s because you’re completely focusing on another matter, than the subject at hand.

Skoryy
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Skoryy

Imagine if Samuel Adams and Martin Luther King Jr learned their struggles were being compared to complaints about pretendy fun-time games.

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Robert Mann

I think they would have larger issues to be concerned with, in our society which still hasn’t learned the lessons the struggled so hard to teach, and which has corrupted their messages quite thoroughly.

As to the other part, they’d probably sigh and say ‘Well, it is a wrong, but would you mind using a comparison closer to equal in value?’

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Crow

That whole site rubs me the really wrong way.

It is full of pronouncements that, maybe ironically, demonstrate the shallowness of “bro culture”. Ironic because I think it is meant to be satire?

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Armsbend

Colored only water fountains are here to stay?
Yeah, no.

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