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.