The Daily Grind: What do you actually expect to get out of MMORPG lockboxes?

MMO blogger Bhagpuss has an intriguing multi-angle post out this week criticizing, rightly in my mind, Guild Wars 2’s lockboxes, but not the way you’re thinking. See, unlike a lot of MMO players who read blogs and think about the way our games are put together, he says he doesn’t mind lockboxes, at least the kind you needn’t pay to open. He even likes RNG. What annoys him is that the game’s cash-shop lockboxes are usually crap, such that the freebie ones he gets are so unappealing that he can’t even imagine how anyone feels compelled to buy keys.

“The only remotely interesting thing I got was a dye,” he laments. “Everything else was embarrassingly dull. […] I’d have thought it might be worth rigging the odds on these infrequent freebies so that everyone gets at least a halfway decent item. The dye would do it. A mini, perhaps. Nothing amazing, just not a Bank Express and a 30 minute booster.”

I thought his article would prove a fun jumping off point for today’s Daily Grind. What do you actually expect out of a paid lockbox in an MMO? Are there MMOs whose lockboxes are so stingy that you just skip ’em entirely?

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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81 Comments on "The Daily Grind: What do you actually expect to get out of MMORPG lockboxes?"

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Little Bugbear

I don’t buy lockboxes, but you would think they would have cool things like costumes, mounts, dyes, pets, weapons, or housing items.

Cadaver
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Cadaver

I don’t pay for lockboxes. It doesn’t matter to me what they contain. All they ever do is incrementally feed my disenchantment with the game, this genre and the games industry in general. I’m just so tired of all this bullshit.

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Ket Viliano

Robbed.

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NeoWolf

My expectations for lockboxes are like how SWTORS packs USED to be (emphasis on USED to be), whereby you are garunteed a number of useful things (rare mats, companion gifts, exp boost consumables etc..) and one or two bronze of silver things from the pack selection and that CHANCE of a gold thing (the rare things), which defaults to another silver if you don’t get one.

If a lockbox gives me nothing useful and you literally NEVER EVER get the rare thing even after hundreds of lockboxes then something IS seriously wrong especially as they constantly dangle that rare carrot in your face or in STO, and Neverwinters case outry lie every 30 seconds by putting fake messages on screen that EVERYONE has been getting the rare thing …uh hu..sure they have. :)

miol
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miol

Why would somebody want lockboxes to be more consequential, if you don’t want them in the first place?! o.O

If you can’t get rid of them entirely anyway, I would prefer to have them as uninteresting as possible, so I don’t need to be bothered with it and couldn’t care less!

After the backlash of having the entire Privateer weapon skins collection account-bound and therefore not having the alternative of being purchaseable directly from TP throuh gold instead and being forced to buy lockbox keys, Anet backed off and I was proud of the community!

But Anet didn’t stopped trying! Now providing only single account-bound weapon skins instead from time to time, where there wasn’t given much attention compareably!

There are so many other MMOs though, where it mostly revolves around lockboxes and their possible prices, making them way less about gaming but are more just gambling hangouts!

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blah blazh

I agree with Bhagpuss on GW2’s lockboxes. The only people I could see buying keys for them are new players who don’t know any better. What do I expect out of them? Well, crap is what I expect. And that’s what I get when I get free keys to use on them.

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McGuffn

I bought keys yesterday or the day before. I’ve been playing for 5 years, and I know better.

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blah blazh

well, you should know better ;-p

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zoward

While I’ve never bought lockbox keys, I have bought lockboxes. The only time I’ve ever bought lockboxes was from TSW – I wanted to toss a little money their way, so I bought some Funcom points. I didn’t see anything I wanted in the store and was feeling whimsical, so I bought some of those “open this box and 15 people around you get the same thing you get” holiday lockboxes. Then I hung out for a while in Agartha, and handed out loot whenever the urge struck me. I got mostly crap, but one pet, a new dance, and a lot of thank yous. Interestingly, someone else opened one nearby and I got a second pet. Overall it was a lot of fun. Not giving a crap what actually came out of the boxes themselves actually added to it.

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Rees Racer

“…expect to get out of MMORPG lockboxes?”

My serenity is inversely proportional to my expectations and directly proportional to my level of acceptance. I only open lockboxes with free keys, and if I receive anything at all, then I am pleasantly surprised.

Just as the WOPR computer says at the end of the movie Wargames“the only winning move is not to play.”

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Michael18

I hardly ever open lockboxes, even if I get free boxes/keys.
At the moment I’m making a fortune selling black steel keys on the AH in LOTRO.

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Sally Bowls

What I am looking for is where the expected value of the contents is worth more than the purchase price.

The SWTOR lockboxes were the best – least worst – implementation I have seen. People who wanted to RMT the credits could buy them and sell the lockboxes unopened so no RNG involved at all. I could buy a lockbox with ingame credits. A then guildie made quite a bit of credits from buying lockboxes with credits and selling the contents for credits. Which, of course, completely refutes the contents are worthless: most boxes were losses, but the wins more than made up for it.

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zuldar

Buyer’s remorse

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Sally Bowls

Perhaps we should not mingle Lockboxes in general with GW2 in particular. I opened about a dozen BL chests and was very, very unimpressed. N.B.: the keys were free drops; while I am extremely unlikely to buy a lockbox, I am even less likely to admit it here.

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McGuffn

I tend to agree, but the buy-in for gw2 lockboxes are less than a dollar. Other games are more expensive.

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Greaterdivinity

I’m ashamed of everyone here, how is it that this article has been live for hours but nobody has posted this?! It’s so perfect.

View post on imgur.com

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Alex Willis

I was talking to a colleague about Spatula City yesterday and she didn’t know what it was. She has led a dull and unfulfilling life, apparently.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Shoulda gone all Conan the Librarian.

Cyclone Jack
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Cyclone Jack

You restore my faith in humanity.

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Witches

What i expect: All my dreams fulfilled in one item, i call it the ubergrall of epicness.
What i actually get: Worthless crap.

Reader
McGuffn

I don’t expect to get anything I want. And that’s the attitude to take going in.

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Arktouros

ESO’s lockboxes changed my view on them that now I expect to be able to sell the unwanted, useless junk items for a currency to directly purchase the items I want or I expect to have a fairly reasonable shot at them. I’m not going to say I’m never ever going to buy Black Lion keys in GW2 but it’d have to be something super, super tempting to throw down the $50-100 I’ll probably have to spend to get it which is already 900-1800 gold value. But the sheer volume of garbage they pack in those GW2 chests is pretty abominable to where literally every study ever on keys has shown it’s universally better to sell the gems and buy whatever than actually use keys.

That said I actually made out pretty good in yesterday’s free chest. Got a guaranteed wardrobe unlock which unlocked Lapis dye worth 115g and got 6 jade shards so not bad.

I flat out refuse to play games where progression is locked to dropping down money on RNG chests like it was in ArcheAge with the Archeum upgrades. That’s my no go line.

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Nater

Just say no to lockboxes!

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Tiresias

I despise lockboxes and never buy them.

Put exclusive items into a lockbox? I’ll never own them. It’s that simple.

I know some gaming cultures like lockboxes (I’m not sure which ones), but I have yet to see an implementation that American games find appealing in general.

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Schmidt.Capela

Put exclusive items into a lockbox? I’ll never own them. It’s that simple.

I go one step further. If the exclusive lockbox-only item is something I truly wanted to have, I will leave the game because of it.

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Theodrax

I’ve been playing Secret World Legends since it came out, and for most of that time I’ve been a patron, which grants one key a day. Based on the rewards I’ve received I can’t fathom anybody ever buying a key. The equipment boost things are handy enough, but not very interesting. In that entire time I’ve received exactly one pet, zero costume pieces, zero mounts, zero sprints. Even if I did get a cosmetic the offering out of the current box are aesthetically unappealing to me. I put the one mini pet I got in the bank, figuring I’d hold onto it until they weren’t in circulation anymore then sell it.

Unlike many, I’m not inherently against keys. I have bought them from time to time in other games, but there’s no way I’d consider one in SWL. They’re really expensive and the rewards are just so crappy. If I’m going to spend real money, I’d be much better off converting Aurum to Marks and buying it in the auction house, or heaven forbid, just saving up for it. None of the lockbox gear is really that expensive.

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Paragon Lost

I dislike them intensely. They often are crap or what you don’t need at all. I’d rather get a currency that I could use to get what I actually need/want if they’re gonna have bloody lockboxes. Lotro this go expansion is full of the damn things in Mordor. :/

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Ahelms Tub

cool looking mounts, pets and gear.

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Schmidt.Capela

I don’t. Half the time I even trash freebies, and if I ever feel like I want to purchase a lockbox or a key, I stop playing until that feeling is over.

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Randy Ward

Bad luck, heart ache, and shame.

Cyclone Jack
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Cyclone Jack

Tears of Unfathomable Sadness.

boredinBC
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boredinBC

New item added to Black Lion Chests.

Tears of Unfathomable Sadness are now a rare drop from Black Lion Chests. Collect 100 Tears and exchange them at the Black Lion Merchant for Jar of Unfathomable Sadness.

Bobuliss
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Bobuliss

The only lockboxes I ever bought were the ones in TERA years ago that guaranteed a certain thing in each one, plus something random. I would never pay money for something without a guarantee of a payoff. Fortunately, these days it’s a moot point as EVE doesn’t have lockboxes.

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Rheem Octuris

The only lockbox I have ever seen that I liked was Path of Exile’s. They tell you exactly what’s in them and how much each thing is worth, and guarantee that there is nothing in there worth less than the cost of the lockbox. Plus its all cosmetic stuff you can usually buy directly 3 months later.

Yangers
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Yangers

I don’t buy them :-D

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Utakata

Usually pointless items I’ll never use that fill up precious inventory space, so I avoid paying to open them like the plague. Trashing them where possible seems the best option for me.

Reader
Utakata

PS/The Obligatory Anecdotal Cool Story Bro:

I got crap ton of free lock box keys through some limited time promotion event thingy sometime ago back in TERA. So decided to use them on some of the lock boxes that started spamming my inventory out of curiosity. And the contents therein pretty much further gummed up my inventory with as for mentioned pointless items I never used. So I sold the rest of the keys on the AH, and made a crap ton of gold from it…

…apparently some players still found worth in those. O.o

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wratts

The only cash shop boxes I’ve liked have been the SWL ones, mostly because of that daily free key. The purple distillates are a key part of gear progression, and the fact that I’m opening the boxes anticipating that rather than a sparkle pony makes all the difference

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Rheem Octuris

You do realize that makes the boxes buy-to-progress, right?

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wratts

Yeah, I definitely see the P2W/Pay-to-progress risk in SWL. My own experience so far is that at least the game doesn’t seem tuned to require payment. I think I’m at about 190 iLevel and the only aurum I bought was for a character slot, and I’m advancing in Tokyo no problem.

I’m not trying to run high level elites, because the draw for me is story. The free keys at least give me what I need to enjoy what I already enjoy in SWL

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Alex Willis

I never know quite what to say to those who are disappointed in cash-shop lockboxes. I have a very strong aversion to gambling in games of chance (investments are another matter), especially ones where I don’t know the rules or ones that use under-the-hood mechanics. I have in my life maybe paid for $20 worth of lockbox items and at no point did these increase my enjoyment or appreciation of the games. In fact, the feeling I almost always get is one of regret, much like most people, I assume.

So if the blogger in question is *only* feeling as sense of deflation and disappointment, I’d say they were coming out ahead of the curve. Because the rest of us would be feeling angry and frustrated, rather than simply “dull”.

As to what I would expect to find in ideal circumstances in a GW2 lockbox:
— Nothing that would offer a competitive advantage. (Yes, that means no food.)
— Good/rare/unavailable cosmetics.
— Minis.
— XP boosts.
— Tokens that could be used (eventually) towards a unique or generally unavailable item.

I mean, this is GW2. They’re not going to drop Ascended or Legendary weapons. But the last, the tokens piece, is something I think they could focus on. ESO has a system that lets you convert box-dropped items to another crypto-currency, which you can then use on other items in the Crown store.

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Zen Dadaist

Disappointment.

(I’m sure this answer has come up a lot already. I don’t buy the damn things anyway.)

Estranged
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Estranged

I expect random stuff, perhaps defined by the type of lockbox.

That is all I have – don’t expect anything else.

Only pay using currency earned in game.

HotS chests are pretty damn sweet. Full of goodies.

venatis
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venatis

A little less money in my wallet and a sense of dissatisfaction. Funny how lockboxes and my dating life are so similar

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Melissa McDonald

I’ve gotten some sweet items from the chests in LOTRO. Nice cosmetics, necklaces and bracelets with very nice attributes, etc. I can’t say I hate them in that game.

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thickenergy

Crappy games, filled with crap boxes, which contain crap. The crapfecta of gaming.

Kesha - Poo Box COL copy.gif
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Serrenity

What I expect to get: The sparkliest of the Sparkle ponies
What I actually get: A single tube sock, possibly used.

Reader
Tanek

Well, those socks that get lost in the laundry have to end up somewhere, right?

Reader
Nathan Aldana

Disappointment

borghive
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borghive

I hate hate hate hate hate hate loot boxes in MMOs, I’m so tired of modern MMO monetization.

I’m sad that paying a monthly subscription has this stigma attached to it now. In the end, I’d rather pay 15-20 a month for a game rather than playing these horrible F2P games that charge you out the wazoo for everything. We only have our selves to blame though, we as gamer’s voted with our wallets on this one.

Justin said it best years ago https://www.engadget.com/2012/05/17/the-perfect-ten-the-truth-about-lockboxes/

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Armsbend

Garmonbozia – Pain and Sorrow

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Castagere Shaikura

Nothing because i don’t open them. Although if mmo has an auction house i sell them for gold to those addicted to gambling.

Minimalistway
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Minimalistway

My rule is this: whatever will come out of them, will be useless for me, and if i wished for something i’ll never get it!

On principle i don’t play games with lock boxes, WoW have them but they are in-game item, you need a rogue or a key to open them, both are in game, SWL have them but i vendor them, other than that i can’t stand them.

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TheDonDude

The joy of someone else paying for the game, I suppose.

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Tanek

I don’t expect anything other than that any stated percentages be fair and as accurate as they can be. This does not mean if a rare item has a 10% chance to drop, buying 10 boxes should be a guarantee for a player. It means that, in the big picture, the percentages pan out over the whole playerbase.

That said, I prefer knowing exactly what I am buying, so I don’t spend anything except maybe time and in-game currency on lockboxes. Hand me a daily key to open a box, I’ll give it a try. Ask me to pay a few dollars to open it, though, you are more out of luck than the player who always gets the most common drop from the boxes. :P

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Carebear

The only time i bought a lockbox was in swtor. I was always had a sub running and got some cartel points stocked because of this.

The only thing i wanted back then from the store was the throne mount and didnt had the millions credits to buy it in game…

So i spent all my cartel coins i got from several months of sub to get the lockboxes that supposed to have that mount.

Needless to say i got nothing important and of course didnt got the mount. Felt disappointement and anger and also didnt want to continue to play after that (because of anger…)

Never used any other lockbox again..

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Pandalulz

I expect to get… ripped off.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Subbed for SWL, two months of opening my free lockbox a day and got ONE flaming devil dog pet and enough Third Age tokens to purchase a different one if I wanted too.

Lockboxes are trash and may very likely drive me away from the gaming industry.

Reader
Godson69

Fortunately, I was a Lifer(GM) in TSW so in SWL I get the free sub. I’ve opened my free lockbox everyday since it started and have received one sprint special (the argatha wings) and two blue weapons. If it wasn’t for the free sub and free daily key, I would not waste my time on the lockboxs. I would not spend a dime for their lockboxs.

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Modrain

I’m pretty much in the same situation as the blogger quoted in the article. I’ve never played a game that had paid lockboxes with loots I considered worth money, or paid lockboxes that had different loots from free ones. It’s not that I’m against lockboxes, it’s just that they’re not desirable at all.

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thalendor

Junk. It’s all I ever get when they give me a free sample box to open because I’m never buying one of these things.

pepperzine
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pepperzine

Garbage, so I don’t buy them ever.

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