The modern gaming industry has altered rather dramatically over recent years. Gone are the days of games focusing on multiple sequels, with many studios now opting for patches, updates and downloadable content for already existing products. Unfortunately for many, this comes with a monetary attachment, which brings us onto the indie smash hit Rocket League, and the advantages and disadvantages of how they shift their product.
The soccer-car hybrid offers a crate system as a way of players obtaining additional content, such as new vehicles, paint jobs, decals, trails, antennas and so on. These crates will drop in any online match that has been played, after which you can purchase a key to unlock it. The crates can also be traded with other players, as can the key that you bought for others to unlock their boxes with. Items inside the crate are up for trading too, should you have anything surplus that somebody may fancy.
The great thing about the crate system is probably the most obvious: you can get your hands on some unique items that many others won’t have. This is also a bonus for the whole trading system, giving it a sense of purpose should you have something somebody desires. If the whole crate system isn’t for you, then you can simply toggle it off and go about your explosive action that has made the Psyonix concoction a global phenomenon. So there are some definite positives to the game’s crate system, especially if you’re willing to put the money into getting the items that you crave, and ultimately make your vehicle stand out from the crowd.
The system is by no means without its disadvantages, however, and they are very frustrating ones to have to deal with. When looking at other games and comparing them to the way in which Rocket League pushes content, it makes you wonder why they are implementing such a system in the first place. Take the Blizzard shooter Overwatch for example, who offer a similar methodology of players earning loot boxes for items to be awarded at random. The difference here is, Overwatch isn’t billing you for unlocking a box that may or may not have what you want inside.
The monetary factor is a key issue in this instance. Sure, Rocket League should be commended for bringing the free updates that it has done since launch, offering new arenas, game modes and more free of charge. But there are some aspects that do feel like a slap in the face at times, such as decals for import cars. You could unlock a decal and think “wow, this is going to look great!” before the sudden realization that the car that it is compatible with is sat somewhere in a different crate that you are yet to unlock.
Ultimately, Rocket League crates serve as a gambling system, and just like any form of gambling, you’re going to need plenty of money to do it for an extended period of time. Perhaps operating with a system that would see players being able to purchase the items they want rather than the monetized lucky dip scenario that we have been presented with, it would be a more pleasing spend for the fans. This wouldn’t, however, be very effective from a business point of view, especially with crates providing a constant source of income rather than say, a DLC pack.
You can see why that Rocket League uses a monetized crate operation, but there is somewhat of an off-putting aura about how the system works. If you find yourself as a collector of sorts, and have the money to put into the game, then it is something that you are sure to find more than appealing. It doesn’t best serve those looking for certain items, especially if spending money in the process is something that you want to avoid.