There’s been a major debate going on the last few months in gaming, and it all has to do with Loot Boxes. These small microtransactions have had a big impact on gaming the last few years, and many AAA titles from various developers have put Loot Boxes into their titles with varied success and reception. And even the most successful ones like Overwatch get flak for how the Loot Boxes are handled. So, is there a good way to go about it? Well, it may be Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War that proves it can be done tactfully.
Ironically enough, the previous game in the series, Shadow Of Mordor, didn’t have any Loot Boxes at all, which is why many people were triggered when it was revealed to have them. But, then, as players began to play the game, and heard explanations from the dev team, it became apparent that while you COULD use them at any point in time. You didn’t NEED to use them to advance through the game in a good pace, or survive certain endgame struggles. It was completely and literally optional.
This was a major topic on Reddit, where players happily noted that while certain things might have benefitted from Loot Box purchases, it didn’t become necessary for many. In fact, some only did microtransactions for certain trophies, which again were optional, as you don’t need trophies to beat the game.
So, what can developers learn from Shadow Of War? Well, the big thing is that it’s ok to microtransactions in the game…as long as it doesn’t several affect the gameplay, the characters, certain mechanics, or anything else that’ll tip the game from “earn your strength” to “pay-to-win”. Because that’s what EA did with Battlefront II, and they’re still feeling the pain of that move.
What is the future of Loot Boxes? It’s hard to say. But gamers will make it known when they feel cheated.