As controversy continues regarding loot boxes in Video Games, Valve has taken the initiative to improve the process for their games. Dutch and Belgium have threatened to prosecute gaming companies regarding loot boxes in games. Their ruling stated
“Loot boxes contravene the law if the in-game goods from the loot boxes are transferable. Loot boxes do not contravene the law if the in-game goods from the loot boxes aWhre not transferable.”
Dutch declared four games were guilty and two games are from Valve. The government declared loot boxes had monetary value content but didn’t properly showcase what you earned as it is based on chance. Earlier in June, Valve disabled opening loot boxes and trading gear in the Netherlands, Belgium and Deutschland in CS:GO (Counter-Strike: Global Operative) and DOTA 2 (Defense of the Ancients 2).
Now Valve has taken another step for those regions. For DOTA 2, Dutch players can see what the loot box will contain before purchasing it. The game now restricts players by only allowing one box purchase at a time and removing the box opening animation.
Why these specific changes?
The removal of multiple purchases to prevent players from potentially mass purchasing boxes. Previously, multiple box purchases gave you small discounts or extra bonuses for more boxes. Regarding the animation, many loot boxes had fancy animations that were designed to make players feel good about opening them. Psychologist defines the feeling as ‘variable rate reinforcement.’ The adrenaline rush and the dopamines in your brain affect you more if you are unaware of the rewards but they are delivered on a periodic basis. Each game has their own animation and developers put extreme effort to make it look, sound, and feel amazing.
Do you want to see these changes in North America? Or do you think these changes aren’t the right steps to change loot boxes?
PC Gamer – The Joys of Opening Loot Boxes
Valve: CS:GO Forum 7/11 Patch
PCGAMESN – Removal of Trade in the Netherlands
Eurogamer – Removal of Box Trading
The new, free update to Middle-Earth: Shadow of War finally removed their loot boxes called War Chests. Released in September 27th, 2017, Monolith Productions defended the addition of loot boxes as they didn’t influence the game or ruin the narrative. The boxes provided stronger Orcs for the player in the game’s famous Nemesis system and it would help reduce the grind of improving the Orcs. These helped players earn stronger Orcs without relying on chance. However, the game’s true ending is difficult to obtain without extra grinding for strong Orc captains which angered many players. Players felt Monolith and Warner Brothers (Developers and Publisher) were encouraging players to spend money on loot boxes to obtain better Orcs. As of July 17th, the loot box system and store has been completely removed from Shadow of War.
What happens after the Loot Box removal?
To help players obtain better Orcs, the game now provides challenges and Spoils of Wars which give players Training Orders. You can also purchase Training Orders with in-game currency. Monolith also allowed players to earn gears much easier than before. Previous players who have already gone through the game receive masks which helps improve Orcs. The studio has also made reduced the number of stages and missions required for 100% completion of the game.
Some fans lost their Orc, loot boxes and war chests after the initial update but Monolith is working hard to return everything that players purchased. Shadow of War sold 1.75 million units worldwide but perhaps sales were deterred due to the loot box system. The previous title, Shadow of Mordor, sold 3.2 million.
Do you think Monolith has earned good grace for removing the loot boxes or is it too late?
Shadow of War Update – July 17th
Shadow of War – Loot Box fix
Venturebeat – How to previously earn 100% on Shadow of War