Earlier this month, Blizzard unveiled the Summer Games 2016 seasonal event. With it came new skins, sprays, voice lines, victory poses, and a Rocket-League inspired game mode called Lucioball. The new content comes through Summer Games loot boxes and at face value it all seemed pretty cool. The skins were country-specific themed, the victory poses were silly, and the new game mode was a great new addition. The excitement came to halt for many, including myself, when we dug just a bit deeper and saw the rules that applied to the Summer Games.
Before I dive into this topic, let me preface this piece by saying I am absolutely in love with Overwatch. Since its release it’s one of my most played games and I’ve enjoyed every second I’ve spent playing it. This game has its hooks in me and when I criticize it, I’m not doing so to hurt the game and Blizzard, I’m doing so that there’s a chance these problems can get fixed in future seasonal events. Anyways, let’s get back to the matter at hand.
The biggest problem with the Summer Games loot boxes is a simple one. Players cannot use their credits to unlock the Summer Games content. This is an absolutely flawed concept. It devalues the credits themselves and annoys many players who have stockpiled their credits to obtain the skins they want (the literal reason for having credits in the first place).
What makes this even worse is the fact that in these loot boxes, you can bet your ass that you will be seeing duplicates. Every Overwatch player knows the sting of opening a loot box and getting three duplicate sprays and the Summer Games loot boxes are no exception. Plus, to top it all off when you do receive a duplicate you don’t get Summer Games credits, that’s right, you get normal old credits, the same ones that you cannot use to purchase the Summer Games seasonal items. And yes, since you can buy these Summer Games loot boxes, that means you can spend up to 100 USD on boxes and still not get the skin/item you want, and not be left with a currency to buy them like you can with regular loot boxes.
What this system does is make things artificially rare. It makes skins much harder to obtain simply because you’re flooded with even more sprays that can again be duplicates. I understand the want of making these seasonal items feel “rare”, but then make sure that once your received a Summer Games item, you are not faced with being able to pull it again in the future. Hell, both I and other users have pulled the SAME spray in the one box. That is a demoralizing pull.
And of course, Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan came to the defense of the game claiming what I said earlier about wanting these to feel rare and special. If that’s the case, then make them purchasable, but maybe twice the price of a skin in that category. If you don’t want tons of players buying them outright, make a seasonal legendary skin 2000 credits instead of 1000 credits. That way those who really want a skin can use their stockpiled credits to buy them, albeit at a higher price.
Kaplan also mentioned that we got Ana Amari for free and things like game modes and maps in the future will also be free. It seemed a bit out of place to boast about free content like that when a game launches as light on map content as Overwatch has.
I hope that Blizzard can learn from the public outcry that these loot boxes have created and mold future seasonal events to be more pro-consumer. I understand that Blizzard is a business and needs to make money, but this seems like the consumer is being pushed into spending money and having the possibility of not even getting the item they really desire. Let’s cross our fingers and hope that a solution is created for this in the future.