notes: loot boxes

24 February 2018

Notes about how they feel as a player. It’s still a game experience. Obviously other people are doing the proper psychological work to maximise addiction.

  • You need junk rewards to help contrast rarer rewards
  • Colours and shinyness mean something
  • Trading card games run the loot box system but the rewards look more practical even if all you planned on using was the more rarer cards
  • If the rewards are just cosmetic items, is it ethical? It's very similar to casino type stuff but you're not directly losing money.
  • I presume loot boxes create more long term player activity than just unlocking useful things via achievements or time
  • Opening a loot box is very easy even if you're completely new to games

As much as the gameplay seems simple it’s still designed I guess.

Just revealing something unknown seems to have it’s own flow…

  • The first few times you open a loot box you might not have a sense of rarity, but afterwards you start building up expectations and you have a sense of anticipation for what you'll get next time.
  • The probability of rarer items clearly have alot of study behind it. This is the same as testing out any other form of gameplay
  • Low/Middle/High tiers of rarity are important because early users might get excited for middle tier skins or they do have some appeal to a particular player, and then you break that standard of quality with a top tier legendary ultra rare etc. whatever the name is, you're trying to anchor the scale of rarity in the players mind.

My thoughts? I’d like to see a skip unboxing feature added:

When you acquire a loot box (and you shouldn’t have to manually exchange ingame/realworld currency to do so) the contents are immediately added to your inventory without much fanfare. When entering a new match (since this typically occurs in online multiplayer games) you can simply notice new cosmetic items when appropriate.

My guess is that if you want to maximise revenue you might not add this feature because it gives you less chances to hook players with lootboxes. They’d never make this the default setting, at least.

I suppose as a player just wanted to save some time because I typically care about the gameplay in the main mode of the game.