28/01/2016

SWTOR Doesn't Have Lockboxes

Does this qualify as a clickbait title?

I'm pretty sure this does: "SWTOR is putting lockboxes inside of other lockboxes"

It's an article that was posted on MassivelyOP yesterday and which I saw this morning. It (and its comments) were simultaneously amusing and kind of sad.

The actual story behind it is that Bioware is tweaking the contents of their Cartel packs once again, which is not very interesting to me personally because I tend not to buy them myself. Plus when I actually made the effort of trying to understand the new system they were introducing with 4.0, they scrapped it again only a few months later... so at this point I'm just throwing my hands in the air, happy that other people are dealing with this stuff and I can simply buy most things that I'm interested in straight off the GTN. There's probably some discussion to be had here about whether the changes are good or bad, but that's not mine to chime in on.

What intrigued me about the MassivelyOP article was that with that headline, it managed to use a minor semantic inaccuracy to make the change sound like something completely different and nasty.

Games like Neverwinter have lockboxes. They are chests full of random treasure that drop out in the world, but they are locked (thus the name "lockbox") and to unlock them you need to buy a key from the in-game cash shop.

SWTOR doesn't have lockboxes. No random locked chests dropping out in the world to clog up your inventory here! It does have crates of random loot that you can buy straight from the Cartel market if you want any... but otherwise they are out of sight and out of mind, and they are never locked. Once you have the box, its contents are yours.

Now, to be fair, most of the time when people express issues with real money giving you random loot, it's totally fair to treat these two models as identical, because if you have concerns about gambling, it doesn't really matter whether the money is being spent on the actual box of items or on a key to open it.

But in the case of this story, it did matter. Talking about lockboxes inside lockboxes implies that you have to repeatedly buy keys merely to access everything contained in that first box that you wanted to open, which would be pretty crazy and inspired people to post all kinds of hysterical memes in the comments. As Wilhelm put it so succinctly: "Honestly, with EA in charge, putting lockboxes inside of lockboxes seemed completely believable."

Of course the actual story, "SWTOR changes the composition of the loot in their random packs", simply wouldn't be newsworthy, not even on MassivelyOP. There were commenters who did point out that the title was very misleading, but who cares if you can give people a chance to get all worked up about how supposedly sucky the game's business model is?

I thought it was telling that one commenter confessed that they had recently started playing the game and were confused that they didn't actually encounter any lockboxes in it, considering the complaints levelled at it for their supposed implementation.

Just another day of people spreading misinformation about SWTOR I guess... but it was surprising to see it happen in such a weird manner on a major MMO news site. You'd think they would know their stuff a bit better.

10 comments :

  1. I don't know. For me the defining feature of a lockbox is that it gives 1 item from a highly variable range of values. You might get something terrible, or you might get something amazing.

    This Grand Chance Pack is coming a lot closer to that definition than previous SWTOR packs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, like I said, usually people are focused on the gambling aspect and in such a discussion I wouldn't nitpick the terminology either (the title of this post was intentionally a bit facetious).

      But in the context of the linked MOP article, you really can't call something without locks a lockbox without giving people wrong ideas.

      Delete
    2. At the same time, you still have people using the term "Pay2Win", while almost no game truly lets you pay to win, so I don't think the term lockbox has to actually involve a lock, but rather just paying real money for random loot.

      Delete
    3. Not sure if real Syncaine or impostor...

      Anyway, I wouldn't say that people abusing other terms to the point of them becoming meaningless is an argument in favour of doing the same thing to even more words.

      Delete
  2. If they'd just stuck to lootboxes (as the devs call them themselves) instead of lockboxes, the article would be pretty spot-on. Agree that like this it just sows confusion and negativity.

    ReplyDelete
  3. A real clickbait title would have been:

    THIS BLOGGER FOUND OUT THE TRUTH. GTN PROS HATE HER ONE SIMPLE TIP!

    I am disappoint.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or:

      THIS BLOGGER FOUND SOMETHING AMAZING. YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED NEXT.

      Delete
    2. This blog is not called Commando Buzz!

      Though yeah, those are good headlines...

      Delete
  4. The 'classic' lockbox scheme has the boxes dropping in the game like confetti, and the keys may also be in-game drops but are rarer than hen's teeth... and available in the cash store. The scheme relies on players sitting there looking at the stacks of boxes in their inventory, tempted to see if they'll get lucky. Cryptic games broadcast a system message every time someone hits a lockbox jackpot, which is just an extra turn of the screw.
    So yeah, misleading clickbait headline from Massively OP. Can't say I'm surprised. Some of the time, they're good (and are still where I go to get my MMO news) but some of their articles, especially the op-ed ones, are just dire attempts at trolling.

    ReplyDelete
  5. http://www.swtor.com/r/6m74nn get your 7 days subscription

    ReplyDelete