Thanks to China’s recently implemented “Loot Box” law, which essentially mandates that every game that is sold in the country has to disclose the drop rates of purchasable reward items in said game, consumers now have a general idea of how lucky they have to be to get a certain in-game item before they spend real money on fake items. This means that you can now theoretically (with a little help from the internet and Google Translate) look up the actual drop rate percentages of loot boxes in Overwatch, or for that matter, any other game that has a loot box or any other percentage based reward system.
That being said, most people don’t really need actual numbers from developers to figure out that the most desirable loot in most games have such infinitesimally small drop rates that you may as well just go to the nearest casino and gamble there if you feel like testing your luck with money, hence why most people also tend to avoid paying for such things. Just take a look at Blizzard’s published loot box percentages here as an example; as you probably suspected, you have a 7% chance of getting any legendary tier item from a loot box in Overwatch, which is actually not that bad, all things considered. Given that there are some 100 legendary items in the game, though, it would be rather wise not to buy loot boxes with the intention of getting any specific legendary item. It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to imagine that other games have similar drop rate percentages, seeing as how low drop rates just encourage people to play for longer periods of time and more consistently, assuming that the audience doesn’t get fed up with a developer’s shenanigans anyways.
This all sounds fine and dandy on paper, but what does it mean in a practical sense? Sure, China more or less forced Blizzard and other developers to confirm your suspicions that the game is programmed to hate you by bestowing an endless torrent of garbage tier loot on you, but is it really going to affect anything? Putting aside the possibility that developers will now just tailor their reward systems based on country to just appear to have good drop rates, this likely isn’t going to make someone not buy microtransactions if they were hell bent on getting a specific item anyways. If simply knowing that there is a 7% chance to get a legendary in Overwatch would stop someone from spending hundreds of real dollars on virtual items, then wouldn’t casinos, gaming whales, most mobile games, and the whole concept of gambling cease to exist?
Practically speaking, this changes nothing aside from providing a fascinating (if somewhat worrying) look at which developers are likely to abuse drop rates for the sake of financial gain, which developers are making games seemingly for the sole purpose of setting up a virtual casino, and which developers at least pretend to go easy on the wallet; though, well-informed consumers are never a bad thing at the end of the day.
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