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Lootboxes, Microtransactions, and [Gambling in Gaming]

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Posts

  • NyysjanNyysjan FinlandRegistered User regular
    I think shareholders are less the problem and more an excuse for CEO's and other high level management.
    Which is not to say shareholders are not a major problem, just not always the specific one talked in here.

    shrykezepherinFencingsax
  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    Nyysjan wrote: »
    I think shareholders are less the problem and more an excuse for CEO's and other high level management.
    Which is not to say shareholders are not a major problem, just not always the specific one talked in here.

    Corporations are the problem.

    Given history, I think there's a pretty strong case to be made that the concept of a corporation probably should not exist in any democratic society. At least not as it is currently defined.

    Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.
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  • HevachHevach Registered User regular
    edited May 15
    Nyysjan wrote: »
    I think shareholders are less the problem and more an excuse for CEO's and other high level management.
    Which is not to say shareholders are not a major problem, just not always the specific one talked in here.

    The crux I think is shareholders, or their elected boards of directors.

    CEOs do some horrific shit even without shareholders, but there's an important dynamic in effect as soon as corporations start ceding control and ownership for cash infusions. The owners of closely held businesses are invested in the health of their income stream, while shareholders are invested in the immediate value of their investment, which is based far more on the expectations and perceptions of a clueless collective than on reality (See Nintendo's stock jump after Pokemon Go's initial success, and Activision's drop after a record year that wasn't a high enough record - seriously, aside from the few stocks that pay some kind of profit share the stock market might as well be trading in hypotheticals most of the time), and who can abandon the company as easily as calling their brokers.

    Both types are certainly full of evil examples, but as manifold as the sins of Hobby Lobby or Harbor Freight are, they both do draw lines where other retailers yell "hold my beer" because they don't have the threat that publicly traded companies have that their investors could get more money selling the company's assets out from under them for scrap than by remaining invested in the company. The executives of that kind of company work for mind bogglingly rich guys who feel their minds aren't quite adequately boggled by their own wealth. The executives of EA and Activision work for a herd of cats.

    Hevach on
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    Hevach wrote: »
    Nyysjan wrote: »
    I think shareholders are less the problem and more an excuse for CEO's and other high level management.
    Which is not to say shareholders are not a major problem, just not always the specific one talked in here.

    The crux I think is shareholders, or their elected boards of directors.

    CEOs do some horrific shit even without shareholders, but there's an important dynamic in effect as soon as corporations start ceding control and ownership for cash infusions. The owners of closely held businesses are invested in the health of their income stream, while shareholders are invested in the immediate value of their investment, which is based far more on the expectations and perceptions of a clueless collective than on reality (See Nintendo's stock jump after Pokemon Go's initial success, and Activision's drop after a record year that wasn't a high enough record - seriously, aside from the few stocks that pay some kind of profit share the stock market might as well be trading in hypotheticals most of the time), and who can abandon the company as easily as calling their brokers.

    Both types are certainly full of evil examples, but as manifold as the sins of Hobby Lobby or Harbor Freight are, they both do draw lines where other retailers yell "hold my beer" because they don't have the threat that publicly traded companies have that their investors could get more money selling the company's assets out from under them for scrap than by remaining invested in the company. The executives of that kind of company work for mind bogglingly rich guys who feel their minds aren't quite adequately boggled by their own wealth. The executives of EA and Activision work for a herd of cats.

    I'd argue that Mark Zuckerberg is a notable counterpoint to this argument, and that Facebook would not be where they are today if he actually had some accountability to the shareholders.

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  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    Any means of mitigating or removing accountability from a social or economic actor in a democratic society needs to be viewed very critically and with great skepticism.

    Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.
  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    edited May 16
    Any means of mitigating or removing accountability from a social or economic actor in a democratic society needs to be viewed very critically and with great skepticism.

    how do you feel about LLCs?
    edit
    I'm interested because it's baseline, you can control how much risk you are assuming, when doing something in the economy. There's a lot of arguments for them being good for small and new things, and keeping the people who try to create them in homes. Sort of as a reminder some limit on economic accountability are good.

    Of course there is big difference between that, and a stack of shell companies.


    and, in terms of wanting personal accountability for shit executives do, the climate change thread is going some interesting places. so, I'm open to hearing arguments for more at this point.

    redx on
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  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    redx wrote: »
    Any means of mitigating or removing accountability from a social or economic actor in a democratic society needs to be viewed very critically and with great skepticism.

    how do you feel about LLCs?

    It's literally in the name, right? They serve a purpose but pretending like the are "people" would be hilarious were it not taken so seriously.

    Call a spade a spade. You need some mechanism by which you can limit liability in order to participate in the marketplace. Fine. Just don't piss on my shoes and say it's raining in order to sell me umbrellas.

    Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.
  • Jeep-EepJeep-Eep Registered User regular
    https://www.polygon.com/2019/5/23/18637155/loot-box-laws-us-senate-josh-hawley-ed-markey-richard-blumenthal

    There's been some gains in momentum with the bill; worth noting that the senators involved were involved in COPPA, so they're a more credible threat then I'd thought.

    Martini_Philosopher
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    So, it turns out that Hawley's anti-lootbox bill is poorly written and needlessly expansive. (For example, based on the language of the bill as it stands, items like FFXIV's Aetheryte Earring would be made illegal to offer as a pre-order bonus.)

    Given that Hawley's a disingenuous goose who outright admits that he doesn't actually understand games, this outcome isn't surprising.

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  • a5ehrena5ehren AtlantaRegistered User regular
    edited May 24
    That Kotaku/Gizmodo article is also kind of poorly written, and the only direct quotes come from the ESA.

    Like, yeah, please go ahead and ban non-cosmetic pre-order bonuses and "collector's" editions! That's a thing I want!

    a5ehren on
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  • FoefallerFoefaller Registered User regular
    a5ehren wrote: »
    That Kotaku/Gizmodo article is also kind of poorly written, and the only direct quotes come from the ESA.

    Like, yeah, please go ahead and ban non-cosmetic pre-order bonuses and "collector's" editions! That's a thing I want!

    Yeah, a lot of the examples the article lists as "okay" things that this would ban are... not okay things.

    "Pay to level your character to max so you can play with experienced friends!" Well, why not have content that anyone of any level can enjoy, or not make it so much of a fucking grind that $60 to skip it all is a justifiable purchase? "Switch servers so that you don't have to start at level 1!" What purpose do servers serve in the game other than as a holdover when an MMO "server" was actually the server that instance of the game ran on? GW2 has much of the former (And is insanely easy to level to cap compared to other MMOs, especially if you have a friend bankrolling you) and has all but done away with the later outside of WvW, which is the only place where it actually matters.

    That said, "What is meant for children" and "What is play to win" were the two things I predicted the initial bill would almost certainly fuck up on, and it looks like I was dead on.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    The bill does seem flawed. I'm not sure whether any good faith effort will be made to address those flaws, or if they are intentional.

    But yeah, a lot of what's being touted as flaws are, to me, strengths. From that shitty Gizmodo article:
    The ban applies only to “minor-oriented” games. But what exactly does that mean? By the bill’s definition, it’s virtually any video game on the market. It may be determined that children are the target audience of a game based on, for example: the subject matter; visual content; use of animated characters or activities that appeal to anyone under 18; the age of non-player characters in the game; the presence of celebrities who appeal to individuals under 18; any advertising materials; or other evidence related to the composition of the game’s player base, just to name a few.

    I'd advocate for a holistic approach, weighing these factors as a whole, rather than a "if any of the following" standard. At the same time, yeah maybe we need to accept that any game where any substantial portion of the audience are minors is indeed "minor oriented." And that this will be most videogames. If that means the end of loot-box bullshit and preorder bonuses that grant in-game advantage in all videogames, well won't that just be the greatest tragedy ever.

    If we're calling it "gambling," if that's the purpose of the law, then we either need legitimate good-faith efforts to keep minors away from the machines or we need to not allow the machines. Don't care which.
    And here’s the kicker: This new law would also apply to any game that is “not a minor-oriented game” if the distributor or publisher has “constructive knowledge any of its users are under the age of 18.” That term, “constructive knowledge,” is legalese for information a company should be aware of, regardless of whether or not it actually is. (Try to imagine a game developer arguing in court it had no idea its product had ever been used by a minor.)

    And yes, they establish terms like that so a publisher can't just get away with "well we never asked and they never told us." Now personally I think this may go slightly too far and instead a publisher should be able to make an affirmative defense here, that they made a good faith effort to prevent minors from playing. An AO rating (noting that an M rating is still a game intended for minors), age gating, and actively banning underage players as they are found should be sufficient. Perhaps some active policing of the forums, or even random spot-checks requiring proof of age be provided. A game that wants to run a virtual casino should take on some burden to actively police that casino, duh.

    And if that burden is too high and no publisher can manage it...meaning the end of lootbox bullshit...well see above. I will not be the saddest of pandas.

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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    I'm actually kind of okay with how overreaching the bill is because everything it "overreaches" has kind of made gaming as a whole kind of dumb.

    pay to win
    preorder bonuses
    loot boxes
    pay to proceed

    Literally all dumb as shit things, yet they're starting to become more and more mainstream. I don't think I've played a phone game in the past 8 years that wasn't some form of "lol sure just give me $50 and you can play this game from start to finish without timing gates" or "lol sure just give me $200 to unlock all the fun stuff"

    Ladies.
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  • AistanAistan Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    I'm actually kind of okay with how overreaching the bill is because everything it "overreaches" has kind of made gaming as a whole kind of dumb.

    pay to win
    preorder bonuses
    loot boxes
    pay to proceed

    Literally all dumb as shit things, yet they're starting to become more and more mainstream. I don't think I've played a phone game in the past 8 years that wasn't some form of "lol sure just give me $50 and you can play this game from start to finish without timing gates" or "lol sure just give me $200 to unlock all the fun stuff"

    It's worse than that really. Most free to play games explicitly don't have a "pay a flat amount and play the whole game without further annoyance"option. Because if you do that then you're not giving them more money over a regular period of time. All the remove this annoyance pay options have a time limit, after which you need to pay them again.

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  • PolaritiePolaritie Sleepy Registered User regular
    Conceptually, I'm okay with preorder bonuses. Not always implemented well. But I don't have a problem with say packing in a steelbook for buying day 1.

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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Aistan wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    I'm actually kind of okay with how overreaching the bill is because everything it "overreaches" has kind of made gaming as a whole kind of dumb.

    pay to win
    preorder bonuses
    loot boxes
    pay to proceed

    Literally all dumb as shit things, yet they're starting to become more and more mainstream. I don't think I've played a phone game in the past 8 years that wasn't some form of "lol sure just give me $50 and you can play this game from start to finish without timing gates" or "lol sure just give me $200 to unlock all the fun stuff"

    It's worse than that really. Most free to play games explicitly don't have a "pay a flat amount and play the whole game without further annoyance"option. Because if you do that then you're not giving them more money over a regular period of time. All the remove this annoyance pay options have a time limit, after which you need to pay them again.

    Sounds like we need to be even more broad and ban everything except buying a video game on the spot at a store or online store.

    Ladies.
    zepherin
  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    I am going to agree with the people saying these things are not over-reaching at all. All these practices are hostile to consumers and should be banned.

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  • Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Quantronic Dreamgirl Registered User regular
    I don't think these practices should have reached a point where they need something as harsh and restrictive as legal responses.

    But that's where they landed at. Given the choice between unbridled, shameless exploitation and the government making it so Overwatch or whatever can't be profitable I'd rather sink whatever ships are attached to this fetid monster than pretend the current situation is acceptable.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 24
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Conceptually, I'm okay with preorder bonuses. Not always implemented well. But I don't have a problem with say packing in a steelbook for buying day 1.

    Steelbooks are fine. Batarangs are fine. Any sort of nonsense they want to physically pack in for a pre-order are fine. The law doesn't touch those.

    Nor does it touch in-game preorder items that are cosmetic. Those are fine too. The law doesn't touch those either.

    This is talking only about pre-order bonuses that provide in-game bonuses beyond cosmetics.

    mcdermott on
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  • The WolfmanThe Wolfman Registered User regular
    I wouldn't exactly shed a tear if preorder bonuses disappeared. They're often functionally worthless content to begin with. Something I read that I'm not 100% sure is completely true is that for the rare places that actually legally let you cancel a digital preorder, there's a loophole that says they can refuse the refund if you already received something for your purchase. Hearing that, it made me notice a lot more how every single digital preorder I see on PSN nowadays also offers a PS4 theme. "Well we gave you a theme when you preordered, we legally don't have to give you a refund now, sorry!".

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  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    I do wonder where something like a new faction or class for pre-order falls in that.

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    I don't think these practices should have reached a point where they need something as harsh and restrictive as legal responses.

    But that's where they landed at. Given the choice between unbridled, shameless exploitation and the government making it so Overwatch or whatever can't be profitable I'd rather sink whatever ships are attached to this fetid monster than pretend the current situation is acceptable.

    They were sorta-kinda given a chance to rein it in and then EA threw a fucking hissy fit and it got the attention of legislatures in Europe.

    America being slightly slower moving is just playing catch up now.

    I will not be upset to see companies can't make billions of dollars off kids gambling. It means it'll not be the primary focus and games will end up a lot less like a gacha game and actually have some substance to what they are. You know, actually being fun to play.

    Ladies.
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  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    edited May 24
    I am not against pre-order bonuses, but I'm not for them either. They are on the neutral scale with me. 90% of the time if I get them, I literally get them 1 or 2 days before the game is released to reduce the positive effect they have for the company (thanks Jim Sterling for that advice).

    I dislike the pay to win mechanics and other psychologically manipulating games that try to leverage "unlimited profit potential." I play Hearthstone, but I dislike the monitization scheme. I would not be sad if they had to change that.

    Honestly the way most new games are setup, if you want to play the full game, either they nickel and dime you or it cost an extra 20-40 when you buy the game. I'm more ok with the later than the former.

    zepherin on
    mcdermottbowen
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 24
    I don't think these practices should have reached a point where they need something as harsh and restrictive as legal responses.

    But that's where they landed at. Given the choice between unbridled, shameless exploitation and the government making it so Overwatch or whatever can't be profitable I'd rather sink whatever ships are attached to this fetid monster than pretend the current situation is acceptable.

    Let's be real, Overwatch will still be profitable. They'd be plenty profitable selling skins directly, for cash. They do lootboxes that make you randomly hope for skins (for cash) because they're more profitable. It's about profit maximization, not whether they can scrape by. League was making money as a pure free-to-play simply by selling characters and skins, directly, for cash. For years. But everybody saw what FIFA Ultimate Team was pulling in, and wanted a slice. Because that looked like a pie so large everybody could eat until the heat death of the universe.

    And it's not like they didn't have time to adjust. The noise on this started what, two or maybe even three years ago? It seems like consumer groups and countries were talking about disclosure-of-odds laws and having serious "but like, is this gambling" studies starting three or more years ago. The ruling in Belgium was over a year ago now, and it's not like that came about in a day. And that should have sounded the no-shit panic alarm for these companies, because that is a legitimate western democracy saying "naw, your shit's illegal now."

    But no, they thought they could just stop selling the boxes in those "small markets" and call it good. No chance of this catching on, right? We'll just head down to the Winchester, have a pint, and wait for all this to blow over...

    Does the proposed bill overreach? Sure. When you wait for Congress to make changes, sometimes that's what happens. But there is not one single thing that this bill would ban that I will be sad to see go. Nothing. There are things that I think should probably still be allowed. But I won't miss them if/when they're gone.

    mcdermott on
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  • NyysjanNyysjan FinlandRegistered User regular
    If the game companies really, absolutely, need some of these things, they can fight to loosen outright bans down to mere regulated content.
    But nothing that is happening was unavoidable, they just decided not to even try.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 24
    Realistically, most current loot-box implementations are just a form of selling items for cash. They simply make the value that you gain from each dollar random. Most of the time, when you buy a Hearthstone pack or a FIFA pack or an Overwatch box you aren't actually intending to use any of the shit that came in the box. You're going to sell it, dust it, etc. and use the "credits" gained to buy the thing you really want. Which, due to RNG, you will almost certainly not get in that box.

    Over even a moderate number of boxes/packs/etc. the amount of credits you gain from the contents will be fairly stable. I spent money in FIFA, I'm very familiar with this. So a player who is aware of this average exchange rate of dollars to credits can pretty easily figure what the item they want really costs. And that number is often horrifying. You want a top player (as of when I quit, and presumably still, Ronaldo) in FIFA? It's going to cost you several hundred dollars in packs. And over any reasonable sample, that number will be pretty constant.

    The issue is if they put Ronaldo in the store for, say, $400 straight they look like monsters. Same for selling a given single Legendary Hearthstone card for $60 or whatever it comes out to. Packs look cheap, the actual results for a desired item are predictable and expensive. It's arguable that, in addition to the entire psychological-hooks-of-gambling benefit they gain, a lot of the purpose of the conversion of cash into random numbers of credits is that it conveniently obscures exactly how much the in-game items cost.

    I honestly used to think League skins were kinda stupid expensive. I'd still buy some here and there, usually on sale. But looking back, in comparison, League skins are ridiculously cheap compared to Overwatch skins.

    mcdermott on
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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    They shouldn't be setting those prices, those are consumer prices that you see with things like Magic.

    To the company that prints these things, every card should have the same value.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    They shouldn't be setting those prices, those are consumer prices that you see with things like Magic.

    To the company that prints these things, every card should have the same value.

    Well in the case of FIFA, they don't. There is an in-game market that sets the price, just like in Magic. And just like in Magic, that market will ultimately set the price based on a) the average value in credits of a single pack and b) the pack frequency of the desired item.

    The value of a rare card in (tabletop) Magic, at least in theory, will function no differently. If a pack costs $5 off the shelf, the value of the cards contained over a moderate sample should be $5. If I go buy $1K in current in-print MtG packs tomorrow, open them, and take the time to sell each individual card on the market I should wind up with approximately $1K. There are obviously going to be a few other factors at play, but this is still largely how the market works.

    In the case of FIFA, EA can set the drop rates of the cards and the pack value in coins (and cost in dollars) to ensure that Ronaldo costs exactly what they want Ronaldo to cost, even if it's a player-influenced market setting the price.

  • ForarForar #432 Toronto, Ontario, CanadaRegistered User regular
    As much shit as Valve has gotten over the years, it's something I have come to appreciate in games where the primary thing that can be bought with real money is cosmetic stuff.

    Warframe, Anthem, DotA2, TF2, I'm sure there are exceptions that people will point out, but the vast majority of what they have for sale are... well, hats. Or fiery cloaks. Or a paint scheme. Warframe does have 'pay to speed this up' elements, and you CAN buy weapons/characters, but not only are they all earnable in game (at least at some point), but you can trade the RMC with others, so you can eventually accrue those items over time. Hell, for a while I was making a pretty tidy profit buying up people's 'trash' stuff in Warframe and reselling on a marketplace site.

    If a company wants an ongoing income stream, offering up seasonal items for purchase that purely differentiate me visually from others can be a status symbol (and yes, that can go down dark roads too, I'm not saying 'yay conspicuous consumerism!'), without impacting someone's ability to play in most ways that count. My sword doesn't hit any harder, the gun doesn't shoot any further, my ultimate takes as long to reset and hits the same area, just maybe with a snazzy particle effect added on.

    That's a fairly innocuous way to build an ongoing income stream without gouging me to have access to a given weapon or class, all told.

    And yeah, as someone who has gotten back into DotA2 for The International's Battlepass, which has a monetary value attached (but also comes with stuff to unlock, a new game mode is coming, all kinds of little odds and ends), I think there is reasonable room for debate.

    But pay to level? Pay for power? Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes style shit where a single character can cost as much as a new console and game (and that's generally not at full power either)? Fuck that. $100+ is not a 'micro-transaction'. $5 or less? Fine, we can talk. A pile of gems or crystals or smurfberries for the cost of a fancy dinner out? No, not gonna miss those if that goes away.

    If some company had the courage to put a hard cap in place, like "you can't spend more than $20 a month on this", or instituted a form of subscription with set rewards per day/week/month/whatever, that might be a good middle ground, but I get that they don't want 100,000 players paying $10 a month, they want 100 players paying $1,000 a month, and 99,000 players who are basically wheat to their mighty paid to own scythe.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 24
    Also, if you think Wizards of the Coast hasn't been intentionally using this same mechanic for decades...

    You are already limited to four of a given card in a deck. So there's no game balance reason for any correlation between powerful cards and rare cards, with WotC being in control (largely) of both which cards are powerful and how rare they are. They want to encourage packs to get ripped, because every card under the glass for direct sale at the shop got ripped in a pack, quite often by a kid paying $5 and hoping to pull a card worth more.

    It's a limited enough issue that I don't think it needs to get rolled up into this current conversation, mind. But it's not all that much different.

    mcdermott on
  • Phoenix-DPhoenix-D Registered User regular
    edited May 24
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Also, if you think Wizards of the Coast hasn't been intentionally using this same mechanic for decades...

    You are already limited to four of a given card in a deck. So there's no game balance reason for any correlation between powerful cards and rare cards, with WotC being in control (largely) of both which cards are powerful and how rare they are. They want to encourage packs to get ripped, because every card under the glass for direct sale at the shop got ripped in a pack, quite often by a kid paying $5 and hoping to pull a card worth more.

    It's a limited enough issue that I don't think it needs to get rolled up into this current conversation, mind. But it's not all that much different.

    The rarites do have game balance reasons (limited games where you have a pool of randomized cards) buuut WOTC could keep the same format and also sell playsets, which they don't do.

    Phoenix-D on
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  • Knight_Knight_ Dead Dead Dead Registered User regular
    The ESA has basically abdicated their responsibility in this matter so long that even if we get a terrible law that is bad for games nobody can say they weren't warned.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    Phoenix-D wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Also, if you think Wizards of the Coast hasn't been intentionally using this same mechanic for decades...

    You are already limited to four of a given card in a deck. So there's no game balance reason for any correlation between powerful cards and rare cards, with WotC being in control (largely) of both which cards are powerful and how rare they are. They want to encourage packs to get ripped, because every card under the glass for direct sale at the shop got ripped in a pack, quite often by a kid paying $5 and hoping to pull a card worth more.

    It's a limited enough issue that I don't think it needs to get rolled up into this current conversation, mind. But it's not all that much different.

    The rarites do have game balance reasons (limited games where you have a pool of randomized cards) buuut WOTC could keep the same format and also sell playsets, which they don't do.

    Yeah I'm familiar with, say, sealed deck tournaments. I'm personally unaware of any such modes (using limited pools of random cards) where the packs themselves aren't the vector for randomization. Which is to say that when people play sealed deck, they are doing so by opening new packs. And usually the only reason people are willing to pay what it costs to play sealed deck is because they are getting the contents of those packs, no? So it's arguable that sealed deck exists and was created at least in part as an inducement to rip packs, which fuels the market and collection for constructed.

    I could be wrong though, and there could be some venue somewhere that is collecting cards after a sealed deck tournament, sorting them by sheet rarity, reshuffling them, and re-stuffing new "packs" for the next set of players to use for gameplay purposes.

    The bulk of MtG games that get played (to include casual games) are constructed, so it seems like they're still largely using the same lootbox mechanic to maximize profits.

  • HevachHevach Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    Aistan wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    I'm actually kind of okay with how overreaching the bill is because everything it "overreaches" has kind of made gaming as a whole kind of dumb.

    pay to win
    preorder bonuses
    loot boxes
    pay to proceed

    Literally all dumb as shit things, yet they're starting to become more and more mainstream. I don't think I've played a phone game in the past 8 years that wasn't some form of "lol sure just give me $50 and you can play this game from start to finish without timing gates" or "lol sure just give me $200 to unlock all the fun stuff"

    It's worse than that really. Most free to play games explicitly don't have a "pay a flat amount and play the whole game without further annoyance"option. Because if you do that then you're not giving them more money over a regular period of time. All the remove this annoyance pay options have a time limit, after which you need to pay them again.

    Sounds like we need to be even more broad and ban everything except buying a video game on the spot at a store or online store.

    I think that would go too far... But on the other hand the industry deserves it at this point. It is way past the "clean up your shit or have it cleaned up for you" line.

    I can't even trace back to which line was ok. Every line was scary, but then not so bad. Then it got worse, then better but still past that last line. And bit by bit we went from Horse Armor being everything wrong with microtransactions to "it's just cosmetic" being the "good" ones.

    ThawmusmcdermottJragghenMan in the MistsJeep-EepJazz
  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Phoenix-D wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Also, if you think Wizards of the Coast hasn't been intentionally using this same mechanic for decades...

    You are already limited to four of a given card in a deck. So there's no game balance reason for any correlation between powerful cards and rare cards, with WotC being in control (largely) of both which cards are powerful and how rare they are. They want to encourage packs to get ripped, because every card under the glass for direct sale at the shop got ripped in a pack, quite often by a kid paying $5 and hoping to pull a card worth more.

    It's a limited enough issue that I don't think it needs to get rolled up into this current conversation, mind. But it's not all that much different.

    The rarites do have game balance reasons (limited games where you have a pool of randomized cards) buuut WOTC could keep the same format and also sell playsets, which they don't do.

    Yeah I'm familiar with, say, sealed deck tournaments. I'm personally unaware of any such modes (using limited pools of random cards) where the packs themselves aren't the vector for randomization. Which is to say that when people play sealed deck, they are doing so by opening new packs. And usually the only reason people are willing to pay what it costs to play sealed deck is because they are getting the contents of those packs, no? So it's arguable that sealed deck exists and was created at least in part as an inducement to rip packs, which fuels the market and collection for constructed.

    I could be wrong though, and there could be some venue somewhere that is collecting cards after a sealed deck tournament, sorting them by sheet rarity, reshuffling them, and re-stuffing new "packs" for the next set of players to use for gameplay purposes.

    The bulk of MtG games that get played (to include casual games) are constructed, so it seems like they're still largely using the same lootbox mechanic to maximize profits.

    It's called Cube drafting. Usually you don't create packs but instead a big pile of cards, the Cube, which you can deal 15 card "packs" out of, all do one of the alternative draft methods. Generally including cards is not just about their original rarities so much as curating a set of cards that creates an interesting limited environment.

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 24
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    It's called Cube drafting. Usually you don't create packs but instead a big pile of cards, the Cube, which you can deal 15 card "packs" out of, all do one of the alternative draft methods. Generally including cards is not just about their original rarities so much as curating a set of cards that creates an interesting limited environment.

    Fair, not a format I'm familiar with (I mostly stopped playing in the 90's). Wikipedia suggests this format is less than ten years old, so I kinda still want to stand by my assertion that WotC has been taking advantage of the same mechanic...linking pack rarity and card power to the best of their ability...for a long time to juice sales. There's a reason formats like Pauper and Peasant exist.

    EDIT: Again, not as large an issue as in the software world so I'm largely fine leaving it alone. I'd also agree, if you argued it, that they've drastically reduced the power differential between rare and common cards in the intervening years...so largely moving the opposite direction of the software world.

    mcdermott on
  • NyysjanNyysjan FinlandRegistered User regular
    Knight_ wrote: »
    The ESA has basically abdicated their responsibility in this matter so long that even if we get a terrible law that is bad for games nobody can say they weren't warned.
    I'm not sure what you expect the European Space Agency to do about loot boxes.

  • reVersereVerse Registered User regular
    Nyysjan wrote: »
    Knight_ wrote: »
    The ESA has basically abdicated their responsibility in this matter so long that even if we get a terrible law that is bad for games nobody can say they weren't warned.
    I'm not sure what you expect the European Space Agency to do about loot boxes.

    Launch them into the Sun.

    rahkeesh2000kime38thDoeIncenjucarCouscousJeep-EepdiscriderJazzCaptain InertiaLord_AsmodeusTofystedethMan in the MistsElvenshae
  • HevachHevach Registered User regular
    reVerse wrote: »
    Nyysjan wrote: »
    Knight_ wrote: »
    The ESA has basically abdicated their responsibility in this matter so long that even if we get a terrible law that is bad for games nobody can say they weren't warned.
    I'm not sure what you expect the European Space Agency to do about loot boxes.

    Launch them into the Sun.

    It takes more delta-v to fire something into the sun than it does to fire it out of the solar system, and there's an equal chance of it ever coming back.

    Jeep-EepFencingsaxDoodmann
  • Ninja Snarl PNinja Snarl P My helmet is my burden. Ninja Snarl: Gone, but not forgotten.Registered User regular
    Hevach wrote: »
    reVerse wrote: »
    Nyysjan wrote: »
    Knight_ wrote: »
    The ESA has basically abdicated their responsibility in this matter so long that even if we get a terrible law that is bad for games nobody can say they weren't warned.
    I'm not sure what you expect the European Space Agency to do about loot boxes.

    Launch them into the Sun.

    It takes more delta-v to fire something into the sun than it does to fire it out of the solar system, and there's an equal chance of it ever coming back.

    Look, I have seen a lot of scifi movies, and everything ever fired out of the solar system is either turned against us by murderous aliens or comes back as a horrible monster itself.

    Man in the MistsElvenshaeFry
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