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ShinUkyo

About Defender Packs and Cosmetic Loot Box Economy

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I figured I should raise some critical points and constructive ideas with regards to Defender Packs. Considering the climate in gaming since the EA Battlefront fiasco, I'm surprised we don't see more posts about this. Thankfully the Defender Packs in DD2, while they are loot boxes, don't affect gameplay progression or power (in a way that Battlefront or Shadow of War did, for example.) However, needless to say, looking good is (and always has been) part of the gameplay experience. Also I'm well aware that Shard Packs are close to an actual "pay to win" mechanic and have existed for a while now. That's for another discussion, but today I speak of Defender Packs...

As players, we all prefer the costumes you can buy directly. Even if they cost US $20 or US $50 in those rare cases. We can help support the game, while knowing exactly what we are getting. It's a direct and fair transaction. I have bought many skins for DD2, gladly so, to support a game I play a lot. From a player perspective, that method is 100% infallibly better. The only way loot boxes can be remotely good for the player is the old lock-box setup. Where you can't ever get duplicates, so you know that spending "X" amount of money can guarantee all drops.

However from the publisher side, in the long-term, guaranteed acquisitions like those aren't seen as desirable anymore. Especially when the playerbase is relatively small like ours is. Most of the players that would have bought skins directly already have done so. When new skins come out, they would buy those right away then be done spending until the next release. Without a steady stream of new players, this monetization method plateaus fairly quickly...

With loot boxes, there is no upper limit to what a dedicated buyer will spend. Since you can legitimately spend hundreds or thousands dollars on loot boxes and not get the skin you wanted. They are banking on the dedicated enough players (the ones that would spend $50 on a single skin) will keep buying loot boxes until they get the Plexus skins they want, etc. On the financial side, this was deemed their better play for profit...

I won't hold it against them completely, since financial decisions like this don't just fall on Trendy as a developer of games. The company goes higher than just the dev team side, plus they have other parties which spent money on Trendy and own a stake. Those parties, also, expect them to grow financially in return for that investment. It's how business works. There are also bills to pay and servers to maintain. In a F2P game setting, you need constant revenue streams to keep the lights on.

That being said, I would love to see changes made to the system. Obviously removing consumable pet items would make sense to start. Loot boxes need padding, but that level of padding is superfluous. You can get those from normal gameplay, and you should be able to (since pet abilities/stats in general, for years, have had no real use in the game. Aside from the few with true burst effects like Dragolich.) That takes padding to a nearly insulting level, and you can tell from plenty of posts in the past saying so.

Speaking of dupes, while it's nice to get in-game gold, that is again something we already get (and should expect) from normal gameplay. I'd rather see dupes award a specific new currency type that, when enough is saved, can purchase the loot-box specific skins directly instead. Overwatch uses this system to great success. Mind you their old loot boxes had way too many dupes (and way too little currency in exchange.) With enough community outcry, they eventually made the odds better. Today, by comparison, the dupes are fairly rare and the currency for dupes is fairly high. Good compromise.

This or, if the dev cycle allows it, rotate skins from the loot boxes into being direct purchasable as well after "X" amount of time from their release. It means the obsessive folks can pay to try and get them sooner while they are exclusive to loot box rolls. While the players like myself can buy them directly later in the year when it can be a direct transaction with Trendy. Both cases allow dedicated players to support the company, but it allows them to do it based on their terms and financial ability to do so. Let those with the higher expendable funds do the loot boxes sooner, and let others direct-purchase later.

It's a big and complex topic. There's loads more I could say. And sadly, again because of how business works, there isn't much Trendy can say directly. But if there's a dialogue it's a good thing, as they always read and take to heart what we're saying as a community. Even if they can't be direct about it. I'd love to hear other people's thoughts, and of course that they are at least being heard. Peace and love as always to my fellow Defenders.

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love u bb call me

but in all seriousness, nice post. that 'exclusive in lootbox first, then payable later' idea sounds neat enough.

anything where you can buy the thing directly without gambling is awesome really.

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Just the no duplicates sounds amazing at this point -.-  Love your post!  Very well said.

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Only issue I have with DD2 loot boxes is getting gold for duplicates.  That same gold is erased when you ascend.  May as well mail me a high-fve.

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Amen to that. Getting gold is nice, especially since it's a currency you can't mass purchase with gems. But like you said: in the current game flow, the gold spent on upgrades is wiped if you're pursuing Ancient Power. So to get something potentially meaningless and temporary for real money seems absurd. As does getting consumable pet re-rolls.

At least utilizing something like the Overwatch setup: dupes get you a specific currency that you can purchase those loot-box specific skins with. Not just right away; it takes a lot of dupes to accumulate funds to get the good skins. But it means that even when you don't get something you want from the boxes, you're making very tiny progress to ensuring you eventually do. It gives you an incentive to keep buying, so even on the publisher side it works out. The current setup has no incentive like that.

Since that would of course take plenty of time and coding, my other suggested method comes off as easier to utilize. Where after "X" amount of months of a skin being loot-box specific, it could then be made purchasable for gems as well. Then they can rotate new skins into being loot-box only. Again this would depend on how often they can roll out new skins, but as noted above: it could mean enticement to buy both initially and later on (depending on how soon people need to have the skins.)

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The current loot system is really built around the idea that you love Onslaught, only play that mode, and are in the reset cycle system (which takes longer than Trials to level up through). So in that sense it really only applies to a very small subset of all the DD2 gamers. Furthermore, it is still built as if you get them all the time, so it is filled with unwanted padding items like pet supplies, and common found pets - which is pure junk, and they do not drop very prolifically. 

I see two options that i think would get them back on track. 

1) If you keep the drop rate slow, and the boxes full of junk - then go back to having the chests drop on EVERY completed Onslaught floor (a chance to, not each time). Basically - go back to how it was when it was first implemented. With frequent drops, repeats and junk gear is not much mind since there will always be another box. 

2) If left at its current drop rate and method - remove all pet supplies, and commonly acquired pets, and have a certain % chance for each box type that a new item will drop, and raise the amount all game money in the boxes significantly. This way what you get will matter more. 

so to me that is the key - less drops with better goods, or more drops with fillers - but either way the current system with less drops for repeat gear has got to go!!!!!! 

I also think that the system where Onslaught floors get automatically marked as completed if you play Trials has go to go. When you find out about how many floors you "lost" in Onslaught by playing trials, you pretty much never want to play Onslaught again. I think TE though this was a benefit to players since you got to skip so many floors of Onslaught (a t a lower difficulty), but if that was the only way to get def. packs - in actuality i felt robbed. 

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@Jaws_420 quote:

The current loot system is really built around the idea that you love Onslaught, only play that mode, and are in the reset cycle system (which takes longer than Trials to level up through). So in that sense it really only applies to a very small subset of all the DD2 gamers.

Completely agree, and the numbers who really pursue this seem on the smaller side (1/3 of the player base).  If the reset could be achieved at floor 54 or 56, with NO ascension progress carried over (let's be honest, you're EASILY going to get those first 80 ascensions quick anyways) it would be better.  It would even be better if you retained all your ascension.

Time will tell.

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@ShinUkyo quote:

At least utilizing something like the Overwatch setup: dupes get you a specific currency that you can purchase those loot-box specific skins with. Not just right away; it takes a lot of dupes to accumulate funds to get the good skins. But it means that even when you don't get something you want from the boxes, you're making very tiny progress to ensuring you eventually do. It gives you an incentive to keep buying, so even on the publisher side it works out. The current setup has no incentive like that.

Yep! Totally support that! At least you're getting something when you're spending actual money on loot box.

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