Overwatch’s Loot Boxes Are a Ripoff

Most of you are playing Overwatch now, and that’s great. It’s a fun game, and should be enjoyed before Blizzard hand it to their B team and it turns to shit. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I’m here to implore you not to support Blizzard’s crappy microtransactions like I’ve been foolishly doing all week.

Why am I asking you not to? After all, the Loot Boxes are “reasonably” priced. Put simply, you’re not getting very good value from them all of the time. In some other games, cosmetics you attain through their gambling mechanics that you don’t want can be traded or sold for a currency or item that you do want. Hell, Blizzard do it in Hearthstone, where unwanted cards can be ‘disenchanted’ for Dust, which is used to create cards. Overwatch lacks that option. If you don’t get what you want, either level up and get another Loot Box or fork out cash for more of them so you have a higher probability of getting an item you want. This is unacceptable for a game that you need to purchase in the first place, that doesn’t allow custom sprays or player icons.

Devil, thy name is loot box

“But Aza,” you cry with glasses-pushing smugness, “you can use the in-game currency and buy items you want!” And where are those? “In the Loot Bo–oooooh.” You get a currency called…well… Currency… in random crates in random quantities (you also obtain it if you get duplicate items in a Box, although not much). It can, and more than likely does, take either a long time or a lot of money to obtain what you want without the freedom of an in-game market or trading system. I should know, I’ve spent just about $50 on the bloody things; I fell for the excitement of opening a box hook, line, and sinker, and I feel swindled. In contrast, I’ve never felt like my money was wasted in Hearthstone because there was at least something I was getting back.

Let loot box swag fill the emptiness in your soul

Sure, I finally have the skins and emotes I want, but I would much rather that there were more options for getting stuff. Maybe offering both Loot Boxes and Currency for sale as in Hearthstone, or allowing in-game trading like in Team Fortress 2 and other Steam games. Just about anything is better than the obvious money-grubbing on show, which doesn’t put my fears of Overwatch being the next Heroes of the Storm (a game hyped like hell then ignored almost entirely after a tremendous drop in player count post-release) to rest one bit.

Maybe I’m just being a grumpy elderly person. Maybe, like Soldier: 76, I just want these young punks to get off my lawn. Maybe it’s just 2am.

Aza blames his stunted social skills and general uselessness on a lifetime of video games. Between his ears is a comprehensive Team Fortress 2 encyclopedia. His brain, on the other hand, remains at large.