How would Overwatch operate without loot boxes?
Overwatch might be a much different game if loot boxes were to become illegal. Cosmetics are an incredibly popular part of the experience, and people will do whatever it takes to earn or buy loot boxes to get their favorite skins. Without the random chance of loot boxes, the game might resemble other shooters like Fortnite. And that might be a good thing.
Right now, Overwatch encourages players to play the game a lot — and I mean a lot — to earn experience in order to level up and gain loot boxes. Although Blizzard has tweaked how often you get duplicate cosmetic items in your boxes, the amount is still considerably high compared to how often you get unique items. There’s only a roughly 7.4 percent chance to earn one of the coveted Legendary items at the moment. All of this means that it takes a lot of time to get what you want.
In a world that’s beyond loot boxes, Overwatch would probably have to create a store with cosmetics to buy with its in-game currency and real money. Like Fortnite, it would probably have a rotating set of skins and other cosmetics for sale as well as a way to unlock them via in-game challenges. It wouldn’t be ridiculous to see a Battle Pass system where you have to work your way through tiers of challenges to earn exclusive skins in Blizzard’s game.
An entire system based on playing the game to earn exactly what you want versus a chance at what you want would be swell, but it also would probably mean buying skins with real money would go way up in price. You’d definitely start to see people with skins that either had a lot of time on their hands or who spent a chunk of cash. With loot boxes, you technically have a chance at getting what you want regardless of how much time you play or money you spend. Despite that, it’s worth the trade-off, because loot boxes are inconsistent and potentially dangerous for some people.
Overwatch without loot boxes would be a very different game in terms of the way events and cosmetics work. Blizzard would have to create a lot more stuff to entice people to play the game or spend money. But for people like me, that might mean more cosmetics that I actually like and want to use.
The legality of loot boxes is still a big discussion, so it’s not clear if Overwatch will get rid of them any time soon or if ever. But I’d hope that the next game in the series drops them entirely.
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