Much of the talk/controversy surrounding loot boxes lately has dealt with their recent inclusion in full-priced games, like Star Wars Battlefront II or Middle-earth: Shadow of War. Free-to-play games have, naturally, been using loot boxes for years, and a few developers of prominent F2P titles recently talked about their experiences in creating them and making them palatable to players.

Gamasutra interviewed team members of Defiance, World of Warships, and Star Trek Online to talk about how their games arrived at their current loot box systems. Their probably-carefully-worded answers cover the usual ground, about how they try to carefully balance rewards while making sure everything obtainable from a loot box is also attainable in-game without taking “an unfair amount of time,” as Defiance Producer Matt Pettit says. “We think about the player-facing perspective as the priority, and the business need second. Without the first, the second doesn’t happen.”

STO’s Stephen Ricossa and his team “took our best guess with our initial lock box offerings,” while Wargaming’s Philip Molodkovets said “the backlash was strong and immediate” when World of Warships erred in adding unappealing items to its loot boxes. And all three developers have re-worked their loot boxes’ graphical appeal when being opened — whether for special events or permanently.

For what it’s worth, I feel like World of Warships does a good job with how it offers loot boxes in game, and I don’t recall having any issues with Defiance’s implementation during the short while I played that. I played Star Trek Online for an even shorter period of time, five years ago, so I can’t really speak to how that game does things, but at least it (and the other two games) don’t seem to have had a “burn it all down” incident like some other games have had.

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the author

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

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  1. Dabdakka on January 10, 2018

    Ya but lately STO has been very empty.. I highly doubt that game will last much longer with only a few whales supporting them for the lock boxes since that is the only main goal to get pvp geared up. Anything else will just take way to long nearly a life time to even get up to where another player was a few months ago because they decided to dump $100’s off for the loot boxes in end STO is the same example of what EA did, but EA did it in a pure MMOFPS element and not a MMORPG element in which case they would have gotten away with it if the game was similar too STO.

    Why or how would they been able too is fully only based off how people would have reacted to the grind of the game where as MMORPG games typically have a long grind period and most players tend to ignore those views. While its the same exact concept players will only be willing to go so far.

  2. Thats what they all say on January 8, 2018

    By “balance”, they mean they throw a bone just often enough to keep some free players around for the whales to play with. While also maximizing money harvested from their paypig whales.

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