I can’t believe It’s already been a whole year of grinding for skins. Oh wait, I meant playing Overwatch. But then, it’s not all that different, is it? For as much as I love the game, the way Blizzard has handled the distribution of new skins has been less than ideal. So much of the fun in seasonal events has been stripped away due to the frustrations of seasonal unlocks and with a few minor tweaks, could easily be rectified. So, what exactly is going on?
The first season event, Summer games, didn’t have an option to buy event items with coins. Blizzard’s solution for the next event, Halloween Terror, was to give players the chance to buy event items at three times the coin cost. It was a fair trade off for the 4 legendary skins made available during the event. But with each new event, Blizzard has increased the number of legendary skins made available. The current event, Anniversary, contains 11 new legendary skins. That is over 33,000 coins for just the skins alone, not even taking into account the various emotes, highlights, sprays, and voice lines to unlock. If you want any chance of unlocking every skin, you’ve going to have to give in and pay real money for loot boxes.
The biggest issue has to be the non-event duplicate items. If each new event brings alongside it event-specific loot boxes, why is it that they can contain non-event items? Having to grind away for hours, only to receive a duplicate legendary makes me want to punch a hole through my monitor. It feels like I’m being punished for playing the game instead of just gambling my money away on loot boxes. But there are a couple of solutions Blizzard could take to improving the unlock system:
Remove non-event items from event loot boxes
- Non-event items shouldn’t even be in event loot boxes, to begin with. It’s ridiculous how the few times I even get an epic or legendary in a loot box turns out to be an unlock I can earn at any time. It’s an insult to all players who participate in an event. Duplicates would also be less of an issue as a smaller pool of items means greater chances of unlocking something new.
Lower the cost of event unlocks
- The price of these unlocks should reflect the amount of unlocks available for each event. You’re never going to unlock every skin through loot box drops, so eventually, you’re going to have to spend some coin. If prices are manageable, you can still earn enough coins by the end of an event to buy everything you missed. As it stands, there is no possible way for the average player to earn the coins needed to unlock even a quarter of all the event items.
Raise the compensation for duplicate items
- With each new legendary skin costing 3000 coins, you’ll need all the coins you can get. There just isn’t enough time in the day to grind out the necessary coins needed for skins you have not unlocked yet. 200 coins for a legendary duplicate isn’t a fair trade off for how much event-skins cost. Raising the compensation on each tier of unlocks would help counter the higher cost of event items.
The ability to change non-event loot boxes into event loot boxes
- If you are a diligent Overwatch player such as myself, you’re playing the arcade weekly for loot box unlocks and creating a nice reservoir of loot boxes. Having the ability to hold on to these loot boxes until an event arrives and transforming them into event boxes for a small coin fee would help dedicated players get a head start on event unlocks. A small and appreciated reward for those who have poured dozens of hours into the game between events.
I’m sure Blizzard doesn’t want to make any changes that would affect loot box purchase rates. Bad for business, you know? I’ve bought my fair share of boxes every event in support of the Overwatch team and all the free content and updates they give us. But knowing that I am most likely going to screw over every time I buy loot boxes just isn’t a feasible long-term business model. Eventually, players are going to get tired of spending money on loot boxes, only to get burned on duplicates that don’t compensate anywhere near what they are worth. Thankfully, Game Director Jeff Kaplan made a statement on the Overwatch forums surrounding the loot box complaints so there is still hope that the system can be improved. But until then, I’d advise not buying any loot boxes until positive change is made.