I’ve been playing Destiny 2 since launch, but only casually as I’ve also been reviewing a heap of games across GameSpace and MMORPG. So, when I heard that there was a Winter Event called the Dawning coming to D2, I was ecstatic. It wasn’t until after Christmas, this morning in fact, that I woke to find out that such an event was making Destiny 2’s playerbase irate once more.
If you’ve played Destiny 2, you’ll be familiar with the Eververse, essentially D2’s in-game item shop. You buy currency with cash, and in exchange you can buy Engrams which are basically loot boxes that give you a mix of cosmetic items. In short, as evidenced below, people want Bungie and Activision to remove the Eververse from the game, or at the very least rework it so it’s less reliant on RNG.
Whenever I see a company take these sort of microtransaction pratfalls, I want them to just ask around sites like MMORPG.com for advice. If you were to take a poll here, which we’ll do at this link, I bet most answers would be “No loot box, just let us buy things we want.”
Of course, that’s not as lucrative. Activision and other companies that employ loot boxes see the sales of said items and don’t care that a vocal bunch pick up the pitchforks and march on the forums. All they see is the dollars. Of course, it’s better for your game’s long-term health and the health of its community to just sell items directly. We know that, and I bet most of the people making the marketing and financial choices in games like Destiny 2 know that. But it doesn’t change the fact that wherever money is involved in a business, a company will gladly take PR bruises as long as the lootboxes are selling.
If we could somehow get away with a “free game lootbox” here at MMORPG.com, like Humble Bundle’s subscription, we’d probably sell it. Because as a small company, we need every chance we can get to make up for the decline in genre influence and use of adblocker. Hell, now that I’ve written that, don’t be surprised if we someday put together a lootbox subscription service for MMORPG.com. But also don’t be surprised if that sub gets you lootboxes to open in your MMOs...
I suspect the lootbox controversy is going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better in our games. When someone in the industry asks me if anyone’s ever done it well, I almost always point to Path of Exile, Guild Wars 2, and Elder Scrolls Online. Those three games offer lootboxes, and a way to use all the crap you don’t want from them to get the things you do. What’s more is that the best stuff is almost always available without ever needing a loot box. Games like Destiny 2, which need income to keep the content coming and the game living, don’t need to rely on cheap tricks to get that income. Destiny 2 has a legion of fans. All it needs to do is offer up cool stuff that you can directly purchase.
So, if you’re playing the Dawning and you’re not getting what you want from the winter event lootboxes, don’t fret. I’m betting it won’t be long before Bungie reverses course, or tweaks the direction of said course. They’ve proven in the game’s short life to be reasonable, and to be listening. I’d be surprised if the Dawning of 2018 had the same issues. Christopher Barrett, game director on Destiny 2, tweeted a holiday message on the 22nd about the issue: “I know we say it a lot, but we hear your feedback on Eververse. We both want our players to feel respected, and to deliver great content regularly to our community. Expect lots of discussion with the dev team and an update on our path forward after the new year.”
So take our poll, and let’s see how the results come in, eh?