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Reader Comments (57)

Posted: Feb 27th 2012 12:09PM Heathengamer said

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First thing first, I understand the goal here is to make money, but this takes it to a whole new level. With how easy it is in STO to get lock boxes (i have 20 in my bank), vs it cost 1 dollar per key, are you kidding? Im sorry but making it only available to either grind terrible amounds of dilithium to get enough c store points for 1 key, (about 20,000, correct me if wrong), or you pay 1 dollar each time you get one? Im a subscriber, why am i paying for content GIVEN in the game?

Posted: Feb 27th 2012 3:07PM laggyd said

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@Heathengamer

You can buy the keys to the lock boxes on the in-game auction house. Or trade dilithium for the keys.

You do not have to pay a cent of real cash to open the boxes.
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Posted: Feb 29th 2012 3:12PM CheesecakeBandit said

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@laggyd making people choose between massive grind and paying real money (especially when its massive grind compared to $1) is not a valid tradeoff. if it takes 10 minutes of normal play to get a key maybe(dont know how long it actually takes) but from an outsider point of view it looks like lockboxes are nothing more than an inventory sink that you have to pay to get rid of or you might as well have never gotten the box in the first place.

IMO Lockboxes are gambling, and if you have to pay money to open them/can pay money to open them, it needs to be subject to gambling laws, IE ILLEGAL since the companies do not operate on a reservation or in vegas. Get gambling out of MMOs please.(and before you ask, yes i hate the loot table gamble as well).
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Posted: Feb 27th 2012 12:12PM Scuffles said

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I don't mind lock boxes per say, my problem comes from them being abused. I have played F2P MMOs in the past where after a while their whole storefront degenerated into lock boxes. They became the ONLY way to acquire anything. About the time I just said [explicative deleted] and walked away.

I have used them in the past once or twice but only when based on a cost/benefits ratio. That being that for the price I was happy with anything the box decided to drop.

Too often however they seem to be complete [explicative deleted] and one super awesome prize that almost no one is going to receive. At which point I'd much rather throw my money away at a real casino. Both cases I'm probably walking away with nothing but If I walk away with anything for the gamble I'd sure rather it be cold hard cash.

Posted: Feb 27th 2012 12:15PM Spacegrass said

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So not only do people spend real money on virtual items, but they don't even know what those items will be? How could anyone think this is a good idea?

Posted: Feb 27th 2012 12:25PM Drakkenfyre said

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@Spacegrass

Because the top item in the box is highly-valued.

In the case of STO, the top item is an unobtainable ship. CBS does not want everyone flying enemy ships in the game, so they won't let the developer release them. However, if the ships are very, very rare, they are ok with it. So far, the two ships from the mystery package/lockboxes have been enemy ships, and the first one had something like a .5% chance, and the current one is likely 1%. So you get assloads of lockboxes dropping in game, and people want that ship.

So you pay for a key, and you possibly can get the ship, or an item which is cross-faction and also highly valued. The rest are items barely worth the key price.

It's a great money-maker for the devs, people will scramble to buy keys to get that ship, but very few get it. Something which seems to contridict the game-wide spam everytime someone unlocks them. However, some people have noticed the messages have the names of people who didn't win (people have messaged them, and they didn't have it, or someone saw their own name and account pop up, when they didn't buy a key.)
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Posted: Feb 27th 2012 2:40PM SnarlingWolf said

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@Spacegrass

It's called gambling. There was even a lawsuit brought up in one asian country over this type of thing because they said it constituted gambling for real money.

I'm sure one day it will be debated in court in the western world as well. This is not really different from people playing a lottery, and internet lotteries/non state-run lotteries are illegal in most countries. You are in effect paying a buck to see if you can hit the jackpot and then paying another buck to see if you can hit the jackpot and another......

If I'm a company, I'm all for this type of thing. We already know that "mystery packs" with the possibility of rare items sell well in every aspect of entertainment. Lego goes through sets of minifigures where you buy a bag containing one and hope to eventually get the whole set. The key is that some types are far more rare than others so you will have to buy 100+ bags to get a complete set of 12. Makes them a lot more money than just selling the figures you want. They also phase out each set after like 2 months never to be had again so if you're a collector you better keep buying them now or lose out forever.

As a player, I don't like the dynamic and would never participate in it. Those kinds of tricks, along with the inevitability of selling stats, is the reason I avoid F2P games.
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Posted: Feb 27th 2012 12:20PM Drakkenfyre said

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Alot of the people who wouldn't care about the lock boxes care because of the spamming they do. Each time someone unlocks a Galor-class ship, the ENTIRE server gets spammed with a "Player has unlocked a ship", and everyone sees that. No matter what you are doing, if you are playing the game, if you are at a customization NPC, and aren't even seeing the standard game world, if you are testing out your custom-made mission, you get the message, and not only is it annoying, but it's a privacy issue. The message gives out your account name.

It was only in the last patch did they give you an option for the message not to be large and centered on your screen. Now, it's only constrained to the chat log, but it still gives out the player account.

Lockboxes themselves are seen as a cheap way to make money, but when you add things that make it impossible for even the people who aren't interested to ignore, you piss off alot of people.

Posted: Feb 27th 2012 12:23PM Deliverator said

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IMHO lockboxes are turning these games into casinos except you can't even win actual money - just pixels.

Posted: Feb 27th 2012 12:25PM Maseno said

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Lotto boxes are the fricking devil. They should be removed from games OR they should be subject to state gambling laws i.e. show the percentage of each item attainable.

If people saw they only had a .01% chance at the "good" items in a box they may thing twice before buying them.

Posted: Feb 27th 2012 12:27PM jimr9999us said

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The "Nobody is forcing you to buy -x-" is less of an argument than an excuse or rationalization. Lockboxes are the endgame of a design mechanic focused entirely at generating transactions at all costs.

Posted: Feb 27th 2012 12:35PM silber said

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Yay/Nay

Yay because it will keep dev costs down and sometimes they can be fun. Nay if they are actual good items that you can just buy. Its one thing if they are costume stuff or horse armor. But if it is a stupidly strong weapon that all of a sudden everyone has because they just bought it and i cant get it because it don't want to pay 5$ then im going to say no. Kinda like that (i think) LOTR thing a month or so ago where they started selling gear with stats on it in their shops when they said they weren't going to.

Bottom line is if i am forced to use microtransactions to stay competitive in a game i will quit without fail.

Posted: Feb 27th 2012 12:45PM (Unverified) said

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@silber

I agree, I like the overall idea behind lock-boxes, but I don't want to HAVE to spend real money on them to open them. It's fun, it's gambling, most people enjoy that.

If there is another alternate way of obtaining the 'key' besides spending real money, most likely longer and grindy, that's ok with me on a F2P game. So Yay, to that.

If I'm forced to spend real money on it, then Nay. Specially if I'm already subscribed.
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Posted: Feb 27th 2012 12:43PM Ceridith said

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Lockboxes are gambling real money for a -chance- at virtual loot.

I don't think anything further really needs to be said to explain why they're a terrible idea.

Posted: Feb 27th 2012 12:45PM Ref Minor said

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No problem with them! but they are gambling and should be regulated as such, ie subscribers must be 18 etc, and the publisher licenced as a gaming establishment, might be problematic in the NA market to get an online gaming licence, look at online poker sites.

So I voted no as they are not regulated as yet.

Posted: Feb 27th 2012 1:39PM fallwind said

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@Ref Minor

for games that you can "cash out" of, I totally agree... if you can't cash out you can't convert your "winnings" into actual income.
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Posted: Feb 27th 2012 4:14PM Ref Minor said

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@fallwind
Everything has value, and it's real money going in, if it was roulette for gold in a p2p game no issue but you are gambling real money here all the same, just because the prize isn't cash.
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Posted: Feb 27th 2012 12:48PM Cronos12 said

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While i rarely ever roll the dice with lockboxes, i think they are fine for people who do want to take that chance.

My problem with lockboxes is that they always clog up my storage space, which is usually pretty limited for F2Ps.

Posted: Feb 27th 2012 12:53PM Deadalon said

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The lock boxes are built like slot machine mecanics and are created to pray on the weak minded. You will find plenty of them in MMOs so its ideal place to make money this way.

On the other hand. Its morally just wrong and should not exist in any game. Its not part of the game - its just way to make money. And then its a bad feature.

I will not play any MMO that has this feature. Its just sick to see how games have turned into something so ugly - so bad when the developers thrive on robbing the weak minded ppl that can not control themselfs. MMOs have fallen to the same level as the lowest of low. That includeds porn sites and gambling sites.

Just sick.

Posted: Feb 27th 2012 12:54PM pikazenny said

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If thats what F2P want to do, thats fine. Since its not required to do, you dont have to do it and continue going on your merry way.

What I am tired, however, is:
1 - they drop all the time. I'm tired of picking these up or even seeing them. I wish there was a way to opt on seeing them. Sure I know I dont have to pick them up, but its like all you see is "take items." and it starts to gnaw upon your soul.
2 - Having the game tell you that x person got that cardassian ship. Who cares? Why does the game have to tell me that this person got this ship? Plus it gets spammed all the time with big yellow letters at the top.

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