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Removing Loot Llamas and Introducing Purchasable Heroes, People and Schematics: An Argument

Hey there. I'm Cool Calm Cam, that randomly toxic dude you'll sometimes see in your Twine Peaks missions. I'm working on that, I swear, my meds should be in line soon. I've been playing Save the World for around five-six months now and I've been having a blast with it, and I've been subscribed to this subreddit here for maybe ~three months. I check it almost everyday, but there is something I'm not sure I've ever seen in that time that I think is really important to talk about here, and that's the continued existence of loot boxes in Save the World. Judging by industry trends, I think it's pretty safe to say that loot boxes are an antiquated concept that don't have any place in a (good) game in 2019. Assuming Save the World does actually go free-to-play this year, then I don't see any reason why it can't dispose of loot boxes and go for a system like Battle Royale has, where you can just purchase individual skins whenever they pop up in the store. Let me explain.

First off, loot boxes aren't exactly fun. I'm going to refer to the loot llamas as "loot boxes" in this post because that's what they are. Random chance in obtaining game-changing upgrades is an awful idea, meaning that with exceptions of progression-based upgrades and characters, progression is left up to random chance. If you didn't get one of the founder's pack upgrades, then you start off at a major disadvantage without any legendary heroes or schematics, and any new player once the game goes F2P is going to be at a similar disadvantage. I felt the full brunt of that during the Fortnitemares event recently, where I was unable to get the launcher because I wasn't randomly lucky enough to get one single legendary survivor drop from the holiday loot boxes, which were at the very least not something you could pay for (outside of ticket drops from other paid loot boxes). Thankfully, Epic has not replicated this in the other seasonal events it seems like, but it is still a source of frustration all the same–leaving the gaining of powerful new items up to random chance kind of blows, and it makes trying to get specific items a near-impossible endeavor without luck shining upon you.

Now, why do I think that the game should allow you to purchase people and schematics with V-Bucks as an alternative to loot boxes? Surely, this would make the game pay-to-win, right? Well, that's where I have to disagree, and here is the crux of my argument. I will use another of my favorite F2P games in a similar vein to Save the World, Warframe, as an example.

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Warframe as an F2P game exists pretty much entirely without lootboxes. It has premium content you can purchase with its premium currency, and some that are even exclusive to separate purchases, but the game is anything but pay-to-win. Why is that? Well, the reason for that is that everything you purchase outside of some cosmetics can be earned entirely through standard gameplay. You farm resources and in-game currency and can craft new weapons and characters without ever spending a dime on the game, even the most powerful characters and weapons. And judging by all the positive buzz Warframe has gotten in the past year-and-a-half or so, clearly their system is working well for them. On top of that, all weapons and characters begin unleveled, so they still have to be raised up to max rank like anything you unlock via normal gameplay, so the only advantage purchasing characters and weapons with their premium currency gives you is time saved farming resources.

I'm sure the astute among you can already see where I'm going with this: Any time you unlock a new hero, person or schematic in Save the World, they begin completely unleveled as well. That OP new weapon you just unlocked? If you're in Canny or Twine, it's completely useless at level 1. And Perk-Ups and experience can't be purchased, either, only unlocked via normal gameplay. If you were able to purchase schematics and perhaps defenders with V-Bucks, they would begin completely unleveled and and un-perked like they are now where you can only purchase them with gold. In this sense, it would be impossible to make the game pay-to-win since every item purchased with V-Bucks would have to be leveled up and possibly Perked-Up anyway. On top of that, it won't interfere with progression since it's easier to get experience, Perk-Ups and evolution items the further along in the game you are, so you can't just get a sunbeam Founder's Revolt schematic and its resources just by buying it all with real money.

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With the rotating weekly store as well as the event store, there would be plenty of opportunities to monetize the stores without sacrificing the ability to farm gold in order to unlock them manually. Some items, like mythic heroes, can even remain unable to purchase with V-Bucks in order to preserve the prestige of unlocking them via farming for them. The limited span of the weekly store would mean that it would be difficult for "whales" to completely burn out on the game, as well, since there would only be a limited number of items available for purchase at any given time, similar to in Battle Royale. (Additionally, this would also solve the apparently large problem that high-end players have run out of things to spend V-Bucks on, as they would likely spend some of it on their way up the ranks instead of hoarding it all towards the end. Though maybe not, that's Just A Theory™.)

So, tl;dr Epic should remove purchasable loot llamas as soon as possible and it's honestly pretty insulting that they're still in the game to begin with. Llamas as rewards and the like, whatever, but purchasable loot boxes are just pretty disrespectful to their audience, especially when Battle Royale rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars every month without a single lootbox. Epic pls. I know you have it in you.

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