Loot Boxes and Micro-transactions Beating a Dead Horse

It seems that more and more on the news, YouTube and Reddit you hear people screaming about companies turning loved games into nightmares with loot boxes and micro transactions.  There is also hundreds of videos, post and stories etc about how bad it is.  My question is how the heck did anyone ever think Loot Boxes and Micro-transactions was a good idea?

Tectuma will NEVER have Loot Boxes and Micro-transactions.

When we first started working on Tectuma and announced it would be free, everyone just assumed that this would be how we were going to support the game.  It got to the point that our last website had the definition of what FREE was.  There are other ways of supporting a game than try to squeeze every last dollar out of the players and followers of a game despite how popular.  As a developer I have heard arguments after arguments about why it’s a good idea to use them and it has always made my skin crawl.  I can’t find any good reason to ever include them.  Maybe after this I will stop hearing about it and maybe I will get to stop telling people how we feel about it.  I don’t think that will happen.

As long as it’s just cosmetic it’s fine.

Part of what makes a game is the look of the game.  The style of the artwork and the graphics is just as much as a game as what keys you use to run or jump.  Now you are taking some of this away and locking behind a paywall where only if you drop real cash down you get to use these graphics.  How can this not affect the game?  In a MMO it’s even worse because unless someone buys the graphic pack, shirt, or whatever, everyone misses out.

If you don’t think so pick your favorite game then think how good the game would be if you replace all the graphics with white blocks or capsules.  Watch some game development channels where they haven’t put any graphics in and are only using basic shapes instead of any artwork.  If the game was this way would you play it for long?  I know this is a extreme view and look.

There are some arguments about FPS where players would op for lower res graphics and not decking their character out to look good for lower FPS.  Once more do you think Player Unknown and/or Call of Duty would be as big of a hit if they were done in cartoon style or the players were replaced with capsules running around squares trying to shoot a ball at each other?

Graphics doesn’t affect how you play the game.

There has been studies done where they took a game and didn’t make any other change but the players look.  They found when the player looked like a big beefy fighter, players would be more aggressive and act like a fighter.  If the player looked like a sneaky ninja the player would stick to the shadows.  I have seen this when I played Ever Quest.  When Luclin came out (Yes I know it sucked), I wanted to try playing the cat race.  So I picked a Barbarian type class.  No matter how hard I tried I played that character more like a cat, rather how I played the same class as a human.  Now this feel, this experience you are going to make the players pay more for?

It helps the casual game players.

When people say this is what I hear is there parts of your game worth skipping.  So why not just leave those parts out in the first place and save everyone some pain.  Why would I buy a game and then have to pay more to skip the parts that I don’t want to play?  A game should be so good that every experience is a treat and it’s worth the time and effort you put into it.  If hardcore players have an advantage over casual game players that sounds like a design flaw to me.  Also if paying money helps up the casual player you don’t think that hardcore players are going to take advantage of the same system?  All you have made is a pay to win game at that point.

Loot Boxes are not gambling.

This is a lot of BS.  You pay money for a chance to win something.  Am I describing loot boxes, black jack, slot machines, or the lottery?  Come on the clock is ticking.  You can’t can you, why because it’s gambling just a lot worse.  Even if you do win something inside a loot box, you still lost your money.  It’s like buying a lottery ticket hitting the winning numbers and when you go to turn it in and just getting a good job there, now get out of our face we already have your cash and we are keeping it.

Games are so expensive to make.

This one I can’t argue with.  Games are very expensive to make.  Paying managers a seven figure salary, having a multi million dollar office, giving huge returns to your investors not to say anything about that huge cut to the publisher.  There is almost no cash left to pay the programmers and artist a livable wage.

If this is your business model maybe you need to rethink how you are doing business.  Cut the overhead not ask the players to pay more just so you can buy yourself a second vacation home.

Loot Boxes and Micro-transactions started out as a way for mobile indie game developers to put food on the table.  Once big business saw they could pad their already huge bottom line by using it, that’s when it all started.  In my mind it was like how kick starter was started so that everyday people that had an idea could maybe make their dream come true.  But now you are seeing huge companies put movies etc up there.  Why should they use their cash when they can make a kick-starter.

So now you know

I could go on and on about everything wrong with Loot Boxes and Micro-transactions, but I will stop my rant now.  This was more or less to let you know how we feel at Tectuma.  Why we are dead set against them.  If a player and/or follower wants to donate some funds to a game that is wonderful.  We are all for it.  More power to those players and/or followers and they have our biggest thanks.  To be penny pinched to death by a company worth billions?  WTF