Blizzard Defends Overwatch's Limited-Time Summer Games Loot

Overwatch's new Summer Games event adds more than 100 new emotes, sprays, icons, intros and skins to the game, but there's a catch: They come in randomised boxes, and you can't buy individual items no matter how many coins you've saved up. There's been quite a bit of outcry about that, especially among players who want to Collect 'Em All. Unlike regular loot box items, the event-exclusive ones won't be around forever. Given that the Summer Games wrap up on August 22, people feel like taking home all the golden goodies is basically impossible. You've either got to grind XP or buy a ton of loot boxes with real cash, which more or less amounts to prostrating yourself before the ill-humoured RNG gods.

But according to game director Jeff Kaplan, that's not really the point. He explained Blizzard's rationale in a forum post:

Sometimes we want to give everything to everybody. For example, a few weeks ago we gave everyone a new hero — Ana. Ana came with skins, emotes, sprays, highlight intros etc. that could all be purchased with credits. We also want to add new maps to the game and new stuff like the Lucioball brawl that's available to everyone equally.
But sometimes we want things to feel rare and special.

He noted that you can earn plenty of rare stuff just by playing the game (as opposed to spending a ton of money trying to unlock everything), and he added that if the event is well-received, Blizzard will run it annually. That way, people will have ample opportunities to pick up sweet summer gear.

"We'd like to give the event more time and see how people feel as it wraps up," Kaplan concluded. "Maybe people will be feeling differently at the end of the event. Maybe not. If we need to make things less rare — if everyone is entitled to that Genji Epic Skin — we'll have to reconsider our design philosophy in the future."


    Last night in Overwatch chat, while opening a couple of loot boxes, I was eavesdropping on a conversation between two players. One was complaining that they spent $160 on loot boxes just to get the Genji skin. Well played Blizzard, well played.

      I didn't followup with buying Overwatch after beta (yeah, one those vote with your wallet types)

      I find their motivations for the system pretty transparent, and their statements in defence of it to be disingenuous. Players have proven their willingness to open their wallets many times over and all it took was a little push with tried and tested gambling mechanics. But yes, well played Blizzard. We'll be seeing more of this in future games, yes?

    None of them are that great IMO.

      I opened the Tracer Sprinter skin. It's a pretty cool skin, pity I don't play Tracer.

      I'm with you. Some of the emotes are ok - but I'm not at all that worried if I get them.

    It's the same as all the festival events they do in WoW. Get over it people.

      Except you don't pay to complete any of the festivals/loot? And none of the rewards are randomized? And now I'm wondering why I'm replying to a comment that's factually unsound. Well played.

        You don't have to pay for the Overwatch ones either, playing will get you loot boxes. Who cares if the loot is randomized, not like it affects the gameplay.

        Plenty of the festivals in WoW are paced so that if you don't play 24/7 you won't get all the loot. There's always next year to try for the rest. Same methodology they've applied to Overwatch.

          affects the ability to want to play and support the game. Why play when you see something you like but they cant be saved for, or bought out right, the only way to getting is a FEW chances over a week for free or gamble for real money.

          All they had to do is make it so that we could buy with in game coin. Simple. Both sides of the debate would be mostly content.

          Just because skins dont interest you, doesnt mean the rest of the community feels the same.

            Why play if you can't save for the skin? That's the whole point that when you do get it, it's rare and more valuable because of it.

            Rarity drives desire. Award that skin to every player for free instead and no-one will be that fussed over it.

            Common game mechanics in action, people just like to complain.

              Its a cosmetic item there is no value in it beyond emotion.

              its not awarding the skin to everyone. there is what 21 characters, a lot of people have favourite characters and others they care less about. Beyond the collectors who have to have everything, most want or desire certain skins for certain characters.

              Who is asking for something free? I know I am not. There is a skin I like and currently the only want to get (more than likely) it is through RNJ and real coin. Even then that is no guarantee. Instead they should be offering us a way of buying it with in game coin, which in itself is rare passed the 1000's. To be able to buy just one skin would require a lot of saving or lucking RNJ to drop some in crates. The amount of money involved so everyone could buy everything is huge. That makes the item just as rare.

              IF they offered me a way to buy that skin at legendary prices, they giving me a carrot and some control on how I COULD reach the carrot, ultimately through chances and choice.

              Telling people, items should feel 'rare and special' but having the only way to enhance your chances of getting them is through digital gambling, is bloody ridiculous and no that is not common gaming practise. Sure its becoming a norm in free-to-play games not in full price games. By suggesting its normal makes you the type of gamer who the corporates used to justify the practise.

        None of the rewards are randomized? What about the headless horseman's mount? His sword and helm? The big love rocket? Vile fumigators mask? Ahunes frost scythe? The Christmas tree daggers? There's plenty of rng based rewards from WoW events .

          Yes you and @xenoun are completely right, WoW and Overwatch's event systems are exactly the same. I concede my point, your infallible logic has triumphed.

            You claimed their argument was not true.
            I'm replying to a comment that's factually unsound
            I was just pointing out it indeed was factually sound.

            If you want to chuck a tantrum and storm off, feel free. :)

    I got the white Zarya, American McCree and Tracer skins for $30, plus 1000 credits or whatever they are and some other neat emotes and shit. If I spend $30 annually and get a few cool drops I'm ok with it.

    I really want the Tracer skin. Looks a hell of a lot better than her other Legendaries. So I thought 'you know what its pay day, i will buy just a few boxes to treat myself'. (the 11 one). Ended up with the cool new Tracer POTG thingie, the nice new DVA skin and thats it. But ended up with 1100 gold, so thought then I would just buy the skin I like... HEAD/DESK!

    It is beyond ridiculous you cant at least buy what you want with coin. Its not like it grows on trees and in ready supply. That still makes getting the skins memorable. Or at least meet us half way, make the game smarter so that we are more likely not to get the same item we already have, so the more you get the more likely you have at getting what you want.

    Last edited 04/08/16 9:52 am

    People who play Blizzard games = Biggest cry babies on the internet.

      yeh how dare they stand up to being forced to pay real coin to give any realistic chance of getting limited timed drops, when there is a (somewhat) perfect way already in game to help them get what they want, while still making it rare... yeah them cry babies, they are the worst

        Forced to pay real coin? Be glad Blizzard even adds these events and items into the game for free. Boo hoo, cant get a character skin. Game ruined.

          congrats for not understanding why people are complaining. People arent necessarily complaining that they have to buy the boxes but the fact there is not also an option to buy with in-game coin. A CHOICE. One that is already in the game. One that most people dont mind using. But for this event it has been disabled for those items, forcing people to buy more.

          Being thankful that gamer devs remove popular functionality, creating a demand that can only be matched through real coin and then saying they are making things 'rare and special'. If you want to be a loser gamer who likes being treated like that. Thats up to you.

          Here is the flaw to your argument: The loot boxes pay for the free events, sure thats true, I love that BUT by adding the ability to buy these items with ingame coin doesn't stop help fund these events, it only adds to it because THE ONLY WAY TO GET IN-GAME COIN IS THROUGH LOOT BOXES. So people are STILL going to buy them. Suddenly there are two ways to get the items and the events are still being funded. Everyone wins.

          dun dun dunnnnn

          Last edited 04/08/16 11:42 am

            The salt is strong with this one.

            I understand, buddy.

            If everyone can buy the items with coin, they arent rare. See the post below by bmem1993.

              do you know how rare coins are in the game? you would have to buy heaps of crates just to get enough to buy anything, so yes items you buy with them are still rare. In the space of a week (or so) the chances of everyone being able to buy everything they like is tiny. Like with the rarity of golden weapons in competitive. Sure having an in-game coin option would marginally make them less rare, but it would hardly make them common or less earned.

              Last edited 04/08/16 12:33 pm

            But for this event it has been disabled for those items, forcing people to buy more.
            Or, you know, you could actually play the game and earn loot boxes. They're not really hard to get

              well actually, it depends what level you are and how much you play, now I am over a hundred i maybe get one every two/three nights and if this thing is only going to last a week or two... that really isnt many.

          I hate idiots who tell people they should be grateful for something they can't even necessarily get. Be glad Blizzard added the items into the game? WHY? If you don't actually GET the item then you have NOTHING to be grateful for- and actually perfectly legitimate grounds to RESENT them for it (they're basically taunting you by dangling something you want out of your reach and going "Aww, your luck isn't good enough to get this? Toooooooo bad!"

          So tell me again, exactly WHAT the hell do players have to be grateful for?

    Why is everyone so God damn entitled? Lol
    It's random so when you see it you say "WOW YOU'RE SO LUCKY IM SO JEALOUS"
    not just "Oh cool I see you also spent some money on the game"
    The exact same way I react when I see people with mounts from the WoW store compared to people who have "Invincible" or "Ashes of Alar"


      Wish I scrolled down and read this before I replied to someone above with similar words!

      The system works though. I want ONE skin. If I get it that's just great, otherwise i'll deal.


    I'm with Blizzard on this one - it's nice that some things are a bit rarer and more special as a result. I get the urge to collect everything, I'm a total magpie about collectionism, but even if you don't get that skin you really want this time around there's a good chance you will get what you want next seasonal event (I'm putting money on a Halloween themed event). And how much more special is your sweet new skin going to be when it's a bit rarer? It'd be boring if everyone just farmed up the same rare skins and you saw them every game. That's what has happened with the generic legendaries atm. Also, on a side note, the article says there's over 100 new items, but I'm pretty sure there's only 90.

    Last edited 04/08/16 12:49 pm

    The problem is it devalues the currency. If you buy a loot box and you get a legendary you already have (duplicate system is silly btw) you at least coins. Ok at least you can buy something later therefore money i'snt wasted. But now you cant use that currency therefore the value of the money you have spent is now effectively worthless if they continue with this trend.
    It is a rip off, and an increadibly transparent cash grab. If you don't care, just imagine if it was skin you really wanted. And you have to pay for a mere chance at getting it.

    While the gambling aspect of it certainly does suck, it does make these limited edition skins less common in the community, and the fact that blizzard are handing out all the heroes and maps for the lifespan of the game, for free, is a huge plus. And lets face it, where will this game be in a few years if they have no way of making a profit?

    I will happily take RNG loot boxes over watching the game die to season pass style crap like battlefront and evolve did.

    Here's to hoping this is one of the things targeted by Scott Ludlam's gambling in gaming legislation. Gatcha boxes in gaming for real money is terrible, and the gaming community would be the better for it being illegal.

    This sucks in it’s current iteration. Also, if you get a dupe exclusive item you will get credit compensation WHICH CAN"T BE USED IN THEIR STORE FOR EXCLUSIVE ITEMS!
    That’s some bull

    Jeff keeps emphasizing the fact that this content is "FREE", and completely misses the point of why everyone is upset.

    A good number of us, myself included, would be perfectly happy to have the option to buy the skins directly for a fixed price, like League of Legends or Heroes of the Storm (assuming the price is reasonable of course).

    There are a handful of reasons we're unhappy. Among them:

    - The "we want them to be rare and exciting" reason is [email protected]#$ the moment you add a cash shop alternative to accelerate progress. All they mean is "I blew a ton of money on boxes until I got what I wanted."
    - We've accepted this grindy, disappointing RNG loot box system because the gradual build-up of gold coins lets us ease the frustration periodically to just buy what we really want. The summer event flies in the face of this system and our expectations.
    - For people who *do* have coins stockpiled, what's the point? You already weren't spending them on in-game skins, so what are you going to do after the event? Keep not spending them? It devalues coins and makes the one satisfying part of the system feel just as frustrating as the rest of it. It trains us to not care about coins anymore because on a whim they might be suddenly worthless.

    This is a non-exhaustive list, but every point is perfectly valid.

    To those who are saying "I can't believe how entitled you are", I'm going to repeat. *This isn't about the price!* It's about Blizzard exerting artificial and intentional pressure on the players to play the equivalent of a virtual slot machine by limiting or removing all of their other typically-available options.

    It's not consumer friendly, even if it goes to a good cause. There are better ways to monetize content, and even this one is only bad because of the particular combination of factors. 

    Since I'm getting tired of repeating myself, I made videos about both of these topics a few months back. Maybe some of you will find them interesting?

    - Let's talk about loot boxes:
    - Entitled Gamers and other Logical Fallacies:

    The first talks about exactly this scenario, where we now have items that are exclusive to the RNG process with no alternatives. 

    The second talks about the arguments you will see from people who play the "you're all being entitled" card and why most of the time their arguments don't hold water.

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