Blizzard Says Overwatch Levelling Changes Aren't About Making People Buy More Loot Boxes

Overwatch is about to roll out a big change to its levelling system, and that has some players feeling uneasy. Blizzard, they fear, wants people to pony up for more loot boxes, so they're turning freebies into rarities.

According to Blizzard, though, that's not really what's happening at all. Let's break it down: The new levelling system will not reset the amount of experience needed to level up after you hit 100. Previously, the experience curve would basically start over each 100 levels, after you got promoted into what is essentially a new tier. Players could then move quickly through the first 23 levels or so and drown in a Scrooge-McDuck-esque sea of loot boxes.

The change sounds like a raw deal until you consider the way Blizzard is implementing it. Instead of making the first 23 post-promotion levels take longer, they're leaving them untouched and slightly reducing the time it takes to hit higher post-100 levels. They're making it a consistent 20k XP across the board. In a forum post, game director Jeff Kaplan explained the rationale behind the change:

"This change has nothing to do with a desire on our part to drive more or less interest in loot box sales," he wrote in a forum post. "This change is to prevent players from binge behaviour or halting play... and to prevent players who are not close to prestiging from feeling like they somehow missed out on 'bonus' items. This change exists to add levity to the levelling experience."

Some players, you see, have taken to levelling until they prestige and then stopping altogether until big events. That way, they're pretty much sitting on a loot box geyser the second an event kicks off. You might be shocked to hear, however, that Blizzard doesn't want people to stop playing Overwatch.

"We want you playing Overwatch or not playing Overwatch when you want/don't want to," explained Kaplan. "That's the entire reason for this change... nothing else."

This change, then, should result in people getting loot boxes slightly more often, rather than less.

"Overall, the EXP change should be a benefit to the player base," said Kaplan. "Had this change been in effect for the Halloween Terror event we would have given out MORE loot boxes. More players would have gotten more stuff."


    Stinks of bullshit to me. Also:

    "The change sounds like a raw deal until you consider the way Blizzard is implementing it. Instead of making the first 23 post-promotion levels take longer, they're leaving them untouched and slightly reducing the time it takes to hit higher post-100 levels. They're making it a consistent 20k XP across the board."

    This is wrong. They are not "leaving them untouched" at all.

    While I'm not sure there's much use in debating the particulars of this change, it should be highlighted in reviews, as should the other major changes of late.

    Overwatch, like WoW, and countless other modern games are not simply one-and-done products, but actual platforms.

    I played Dark Souls 2 and beat it "shortly" after launch - I'm an average skilled player and yes it was rock hard but I still managed to be done with that game before major patches and game-wide alterations were applied. It's a different game now. Same thing with Overwatch. They're more like OS's now :D

    To hear Grayson tell it, yes it seems what high-level players were doing was not in the spirit of what Blizzard intended. It's their show, after all.

    I started Overwatch after the last (the first?) free weekend, but haven't gone near it during most of October. The loot crate stuff doesn't really interest me, though I see how it would others. They seem un-necessarily obtuse and designed for micro-transactions. Blizz don't have much wiggle room but hopefully they won't lose too many players.

    I can understand both why Blizzard made the changes and why the player is sitting on boxes (as I noticed a few youtubers/streamers sitting on 20+ boxes for some reason). I have spent about $20 bucks on lootboxes but that's it, I enjoy the game enough that I felt I could spend some cash. I don't plan on spending more IRL cash anytime soon.

    Did they ever end up adding any bonus coins for completing weekly challenges such as arcade mode like they said they would or is the only way to get skins still from levelling?

    If they are more interested in slowing the rate of boxes and introducing timed boxes that you can only get for brief windows then it is pretty obvious they just want the players money and are not interested in how enjoyable the system is.

      As long as they can keep up the semblance of letting players unlock stuff at a reasonable rate, they will make that rate as low as possible. Combining a low unlock rate with time-limited events is dynamite, as it combines a sense or urgency and frustration in the players and will more often result in spending cash.

      Yeah, I played a little on PTR and you get up to 3 loot boxes for playing a few of the weekly arcade things.

    Still doesn't fix the general terribleness of the whole RNG loot system, especially with all those duplicates.

      Yeah. Again, Blizzard will try and get away with offering the lowest amount of coins possible for duplicates, because offering more takes away from the whole frustration-->spend thing I referred to in my reply above. At one extreme you have a 1:1 duplicate/coin ratio where it literally doesn't matter what you unlock because you can just buy what you want, and at the other extreme you have players pissed off because duplicates don't provide any money at all. The more unlocks you have, the less you will tolerate a low coin payout for duplicates, since most of your unlocks will become duplicates. Getting 30 coins per loot box is pretty much a slap in the face, because you can only buy one of the most common and least desirable items with that amount of coin. I can definitely see Blizzard either increasing duplicate coin or offering other ways of getting coin in the future, as the game becomes less 'fresh' and you only have the long-term players holding on, who will naturally have less tolerance for low coin payouts.

        There just shouldn't be any. Run the box system or a coin-based 'earn your pick' system with supply of static goods until it runs out - simple.
        If I'm level 1000 or something and clearly earned all those goodies then I've definitely already:
        A) got my moneys worth on hours played
        B) contributed to a healthy in-game community
        C) been rewarded as adequately as my peers
        D) will continue to have reason to earn more because, wow look at that, Blizzard make more to keep you playing!

        All of it is lies to get more microtransactions.

          Yeah, it's kind of like the MMO grind without being an MMO. Game periodically updated to add in more chaff that you have to sift through in order to get the legendary skins that everyone wants.

          I get that they need to pay for servers, but I'm not sure what the fairest way to do that is. Various games and publishers have experimented with different ways of doing it. You get subscription models, 'premium' models, microtransaction models etc. Here, we are in the microtransaction model that wants to be seen as equitable because it doesn't lock out skins from people who can't or won't pay for DLC. I guess it's fairer than locking the skins behind a pay wall (DLC) but the grind to access the skins is pretty harsh. I think Blizzard could easily make the skins more accessible while still earning enough to break even or make a small profit. The problem is that publishers love huge profits more than small profits and will implement a 'biggest profit we can get away with' model, which is what has happened here.

          So what? They're all cosmetic rewards. It's not like gameplay-changing items are locked behind loot boxes. New heroes, modes and updates are free yet people whinge about the least important thing.

    This seems to feel like Blizzard fixing a symptom, not the underlying problem. From what I keep hearing, people are unhappy with the loot system as a whole so perhaps Blizzard should start looking at that rather than the levelling "problem".

    The new Arcade mode gives you a Loot Box for your first win in two gametypes and gives you a new Loot Box for each third win up to a max of three per week.

    Company that exists to make money denys trying to make money.

    The way I figure it, grinding from 80s/90s to get to level one is difficult enough (grinding makes the game LESS fun) and now that I'm finally at 1 again (201) now I get rewarded with more holiday loot boxes. :3 Just kidding, because Blizzard made it so that my week of grinding is useless and now instead of being relieved that the grind is over, I find out that the grind did absolutely nothing for me. In fact, I find that the grind has Only. Just. Begun. Add to the fact that most lootboxes you get have 1/2 or more duplicates, and then most of the time the non-duplicates are sprays....why would I spend money on a game that makes spending money so unrewarding? I'm taking a break from Overwatch, because this really did disappoint me. Gratz blizz on alienating a lot of your fans. (Don't flame me for that, I said a lot, not all.)

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