Rocket League Replaces Loot Boxes With Pricey Item Shop

Rocket League players will no longer have to worry about grinding for new crates and the keys that unlock them in order to get the custom skins they want. But the new alternative will hurt their wallets.

Yesterday, Rocket League’s Blueprint update went live, kicking off season 12 and adding a new item shop where players can just buy whatever items they want outright. Players’ existing crates were converted into blueprints, which they can craft by spending credits, an in-game currency bought with real cash. Existing keys, meanwhile, were liquidated into additional credits.

Instead of having players earn crates by playing matches and then spending money to buy keys to unlock them, the new system drops random blueprints. Now, instead of spending money before knowing what you’d get from the crate, players can decide ahead of time if they want to craft the item in the blueprint.

They can also bypass this luck of the draw altogether if they already know what they want, by spending money in the new item shop. The catch is that the items are extremely pricey to buy outright, and you have to buy bundles of credits that are usually more than what you need. If you want to buy Infium Exotic Wheels for 1,400 credits, you need to buy a pack of 1,600 credits for around $22, then have 200 credits left over.

This mismatch between credits and the exact cost of an item is frustrating in and of itself, but the sticker price is also a tough pill to swallow. Infinium Wheels were released back in February 2018, and because Rocket League allows item trading, enough sets were on the market to drive the price pretty far down, with some estimates putting them at below the value of a single key in the old economy.

Crafting new items with blueprints can also be a hefty investment. The Intrudium Blueprint, for instance, costs 2,000 credits to make. While black market decals, of which Intrudium is one, tend to be on the more expensive end, sites which track prices for Rocket League items put the price of one at around five keys, or the equivalent of $7, for much of the year.

The prices have taken a lot of Rocket League players by surprise, many of whom have spent the last 24 hours posting about the topic on the game’s subreddit. There have been so many complaints that its moderators have taken to deleting a number of the posts deemed to be duplicative so as not to clog up the frontpage too much.

The prices aren’t as surprising when you look at what Fortnite’s shop charges, however. There, $5 to $15 for skins and accessories has become the norm. The makers of Fortnite, Epic Games, purchased Rocket League’s developers, Psyonix, in May of this year. Psyonix did not immediately respond to a request by Kotaku for comment.


Comments

    I spent at least an hour creating a bazillion blueprints from idk how may crates I had. And yeah, well the first thing that came to mind was fortnite as the kids have been nagging for vbucks and as I don't play fn I researched the cost.

    So I'd suggest RL is going free to play.

    Somewhat disappointed, not even sure I can grind for credits I don't intend to buy any.

      you get credit with the rocketpass, but only enough to get rockpass free next time. so it's free item, or 70+ free items. *shrugs*

    Seriously, some people are never going to be happy until game devs work for free.

    At least this way you know exactly what you are getting. Instead of, what, $3 per box at a 1/50 chance (I made all those numbers up) you can just spring $15 for the one cosmetic you want and everyone is happy. The devs are supported and it's not as if you can sport more than one of the same class of cosmetics at the same time.

    Sheesh. I'll take this monetisation model any day of the week, and twice on Sundays.

      I don't think its about supporting devs anymore, they've been paid. Its now about corporate greed.

        You don't think somebody needs to pay for different game modes, seasonal events, weekly challenges, frequent patch schedule, network costs, customer support staff, technical and network support staff, graphical and technical upgrades to support newer graphics cards and CPUs, etc. etc.?

        Not to mention that people who may have already got literally hundreds of hours of gameplay from a game that they bought on sale for US$10 shouldn't have the option to cough up a few more bucks to support the devs of a game they love and in return be rewarded with entirely optional cosmetic content?

        It's literally not possible to overestimate some gamers sense of entitlement, is it?

          All very interesting questions, I am old enough to realise that nothing comes for free and I am not sure your questions address the crux of my argument. I'm obviously not an 'entitled gamer' just a budget conscious parent, trying to explain to my kids why virtual currency , whilst it supports a games development, like it did in the early days for Psyonix, is intrinsically bad, predatory and designed to line shareholders pockets.

          There's a great you tube vid that explains the techniques used, designed to maximize profit and create desire, based on a false economy and perception of 'rarity' ill find it and share it here if you are interested.

          Personally I am struggling to make an explainable connection between virtual; currency and real world dollars, where all my kids want to do is spend every spare cent and monetary gift they get on some virtual items. Low and behold they will wake up one day renting for the rest of their lives, but hey, their character will have some cool costume, or black market wheels.

          So you have me wrong,, I've popped for some of the car packs, I've bought DLC for many games, sometimes on special or maybe a year or two after agame was delivered, but I paid full price for RL in the state it was in at the time; and I've liked and supported the model to date
          .
          I am however sour that Epic have done what they've done. And no its not to support the devs. Pretty sure fortnite has paid for itself a fair few thousand times, RL perhaps a bit less, but today Id wager the actual coders see none of it, unless of course they were smart enough to negotiate shares as a part of their employ.

          Regardless Ill keep playing and let someone else's purse strings fund that habit.

            Well, that's a grab bag of thoughts. I can only comment that the vast majority of manipulative techniques used in the many videos and articles describing exploitative psychology in microtransactions relate to such things as loot boxes, 'surprise mechanics', drip pricing, obscuring the cost of things through multiple currencies and artificial bottlenecks that can only be avoided with a cash outlay.

            The article that you and I are commenting on, however, is precisely about the removal of some of those manipulative techniques and exposure of the actual cost of a purchase where, instead of your desired cosmetic being dropped after an average of 7 (or 20, or 100) loot boxes at $3 each you can now just buy the thing for $20. In fact, this is what's pissed a lot of people off, because they can see how $20 for a blue glow effect might not be worth their cash even though they may have dropped twice that on loot boxes for something similar before and not realised how much they spent.

            There is nothing inherently wrong with microtransactions, it’s the techniques hidden behind some microtransaction models designed to obscure the total cost of items and encourage you to spend more than you otherwise intended that's the issue, neither of which apply in this case.

            Ultimately, the only real alternatives to microtransactions are monthly subscriptions which pretty much only WoW can get away with nowadays, and the one described above seems about as benign a model as anyone can reasonably expect and still see all the other stuff one normally expects in order to maintain a vibrant and active critical mass of players.

            And as much as I have my own objections to elements of Fortnight's business model (not the topic of this article, but you mentioned it), it's easy to blame microtransactions and I'm not here to defend the more manipulative versions, but let's not forget that the reason that Epic is worth a bazillion dollars is not microtransactions, which would be meaningless if it weren’t for their active monthly player base of 80 million people.

              Hey, we agree on a lot of things and I appreciate your comments and point of view. Though I disagree on the word microtransactions I don't think they are that anymore.

              I love how all the extra dosh probably funds their weekly free games, that I do like. Though cant exactly say I've played any of them yet. Too busy playing RL.

    The prices for the items are ludicrous! $20+ for a goal explosion animation? I looked the other day out of curiosity, sure it's great that you can pick what you want, but seriously, make it reasonable. I don't care for cosmetics and will never pay for them, but for those that do, their poor parents are going to be broke.

    Any price but free is never going to be good enough for some people... Hell, there are times when devs do give away things for free and people STILL complain it's not enough.

    Knowing exactly what you are buying has premium value, and always will over anything remotely akin to random lootboxes.

    One could argue it actually has infinite value compared to buying random loot boxes when there is a chance to simply never get what you wanted.

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