Tuesday, December 20, 2011

[Lotro] Lucky Bags

With the recent release of Update 5, Turbine introduced Steel-bound lockboxes to the game, and it was changed for ever more! These are rare loot drops that require a key to open, this key is also a rare loot drop, but conveniently enough it can be bought for 100 TP in the store. Unsurprisingly, this has generated a lot of uproar on the official forums. On the face of it, it doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but typically this new features comes with a few 'bugs' (which if not intentional are highly suspect).

One 'bug' involves the inability to drag the lockbox out of your inventory to destroy it, with bag space being a premium in the game and with my completely unfounded belief that lockboxes may drop more often than keys, that has annoyed people and the 'official' work around is to try and sell it to someone more foolish, or email it to alts and allow it to be deleted. The other 'bug' is that supposedly some of the items contained within are poorer than intended, like one player shouldn't have only received one pink dye. It is incredibly frustrating for someone invested in the game to see a highly controversial feature added with these 'quirks' and not get fixed ASAP.

One of the main issues players are protesting is this notion that they are introducing 'gambling' to the game, which I don't necessarily agree with. Loot chests are always a random chance, but the inclusion of tokens or rewards that are divided equally, not to mention the positive feeling of defeating encounters overcomes the negatives of the RNG. I doubt the RNG will ever go completely from MMOs, getting tokens turns into a grind fast but having some extra random item drop in addition is enough to sweeten the deal (see the upsurge in raid skirmishes). But the problem about lockboxes is not the random chance, it's the minimum value that a player receives for spending 100 TP, and if there is one then it's being kept firmly under wraps. It's the difference between how 'lucky bags' and a scam are perceived. 

Lucky bags available nowadays are likely more expensive than 100 TP in monetary value, but they usually contain several items, and if a child is not enthused by the toy there is always the sweets and chocolates. If Turbine had decided a minimum value, say each lockbox contained some currency (gold, medallions, seals etc.), some consumable items (store exclusive potions, buff items, scrolls) and a cosmetic item (cloaks, clothes, dyes, that exclusive mount, and the highly desired creep skins that have gotten the PvMP crowd up in arms), one item from each category in each box is where I'd put a minimum value. Asking players to spend 100 TP for a chance of getting junk is not acceptable and people have every right to express their disdain, whereas at least if they decided a minimum value and were open about it and also revealed the chances of obtaining the other rare 'advertised' items, this feature would be more accepted. There is unlikely ever going to be good data available in the community because apparently no-one is opening these lockboxes except for some curious people who got stung once and thought never again.

In the end I don't object outright to these items in the game, I'll happily ignore them while playing but it's the poor conception and implementation that is really dragging my enthusiasm for the game down.

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