Why Overwatch's Summer Games Items Are Restricted to Loot Boxes

Blizzard wants the items to be rare and special.

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Now Playing: Opening 50 Overwatch Summer Games Loot Boxes

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Blizzard launched a big update for Overwatch this week, a key component of which is a huge wave of cosmetic items that are only available for a limited time. Unlike existing items, these can't be purchased with credits--they can only be unlocked by opening special loot boxes that will be around for three weeks. That makes it unlikely that most people will obtain them all, and that's by design.

"This is the first event that we're trying, and if it's really cool and successful and you guys like it, we'll probably have this event run again next summer as well," director Jeff Kaplan said in a new developer update discussing the Summer Games update. "Maybe it'll have some new content in it as well. This is the type of thing we want to do where sometimes we explore very hardcore, competitive parts of the game, like you saw us do that in the June update when we added Competitive Play."

He described Summer Games as "targeted towards more the light side of Overwatch," hence the focus on cosmetic items and the Rocket League-esque Lucioball mode. But despite those intentions, some players are upset with the way Summer Games items are unlocked. Opening a Summer Games loot box guarantees you at least one of the new items, but that's your only option for securing them. That means you could have to open more than 100 boxes in all, which would require a lot of playtime or a lot of money--at their cheapest, loot boxes cost $40 for a pack of 50 ($0.80 each).

According to Blizzard, this design is less about forcing people to spend money and more about the items themselves.

"We want these items to feel extra special and very rare," Kaplan said. "So we don't want everyone running around all the time in every single Summer Games item. And we actually don't expect that all players will get all Summer Games items. We want this to be a thing where, six months from now when the Summer Games are long past, you look back on somebody using that cool Summer Games Zarya skin and go, 'Oh, man, I can't wait until next year when Summer Games happens. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to get that skin."'

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This is in contrast to the standard loot box items, all of which you can get your hands on eventually.

"We wanted the seasonal loot boxes to feel more rare and special and the items within them to feel more rare and special," he continued. "So for that reason, they'll only be available for those few weeks and you won't be able to buy those items with credits, either. Hopefully that will make them feel extra cool when you have one, and hopefully you won't feel too bad about it if you don't get one because you know the event might happen again next year and then you'll have another chance."

Kaplan later noted that Blizzard is receptive to feedback, describing all of this as a "big experiment." The studio wants to know if people like the ideas, if it ran for the proper amount of time (this one goes for three weeks, ending on August 22), and so on.

You can read more about the details of the update here and check out all of the new skins here.

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Avatar image for Kain_Raziel

the only thing i think blizzard should have done is not use the player lvl but instead a fixed amount of exp.

to get one every 5000 exp(fixed amount) or after 1000 then after 2000 (scaling amount) for example because it's not really fair when it starts when your are lvl 90 next to a friend that is lvl 4.... new to the game and gets crap load of stuff compared to me when i carry him. dont get me wrong i'm happy for him. simply that 1 vs 12 in 2 days of gameplay together seems cheap for me in comparison. but overall i think the general idea is a good one

Avatar image for Fetseroony

Erm, aren't the Olympic Games only every 4 years??

Avatar image for Sethro109

@Fetseroony: Well there's the winter Olympics too, but most of the skins do look like they're summer themed.

Avatar image for RELeon

Love the game, love the items, but I think Blizzard has it backwards. By not allowing people to get these items with coins, they know people who REALLY want these items, and have disposable income, are going to shell out money for loot boxes in the hopes of getting one. People like me who are sitting on 8000+ coins would have loved to have been able to buy one of these cool skins with in-game currency we earned.

Its cool though. Means the skins are rarer. If people wanna get them all by paying for loot boxes, go for it. To each their own. My main heroes don't have summer skins anyway.

Avatar image for SkytheWiz1

That's fine.
The game's okay, but I'm glad I received it as a gift. I'm at the point where, after 2-3 rounds, I'm done for a day or two, unless I'm playing with 3-4 friends. People in general just seem to be terrible at the game. "Hey, we're attacking, I'll run Black Widow and never touch the objective," "We're in overtime and about to lose, but if I try to stay on the objective, I might die," or "Hey, we DO need me to play a third Ana!" (yes, I'm aware competitive fixes this - but the grind to get there when not playing in a group is a pain, especially when your team can't squeeze out wins).

People continue putting their K/D (a stat that, at least in non-competitive, means nothing) above actually PTFO. It's just disheartening to consistently being getting 2-3 gold medals (objective time, eliminations, and healing, usually) and still losing, and there's no other variation to the game. Your only option is to be randomly thrown in to randomly attack/defend a set point or a payload on a random map. I can't exclude any map, I can't choose a team, and there is no other game type offered.

I'm not interested in new characters (there's a great variety in play, I will certainly give the game that), but there needs to be more to do.

Avatar image for txuzai

Bullshit, just made it harder to get better drops that will force people to spend more

Its always about the money.

Avatar image for deathtripp1355

@txuzai: lmao if you spend real money just for a chance to change the appearance of your character...than you're an idiot.

Avatar image for Avantyr

@deathtripp1355: *then

Avatar image for Crypt_mx

@Avantyr: He got the "you're" right though, which is rather impressive for the internet.

Avatar image for fig56

@txuzai: Yeah Blizzard! Take that gun off my head and stop "forcing" me to pay for skins that impact the game in no way whatsoever! /s

Avatar image for shinrae5

I'm fine with them doing it this way, with these being special event skins related to special events only.

While it'll suck not being able to get the McCree America skin, it is what it is.

That said, I highly doubt I'll be playing OW next year, as I usually play a game for awhile, enjoy it and move on to the next.

(Smite is a rare exception, I've played that game for over 700 hrs)

Avatar image for ice12tray

I...actually...like this..... I know I am going to get a ton of hate for liking something.... but I like hat an item I get can be rare.... I mean unlocking a legendary skin is awesome and everything, but everybody else has them so it kind of loses its value to me. Looking forward to seeing what I can get in the limited run!

Avatar image for validifyed

Yeah... IOW "Rare" == Suckers buying more crates than the items are worth

Avatar image for biggamerdude

No, the reason is because Blizzard is making plenty of money from this.