A word on crown crates

First: my own opinion, put shortly: I don’t like lockboxes, I don’t buy them and I wish nobody would. As we know by now, Elder Scrolls Online is going to begin selling what they call “Crown Crates” in their cash shop- turning one of my most liked business models/ingame shops into one of many.

Personally, I feel buy-/free-to-play brought a few niceties to us. However, I’m starting to realize there’s more to it than that and I’m starting to get fed up with cash shops, because they take away from the games we play. I’ll probably go over this discussion at another time, but the reason for this post is that I’d like to share the most recent episode of “Tales of Tamriel“. I was happy to see Isaari joining for this topic, particularly because of points he made before in regards to playing WoW and his will to grind for mounts, pets and hats. I can’t find it anymore, probably because it was a tweet- but I knew him to be very opinionated on mmonetization as he’s written about it a couple of times.

Now, this is a podcast dedicated to Elder Scrolls Online, but the discussion points are valid throughout the genre- it’s very interesting to listen to and if you’d like some insight/differing opinions or agreement on stuff like “it’s just cosmetic”, “but they have to earn money” and so on, I’d suggest watching this. It’s also very from the beginning that these fans of Elder Scrolls Online- themselves content creators in regards to this game for a long while and in all kinds of manners- are really upset about the introduction of lockboxes into their game and would like to talk about that topic from the first second.

The monetization stuff begins around minute 30, have fun.

5 thoughts on “A word on crown crates

  1. Aywren

    I absolutely despise lockboxes in any game. I refuse to pay for a chance of a chance at possibly getting something I want.

    If a developer wants my money, then they’ll put that mount or outfit in the cash shop where I can buy it straight out. If I want it enough, I will buy it. Yes, I WILL give them money.

    But don’t lock it behind a chance to get it. I don’t care how much I want it, I’ll walk away from that. And usually, seeing my past with games that do this, its a sign that I’ll be walking away from the game soon, too.

    1. Mersault

      As mentioned below, I guess it would be a bit better if you’d at least know the category of stuff you get- dyes, for instance, make perfect sense to me- just like Guild Wars 2 does (did?) it. They could even go so far as to put other cosmetic items in there- so long as I would be able to buy the “random furniture pack” containing 5 pieces of furniture for player housing or something. The reason I really don’t like them is that you might want that (or even simply ‘a’) mount from them, but all you get are health potions and experience scrolls.
      And again, the biggest issue is what many of the anti-f2p people said all along: cash shops take stuff out of the game. They could simply be adding more costumes, mounts and such to buy, but what actually happens is that you’ll get less and less introduced into the game, achievable through ingame mechanics like notoriety, long quest chains, achievements and so on- and more and more introduced through the cash shop. As I wrote below, lockboxes add another layer- they take stuff out of the shop, so you can’t even buy them directly. They take the items they contain and remove them even farther from the game while turning them into their own “gamification item”.
      For ESO, Isarii said that their shop has seasons and game systems, but their pvp hasn’t. I can’t validate that, but it sounds reasonable and…terrible.

  2. Shintar

    Lockboxes remind me of those sticker books I had as a kid, where you would buy packs of random stickers to fill them up over time. Later versions included little toys as well. Based on the rabid hatred I see of these systems online, it seems this wasn’t a happy part of many childhoods. 😛

    1. Mersault

      Interesting comparison- and not entirely invalid. Increasingly, and that’s also mentioned a lot in the podcast above, my problem isn’t so much that some things are sold- it’s about the game:shop ratio of stuff available in game. In Black Desert, you basically look the same all the time except when/if you buy a costume for 30$ in their cash shop. More than half of the items that change your appearance in some way in ESO are sold via the cash shop. That’s a problem for me- because the shop takes a game element out of the game and puts it on digital shelves.
      Now lockboxes, they put another layer on- they go so far as to take elements from the shop into these packs.
      For instance, in SWTOR I never got around to spending all those cartel coins I got with the subscription. I would’ve liked to spend it on mounts, costumes and such, but they’re mostly locked in boxes- and there even were multiple kinds of them, so I never got around to understanding what they each contain and which one I should buy for what.
      So, not only could I not try and grind for a look I liked in the game, I couldn’t even buy it directly as it was hidden away.
      If the past is any indication, ESO might begin to put their most exclusive items into boxes.

      There is but one exception of stuff I actually like the lockbox mechanic for- and I think this would come closest to the sticker albums from our childhood- dyes! In my opinion, lockboxes make perfect sense for them.

  3. Isarii

    Hey Mersault, thanks for the share and I’m glad you enjoyed the discussion!

    I think that settles it. Time to get to work on adapting my portion of that discussion into a “Why Cosmetics Matter” article.

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