New laws have been passed in China that requires games to disclose loot box item odds and went into effect May 1.
This will likely affect a variety of MOBAs including League of Legends, Dota 2 and Smite. Most Blizzard games will be majorly affected by this too. Games such as Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone and Overwatch make much of their profit from loot boxes and things of the sort. Many of these titles mentioned are free-to-play, so not only do they make much of their money from skins and loot boxes, they actually rely on it. Yes, Blizzard does charge a price for Overwatch but it definitely didn’t become a one billion dollar franchise in under a year because of the retail price.
These changes do make it better for the consumers since they now know the chances of getting a particular item instead of just blindly buying boxes until they get what they want. Although we have the probabilities from China, it’s unclear if that number remains the same worldwide.
These are the probabilities from the translated Blizzard China page:
According to the relevant national laws and regulations, “watch the vanguard” on the extraction of the probability of the release, as follows:
- Loot box content
- Each loot box will contain 4 items. Including cosmetics, or game currency to unlock cosmetics
- Rare quality
- Each loot box will contain at least one item of rare or higher quality
- Epic quality
- An average of 5.5 loot boxes contain an item of epic quality
- Legendary quality
- An average of 13.5 loot boxes contain an item of legendary quality
This will end up translating to about an 18.19 percent chance for an epic quality item or a 7.4 percent chance for a legendary item. You can compare those numbers to the odds of two other Blizzard games, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm and you’ll see Overwatch is the most generous when it comes to handing out legendary items.
These percentages aren’t terrible but they do end up showing you how little of a chance you have on getting a legendary item from the loot boxes. Again, these numbers could be higher, lower or the same as other parts of the world but we don’t know for sure. It’s completely possible developers in China make it more likely to get to get good drops but lower it in other parts of the world to encourage more people to buy loot boxes.
This does end up being a good thing for players but it could end up costing companies money. Blizzard will probably be okay in the long run but smaller studios that are relying on loot box sales to stay afloat will likely run into some problems if this becomes a trend elsewhere.