Last year, the question of whether loot boxes were a form of gambling dominated the international video game market. This year, game publishers appear to be phasing out loot boxes, because of increasing public outrage and the threat of regulatory oversight.

The reaction of several prominent publishers to the loot box controversy caused Forbes to label 2018 as the year the genie of loot boxes-for-cash is “finally being put back in the bottle“.

A long list of games are modifying their loot system or entirely getting rid of the concept: Fortnite, Battlefront 2, Shadow of War, God of War, Far Cry 5, Monster Hunt World, Spider-Man, Hearthstone, and Overwatch. The IOS App Store required publishers to disclose the drop rates of loot box-style purchases.

Fortnite, the most popular game in the world, was a big success for a variety of reasons, but its free-play release and $10 Battle Pass with no randomization are a couple of key points in its favor.

2018 Games Without Loot Boxes

In a recent article, Forbes suggested that several games set for release later in 2018 will test the effect of the controversy over loot boxes. While player complaints might be seen as buzz for a game’s release, the fact that regulators in the United States, UK, Belgium, The Netherlands, New Zealand, and Australia have weighed in on the discussion changed the dynamics of loot boxes.

The various game designers take different approaches to the way microtransactions are handled. A growing consensus appears to see loot boxes as an albatross. Even the publishers who keep paid micro-upgrades have tweaked their microtransactions, due to industry demand. Of course, one wonders if concerns about government regulators are not driving the changes to video game loot box policies.

Fortnight Microtransaction System

Fortnite’s microtransaction system has no loot boxes. Instead, the Fortnite Battle Pass system allows players to pay $10 for a full season of earned cosmetic rewards. Those in-game rewards can be purchased for a flat fee.

The key factor is Fortnite’s loot has no randomization involved. In the beginning, Fortnite’s non-battle royale mode had loot boxes, but it was determined to be a bad idea.

Fortnite’s loot system could be a game-changer, given the fact it is so popular. Often, popular ends up being influential, so we’ll see if other game publishers follow the Fortite microtransaction system.

Battlefront 2 Loot Box Update

In November 2017, the release of EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront 2 was a flashpoint for loot boxes. In the weeks before the game was released, fans complained on Reddit and in the gaming media about the inclusion of loot boxes.

Battlefront 2 reacted by disabling some loot box purchases in the game at release. Now, an update is going to change the entire progression system for Battlefront 2.

How Loot Boxes Wrecked Shadow of War

Monolith’s Middle-Earth: Shadow of War removed loot boxes 6 months after release, after the publisher discovered that loot boxes unbalanced the game. In July’s downloadable content update, Desolation of Mordor, loot boxes will be scrapped.

In a blog post on the Monolith site, the company’s public relations people tried to spin the decision as an attempt to increase the fun of the game by tweaking the Nemesis System. The post read, “While purchasing Orcs in the Market is more immediate and provides additional player options, we have come to realize that providing this choice risked undermining the heart of our game, the Nemesis System.”

“It allows you to miss out on the awesome player stories you would have otherwise created, and it compromises those same stories even if you don’t buy anything. Simply being aware that they are available for purchase reduces the immersion in the world and takes away from the challenge of building your personal army and your fortresses. In order to fully restore the core promise of the Nemesis System, we’ll be permanently removing Gold, War Chests and the Market from Shadow of War.”

Paul Tassi of Forbes Games noted that the DLC update was a marketing ploy, though Mr. Tassi said it is notable that doing away with loot boxes is now a way to market a DLC update.

2018 Video Games without Loot Boxes

Tassi also noted that 2018 biggest AAA games, Far Cry 5 and Monster Hunter World, do not have loot boxes, though some microtransactions exist in both games. Now God of War and Spider-Man are touting their lack of loot boxes in their marketing campaigns.

Meanwhile, Bright Engrams revamped its loot box system on Destiny 2, after many complaints by players at the Eververse store. Even Blizzard Games, one of the purveyors of loot crates in the first place, had to improve the quality of drops in Hearthstone and Overwatch, while eliminating legendary cards and skin duplicates in their paid enhancements and upgrades.

For those wanting a big list of 2018 AAA games that do not have loot boxes, PC.mag released a list in December 2017 of non-loot box games which would be relevent in 2018: Horizon: Zero Dawn for PS4; The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for Nintendo Switch; Nier: Automata for PC and PS4; Nioh also for PC and PS4; Persona 5 for PS4, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard for PC, PS4, and Xbox One; Splatoon for Nintendo Switch, Super Mario Odyssey for Nintendo Switch; Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch; and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 for Nintendo Switch.

While everyone likely will not have every single one of those game platforms or necessary enjoy every single one of those games on that list, it is a start for game fans who want to avoid loot boxes.

About the Author
April Bergman avatar
April Bergman

April Bergman was a longtime news blogger for BOC. She wrote gaming news posts from January 2013 until September 2018. April also wrote slot reviews, strategy articles, and online casino reviews for the site.

April Bergman began in the online gaming industry in August 2010. From 2010 to 2013, she managed evergreen content for several top online casino. Her duties included developing and maintaining multiple websites in the gaming space. When not writing about online gambling, April loves horse racing, travel, photography, and gardening. She's began in the business as a devoted poker players and spent several years as a card game editor on the now-defunct DMOZ. These days, she lives with her husband and two children in the Toronto metropolitan area.

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April Bergman was a longtime news blogger for BOC. She wrote gaming news posts from January 2013 until September 2018. April also wrote slot reviews, strategy articles, and online casino reviews for the site.

April Bergman began in the online gaming industry in August 2010. From 2010 to 2013, she managed evergreen content for several top online casino. Her duties included developing and maintaining multiple websites in the gaming space. When not writing about online gambling, April loves horse racing, travel, photography, and gardening. She's began in the business as a devoted poker players and spent several years as a card game editor on the now-defunct DMOZ. These days, she lives with her husband and two children in the Toronto metropolitan area.

READ MORE
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