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Starfleet Veteran
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 97
# 36
10-12-2012, 03:42 PM
Originally Posted by red01999 View Post
However, from what I observe, the LOUDEST complainers essentially blame Cryptic for what amounts to a gambling addiction they have no inclination of even TRYING to contain or curb. They usually swear off lockboxes for all eternity... and then buy 200+ keys every time one comes out, rinse, repeat. Every. Time.

Video gaming has spent the better part of 20 years to get itself out from the perception of 'gaming' as in gambling. There are laws about gambling, and we wanted out of those laws precisely because video gaming was not gambling. Making video gaming in gambling is bad for the entire industry.

And I say this seriously, as someone who makes games for a living and does quite a lot of research on games, one of the very serious questions with MMO design is what to do about people with addiction issues. Is someone playing your game 70 hours a week destroying their life, or is this the only chance they have at some sort of life for whatever reason? Are you exploiting someones mental disorder for your own personal benefit, is that ethical and legal, and should it be? If you make a game that says on the box "10 character classes" and you get into the game and it only has 3 that's fraud, but you might be able abscond with the money before anyone can bring a class action lawsuit against you. With what PWE and cryptic are doing it's more nuanced to be sure, but it's still feeding off of all the things that can be bad about MMO design and is basically dishonest.

The lockboxes in general run into a lot of problems, which is why they sell you 'points' rather than lockboxes. They're almost certainly legal in California, but I'd be surprised if they're actually legal in, for example, Quebec, or much of europe - where the laws around gambling are much more stringent and PWE is colliding headlong with government monopolies on gaming and government prohibition on online gambling and so on. In effect you're buying a chips for a casino that can also be used at a restaurant. The restaurant can serve children, or well, anyone - but the slot machines are off limits to some people for various reasons.

In practical game design terms my complaint about the lockboxes is mostly about the very uneven distribution and that the lobi crystal rewards are actually separate items from the lockbox rewards (as opposed to say a minimum threshold so you can always get the rarest item for no more than 200 lockboxes for example), but at least the good stuff is tradeable and so can be acquired more efficiently for people not into the gambling side of things some other way. It's a confusing system and not at all obvious to a lot of people the scope of options available or what is better or worse - that's bad design as is the extremely rare nature of some of the rewards.

That it necessarily exploits people with addiction problems is probably criminal and not allowed for sale in a number of jurisdictions is another problem.