Monday, December 12, 2016

Microtransactions in Destiny

I know this post is a bit late but with SRL just around the corner in Destiny, I felt that I needed to make a post about this.
When the Festival of the Lost trailer for Destiny first came out, I was honestly extremely excited. Not only is Halloween one of my favorite times of the year but also the event looked extremely fun was going to be MY first Festival of the Lost event ever in Destiny. Destiny is a game I play quite often and since I had not participated in the previous Festival of the Lost event I was really looking forward to this one.

So as a first time participant in the FOTL 2016 event in Destiny, everything was “new” to me, including all the new items and masks introduced in the trailer such as the lost prince mask, S-35 Jealousy Sparrow as well as the awesome new Ghost-ghost. Even the older masks from last year were still technically ‘new’ to me.

When the Festival of the Lost trailer was first released, there was ONE thing that stood out to me the most. All of the new items introduced seemed really cool but this one item caught my attention instantly and I knew I wanted it. The problem was I had no idea what was in store for me as the item in question was in fact the Ghost Ghost.

Now since I had never participated in the previous Festival of the Lost event in Destiny, my assumption was that these novelty Halloween items would be available through in game activities such as Strikes, Crucible, trials and so on. I couldn’t have been further from the truth. I would have been ok with the drop rates being abysmal even as long I could grind it out to eventually and get the Ghost Ghost. An event of a similar nature that I remembered was the valentine’s day Crimson Doubles event, where there were 2 exclusive ghosts and the drop rate was so abysmal that Bungie eventually decided to give everyone at least ONE free ghost as long as they at least participated in the event, which I thought was extremely cool.

This time around however, this doesn’t seem to be the case AT ALL. In fact things couldn’t be any worse. Not only are these cool items not available as rewards or random drops, even worse they are stored behind a pay wall.

Now mind you this isn’t ALL the items from the event as you can actually get a whole bunch of stuff from completing special quests. There is actually quite a bit of stuff you CAN get absolutely for free, just for playing the game. You can get 6 free masks, 4 shaders, 2 emblems and a limited use broom sparrow which I think is EXTREMLY cool and Bungie should really consider making it permanent addition to the game. So for someone like me who has never done a festival of the lost event previously, all that stuff for free is actually not bad. And to top it off you get the chance of getting up to 3 Free Festival of the Lost Mystery bags, which contain some of the newer masks, consumables as well as the novelty items such as the ghost-ghsot, deviled ghost and jealousy sparrow. Comparing it to last year, where you only got ONE free box, this year you technically get 3 times the loot for free.
The problem with all of this is that for players who are NOT new to the festival of the lost, there isn’t much new stuff to get for free. I think there is only ONE new mask as part of the free quests, the rest of the new masks come from the loot boxes and even then they are mixed in with some of the older masks from last year which is another problem in itself.

But I think the BIGGEST problem with the Festival of the Lost this year is that the drop rates for some of the novelty items are so abysmal that it makes it near impossible to obtain any of the cool new items purely from the 3 free boxes alone. Obviously there are exceptions to this rule and maybe people even got the firewolf mask from their FIRST box which is crazy good luck. But the majority of players have not been so lucky, with many people having to spend upwards of $40 just to obtain everything they wanted from the boxes. THAT to me seems a bit excessive.The abysmal drop rates made it seem as though Bungie/Activision were really encouraging players to buy additional boxes because they couldn’t get what they wanted.

I am just going to come out and say that I personally don’t have a problem with micro-transactions in Destiny as most of the items available for purchase are purely cosmetic. That isn’t to say that there ISN’T a problem concerning micro-transactions. I really don’t mind if people spend money for ingame cosmetic items because at the end of the day that money is just going to the devs to help support the game even more. My problem is when we are essentially paying FOR RNG and you are basically playing the slot machine with your hard earned money. I understand having RNG as part of natural gameplay but implementing it into a paying experience of the game is scummy move. Add to that, the actual drop rates for the items and you now have an extremely toxic system in place.

When Bungie first introduced treasure boxes to the Eververse Store it seemed ok and I mentioned in one of my other posts that as long as the items available were mostly cosmetic and that players could obtain these boxes with natural gameplay it wouldn’t be a problem and that was the case with the April Update. You could earn 3 Treasure boxes on a weekly basis without having to spend a single cent on the Store. Now if you WISHED to get additonal boxes at a faster rate and buy them, that was totally up to you, but at least there were multiple ways in which you could also obtain these items ingame in recurring weekly events. This was NOT the case with the Festival of the Lost Mystery boxes where you can only earn a total of 3, IF you had three characters. The quest didn’t even reset on the second week of the event, which wouldn’t be bad if the drop rates for the novelty items wasn’t so bad to being with.

I wouldn’t have minded the same drop rates if at LEAST the items were rewards for activities in Destiny. Activities such as how we obtained the trials emblem or the candlelight Shader. I think those items were placed in extremely well. I would have no problem trying to grind out the activities in order to get the item I wanted, but the way it was implemented all but guaranteed that I would have to pay for the items I wanted.

I think going forward Bungie as well as Activision really need to re-evaluate how these future events will be implemented. The trailer made it seem like I would be able to do multiple quests to get various items when in fact there were really only 2 quests that I could do only a total of 3 times(once on each character), which is absolutely strange considering Bungie made this a 2 WEEK event. The quests only took me about an hour on each character, that’s a total of 3 hours of gameplay, and then what? What if I didn’t get the items I wanted from those 3 boxes? I now have to pay for them? Fine but EVEN AFTER paying, I’m not guaranteed to get the items? I think that’s taking it a bit far.
I ended up opening 4 Festival of the Lost boxes on the first week, my three free ones from the quest, as well as one more that I bought with my free silver from Taken King. And while I did get luckier than most in those 4 FOTL boxes that I opened, I still didn’t get the one item I really wanted. Part of me wanted to spend a bit more on boxes JUST to see if I can get it and the other part of me wanted to boycott the whole thing. Below is a video of me opening my 4 boxes. 

Let me know your thoughts on the Festival of the Lost 2016 for Destiny, if you guys spent silver, or got anything cool or didn’t get some of the items you wanted. Also what can Bungie do differently for future events such as the Sparrow Racing League coming up soon.