The Ongoing Loot Box Drama

#1
[Not sure whether this should be in Debates or not (as I never go in there, lol :P) so Mods feel free to move this if it's more appropriate, but since it's quite a big piece of gaming news, I thought that it being here in this section would be best].


Unless you've been living under a rock, there has been a shitstorm of controversy regarding the inclusion - or rather, the exact implementation - of Loot Boxes within big AAA games and the videogame industry as a whole.

This has been going on for quite some time, however events have come to a head recently when the UK Government was forced to respond to a petition about Loot Boxes in gaming, the Belgium Government began to look into Loot Boxes as gambling, and of course, the massive storm of controversy regarding Battlefront II.

If you haven't been following the news regarding Battlefront II, then you will not be aware that the implementation of Loot Boxes within it has not gone down well with fans at all. After a massive backlash, EA have attempted to modify the situations several times, changing the exact contents of the Loot Boxes, the credits received ingame, and turning off Microtransactions at launch. But gamer fury has hit the game, the company, and it's launch (at least, physical copies) were down then on the previous installment.

Not only that, but this storm by gamers has managed to push the situation further into the spotlight, getting traction on BBC News, CNN, and other media outlets. The entire concept of Loot Boxes has been put under a spotlight like never before.

And now, the Belgium Government has declared that Loot Boxes ARE gambling and will pursue banning their inclusion within Europe.

This is obviously a huge turning point in events, and what might happen to Loot Boxes within videogames.

So, what are your thoughts about Loot Boxes themselves? Do you actually see them as a form of gambling? Do you not mind them being implemented within videogames? Or do you perceive them as more akin to trading cards and stickers? And what impact do you think this could have on gaming as a whole? Could we see developers trying to charge European gamers a higher base game price? Steeper microtransactions? ....
 
#3
As far as I know, because I don't really follow gaming news, loot boxes are indicative of a trend in gaming to sell the initial game as incomplete or basic and then continue to 'milk the cow' by releasing all sorts of additional material for purchase. The final cost of a complete game can be many times higher than the sticker price on the basic release. This is a really old sale model - Dickens' novels used to be released chapter by chapter on a weekly basis. As far as I understand it, the loot boxes are a gamble because you don't know up front what you're paying for. You might get something valuable or you might get crap. I'm kind of torn about this, because I don't object to it in principle, but I don't want this model taking over video games completely, and it's really, really annoying to parents who are paying for their children's games (young children, I mean, not adults living at home, who should pay for their own gaming). It's especially annoying when you just have no idea at the start how big a financial commitment you are making when you buy a game.
 

Lulcielid

Media Thinker
AKA
Lucis Caelum
#4
So, what are your thoughts about Loot Boxes themselves? Do you actually see them as a form of gambling?
My stance is that I don't see them as such, (for me) gambling involves an individual putting something of value (be it money or something else) at stakes in a "game" where said individual has chances of gaining something or gaining nothing at all (and losing what they put at stake), this is what separates loot boxes from gambling, with lootboxes you are guarantee to gain something (even if what you got was undesired).
 
#5
Legally, no. Effectively? Yes, they are basically gambling.

My biggest problem with them, though, is that spending real money can't get you the thing you want. You can only buy the CHANCE to get it. That is unadulterated bullshit. In the case of "cosmetics," this is how the progression has gone: Once upon a time, alternate outfits were things you unlocked within a game by playing it and finding them or buying them in-game. Then outfits were taken out of the game and you had to buy them as DLC. Kind of annoying but honestly it only bothered me if they were overpriced. Now you can never intentionally get what you want. Only the chance. If I'm going to drop real money, I should be allowed to just buy the damn thing I want. Especially for something as meaningless as an outfit in a video game. I'm not going to pay you for the chance, that's damned insulting.
 

Mage

Spores!
AKA
Mage
#6
Gonna say something controversial: I object to DLC unless it's a bona fide game expansion that will provide increased longevity. Anything else is dick-shaking and squeezing that cash cow's teats raw.
 

X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
#7
Content DLC came about to combat the used games industry, because the game stores were making money on games, that were sapping funds from the actual development teams. DLC as a model to bring more from a game by securing additional funding from selling a game, and also maintaining it with patches is something I actually really like.

I was watching a video by Maximilian Dood, where he talks about the fact that Fighting Games never used to get balance patches, and everything would just be fixed or altered in a sequel, which is what led to the Street Fighter 3 Alpha X Ultra Whombocobmo Omega type thing with fighting game releases.

Allowing a game to grow, and provide more to it's audience as a result of success is actually pretty awesome, imo.

Loot boxes are another issue entirely. If they're for cosmetic-only items, but you can also earn in-game ways to obtain them with relative ease, I'm pretty much fine with them. If they could be swapped out by a more logical progression or crafting system being in the game, then I'll probably be mildly annoyed by them. If they affect core gameplay, especially for multiplayer, then I'm not a fan. Either way, the fact that they're exploitive to people with completionist / gambling addictions is really uncomfortable, and I'm glad that there's a lot more coming out about this, so that hopefully we can do away with this model before it continues to creep into more modern games.




X :neo:
 
AKA
The Engineer
#9
It's gambling, especially when you take the drop rates of items into account. Even more so when the items actually do have a stat effect on the game. And in a game that's already a full priced game? Why did EA think people were going to be okay with this?

That said, implementation is everything. In FTP games, a system like this makes a lot of sense. Even better if the items in the Loot Box can be bought normally in a Cash Shop of sorts. Then the game is giving players the choice of gambling or not. When gambling is the only way to get something, then it looses it's feeling of fun. The best is when what's the Loot Box has no actual effect on gameplay mechanics.
 
#10
The best is when what's the Loot Box has no actual effect on gameplay mechanics does not exist.
Fixxxed.

But yes, they're fine in a free to play game, because that's the tacit understanding that you're playing a game without paying for it. So obviously these things are the price of entry. In a full price game...
:gtfo:

And don't come at me with this "games cost more to make now" crap. Then raise the price and let me access components of the damn game and not be forced to gamble for them.
 

Lex

Administrator
#11
The state we find the industry in right now re: this issue is horrific. Games are now being actively developed around the implementation of these microtransaction lootboxes.

When it comes to single-player DLC I often point to the DLC produced by Bioware for Mass Effect and Dragon Age as the perfect example of "acceptable" for DLC. With a few notable exceptions, they've been 4-12 hour experiences that expand upon the lore of the games they're attached to without feeling like something has actively been removed from the game (this is an EA company, so we do have examples like Javik as evidence of the opposite of what I've just said). It's just that in terms of pricing the vast majority of what they've released as DLC has been about £10 per item, but well worth it.

My first brush with lootboxes came from Mass Effect 3 multiplayer, but I didn't have an issue with it then because you could quite easily earn in-game credits and - very importantly - ME3 multi is co-op only, so lucking out with weapons and getting an edge on other players is essentially meaningless.

However what we've seen happen around that and since are companies looking at sales of content and banking on things like nostalgia or addiction to earn money. Focus testing to discover what players really like and want so that they can remove it from the reach of a player who has paid full price (and games are not fucking cheap at launch) and dangle a chance to get it to squeeze the cash from vulnerable or desperate players. It's corporate business at its absolute worst.

The issue that we face is companies like EA look at profit margins and apply practices from whatever is making the most money to all of their products. The other issue is that people are actually spending that money on those lootboxes. The average consumer does bear some small part of the blame, and I feel a niggling rage at people who do this and therefore help to perpetuate the practice, but then I remember the vast majority of them are likely schoolkids who are desperate to have that cool item their friend has and has been bragging about, so they roll the dice until they get it.

In some cases they've just tacked microtransactions on - one recent example is Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (published by SE) where you can buy Praxis Kits for real money even though you can max everything without touching them. This kind of thing is still icky but I don't think it's nearly as bad as the lootbox scenario we are all facing in some of our favourite franchises these days. The game was incredibly well balanced from a progression perspective. Ironically Deus Ex under SE has produced some of the best single player DLC content aswell.

The bottom line is that it's a shady business practice and I hope some of these rulings put a stop to it. I don't have an issue with cosmetic items as paid DLC (such as outfits for characters), but conditions need to be met for that to be morally acceptable to me and they rarely are.

Perhaps the worst part about this is that it's totally a publisher thing. Developers do not set out and pour their blood, sweat and tears into a project for this to be the outcome, pressure and demand from the publishers wedge this shit in and drive their hard work into the shitter.
 

Lex

Administrator
#12
lol Jim chimes in, this was posted just as I started writing my previous post so I shall enjoy watching this:



EDIT: Actually, this video was posted a week ago and is also topical:

 

Dawnbreaker

~Heiress of Her Will~
AKA
Warrior of Light, Daryl Falchion, Dragonsoul, Dawnbreaker, Amy Pond, Cheryl Tunt
#13
I have "VIP" in the MMORPG Neverwinter and I agree this is all absolute shit.

VIP grants me a daily key to a loot box and I can tell you that the overwhelming majority of the time I get crap. It was better about a year ago, but the company became greedy and now I get stuff I can't even sell or use (in-game) half the time. I end up giving the stuff away or even discarding it. The rest of the stuff I get is only moderately useful. I've gotten the "great" items only twice. :/

(If you're wondering why I still have VIP it's mostly so I can fast travel, since my time online is limited.)

I think the loot boxes should be done away with. Since these boxes can be artificially-controlled you can be sure that the loot rolls are fixed. What are the odds? One in a million? And even then it preys on the desperation of players who just want to be on an equal footing with their peers. Nothing good comes of it, except massive profits supporting corrupt companies.

As for buying items that can be used to influence in-game mechanics (e.g. a weapon that makes you stronger), I have mixed feelings on that. Having to farm something for literal months when you have limited time can make such an option appealing, but at the same time, it makes the game a pay-to-win, which is detestable. You end up with a bunch of players with high-end gear who don't even know how to play the game. It makes PVP a fucking nightmare.

Now having DLC or outfits, etc. is something I have a lot less issue with. Some people prefer basics in a game and don't want a large upfront investment for something they might find frivolous. Others want all the bells and whistles. Restricting that and lumping everyone into the same bracket might be unfair. After all, I found the DLC for Skyrim quite satisfying but I know people who didn't want to pay for it, since they felt they'd gotten enough of that game (and that game is HUGE).

When it's all said and done, it's mostly on the backs of the corporations who are taking advantage of player desperation, but the buying players hold culpability, too. I'm not sure what the complete solution is here, but I definitely agree it's gotten out of hand.
 
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AKA
The Engineer
#14
^^I think the best point that this is a recent thing is that there's more games with loot boxes put out this year then in the last oh... 10 years since TF2 was put out which was arguably one of the first games to have it.

As someone who does computer programing, I'm pretty mistrustful of anything that supposed to be "random" and is electronic in nature. There is no such thing as a random number generator so I fully expect that none of the loot boxes are really random.
 

Dawnbreaker

~Heiress of Her Will~
AKA
Warrior of Light, Daryl Falchion, Dragonsoul, Dawnbreaker, Amy Pond, Cheryl Tunt
#15
^yes, my husband said the same thing. So how is this even fair? If the company wants to curtail prize-winning to inspire an increase in real-money spending, all they have to do is release a patch that cuts down the loot drops. The investment immediately decreases without any consultation with the players. Players just suddenly realize they don't get the good loot anymore, or as often.

This is the same with electronics devices at the gambling casinos (VLTs, IIRC). This is why I play roulette or black jack -- at least I have some small influence and/or the game is at least a little random-er. If the companies really want to get greedy they can make the loot drops less than a percent, although gamers might catch on after a while.
 

Cthulhu

Administrator
AKA
Yop
#16
And don't come at me with this "games cost more to make now" crap. Then raise the price and let me access components of the damn game and not be forced to gamble for them.
They do though - because thanks to loot boxes and DLC and whatnot, they continue to make money after the intial purchase. It makes for higher quality games with more longevity, at the expense of having in-app purchases (loot boxes etc), online passes (previous generation, nowadays it's a subscription model from the console manufacturer), and nontransferrable digital-only expansions. Mind you, even cheap as fuck games have this so it's kind of a moot point I'm making here (the trend came from mobile games).

They can't raise the price of games; I'm fairly sure the first AAA game that would be sold at a higher price point without being a special edition (and mind you they sell special editions at a $20 markup at least without it having anything special) would simply not sell as well. At best they manage a package deal, like idk, a GTA with a bonus package of gangster bucks or a gold car; low cost for the manufacturer, high return on investment IF it gets sold.

Gambling in games isn't new as such, it's a core mechanic in any game with a loot drop chance (MMO's, Diablo, etc); main difference is people paying for a chance to play the gambling game.

I've never paid for any loot wossnames or mobile game currencies, cbfucked. I prefer just paying the monthly subscription for XIV, I'm fairly sure it boils down to the same level of income for the game's publisher.

edit: here's a thing from EA in Need for Speed: Payback. A literal slot machine. Don't think that one's paid with monies though, but, who knows.
 
AKA
The Engineer
#17
A basic example of what happens with a Random Number Generator is that it runs a number it gets from somewhere (usually the time) though a complicated function and then matches the resulting number to an entry in a table of everything that drops from the Loot Box, boss, chest, etc. The resulting number is then fed back into the Random Number Generator and the whole thing starts all over again. If the Random Number Generator isn't random enough, then the sequence of numbers can be predicted.

And usually, the table and the numbers that it coordinates to are not random. Or at the very least, the items don't show up evenly in the table. So you can have an item that has one entry in the table while another item has ten entries. Guess which item you'll get more often?

The chests in FFXIV dungeons are an example of when you really do have the same odds of getting each of the items in the chest. Loot Boxes famously are not.
 

Geostigma

Pro Adventurer
AKA
gabe
#18
lol Jim chimes in, this was posted just as I started writing my previous post so I shall enjoy watching this:



EDIT: Actually, this video was posted a week ago and is also topical:



I love Jim.

But he went way too hard on Blizzard and gave Valve the biggest semantic based free pass ever on that second video ever.

The whole notion that Overwatch is ground zero because publishers saw that they actually did the system right and copied it is pretty laughable. Especially when a good chunk of the games on that list he references were in development at the exact same time as Overwatch and released with Lootbox content on launch without it being patched in.

Furthermore it also completely ignores that TF2 was NOT a free to play game when it released it's loot box and item crafting system, and that CS:GO is still not a F2P game either with an arguably much more manipulative loot box system (randomly giving free boxes but charging for keys predatorily acting on addictive impulses)

Furthermore with how the marketplace is structured the items from said boxes actually have a real market value in hard real world cash making it actual freaking gambling.

It bugs the fuck out of me that he gave a free pass to the literal inventor of the system in games, who literally influenced an industry of actual KID CASINOS with said system , and while not really related it's pretty shit, the items in said boxes THEY DIDN'T EVEN MAKE. Almost everything they have is crowd sourced and made by players and resold with Steam taking the majority cut on the sales. I know it's neat for the player who made the skin, but god damn Valve are you fucking lazy.

AND then they didn't do jack shit about their kid casinos until the government got involved.

But Jim goes hard on the game that has Cosmetic only Loot boxes that entirely fund FREE Maps, Game modes and Heroes in the game so that you only ever have to buy the base game of Overwatch to get all the real content for free.



Licorice said:
As far as I understand it, the loot boxes are a gamble because you don't know up front what you're paying for.
I'm quoting this part but it's more of a RE: to your entire post.
At the risk of pulling a "think of the children!" consider that perhaps it shouldn't be looked at as gambling just because of the merit of the rewards once you open it, but rather the psychological systems in place that make you want to get those boxes in the first place.


Now consider that these games are largely marketed at teenagers and young adults and not so much us here at TLS. We are all emotionally and mentally mature enough (I think so at least :monster:) here to understand what gambling entails.

But these predatory systems work wonders on kids, on top of giving these kids a quick dopamine high in the act of opening boxes, they are almost always priced in that "It's only a dollar for one more try!" price range that Mobile games abuse as well.


They sit in a grey area on whether or not they are legally gambling or not, mostly because our written laws have not caught up with the times and technology on that front. I would say that the systems in place to make you want to open that box, make you want to buy that box or earn just one more are far more concerning and absolutely need to be looked at.


This is regarding MTX's in general but I think given they generally use the same systems as Loot boxes it's worth posting here.

 
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Flintlock

Pro Adventurer
#19
I'm glad we're all pretty much agreed that this practice is bullshit, but I know that most of us help to enable it in one small way or another.
  • Have you ever paid for cosmetic DLC?
  • Have you ever paid for story DLC that you knew, in your heart, should have been included in the game from the start?
  • Have you ever bought a loot box?
  • Have you ever bought virtual currency?
  • Have you ever pre-ordered a game just for the exclusive items?
  • Have you ever upgraded to a more expensive version of a game just for the exclusive items?
I bet there aren't many of us here who can answer "no" to all of those questions. I would have been able to until this summer, when I pre-ordered Stormblood mostly for the EXP-boosting accessory. Without it, I would have waited until I had read reviews, until I had time to play it properly, and perhaps until the price had dropped a little. That's what I do with every other game.

I know what you'll say: that not all of those things are equally bad. You're right, they're not. But they're all things that didn't exist about a decade ago, which the internet has facilitated, and which I consider to be anti-consumer to some degree. While I blame the publishers first and foremost, they only get away with this stuff because it's profitable. Stop putting your money in and you won't be part of the problem.
 

Geostigma

Pro Adventurer
AKA
gabe
#20
I'm glad we're all pretty much agreed that this practice is bullshit, but I know that most of us help to enable it in one small way or another.
  • Have you ever paid for cosmetic DLC?
  • Have you ever paid for story DLC that you knew, in your heart, should have been included in the game from the start?
  • Have you ever bought a loot box?
  • Have you ever bought virtual currency?
  • Have you ever pre-ordered a game just for the exclusive items?
  • Have you ever upgraded to a more expensive version of a game just for the exclusive items?
I bet there aren't many of us here who can answer "no" to all of those questions. I would have been able to until this summer, when I pre-ordered Stormblood mostly for the EXP-boosting accessory. Without it, I would have waited until I had read reviews, until I had time to play it properly, and perhaps until the price had dropped a little. That's what I do with every other game.

I know what you'll say: that not all of those things are equally bad. You're right, they're not. But they're all things that didn't exist about a decade ago, which the internet has facilitated, and which I consider to be anti-consumer to some degree. While I blame the publishers first and foremost, they only get away with this stuff because it's profitable. Stop putting your money in and you won't be part of the problem.
Feels bad that I can literally only answer no to 1 of those lol. Which is mostly because I think Pre-Order bonus systems while not manipulative and evil like MTX's and Loot boxes are, are just complete actual horse shit in an age where you can either download the game or unless the game is like some Atlus RPG there's no way it will be sold out in every store.

Not sure if I can count whether or not I did the last one either. I upgraded Overwatch from the base edition to the one with all the free shit in other games, but I bought it with WoW gold in game (ty battlenet tokens!) and I mostly got it for the sick Mercy wings in Diablo 3 lol.


I do think in general "Editions" of games are also complete horse shit in the same vein as Pre-Orders. No fuck you Ubisoft I'm not paying 30$ extra to make Asscreed guy look different in your copy and paste checklist openworld borefest when the content is already on the god damn disc.
 
AKA
The Engineer
#21
My problem is way more the gambling part then anything else. In all the other type of DLC/incentives that you mention (except Loot Boxes), you, the consumer know what you're getting. You can make an intelligent decision as to whether whatever you are buying is really worth that amount of money. Taking away that option when it can be for stuff that would never be made otherwise seems like a lose/lose situation for everyone.

There is a significant number of games that I've played and then specifically bought DLC for it because I wanted the game company to make more money off me because I liked their product (The Talos Principle, Transistor, to name a few). It's a way for me to vote with my wallet, but in the opposite direction then that concept is usually used.
 
#22
They do though - because thanks to loot boxes and DLC and whatnot, they continue to make money after the intial purchase. It makes for higher quality games with more longevity
Highly debateable. For one thing, I wouldn't call a game adding in a grind where there wouldn't previously have been one to encourage "time-saving" microtransactions a higher quality game.

They can't raise the price of games; I'm fairly sure the first AAA game that would be sold at a higher price point without being a special edition (and mind you they sell special editions at a $20 markup at least without it having anything special) would simply not sell as well. At best they manage a package deal, like idk, a GTA with a bonus package of gangster bucks or a gold car; low cost for the manufacturer, high return on investment IF it gets sold.
I'm not sure I buy this as true. And if truly not, they brought that on themselves. Game prices were a lot more flexible back in the day. Not this hard rule on THIS IS WHAT A GAME COSTS. NO MORE. NO LESS.
You say so yourself, most "special editions" have nothing of any actual value, nothing that cost the developer money. So if people are buying them, clearly people would have been willing to spend that on a video game.

Gambling in games isn't new as such, it's a core mechanic in any game with a loot drop chance (MMO's, Diablo, etc); main difference is people paying for a chance to play the gambling game.
That's a big-ass difference, though.

But Jim goes hard on the game that has Cosmetic only Loot boxes that entirely fund FREE Maps, Game modes and Heroes in the game so that you only ever have to buy the base game of Overwatch to get all the real content for free.
It's STILL bullshit that you can only buy the chance to get the cosmetic item you want.

As for Flint's list
  • Have you ever paid for cosmetic DLC? Yes, last year for XIII-2.
  • Have you ever paid for story DLC that you knew, in your heart, should have been included in the game from the start? Not since the very first time I was burned on this, Assassin's Creed II. From then on I knew better. Especially in a Ubisoft game.
  • Have you ever bought a loot box? No
  • Have you ever bought virtual currency? No
  • Have you ever pre-ordered a game just for the exclusive items? Hm,
    probably. Maybe Amano Tifa on Dissida 012?
  • Have you ever upgraded to a more expensive version of a game just for the exclusive items? I say no. The only debateable one would be FFXV I guess, but it was just to also buy Kingsglaive which was actually $5 cheaper than buying it separately
 

Fangu

Great Old One
#23
I don't have much to add except say how much I agree that this milking stuff is utter crap and Jimquisition's take on it makes me cheer loudly. Thanks for linking that first HZD video, Lex. I have quoted it many times since :monster:
I bet there aren't many of us here who can answer "no" to all of those questions.
I can :monster:

The only DLC I ever bought was Colosseum stuff from XIII-2, "Her blue flame" from Valkyria Chronicles, Dragon Age story expansions and The Frozen Wilds. All of them additional content. Well, the XIII-2 stuff is a bit shady, but it is extra boss fights with extra cutscenes that are really challenging plus they didn't really cost that much. I never saw them as content that should have been in the game itself.

As for pre-ordering... I don't really care about the bling. I love my Lightning figurine, my XII Ultimania books that and my used XII limited edition guide that smells like incense, but I have limited room for Stuff and I'd rather have digital copies of my games. As for digital extras, who gives a shit. Why would you want to start out with a weapon that OP's you for the first few hours of the game, and as for extra costumes... I really couldn't care less.

As for RNG, no it's not really truly random, but it's as close as you can get to an experience of random. Close enough to say it's as good as random.

Anyway if we want to get mathematical, not even random is truly random. No I mean it really IS random, don't get me wrong, but if you sample enough tries, you end up with a pattern, which in the end isn't really look random, so... *waits for Flint to go all Math*
 

Geostigma

Pro Adventurer
AKA
gabe
#24
It's STILL bullshit that you can only buy the chance to get the cosmetic item you want.
But you can straight up by the skin you want with in game gold you earn from the loot boxes over time though.

I will agree that it is bull shit in the case of Seasonal/Event Skins that are only in the rotation for a limited amount of time and are sold for a higher gold price than regular skins generally. This is absolutely predatory and definitely drives purchases of loot boxes from people looking to try and get as many of the limited skins as possible.

But for every other skin you can straight up buy it, and with the reduction in duplicates they added to the game several months ago amassing a hefty arsenal of skins is pretty easy.


Don't get me wrong I think any loot box (even Overwatches) is predatory. I wasn't really trying to justify Overwatches system more so that I just thought it was really really weird for Jim to go super hard on Overwatch when IMO they might have the fairest version of the system in the game industry, while he gave Valve a 10 second wag of the finger and pass when they have arguably the worst systems and are the grandaddy of this entire mess.


edit:

Also Force to add to your point regarding game prices not changing but games becoming more expensive to make.

When was the last time we could effectively pay the base price and get everything the game had to offer? PS2? Early PS3 maybe?

It's true games did get more expensive to make, but Developers and Publishers also increased the price of games,They just obfuscated that price behind "additional" content. Yes the "Base" game is still 60$ but the game is being offered piecemeal style as a service from the get go and your sure as shit not going to experience everything the developers envisioned during development for 60$
 
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#25
"Her blue flame" from Valkyria Chronicles
This was a great piece of DLC.

King Steve said:
But you can straight up by the skin you want with in game gold you earn from the loot boxes over time though.
Not good enough. If I can spend real money over and above the cost of the game, for something that doesn't affect the gameplay, I should be able to directly purchase the thing I want. I'm fine with being able to buy them with in-game currency with coins gained through gameplay, but real money should be direct. And yeah, I knew you weren't justifying it.
 
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