Some points of this article may be out of my scope of knowledge
Over the past several months there has been significant focus on gambling within Video Games which has led to the entire Lootbox system being put under scrutiny. This has led to additional transparency from Apple for disclosing true rolling/summoning rates.
In essence, the Lootbox system involves the opening of randomized rewards that can either advance your own level of progression or are simply cosmetic in nature.
While cosmetic items are less detrimental overall, it is the notion that you can be gated by luck in progressing through a game that has drawn negative attention as it can be considered a negative form of gambling, especially when most of these games are targeting minors.
This article will attempt to summarize my thoughts on this topic along with my predictions for how this will impact Puzzle and Dragons moving forward.
–video coming soon–
What are Lootboxes?
Lootboxes are an umbrella term for “boxes” that contain randomized in game loot/goodies. Gatcha-style games is another term that utilizes a Lootbox System and enables players to acquire cards to use as they play through. Regardless, the type of loot that is distributed varies from game to game, but can be broadly categorized as either Cosmetic or Progression-Oriented.
While the concept of Lootboxes is not new, they have now become a monetized item throughout many popular games. Unfortunately, it is this monetized concept that has drawn a negative light on the gaming industry as it is thought to encourage gambling while having a portion of their audience being minors. This has led to changes being made within Europe and Apple.
Cosmetic rewards from Lootboxes are anything that will alter the appearance of your characters or game. Cosmetic items have no impact on your performance and will not help you progress through the game, you will just look prettier.
Overall, Cosmetic Lootboxes are the healthier form as they are not required to excel and are purely for vanity purposes. Games such as Overwatch only utilize Cosmetic Lootboxes and the negative backlash has been small by comparison as you do not need them to advance and improve.
Progression-Oriented rewards include anything that can alter or improve your game play and overall ability to progress. This can include, but not limited to, weapons, new characters, gear, or in game currency to buy new loot.
Compared to Cosmetic Lootboxes, it is the Progression-Oriented ones that have drawn negative attention across the gaming community.
This is because these Lootboxes are usually gated by a Premium Currency (Magic Stones in PAD) that have either a small trickle or are unavailable outside of purchasing them. This is a double edged sword as you have to either get exceptionally lucky or pay more money to progress/stay relevant in the current meta. Furthermore, because of the random nature of Lootboxes, you do not know what you are going to get and you can spend large sums of money and not actually receive your target item. This can naturally lead to feelings of frustration or continuously feeling like you are missing key aspects to a game.
While the concept of Progression-Oriented Lootboxes is not new (it is the business model for all Gatcha games such as PAD), it began to draw negative attention in Europe and can be largely attributed to EA Games and their latest Star Wars Battlefront game. This Star Wars game had a massive paywall that gated players from accessing in game content. This level of greed combined with a mainstream franchise inevitably led to changes within the European gaming industry.
Europe has begun to crackdown on gambling within the gaming industry and their prime target is Lootboxes and their variants. Now, it is my understanding that they are targeting those that only grant Progression-Oriented rewards as these are required to succeed within the game.
It is most likely these changes that have signaled the end of Magic Stone purchasing in Europe and GungHo is either going to shut down the Europe server or completely remodel the IAP-structure to comply with these laws. With that being said, I have no clue nor idea what will happen with PADEU.
Apple is one of the primary platforms for mobile games and they are now forcing developers to disclose the true rolling/summoning rates within their games. This is important because it will enable players to make an informed decision as to whether or not they should roll or IAP.
From the company’s point of view, this is a major problem as they do not wish to disclose the true rates as it will most likely result in fewer people participating. We have been able to guesstimate the rolling rates within PAD based on thousands of rolls and is probably quite accurate, but is never confirmed by GungHo.
As a result of the Apple changes, PAD is now undergoing a REM Renewal.
Puzzle and Dragons REM Renewal
Taking all of the above points into consideration, GungHo has unveiled a REM Renewal across all regions at the same time. From past experience, it is rare to ever see NA/EU receive new content at the same time as JP as we are almost always 2-3 months behind. Thus, it is safe to assume that this stems from the Lootbox Controversy.
The REM Renewal does come as a bit of a surprise and is GungHo’s answer to disclosing true rolling rates. Players have never known the actual odds of acquire a particular card, but were able to guesstimate through large sample sizes. However, it is a general agreement that it is challenging to acquire the better cards. As such, the Renewal will try to put on a better front by altering the odds before transparency becomes mandatory.
Furthermore, various 5* Godfest Exclusives will now be restructured into normal 5* status that will rotate within the REM moving forward. This comes as a bit of a surprise as the term GFE may become a thing of the past and we have no clue as to how that will impact their rolling rates. While most 5* GFE have become lackluster, some still retain relevancy such as Green Odin , Saria , Urd , and Verdandi
As a result, Gold becomes the new Silver as it is my belief that the 6* GFE will retain their elusiveness and still be challenging to acquire.
The core line up of the Rare Egg Machine will rotate periodically and Highlight different cards.
In addition to the changes within the Rare Egg Machine, GungHo is now releasing a new format to deliver Godfests. These new events still retain the name Godfest but instead of stating increased rates, they use the word Highlight to showcase featured cards along with being the only time you can roll 6* GFE.
As a result, Godfests will now use the Renewed REM compromising the core of rolls with the 6* GFE sprinkled in as the “Highlight” with no indication of increased rolling rates (some will still be missing and will also follow a rotational pattern).
Furthermore, cards that are not included in their long list will not be able to be pulled during these events. This line up is not permanent and will rotate around periodically.
Judging from the list of highlighted cards, we will be able to acquire what were 5* GFE, certain Pantheon cards, along with miscellaneous cards that no one really wants.
It is my belief that future events will follow this rough template:
- Featured 5* Pantheons that will rotate
- 6* Non-GFE that will rotate
- Junky cards will always remain (those at the bottom of the list)
- Some 6* GFE will only be available during their Godfest events and will also rotate
This new format will condense the pool of available monsters so you should in theory have a higher hit rate for a card you are chasing. At the same time, this will also improve or at least create the illusion of better rolling rates just in time for the transparency from Apple.
The official Godfest post from GHNA can be found HERE.
I am not sure how I will be delivering my Godfest reviews moving forward due to the formatting change as we have no idea if these events will be worthwhile.
The landscape of Puzzle and Dragons is quickly changing and this REM Renewal comes at a time when I was actually in the middle of writing a new article about how PAD has changed over my 1,500+ day career (still a work in progress and coming soon).
The clampdown on Lootboxes along with rolling rate transparency will all have an interesting impact on Puzzle and Dragons. However, I do not foresee an improvement of rolling rates, just adjustments to give the illusion of better odds.
Let me know what you think about the changes in the comments below.
Finally, I do not know the future of PADEU so asking about that will do no good.
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