Blizzard has removed the option to buy lucky dip loot boxes with real money from Heroes of the Storm.
MOBA Heroes of the Storm currently offers various ways for players to purchase boosts, bundles and Heroes, including three different types of in-game currency: Gold, Gems, and Shards. While all are rewarded in-game as you progress, Gems are primarily exchanged for real-life money, and its this currency that has been affected by the changes.
While the patch notes (thanks, RPS) about the Private Test Server update doesn’t go into any details about why the developer has made the change, it clearly states that “loot chests are no longer available for Gem purchase” and “rare loot chests are now available for Gold purchase”. This means that while you can continue to exchange your hard-earned cash for Gems and spend them on a selection of in-game items, Blizzard will no longer be accepting your real-life money in exchange for “gambling” on unspecified rewards in loot boxes.
While loot crates and microtransactions have been an industry staple for a number of years now, the loot mechanics in games like Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Overwatch has drawn the attention of gambling regulators. Many countries like Belgium and the Netherlands have already taken action in relation to gambling laws, and now the United States Federal Trade Commission has indicated it will be specifically investigating how loot boxes impact children. This prompted executive director of the IGDA, Jen MacLean, to issue an industry-wide call-to-action.
In other Blizzard news, the Overwatch developer has shared details of how it has promoted a more positive and supportive culture amongst its playerbase, stating there has been a 40 per cent reduction in disruptive and antisocial behaviour since its endorsement and LFG (“looking for group”) initiatives were launched.