Loser Lootboxes – The Boss Fight

The concept of my digital artefact was to first explain what a loot box is and then after the concept has been explained, educate an audience about the dangers of using the loot box system. The main inspiration of doing this was after my young niece spent $100’s of dollars on an app in the app store buying in-game currency to purchase loot boxes, without knowing how it all worked.

I first set out to make three videos which would highlight how each game uses loot boxes differently, for good or for bad. After doing the first video and receiving my feedback after my pitch, I realised that this wasn’t where I wanted my digital artifact to go. I wanted to educate, so making three separate videos opening boxes wasn’t going to explain the full scope of the dangers of loot boxes. From there, I set out to make a video that actually explained the mechanics, percentages and real-world issues that loot boxes can create.

I wanted to create a casual, realistic video that is meant to start conversation through a non-scripted environment. I recorded my first video using OBS, screen recording myself in the League of Legends client, explaining what each loot box does and the rewards that are received. I then purchased in-game currency and showed myself opening these loot boxes and showcasing what I got. I believe that this video accurately shows how loot boxes work and further concretes my points that I made in the video. Actually showing myself opening these loot boxes also created a realistic setting. I then set out to record my second video, once again using OBS, and showcased my Pitch, Beta and background research as a crux to firstly highlight my research and progress and to secondly once again create a non-scripted environment in hopes to spark conversation around this topic.

Overall I think that from my pitch to my beta was the biggest reality check that I had throughout this project. The comments I received in my pitch made me realise that I could do so much more with my project, while also making me realise I needed to rein in the saddles a little bit. Going from three videos to two made my work load a lot easier and also inspired me to make my second video a lot differently. Furthermore, my pitch idea had a lot of limitations, where my beta ideas gave me a lot of freedom to do what I wanted. The only thing that I wish I could change was the time of my first video, it went on for far too long as there is so much information to cover. It limited the time of my second video, where I wish I could talk about more research about this topic, however, I am still glad that my first video had more time as it was the video that I wanted to spark conversation from.


Part 1 – Cover League of Legend’s loot box system specifically

Part 2 – Covering loot boxes in general

The Psychology behind Sims – Ethics

This blog post is in conjunction with two other posts written by Jasmine and Mikayla which further explore the psychology behind the Sims.

View the Prezzi which summarises the information within this and my teams blog posts

It’s no secret that we all go a little crazy with power when we are thrown into the worlds of ‘The Sims’. But why? Why is it that as soon as we get the chance we decide to mess with the lives of our Sims? Are we just doing it for fun or is their a deeper physiological reason? In this blog post we will analyse some (okay – they are pretty funny) examples of reddit user’s despicable actions within ‘The Sims’ and try to give some physiological reasoning behind it. 

Before we start to pick apart specific cases, it’s important to understand a broad sense of why we start to play god in simulation games such as ‘The Sims’. Adam Lobel who not only is a game designer but is also a specialist in social psychology explains that “some people will play the sims because they love the idea of being a nurturer, other people might play the sims because they like to experiment with things and break boundaries.” Additionally, the vice article that features Lobel “Why Did We All Want To Kill Our Sims?” further explores this concept. The article highlights that ‘The Sims’ is a way to play with a side of yourself that you never would be able to see in a normal, realistic setting. ‘The Sims’ offers players a chance to explore outside of their personality traits, in other words, allowing an otherwise normally empath, to experiment being a narcissist without any real word repercussions. Furthermore, it’s also important to explain that being mean to your sims doesn’t necessarily mean you want to make your sims life a living hell. It’s also about being curious as to what would happen within the game, for example, a player may delete the ladder inside the pool (a classic) not because they want to see the sim drown, but because they want to see what happens as a result of this. How long will the sim swim for? What happens when the sims die? Who mourns for the sim? Can the sim find another way out? Curiosity is a rampant force within the sims.

So now that we know the general reason of why we like to play god within the sims, it’s time to analyse some comments and find out whether people are just curious or want to explore the narcissist side of themselves.


 

Firstly – I’m sure this user could have found an easier way of getting the wife, burning down the house seems a tad excessive. Just a tad. From a psychological standpoint and using what we’ve learnt from Lobel, this is an interesting analysis. The player definitely abused his power within the sims and as previously mentioned, the player probably didn’t need to burn down the house and kill the husband to achieve his goal. This is an example of someone exploring their narcissistic side. However, it is also an example of someone simply curious as to what would happen. This is because the player never mentioned wanting to get rid of the children, just the husband. So the player presumably burnt the house down due to being curious as to what would happen, even though it was the harder option. 

First of all, that’s a mood. Secondly, unlike the last post, there is no curiosity here. The player knew what would happen when the sim got set on fire, nothing else could come of this (hopefully). This is a great demonstration of the player playing god within the sims and fully exploring outside their personality traits. The combination of these two things results in the player deciding on an action that although is messed up, it is a great example of the narcissistic side of this particular psychology. In a normal setting, the player would be viewed as a murderer, but due to the nature of the sims, we know that the player isn’t actually a bad person, they simply are just exploring themselves. Which in a weird way is totally normal in relation to the sims.

This is an example of someone using the game as a platform of curiosity. They didn’t do this specific action to kill, they simply wanted to see what would happen through causation. In this case, the causation involved killing the sims but that wasn’t the goal. After this causation, the player discovered that the sims would die of fright from the ghosts, quenching their curiosity.

Another example of pure curiosity. The user didn’t intentionally forget plumbing, so it wasn’t done narcissitically. However, since the user didn’t add the plumbing back in and instead wanted to see what would happen without the plumbing, this tells us that he was simply testing the boundaries of the game


 

As you can see, even the most simple and the most psychotic choices in the sims are somewhat justified or at least can be explained through an analysis of the social psychology of the sims. At the end of the day, the sims is a sandbox game. It is made to let the player make choices without restrain and encourages pure freedom. More than likely players can and will make questionable choices not because they truly desire to, but more because the option is there and we, as humans, are curious creatures. Although it may seem messed up from the point of the view of the sim (they must really, really think you are crazy) in reality, it’s honestly quite normal for a human to want to know cause and effect.

 

A reflection of comments – Round 2, fight!

Comment 1 – Adrian

adrian comment

Summary of individuals project –

Adrian’s project focus is the exploration of elitism culture within gaming, the changes of this culture and where it is heading. Originally, he had planned to look at this concept in regards to the industrial side of gaming, but decided to change this as it was a bit too niche, which is a good direction to head. 

 

Self Reflection – 

I commended him for changing his focus on his project as it’s not something to be taken lightly, and it requires quite a bit of work to make a change this drastic work. I touched on how this change is definitely a positive move, as it allowed him to explore far more information and concepts than his original idea. To back up this concept, I gave him my first piece of advice which is the concept of World of Warcraft: Classic. I gave him this idea as it fits perfectly with his new direction, it is also a very popular topic at the moment in gaming. Finally, it opens up and avenue for him to explore and compare the original game (which fits into his scope of ‘elitism gaming’) and the current version of the game (which is viewed as much easier and more casual than Classic World of Warcraft). 

Additionally, I recommended that he looked at this concept in more games, as remastering seems to be a current trend and fits in with his new scope perfectly. Finally, to help him get started I linked an article that compares the classic game to the current game to further help him gain additional perspective.

I believe my idea and source will be incredibly useful for Adrian as I am a huge gamer myself and the idea of exploring World of Warcraft is too good to pass up. Additionally, it also allows a goldmine of information as many games are starting to follow this trend. Although, I feel like I could of linked a few more articles that touched on this topic, and it would of been optimal to link an academic source but due to the topic I couldn’t successfully find an article that was useful.

Suggestions – 

https://www.extremetech.com/gaming/298045-world-of-warcraft-classic-versus-retail-part-1-which-early-game-plays-better

 

Comment 2 – Jack

jack comment

Summary of individuals project –

Jack’s project focuses on micro transactions within video games and how they effect the game. Originally he was going to set this out as a podcast series, but changed this as it was too time consuming. He is now focusing on using Reddit as his format.

Self Reflection – 

Jack’s project is incredibly similar to mine, as he is focusing on micro transactions and I’m focusing on micro transactions within loot boxes. Due to this, it is helpful for both of us to give each other feedback and ideas as they impact both of our projects. As someone who has used Reddit for around 8 years now, I suggested some subreddits that he could post in to gain further traction in, focusing on the broader ones for the most optimal results.

I gave him some articles that I myself used for my project as both of our projects focus on incredibly similar things. I am happy with these articles as they really have some great information in them, they are academic and I know for a fact that they are reliable as I have previously used them.

Suggestions – 

https://heinonline-org.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/HOL/Page?collection=journals&handle=hein.journals/saclr59&id=166&men_tab=srchresults

https://heinonline-org.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/wsulr46&div=9&collection=journals

 

Comment 3 – Mikayla

mikayla comment

Summary of individuals project –

Mikayla’s project focuses on the culture of girl live streamers and how twitch culture perceives them. Originally she was going to format her project using video essays, but has since shifted this to blog posts.

Self Reflection – 

In terms of her transition from video essays to blog posts I agreed with her that it was probably for a best. Judging from her pitch and beta she has a great understanding of her layout and is incredibly good at putting it into words over text. This is a strong asset that would not have shone if she focused on digital essays.

As someone who has watched Twitch for years, I gave her some live streamers to watch and research on as they have been streaming for years and will have experience in what she wants to focus on. Finally, to further help her I gave her the following articles which focus on harassment in a female live streaming perspective, hopefully giving her further perspective on this topic.

Suggestions – 

https://www.dexerto.com/entertainment/pokimane-hilarious-warning-thirsty-twitch-viewers-579386

https://www.dexerto.com/entertainment/pokimane-slams-viewer-who-criticized-for-wearing-leggings-stream-346000

Loot Boxes – A new direction

Originally, the goal of my digital artifact was to educate gamers about loot boxes. This involved making a series of video essays that involved me opening up loot boxes on various different games, comparing them and then explaining how it worked. Here is a link to my pitch that explains it into a little bit more detail.

Due to the comments that have been made on my project pitch, this has since changed drastically. While I am still doing video essays, my format and information that I am presenting will be drastically different. I touched on this in my beta pitch but I’ll go into a bit more detail in this post.

My first video will still follow my original idea, and luckily I have already filmed and am currently in the process of editing this video. It highlights the different variants of loot-boxes in League Of Legends and literally shows the opening of these packs and what rewards I received. I’m also going to explore the statistics behind these loot boxes and what the actual odds are.

Image result for loot boxes

My second video originally was just a repeat of this idea but applied in another game. After Mikayla’s comment she made me realise I could be doing a lot more with these videos. Due to her comment, the second video will involve explaining to viewers the mechanics of the loot box and why companies choose to use them. Additionally, Jack’s comment also was a great idea, so I’m going to go into the effects of gambling (chemical reaction in the brain) and how that effects children. Furthermore, I’ll also go into how businesses are profiting using this product.

Image result for loot boxes

A third video is being planned, which involves interviewing a younger audience who purchases loot boxes vs an older audience. However, this may not be completed due to time constrictions.

With this new direction I am taking, I am going to have to research particular topics including:

 

References:

Castillo, D.J., 2019. Unpacking the Loot Box: How Gaming’s Latest Monetization System Flirts with Traditional Gambling Methods. Santa Clara L. Rev. 165–202.
Hong, E., 2019. Loot Boxes: Gambling for the Next Generation. W. St. U. L. Rev. 61–84.
Riot Discloses Loot Box Odds For League Of Legends [WWW Document], 2018. . Kotaku Australia. URL https://www.kotaku.com.au/2018/02/riot-discloses-loot-box-odds-for-league-of-legends/ (accessed 9.18.19).
Why loot boxes in video games are here to stay, 2018. . Metro. URL https://metro.co.uk/2018/04/27/why-loot-boxes-in-video-games-are-here-to-stay-7500730/ (accessed 9.18.19).

A review of my review – the road to improvement.

Comment 1 –  

https://epazarkoski.wordpress.com/2019/08/15/underrepresentation-of-female-characters-preorder-now/

Summary of Pitch –  Emma’s pitch is focused on the under representation of females in video games, and the unfortunate reality that when they are in video games they are at risk of being sexualised.

Contribution –  I provided positive feedback in regards to the information that she presented and how she presented it. In particular the statistics being a really strong point of interest and she further cemented this by providing pictures that allowed the reader to be able to view the information easily.

Engagement – I engaged with the post by providing personal experience with her topic, in which I stated “As someone who plays video games constantly it’s not something that has gone un-noticed, however your pitch really made me aware of how prevalent it is.”

Usefulness – I pointed out to her that she was on the right track in regards to using an example of a female protagonist that is being sexualised, but, I reccomended she uses a different one as she was using Lara Croft. I explain “This is because although previously she was sexualised, in the new games ‘Rise of the Tomb Raider’ and ‘Shadow of the Tomb Raider’ this sexualisation isn’t as nearly as prevalent. The developers opted to give the protagonist long pants and cover her stomach (leaving only her arms exposed as it’s a singlet)” I also provided a link to an article that has great examples of sexualisation in video games.

What I could do better – I feel like I could of used an article that linked more towards the under-representation of females in video games as opposed to the sexualisation in them, as she seemed to be more focused on the under-representation of females in video games.

comment 1Comment 2 – 

https://nicolepapadimas.wordpress.com/2019/08/15/the-fix-up/

Summary of Pitch – Nicole’s aim is to explore different re-makes or re-masters of previous childhood games and the effect of nostalgia.

Contribution – I provided positive feedback by highlighting that “The idea of exploring game re-makes is interesting as it’s something that has only recently begun to take place, which works in your advantage as it’s also a hot topic!” Although I also explained that she runs the risk of being slandered for false information due to some people being die-hard fans of the game. She is going against a very tough, educated audience.

Engagement – The article I suggested she looked at was useful but I also recommended it because I’ve played the game that the article suggested. I instantly knew it would be useful for her as it features something that no other re-make features.

Usefulness – The article I recommended features an addition that no other re-make has done yet, the ability to switch between the re-mastered graphics and the original graphics as your playing the game.

What I could do better – I felt like I could of given her more positive feedback, as the feedback I gave came from a good place but it wasn’t as useful as I hoped.

Comment 2

 

Comment 3 – 

https://christinasblog976380930.wordpress.com/2019/08/13/violent-video-games-triggering-aggression/comment-page-1/?unapproved=88&moderation-hash=f98a33f1f6f8618a1807074938a3523c#comment-88

Summary of Pitch –  Christina focused on the argument that violent video games can cause violence in the real world, discussing both sides, for and against.

Contribution –  I showed my appreciation for her being un-biased in this situation and explained that having an un-biased stance allowed for people of both sides of the argument can read and contribute.

Engagement – I used to play a game called “DayZ” which recently got banned in Australia. Using my personal experience I linked her to an interesting article about it.

Usefulness – I suggested that she space her paragraphs and pictures out as the article was quite a shock when I first clicked on it. I also highlighted that she didn’t provide a source on one of the most important pieces of information.

What I could do better – I could of linked an article that is more catered towards her pitch. The article is interesting and she could relate some of it to her DA but I could of found a better one after reviewing the comment.

Comment 3

 

Loot boxes – Are you in luck or just a loser?

Are you in luck or just a loser?

Image result for loot boxes

Image via Techspot

Loot boxes have recently become a rampant force in video games, but have only recently been popularised by the current era of popular games. Unfortunately, they are quickly becoming known as a ‘cash grab’ by many gamers, given their un-ethical nature that many gaming companies have forced upon them.

Why gamers hate loot boxes

Although loot boxes can have valuable items that make the purchase of the loot box worth it, most of the time they don’t. As a result of this, many gamers view loot boxes as gambling, which isn’t at all what they want to see in a video game. If gambling being in a video game isn’t bad enough, companies further abuse this system, making a single loot box incredibly hard to obtain just by playing the game, essentially making the purchase of loot boxes via micro transactions much more appealing. This means that to get items they want, players may have to invest lots of money in multiple loot boxes until they hit the jackpot.

Image via Geekwire

The journal article by Zendle, D ‘Video game loot boxes are linked to problem gambling: Results of a large-scale survey’ showcases a survey with 7,422 participates, aiming to find the similarities in non-problem gamblers with problem gamblers in the context of a loot box system. The results showed that “the gambling-like features of loot boxes are specifically responsible for the observed relationship between problem gambling and spending on loot boxes”. This result indicates that the loot box system could act as a gateway problem for gambling. To further support this, another journal article by Macey, J ‘eSports, skins and loot boxes: Participants, practices and problematic behaviour associated with emergent forms of gambling’ ran an international survey which held similar results, with Macey stating “Participation in gambling, and gambling-like activities, was found to be 67%, with rates of problematic and potentially problematic gambling in the sample being 50.34%.”

A large portion of gamers are in the younger demographic, which is even more concerning with this information being brought into view and is also another reason why older gamers are so against the loot box system.

Image via Gameinformer

It is clear that companies know exactly what they are doing and the effects of loot boxes, however, it is also a major source of revenue for them, generating $30 billion dollars in 2018.

References

What Are Loot Boxes? Gaming’s Big New Problem, Explained | Tom’s Guide [WWW Document], n.d. URL https://www.tomsguide.com/us/what-are-loot-boxes-microtransactions,news-26161.html (accessed 8.15.19).
Video game loot boxes are linked to problem gambling: Results of a large-sc…: UOW Library [WWW Document], n.d. URL https://eds-b-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/eds/detail/detail?vid=0&sid=986b005d-7ded-460c-9626-caf04d30105e%40sessionmgr103&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmU%3d#AN=000451054800024&db=edswsc (accessed 8.15.19).
eSports, skins and loot boxes: Participants, practices and problematic behaviour associated with emergent forms of gambling – Joseph Macey, Juho Hamari, 2019 [WWW Document], n.d. URL https://journals-sagepub-com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/doi/10.1177/1461444818786216 (accessed 8.15.19).

 

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