In the wake of China forcing Blizzard to publicly announce the drop rates for their loot boxes, South Korea followed suit, and it seems that the same rates apply for all countries where the game is playable. So now players can work out exactly what chances they have at landing legendaries or epics when opening those highly coveted lootboxes.
The law was mainly aimed at freemium pay-to-win mobile games which thrive in China, however it wasn’t restricted to them and so Blizzard’s shooter is also bound by the new law. Initially, the rates they announced were assumed to be different from other countries, since it is habitual for game developers to maintain different policies in China than other nations due to the generally more restrictive laws there.
Blizzard themselves, for example, operate a microtransaction shop for Diablo 3 in the Chinese region that isn’t available in any other region. Players can buy additional cosmetic items for both their characters and their profiles, like portrait frames, transmogrification recipes, and animated wings. Many of these are not available in any shape or form in the other regions.
However, once the same Overwatch lootbox rates were announced for South Korea as well, we think it’s safe to say that every region worldwide shares drop rates in Overwatch. Though Blizzard only disclosed averages for how many boxes you’ll need to open to get either epic or legendary items, fans have done the math to give us a percentage probability as well.
On average, you’ll receive one epic item every 5.5 lootboxes, and a legendary will drop every 13.5 lootboxes. These rates translate to an 18.19% chance to land an epic per lootbox and a mere 7.4% chance to land a legendary. Neither are particularly high numbers, unfortunately, though fans have learned to expect as much.
Rares, as opposed to what the name would have you believe, drop 100% of the time, meaning you’re guaranteed to one in each lootbox. Not so rare, actually. Each lootbox will, as a rule, contain four drops of which at least one will be that 100% rare item, or of higher quality.
These rates have been released amid news that the lootbox system will be revamped in Overwatch, in order to reduce the probability of rolling duplicate items that you already own. Overwatch Game Director Jeff Kaplan recently addressed the issue in a developer video, and the new system is already live on the PTR.
Basically, the current system doesn’t discriminate against duplicates, meaning there is an equal chance to roll something you already have as for something you don’t. Naturally, as you gain more and more skins, sprays and voice-lines, the potential pool of items you don’t own gets smaller and smaller, drastically increasing the number of dupes. Sure, you can convert dupes to credits, but it is a diminishing return.
The new system sees any item you own significantly reduce the drop probability of another one of the same item, but it doesn’t become 0% either. This new system will still have players see dupes, but far less frequently. Of course, the reduction of duplicates would also mean the reduction of credit income, which is something the developers don’t want, so the income from every duplicate sold will be jacked up.
We’ll make sure that your credit intake will be at least the same, if not more. – Jeff Kaplan, Overwatch Game Director
This, coupled with precise knowledge of lootbox drop rates will certainly do much to dissipate the frustration surrounding lootboxes amongst the community. As the main goal for many players is getting complete items for their heroes, this system is bound to be the one with the most criticisms and controversies linked to it, so these changes and transparency is a great step forward.