April 18

Geek Stuff | Gimme The Loot!

In the past year, the concept of loot boxes has risen and fallen only to rear itself once more. Some of us think they’re great while a larger portion of people think they’re the worst possible thing a game company can do to its customers. Before I get into my personal opinion, let’s start at the beginning. I’m sure by now you’ve asked yourself “What the hell is a loot box and why should I care? Is that like Loot Crate, the company that use to put together really cool mystery gift boxes?”

In a way, yes, but instead of getting randomly curated pop culture products, loot boxes are a form of micro transactions. Micro transactions, in the gaming world, are digital items that you pay real world money for. These items range widely depending on the game you are playing but what they all boil down to is paying real money for a randomized item that could be really great or really terrible (like you want an AK-47 for your solider in Call of Duty but you end up with a brown helmet instead). The upside is not all micro transactions cost money, you could grind away at whatever you are playing until you earn enough in-game money to buy a loot box and be done with it. The item you receive might be garbage but who cares cause you didn’t spend anything real. Unfortunately, not all people have the patience for level grinding and would rather pay outright for the chance at a gold level pick-axe. Like all of our societal problems, this one starts and ends with opinionated people who don’t want to take responsibility for their own actions.

Over the course of the last year, companies have come under fire from all walks of life calling loot boxes immoral, a money grab and dishonest among other nastier things. And while most of these people are cry babies who want to complain because they bought way too many loot boxes with real world money (check out the article Kotaku wrote about some dipshit kid who spend over 10K on loot boxes), companies have been bending over backwards to try and accommodate gamers who have problems with game companies making money past the initial 60 dollars you pay for the game. EA originally had micro transactions in Star Wars Battlefront 2 until enough people complained and they removed them all together. EA is bringing them back (thank god) but this time around you can only spend in-game money on their brand of loot box. The latest game to introduce loot boxes is Animal Crossing for iOS. Kotaku already had one of their flunkies write an article about how terrible this is, but honestly, is it? Is it wrong that game companies want to continue making money on a property that took them forever to produce and will take even longer to support? Nope! Is it immoral to offer people a hard way and a quick way of doing things? Not at all. Are these companies guilty of creating an addiction machine that is liable to ruin people with gambling problems? Naaaaah! All you have to do is not buy into it, that’s all. Every single game that has been outfitted with loot boxes has the option to buy them with earned in-game money, so stick to the plan and you’ll never go wrong.

If you’re one of the many people who wasted their money because they wanted to try and get ahead of everyone else, you have no one to blame but yourself. You’re well aware of the randomized chances of getting something good and even after getting crap box after crap box you still buy into it because you don’t want to spend honest time working towards that one item that will give you the edge on the competition. Like Verruca Salt, you want it now! And to the parents who think game companies are evil for this practice, how about you take 5 minutes to investigate the game you just bought Little Johnny Good Student because you know damn well they have no concept of money and will drain whatever bank account you thoughtlessly linked to their system.

So yeah, that’s my two cents. You have nobody to blame but yourself for getting caught up in loot box madness and I suggest instead of complaining about EA or Blizzard or Nintendo or Microsoft or Insomniac or Activision or Epic Games or Ubisoft, you take a hard look at yourself and remember, it’s called a grind for a reason.

-DD

 

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April 3

It’s Always Gully In British Columbia

What does a man, some pepperoni and three dozen seagulls have in common?

It’s a dreary Tuesday here in Baltimore. I’m sitting at my desk (day jobs suck) reading the news while I wait for a new pile of work to come in when I see the most random title on The Takeout:

If You Read Nothing Else Today, Read How Seagulls and Pepperoni Got A Man Banned From a Hotel

This led me to a CBC link with far more information than Kate Bernot had supplied. Seventeen years ago, a man was staying in British Columbia, at a hotel called The Fairmont Empress for a business meeting. Like all us kindhearted foodies, Nick Burchill brought a suitcase full of Brothers Pepperoni along with him for his friends who don’t get to dine on the cured meat regularly. Thinking that the meats would spoil without refrigeration, Nick placed the pepperoni near an open window in the hopes that the cold air would provide some sort of support. What happened next is like something out of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie ‘The Birds” if it had been directed by Mel Brooks.

Burchill left only to return several hours later to a room full of hungry hungry seagulls, ravaging the Nova Scotian delicacy. The room was destroyed, the gulls were belligerent and at least one member of the cleaning crew went home feeling queasy. Burchill was allowed to stay for the remainder of his trip but his boss received a letter a few days later explaining that his employee would not be allowed to stay at The Empress again.

Now, seventeen years later, after making an in-person apology and a gift of Brothers Pepperoni, the ban has been lifted and Mr. Burchill is allowed to stay at The Empress once more. I imagine the new management made a crack about how many guests he’s allowed to have stay with him.

To read the whole story in all of it’s silly glory, here is the link to the CBC article. What do you think? Personally, I’d rather have gulls in my room than a flock of no good pigeons.

-CCC

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