Overwatch is about to roll out a big change to its leveling system, and that has some players feeling uneasy. Blizzard, they fear, wants people to pony up for more loot boxes, so they’re turning freebies into rarities.
According to Blizzard, though, that’s not really what’s happening at all. Let’s break it down: the new leveling system will not reset the amount of experience needed to level up after you hit 100. Previously, the experience curve would basically start over each 100 levels, after you got promoted into what is essentially a new tier. Players could then move quickly through the first 23 levels or so and drown in a Scrooge-McDuck-esque sea of loot boxes.
The change sounds like a raw deal until you consider the way Blizzard is implementing it. Instead of making the first 23 post-promotion levels take longer, they’re leaving them untouched and slightly reducing the time it takes to hit higher post-100 levels. They’re making it a consistent 20k XP across the board. In a forum post, game director Jeff Kaplan explained the rationale behind the change:
“This change has nothing to do with a desire on our part to drive more or less interest in loot box sales,” he wrote in a forum post. “This change is to prevent players from binge behavior or halting play... and to prevent players who are not close to prestiging from feeling like they somehow missed out on ‘bonus’ items. This change exists to add levity to the leveling experience.”
Some players, you see, have taken to leveling until they prestige and then stopping altogether until big events. That way, they’re pretty much sitting on a loot box geyser the second an event kicks off. You might be shocked to hear, however, that Blizzard doesn’t want people to stop playing Overwatch.
“We want you playing Overwatch or not playing Overwatch when you want/don’t want to,” explained Kaplan. “That’s the entire reason for this change... nothing else.”
This change, then, should result in people getting loot boxes slightly more often, rather than less.
“Overall, the EXP change should be a benefit to the player base,” said Kaplan. “Had this change been in effect for the Halloween Terror event we would have given out MORE loot boxes. More players would have gotten more stuff.”