Despite Outcry, Blizzard Says Overwatch Loot Box Drop Rates Haven't Changed

Illustration for article titled Despite Outcry, Blizzard Says Overwatch Loot Box Drop Rates Haven't Changed

If you ask Overwatch players, the most recent seasonal event, Year of the Rooster, had some damn good skins and some damn heinous drop rates for those skins. Blizzard, however, insists that they haven’t touched those dials in months.


I’ve seen a number of threads on the Overwatch forums about what appears to be a reduced rate for skin drops. People are pissed, and when Year of the Rooster first started, I had the same problem:

I didn’t unlock a single skin until I’d opened ten more loot boxes, and I only had my first spot of decent luck (read: multiple epics and legendaries) a couple days ago. Even then, I bought 15 boxes and only got a couple solid skins. However, my Overwatch show co-host Heather Alexandra purchased around the same number near the beginning of the event, and she nearly got buried by an avalanche of legendary gold. Other websites have conducted more scientific analyses, and while some have found that nothing’s changed, others report changes to epics and legendaries, as well as duplicates.

Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan recently addressed people’s concerns, saying that Blizzard hasn’t tweaked loot box drop rates between events. “The drop rates for Summer Games, Halloween Terror, Winter Wonderland and Year of the Rooster are all the same,” he wrote on Overwatch’s forums.

And yeah, sure, it’s Jeff Kaplan, so he’s probably telling the truth, but there’s still room for doubt given the results people are reporting. The easiest solution to this problem would be something people have been clamoring for Blizzard to do for ages: release the damn numbers behind loot box drop rates. Would it open the game up to some kind of exploit? Maybe. But as is, we’re basically gambling without knowing our odds, and it’s all kinda scummy.

Of course, this business practice is hardly a Blizzard-exclusive thing. It’s so pervasive that China will soon start forcing game creators to disclose odds on “all virtual items and services that can be drawn/forge on the official website or a dedicated draw probability webpage of the game.” Hopefully that means we’ll hear about them in Western territories as well, though there’s nothing stopping publishers from modifying drop rates in different territories.

Kotaku senior reporter. Beats: Twitch, streaming, PC gaming. Writing a book about streamers tentatively titled "STREAMERS" to be published by Atria/Simon & Schuster in the future.


Nathan Grayson

Update: Cecilia weighs in: